Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flax Seed - vs - Boys

I'm sure you've hear all the hype about boys-vs-soy. I believe it's true. I had done a great deal of research on phytoestrogens a long time ago because it just seemed interesting to me and I was dealing with unexplained infertility. A good article outlines some of the issues with soy is here. I will now actively be trying to avoid all soy.

But that is not what I'm writing about today. My latest concern is about flax. Flax seed is touted as another "super food". It's full of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. It's got lots of protein, it's an antioxidant, it's a great source of dietary fiber and lignans. It's the lignans about which I'm concerned. Lignans are a group of chemical compounds found in plants. Lignans are one of the major classes of phytoestrogens, which are estrogen-like chemicals. Flax seed contains 126 times the amount of phytoestrogens (as lignans) as the equivalent amount of soy milk. Now, you aren't going to make a 1:1 substitution of flax for soy, but here's my concern. I have been having spectacular success substituting flax seed meal mixed with water as my egg substitute. Tinkerdoodle and I have an egg allergy and this has allowed us to eat many of the same things everyone else is eating.

Here's what the makers of flax seed or flax oil are touting as health benefits. See if you can help me pick out the issue this might have for a boy:
  • Cancer Health - Increased phytoestrogens have the potential to lower breast and colon cancer risk. (Normal levels of estrogen = lower risk for breast cancer)
  • Menopause - Phytoestrogens may offer an efficient and safe alternative to available hormone intervention options. (Enough said. Would you put your boy on HRT?)
  • Prostate Health - An increasing body of evidence shows that Lignans maintain good prostate health and protect from cancer cell growth. (Prostates can enlarge because of excess free testosterone in the blood stream. Estrogen reduces that.)
  • Hair Health - Flax lignans can prevent hair loss and thinning hair. (Thinning hair can be caused by an excessive amount of testosterone)
  • Acne Health - Recent research points to flax lignans as a natural alternative for the treatment of acne. (Boys have more acne because they have more testosterone, which tends to peak in adolescence.)
  • Bone Health - Lignans may offer protection against the loss of calcium and other minerals. (Lower levels of estrogen can lead to bone loss, therefore, increasing estrogen helps prevent that.)
  • Heart Health - Antioxidant benefits of lignans protect against damage which contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. (A study by Women's Health Initiative shows that women on estrogen therapy had less plaque build up in their arteries than those not on estrogen therapy.)
  • Healthy Skin - Improved skin conditions for psoriasis, eczema, hives and dry skin. ( A 2005 Archive of Dermatology report in JAMA found that women that were pregnant had improved skin conditions because of an increase in estrogen.)
  • Type I and II Diabetes - Research has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing glucose levels and decreasing the onset of developing diabetes. (Studies have shown estrogen levels affect glucose levels.)
  • ADHD - Research has shown reduced need for Ritalin and other medications in affecting behavior in children. (Yup. When boys act like girls, the teachers like that.)
Here's the only warning I found about flax seed, which I think gives one pause:
Large amount intake of flax seed may upset hormonal balance. Studies on animals have reported birth defects.
The problem is called "Estrogen Dominance". It can affect how children's organs develop and cause problems for the rest of their lives. So, we'll be laying off the flax seed and soy around here!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why I hate peanuts...

Saturday my two oldest girls went on a fun adventure with Grandma and Auntie (and family). After watching a cousin compete in a drumline competition, they went out to dinner, then planned on coming home. I met up with them about half way to their destination to drop off the girls and Grandma, who is visiting, and as they pulled out I had a bad feeling. That was at 3:15pm.

At 8:15pm I get a call from Auntie saying that Little Woman is having an anaphylactic reaction. They were stopping on Cub to get Benedryl because Little Woman didn't have anymore left in her purse, what would I like them to do? I advised them to head to the nearest ER where I would meet them. If she was showing any signs of respiratory distress, they needed to administer the Epi Pen. Little Woman was in excellent hands. Besides a calm, cool and collected Auntie and Uncle, Grandma was there, too.

I scooped Wee One out of her sleepy little bed, raced the little boys out to the van and called Dear Husband to tell him where I was heading. He and Little Man were out at Boy Scout Camp. I had to deal with this one on my own.

When she got out of the car, I didn't expect her lips to be so swollen. She'd had some trouble breathing, felt tingly (low blood pressure), but nothing she felt was too serious. No airway closure. No tongue swelling. No need for the Epi Pen* (or so I thought). After waiting it out a little while, we went home with Benedryl, Zantac, her Albuterol inhalor and Zyrtec as the meds for the week with no physical activity for 24 hours as she could suffer from a secondary anaphylactic reaction.

Here's the deal. They ate at a restaurant we frequent (used to be weekly) monthly. She had what she ALWAYS had. I called and talked to the manager and we cannot figure out WHAT caused her reaction. Did they spread peanut butter on something, then use the knife to butter her toast? Did her bread stick get baked on a sheet that was used for peanut butter cookies? Had they scooped some ice cream that had peanuts before scooping her ice cream? The rotten thing is, we don't know and we probably never will.

Kids with anaphylaxis at her level can react to 1/100 of a peanut. Perhaps the peanut butter was on the knife, but it wasn't washed well. We'll never know. So goes the life of having a peanut allergic kid. I hate peanuts.

