What is it all about?

These past two calendar years have taken me on another journey with an added dimension, during which time I experienced exaggerated mood swings that proved to be equally challenging to those around me.  Someone close to me questioned my behavior and even got me thinking about bi-polar disorder and the many who have, or have not yet, been diagnosed.

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Stress cofactors
Microsoft clip art

Addressing those uncomfortable perimenopausal symptoms successfully with indole-3-carbinol, most notably elevates energy level.  With all the added energy, my overall strength and mood improved allowing me to really enjoy participating in life for the first time I could remember during my adulthood. Certainly this reflection of energy is contrary to my consistent tendency to retreat.  This got me thinking back throughout my life of living with Crohn’s disease.  Crohn’s is a chronic inflammation triggering the immune system to respond to perceived infection.  When our bodies are constantly fighting infection from whatever source, our energy is drained; in constant pain and/or discomfort and often febrile, causing us to feel irritable and impatient.  Compound these factors with concurring hormonal imbalances brought upon by menopause, PMS, puberty and a host of other biochemical changes we experience as human beings.  A vicious cycle of stress inducing illness not only results from such insults to our systems, but contributes to somewhat erratic behavior as well.

“Neurotransmitter activity is intimately connected with hormonal activity, so any disruption can induce depression in the long term.” 

The endocrine system produces hormones that drive the biofeedback system in the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary axis. Adaptogenic herbs upregulate hormones reducing stress related effects of cortisol.  Essential conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to bioavailable T3 (triiodothyronine) can be accomplished with fat soluble vitamins, B12 and necessary minerals.

“…discovery of its antiviral effect on Borna disease virus (BDV), which is hypothesized to be an etiopathogenetic factor in subtypes of affective disorders.”

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Indole-3-carbinol I3C molecular model
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Whole grains and foods containing vitamin B complex, particularly B12, Mg, and Zn help reduce anxiety.  Tryptophan in bananas affects neurotransmitters like serotonin.  Dark chocolate, without added milk byproducts and sugar, reduces the release of cortisol hormones responsible for potentiating stress and altered moods.

Why are we so quick to judge?  The first inclination both physiologically and psychologically is “fight or flight”.  Whether it is conscious or subconscious, we fear contagion.  We witness something different, askew; and we question what we recognize as being out of the ordinary.  When our hormonal imbalance impacts our outward behavior(s), we are among the last to recognize it ourselves.  I can remember my Grandmothers being the first to make excuses on our behalf as children when being scolded for acting out, they would say: “Maybe they’re coming down with something”.  Wise words we should borrow to express our compassion for others during this day and age of dis-ease.

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Weirdest thing I have ever heard about Crohn’s Disease

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“Miracle” cures, internet image

Weirdest thing I have ever heard about Crohn’s Disease is a sensationalized commentary discussing marshmallows vs marshmallow root as a viable alternative treatment.  The last paragraph addresses the true healing properties of marshmallow, the plant.

Dr. Crohn’s writes: “Another Weird and Wacky CD cure????”…

I’m not advocating this, a friend of my Mother cut this out of a magazine. I think I’ll try it, but I thought I’d let everyone know about it first, in case I drop dead from it or something!! Quoting from “English Book Chat” (date unknown), without permission:  My nephew has Crohn’s disease and a specialist advised him to eat two marshmallows a day.  I have diverticulitis, so I tried them too.  We both find they really help.  Mrs Skull, West Drayton I have the clipping in front of me, so from my point of view this is not bogus, but the clipping may be. Anyway, haw bad can eating two marshmallows a day be!  (Except for damaging your teeth).   Cheers,   Gary    B

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Marshmallow Pyramid

Well, here’s the problem with much of this kind of anecdote: what did “Mrs Skull” mean by “marshmallow,” and what do you and I mean by marshmallow? A marshmallow is an European herb that I see in health food stores now and then. A marshmallow is also a confection that, in its US variations contains no “marshmallow” but only corn syrup and gelatin. I don’t know what the British and Australian versions of the confection contain. So, what are you going to eat when you take Mrs Skull’s advice? —

“I LIKE this cure! So what, it may not ultimately cure your Crohns, but you’ll be a lot happier for it. Hell, why not a handful of marshmallows, and maybe a gin & tonic to go with it…”

According to by herbal on the marsh mallow to is used for upset stomach, peptic ulcers, gastirits and colitits.  Also used for resipratory skin and bladder infections/inflamations. It does mention that the campfire candy contains non of the herb. The active ingredient is supposed to be the mucilage, which forms a gel when mixed with water.  It is soothing to inflammed mucous membranes and may support the immune system.

As the Biochemical Alchemy Author, I think it is interesting to note the antiseptic properties of gin, made from toxic juniper berries.  Original tonic water made from quinine, is also purported to offers similar antimicrobial benefits.

You are your best advocate

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“A Healthy Philosophy”

Today, on day 4 of the ‘Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge’, I am sharing a resourceful approach to autoimmune disease, the inflammatory process and pain living with complexities Crohn’s disease brings.  I began my professional health care advocacy decades ago when first advocating for myself.   “A little learning is a dangerous thing…” wrote Alexander Pope in 1709. The contemporary interpretation in this case holds true that a small amount knowledge gives one the sense of “perceived expertise”.  Drink it in because a lot of knowledge is empowering.

