Juicing for Thyroid Health

juiceman 002While cleaning out my storage area, I spotted a colorful box hiding in one of the corners. I had received the Juiceman Junior as a Christmas gift over ten years ago and had planned to get into a juicing regimen. Somehow, the box had found its way to the basement of my condo building, two floors down.

Having rediscovered this wonderful gift, I knew it was time to start juicing and increase my intake of fruits and vegetables, especially the leafy greens. I was aware of the many benefits of consuming raw juice, among them improved immunity and enhanced weight loss.

In my research, I discovered that some fruits and vegetables contain goitrogens and, if eaten in raw form, could interfere with thyroid gland function.

What are goitrogens?

Goitrogens are substances that block the uptake of iodine, an essential mineral that activates thyroid hormone production and helps speed up cellular metabolism. According to the thyroid literature, more than four cups of the following foods (in raw form) can interfere with thyroid function: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, spinach, rapini, strawberries, peaches, radishes, corn, rutabagas and turnips.

goitrogens

Not a problem for everyone, but definitely a concern for me. In the past nine years, I have experienced two bouts of hypothyroidism. Thankfully, my levels have stabilized. I take a daily dose of Synthroid, exercise regularly, and watch my stress levels. I have also become more mindful of my diet and have cut back on the white devils—pasta, pizza, bread, rice and potatoes.

Anxious to start on my juicing regimen and avoid any interference with thyroid function, I decided to focus on the fruits and vegetables that are non-goitrogenic: celery, carrots, cucumbers, watercress, apples, beets, Swiss chard, and parsley.

After some experimentation, I came up with the following thyroid-friendly juices. Each recipe will yield anywhere from eight to ten ounces.

28264954_sShades of Green

3 carrots
½ cucumber
1 Granny Smith apple
2 celery stalks

In the Pink with Beets

1 Granny Smith apple
1 Beetroot
2 celery stalks
2 carrots

Delightful Swiss Chard

2 cups Swiss Chard
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 small bunch parsley
1 Granny Smith apple

Preparation

• Wash the produce.
• Cut the produce to fit through the juicer.
• Juice and enjoy!

Better Than Before – A Book Review

betterthanbeforeA fan of self-help literature, I look forward to each year’s crop of inspirational and motivational books. Right now, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives is at the top of my Favorites List.

New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin has expertly woven research, anecdotes, and personal insights in this excellent study of habit formation. She does not provide a one-size-fits-all approach or prescribe specific habits. Instead, she explores how to develop sustainable habits that will help us achieve our own versions of Everyday Life in Utopia (a chapter title suggested by her daughter Eleanor).

Rubin starts by outlining The Four Tendencies—Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, Rebel—and then suggests appropriate strategies in the Pillars of Habits section. While the concepts of Monitoring, Foundation, Scheduling, and Accountability are not new, they are presented using a lively, conversational style aimed at increasing self-knowledge.

I paid special attention to the following strategies:

Foundation Four – Begin with habits that help us sleep, move, eat and drink right, and unclutter. These habits will serve as the foundation for forming other good habits.

Power Hour – To deal with the small, one-time tasks (e.g. creating a photo album) that Rubin kept putting off, she decided once a week, for one hour, she would work on these chores.

Clean Slate – Fresh starts such as a new apartment, job or school and changes in personal relationships wipe the slate clean and can help us launch a new habit with less effort. But a clean slate can also disrupt good habits or break positive routines.

Lightning Bolt – While this is a very effective strategy, it cannot be invoked. A new idea triggered by an inspirational book, milestone birthday, pregnancy or another event can instantly transform habits.

Blast Start – When small steps are not working, a blast start can help us take the first step. This kind of shock treatment cannot be maintained, but it can give momentum to a new project.

Bright-Line Rule – A clearly defined rule or standard that eliminates any need for decision-making can help us achieve greater clarity. E.g. Answering every email within 24 hours.

Throughout the book, Gretchen Rubin shares her own successes and challenges along with those of family members, friends, and blog followers. Intrigued and inspired by the low-carb diet she adopted and the ripple effect it created within her circle, I picked up a copy of Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes.

And I couldn’t resist classifying myself: I am an Upholder, Abstainer, Marathoner, Finisher, and Owl.

