Month: June 2015

My Tenth blog “Top 10 Causes of Poor Sleep”

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My Tenth blog “Top 10 Causes of Poor Sleep” – in this blog I will discuss 10 common causes of poor sleep and natural remedies you can try to help improve sleep quality.


I have had several people in my family suffer from sleep insomnia. They just couldn’t go to sleep or they woke up frequently not being able to stay asleep. And as a result, became extremely frustrated and almost became mentally unstable as they knew the wrath they would suffer if they didn’t obtain good quality sleep. Back in the 1980’s there really wasn’t an easy way to look up remedies to this problem. Or to figure out what was causing it so you could get a better nights rest. But nowadays everything is at your fingertips. And after you understand some causes of poor sleep you can easily implement steps to fix the problem. We all have suffered through this at some point in our life. But there are some of us that have encountered it way more than we would like to admit.

So what causes poor quality sleep?

1 Pets in the bed, how to fix this is obvious, move the pet to another location.

2 Kids in the bed, how to fix this is obvious, move them back to their bed.

3 Alcohol affects the rhythm of sleep, first it acts as a sedative, but then a few hours later when blood alcohol level drops, it will wake you up again. To prevent this stop drinking 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

4 Acid reflux, in my opinion acid reflux can be reduced by removing the food that is causing the problem. To pinpoint what it is – start keeping a food diary and write down your symptoms after you eat. Eventually you will figure out what the culprit is. Here are some foods that can cause acid reflux/heartburn:
Alcohol, particularly red wine
Black pepper, garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods
Citrus fruits and products, such as oranges and orange juice
Coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda
Fried foods or foods high in fat

5 Pain, I will be the first to admit this one was a problem for me for a long time. Until I went off of gluten and diet soda, all the pain in my hips, legs and back disappeared! If you are suffering from pain, try switching out your soda with water and going on a gluten free diet – I bet you will see your pain reduced or maybe even go away altogether!

6 Vitamins, I will also admit I occasionally pop a few B12’s to give me a quick burst of energy, especially when I get home late from work and realized I need to do some homework for class. B6 and B12 should be taken in the am hours; they can cause some to have very vivid dreams that can wake you up in the night.

7 Eating right before you go to bed or in the middle of the night is a recipe for poor quality sleep. Why? There are two chemicals in your brain that are needed to go to sleep. Serotonin (not available as a supplement) and Melatonin (available as a supplement) a lot of Serotonin is needed to break down foods, especially foods high in carbohydrates. It takes your body 2 to 3 hours to remake the serotonin to put back what it used. This is the reason why you should stop eating 2 to 3 hours before bed. (you will see more about Melatonin in #1 in the next section)

8 Stress, this obviously can cause sleeping problems. Especially if you are a worrier. Yoga is a great way to unwind. Another great way to reduce your stress, leave work at work. Don’t take it home with you!

9 Medications can have side effects. If you take a control substance for ADD or ADHD (this will definitely keep you up if you take it too late in the day) make sure you read the side-affects before taking any medication your doctor prescribes. Or better yet, ask your doctor if the medication that he/she is prescribing will affect sleep? Don’t be surprised if he/she doesn’t know the answer. They often prescribe pills without warning you of the risks that comes with taking it!

10 Sleep Apnea, if you suffer from this try losing some weight, sometimes sleep apnea is brought on by weight sitting on your diaphragm. Remove the weight and you will likely improve this issue.

zzz-600x400If you are open to taking vitamins to add to your quality of sleep, here is a list of the ones that I have found that help aid better sleep in my household. They may also help you to understand what natural remedies are out there and what you might be deficient in.

1 Melatonin (which is both a hormone and an antioxidant) it is also a chemical in your brain that helps you fall asleep. This can be found at the health food store or online.

2 5-HTP is a compound created in the body which is used to regulate serotonin levels in brain and central nervous system. This can also be found at the health food store or online.

3 Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness. You can request your Doctor to check your vitamin D levels. As we age this becomes a more common problem. The sun and a tanning bed (although you don’t want to “over expose”) are ways to get your Vitamin D.

4 Magnesium deficiency can cause insomnia. I take a Magnesium Malate supplement daily.

5 Lack of Potassium can lead to difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. If you are having leg cramps on a regular basis you could be low in potassium or it could be caused by consumption of gluten.

6 Adding a good Probiotic to your diet will help aid in the digestive process. Nothing worse than a bowl of popcorn lying in your gut for days! If you are absent a gall bladder like me I would highly recommend a good probiotic.

