Thursday, January 19, 2017

Watching Dr. Oz And Rocking On...

Dr. Oz had a good show on January 18.  It was about the liver.

I think I had some information about the liver on my last post about weight loss, and how it, along with the pancreas, may or may not process the sugar and fat that you eat, depending on how healthy it is and whether it has been damaged by poor eating habits.  So if you've been reading right along, you're about on the same page that I was on the 18th. 

He presented Kristin Kirkpatrick to us on that day.  She's written a book called "Skinny Liver" and Dr. Oz apparently quoted Dr. Mark Hyman, who has been on Dr. Oz's show recently, and who was one of the reviewers of this book, in saying that Fatty Liver Disease, caused by too much sugar and fat, is a silent epidemic in America, affecting some 30% of our population.  I found this interesting because that's the same percentage of Americans who are obese.  Dr. Oz said that the liver is our biggest organ, and is the only organ that can regenerate.  Its job is to reduce inflammation, break down and/or convert sugars, alcohol, and fats.  Red flags are mostly silent till you're at the point of no return, at which time tests will show elevated liver enzymes.  Then, lucky you, you can have a liver ultrasound and/or a liver biopsy.

I mentioned earlier how doctors tend to treat our symptoms when they should be looking at the underlying cause.  And I think the liver is a good place to start, whether you are having a problem or not, because it is SO important to our good health.  And you know, if you're having trouble with arthritis, or dry eye, or any other inflammation-induced conditions, or if you're overweight, it's a pretty safe bet your liver isn't working as well as it should.

Dr. Oz's mention of a "flush out" for the liver seemed pretty vague to me, maybe my brain was busy processing something else at the time, not sure.  About all I got from that is that you should have, each day, eight glasses of water with lemon juice in it.  Questions that occurred to me were, "How much lemon juice in each glass?"  "How many ounces of water in the glass?"  "With food or not?"  He made no mention of using vinegar in place of the lemon but I think that it would work.  However, I think first thing in the morning and then, if you want to, again before bedtime, is enough of that.  I drink green tea all the rest of the day and I think that's plenty of liquids.  You can, actually, drink TOO MUCH water, overwork your kidneys, flush out all the electrolytes from the blood, and, in fact, die.  He also said, have probiotics and dark berries for breakfast, protein and dandelion greens for lunch, lean protein and green vegetables for dinner.  Beets, he said, are a super liver food because they are so high in choline.  Choline helps with fat metabolism and improves sleep.  We all know that the important repair work that's done in our body is done when we sleep.  So.  Then he started talking about Matcha Green Tea and had a woman of Japanese descent there to show how to make it.  I kind of glazed over on the green tea, since he specified that it should be "from Japan, and ceremonial grade".  Well, I know what that translates out to: expensive.  And that's the trouble with a lot of things Dr. Oz recommends.  It's almost like, if you don't have a big bank account, you're not going to be able to have good health because you won't be able to afford to buy the foods and products that are required.  The woman said that "Matcha" means "powder".  And this tea WAS in a fine powder.  The tea was brewed with hot, not boiling water, and it was whisked with special bamboo whisks till it was frothy.  It was not strained as tea usually is.  They sipped some, and made a smoothie with it, but I'm sure the traditional way to consume it is just to drink it.  I've done a little research on the Internet about this and some have said that Matcha tea is healthier for you than tea leaves only because you are consuming the leaves.  So, why couldn't you buy a good-quality green tea and whir it around in the blender or a coffee bean grinder till it was in a powder, and go from there?  And what's up with the whisking when you could just dump it into the blender?  Oz said something about how it MUST be emerald green, not tan or brown, once it's prepared, and that tea that was too old, or poorly stored, or brewed with boiling water, would not have the catechins that Japanese ceremonial Matcha green tea has.  What are catechins, I wondered??  Apparently water-soluble flavonoids and antioxidants that WebMD says is in ALL tea, and the longer you brew the tea, the stronger they are.  This morning when I brewed my Gunpowder Green Tea, I looked at those tea leaves and I thought how maybe I ought to be saving them and putting them in my salad, or whirring them around in the blender with some other stuff and making a smoothie.  You know what my opinion is.  I believe God put everything we need in all parts of the world.  It's just when we migrated, we didn't know what we could use instead of the stuff we were used to, or where it grew.  So when I saw the green color of Matcha, I thought immediately of wheatgrass.  Apparently other people have, too, because I found on the internet where someone asked about a comparison between green tea and wheat grass, and maybe you'll find that as interesting as I did.

