Tag Archives: paleo diet

Hair as an Indicator of Health

hair

Not too long ago I had very thin hair; I was using the flat iron a lot and eating the government sanctioned “healthy diet”. I was probably about 45 years old when I was at dinner with the family and one of my sisters mentioned that my hair was getting thin. She had just gone through a thin hair period (it runs in the family), and I’m pretty sure she fixed it with Rogaine or something like that.

I didn’t really do anything about it right away; I think I started taking gelatin and biotin supplements, but I tend to take supplements pretty haphazardly. A few months later I got a horrible haircut; I had been going to this girl and she was really great, and my hair looked awesome, but this time she butchered my hair. She took off about four or five inches and did something with my side bangs that just ruined that entire side of my hair. My husband was not happy with how short it was at all, and this was when I started concentrating on my hair in earnest.

Searching, the most common thing I read about growing hair was drinking bone broth, so I started making that. Just prior to this I had discovered saturated fats and animal fats and was experimenting with those. Seriously, saturated fats (butter, coconut oil, bacon fat, etc) changed my life. My body and brain LOVE them. I’m drinking coffee with raw heavy cream right now!

During this search and research, I discovered the Paleo/Primal Diet, and whereas I don’t religiously stick to it now, it really pretty much changed my life, too. Cutting out most of my carbs eventually cut out most of my inflammation. Before, I was mostly vegetarian, and after I was mostly carnivore. Not “you are what you eat” (who wants to be a grain or vegetable?) but “eat what you are” (you are an animal!).

For thick healthy hair, there is only so much you can do on the outside to help: you can quit using high heat appliances, you can oil your hair, you can only shampoo twice a week with a sulfite free shampoo and conditioner, you can go No Poo, but eventually you have to go to the source of the problem. You have to fix your body before you can fix your hair. If your body isn’t healthy, your hair probably won’t be either. A lot of hair is genetic, but if you give your body the necessary building blocks, you can maximize your hair growth.

I tried to use my flat iron as little as possible, and I thought that it was the main culprit as far as my thin hair went, and it did help, but I needed more. I was making bone broths and using them for soup but I didn’t really think of using them as lunch until I discovered intermittent fasting (IF), and broth fasting. I don’t constantly IF, though; I go on spurts of IF, resistant starch, and eating whatever leftovers that I happen to bring from home for lunch. I eat a full regular dinner with my husband each evening.

So, what is my current regimen? Monday morning I wash and blow-dry straight (I have very curly hair that is easier to straighten than it is to make the curls behave). Tuesday I use a YouCurl curling iron (I curl my hair in only three parts: back, and both sides for larger curls) to reduce bedhead ; it is damaging, but since it’s not used near the roots like a flat iron, it doesn’t thin your hair. Wednesday and Friday I shampoo and blow-dry, and Thursday, Saturday and Sunday I use the YouCurl. Sometimes I wear a hat on Sundays, LOL.

The evenings before shampoo day, I will oil my hair with either coconut oil or Argan oil or both. Every day after drying/curling, I use a tiny amount of pomade (wax) from either Pantene or Herbal Essences to make my hair less static and look more polished. The main reason I don’t shampoo every day is because I do more damage to my hair when I do. I looked for a dry shampoo to try, but I couldn’t find one, and then decided that I didn’t want to put any chemicals on my scalp. I’ve heard you can use baby powder or baking soda, but I’m not that adventurous.

Recently, I have been taking a couple of tablespoons of Blackstrap Molasses before bed with the zinc and magnesium supplements that I take to sleep (excellent sleep aid!). Molasses is also good for sleep like raw honey is. The honey didn’t seem to help my sleep, but I’ve been sleeping like crazy with the Molasses.

To improve the gelatin in my bone broth, I have been getting chicken feet at the Asian Market to add to my chicken broth and I have been getting cow hooves, feet, and tendons for my beef broth. My hair is now nice and full, and I only have another four inches to grow it before it will be the perfect length. The funny thing is that before starting on bone broth, both my husband and I were going gray, but after, both of our hair went back dark. I hardly have any gray right now and I’m in my early fifties.

Everyone remarks on how young we both look, and I’m pretty sure it is the collagen and gelatin (and minerals?) in the broth. I think it is helping our bodies resist “going south”. When you get to our age, and I’m in the middle of menopause, which doesn’t help at all, everything starts to sag. There really isn’t any way to stop this, but I think that broth helps retard the process. With a good diet, lots of broth, tons of squats, kettlebell swings, and some weight training, you can be in really good shape well into old age.

What a Drag it is Getting Old

getting-older

Ugh, so in the last week I noticed that I have a bad spot on my thumb that got pretty inflamed & after complaining about it, I was told it was a bone spur. Off to the computer I go to see what the hell I can do about it. Of course, hundreds & hundreds of links from spinal/orthopedic clinics recommend surgery because, you know, they need the money! Offices are expensive!

