Readers Respond: Dairy in Europe vs US

The light circled his head and shot into the sky, rising toward the fat full moon that hung over the chimney of Caspar’s little house. The light rose higher, and the voice called, “Come with us … there’s plenty of cheese.”

Caspar’s mouth began to water. “What have I to lose?” he asked, so he began to follow that light…

“The Boy Who Loved Cheese,” as told by Amy Friedman

 

In this Dutch folktale, a boy can’t stop eating cheese… until fairies force him to eat more than he can stomach.

I understand his love for cheese. I indulged in dairy for a month in Europe without any of my usual digestive issues. Last week’s Thriver Soup blog about dairy evoked several thoughtful responses, which I would like to share.

One reader in Norway wrote, “I don’t know why you can eat European dairy products, but not American ones.

“But I know that Norwegian cows are not ‘happier’ than American ones. Norwegian cows get power fodder, they rarely leave their stable, they are bred to give as much milk as possible. They would die without their special fodder, because so many nutrients go into the milk that the cow would be depleted and even die without it.

“I am quite sure that the same is the case for most European cows, except the few that are explicitly kept organically.

“Sheep and goats get to run around more freely in Norway because they are not milked. The downside: they are in danger for being eaten by wolves. And many of them are slaughtered in fall.

“So, sorry, but Europe is not quite as romantic as your blog suggests…”

So what is different about European dairy and United States dairy that enables me to eat it?

A reader from Ecuador offered some ideas about the differences. “The dairy thing in the U.S. is really toxic, I think. As you know, growth hormones, antibiotics, bleaching agents…who the heck knows? Here in Ecuador we buy milk and creme which are an ivory color. No stuffy noses anymore! All of the agricultural products are grown on small family farms. I feel so nutriented! We can even buy some organic products!”

Whatever the difference is, for cancer patients, dairy is still a product perhaps best limited or even eliminated from the diet. Robert Cohen, the NotMilkMan, writes, “Eighty percent of milk protein is casein and most people react negatively to casein, but there is a type of casein some cows produce which does not cause the traditional problem. Those other 20% of milk proteins include a protein hormone (insulin-like growth factor-1) which has been identified as the KEY factor in the growth and proliferation of every type of human cancer. As a human cancer begins its growth it is silent and painless. When the tumor becomes large enough, it becomes its own endocrine gland, secreting internally an abundance of IGF-1 which promotes its growth as it metastasizes.”

Perhaps it’s a good thing Caspar decided to limit his cheese intake.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you want to limit or eliminate dairy, there are lots of great substitutes on the market. My current favorite is organic coconut butter diluted with water when I want something with a milky or creamy consistency. What is your favorite non-dairy substitute?

Source:

http://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2009/4/26/the-boy-who-loved-cheese-a

Dairy in Europe vs US

“Straightway after the rime dripped, there sprang from it the cow called Auðumla; four streams of milk ran from her udders, and she nourished Ymir.”

The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson

 

The giant Ymir, the first creature to come into being according to Norse creation mythology, was nourished by milk from the primeval cow called Auðumbla.

A dozen years ago I stopped receiving nourishment from milk, cheese, cream, and yogurt. When I tried them, I was rewarded with a belly ache, hot flashes, and constipation.

I had heard that people who experienced difficulty with dairy in the United States didn’t have issues in Europe.

When I went to Norway recently, I decided to give dairy another try.

No issues. No belly ache, no hot flashes, no constipation.

So I gorged on dairy for weeks—cheese, yogurt, cream, skyr… but I easily resisted the codfish-flavored ice cream.

I asked around. How come I can digest dairy in northern Europe but can’t in the United States?

Some people said the livestock graze on the mountainsides, eating the herbs and flowers while basking in sunlight.

I did see goats traipsing on mountains and sheep dashing across roads.