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”


My Ninth Blog “What your Fingernails may tell you about your Health”

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2015-06-12 20.22.05-1My Ninth Blog “What your Fingernails may tell you about your Health” – this blog will provide insight as to what your fingernails can tell you about your overall health.


Ever since I was a kid I had learned that the small white marks (dots) on your fingernails indicated a calcium deficiency.  In my quest to find answers to some of the symptoms I was having I thought I would look it up to see if it was true or just a myth.  After all, the internet does provide us a wealth of knowledge, even if not all of it is a 100% accurate.  Thirty years later I still get those small white marks (dots).  Based on what I found the white marks on your finger nails are NOT calcium or zinc deficiency!  However, I did find some arguments to the contrary, but more interestingly I found many more arguments that it is a myth! The majority indicate the white marks (dots) are common and harmless and don’t indicate any specific vitamin deficiency at all, those little white marks are indications of a minor injury (that probably happened 6 weeks prior to them actually appearing, so it is unlikely that I would even remember injuring them) and they should grow out with the nail. If they don’t,it may be a sign of a more serious condition developing. I snapped a picture and I will check back in a few weeks to make sure they are growing out with the nail. I never really pay much attention to them until I decided to learn more about nail deficiencies. During my research, I found some other valuable information I did not know previously and thought it would be great to summarize and share in a blog. If I had no idea, then more than likely others might not know they can look at their hands to reveal clues about their health. Your fingernails are actually a window into your entire body. If you are like me, I never actually looked through my own window before, that has sense changed!

Below is a list of nail deficiencies that can reveal clues about your overall health and help you identify the actual problem to some of the symptoms you might be having.

Nail pitting  – Ice pick-like depressions (Could be a sign of psoriasis or connective tissue disorders)

Rippled Nails -Nail surface is rippled, Discoloration of the nail is common; the skin under the nail can seem reddish-brown.  (This may be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis)

Nail clubbing – nail tends to be raised and circular and instead of the nail coming straight out it curves down.  (Could be a sign of low oxygen in the blood or lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease or AIDS)

Spoon nails – nails curve up on the sides or have a significant dip in the middle of your nail (Could be a sign of iron deficiency, anemia, heart disease or hypothyroidism, or a liver condition known as hemochromatosis, in which your body absorbs too much iron from the food you eat.)

Pale Nails – very pale nails (can sometimes be a sign of a serious illness, such as: Malnutrition, Congestive heart failure, Liver Disease or Anemia.)

White Nails -If the nails are mostly white with darker rims (can indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis)

Terry’s nails, most of the nails appear white except for a narrow pink band at the tip. (Could just be contributed by aging; or could be a more serious condition such as liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure or diabetes.)

Beau’s lines – horizontal lines run cross the nail. (The indentations can appear when growth at the area under the cuticle is interrupted by injury or severe illness such as uncontrolled diabetes, vascular disease, illnesses associated with high fever (ex. scarlet fever), mumps, measles or pneumonia, could also be a sign of zinc or protein deficiency.)

Loose nails – the fingernails become loose and can separate from the nail bed. The separated part of the nail becomes opaque with a white, yellow or green tinge. (Sometimes detached nails are associated with injury or infection. In other cases nail separation is a reaction to a particular drug or consumer product, such as nail hardeners or adhesives, thyroid disease or psoriasis.)

Yellow nails – yellow in color, maybe thick, new growth is slow, might lack cuticle or detail from nail bed in places. (Could be a sign of respiratory or lung disease, such as chronic bronchitis or a fungal infection, thyroid disease, diabetes or psoriasis)

Bluish Nails – Nails with a bluish tint can mean the body isn’t getting enough oxygen. (Could indicate a lung problem, such as emphysema or some heart problems are associated with bluish nails)

Cracked or Split Nails – Dry, brittle nails that frequently crack or split. (Have been linked to thyroid disease) Cracking or splitting combined with a yellowish hue is more likely due to a fungal infection.

Puffy Nail Fold – If the skin around the nail appears red and puffy, this is known as inflammation of the nail fold.  It may be the result of lupus or another connective tissue disorder. Infection can also cause redness and inflammation of the nail fold.

Dark Lines Beneath the Nail – Dark lines beneath the nail should be investigated as soon as possible. They are sometimes caused by melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Gnawed Nails – Biting your nails may be nothing more than an old habit, but in some cases it’s a sign of persistent anxiety that could benefit from treatment. Nail biting or picking has also been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you can’t stop, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.