After reading up on bone spurs, I realized that I have one on my left foot that I thought was caused by the clutch in my little 5-speed. Dang, bone spurs are probably the cause of the pain in my elbow & my husband’s shoulder & lower back. Crap, if we both have the same thing, our diets are probably the cause. I would really, really like to keep my 5-speed because it is incredibly fun to drive (& it’s a rocket!), but if it continues to be painful I will have to get a boring old automatic.

At the risk of boring the ever-loving crap out of you, I will report my findings here because; well, this is what I’m obsessed with this week, so it has all my concentration. Besides, my thumb & the ball of my foot HURT! And there is no way I’m letting some money hungry (or other) doctor cut into my flesh when I haven’t explored every other avenue. Besides, if I am boring, think how exciting everything else you read will seem 🙂

I do need to state that we had a lot of these problems way before we happened upon the paleo diet, & whereas the paleo diet has helped us immensely, our diet is very loosely based on it. We mainly eat the best, cleanest, real food diet that we can, comprised of foods that do not cause us pain. Having said that, we have been eating/drinking foods that cause pain recently – time to clean up the diet!

I figure that something that is caused by diet (inflammation, etc) can be cured by diet. I looked for an anti-inflammatory diet & found this one & realized that we were already doing all of that. I looked & looked & made a list of all the offerings the internet had for natural remedies for bone spurs & this is what I came up with (in no particular order):

Kelp
Curcumin – turmeric 500-1000mg 3x on empty stomach
Proteolytic Digestive enzymes – bromelain (sinuses) betain HCI / 3x on empty stomach
Vitamin C to extreme
Vitamin D to extreme
Omega 3
K-2 MK-4 menatetrenome
Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfates
Apple cider vinegar – unfiltered
Ginger 5g daily
Gelatin
Magnesium
Feverfew
Celery
DMSO – local application
Epsom Salts – local application
Flaxseed oil on bandaid on spur – local application
Linseed oil – local application

We already have a lot of this stuff, so I will continue to do those, but there were a lot of them that stood out. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar might be a good one – some of the articles said that irregular calcium deposits were caused by an alkaline system, so ACV might acidify it a bit. I’ll try to take a little in water in the morning. Oh, and for all you conspiracy theorists out there, about a third of the natural health sites I went to gave the fluoride in tap water as a leading cause of bone spurs. So, who knows.

K-2 MK-4 (menatetrenome) is another; evidently there is a synergy between K-2 & D3. Richard at Free the Animal has an article about K-2 & his teeth, which is very interesting. After taking it for a while, he noticed that he didn’t get deposits on his teeth any more. I get those hard white deposits on the inside lower teeth that have to be scraped each dentist visit. Once again, irregular deposits that are also probably calcifying my arteries & my bone spurs. Yay!

A lot of the sites recommended proteolytic digestive enzymes, which if you look on the label, contain bromelain . Reading up on them, ding ding ding! These enzymes are also important in dissolving fibroids. I totally had fibroids until they mysteriously went away when I started on paleo (or maybe the onset of menopause). The plot thickens! It is recommended that they be taken 3x daily on an empty stomach.

It is also recommended that curcumin be taken 3x daily on an empty stomach, so off I went to search & I found this article & read it 3x & have no idea what the hell it says, but it looks official. There are a ton of supplements that combine curcumin & proteolytic enzymes, so I’m going to assume that there are no contraindications taking them together.

I will also try using Epsom salts locally & flaxseed oil on a bandaid. The gelatin, glucosamine & chondroitin (& MSM, which is gelatin) would probably be good. So yes, I am taking the shotgun approach to this problem, which is the way I naturally do EVERYTHING, so that I never know what cured me, I just want a cure, any cure. Now!

I think what made my thumb flare up is that we tried a little foray into local craft beer, which caused us pain & inflammation (we tried just the IPA later & still had pain) then on Saturday we each ate a piece of pizza, which led to us ordering a whole pizza & eating it. We will have to clean up our act & quit hurting ourselves. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Anyway, I’ll try to update with any results from my latest experiment.

[Note: Looking further into the items on the list, it looks like a lot of them are used for candida overgrowth – maybe the bone spurs are a just a symptom of that. I’m going to start with the “mother” unfiltered ACV, bromelain, betain HCI, Vitamin C & curcumin turmeric for a while & see how that goes before trying a bunch of other stuff. Maybe I’ll try the topical ones also, haven’t decided.]

Adventures in Freezing Meat

Meat58

While I’m fermenting my next introvert girl (care & feeding) post for a couple more days (in me braiin), I thought I’d talk about what I’ve been doing lately: dealing with a lot of meat. I’m talking a LOT of meat. We bought a chest deep-freezer a couple of months ago & have been slowly filling it with meaty sale items (also 90% dark chocolate & grassfed butter).