My son is sure it’s all in my head. Maybe so. But if I were a cow given the choice of being locked up all my life in a tiny space indoors, or being allowed to roam the countryside, I’d be far happier roaming. Which would make my body chemistry healthier, and my milk sweeter and more nourishing.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you have trouble digesting dairy in the United States, perhaps seek out dairy imported from Europe. There also might be something to the idea that dairy with the A2 protein works for some people who have a history of difficulty digesting dairy.

http://www.nbcnews.com/better/diet-fitness/can-new-milk-brand-buoy-dairy-industry-n339586

Sources

Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist (tr.) (1916). The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Misleading Labels—The Skinny on Sugar

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s post is by Chef Lori Pierce (Lula) of Cincinnati, OH. Sugar causes inflammation, so reducing sugar intake can potentially reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been directly linked to several types of cancer. Here Lula helps with understanding sugar on food labels. Lula has contributed to recipe development for companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Unilever and McCormick. Check out her blog here: http://lulasforlunch.com/blog/

By Chef Lori Pierce (Lula)

Reduced Sugar, Low Sugar, No Sugar Added … Which of these terms is regulated by the FDA? Only “Reduced Sugar.” This means the product has to contain 25% less sugar than its original form.

The other two are basically meaningless. For example, “no sugar added” could be on a honey label and be legal. What’s important to know is how many grams of sugar (which comes in these myriad names: anything ending in “ose” such as sucrose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, as well as honey, syrup, molasses, evaporated cane juice, nectar, corn sweetener, etc.) are in a portion. Recommended daily intake of added sugar runs around 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams. So… 4 grams = 1 teaspoon.

Sugar in all its forms will be on the food label in grams. So now that you know the math, look for those grams and calculate just how sweet you’re gonna be.

Image source: https://tinyurl.com/yca2oo8f

July 4 Picnic Tips from Chef Lula

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s post is by Chef Lori Pierce (Lula) of Cincinnati, OH. With July 4 gatherings on the horizon, she offers these tips for enhancing your picnics. Lula has contributed to recipe development for companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Unilever and McCormick. Check out her blog here: http://lulasforlunch.com/blog/

By Chef Lori Pierce (Lula)

How to Pick a Pineapple

How do you pick a pineapple in a store? I always pluck out a center leaf – if it comes out quite easily the pineapple is ripe. Now that I’ve let the cat out of the bag, though, I guess everyone else will do the same and when I get there, maybe that’s not such a good test anymore. So, I’ll smell it at the stem end. The stronger and sweeter it smells (it should reek of pineapple), the riper it is. If you need a pineapple and they are all giving off only faint smells, buy one and let it sit on the counter for a couple of days ‘till the aroma develops. Then slice into that juicy bad boy.

How to Keep Your Guacamole Green 

I hate it when my beautiful avocado stuff starts to turn dull and brown. Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering has to make a pretty large volume upon occasion and sometimes it has to sit in the fridge for a couple of days – and there’s just not enough acid in the recipe to keep it in the “Kermit” family, so… I cover the surface with a thin film of water. The guac is dense enough (and fatty enough) that it won’t absorb the water – so when I’m ready to use it I just tilt the container and pour the water off and voila! it’s just as vibrant as when I made it.

Therapeutic Cannabis for Pain

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s is by Wendy E. N. Thomas, an extended member of my family. Wendy has appeared on NH Public Radio, WZID, WMUR Channel 9, and been featured in Parenting NH, Backyard Poultry, Woman’s Day, and Reader’s Digest for her chicken stories and adventures in thrift. Find her blog at https://simplethrift.wordpress.com/

By Wendy E. N. Thomas

I’m the mother of six kids. I have a job and I volunteer for community events. To look at me you’d never know that every few hours I either vape or eat an edible made from cannabis.

But I do.

I am a card-carrying member of the New Hampshire therapeutic cannabis program. This means a few things:

  • I have a physician who has known me for at least three months and who can vouch that I have a condition that fits the state’s criteria and I have symptoms that are on the state’s approved list.
  • I have a condition which has not responded to other treatments.
  • And I am allowed to purchase therapeutic cannabis at an approved dispensary.

In my case I have Lumbar Stenosis, a condition that arose from a combination of being hit by a car when young resulting in many orthopedic surgeries (years of favoring one side of my body) along with multiple high-weight baby pregnancies. And to top it all off, I have chronic Lyme disease that has left me with muscle and nerve damage, as well as arthritis. My poor body didn’t have a fighting chance.

My approved back condition comes with the approved symptom of chronic pain. Like many others who have chronic pain, in the past I have been on pain contracts (a narcotic prescription renewed every month). I have tried supplements, diets, and eaten so many over-the-counter anti-inflammatories that my gut may never recover. When you are in pain, you’ll try anything.

But I’d still be in pain. All. The. Time.

After hearing a friend’s story of how therapeutic cannabis helped him with his pain situation, I decided to try it out.

