Grab Bag Thirst Meter Check:
From RealAge, this article summarizes an approach we all-too-often forget. So true:
The reason people eat is because their satiety centers are begging for attention.
But sometimes, those appetite centers want things for quenching thirst, not filling the stomach. Here’s how to figure out what your body is really asking for.
Quench or Crunch?
Thirst could be caused by hormones in the gut that produce feelings much like hunger cravings. To figure out what your body really needs when you feel hungry, drink a glass or two of water. If the craving goes away and you feel more satisfied, you have your answer.
Thirst could also be a chemical response to eating; eating food increases the thickness of your blood, and your body senses the need to dilute it. A great way to avoid confusing your hormonal reaction to food is to make sure that your response to thirst activation doesn’t contain empty calories — like the ones in soft drinks or alcohol. Your thirst center doesn’t care whether it’s getting zero-calorie water or a megacalorie frappé.
Grab Bag Household Tip:
Pots, pans and bakeware sparkle plenty:
“Cascade automatic dish detergent is terrific for removing baked on stains from bake-ware, and pots and pans, teakettles, etc. Make a paste of Cascade and a bit of water. Paint on a thin coat with a pastry brush, let it sit for awhile and rinse off. Make sure that it’s rinsed thoroughly. For really hard baked-on food, wrap the pan in saran wrap tightly and let sit overnight. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Voila! I have not tried this on aluminum utensils, but it works on stainless, glass, porcelain and ceramic.“
Grab Bag PMS Plan:
For those young enough to still blame this syndrome on homicidal tendencies, here are some valuable tips that should be considered…. actually valuable if you’re PMSing, or menopausal, or even male, or any combination thereof 😆
This is from Dr. Mark Hyman.… and with a name like that, he’s just one letter away from being the gatekeeper on the subject.
The Real Causes of PMS
The real cause for PMS is simply this: Your hormones become unbalanced, your estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease, either relatively or absolutely.
There are many things that promote these hormone imbalances, such as a high-sugar, refined carbohydrate diet, caffeine, stress, dairy, hormones in dairy products and meat, and estrogen-like toxins from pesticides and pollution. Alcohol also contributes to problems because it damages the liver and prevents it from excreting excess estrogen.
Constipation and imbalances in the gut bacteria can worsen the situation, because they lead to the reabsorption of estrogen from the gut back into your blood, even after your liver has tried to get rid of it.
Your body also needs exercise to help balance hormones. So if you aren’t moving your body enough, it’s likely this is part of the problem as well.
Fortunately, good research shows that there many ways to get hormones back in balance — without drugs. Here’s my plan for preventing PMS and PMDD. Even though some of my suggestions may seem severe, science shows that they work. Give them a try and you will see in just one or two cycles how much better you feel.
5 Simple Steps to Eliminate PMS
1. Clean up your diet.
- Stop eating refined flour, sugar, and processed foods.
- Cut out caffeine.
- Stop drinking alcohol.
- Balance your blood sugar by eating protein, such as a protein shake, eggs, and nut butters, for breakfast.
- Eat evenly throughout the day and don’t skip meals.
- Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime.
- Cut out all dairy and consider eliminating other common allergens for a few months, especially gluten.
- Increase fiber in your diet from vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day are especially helpful in correcting constipation and balancing hormones. Put them in a shake or sprinkle them on salads or food.
- Increase omega-3 fats by eating more wild fish like sardines, herring, and wild salmon, as well as omega-3 eggs and walnuts.
- Eat organic food, especially animal products, to avoid environmental estrogens from pesticides.
2. Take supplements.
A number of supplements have been shown to help ease PMS symptoms by improving metabolic function and hormone metabolism. Here are the superstars:
- Magnesium citrate or glycinate — Take 400 to 600 mg a day.
- Calcium citrate — Take 600 mg a day.
- Vitamin B6 — Take 50 to 100 mg a day along with 800 mcg of folate and 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Evening primrose oil — Take two 500mg capsules twice a day.
- EPA/DHA (omega 3 fats) — Take 1,000 mg once or twice a day.
- Taurine — Take 500 mg a day to help liver detoxification.