Crohn’s is a compound disease, presenting all systems of the body affecting many aspects of life.  Infinite resources are readily available to us through the internet for support and education including; on-line chat rooms, e-books, studies, blogs, articles, webinars, philosophies and various organizations. Additionally, many resources provide specific information about local chapters, targeting other communities specializing in Crohn’s disease and associated autoimmune disorders, for a spectrum of treatment modalities.

The following abridged directory offers a foundation of understanding for everyone affected by the challenges living with Crohn’s disease.  Beyond the physiological needs, individual considerations may range from respite care, care giving, emotional support, and/or financial assistance.  There is an ever changing supply of knowledge and approaches waiting to be explored.

  1. Living with Crohn’s Disease: http://www.livingwithcrohnsdisease.com/
  2. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Americahttp://www.ccfa.org/
  3. Crohn’s Forumhttp://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=36285
  4. IBIShttp://www.ouribis.com/
  5. GreenMedInfohttp://www.greenmedinfo.com/
  6. Metagenics IBDhttp://www.metagenics.com/medical-foods/health-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease
  7. Orthomolecular Healthhttp://orthomolecularhealth.com/
  8. Elsevier.com: http://www.elsevier.com/s/search.html?profile=_default&form=sitesearch&collection=elsevier-meta&query=Crohn%27s+Disease#
  9. Life Beyond Pain: http://lifebeyondpain.blogspot.com/2009/03/current-thought-on-pain-reduction-in.html

Why I practice what I know

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Bethane M. Evans

Lifestyles shift when living with a chronic condition.  Symptoms can be debilitating and are often unpredictable.  People living with Crohn’s disease know all too well that there is no such thing as a “text book case”.  This was my first real insight how biochemically unique we are from one other.

I exhibited symptoms throughout my childhood, desperately trying to convince everyone that I really didn’t feel well.  I looked healthy on the outside and there was no medical evidence at that time to suggest otherwise, until I was positively diagnosed following emergency surgery.  My family was at a loss having no knowledge of this disease, with no known cause. Treatment only addressed symptoms and there was virtually no other support.  That was 33 years ago.

I was taken on a journey during subsequent years, developing a relationship with myself that is ever changing.  Surgical procedures, drug therapy and support groups were explored as they became available.  On the threshold of the 13th year following surgery, I was diagnosed with the perfunctory recurrence.  I was in the midst of nursing school affording me acquired knowledge of anatomy and physiology plus recent research.  I employed so-called alternative methods while understanding the importance of both diet and exercise.  I applied food pH into “proper food combining” with instant results.  With this foundation and access to quality pharmaceutical grade supplements and continuing professional education, I am able to mitigate symptoms and manage Crohn’s and the inflammatory response.  I am also able to help others we treat in our chiropractic practice which in turn, enhances my wisdom.

6 things I have learned and will share openly are:

  1. Characteristics of Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune diseases are characteristically uncharacteristic.  Just because you can’t see it does not make it any less valid.
  2. Crohn’s disease does not define who you are.  You are a multi-faceted person with a life to live.  This is an opportunity to listen to your body and learn your individual needs.
  3. Develop a relationship with yourself.  Learning to cope with these inconsistencies requires us to get to know ourselves first, before integrating into society through the Crohn’s filter.
  4. Let others know your needs.  We cannot expect others to be compassionate nor understanding of something of which they may have no knowledge.
  5. Welcome these changes and let it inspire you.  This shift lends another dimension to our lives where we continue to learn and share with others.
  6. Remember to laugh.  Humor is a healthy outlet and creative expression.  I suspect “comic relief” was developed by someone with Crohn’s.

The following resources offer additional information and education for everyone who may be newly diagnosed, asymptomatic or affected by someone known to be struggling with Crohn’s disease:

CCFA : Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America 

“Crohn’s Mom’s” on Facebook

GreenMedInfo

Crohn’s Disease and my Experience…A Crohnies Life

WEGO Health Activist

HAWMC Writer’s Challenge 2013

Natural Health Examiner

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Cleveland Natural Health Examiner

Why I write about the Nutritional Alchemy of Food

Day 1: Why I write about Biochemical Alchemy and nutritional foods as a WEGO Health Activist is because I am committing to share daily information with you during the month of April! You are welcome to join me to broaden our awareness and understanding of the many health related issues we are experiencing today.Image

A Crohn’s disease recurrence 20 years ago inspired the implementation of “Biochemical Alchemy” for my ‘Biochemical Nutrition’ practice, permitting the continued enjoyment of foods in a therapeutic way.  Ingredients are adjusted to address different dietary needs.  Specific spices are selected for primarily anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to the pharmacopeia found in plant compounds.

Mariam Webster Dictionary defines alchemy as 2: “A power or process of transforming something common into something special“.  The challenge is creating “medicines” comprised of natural, organic foods that are both fun and appealing to the palate.  Alchemically prepared foods are nutritionally integrated to biologically address disease and disorders as well as maintaining overall health.

The chemical breakdown of each individual ingredient complement one another to create what is known as a “functional food”, working in sync with our biology to promote powerful healing energy. The ingredients are all plant proteins and in raw food form, protect natural enzymes potentiating bioavailability.

Whole, natural raw foods are widely available, but learning which to combine in a recipe as a “meal to heal” is an art.  Try composing variations of your own, remembering to share your creations!  Learn more about the alchemy of foods and find additional recipes shared in my Examiner.com articles over the years as a Cleveland Natural Health Examiner

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