First thing you need to know about therapeutic cannabis – it’s not about getting high.

It’s about having a low dose of CBD/THC in your body at all times. Everything is measured and labeled. You know exactly how much you are taking.

Could you get high if you wanted to? Of course, just as you can get drunk on alcohol if you want to.

But for many of us who have been left on couches, numbed out by narcotics, when we are given something that finally tackles the pain, we don’t want to be zoned out – we want to get back in the game.

I am a writer. I need to have a clear mind when I write – I write while using my small doses of therapeutic cannabis.

I make plans for my daughter when she needs a ride, I shop, I read books, I make dinners for the family, and I watch the news while using this product. No one can tell, except that I seem a little more active these days. A little more excited about getting outside.

Since starting the NH therapeutic program, this is what I’ve found:

  • My pain level has gone down roughly 90 percent (I still have pain but there are times–extended moments–when I have no pain at all).
  • I haven’t taken one Motrin in the past five weeks (even though it’s rained almost the entire time and I don’t do well in rainy weather).
  • My muscle tremors have stopped.
  • My shooting nerve pain has stopped.
  • My blood pressure has gone down 29 points.
  • I sleep through the night.

There is definitely a stigma attached with marijuana, MJ, the wacky weed. We’ve all been taught that drugs are bad – did you see what they do to your brain? Recently Attorney General Jeff Sessions even said that “Good people do not smoke marijuana.” Pot is seen as a bad thing, an entry drug into hell. But here’s the thing, there is much we don’t understand about this plant. Sure it can make you high, but it also has a lot of healing properties. We shouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. When used therapeutically, cannabis can literally give people their lives back.

Recently I participated in a 5K walk, something I wouldn’t have been able to do before starting the therapeutic program. I got a medal when I crossed the finish line. It hangs on my office wall – a reminder to never, ever give up.

IGF-I, the Key Factor in Cancer Growth

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s post is by Robert Cohen, the NOTMilkMan. He heard my interview on the CBS NYC station’s Bob Salter Show and called me to connect. I love his sense of humor, though this post is scientific in nature.

By Robert Cohen

There are hundreds of millions of different proteins in nature, and only one hormone that is identical between any two species.  That powerful growth hormone is insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-I.  IGF-I survives digestion and has been identified as the key factor in breast cancer’s growth.

Women between the ages of 25 and 65 have been successfully targeted by the marketing representatives of the dairy industry’s milk promotion board. What the dairy industry neglects to advertise is the fact that cow’s milk contains a IGF- I.

If you believe that breast feeding “works” to protect lactoferrins and immunoglobulins from digestion (and benefit the nursing infant), you must also recognize that milk is a hormonal delivery system.  By drinking cow’s milk, one delivers IGF-I in a bioactive form to the body’s cells.

When IGF-I from cow’s milk alights upon an existing cancer…

“Human Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) and bovine IGF-I are identical. Both contain 70 amino acids in the identical sequence.”
– SCIENCE

“IGF-I is critically involved in the aberrant growth of human breast cancer cells.”
– Journal of the National Institute of Health

“Estrogen regulation of IGF-I in breast cancer cells would support the hypothesis that IGF-I has a regulatory function in breast cancer.”
– Molecular Cell Endocrinology

“IGF-I is a potent growth factor for cellular proliferation in the human breast carcinoma cell line.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“Insulin-like growth factors are key factors for breast cancer growth.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“IGF-I produces a 10-fold increase in RNA levels of cancer cells.  IGF-I appears to be a critical component in cellular proliferation.”
– Experimental Cellular Research

“IGF-I plays a major role in human breast cancer cell growth.”
European Journal of Cancer

“IGF-I has been identified as a key factor in breast cancer.”
The Lancet

“Serum IGF-I levels increased significantly in milk drinkers, an increase of about 10% above baseline but was unchanged in the control group.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association

“IGF-1 accelerates the growth of breast cancer cells.”
SCIENCE

“Poor absorption of lactose may more than double the risk of ovarian cancer in women.”
– American Journal of Epidemiology

“Galactose is linked both to ovarian cancer and infertility…women who consume dairy products on a regular basis, have triple the risk of ovarian cancer than other women.”
– The Lancet

“Interest in the role of the IGF axis in growth control and carcinogenesis has recently been increased by the finding of elevated serum (IGF-I) levels in association with three of the most prevalent cancers in the United States: prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. IGFs serve as endocrine, autocrine, and paracrine stimulators of mitogenesis, survival, and cellular transformation.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“IGF-I reacts in a synergistic manner with estrogen, and plays a role in the growth and proliferation of ovarian cancer.”
– Journal of Clinical Endocrinology

For more, please visit http://notmilk.com/drharris.html

See also http://notmilk.com/drlarsen.html

Something His Hand Touched

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go…

Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451

The two-year anniversary of my son’s passing went forgotten by all but three people in my life.

