Christmas miracles: “And Still I Rise” – Maya Angelou

Christmas miracles

Often are found when looking

With open eyes and heart.

 

Two books, Christmas miracles of hope across cultures and time. Each contain wisdom from around the world and are a delight to keep or share. Samples shared for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use, copyrighted work by Maya Angelou and Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, shared without permission by the editor/publisher or author, a Christmas miracle nevertheless, hope rises eternal when love burns brightly within us:

From The 100 Best Poems of All Time, Edited by Leslie Pockell, 2001, Warner Books, Inc., (1)

A poem that lasts a lifetime and crosses generations, page 175, is by the renowned poet and Pulitizer Prize winning author, and also singer, dancer, and actor, activist, teacher, Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014 ) encourages people of all races, genders, abilities to persist and believe in themselves. She recites part of the poem and discusses it in a video, youtube.com And Still I Rise.

As a child she had to face the danger of simply crossing the railroad tracks into the side of town that was not the safe and familiar neighbors who all knew one another but was a danger and risk of rape. Facing Evil, youtube.

She had difficulties  as a child after her parents divorced and she and her brother were sent to live with their grandmother and then later were returned to their mother. As a seven year old she was molested and after telling her family the man was killed and young Maya did not talk for several years feeling that her voice was dangerous. The children were sent back to their grandmother when nothing seemed to be helping restore Maya’s voice. Her grandmother reassured her that she would speak when she was ready and relieved the pressure on the young child, eventually she was speaking to her brother but remained mute for several years with other people. A concerned teacher, Mrs. Flowers, and she helped by introducing young Maya to books and poetry and encouraged her to read them all, read all the books in the library – now that is a challenge, and young Maya accepted with hesitation but with courage that grew into greatness.

As a teen there were no black streetcar conductors in California where her family was living at the time, no female black streetcar conductors and she set out to become the first one – and succeeded as a teenager, her six feet in height may have helped. She became a teen mother at age 16 but finished her high school degree anyway. Dancing, singing and writing followed, and eventually she went on to become more politically active and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr.. She continued her activism even after the sorrow of his assassination. She became a teacher and started charter schools for underprivileged community children later in her life. (The Story about Maya Angelou that you never heard in her own words. youtube)

She eventually was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was awarded with over fifty honorary degrees over the course of her lifetime. (Wikipedia)

She encourages us to recognize that nothing human can be alien to us, both the negative and the positive that exists in anyone of us might be something we are capable of, so stretch up to the greatness and who knows what might be possible. I Am Human, Maya Angelou, youtube

 

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou (1928- )

 

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries.

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

 

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still like air; I’ll rise.

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame

 

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling an swelling I bear in the tide.

 

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

 

Into a daybreak that’s wonderously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

Women of color, whether black or indigenous to various parts of the world have been more at risk of violence and sexual assault. It is history’s shame and sadly it is still a current problem around the world. Respect all women as we would all like to be respected and would like our mothers, sisters, and grandmothers to be protected and appreciated. Without women we would have no children to grow into loving men and women to care for future generations.

Children are our future and their care affects our shared future. Children learn best from human interaction, set down the electronic controls and read a book, point at the pictures, or just play pretend. A foam block can be a car or a house or an airplane or a mountain or a doorway to creativity. It can mark a starting line for a race around the room, it can be a ball that doesn’t bounce. Why would a child want a ball that doesn’t bounce? Because they just like to drop and throw and fetch and put it in a bucket or under a blanket and play peek a boo with a friendly face.

Electronic screen time is a limit for human time and often a limit for movement time. Children zero to three years old are absorbing everything they can and developing long term trust in other people as well as exploring the physical capability of climbing and jumping and dumping and throwing, and picking up and putting away can also be taught and modeled as a fun activity when a friendly face is guiding the play time.  (Too much screen time prevents young tots from meeting healthy movement guidelines.) “Clean up, Clean up, It’s time to clean up.” sung to any tune you want, just play the game along with the toddler and you may be surprised to find you have an older child who spontaneously sings it to there younger friends.

