“Fibromyalgia to Pain Free!”

Shan Swain - originalToday we are pleased to share with you the guest post below written by one of our clients, Shan Swain. We hope that you find her return-to-health story to be an inspiration. Please share with anyone whom this may help! We are so incredibly happy for Shan that she is feeling so much better these days! Food is an amazing thing!

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Shan’s Story…

“It has been 9 months since I have started my new food journey. I must give you a little health history prior to this. About 15 years ago, I was beginning to have joint pain – it wasn’t bad at first but as time went on it increased. Between the cold weather and other health issues, exercise started to become more and more painful. I went from walking to not walking because of the pain. I would have to organize my schedule according to my pain level. In a matter of 5 years I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The only thing they could do for me was physical therapy or medicate for the pain. So I begin to seek my own relief, like going for a massage (which I intently did for 3 to 4 years). Also, heat seemed to provide some relief and acupuncture helped for a short time. But even with trying all of this, my pain was still there and worse as the years went by.

In January of 2012 my daughter Courtney told me about an article she had read about someone who had lived for years with Fibromyalgia but was currently pain free. She told me that the gal’s name was Christy Pooschke and that she had a website full of information at http://www.CompletelyNourished.com. So I read Christy’s whole return-to-health story on her website, and in her story I found the light! I could relate to everything she was saying about her health issues, it was my story! The light was that Christy had discovered a solution to the PROBLEM – not a fixer upper or a band-aid, but a true, real solution!

I was a skeptic at first. It was hard for me to put my mind around all that I needed to change with my diet. I called her with no hesitation, and we scheduled a time to meet. In the mean time, we chatted on the phone about some of my history and food journaling. As the time was approaching for us to meet, I was beginning to have some doubt that this could possibly take my pain away. It seemed to me that I would be in this pain forever. But I started to go through my cabinets and switch out some of my foods that I have always eaten. I had no idea that these things could’ve possibly been causing my health issues all these years!

When the time came for Christy, my daughter and I to meet for our consultation…I still thought it wouldn’t work. But Christy put us at ease and said “these changes take a little time, so don’t overwhelm yourself.” She went through some of my foods and explained that it’s the ingredient information that matters because so many of the additives in our foods can make us sick. As we continued, she challenged me to start switching out my food for more additive-free foods and to cook my own food at home. Christy’s “Eating Additive-Free” Cookbook & Shopping Guide was a huge help in that regard because it is filled with recipes for the “typical American” types of foods my family already enjoys!

When we finished our consultation, I began to go full speed ahead and switched out everything in my cabinets for real food and clean food. This took time and required my attention as to what I really was eating. It was shocking to find out that something as simple as canned tuna fish often contains hidden MSG! One of MSG’s most commonly known side effects is headaches but also for me the effects of MSG were bloating, aches and joint pain, and chest pain that felt like a heart attack. A few times I thought I was having a heart attack, which led me to get an EKG…but my heart always tested out just fine.

I started to go out to eat less often and began cooking more at home. This gave me satisfaction to continue this new journey. Within 2 months, I started to feel a difference! The days and weeks went by, and I had less and less pain. I am not even aware of the joint pain anymore…unless I go out to eat. Then, soon after I eat I can either get a headache or joint pain which I know is from an additive in the food. It’s amazing how I can tell a difference immediately! I have been so careful (with help) when I grocery shop for clean foods. I make sure that I purchase real food ingredients. For example, now I make sure to select peanut butter that contains just peanuts and salt. Nothing more!

As for my activities I am trying to work in some simple exercises and walking. This has been amazing because the walking has been easier and fun! I’ve also been able to thoroughly enjoy several vacations with my family since recovering from my Fibromyalgia pain – and that has been an absolute blessing! I also love outdoor activities, and maybe I will try to bike again. In the mean time I am totally enjoying the flavor of my new foods, my new menu ideas and how much better I am feeling. This is now 9 months into my new food requirement. And I don’t say that lightly, it is a requirement for me to avoid food additives if I want to feel good. I have also lost 30lbs., not that it was anything I was working towards, it just happened as a “side effect” of avoiding the additives.

My final thoughts…if food additives are causing folks like me to be so sick, what other problems are people having that might be a result of their diets?! Let’s be sure to inform those who are in need.”

Very Thankful,
Shan Swain

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Food Additives Affect Children’s Health & Behavior

Have you ever wondered whether our children’s diet is affecting their health…or maybe even the way they feel or behave? Do you assume that certain children can “handle” food additives just fine just because they aren’t overweight or diagnosed with a behavior disorder or medical condition?

I encourage you to view the 5-minute video overview below that details the improvements experienced by children at one elementary school when their parents and school administrators worked together for 2 full weeks to eliminate food additives (colorings, flavorings, flavor enhancers, preservatives, etc.) from their diets.

Would it surprise you to know that some of the benefits reported by the children and their parents and school staff included: increased attention skills, decreased impulsiveness & behavior problems, less difficultly falling asleep at night, decreased bed wetting, fewer headaches & skin rashes, and improved mood and anger control (leading to improved relationships with peers and family members)? Even children who appeared initially to have “nothing wrong with them” were better behaved during the 2-week trial diet.

Please view the following video; and if you would like assistance with reducing the amount of food additives in your child’s diet, check out our “Eating Additive-Free Natural Cookbook & Grocery Shopping Guide” we have created to help ease your transition!

