Paleo – Magnesium Experiment

So, lately I’ve been reading a bit about magnesium.  In Terry Wahl’s new book (she’s a medical doc with MS who is very successfully treating it with a Paleo approach), she mentions that magnesium acts as a buffer for your cells against glutamate.  Glutamate is a neurotransmitter in your body, and strangely, I’m highly highly allergic to MSG (monosodium glutamate).  I’ve gone into anaphylactic shock many times after consuming it, and it’s quite scary. 

Terry Wahl’s comments about magnesium acting as a buffer made me wonder if I was magnesium deficient.  Apparently there’s not a good blood test for magnesium, as it’s not stored in your blood.  So, I decided to do some research and found some things that suggested that probiotics can increase your glutamate, which may explain why I was feeling like I was going into anaphylactic shock after taking some.  See this post from 2012.  When I was in Boulder listening to Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser, I asked about glutamate and probiotics, and Kresser confirmed this could be an issue and also warned me to avoid bone broth.  Wait a sec… I thought bone broth was good for RA!  Oh well.  This may be explaining my quirks and why some things that people say are beneficial for them don’t work for me.  I’m finding each person’s Paleo is a little different, and this may be a difference for me.

I’m up to episode 156 of Robb Wolf’s podcasts, and he frequently talks about magnesium and taking Natural Calm at bedtime, which supposedly helps with sleep.  I bought some magnesium and had been taking it off and on for a while (before I learned about this glutamate connection), but hadn’t seen any changes.  Well, apparently the kind I bought was not a bioavailable type, so I probably wasn’t absorbing much, if any, of it.  I then tried magnesium citrate, which seemed to help a little, but now have bought Natural Calm, which is also magnesium citrate, but in a powder that you dissolve in 3 oz of hot water, like a small tea.  Well, I should have just listened from the beginning.  I’ve slept much much better the last few nights of taking Natural Calm (the non flavored version).  Chris Kresser recommends some other magnesiums.  I may try those when my Natural Calm runs out.

Interesting articles:

Chris Kresser on magnesium supplementation (long article, I would do a “find” on magnesium).

Things I learned:

Proper levels of magnesium are important for Vitamin D absorption, which may explain why I continue to be Vitamin D deficient despite supplementing.

Low levels of magnesium can be associated with kidney stones (which I had in November).

Low levels of magnesium are associated with leg cramps (which I have).

Something to know:

If you decide to try this, build up to a full dose, as too much can cause the trots (think milk of magnesia).  I’m going to keep trying it.  If anything new happens I’ll update.


Rheumatoid Arthritis – Overdoing It

I try to balance my posts with my ups and downs.  Sometimes I think I paint the picture too bright or too gloomy.  Still, I think it’s important to say that even though Paleo is helping me enormously, there are limits.  I encountered these limits and beyond over the last two weeks.

My husband had to travel for work.  This happens very rarely, but still left me as single mom for a week.  Bless all of the single parents out there.  It’s a ton of work!   Homework, Cub Scouts, baseball practice, dinner, dentist, puppy training.  And if that wasn’t enough, I decided to schedule a major endeavor among it all. 

Ok, it took me a while to decide what I wanted, but I finally figured out my Christmas/birthday/Mother’s Day present.  Well, I wanted new floors for our kitchen and living room, as ours were nasty and no amount of cleaning the carpet or gluing the linoleum was going to save them (believe me, I tried).  Of course it took me about 4 months to figure out what I wanted (that we could afford), so now, in April, I finally got my Christmas present!  We started the demolition the morning after my husband returned.

I am not good at these large home-improvement projects.  My husband (to save money) had said that he would put the floors in (laminate… the fake wood stuff).  Then he decided that for his birthday, he wanted somebody else to do it (PHEW!)  Still, to save money, we decided to remove the old carpet and linoleum ourselves, plus the baseboard trim needed to be removed, as the new floors are thicker than the old.  Of course while the trim was off, I had to paint it.  Then, we had to move all of the furniture. You see where all of this is going, right?  Thank God for my in-laws!  They’re good at removing carpet and carpet pad.  We got some of the linoleum up, but discovered that the linoleum was put in (with 1/4 inch wood under it) and then all of our kitchen cabinets were mounted on top of the flooring.  This meant either the cupboards had to come out or the linoleum had to be cut out.  We opted for the cutting method.  What a MESS!  And an expense, as we paid the guy who put our floors in to do that unexpected part.  Did I mention that there is 1/4 inch of dust on EVERYTHING we own?  Even the dishes in the cupboards are thick with dust. The floors took 5 days, but the dust will take a year.