This forgetting raises an irrational sorrow in my mind. How could they forget when my son passed?

But it wasn’t their lives that were devastated. Everyone has gone on with their lives. As is the nature of life.

What surprises me is not that people forgot. I expected that. What astonishes me is that some people actually did remember, and say something to me.

His passing happened the first Saturday in June. This year I returned to the conference center where he left this life.  After talking with other people at the vegetable stand, I walked to the room, the last room he ever saw with physical eyes. The door has been closed ever since that dreadful week, and a sign says under no circumstances is anyone to enter. The closest I can come to the last thing on earth he touched is the door knob to the room he had locked from the inside. So I held the knob to imagine some connection with his final few minutes as a human being.

Mary Lu knew where I had gone, and why, even though I had said nothing. She waited a little while, then came to check on me. This wise woman has always been a gracious presence in my life. She held me and listened as I rambled my jumbling thoughts.

I finally screwed up enough courage to ask—why had the room been closed for two years?

She said it was going to be remodeled.

Another friend later commented that the conference center people must have felt honored that my son felt safe there, and spent his final moments on their sacred ground. Its room had cradled his living body in preparation for its final rest. The room could never be the same again.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

There is some sort of connection one can experience with the objects left by those we love. If nothing else, it can elicit memories, which gives us a sense, however briefly, of being with the person again.

Source: http://clipart-library.com

Sugarplums Dancing in my Bowl

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, / While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads

“A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by either Henry Livingston Jr. or Clement Moore

 

The children in this poem dreamed of sugarplums. What are sugarplums? I was amazed to learn in May that they were growing in my front yard.

In June 2016, I watched each morning as a robin picked all the little fruit from my serviceberry tree. During this past May, I read about these edible, nutritious delicacies. They have many names, including June, Saskatoon, prairie, shadbush, and pigeon berries, along with wild plum and chuckley pear.

And sugarplum.

This summer birds squawked nearby each morning as I picked the berries while red, because the fruit would not last long enough on the shrub to turn a darker shade.

They are shaped like small blueberries yet are more related to the apple family. Their mildly sweet, almondish flavor contribute plenty of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and nutrients to my breakfast.

They go great with diluted coconut butter, chia seeds, and soaked/dehydrated raw pecans. Maybe this coming Christmas, long after these berries are consumed, I’ll be dreaming of sugarplums dancing in my breakfast bowl.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

More than 50,000 plants species—and possibly more than 80,000–on our planet are edible. Only about 3,000 of these species are regularly used as food. 103 species make up 90 percent of our plant food supply.

That’s paltry.

By expanding the types of foods we eat, we can expand the nutrients available to us. Perhaps check out #WholeFoods, #JungleJim’s, and some farmers’ markets this summer to discover some new tastes and textures.

Sources:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/26719/mystery-behind-worlds-most-famous-christmas-poem

Nutritional resource: http://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/saskatoons/

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=101333

https://www.quora.com/How-many-different-plants-do-humans-eat

Weaving for Those Grieving

orb weaver“How can you be a symbol of strength?” said the chief. “You are small and weak, and I didn’t even see you as I followed the great Deer.”

“Grandson,” said the spider, “look upon me. I am patient. I watch and I wait. Then all things come to me.”

“The Spider and the People,” an Osage Legend

 

Like the chief, I almost didn’t see the spider in my garden a year ago—even though it was about three inches long. This black-and-gold arachnid had spun a large circular web. I stopped in time and held my breath.

I had heard arachnids symbolize the scribing arts because they weave webs as writers weave stories. This Yellow Garden Spider is called an orb weaver. Maybe like the large round web, it was letting me know there is a big story I am being asked to craft.

Yet I knew it wasn’t time. I had lost my son less than a year earlier and still needed months, if not years, to process my grief. The creature’s message was, yes, write; yet be patient. The time will come.

