Monthly Archives: April 2012

I love my cat!

“I know no greater proof for the existence of a benevolent God, no greater Heaven than  holding a purring cat. Those who hunger for love need look no further. God has put opportunities to love and care all around us.”

-Nan Sea Love

 

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Quote

“When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”

-Ingrid Newkirk

Meat’s Impact on Your Body

For months, I have been studying adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism and hormone imbalances.  I have been convinced that I have some type of hormonal imbalance because I have so many of the common symptoms, but I was never quite sure which hormone was causing the problem, why it was happening or what I could do about it.

The human body is made up of a complex system of hormones that operate much like an orchestra. When one is out of balance or not operating properly, it can throw everything out of whack, just as one out of tune instrument can screw up a symphony.  The adrenal glands sit just above the kidneys. They help maintain water balance and regulate energy levels, among other things. They also secrete hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol is commonly known as the stress hormone and is responsible for the “fight or flight” response you feel when you are scared or stressed out. When your adrenal glands are constantly being overworked, it can cause adrenal fatigue. (Also, the adrenals and the thyroid are like partners in crime. Often, thyroid problems can be mistaken for adrenal problems and vice versa).

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are:

  • Cravings for sugar
  • Cravings for salt on food when you eat
  • Feel dehydrated and thirsty and require plenty of water
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night, sleep lightly or wake early or often
  • Difficulty relaxing, nervous, anxious or hyperactive
  • Often spacey, or foggy thinking, even memory loss
  • Lack willpower to accomplish
  • General exhaustion
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Low libido
  • Weight gain, especially in abdomen and waist area
  • Losing muscle tone
  • Sagging skin, dry, yellow or pale in color
  • Hair starting to gray, thin out and become dry
  • Lips losing their color
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • High blood sugar

So what causes the adrenal glands to be overworked?  Several things, including:

  1. Sugar
  2. Coffee
  3. Processed foods
  4. Soda
  5. Drugs
  6. Stress
  7. Too much animal protein

I’m sure by now we are all aware of the negative effects sugar, coffee, processed foods and soda have on our bodies, so those causes don’t seem surprising. Stress and drugs are an obvious cause of adrenal fatigue due to the nature of hormones and how they operate. But animal protein?  That seems odd. How does that work?

Basically, a diet high in animal protein makes your insides really acidic.  Most people don’t have enough acid in their stomachs to digest the amount of animal protein they consume. This throws off the pH balance in your body. As a result, the digestive, immune and hormonal systems are all aggravated. This is what causes the above symptoms and can also make us more prone to illness from viruses and bacteria.

I have yet to find a set limit on the amount of animal protein one should consume in a day or week. What I do know is that according to a lot of research done regarding health problems, most people consume way too much. Bodybuilders and athletes can consume as much as 300 g or more per day!  I know that when I was training, I ate animal protein 5-6x a day (about 110-130g daily) and it was enough to cause me nearly every symptom of adrenal fatigue, including severe depression, anxiety and sleep problems.

If you are already showing signs of adrenal fatigue, it is a good idea to cut down drastically, if not completely eliminate, meat protein from your diet.

Ahem…Excuse me…

I think that people who stand for anything….whether it’s animal rights, gay rights, civil rights, etc…. at some point, take a lot of flack from people who oppose their views or simply don’t want to hear what they have to say. I feel like people are threatened by a person/group with solid opinions and convictions. I can’t really pinpoint why. Are they in denial about the problem? Do they feel judged? Do they simply disagree? Are they afraid to take a good look at the horrors that exist in this world?  Do they simply not care about anything that they think doesn’t directly affect them?  I guess the negativity and resistance is a result of all of these reasons…and many others too.

Regardless of your stance on what I or others think/feel/say/write, I want this to be clear. I am not judging anyone or trying to tell anyone what to do. That is the polar opposite of what a kind person does. Also, I am not perfect, not pretending to be perfect and certainly not trying to be perfect. I don’t expect anyone else to be either. I make mistakes. We all do.