Trauma as a child or lack of social connection can lead to withdrawal or even autism like symptoms. Autism can have to do with lack of stimulation as a child. Children in under attended Romanian orphanages had autism like symptoms and if adopted early enough in life sometimes the symptoms improved. Lack of adequate sunshine and low vitamin D levels may have been involved based on more recent research, not discussed in this article about Romanian orphans however. The social isolation would also be increasing general oxidative stress levels and would also not be providing the touch and human connections that can help reduce oxidative stress.: (5)

See this post for more information about social connection, touch and oxidative stress: G3.4: Social contact would help protect against oxidative stress. (6) See G: Autoimmune and Vitamin D for more about prenatal  levels of vitamin D and autism risk. (7) Childhood levels of vitamin D may also be important to help prevent autism like symptoms from worsening, and there are a variety of reasons that vitamin D might not be as available even with adequate sunshine. Dark complected individuals living in Northern climates may be more at risk of low vitamin D levels and likely would benefit from a dietary source.

Very pale skinned individuals and others who burn easily in sunshine might need to avoid excess sun or excess vitamin D but would still need adequate amounts (like me, brown hair but freckle and burn with excess sun and have a vitamin D genetic difference that makes my receptors more active). The dietary or supplement might also need to be a more bioactive form than available in standard supplements for some genetic differences. And avoiding excess sunshine can be helpful if burning easily in the sun is a problem as excess can be a source of oxidative stress also.

Vitamin D3 is a bioactive form that would also bypass inhibition by the herbicide Roundup/glyphosate if CYP enzyme inhibition is limiting the ability of skin production of vitamin D with adequate sunshine – our world is not one gender, one race or even one food supply anymore. Some types of pathogens and chronic illnesses can also affect the ability to use or breakdown excess supplies of vitamin D so excess supplements are not necessarily a standard answer for everyone, (sarcoidosis is one).

Autism is something that affects more than any race, gender or ability. Comorbidity with other mental health and physical chronic illnesses are common. And it is seen in our pets as well: Autism Symptoms in Pets Rise as Pet Vaccination Rates Rise: (4). To quote a line from one of Dr. Maya Angelou’s poems which she describes as the survivor laugher apparatus, to Miss Rosie who rides a bus in New York and inspired by an older poem “Masks“, “I laugh…until I start to I cry…” See ~15:00 through the end of Facing Evil with Maya Angelou, Youtube.

Autism makes me cry more than laugh for the children and the pets. Prior to around 1930 the condition was basically unheard of in the psychiatric and pediatric psychiatric fields. Histories and patient case studies are available dating back centuries and a thorough review of the scientific literature that is available is discussed in the book Denial: How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future, by Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted. (8) The condition may be more of risk when several important nutrients are not available during early pregnancy and continuing into childhood; vaccinations may be involved but it is not a single factor problem. Ultrasounds and electromagnetic radiation from modern electronic devices may also be involved in the increase of autism and other chronic illnesses. Genetic differences that are involved in detoxification of oxidative stress or with the important nutrients involved in detoxification and immune system strength are also likely involved. I cry more than I laugh because Denial does not heal anyone. Dr Maya Angelou shares some inspiring words about being kind and generous, laughing and teaching and is asked about any words of guidance for the New Year and encourages us to “tell the truth, to yourself first, and to the children; live in the present, don’t deny the past, and live in the present;…” in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos, on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zAsr8bq7vk,

She is a great teacher for any year, and her words carry wisdom for any New Year’s resolutions.

To segue briefly back to the Nrf2 topic I’ve been writing about – too much or too little of many things can be a problem. Too much play or too much work, too much isolation or too much stimulation, too much sunshine or too little too much vitamin D or too little, and too much antioxidant stimulating Nrf2 or too little can all be problems for the body. Some individuals may have different levels of too much or too little than average due to genetic differences or other cellular changes. There are some types of cancer cells that over produce Nrf2, (“primary malignant brain tumors (glioblastomas, WHO °IV gliomas, GBM)”) (9), so it also is not a cure-all or safe in any quantity if scientists did learn how to synthesize it directly instead of depending on our bodies to produce what we need.