How to Avoid Eating Hidden Sources of MSG

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Despite common perception, the toxic food additive MSG is everywhere – not just in Chinese food! This taste enhancer is actually hidden under dozens of ingredient names in all sorts of processed foods, restaurant foods, beverages, chewing gums, vitamins and supplements. It is added to foods in higher dosages than ever before, and more and more people are experiencing symptoms.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a health concern because it contains glutamate. Glutamate is the salt form of “Free Glutamic Acid” – a toxin that is associated with a wide array of ailments including, but not limited to: anxiety, asthma, burning sensations, diabetes, fibromyalgia, headaches/migraines, heart attacks, IBS, numbness, obesity, reflux, seizures, and vision problems. (Click here for a more complete list of symptoms: http://www.msgmyth.com/symptoms.html.)

Most people are not aware that food additives may cause or aggravate their symptoms; and those who do happen to learn about the effects of MSG usually do not understand all of the hidden sources of Free Glutamic Acid. There are literally dozens of ingredient names (e.g., “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “spice,” “flavor,” “broth”) in the food supply that the FDA allows to disguise Free Glutamic Acid, so just avoiding foods with “MSG” on the label is not good enough. Processed glutamate in any form must be avoided. (Click here for additional examples of these hidden names: http://www.msgmyth.com/hidden_names.html.)

When consumers look for “MSG-Free” products, what they are really seeking to avoid are the negative health effects of any form of processed Free Glutamic Acid. Because most folks have not been educated about the distinction between these ingredient names, food companies take full advantage and brag about their products being “MSG-Free.” When these “MSG-Free” products contain no pure MSG (monosodium glutamate) but do contain Free Glutamic Acid within other ingredients, uneducated consumers are misled into thinking they are purchasing healthful items.

What is Natural Glutamic Acid?

To understand why the ingestion of Free Glutamic Acid is problematic, one must first understand what natural Glutamic Acid is and what function it serves in the body. Natural Glutamic Acid is an amino acid (i.e., a building block of protein) that occurs naturally in the body as one of many excitatory neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that literally “excite” cells into action.

Glutamic Acid also occurs naturally in certain unprocessed whole foods (e.g., tomatoes, meats, milk), leading many people to incorrectly believe that MSG is also “natural” and safe. When Glutamic Acid occurs in nature, as in some unprocessed whole foods, it is bound (i.e., “linked”) to other amino acids to form a protein. When ingested, such proteins are broken down slowly by the digestive system. Then, Glutamic Acid is released gradually into the blood stream and is non-toxic.

If one ingests more of this natural bound Glutamic Acid than is needed, the body simply clears away the excess just as it was designed to do. The digestion of these natural, whole foods releases such small amounts of Glutamic Acid that even people who react severely to processed MSG can usually tolerate these sources without any difficulty.

What is Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG)?

When food manufacturers break down a protein (usually from corn, soy or wheat) to enhance the flavor of foods, they “free” the glutamic acid in the food, breaking the links that bind it to other amino acids in nature. When one ingests this already-broken-down form of glutamate (i.e., “Free Glutamic Acid”), blood levels of glutamate can rapidly spike to more than 20 times the usual amount because the digestive system does not have to work to break down the bonds between the amino acids.

The human nervous system is not equipped to handle such a rapid influx, and the excess glutamate cannot be efficiently cleared away. It accumulates around the cells throughout the body, over-exciting them to the point of damage or death. This disruption at the cellular level leads to a range of physiological reactions that may be as minor as a runny nose or as severe and life-threatening as a heart attack.

Health Effects of Free Glutamic Acid

According to experts like Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., Free Glutamic Acid is a toxin, not an allergen. Some people are sensitive to lower dosages than others, but it affects everyone to some degree. There is often a delay between ingestion and onset of symptoms, preventing many people from realizing the connection. Most acute symptoms will display within 48 hours (many within 30 minutes) of ingestion, but some health effects (e.g., obesity, infertility) have been demonstrated in lab mice long after exposure.

Because glutamate receptors line various organs and tissues (brain, heart, lungs, reproductive organs, digestive tract, etc.) throughout the body, ingesting processed Free Glutamic Acid can disrupt just about any system and contribute to a wide variety of symptoms ranging from asthma to seizures. Luckily, much of this damage is reversible, and many sufferers resolve their symptoms (often within 7-10 days) by completely eliminating Free Glutamic Acid from their diets.

To prevent these effects and to avoid hidden additives, one must prepare meals at home from basic, whole food ingredients; minimize reliance on processed foods; read every ingredient list; and avoid any mysterious or vague ingredients on product labels. (If you need help revamping your diet, check out my Natural Foods Cookbook & Shopping Guide. It includes 160 delicious, additive-free recipes and a comprehensive shopping guide to help you navigate the grocery aisles!) 

By refusing to purchase foods containing hidden additives and chemical ingredients, consumers have the power to change the variety of products available at the grocery store. Because food companies are in business to make a profit, they have no choice but to respond to consumer demand. Thus, every food purchase is literally a “vote” for what types of food a consumer would like to see on grocery shelves. As more shoppers become outraged about these processed food additives, manufacturers are increasingly forced to reformulate their products using more wholesome, natural ingredients.

(Note: Portions of this article were previously published on NaturalNews.com: http://www.naturalnews.com/033189_MSG_processed_foods.html)

Sources:

http://www.msgmyth.com

Anglesey, D. Battling the MSG Myth: A Survival Guide and Cookbook. Kennewick: Front Porch Productions, 1997.

Blaylock, R.L. Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. Santa Fe: Health Press, 1997  

Erb, J.E. and T.M. The Slow Poisoning of America. Virginia Beach: Paladins Press, 2003.

Schwartz, G.R. In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom Complex (revised). Santa Fe: Health Press, 1999.