Green nails are a sign of bacterial infection

Red streaks in your nail bed are a warning of a heart valve infection

Blueish nails signal low oxygen levels in your blood or poor circulation

Dull nails could mean a vitamin deficiency

And in case you are wondering what healthy nails look like.  They are PINK (with none of the above deficiencies)!   I don’t know about you but the next time I check out someone’s wedding ring, I will probably be more focused on their nails than the actual ring.

The below website has a picture summary of nail deficiencies, for your reference.

If you are interested in learning more about one, Google it, you will find a vast amount of information for each deficiency listed above.  Here is to learning more about your health!

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”

My Eighth Blog “Tap Water, How Clean is too Clean?”

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tap-waterMy Eighth Blog “Tap Water, How Clean is too Clean?”  –  this blog will open your eyes to think before you drink your next glass of water.  There is a price to pay for clean water.


After I learned drinking Diet Soda (aspartame) was cimagesIA2XFAI2ausing a lot of my symptoms, I decided to switch it out with water.  I was an avid Diet Soda drinking for the past 30+ years; drinking water was something I just didn’t like. I knew it was going to take some time getting use to this change.

On the first day off of Diet Soda, I filled up a tall glass of water from the sink and sat down at the table.  As I lifted the cup to my face, I took a deep breath in and smelled what I thought was chlorine even before I took my first sip.  So I tasted it, I could taste the chlorine.  So I thought to myself, is this actually better than drinking diet soda?  I greatly appreciate the fact that the US has good clean drinking water.  There are many people in 3rd world countries that are not as fortunate.  The human body is made up of roughly 60% water, so what better to put back in your body then water!  Good clean water!  But how clean is too clean?  In order to protect our drinking water from disease-causing organisms and pathogens, water suppliers often add a disinfectant, imagesNXD09OFBsuch as chlorine, to drinking water.

So back to the internet I went to do a little more digging on my so called “clean water”.  The EPA allows up to 4MDRL (Maximum Disinfectant Residual Level ) in our drinking water.  So I proceeded to look up the water report for my area.  And the report indicated the average chlorine in the water in my area was 1.2MDRL.  If I can smell the chlorine at 1.2, what on earth would it smell like at 4?  We all know why we use chlorine and beach, to kill bacteria and germs.  But I never actually thought about what it might be doing to the inside of my body after consuming in on a regular basis.  Little did I know that the small amount of chlorine in our drinking water was enough to slowly kill the good bacteria living in my stomach over time!  The bacteria your body needs to breakdown food.  In order to have good clean drinking water, it comes with a price, a price you can manage if you know about.  So I purchased a spring water dispenser and now have a water delivery service deliver water to my house once a month, cost me about $7.00 per each 5 gal water jug (delivered). Small price to pay to save my entire families (and dog) gut! I haven’t gone so far as to put in entire water filtration system in the house yet, but that is in my foresight!

So how do you put the bacteria back in your gut, take a probiotic daily!  Or better yet consistently eat a diet of fermented and cultured foods.  You will get a much wider variety of bacteria than you can get from a supplement.  A list of fermented foods is below for you reference.

Raw yogurt, Sauerkraut, Buttermilk, Fermented milk or kefir, Pickled fermentations of: cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash or carrots.  But if you are like me and rarely eat any of above listed foods a probiotic supplement is better than nothing.  Look for the highest strain you can find.  If it was cheap, it probably will not offer much.

If you struggle with any of the below listed diseases or symptoms you likely suffer from a “Gut Abnormality”, that could have been caused by chlorine or many of a number of other things. Start taking a probiotic, your Gut will thank you!

Multiple sclerosis Type 1 diabetes Rheumatoid arthritis Osteoarthritis
Lupus Crohn’s disease Ulcerative colitis Chronic skin conditions
Kidney problems Urinary conditions Allergic and atopic conditions Degenerative skin conditions
Chronic fatigue syndrome Fibromyalgia Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) Inflammatory bowel diseases

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”

My Seventh Blog “Unlocking the Power of Vitamin C and Revealing its Benefits”

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vitamin-c  My Seventh Blog “Unlocking the Power of Vitamin C and Revealing its Benefits”

– In this blog I discuss how I discovered I was deficient in  Vitamin C and  how I figured out what amount  my body needed to leverage better health.