I want to educate people by sharing what I know. I don’t know it all, but I might know something you don’t. I also want to be a voice for animals because the cruelty toward them is appalling. Any form of cruelty should invoke serious action against it. I want to expose the lies that people are fed for no other reason than profit. I want people to make the connection between compassion/kindness and good mental/physical health for themselves, their loved ones, and every other being on the entire planet.

The point of this blog is to make people better, not to make them feel dumb, mean, wrong, helpless, criticized, inferior, etc. Quite the opposite. Do I think some people do heinous, stupid and ignorant things? Yes. But hatred only breeds hatred, so to hate anyone for any reason does no good. I truly believe (and so did Maya Angelou!) that when you know better, you do better. And in my opinion, when you do better, you become better. And so does everyone and everything around you.

In my dream world, every single person would ooze compassion, knowledge, happiness and good health. Politeness would be commonplace. Caring and helping others would be a natural way of life. Learning would be everyone’s hobby. People wouldn’t use or need any type of negativity and cruelty.

So on that note, I will continue to wish for a world where people do good things, feel good all the time and live kind, happy lives.

The Inspiration for Everything I Do

Here is my cat, Bert. I love him more than anything. He is the child I will never have. And he makes me soooo proud to be a crazy cat lady!

Veganism and Amino Acids/Proteins

I found a dietician named Dina Aronson on the Veg Family website. Here was her response to a question posed about vegans and protein/amino acid needs:

“As you indicated, protein is made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. The foods we eat contain differing amounts of these amino acids, and our bodies use them to make the protein that we need for cell and tissue structure and function.

There are about 20 amino acids that humans need to make protein. Eight of these amino acids are essential, meaning that we must obtain these amino acids from foods (vegetarian or not). The remaining amino acids are both in foods and can be made by the body as needed.

You need to look no further than a biology textbook to discover that all the amino acids humans need for optimal health are found in plant foods. When you think about it, this makes sense, because where does the cow and chicken get these amino acids (that end up in the meat humans eat)? From plants, of course! With the exception of soybeans, there is no ONE plant food that supplies all of the essential amino acids, but a variety of plant foods will most definitely meet our protein needs. Protein deficiency is simply not an issue among well-nourished vegans who consume a variety of foods from the four main food groups (grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits).

It was once believed that vegetarians had to consume “complementary” proteins at the same meal in order for our body to process them correctly. For example, grains are a good protein source but are low in the amino acid lysine, while beans have plenty of lysine. So it was once thought that eating rice with beans supplied “complete” protein. However, nutrition experts have found that protein complementation is not necessary; the body stores “pools” of amino acids in our body so that they’re ready to be used when needed. As long as these different sources of protein are eaten over the course of the day, we’re covered.

If it were true that vegans had a hard time getting enough amino acids, we would all have symptoms of protein deficiency. It turns out that protein deficiency is very rare, but certainly there are ways that a vegan can actually get too little protein:

1. By eating mostly junk food and little else (e.g. potato chips, refined white flour products, candy, etc.), because refined junk foods are low in protein, and excessive junk food can displace healthy, protein-rich plant foods in the diet.
2. By not getting enough calories (long-term illness, anorexia nervosa, etc.), which results in deficiency of not just protein, but most nutrients.

Bottom line: Eat enough and a good variety of whole plant foods, and your amino acid/protein needs will automatically be met.”

(The link to this is http://www.vegfamily.com/dietician/0105a.htm)

Health Effects of Meat

I found a study through the NY Times website that was published back in 1981. Even then, research showed that a meat diet raises cholesterol and blood pressure and that a veggie diet does the opposite. As many of us already know, high cholesterol and blood pressure levels can ultimately lead to heart disease, the #1 killer in the U.S.

Here is the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/08/18/science/science-watch-health-effects-of-meat.html