Banana Republics – an old novel for a current era

11/2017 – the USDA Food Composition Database is still missing critically important information – and until we can discuss that there is much else that isn’t going to be discussed. Note – this is about my concern that the entire public is being victimized by inadequate health care options as well as the information missing from a public database, and the history likely involves the radioactive incidents and factory work that took place in Hanford, Washington. Adequate iodine supply helps protect the body and thyroid gland from developing cancer and yet instead of educating the public regarding that fact the opposite occurred. Radioactive iodine is treated as a therapy for detecting cancer with the use of X-ray machines and for destroying thyroid cancer. Emergency supplies of higher dose iodine are produced for use in case of a nuclear incident but long term adequacy of iodine would work just as well or better than a short term use of high dose iodine if/when a nuclear incident occurred. The negative health effects of radioactive iodine have also been tested on the U.S. public without permission in covert experiments that took place during the Cold War years. See number six: http://theweek.com/articles/622448/8-government-conspiracy-theories-how-could-right/

Another plant can help reduce radiation in the soil – sunflowers have been used to help clean up radioactive hazardous waste sites. So instead of growing banana plants it might be helpful in some areas to plant sunflowers. https://gardencollage.com/change/sustainability/scientists-using-sunflowers-clean-nuclear-radiation/

Happy Holidays anyway – food sources for iodine and selenium, another trace mineral that is important for thyroid health is collected in an initial draft on my newer website: https://effectivecare.info/g9-iodine-%26-thyroid

Don Quixote, USA is a novel by Richard Powell that I read many times as a youth. Banana growing was a serious love for a nerdy young man who joined the Peace Corps and went to a South American country to help teach others. Somehow in the ensuing comedic adventures and misadventures he managed to grow bananas and takeover a Banana Republic – it is never too late to catch up on the classics.

I read the Reader’s Digest version which is mentioned in this book review. Reader’s Digest publishes slightly condensed versions of full length novels and publishes a book that includes four novels. Having read a few of the novels in their original and the Reader’s Digest condensed version I would say, great job Reader’s Digest at putting books in young adult’s and adult’s hands. I have not read the full length version of Don Quixote, USA but trust that it is even better than the Reader’s Digest version. Part of their success might be in choosing great books in the first place.

Book Review: Don Quixote, USA by Richard Powell

The novel is also available in a Kindle version and has an all star review on Amazon: Don Quixote, USA .

Take home lesson – if you don’t like something don’t just smash walnuts, unless you can also grow bananas. Read Don Quixote, USA to find  out more.

/Or spoiler for those who like to take things the wrong way, when the nerdy looking Peace Corps first arrives he is met by the current dictator who liked to crack nuts – smashing them – with the handle end of his pistol. When the now swash buckling Peace Corps member finds himself in the dictator’s chair as the people’s choice he finds the desktop has rounded indentations that do hold the walnut in place for handing cracking with the pistol handle (or whatever type it was, I don’t quite remember). The point in my sharing this is about negative smear campaigns against information – why is iodine information being withheld from the U.S. public when it was once available. No other nutrients seem to be missing and several non-nutrients are included. In 2012 I had an account on a social media site and multiple fake looking accounts were following it in a way that seemed to be trying to link me to the President in office at the time – I closed the account as the simplest way to end the parody followers attempt at a negative smear campaign. I didn’t know who might have been behind the fake looking followers but there were many of the same type of persona.

More on the less amusing history of the term Banana Republic is available on the Smithsonian website: Where we got the term Banana Republic. 

The take home lesson – don’t let your country be taken over by a business dictatorship where money talks, dictators listen, and everyone else asks how high to jump because they know that more than walnuts will be smashed.

Disclosure: Among my many houseplants I have grown a banana plant. they would need more sun than normal indoor light provides to actually produce fruit but as a large, lovely green tropical plant banana plants grow quickly and easily. https://www.thespruce.com/grow-bananas-indoors-1902483

Growing bananas in the right outdoor climate is relatively easy because new sprouts grow around the base of the older fruit bearing plant which can be the size of a small tree. The individual small plants can be dug up, and replanted with more space around them so that they all will be able to have the nutrients and sunlight that they will need in order to become a fullsize fruit bearing plant. I’ve never grown more than one potted plant banana but the book explains the process and it is an important part of the story – the young man changed himself in the process of helping the struggling people grow a more productive product for export. The dictator was overthrown by the will of the people who had grown to appreciate the young man’s help.

The Peace Corps volunteer knew about the amazing properties of the banana plant and his hard work led to a productive country, while the dictator that had been in charge knew more about cracking walnuts. The book includes details about growing bananas as the problem with the dictatorship at the time was a lack of productivity and lack of income.

The lesson isn’t about one Peace Corps worker or one dictator, it is about the group of people learning productive skills – no one alone can grow an entire field of bananas – it took a while for the young man to get enough interest and help.