Not too long ago there was a sale on “extra meaty” baby back ribs (a rack for about $6), so we got a ton of them. Now there is a sale on T-bones & strip steaks for $4.99 lb, so we are cornering the market on those. The thing is that I’m new at this freezing thing, so I’m looking up a lot of stuff on ye olde interwebs.

There is a lot of conflicting info out there! My main concerns were BPA in plastics & freezer burn. I like the vacuum sealed meats because they deal with freezing pretty well & the ribs we bought came frozen, so it was easy enough to put them directly in the freezer, but do they leach BPA? You would think that this would be an easy search, but you would be mistaken.

After quite a bit of searching  I got this from from Wikipedia (so, grain of salt this info), which says that whereas there is no labeling requirements for BPA,

“In general, plastics that are marked with Resin Identification Codes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with the Resin Identification Code 7 may be made with BPA.”

Another site, Diapers, Etc, says:

“Choose plastics that use polyethylene (#1, #2, and #4) and polypropylene (#5), which require the use of less toxic additives. They also are non-chlorinated. Avoid choosing products that use polyvinyl chloride (#3), polystyrene (#6), and polycarbonate (#7) which often are found in clear, hard plastics used for water, baby bottles or sippy cups.”

Then there is this alarming, but thorough article from Chris Kresser that basically states that absolutely no plastics are safe. Yikes. Whatever. I’ve already quit using all plastics for preparation & storage of foods, but the meats I’m buying are already packaged in plastic & already exposed. I can’t be THAT concerned or I’ll starve to death. I’m trying to limit exposure, not go nuts trying to eliminate it altogether.

The T-bones, strip steaks & ground beef I’ve been freezing aren’t vacuum sealed, so I’ve been double-wrapping them in freezer paper. The freezer paper is coated with plastic on one side, so I went a huntin’ for info on the type of plastic used. Holy crap, this info is stupid hard to find! Finally I found this forum that said:

“Freezer paper is coated with polyethylene, the same stuff that plastic bags and milk jugs are made of. PE is not quite as inert as Teflon but it’s fairly close. No, it will not cause bisphenol offgassing because bisphenol is not used to make PE.”

Now all I need to figure out is an easy way to implement the FIFO (first in first out) method of inventory. Frozen meat is heavy & cold & unloading the whole freezer to get to the old stuff on the bottom is crazy. I started freezing a few months ago, so I have already done this once & it was no fun. As for freezer burn, I will just have to see how well my wrapped stuff lasts. I think this is something I will only know with time & experimentation.

[Note: as You So Would states in this excellent comment:

“Interesting. Reading further from that same study, it goes on to say that “The relative proliferative effects ranged from 19.8 to 50.2% corresponding to an estrogenic activity of 1.9 – 12.2 pg estradiol equivalents per liter bottled water”.

According to the Wikipedia article on Estradiol, the average male naturally has anything between 14 – 55 pg (picogram – trillionth of a gram) of Estradiol per millilitre of blood. Assuming an adult male has roughly 5 litres of blood, then this corresponds to a minimum total amount of 70,000 pg.

Therefore, at worst, each litre of bottled water can increase your overall Estradiol level by only 0.017%, which would subside again over time – I’m not sure this is anything to be concerned over?”

So, this is just another instance of me buying into “conventional wisdom”. I should know better!]

The Level Above “I’m Doing Fine”

Image

J.Stanton at Gnolls.org has an excellent article on avoiding a ‘diet of birdseed (known as “grains”) and birdseed extracts (known as “vegetable oils“)‘.

Even if you’re not on prescription medication right now, are you really “fine”?

Do you need caffeine in order to wake up in the morning, or not fall asleep after lunch?
Do you still suffer from acne? Headaches? Acid reflux?
Do you sleep through the night?
How quickly do you go through that bottle of Tylenol or Aleve? How about the cortisone, to deal with that random itchy, flaky skin?Are you convinced that you must continually restrict your eating to maintain a healthy bodyweight—let alone the body composition you want?
What’s that stuff hanging over the top of your belt? Even if you don’t care about your appearance, imagine how much lighter on your feet you’d feel if you didn’t have to carry around that extra twenty pounds.
Can you go more than five hours without food, without becoming weak and shaky?

This whole article completely speaks to me because I had a lot of the same experiences getting off of wheat & vegetable oils as he did. I was never fat & never on daily medications, but I took a lot of OTC pain relievers & had to eat regularly or I would see spots before my eyes. I also think that my moods are a lot smoother & I don’t experience that “I’m wasting my life!” angst I used to get all the time. Here is another excerpt that goes along with my thinking recently:

For example, we have the ongoing Potato Wars: some people (often the young, male, and/or athletic) radically improve their performance and mood by increasing their starch intake, while others (often older and/or female) find that there’s no such thing as a “safe starch”.

I’m the older female, of course!