- A good daily multivitamin (all the nutrients work together)
Herbs and phytonutrients can also be very helpful. Here are the best studied and most effective:
- Chasteberry fruit extract (Vitex Agnus-astus) can help balance the hormones released by the pituitary gland that control your overall hormone function. Studies of over 5,000 women have found it effective. Take 100 mg twice a day of a 10:1 extract.
- Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) and cramp bark (Viburum opulus) can help regulate cycles and relieve menstrual cramps.
- Dandelion root can help with liver detoxification and works as a diuretic.
- Isoflavones from soy, red clover, or kudzu root improve estrogen detoxification by boosting the activity of specific detox enzymes. They can be taken as supplements or consumed in the diet.
- Flax seeds contain lignans that help balance hormone metabolism and block the negative effects of excess estrogens.
- Chinese herbal formulas may also help. One of the most effective is Xiao Yao San, or Rambling Powder. It contains: Bupleurum Root (Bupleurum chinense), Chinese Peony Root (Paeonia lactiflora), Dong Quai Root (Angelica sinensis), Bai-Zhu Atractylodes Root (Atractylodes macrocephala), Poria Sclerotium (Poria cocos), Ginger Rhizome (Zingiber officinale), Chinese Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis),and Chinese Mint Leaf (Mentha haplocalyx)
- Replacing healthy bacteria in the gut also helps normalize estrogen and hormone metabolism. Take 5 to 10 billion live organisms in a daily probiotic supplement.
- For intractable cases, I will occasionally use topical, natural bioidentical progesterone in the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. The usual dose is 1/2 tsp (20 to 40 mg) applied at night to thin skin areas for the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle.
3. Get moving.
Exercise is very important for balancing hormones. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, 4 to 5 times a week.
4. Address stress.
Dealing with stress is also critical. Take a hot bath at night, get a massage, try yoga, learn deep breathing or meditation. These techniques and others can help balance hormones.
5. Try alternative therapies.
Therapies such as acupuncture and homeopathy may help. One clinical trial showed that individualized homeopathy is effective in treating PMS. Five homeopathic medicines were used: Lachesis, Natrum muriaticum, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sepia.
If my patients are any indication, a plan such as this can have impressive effects on premenstrual symptoms.
Remember, women are not defective. You can thrive and be healthy by paying attention to a few natural laws of biology. You don’t need drugs to survive!
Grab Bag Snow Season:
Drier weather brings drier skin, and drier scalp. Here are some natural solutions from Maoshing Ni, PhD, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and author of Secrets of Self-Healing, via RealAge.com, for that embarrassing residue that you might be shouldering…
photo from WebMD.com
1. In the shower — Deflake and apply some soothers. Here’s how: Gently rub your scalp with a bit of baking soda for a few minutes to remove flakes. Rinse, and then apply a dash of tonic oil with these scalp calmers: wintergreen, eucalyptus, and menthol. Let the tonic soak in for about 10 minutes before shampooing.
2. Over the sink — Polyphenols in green tea may help combat overgrowth of a fungus that can cause dandruff. Brew up a pot and, once it’s cool, pour it over your scalp. Leave the tea on your hair for about 10 minutes, and then wash it out with an olive- or avocado-oil-based shampoo.
3. In bed — To help relieve seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition that often causes dandruff, try rubbing a little aloe vera gel into your scalp and leaving it on overnight. Just use old pillow cases, and wash your hair in the morning. Could your itchy, flaky skin be psoriasis? Compare your symptoms.
Grab Bag Missing Myth:
A frank admission by the co-host of the TV show Myth Busters on an (unaired) episode that went horribly wrong:
Grab Bag Brain Game:
I was sure I had included this wonderfully addictive game many moons ago when we first started gathering here at The ‘Bag, but I don’t find it in archived posts, so I shall include it. It now feels like a classic. There is no pressure, you are serenaded by mellow music (turn it off if you like), and it builds slowly in difficulty.
You get to launch one “bubble” that can pop smaller bubbles and hopefully start a chain reaction, popping LOTS of bubbles. It’s a game that sharpens your predictive skills.
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
Thanks to Pat E. for sending this in.