As I continued on my quest to cure my positive ANA diagnosis, I did some research on the benefits of Vitamin C, hoping to educate myself on how I could use it to leverage better health.  I learned many things I didn’t know about Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is water soluble, which means whatever your body doesn’t need or use will come out in the toilet.  I also learned that there can be some side-effects for taking too much, such as: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and abdominal bloating and cramps, headache, Insomnia and kidney stones. Although I’ve experienced only one of these, diarrhea.107592489_803

So I wondered “How would I know if I am Vitamin C deficient?” Severe Vitamin C deficiency symptoms can consist of:  bleeding gums, dry skin, fluid retention, depression, joint pain and bruising easily.  All, (except bleeding gums) were on my list of side-effects.  So I thought I would add a supplement into my daily routine.  I started out taking an additional 1000mg supplement.  But how would I know if that amount is too much, or not enough?  After further research, I found that if I increase my dose by 500mg each day I can figure out what amount I need to take as a supplement because it will cause diarrhea when you are at the maximum amount your body can absorb.  I got just over 6000mg before I flushed! My “Flush” occurred about 2-3 hrs after I took my daily dose, which indicated to me I was Vitamin C deficient, as the recommended dose for an adult is 65-90mg per day to a maximum of 2000mg.  I needed an additional 4000mg over the recommended dose to reach my body’s absorption.   After taking this amount for a few weeks my body told me to back it down from 6000mg to 4000mg and now I am steadily taking 2000-3000mg per day.   I noticed a substantial decrease in the amount of fluid I was retaining, my dry skin seem to improve and I am not so quick to bruise and when I do it seems to heal quicker than before I started taking the Vitamin C.

Vitamin C has also been known to stabilize blood sugar levels and lower or reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.  Vitamin C is critical for immune system function and plays a role in antibody production and white blood cell function and activity, which I felt played a critical role in my success to better health!

Vit C in fruit

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”

My Sixth Blog “Do You Look Before You Flush?”

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toilet_flushing_56th Blog “Do You Look Before You Flush?”– in this blog I will discuss how tuning into your own human waste can reveal secrets around your health.


Ok, probably not the best blog title, but now that I have your attention and curiosity less discuss human waste and how it can tell a story about your health!   So what’s normal, what’s abnormal?  Your stool can provide you information about your health!  It can reveal signs of infection, digestive problems or even signs of cancer.

Normal stool consistency is roughly 75% water and the remainder is a combination of dead and live bacteria, mucus and fiber.  Sounds disgusting right? If we talked more freely about it we would all recognize our own health problems and remedy these issues much quicker as we would seek treatment more proactively.    Beans and nuts come out in your stool as a gel-like substance and since corn, oats and carrots are hard for our body to digest it may come out looking just like it went in.

So let’s talk about color!  Color really does matter, some foods you eat will reflect in your stool.  Reddish stool (not bloody) might be a sign of the beets you ate last night.  Green stool is typically a sign you ARE eating lots of green leafy vegetables, which is a good thing!  Certain medications might turn your stool white or clay-colored.  But lookout for jet-black stool, this could be a harmless sign, like eating black licorice or it could be a warning sign of intestinal bleeding which can indicate a more serious health problem.

 Shape is equally important!  The ideal stool is all in one piece and moderately soft. If it is breaking apart in the toilet your fiber content is probably not ideal.  Pebbly stool is a sign of constipation and pencil-thin stools, on the other hand can be a sign of rectal cancer.   If you are regularly pebbly or pencil thin I would suggest seeking a physician’s consultation.  Often times you can remedy this through diet, hydration and exercise.

odorWe have all went in a public restroom at some point in our life and walked right back out because the smell was way too overwhelming!   Pay attention to the odor you excrete!  Stool is not supposed to smell pleasant but it shouldn’t knock you out either!   Extremely strong odors that are persistent is often a sign of an infection, a strong odor could be a side effect of a stomach bug or parasite from swimming in a fresh water lake.  It could also suggest a more serious digestive condition like Celiac or Crohn’s Disease or Colitis.   Constant strong smelling stool is a sign you should closely monitor.

So what is the normal frequency for passing stool?  Everyone’s normal is different.  However, if we think about this logically and with common sense I would like to get the food out as quickly as I possibly can.  I don’t want anything sitting around more than a day in my gut, longer than that certainly won’t bring about good outcomes.  The key is consistency.  If you are going every morning and all of a sudden you are now going only once a week and barely at that, you should see a red flag.  Daily is a great habit to get your body into, if possible.  The more fiber you eat the more regular you will be.  We all know someone that takes an hour in the bathroom and others that seem to have a trap door.  I will give the blue ribbon to the person with the trap door.  The longer you sit on the toilet the more likely you will develop hemorrhoids or swollen blood vessels in and around the anus.  For the person spending an hour in the bathroom you either need to put down the kindle or add a daily probiotic and consume more fibrous foods!   Fiber comes from Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes, Grains, Nuts and Seeds.  Eat them and eat them often!