Be sure to read the comments, too.  It just sounds to me like it's all about the chlorophyll.  That would explain why leafy greens are so good for us.  But wait!  LiveStrong says there are even more things high in catechins: dark-colored berries and grapes, dark chocolate, and young, raw fava beans.  I also wondered if they're in that white fuzzy lining that's in the fava bean pod, but I don't know that anyone's ever asked that question of anyone who would know.  Inquiring Minds Want To Know!!  Heh. 

It's like I said before: Dr. Oz is good to watch, but let him give you ideas, and send you on research "journeys" rather than dictate to you what expensive product to buy when you might have something that does the same thing either already in your pantry or growing between the cracks of your back yard sidewalk. 

Dr. Oz's comments might go a long way towards giving sales of canned beets a shot in the arm, but it's not fair to single out one thing because there are lots of other foods that contain choline.  Here's additional information, be sure to read the comments.
I really like beets so it's not at all hard to get me to eat them.  But they have a pretty high sugar content. 

Dandelion greens are so good for the liver because they are what is referred to as "bitters".  They can be easily found in America though you do have to make sure you harvest them from areas that are not contaminated with chemical fertilizers or weed killers, or auto exhaust fumes.  They are a pain to pick unless you use a long-handled hoe with the blade sharpened, and just cut the plant off at ground level.  Once you get your harvest inside, you can strip off the leaves and flowers.  Don't eat the stems.  You don't want to try to dig the plant up, that's hard to do but I've done it both when intending to and when not.  If you want the plant to come back up from the root for another picking, you want to leave the root undisturbed.  Bitters used to be a part of the evening meal for our ancestors, and they knew it was "for the liver".  How people knew that they were so good for us is testament to my belief that there was a time when people were a lot smarter about food and how it was good for us and we have just "dumbed down" since then, mostly because of doctors who literally rolled in the floor if you said you were treating a health problem WITH FOOD.  You can find out a lot about bitters with just a query.  I found these two.  I didn't like the pop-ups that I had to "X" out of before I could see the content, but the content was very good.

And that brings me to something that was mentioned towards the end of the show. You can get the bitter "bloom" off grapes by sprinkling them with baking soda or with cornstarch and then rinsing well. This is the stuff that's also in the skin of Aronia berries called "tannins" and they are in teas and other things which play a part in the role of antioxidants and liver cleansers.  It's a byproduct of wine that collects in wine barrels.  This gets sold as Cream of Tartar and we use it when we want our whipped eggwhites to hold their peaks.  So while I do rinse off my grapes, and sometimes I spritz with vinegar and then rinse if I'm concerned about whether the water rinse is good enough, I wouldn't sprinkle them with baking soda or cornstarch.  There IS such a thing as TOO clean.

I think you will remember, if you come here regularly, that I found out the Kombucha SCOBY is edible and I wanted to be sure to tell you how my experiment went.  I took out my oldest SCOBY, which was kind of a fat one, and sliced it thinly.  That's better done with a very sharp knife or maybe even scissors.  Then I stored these slices in a jar with some Kombucha to cover, and kept the jar, covered, on my kitchen counter. 

Yesterday I had missed breakfast and so I decided to make a smoothie.  I put several SCOBY slices in the blender with a tablespoon of freshly-ground golden flax seeds, a cut-up frozen banana, a cup of water, one scoop of 100% whey protein (it's artificially sweetened and flavored "vanilla cream"  -- kind of goes against my quest for "real food", I suspect, but anyway....) and about half a cup of small ice cubes or crushed ice.  I really whirred that around, because I wanted the SCOBY to be thoroughly processed.  I noticed the SCOBY had a nice light grapefruity-floral scent.  And just a touch of sweetness, probably from the new tea I'd put in a day or two earlier.  Well, it became a very pleasant drink, about the consistency of cream, and I enjoyed it because of that and also because I knew I was doing something good for my liver and other inner workings.  No chunks, by the way.  Well, I didn't die last night, or have any bad experiences at all, so today, I made another one.  This time I left out the banana and put in a tablespoon of cocoa.

I liked the banana one better.  This one felt like it was missing something and I can't quite put my finger on what it was....  ...maybe the banana?