A row of immature banana plants that need to be separated and replanted in a field. Or needed to be separated and replanted before they got this big. Ideally the sprouts would be used when they first appear and are only a few inches tall. This row would have roots that are too intertwined to be able to be separated.
A full size banana plant in the autumn, with a row of immature sprouts at the base – used for decorative purposes, I just happened to notice them.

And a daily reminder iodine content in our food supply was removed from a public database. This would not have been an accident – government agencies do what they are told. Why would the Obama Administration want to remove iodine information from public use? and why would the Trump Administration continue the policy? Food sources and other information about iodine and selenium is collected in a draft form on a different website: G9: Iodine & Thyroid

Where’s the iodine? Still missing from the USDA Food Composition Database, November, 2017.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Coffee is a methyl donor, yippee for my DNA

Proper methylation of DNA regulates which sections of DNA are active and will be used to direct metabolic activities in the body and which sections are turned off. Some people have metabolic defects in their ability to methylate normally. Problems in the normal methylation cycle may be more common for people on the autism spectrum and in some other genetic conditions like Down’s Syndrome.

The following website has a book available to read online that includes information about metabolic differences that have been found to be more common for people on the autism spectrum. Methylation differences in metabolism are discussed in Chapter 2 of the book Autism: Pathways to Recovery, by Dr. Amy Yasko. In the chapter coffee and Ritalin are described as methyl donors, and it is suggested that they might be helpful for some people for that reason.  Defects in the normal ability to methylate DNA is impaired in some people which may leave their immune systems over active with autoimmune symptoms or underactive and more susceptible to actual threats. [dramyyasko.com/resources/autism-pathways-to-recovery/chapter-2/]

A book available online, thanks to the author Dr. Amy Yasko. She mentions in the opening paragraph of Chapter 1 that the U.S. population grew by 13% in the 1990s and the number of people with autism grew by 172% in the same time frame. Read more: [dramyyasko.com/resources/autism-pathways-to-recovery/chapter-1/] *She is a Ph.D. professor in genetics rather than an M.D. Medical Doctor.

In 1975 the rate of autism was 1 in 5000.  Approximately one child of every 88 born in the year 2000 were found to have autism and the rate was 1 in 68 – one infant out of every 68 children born in 2002 were found to have autism. [aplus.com/a/scientist-claims-half-of-children-will-have-autism-by-2025]

There may not be a ‘cure’ for autism but there are nutritional strategies that help manage some of the more common metabolic differences if parents and health professionals are allowed to acknowledge the existence of the differences.

/Disclosure: I am not recommending coffee for children or infants.  This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

What to say when you’re talking to yourself

What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, is a book about a cognitive therapy strategy that I found very helpful for my overeating problem. I never attended an Overeater’s Anonymous group. I didn’t think my dietitian self could stay anonymous or keep from trying to counsel others. The OA 12 Step group I believe recommends no snacks and controlling your meals carefully. I believe that deprivation and over-controlling eating can make the binge eating problem worse in my experience and based on review of other research in the field of eating disorders.

My individual therapy with a child trauma counselor helped guide me to my suppressed feelings of unworthiness. Deep down I felt bad, naughty, undeserving of comfort or touch. Not at any fault of my parents. I did get hugs and kisses and loving guidance through life but we didn’t talk about our feelings much. I grew up eager to please or eager to avoid attention so I could continue reading my latest book in peace.

Negative messages that you heard your entire life can be hard to change. Reading new statements can help retrain the old negative message into a healthier one. Daily review of the new self talk statements can be done while brushing your teeth if the statement is on an index card by your mirror, or if it’s posted in your car, or by your phone. I wrote them all in a spiral notebook of index cards and would flip through the whole set  a few times a day. I haven’t read them in a while and I think I should start again – they are helpful.

I am posting my modified statements about health and eating based on the recommendations for rewriting your internal self talk,

What to Say When You Talk To Yourself:  Amazon Link .

The book did have eating related examples but some of them were deprivation oriented. Retraining disordered eating habits requires focus on relearning hunger and fullness signals. Deprivation and controlled eating tend to backfire and lead to worse binges in my experience and based on my review of research in the field of disordered eating. The body has to have sustenance and just stop all use, “cold turkey” type strategies do not work the same for substances that are essential to life. We have to eat food for daily fuel and rebuilding purposes and can’t just stop eating “cold turkey” in the same way and some other addictions may be given up 100% rather than be used in moderation or withdrawn from use slowly.

Cravings have to do with real physical needs of the body. Our instincts and taste buds help guide us to the foods that have the nutrients that we need. Trying to fight cravings with a set menu and controlled portions of foods chosen by someone else or even by yourself but at a different time may not be what your body needs at the moment and may leave the appetite unsatisfied and still seeking something.

Allowing yourself to nibble a variety of things by the bite or two can help to retrain the appetite and taste-buds to recognize the flavors and smells associated with the food that ultimately satisfies – when the bite or two leads to the “aha that is what I want” food, then eat more of that and the appetite memory for that taste and satisfied feeling will be stronger the next time that you have that sort of hunger.

