Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Betina ponders life "with Additives" or "Au Naturale"

Remember the vitamin C craze? Vitamin E? Fiber for everything? Cider vinegar?

Everybody I know these days is going on and on about miracle cures, supplements that cure all kinds of ailments and make you feel 10 years younger, or at the very least, nutrients our foods no longer provide. Everybody's got a story to sell. And stock in some vitamin, oil, elixir, tablet, enzyme, or nutritional additive. And since they're now going to live forever they want some company. . . and are trying to take me with them.

I'm not sure I wanna go.

It started with a bunch of vitamins my brother-in-law sold back in the 90's. Superbly put together vitamins (formulated with fructose) with antioxidants (grape seed extract) out the yin-yang. He quit selling them two or three years later and I'm still taking the danged things. I'm not sure why. I've been relatively healthy and I'm afraid if I stop my hair will fall out and I'll turn into one big liver spot.

Then a writer friend put me onto Ginko Biloba, an extract from the "living fossil" tree. . . meant to sharpen wits and improve memory. And if I could remember who she was, I'd give her a big old "hug" for helping me remember in detail everything I really don't want to worry about.

Then a friend gave me a book about the perfect foods. . . somebody or other's prescriptions for better living through au naturale chemistry. I eat blueberries constantly now. My teeth have an eerie blue cast, but hey-- I'm going to live to at least 100-- so someday my hair and my teeth will match.

Then there was the whole "cabbage is the perfect food" craze. Supposedly contains every micro nutrient needed by the human body. But you try making a menu around cabbage and blueberries! No wonder nobody comes to dinner at my house anymore. It's either that or the chronic flatulence the cabbage causes.

Lately there is coconut oil. My sister discovered it and has been spooning it into me, insisting I'm looking younger and more vibrant every day. But only the really pricey kind: the cold pressed, virgin, $18.00 a pint coconut oil. It's not bad for your heart she says; it's medium chain fatty something-or-others. The story goes: coconut oil took a bum rap in the 80's because the soybean producers lobbied hard to make coconuts look bad. So I took out a mortgage and bought a pint. Spread it on my toast in the morning. ACK. Stay tuned. I'll let you know in 25 years if it works.

Oh, and since "miracle med" Lipitor may be really bad for us (I've been taking it for 10 years!!! I am so dead.) I'm supposed to wean myself off it and instead take massive doses of vitamin C and some enzyme thingy called "CoQ-10." I have no clue what that is, but it's supposed to be fabulous for me. . . and Lipitor supposedly depletes it in my body. So far, I'm playing it safe and taking Lipitor AND CoQ-10.

Sweetners? sigh. Nutrasweet is everywhere and in everything. You try buying the world a Diet Coke without it. Except occasionally, I can find Diet Coke and Arizona tea made with Splenda. . . which is chlorinated sugar. Yep, bleach-treated sugar. The Chlorine renders the sugar unusable in the body. And it tastes really good. But lately there's a new thing. Stevia. A plant whose leaves can be powdered and provide a non-nutritive sweetner. Available in health food stores everywhere. My sister is my supplier so far. I don't know where she gets it, but I use it on my cereal in the morning. So far I still have a pulse.

And to stave off diabetes, I've voluntarily given up bread, potatoes and pasta. No more Spaghetti Factory or Macaroni Grill for me. I'm eating lean meats and fish and vegetables, including that infernal cabbage. My blood sugar is great. I'm probably going to live to be a hundred now. It's just that now I can't remember why I wanted to.

What about you? Do you think additives and supplements work? Anything you've added to your health regimen? Are you suceptible to influence by family and friends? Any home remedies you and your family swear by? Do you prefer life with supplements or "au naturale?"


lois greiman said...

You're so great, Betina. Always make me laugh.

Remember when eggs were bad for you? And red meat. Holy cow!! Literally. Did Adkins change that or what?? Now people are consuming cattle by the herds. As for me, I've gone the other way, just to be spiteful. Went vegetarian. Why not? They'll change their minds about the meat thing soon anyway.

I have found one thing I like though. It's stevia. A natural sweetener...if you're not familiar with it. No calories. It's an herb. Takes a tinnnnnny amount. I just use it in tea etc but it can be used for cooking.

I try not to listen to the hype anymore. In fact, sometimes I just try to be sensible. This is a new twist for m. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Betina Krahn said...

Lois, that two votes for Stevia! And one vote for sensibility. LOL-- I'm not sure I can manage that yet!

Christie Ridgway said...

I have bottles of things I just can't remember to take, Betina. Fat burning stuff. Vitamin stuff. Calcium stuff.

Can't remember to take it.

Oh, guess I need the gingko!

Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- We've always been vaguely a "whole foods" kind of family. What we cook is usually cut up in our kitchen rather than coming out of a can or pouch. Obviously you can't get away from the hormones in the meat. As far as vitamins, I started seriously taking them about 5 months ago when we started the Atkins diet. Can't tell any difference so far.

I do all the skin "nutrient" stuff that you slather on. My mother's got great skin so who knows if it's genetics working or the skin creams.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Betina, you're a stitch!