To top it all off, I had a lot of helping out to do at church this last week, and by Easter, I was so exhausted and sore I was barely walking.  My left thumb is very swollen, and my feet and back are in pain.  Easter day was super busy, and sadly included me taking an hour+ nap at my in-laws, glad to just have a non-dusty space to stop and sit for a bit.  Monday it was right back to work, with no break.  Monday night (last night), I was in bed by 8:00 and today am feeling much better, but still sore.

Yes, I way overextended myself.  Yes, I need to take it down several notches and take extra good care of myself this week, and next, and probably a few after that.  It’s amazing how stress can cause so much damage to your body.  At least I see it more clearly on this diet than I did before.  Before, I would blame it on RA.  Now, I can put the blame where it belongs, on myself.  And my poor body is just trying to do the best it can with what it’s got.  I see that now.  And that’s a good thing.

Paleo – With the Gurus

How do you spell the plural of guru?

You know what I like about Paleo?  There are lots of experts, lots of opinions, and lots of free available information.  On Saturday, April 5th, I went to Boulder to hear Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser speak on Paleo.  I learned so much that my head has been spinning all week.  I continue to work my way through The Paleo Solution podcast with Robb Wolf (I’m up to episode 147), but I had only heard a couple of Kresser’s.  As it turned out, I liked Kresser so much after Saturday that I bought his book, Your Personal Paleo Code.  I’ve had Wolf’s book since the start, but had to buy a new copy, as I gave my old one away to a Paleo convert.

Anyway, here’s something that has shaken me up a bit.  This goes a bit beyond Paleo and into the discussions my husband and I have on evolutionary stuff.  If you don’t agree with the concept of evolution (I’ve come to a neat place where God and evolution/science can both exist peacefully, but I realize others have not), please stop reading now.  Ok, here goes.  Supposedly man came from some variation of an ape and we developed bigger brains and weaker intestines because we learned to crack open bones and skulls, giving us access to higher density nutrition.  This nutrition allowed our brains to get all big and smart and stuff…. cool.

Fast forward however many millions of years to now.  We don’t eat brains and marrow and such anymore.  What does that mean for our brains?  Autism?  Alzheimer’s?  MS?  Parkinson’s?  Here was an amazing thing I learned on Saturday.  In the SAD (Standard American Diet), we’ve been eating high macronutrient food (high protein, high carbohydrate, high fat, high energy, high calorie foods).  This food primarily (depending on who you read, I’ve read as high as 63% of our calories) comes from sugar, processed grain like wheat flour, and bad-for-you vegetable oils.  These foods have almost no micronutrients (think vitamins).  Before you go getting your knickers in a twist thinking grain is good for you, look it up.  Grain contains SOME micronutrients in a raw state, but humans can’t digest it raw, so we process it, which removes the micronutrients making it a big dense high-calorie volume of nothing!  We get energy from it (too much energy, overhwhelming our bodies ability to cope), but we don’t get the micronutrients our bodies need to be healthy.  So we got to be humans by eating nutrient dense foods, but now we don’t, and now we have all of these diseases of the brain.  This was an “aha” moment on my drive home from work today (listening to my Wolf podcast).

What does that mean?  If we keep on this way, will we eventually cease to be humans?  Ok, probably not, but it can’t be good.  Want to know what the most nutrient dense food is?  Organ meats.  Yeah, eeeew, organ meats.  I don’t eat them, but I think I need to learn.  3-6 ounces a week… liver ground up and hidden in meatloaf????  I think that’s my plan.  I’d like to find a grassfed source.   Eeeeks!

Oh, and here’s something Chris Kresser said…. if you have an autoimmune disease, you have a nutrient deficiency.  That’s another blog post in the making.  I think I have a few deficiencies.  I’m working on them. 

Organ meats, ugh <insert bad word here>.