Foods deliver nutrients and the body can learn which foods satisfy certain types of needs – salty snacks deliver sodium which is needed after a sweaty day or may be needed in increased amounts after drinking a lot of diuretic beverages such as coffee, black tea, or alcoholic beverages.

Salt and potassium delivery units are essential after a sweaty workout or a long night. The piece of fruit in the morning with a handful of lightly salted almonds would quench a thirst for electrolytes with more variety of nutrients then the glass of juice and salty piece of bacon found in a common American breakfast would deliver. Both meal examples are only part of a typical breakfast – I’m trying to highlight the potassium and sodium cravings. We need a little every few hours all day long. Meals and snacks help with good hydration and that helps with energy level and regular removal of toxins. Lactic acid build up in muscle tissue can slow down the  worker/athlete. Drinking plenty of water and having a salty food with a fruit or juicy vegetable will give the body the replacements that were sweated out or used up by the working muscles. Bonus if the salty food is magnesium rich because the muscles waste that as well. (like nuts )

I know how to eat well and it is still a daily challenge, more due to laziness however and less due to emotional reasons  now (I slowly realized that I was stuffing my anger – eating my words with the emotional over eating problem.)

Positive self talk statements

I live actively. My body is strong and healthy.

I have the lung and heart power to do what I need to do every day.

I move fluidly through space.

I have the power to leap joyfully.

I breathe deeply. I enjoy ginger, spicy food, hot soup and tea and saunas because they help my sinuses.

I protect my inner ear from congestion, by avoiding foods that are mucous producing and environments that are dusty, musty and smokey.

I avoid toxic food and environments that make me feel sicker.

I protect myself from sickness.

I rest when I need to rest.

I respect my body’s limits and I don’t push myself past my limits.

I move my body regularly and avoid sitting still for hours.

(I need to start rereading this list – actually I’m going to set my computer up where I can stand in front of it. If the system has problems, then change the system.)

I avoid extremes by planning my time and setting steps towards my ultimate goals.

I plan my day and calmly do what I can towards fulfilling the goals.

I prioritize my goals so that important things are not put off.

I am in control of myself in every way — at all times and in all situations.

Each time that I sit down to eat I remember my goal for health. By eating right, and never giving in I am reaching the weight that I want.

Whether eating in or eating out, I really enjoy not over eating; being overstuffed is uncomfortable.

I never feel the need to finish the food in front of me. I eat only until my hunger is satisfied — and never one bite more.

*I have purposely started a practice of actually spitting out food (into a napkin), if I do notice myself eating from emotional reasons. I stop chewing and spit the food out – just because I made the mistake of starting the angry or sad or anxious eating reaction doesn’t mean that I have to swallow – to continue the emotional over-reaction – and to continue reinforcing the negative habit. Better to break the pattern, even if a napkin is involve.

I eat healthy food for energy and sustenance, not for comfort or boredom.

Starving children on the other side of the world are not going to benefit by my emptying my dinner plate.

Leftovers are for saving for later, not for finishing up even if I’m full.

I put away leftovers and make the meal useful the next day for lunch, dinner, or a healthy snack.

I help starving children by buying less junk food and donating the money.

One way to weight loss that’s easy and works, is less food on my plate, and less on my fork!”   *This and the next statement are from the book, What to Say When You Talk To Yourself,  by Shad Helmstetter, PhD. I kept the two statements but am not a proponent of the “eat less” theory of weight loss. Fiber rich foods are bulky and we eat healthier when we eat more bulky fiber rich whole foods. So less chocolate bars or dessert on my plate – yes – but less food altogether is not necessarily a healthier choice.

Less on my plate means less on my waist.” *** author, Shad Helmstetter’s example – that statement is both true and not true, see above.

When I sit down to eat, at no time do I allow anyone else to influence, tempt, or discourage me in any negative way.

What I eat and the goals I reach, are up to me. And I give no one else the right to hinder or control my success.

I am never, at any time, tempted to take one bite more than I need. I am strong, I am capable of reaching my goal, and I am doing it!

Although others may benefit from my success, I am achieving my weight-loss goals for my own personal reasons — for myself, my life, my future, and my own personal well-being.

I feed my inner child love and nurturing and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Sedating myself with carbohydrates is harmful and not helpful.

I comfort myself with meditation, a warm bath, a hot cup of tea, or music and movement.

***I found the movie “The Celestine Prophecy”[thecelestineprophecymovie.com/] so helpful that I added a few statements from it to my flip-book of cognitive therapy statements. The movie was based on the book, The Celestine Prophecy, by author, James Redfield, Amazon: [amazon.com]

I let go and Let be.”

“I find energy within and avoid battling others for it.”

“I open up and receive energy.”

“I accept energy from others and the energy is amplified for both of us.”

“Instead of taking energy from others I give it.”

“I follow my instincts and listen to my heart and gut.”

“The guidance within us, leads us towards the heaven within us.
To know this . . . is our destiny.”

Our instincts try to guide us towards what we need but it is up to us to pause and listen.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.