We learn from each other and across cultures, across time, we have many similarities and Our Greatest Teachers include spiritual leaders and religious figures from many cultures. A brief summary of several is shared in a book by Dr. Wayne D Dyer in the section, “Our Greatest Teachers” – from “Real Magic; Creating Miracles in Everyday Life” by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer (Harper Collins Publishers, 1992, 1st Ed.) (2001 edition)

page 32,

Without exception all of our greatest teachers, and those who have made the greatest impact on humanity, have been spiritual beings. They did not limit themselves to the five senses in any way. All of the great teachers and doctrines, including Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Sufism, and Confucianism, have left us with  a similar message. Go within, discover your invisible higher self, know God is the love that is within you.”

“These spiritual masters were all miracle makers. They were here to teach us about the incredible power that resides within each of us. It seems ironic that as a people we have become obsessed with what divides us, with war and building of more and more powerful delivery systems of hatred and killing, yet the most influential and revered of thee world’s teachings all have a message of love. For example:

page 33,

Christianity: God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Buddhism: He that loveth not, knoweth not God. For God is love.

Judaism: Love is the beginning and end of the Torah.

Confucianism: Love belongs to the high nobility of Heaven, and is the quiet home where man should dwell.

Sufism:   Sane and insane, all are searching lovelorn

                    For Him, in mosque, temple, church alike.

                    For only God is the One God of Love,

                    And Love calls from all these, each one His home.

 

Home is within us, we only have to open our hearts and inner eye to see it.

Our greatest teachers come to us when we are ready to learn, we only have to open the door and let them into our minds and souls.

 

A doorway opened

Is a gateway to learning

What’s needed to know.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

A gift from nature to help us build Nrf2 (10) and which may improve digestion  (11) and bone density are the licorice flavored Fennel Seeds that might be served in a tiny dish as an appetizer or after a meal at an Indian food restaurant. The tiny crunchy seeds can be eaten directly raw or may be toasted.  A few pinches, a teaspoon or two are a reasonable digestive health aid and even seem to freshen the breath somewhat as there is also a slight minty flavor to the more predominant licorice flavor. They are sold in larger quantities, (400 gram package), in India food markets but may be found in a one ounce jar in the spice section as they are also added to soups in Western recipes. One interaction caution is for women using estrogen based birth control pills. Fennel also contains estrogen like phytonutrients which may interfere with the use of the birth control pills as a pregnancy preventative. (11) Regarding quantity for health benefits – a study on bone density effects in post menopausal women did not find 300 mg per day effective (12) – that would be less than an 1/8 th of a teaspoon. I have seen a portion described as “a handful” in an unlinked source, which is about 1/4 – 1/2 cup, and which would be a lot compared to what I eat in a day but an 1/8gh teaspoon wouldn’t be much at all. I eat a pinch or two, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time several times per day. So a tablespoon (three teaspoons) to an 1/8 th cup (two tablespoons or 6 teaspoons) might be consumed throughout the day when snacking from an open dish as seen in the image below. They do seem to help settle my stomach after a meal.

Fennel seeds, raw.

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.

  1. Leslie Pockell, editor, The 100 Best Poems of All Time, Warner Books, Inc., March 1, 2001, https://www.amazon.com/100-Best-Poems-All-Time/dp/0446676810 (1)
  2. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Real Magic; Creating Miracles in Everyday Life, Harper Collins Publishers, 1992, 1st Ed. / 2001 edition: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780060935825/real-magic (2001 Edition)
  3. Bonus for those who read the reference list, a compilation of children’s and teenager’s poetry: Reflections of Youth, The American Library of Poetry, 2002, Houlton, ME, www.libraryofpoetry.com (current 2017 through 1998 Division winner’s poetry can be read online, the 2002 book may be out of print. The current 2017 collection entitled Treasured is available for purchase: http://www.libraryofpoetry.com/treasured.html) (“American Pride” a poem by Lisa Sanchez, Div. III, Grade 8-9, 2002)(“The Plumed Praises” a poem by Karen Christopher, Div. II, Grade 6-7, 2002)
  4. Autism is something that affects more than any race, gender or ability. Comorbidity with other mental health and physical chronic illnesses are common. And it is seen in our pets as well: Autism Symptoms in Pets Rise as Pet Vaccination Rates Rise http://www.thevaccinereaction.org/2017/04/autism-symptoms-in-pets-rise-as-pet-vaccination-rates-rise/
  5. Autism can have to do with lack of stimulation as a child. Children in under attended Romanian orphanages had autism like symptoms and if adopted early enough in life sometimes the symptoms improved. Lack of adequate sunshine and low vitamin D levels may have been involved based on more recent research, not discussed in this article however. The social isolation would also be increasing general oxidative stress levels and not providing the touch and human connections that can help reduce oxidative stress.: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/what-children-from-romanian-orphanages-can-tell-us-about-autism/2017/05/12/c8d772a2-3004-11e7-9dec-764dc781686f_story.html?utm_term=.2d12277deaa2
  6. See this post for more information about social connection, touch and oxidative stress:

    G3.4: Social contact would help protect against oxidative stress. effectiveselfcare.infohttps://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/09/30/social-contact-protect-against-oxidative-stress/

  7. G. Autoimmune and Vitamin D, effectivecare.info, https://effectivecare.info/g-autoimmune-%26-vit-d
  8. Mark Blaxill, Dan Olmsted, Denial: How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future., Skyhorse Publishing, July 25, 2017, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-denial-mark-blaxill/1125631541#/
  9. Z Fan, A-K Wirth, D Chen, C J Wruck, M Rauh, M Buchfelder, and N Savaskan,

    Nrf2-Keap1 pathway promotes cell proliferation and diminishes ferroptosis., Oncogenesis. 2017 Aug; 6(8): e371.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5608917/ (9)

  10. Preventive role of chamomile flowers and fennel seeds extracts against liver injury and oxidative stress induced by an immunosuppressant drug in rats., Hepatoma Research, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 3, p. 125-35, oct. 2015. ISSN 2454-2520. http://hrjournal.net/article/view/1165 (10) *Hepatocellular carcinoma is discussed.
  11. Fennel: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, and Warnings, WebMD.com, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-311-fennel.aspx?activeingredientid=311&activeingredientname=fennel (11)
  12. Masumeh Ghazanfarpour, Elham Amini, Talat Khadivzadeh, Masoudeh Babakhanian, Bahareh Nouri, Hassan Rakhshandeh, and Maliheh Afiat., 

    The Effect of Short-term Treatment with Fennel on Bone Density in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial., J Menopausal Med. 2017 Aug; 23(2): 124–130.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606910/ (12)

Nutrients Rock – “School house” style

More recently in the past than the days of my childhood, at some point when I was first writing online ~ 2010/2011, I mentioned a goal or rather an idea to “be like” a pop singer and I think my admiration and what my idea actually was may have been misunderstood. Memorable and entertaining music can be a fun way to deliver educational messages not just fill stadium shows for adults.

The children’s song and video series called School House Rock is an early example of education set to rock music. Examples are available online: [Youtube: Preamble to the Constitution]

Teaching in song goes farther back though to early nursery rhymes and the “clean up, clean up, time to clean up” song. I don’t know if that tune has a title, I learned it as an adult after my kids were already too old for it to have worked. Some lessons are learned at certain stages of development and then unlearning those habits can be difficult later in life.

Here’s a slightly different tune than I remember but – use it regularly during preschool and you may be more likely to end up with a teenager who simply is used to and prefers to have and maintain a neat room. Sing the song while cleaning up with the children everyday while they are young and need the help. In a few years they’ll be singing the song and cleaning up naturally and may even teach younger kids how much fun it is: [Youtube: Clean up song]

  • Teaching healthy eating habits and a love for a variety of flavors starts with pregnancy when mom eats a variety of healthy and flavorful foods and continues during breastfeeding. The fetus and infant do sense some of the flavor variety in their nutrition they receive from mom.
  • Offering a variety of easy to digest foods as the toddler and child grows helps teach them that a variety of flavors are interesting and enjoyable. There can be a tendency for children to prefer a favorite but offer it too often and then they may suddenly get tired of it and not want it again. Offering a variety regularly and encouraging tastes of new things without forcing a certain amount can help make an environment that feels safe for a child to explore new tastes without negative effects resulting due to feeling pressured.
  • Controlling food intake can make disordered eating habits more of a risk later on in life; eating too much, too little, or too limited a variety can be examples of disordered eating habits. Ideally it is best to encourage a child to learn to listen to their own body’s hunger and fullness signals and eat when their are hungry of a variety of foods and stop when full. A healthy microbiome, the good guy bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract, also is important for appetite control and a good mood.
  • Fiber rich vegetables and other fiber foods are helpful for supporting the healthy types of GI tract bacteria. The good strains help protect us from bad strains and from yeast and other types of microscopic organisms. The good strains of GI bacteria have also been associated with a healthy weight and normal appetite. Some other types have been found to be common in patients with obesity and the bacteria may be playing a role in promoting an increased appetite and weight gain, more research is needed. Certain types of GI bacteria have also been found to produce different types of brain neurotransmitters, some that can increase anxiety and some that can increase a good mood.
  • So the take home point may be that bacteria that promote a good mood and healthy appetite sound like better passengers to feed and maintain during our journey through life.