For those of you reading this that think peanut allergies are over blown and that parents like me overreact have never ran into the ER, covered in their child's vomit as their child's body desperately tried to purge itself of the offending allergen, carrying their child who was not breathing, unsure whether they would get her breathing ever again. When you are in my shoes, you can judge.

To all my friends that have peanuts or peanut butter in their houses...please allow me a bit of time to decompress before I come to visit again. It's not you, really it's not. It's the peanuts I hate. And, again, I need to get over it. I will. It always takes me a while. Until it happens again.

*Please offer up a prayer for me that I handle these situations a little better than I did. I won't go into details. I just need prayers and I can always improve.

Friday, March 19, 2010

21 days and counting...

Tomorrow will be 21 days since I had a Diet Coke. I had always offered to give it up for Lent, but my husband would ask, "Would you make us suffer, too?" I was that bad of an addict.

On February 27th, two very good friends gave me a talking - to. It was one that changed my life. Thank you, Dana and Marion. I think you saved my life.

We were having a MNO (Mom's Night Out) and were talking about food, nutrition, etc. I had mentioned that I was a Diet Coke Addict. Truly I was, and had a 2-4 can a day habit.

Here's what changed that all. First, they challenged me to watch the documentary Sweet Misery about aspartame. Then, they told me about what effects it might have on me that were "glazed over" during the lab testing for aspartame. That's what clicked.

You see, in August, I almost died. I was suffering from iron deficiency anemia. How does one "suffer" from that? Well, inability to stay awake, bruising and blood that doesn't clot are ways you suffer. I had a newborn. I thought I was just "tired." I thought my thyroid numbers were off (TSH high=fatigue). Nope, I was iron deficient anemic. After oral dosing of iron failed, my doctor offered to send me to the IV clinic at the hospital for IV Venofer (an iron sucrose solution delivered intravenously.) I took it. I was so tired of being tired with 6 kids (one a newborn) and a new year of home schooling looking me in the face.

I went in at 8am and got the IV started. It was due to finish at around 11:30. At 11:15, my feet started burning...oh no, that was one of the side effects of this medication. Big warning lights went off in my IV nurses eyes. I could see it. Soon it turned to hives, then swelling. Shortly thereafter, I started having a hard time breathing. By the time the 911 team from the hospital made it there, I was having some kind of seizure. It was unexplainable. I was conscious, but I was convulsing uncontrollably. After several different shots and IV meds, they got me stabilized, but no one could explain the seizure. I've never been so scared before in my life. It scared my husband, too, even though he was not there.

The fact that aspartame can cause neurological problems, brain tumors and seizures put me over the edge. No longer will I drink anything (or eat anything) that has aspartame in it. We threw out all the gum in the house with aspartame as an ingredient. We are sitting here with a case of Diet Coke, unopened, free to anyone who would have it...although should I really give it away?

Here's the real kicker. Aspartame turns to methyl alcohol in your system. Now, I've read just about every web site that talks Aspartame - pro and con. Since they have found NO other reason for my seizure, I am going to make an assumption that perhaps the aspartame was to blame for my seizure. Did it definitively cause the seizure? I don't know. However, will it hurt me to NOT drink Diet Coke? Nope.

So, here's to 21 days Diet Coke free. They say it takes 3 weeks to create a new habit. Welcome to my new habit!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More on weight loss...

This has to be quick as I have 1,000,000,000 other things I need to do why my dear hubby takes the kids to the park.

I'm slowly lowering my weight. I'm down 7.5 lbs in 4 weeks which is a healthy loss. And yet, I'm frustrated. In our "instant society," I want it now. I want to be thin now, never mind that it took me several pregnancies to get like this with really not much of a break in between.

What is hard is seeing others who get "help" lose it fast. I'm not a patient person by any stretch of the imagination. What's harder is our society bent on indulgence and indulging those of us trying to lose weight. No wonder our nation is fat. No wonder it is so hard to lose. You can get a triple and a frosty at midnight or a large fry and McSandwich. We don't eat out very much. But the temptation is there for the taking when I'm tired, don't have many groceries in the house, to drive thru for food rather than go to the store and make something healthy.

One of my favorite bloggers, Rod Dreher, feels he is also struggling. In this post, talks about how hard it really is to lose. Lent is always a good time for me to try and lose weight. Now I just have to work on not grumbling about it...

Pray for me, friends. I want to grumble more than I have here, but I won't!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Upcoming Post - the Move!

After many tears and discussions, we decided to move our home school to

are you ready for this?

to our Family Room. Yes, I do have the best husband in the world that is so insistent on doing what is best for the kids (and his sobby wife) that he suggested the family room.

You see, I was thinking about moving everything back down to the basement. I would have done it in a heartbeat, but he reminded me of why it didn't work in the past (and he was right).

My husband is my voice of reason. We have a very good marriage. One of the most important things my husband does for me is to slow me down. My processing speed is pretty fast, meaning I think something through, devise a plan of action and then execute usually before the average person has thought about it. It's a very bad trait some of the times and a very good trait other times. It's also pretty jarring for most people. Most people are not prepared for the speed at which I move and thankfully, my husband is, well, most of the time. One of his most important character traits is his adaptability.

Well, I digress...so, shortly I will post pictures of the new "Learning Room" as my husband has renamed our former Family Room. Stay tuned.