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My Third Blog “I bet you didn’t know you feed on Cottonseed”

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cotton-seedMy Third Blog “I bet you didn’t know you feed on Cottonseed” – Cottonseed oil, since when do we eat cotton?  – this blog will explain how I learned my kids were allergic to cottonseed and when I asked the allergist, what it was, she indicated not to worry about it, it wasn’t in foods.  After doing a little research of my own I realized just how WRONG she was.  What I learned will shock you!!


Both my children have food allergies, many food allergies!  One of their food allergies is “Cottonseed!”  When I asked the allergist what this was she indicated I wouldn’t have to worry about it, it wasn’t in foods.  I was relieved!  I came home and did a little research on the internet to learn more about it and I was astonished at I learned and realized just how much the allergist didn’t know about it.

More than 80% of cotton grown is genetically modified. Genetically modified crops contain (Bt) Bacillus thuringiensis, which is Screen-shot-2012-07-28-at-8_42_56-PM1a toxin in a soil bacterium that has been used as a pesticide spray for many years.  Cotton crops are not regulated as a food crop since it is not considered a food (we wear it we don’t eat it), therefore, more toxic chemicals and pesticides can be used to increase farmers yield.  When cotton is reaped, the cotton and the cottonseed are separated.  Many many moons ago the cottonseed was considered waste and had no value.  Until one day when someone got the bright idea to extract the oil from the cottonseed.   Cottonseed oil was born!

Cottonseed oil was found to extend the shelf life of food, decreasing spoilage!  It was cheap to manufacturer and widely available.  Food manufacturers found a way to extend the life of their product and make it cheaper – which increased profits!  Why not, right?  Wrong!  Little did they realize cottonseed oil has been linked to various health concerns, including allergies, immune system impairment, bleeding and inflammation.

Cottonseed has a very similar protein structure as a peanut!  Oddly enough my kids are allergic to peanuts as well, so that all made sense!  The FDA currently does not require allergy labeling for Cottonseed oil used in foods, which can be a serious health concern to many.  Including my kids! As I have to read every word on the label to ensure it doesn’t contain this oil.

Here is a list of products that I have found contain cottonseed oil:IMG_1819

Peanut butter (combined with cottonseed oil is a double whammy for kids with Peanut allergies), Boxed Cereals, Breakfast pastries, Snack cakes, Crackers, Chips, Cookies, Packaged Breads, Salad, Oils, Mayonnaise, Dressings, Marinades, Margarine, Frozen French fries, Other fake fats like shortening and artificial butter products,  Many other processed foods,     

 Cottonseed oil contains over 50% Omega-6 fatty acids; could this be a cause of the United States obesity problem?  If you wonder why you are seeing more and more organic and non-GMO foods hitting the shelf – because we are getting smart and asking questions and demanding better foods.  We wear cotton – we don’t eat it!  Look out America, if you are counting on your government to protect you from FOOD poison, you will be counting a while!  It’s time we take our health into our own hands!  Read the label before you buy any food product – you may now think twice before purchasing food with Cottonseed oil in it!  If you need more information to convince you, google it!

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


My Second Blog “I have a positive ANA, what’s that?”

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My Second Blog  “I have a positive ANA, what’s that?” – this blog will discuss the foods I identified that created my autoimmune disease and what I did to create a path for my own cure!


After yet another visit to the doctor complaining of various symptoms such as:  fatigue, stomach pain, bloating, hip, back and knee joint pain, muscle cramps, leg pain, low grade fever, constipation, color change in hands and feet, and random blisters on my back, neck and face the doctor decided to run a few blood tests.

A few days later I got a message saying my test results were available on MyChart, so I logged in to see my results.  The test results all came back normal, expect for 1.  I tested positive to ANA (Anti-nuclear antibodies).

The anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) test is used as a primary test to help evaluate a person for autoimmune disorders that affect many tissues and organs throughout the body (systemic) and is most often used as one of the tests to help diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

ANA are a group of autoantibodies produced by a person’s immune system when it fails to adequately distinguish between “self” and “nonself.” They target substances found in the nucleus of a cell and cause organ and tissue damage.