Another year has gone by. I have survived all the major holidays and anniversaries. I have blogged about the tears, the connections, the dreams. I have read through all my journal entries from the time I was pregnant with Tristan, reliving every one of the thousands of moments I had recorded about his life.

Late this spring I knew it was time to begin the way orb weavers start their mandala-like webs. They cast strands into the wind so the white wisps catch on something. Several weeks ago, I cast my story strand out to my publisher. Would he like a book from me about grieving?

Patiently I waited.

A few missed calls.

Finally, his voice on the line.

Jim didn’t ask me anything. Not about readership, not about marketing, not about platform. “This book is really needed,” he said. “Get crackin’.”

Like the orb weaver’s web, the first strands of this story are haphazard. Loose connections form the beginning structure of the book—a section about Tristan’s life to provide context and emotional connection, and a section designed to assist others with the grieving process, similar in style and voice to Thriver Soup.

Yet it was incomplete, like the initial lines of a web. My friend Mim Grace suggested another section for those standing on the sidelines. How do we interact with a person who is grieving? What do we say and not say? What about the sorrow of other family members, especially children?

To complete the sacred structure, I needed a professional editor. A man who knew Tristan years ago, who had lost his own son, and who had a lifetime of writing and editing experience, stepped forward.

The pieces are falling into place, as the initial spider’s home structures form a lattice. These beginnings have to be integrated for the rest of the orb to grow around and through them.

I am ready to weave around these structures, writing and editing, improving and revising. The filaments will form, with a characteristic orb-weaver ladder in place for me to move around easily within the wholeness of this gift. I plan to be patient, watching and waiting, and remain open to ideas, as some orb spiders frequently take down their webs and recast them.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Help me make this book the best it can be. Please forward this post to those who are grieving and ask for ideas on what would make this book a valuable guide for those navigating grief. Thank you.

Sources:

http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/The-Spider-And-The-People-Osage.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argiope_aurantia

http://southernwilddesign.com/argiope-the-common-garden-spider/

http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/orb-weaver

Unsung Hero

Tara L. Robinson, author of The Ultimate Risk (Hay House, April 2017) and publisher of Whole Living Journal, recently nominated me for one of Cancer Family Care’s 2017 Unsung Hero Patient Awards. The banquet was Tuesday, May 16, in Cincinnati, OH. Here is her nomination. Thank you, Tara!

 

Heidi is truly an inspiration beyond words. Not only is she an Unsung Hero because of her own personal growth work, but also because she has been determined to help others with what she learned from her experience.

And, let me tell you, what she learned was A LOT!

When Heidi was diagnosed with a rare Stage 4 cancer, she immediately put into action all of her advanced awareness of the mind-body-spirit connection. She turned over every single stone and healing became a full time job for her. She researched, overhauled her diet, maximized the effects of sound meditation, art therapy, dream interpretation, etc. She courageously chronicled the details her journey as it unfolded on her Caring Bridge webpage where friends and family remained on the edges of their seats waiting to see what Heidi discovered next.

She never faltered in her optimistic attitude and eventually made a most difficult, life-changing decision necessary to propel her into remission.

All of us who watched Heidi’s healing trek in awe could see the strong possibility that her online accounts would one day be perfect material for a book. She did, in fact, get right to work compiling all she had learned and experienced into an extensive resource for others on the healing journey. Her book, Thriver Soup, was traditionally published and has been helping patients and families around the world ever since.

Heidi and Tara at the awards banquet

I personally have been so inspired by Heidi’s story that I wrote about her in my own book, The Ultimate Risk (Hay House, April 2017) as I recounted why she was the recipient of the first Voices of Women award. Not only was she the first recipient, but she was actually the inspiration for the creation of this award that celebrates and acknowledges “outstanding achievement in personal growth and transformation.” This is the greatest act of service, because as we change ourselves, we change the world. I saw Heidi change the world as she bravely changed herself. The VOW award was created to honor remarkable women who have “risen from the ashes,” or have simply displayed great courage in excavating their inner lives, thereby changing themselves and changing the world…Heidi is the epitome of this award.

Heidi continued to suffer the worst of life’s challenges when her son suddenly passed away. However, her spirit is not to be defeated. She once again drew on the strength and faith she had cultivated during her cancer journey to not only survive, but thrive through even this tragedy.

Heidi is definitely an Unsung Hero and deserves to be honored as such. Our world is a better place because of Heidi Bright.