Oh, and by the way, I saw a blender review that was done by one of the women from Cook's Country.  She and the others on the show had rated Vitamix first, then Ninja, and all the others they put in one category and said they were just so-so.  I got a Vitamix at an estate sale once, and I think they are highly over-rated.  SOOOO noisy!  But I swore I could hear my electric meter spinning wildly outside in spite of the noise.  Considering what you have to pay for a new one, I say, "Meh....".  I've never had a Ninja but I've read reviews that say they break really easy.  My blender is a 14-speed Oster and it does everything I expect it to.  Plus the base that screws into the tempered glass pitcher also fits on a canning jar.  Very, very handy for grinding herbs and spices right in the jars they'll be stored in, and doing other small, but messy, jobs.  Osters are not cheap, but they're not anywhere near as expensive as the Vitamix is.  I would not have a blender that had a plastic pitcher, either.  Just my 2 cents.  I bought my Oster at Walmart, spent just over $40.  Then, a few months later, found one at a garage sale for $3.  What the hell.  I might need another blade.  Or another glass pitcher.  So I bought it.  If it's still on the shelf when my heirs clear out the house, they can sell it at a garage sale and probably make a profit.  Which is what I did with the Vitamix I had.

So far, I think the things I'm doing are helping.  I was at 206, the first week of January, and then I jumped up to 211 in just one week after trying Tim Tebow's high fat diet.  I'm kind of glad it didn't work because I didn't enjoy eating fatty things at all.  So this morning, 208.  Another thing is that since November I've been being better about going to the workout center, and while I'm there I do mostly bicycle and walking.  That's different muscles, and bigger ones, than what gets exercised when I work in the garden.  So could be I'm building muscle.  It's hard to know.  But I think I'm on the right track if I just remember that calories still DO count and it doesn't matter how healthy what I eat is, if I'm eating more calories than I burn.

I heard on TV today, several times, of course, because that's what happens when you watch more than an hour of news, they just keep running the same stuff past you for as long as you're willing to sit there.  They are good actors because they can pretend it's new each time they say it.  Oh, I lost my train of thought.....  What I heard was if you sit a lot your cells will age faster....  Something about how you'll be, at the cellular level, eight years older than someone that's not sitting all the time.  Here's a link:

Sometimes I'm not sure where they come up with all this stuff and I wonder how it is they were able to hit upon this eight year thing.  Somebody said, 'way back in the 60's, that by the time seven years pass, every cell in your body has replaced itself, so in a way, you're a whole new you.  Maybe this has something to do with why marriages go to hell about every seven years, but I don't know how that would work, actually.  When they did this study, did they let the person ever get out of their chair or did they make them sit there without a break, that's what I want to know.  Because I get up and go upstairs or outside, or up three steps to the kitchen to fill my cup or down three steps to the bathroom, and I have to stand up to make the ending meal, sometimes down three steps to the pantry and go out to the garden to bury the compost and at the end of the day I climb ten steps to have my bath and climb in the bed.  If I had to sit in one place for twelve hours it'd make me so jittery I'd be making crazy cells. 

Some places where people typically sit at a desk all day are installing taller desks so the employees have to stand in place at their desks and I don't think this is quite the answer, because it can lead to foot and knee problems.  Hubs was a welder and he stood up all the time.  His feet would hurt a lot.  Some employers actually install treadmills where their people walk while they're working and this is OK if they are the type of people who are good at multi-tasking.  But not everyone is.  I am, usually, but not sure I could write and walk at the same time.  I sat at a desk most of my working life, and I had a lot of trouble with my feet and legs swelling all through my career, and with my back for about the last 7 or 8 years. I'd go to the fitness center and walk on the treadmill on the lunch hour and then I developed plantar fasciitis.  NOT FUN.  But the process of making a living does take its toll on our health.  It's been said, when we're young, we spend our health to make money, and then when we're old, we spend that money to try to get back our health. 

So they say you have to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to counteract this cellular aging.  There must be a point at which it's too much.  When I was young, I knew a few old people who walked with canes because of knee or hip problems but it wasn't practically half the population, like it seems to be if you go by the numbers of people who have joints replaced now.  I think you really CAN wear out your joints if you do too much.  Back in those days, though, adults walked to get somewhere.  If they saw someone they knew, they stopped to talk.  And if they ran, they were being chased.

They've got those big inflatable balls you can sit on at your desk now, so you'll expend some energy trying to keep your balance.  I heard this is sometimes used in schools for ADD kids and helps them pay attention better.  I think my ADD kid would've been rolling herself all over the classroom, and out into the hall, trying to stand on it, then falling off and needing first aid, and oh, most anything else in the realm of possibilities, until it would get lost somehow, somewhere. 

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