Having wandered from my initial point, I’ll return to it, School-house rock style songs about nutrients might be a catchy, memorable way to learn about the nutrients. Young children could just be getting familiar with the larger message about their function and then the songs might be useful again during high-school or college along with flashcards to help learn the more complex nutrient names that go with the basic roles in the body. Chemistry students with a talent for tongue twisters can sing along with Tom Lehrer’s 1967 version of song from a Gilbert and Sullivan musical Pirates of Penzance where he shares all the chemical elements that were known at the time. [Youtube]

Now in a trip back through time you need either a time machine or a well-organized file cabinet. I’ve tried to organize my file cabinets over the years but at this particular stage of my life they are as rare as time machines – so instead of worrying about finding a particular scrap of paper with song lyrics about the vitamin B group from ten years ago I just grabbed a pencil and notepad:

B, B, B

You light my fire,

B, B, B

and give me energy

for all I require.

B, B, B

You light my fire,

B, B, B

energize my day

like a live wire.

Thiamin, Riboflavin,

Pyroxidine too,

Pantothenic acid, Cobalamin

and folate or folic acid are B’s,

Choline and biotin too,

Niacin or Niacinamide,

are also all B’s on my side.

B, B, B, B’s

Keep lightin’ my fire,

B, B, B, B’s

and I’ll never tire.*

(*obviously people do get tired eventually even with a good supply of B vitamins – lyrically the last line has more punch with the stronger statement then a more physiologically correct “so I won’t tire.” – this is why teams are helpful.) More info on the group of B vitamins: medlineplus.gov/bvitamins

Since I didn’t waste any time digging through old boxes or building a time machine, I just kept writing:

Iron, a red corpuscle’s friend,

helping make our muscles bend,

as we move about and play,

Iron carries oxygen all day,

delivering energy

throughout,

each muscle needs

a fair amount

to shorten and

lengthen as we

bend about.

And I kept writing, there are lots of nutrients:

Phosphorus, potassium,

Molybdenum, manganese,

Magnesium, calcium,

Sodium and copper

Are all trace minerals

We need each day

for enzymes to work

so that we can play.

And a draft to introduce the macro-nutrients too:

Protein, carbohydrates,

and fats,

are the three,

big macro-nutrients

on the nutrient

family tree.

As drafts for song lyrics go, it might be time to hire a song lyricist.

Addition: But finding a song lyricist also takes time so I wrote a couple more drafts instead,

The discovery of Vitamin C is an exciting story:

Ascorbic acid,

also known as vitamin C,

protected sailors from scurvy,

while they were away at sea.

Limes were a source

of the mysterious stuff

that helped men stay well

when oceans were rough,

and journeys were long

without a single stop

for fresh supplies

and a chance to shop.

Limes would stay fresh

for months, while at sea,

and provided the sailors

a good source of vitamin C.

Scurvy was the feared

disease of the sea

until it was seen

that citrus fruit cured

and prevented the dread disease.

Bleeding gums and sore knees?

How could a sailor chew hard tack

or climb trees?

Let alone scurry up the ship’s mast

to keep watch in the lookout’s post?

Vitamin D was also discovered early for its role in preventing rickets in children, but now it has a new story to share as well:

Vitamin D, we know,

helps our bones

be strong and grow,

and now we also know

Vitamin D acts as defense

for our nutrient family tree.

It helps immune cells

learn to know

which other cells are

friend or foe

and helps mom and baby

safely get to know

each other’s cells as family

and not as foe.

Not quite ready for Youtube yet, but everything starts somewhere.