Below is a list of foods that are VERY HIGH in fiber. Split Peas, Lentils, Black Beans, Lima Beans, Artichokes, Peas, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Raspberries, Blackberries, Avocados, Pears, Bran Flakes, Whole-Wheat Pasta, Pearled barley, & Oatmeal.

So which is better, stool that floats or a stool that sinks?  A stool that sinks is the WINNER! Floating stool is a sign you may have too much fat in your diet, or it could also be a sign of malabsorption, which is a condition your body cannot absorb enough fat or other nutrients for the food you are consuming, which may be a sign of celiac disease.   So if your son or daughter leaves a floater in the toilet that you have to flush, you should immediately see they need less fat and more fiber in their diets, if it is common after a diet change, this might be a sign of a larger problem.

2probioticsYour gut is full of bacteria!  Which is essential in breaking down the food you eat; this bacteria releases gases as a byproduct from this digestive process.   Your body absorbs some of those gases into your bloodstream that eventually you breathe out through your lungs.  Which makes me wonder if an overabundance of gas in the blood stream results in bad breath?  I believe that might be a topic for a future blog.   My entire family takes daily probiotics.  Why?  Because taking a daily probiotic adds good bacteria to your gut and helps aid the digestive process.  When your gut is happy, your body, mind and sole are as well!

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”


My Fifth Blog “Corn Crazy”

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CornMy Fifth Blog “Corn Crazy”

In this blog I summarize my research on corn and why corn yields have increased 6x in the US without planting any more crops and how I feel about the consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup!


In my valiant effort to learn more about what I am sticking in my mouth, I decided to do some research on CORN.  Born and raised in Indiana I have always been a big supporter of corn.  Some of my favorite memories are running through the corn fields when I was a kid and attending the annual Popcorn Festival in Valparaiso, IN. I love popcorn and corn on the cob, yum!  I learned a lot I didn’t know and thought it would be great to share on a blog.  As everyone should be, at a minimum, on CORN alert!

Around 80 million acres of corn is planted and harvested in the US.  If you ever fly over the Midwest, you will likely see the majority of it.  Corn is the primary US feed grain, accounting for more than 90% of total feed grain production and use.  Corn is also used in industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol.  (

Here is a statistic for you:  based on the website, the US is planting around the same number of acres of corn as we did in 1926; however, we are yielding 6x more corn.  Humm… can that be?  The short answer is: seed varieties, the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and new machinery.  This all sounds great, but has anyone thought how these changes might affect us as humans?

I truly believe anything reasonable in moderation can’t possibly kill you.  However, how can the American people eat corn in moderation when it is in now in everything you eat?   How is the introduction of High Fructose Corn Syrup into our diets affecting us?   I found a bunch of arguments to support both sides.  Here is one thing I found that has pushed me to believing that high fructose corn syrup might be something I should avoid:  corn processing goes through two processing types:

  1. Wet millers process corn into high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), glucose and dextrose, starch, corn oil, beverage alcohol, industrial alcohol and fuel ethanol.
  2. Dry millers process corn into flakes for cereal, corn flour, corn grits, corn meal, and brewer’s grits for beer production.

When you read the above two process categories which one sounds safer for you to consume?  If you picked Dry Millers process, so did I.  I am not sure I want to eat corn that is used in the same process to fuel cars.

The majority of sugared soft drinks are now made primarily with High-Fructose corn syrup (HFCS); most American’s who consume these beverages increase their consumption of HFCS from zero to 60 pounds per person per year.  During the time of introduction of HFCS, obesity rates have more than tripled in the US and diabetes incidence has increases more than 7 fold.  Is this just a coincidence?  Although, I have not eliminated “corn” from my diet I am making a valiant effort to avoid foods that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Below is a list of foods that I have noticed now contain High Fructose Corn Syrup

  1. Sugared soda and other sugar beverages
  2. Your child’s Juice boxes (that are not 100% fruit juice)
  3. Breakfast cereals and Breakfast Bars
  4. Yogurt
  5. Salad Dressings and condiments (like Ketchup)
  6. Breads and Baked Goods
  7. Candy
  8. Nutritional Bars (seriously??)
  9. Pancake syrup (when it is not true maple syrup)
  10. And may other processed snacks