One supplement I swear by is glucosamine for joints. Rita Clay Estrada put me onto it years back. I knew it worked for dogs and horses, but back then my joints were fine. Clyde was having foot problems, but he's not a good supplement taker. Inconsistent. Fast forward a few years and I start creaking in the joints. I'm a good test for the stuff--seriously consistent. I can tell the difference if I run out for a week, let me tell you. It takes a week or two to take effect, but it works.

I'm doing fish oil, too, and the jury's still out. How will I know whether it's working? Maybe I should keep a log of brain f**ts.

I've done the expensive vitamins sold by the friend, too. I'm shopping GNC now. I don't know if it's longevity I seek so much as juciness. I don't want to dry out and shrivel up. And anything I can do to keep the brain firing on all cylinders...

Michele Hauf said...

I'm into trying to put healthy things into my body, organic, if possible.

My antioxidant 'fix' is Pom Wonderful's Pomegrante Peach tea. Oh man, is that some good stuff. (I know there's an addictive substance in there somewhere, but can't figure it out yet, because it's good for you!) Pomagranates are great for you, and the tea part is supposed to be good for you too. Anyway, they sell it in the small 'glasses' or in the large economy size, which costs and arm and a leg, but I can use crutches. :-) I think I need some right now...

Helen Brenna said...

Betina, you so make me laugh. Love this post.

I'm a huge believer in supplements. I have a cousin who's a chiropractor-kinesiologist-actupuncturist-you-name-it guru. She's so smart about the body, so I do what she tells me.

I take a good natural multi, a B complex, an ocassional E, and a few other things.

EPA/DHA - fish oil - helps fight off depression, good for your cholesterol and blood pressure. I think it keeps my skin softer too.

Magnesium - we don't get it any more from our water.

Glucosamine - I have very bad knees, will need 2 knew bionic puppies some day - but I noticed the difference within just a couple days of taking this stuff.

She told me about stevia years ago. That's one thing I haven't incorporated yet. It seemed expensive and I don't use much sugar.

Honestly, though, I don't know what the hell I'm doing all this for. 3 of my 4 grandparents lived into their 90's. Maybe it's all the extra polition and food additives that I worry about.

Anyone buy organic stuff?

Michele Hauf said...

I buy organic, Helen, and I'm a freak about washing off the veggies and fruits I don't buy organic. Any little effort to remove as many of the chemicals on the food as possible is worth it to me. But organic can be spendy.

I know some fruits, like grapes, strawberries and peaches are treated with more pesticides than others, so those I always try to buy organic.

Have you checked out the Trader Joes close to you? It's very reasonably priced.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Here's my other "natural" choice. I take HRT. Met a FEMALE research scientist from the U of MN a few yrs back (several PhD's to her credit) who specialized in HRT. She said the key is to be sure you get the human version and not equine (from horse pee) which was the version the big study was done on. She had a lot to say about that--including that research done on the drug companies' dime is always questionable--but the bottom line is that we're not horses. It makes a difference. She drew the molecular structure out for me to prove it.

I asked her what she plans to do, and she said that she would use HRT herself from menopause to the end of her life.

Obviously this is an individual choice, but do ask your dr for human HRT. It's the estrace version, not whatever the other is, and there's a progesteron partner, to go with it. Generally, you don't get it unless you ask for it. (Now why is that?)

Betina Krahn said...

Wow-- lots of great stuff here. I'm all for the HRT, Kathy. . . as long as I don't start whinneying while in line at the Old Country Buffet.
Deb-- you slaughter stuff in your kitchen? Bet you don't have to do much dog-sitting for relatives. LOL.
Michele, I love the organic stuff, too, but you're right it is pricey. And about that Pomegranate juice-- absolutely yummy, but have you looked at the carbs in that stuff? Wowser! (My carb-phobia is traceable directly to the Squeeze, who went carb free to get his blood sugar down. He lost 50 pounds in 5-6 months. I lost eleven. He had to give up his POM juice drink and was devastated.)
Helen, I think genetics plays a big part, too. But we face a more toxic world than the venerable ancestors did.

Stevia. So far that's three of us who have encountered the stuff. Do we have a trend yet?

:) Betina

Helen Brenna said...

FWIF, here's what are considered the "Dirty Dozen" with regard to fruits and veggies. The ones it makes the most sense to buy organic.

Imported grapes
Sweet bell peppers

Most of what are considered the "cleanest" have tough skins. The ones that suprised me in that list were broccoli, asparagus and sweet corn. The rest were relatively intuitive, like pineapple, bananas, kiwi, etc....

Michele Hauf said...

Ah, carbs. I knew there had to be something evil about the Pom tea. Course, I don't think it'll get me to stop drinking it. I am not so strong-willed as I wish to think I am. :-)


Dara Edmondson said...

Great post! I try so hard to eat organic this and hormone free that. Then I see something that looks really yummy and it all goes out the window:-(

Candace said...

I take a few supplements regularly -- a good multivitamin, fish oil, calcium, Vitamin C, and a baby aspirin every day. Plus HRT for the hot flashes from hell.

Other than that, I try to eat healthy. Which to me means fresh with very, very few processed foods.

I also follow my Grandmother's advice, i.e., "moderation in all things" and don't sweat the ocassional hot fudge sundae -- except on my elliptical trainer.