The lyrics about vitamin D contain information that is not part of standard education about the nutrient – yet. The area of immunology during pregnancy and early implantation is advancing. The fetus plays a role in decreasing the activity of the maternal immune T cells. A decrease in the internal level of tryptophan within the maternal T cells seems to be involved. A diet containing large amounts of tryptophan was associated with more fetal loss than a standard diet in animal research. For ethical reasons this field of research takes place with lab animals or murine animals. [1]

And third, fetal survival depends on tolerogenic mechanisms
that block maternal T cell responses.” [1]

The estrogen level of the mother may affect the ability of the fetus to inhibit her immune T cells:

Estrogen treatment and pregnancy both induced FoxP3 protein expression to a similar degree both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that high estrogen levels during pregnancy may help maintain fetal tolerance by promoting regulation (65). Trophoblast-derived chemokines have also been implicated (63).” [2]

It had previously been known that estrogen has protective effects against autoimmune disease. Symptoms for some types can improve for a woman during her pregnancy and then flair back up after delivery.

Estrogen has been shown to protect against the development of autoimmune disease, yet the mechanism is not known.” (65)

The study found that estrogen treatment led to an increase in the FoxP3 protein in CD4+CD25 T cells. These are a type of regulatory T cell of the immune system which are essential for protecting against self intolerance – ie autoimmunity:

“Recently, in a TCR-transgenic mouse model where full protection against spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis could be achieved by the transfer of wild-type CD4+CD25 T cells, Furtado et al. (47) showed that responsiveness to IL-2 was required for the suppressive function.”  [5]

Having walked this around a ball park or ocean going vessel, I’ll get to the point, cholecalciferol, vitamin D3, helps the body make adequate supplies of Treg immune cells, and it is better at it than calcitriol. [7] Calcitriol is a synthetic form of vitamin D3 called “Rocaltrol“, [8] I’m not sure of the exact difference chemically – but they both can help our body tell us who is friend and who is foe.

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.

  1. A. L. Mellor and D. H. Munn, Immunology at the Maternal-Fetal Interface: Lessons for T Cell Tolerance and Suppression. Annu. Rev. Immunol. 2000. 18:367–391. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew_Mellor2/publication/12481340_Immunology_at_the_Maternal-Fetal_Interface_Lessons_for_T_Cell_Tolerance_and_Suppression/links/0912f50aa0af8ce00b000000.pdf [1]
  2. Indira Guleria and Mohamed H. Sayegh, Maternal Acceptance of the Fetus: True Human Tolerance. J Immunol 2007; 178:3345-3351; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Indira_Guleria/publication/6468186_Maternal_Acceptance_of_the_Fetus_True_Human_Tolerance/links/55a4f85008ae5e82ab1f718a/Maternal-Acceptance-of-the-Fetus-True-Human-Tolerance.pdf [2]
  3. Saito, S., Y. Sasaki, and M. Sakai. 2005. CD4(+)CD25 +high regulatory T cells in human pregnancy. J. Reprod. Immunol. 65: 111–120. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/15811516/ (63)
  4. Polanczyk, M. J., B. D. Carson, S. Subramanian, M. Afentoulis, A. A. Vandenbark,
    S. F. Ziegler, and H. Offner. 2004. Cutting edge: estrogen drives expansion of the CD4 (+)CD25(+) regulatory T cell compartment. J. Immunol. 173: 2227–2230. http://www.jimmunol.org/content/173/4/2227.long (65)
  5. Pascal FeunouLionel PoulinClaude HabranAlain Le MoineMichel Goldman and Michel Y. Braun, CD4+CD25+ and CD4+CD25 T Cells Act Respectively as Inducer and Effector T Suppressor Cells in Superantigen-Induced Tolerance. http://www.jimmunol.org/content/171/7/3475 [5]

  6. Mostafa G. Aly, Karina Trojan, Rolf Weimer, Christian Morath, Gerhard Opelz, Mohammed A. Tohamy, and Volker Daniel,

    Low-dose oral cholecalciferol is associated with higher numbers of Helios+ and total Tregs than oral calcitriol in renal allograft recipients: an observational study. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2016; 17: 24.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4906900/ [7]

  7. “Rocaltrol,” “Calcitriol,” http://www.rxlist.com/rocaltrol-drug.htm [8]

 

How we praise children may be instilling a more entity or incremental theory about personality traits