After discussing this with the doctor he indicated a positive ANA means your body is attacking itself and thinks something in your body is foreign.   Positive ANA is directly correlated to autoimmune diseases.  My first thought, WONDERFUL, which one is it!  He referred me to a rheumatologist who ran a series of additional tests as well as upper and lower chest x-ray.  I tested negative for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.  The X-rays did show a little arthritis in my back and hips.  However, she didn’t feel it was the primary cause for the positive ANA.

So I asked my PCP, what now?  He indicated my body was in the process of developing the disease and it is not showing up in my bloodwork yet.  That he would run some more tests at my annual checkup. I received a handful of prescriptions and I was on my way.

Are you kidding me?  So I am supposed to just sit back and wait until the disease finishing developing before they will do anything about it?

After pondering a few days, I started fuming.  Was I really going to just sit back, pop pills and wait for the disease to develop?  I think not!  So I started doing some research on my symptoms.  The more I researched the more references to food allergies and food intolerances I found.  So I made an appointment with an allergist to have a food allergy panel test performed.  I tested negative to all of them!  I was shocked, I was certain something would come up positive.  I did some additional research and found it could be a food intolerance, which would not come up on a food allergy test.

Now what?  I started a food journal and inventoried all the foods I consumed on a regular basis.  I organized them in quantity order based on occurrence.  What I was consuming the most appeared to have contained flour (wheat/gluten). The other item I felt I consumed the most of was Diet Soda, drinking on average 6 cans a day.  So I decided to start with the first one and run with it.  I read up on Gluten-free diets and started one immediately.  My symptoms immediately started to improve, but not all of them.  I went to the doctor again, he reran the blood test and I was still testing positive to ANA.  I still had some symptoms that continued to be a problem so I selected the next item on my list, I eliminated Diet Soda, replaced it with purified water.  Most of the remaining symptoms disappeared within 8 weeks.  3 months later I returned to the doctor and he again reran the ANA blood test, and to my surprise it was NEGATIVE!  I fixed my own auto-immune disease!  Gluten and Diet Soda was the root of my problem! Reflecting back on that, I realized not even the best doctor would have figured that one out.

My first Blog! Introduction to Deb’s Dietary Diary

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appleMy first Blog!  Introduction

My name is Deb Saunders, I am 43 years old, married 23 years and have 2 kids (son 19 and daughter 12).  I currently work as the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) for a large non-profit in Roanoke, VA and am enrolled in the Radford University MBA (set to graduate fall 2015).  My job role as CCO is to proactively access overall organizational risk and audit for compliance.  I realized early on in my career when businesses access and managed risk proactively their performance and outcomes were much stronger than businesses that didn’t apply this approach.

As years passed, I developed some irritating health side-affects which started affecting my work performance and my daily life. Both my children and my husband also struggled with various random symptoms that Doctors did not find alarming but would not think twice to write a prescription to help manage the “symptoms.” My medicine cabinet started to fill up with pills which in turn created more side-affects.  It was then I realized I wasn’t interested in covering up the problem (or treating the symptom) I wanted an answer to what was causing it!  So I decided to try applying the very familiar Risk Based Approach to my family’s individual healthcare. Knowing I wasn’t an expert in this field I started educating myself through books, blogs, websites, and other material and I started building my knowledge in nutrition and applying it to this risk based approach. I knew myself and my family better than any doctor and I decided to take charge of my own healthcare and use the doctors to lean on for advice.  Our bloodwork is now charted and family history documented.

I have become passionate about nutrition and the importance of educating yourself so that you can solve many of your own health concerns by tuning in to what your body is telling you.  I am not a doctor and do not hold myself out as one, my stories are my opinions and my life experiences. My hope is that you will learn something from each blog, as I have learned, and focus on the importance of assessing and managing your own risks!  If you’re waiting on a doctor to do it for you, you will be waiting awhile!

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