Where to find Gretchen Rubin…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Amazon

Lessons From an Air Cast Boot

invertedbootIn early September, I limped into my doctor’s office and described the muscle spasms in my right calf that had morphed into excruciating ankle pain. While speaking, my mind raced through possible remedies: physiotherapy (my preferred choice) or anti-inflammatory medication (I would grit my teeth and endure the nausea and upset stomach).

“You’re having problems with your Achilles tendon,” he said after inspecting my calf and ankle. “The boot will do the trick.”

“Excuse me?”

“An Air Cast Boot,” he said while writing out a prescription. “You can pick one up at the Home Health Care Center across the street. Wear the boot for four to six weeks and your tendon will be back to normal.”

“What if I just rest and take it easy for a week? Maybe take some Tylenol 3…or something stronger?”

“Do you want to limp for the rest of your life?”

Continue reading on Karen Ingalls’ blog.

The Power of Other People’s Prayers

prayer1When good friend and colleague Ann Melnyk offered to help, she was surprised by my response.

“I’d appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts.”

And she wasn’t alone in that respect. Once they heard about my cancer diagnosis, friends and relatives offered to prepare meals, drive me to appointments, buy groceries and run errands. But I didn’t really need that kind of help. For starters, I could keep very little down and was nauseated by a long list of foods. If I even caught a whiff of tomatoes, garlic, onions or other strong food odors, I would have to run to the nearest bathroom. As for driving me to treatments, I found it easier to book a driver through the Canadian Cancer Society, especially on those cold, blustery days when the roads were treacherous.

But prayers were different.

Continue reading on the Faith and Hope Blog.

A Theme Song for Cancer

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Searching for a bible reading was the farthest thing from my mind during that first month after receiving the diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. Between appointments and all sorts of tests—biopsy, bone density, ultrasounds—I had very little time to do much else. Once the chemo treatments started, I was barely able to focus on my dwindling list of daily tasks. Continue reading at Jessica Jefferson’s blog.

Loving My Chatty Matty Coffee

coffee2

When good friend Fil Derewianko gave me a gift certificate for Planet Bean, I decided to treat myself to Chatty Matty coffee, a delightful blend of lightly roasted and dark roasted beans. This popular blend is only one of the many certified fair trade and organic gourmet coffees available at Guelph’s popular roastery.

Like many Guelphites, I am impressed by Planet Bean’s vision and mission to create the best tasting coffee. Their innovative business model measures success, not only in financial terms, but also in their ability to improve the health of the planet and advance organic production. It is not surprising that they now have three different locations in the city.

While I don’t consider myself to be a heavy coffee drinker, I do enjoy my three cups every morning, well within Health Canada’s recommendation of no more than 400 mg of caffeine each day.

And I love hearing the health experts discuss the many wonderful benefits of this dark brew.

  • In their book, The Happiness Diet, Dr. Drew Ramsey and Tyler Graham state that coffee improves memory and reflexes, reducing the risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression.
  • According to Dr. Peter Martin, Psychiatry/Pharmacology Expert at Vanderbilt University of Medicine, coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and mortality rates from heart attacks.
  • Dr. Oz proclaimed coffee to be one of the most beneficial weapons in the war against cancer. Coffee is high in antioxidants and has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.

Healthy Choices Wellness Show

 

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As I wandered through the lobby and large conference room at the Delta Guelph Hotel, I could feel the positive energy emanating from the holistic practitioners and vendors. I enjoyed chatting with all of them and made several connections which I intend to pursue.

Some of the highlights…

  • Friend and fellow writer Sue Ricketts enthusiastically demonstrated the Nordixx Pole Walker.  An hour’s workout can burn between 600 and 900 calories.
  • Energy therapist Lisa Wilvert offered a short Tibetan Singing Bowl Workshop and Meditation.
  • Dr. Renee Paradis described the organic anti-aging facial that she offers at her clinic.
  • Susan Nash, Owner and Director of Body Innovations  provided an informative seminar: What your high heels are doing to your core? She also described the different classes–Pilates, Yoga, Specialized–offered at Body Innovations.
  • I was so  impressed by the entrepreneurial couple who owns Pure Organic Foods that I bought their Organic White Royal Quinoa Grain.