How we praise one another or ourselves may be affected by whether we have an entity theory or incremental theory about personality traits such as intelligence, or other traits such as trustworthiness or fairness. Hearing praise about what a good child we are can leave the underlying impression that if circumstances were different then we would be a bad child. Praise about how good we were for scoring well on the test or for drawing a pretty picture may be leaving the impression that next time if we score poorly on the test or make a less nice drawing that we are a bad child. [1]

Praise that focuses on the effort involved – or lack of effort – instead focuses on the job at hand rather than any innate goodness or badness. Praise about the effort involved, such as, “Great, you finished almost all of the questions and put in a lot of work on solving them, with more time you may have been able to finish all of the problems,” might be more successful in the long run at promoting a sense that working hard on a problem can lead to success without placing an external judgement on the child’s general goodness or badness. Praising the process that a child used rather than praising or criticizing the child may help children feel more confident about their ability to successfully handle challenges. Praise feels good in the short term but can lead the child to  be more self critical and to give up when they run into more difficult work. [1]

Research suggests  that people with a more fixed view of personality, or entity theory, may be judging others and themselves more harshly. While people with the more fluid view of personality, the incremental theory that people can change and improve their skills over time, make fewer snap judgments about themselves or others. [1]

Within the field of nutrition people who are trying to practice healthier eating habits may face setbacks in their food choices. It is important for the overall success of the dietary changes for them to see the unhealthier choices as simply unhealthier choices for that day or meal rather than a more general reflection of their overall chances of sticking with the new eating habits over time. One day’s unhealthy choices are unlikely to lead to long term ill health but if the unhealthy choices are viewed as proof that the person is a bad person who might as well give up trying then the day’s unhealthy choices might add to the long term risk of ill health. Eating disorders can be a person’s way of trying to cope with unrecognized emotional issues. Gentleness with oneself while trying to practice new eating habits may help with getting through minor setbacks without giving up on the overall goal of change.

The book Self-theories; Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development, (1999), by Carol S. Dweck, is written for the academic field of social psychology however it is a review of research and doesn’t go into detail about statistical analysis which makes it fairly accessible for the general interest reader. It is part of the series Essays in Social Psychology by Psychology Press. [1]

Anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by severe control of caloric intake, is mentioned as an example of a condition where individuals can harm themselves in the pursuit of a perfect self ([1], page 138) but the book is not about nutrition specifically. It discusses how cognitive therapy techniques can help children and adults learn more productive views of self and how well meaning praise may actually be promoting increased risk of giving up when setbacks are encountered. How we talk to children and adolescents about their size can have significant impact on the risk of their developing disordered eating patterns:

In addition, history of depression and history of teasing by a teacher or coach have been linked to the onset of an eating disorder 30. [2]

A focus on healthy exercise habits and regular meals of various types of foods may be more helpful than overly focusing on weight or size or a few specific food choices. Health occurs over time not just at each meal. Process oriented help for healthy eating might better focus on helping the person recognize their hunger and fullness signals and recognizing when thirst for water might actually be the primary body sensation they are feeling.

The fixed or entity theory of self might suggest to a child or adult that their ability to change their eating habits or fitness level is not possible while a fluid incremental theory of self might suggest that with effort the child or adult’s ability to change their eating habits or fitness level is possible. It can be helpful to not make weight loss or size changes the primary goal when trying to help someone address eating habits. Changing habits can support a healthy gradual change in weight or size or may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes or high blood pressure from developing even if there aren’t large changes in weight or size. Cognitive behavior therapy can be helpful for promoting healthy eating and lifestyle changes. [23]

/Disclosure: I am a nutritionist. Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician. Please see a health professional for individualized health care services./

  1. Carol S. Dweck, Self-theories; Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development, (Psychology Press, 1999, Ann Arbor) [1]
  2. Denise E. Wilfley, Ph.D., Rachel P. Kolko, B.A., and Andrea E. Kass, B.A., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Weight Management and Eating Disorders in Children and AdolescentsChild Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2011 Apr; 20(2): 271–285. . Full text available online. [2]
  3. Rebecca Murphy, DClinPsych. et al, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders, Psychiatric Clinics of North America Vol 33, Issue 3, Sept. 2010, Pages 611–627. Full text available online. [3]