SIMPLE Conference Day 3 Part 1
My alarm went off way too early this morning because I stayed up way to late last night typing. Tonight I am suffering from nerve damage to my index finger and thumb from gripping my pen insanely tight today as I frantically tried to take notes. One session was during lunch, and the salmon trumped the note taking. I’m still not sure what that other stuff was, but I suspect it was black rice. All I know is lunch was classy and the guy talking had the most interesting things to share.
Some of this stuff is so common sense that it is hard to believe I could be amazed, yet these folks really brought their “A” game with the evidence base (aka research/numbers) to back it up.
The day began with 6:30 AM yoga. It was amazing. I miss yoga. I think that may have to be a goal I set for the coming weeks and months. Yoga needs to be in my life on a regular basis.
Breakfast was a bit disappointing for the 50% of the group who are basically gluten free. They served nicely wrapped croissants with eggs and avocado, along with fresh fruit. I wanted to eat that croissant pretty badly, but I knew my tummy would distract me very quickly if I indulged. So I saved the “indulge” for the salmon sauce and key lime pie at lunch. I’m pretty sure whatever evil I consumed, I dripped out of my pores in the sweat lodge tonight.
Today was truly jam packed with some amazing presenters and fabulous topics. We began the sessions with a discussion by Dr. Victoria Maizes on environmental chemicals and women’s health. She has authored a book entitled Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child.
She shared that the impact of DES from the 50’s and 60’s is still being seen in the grandchildren of those women who took it during pregnancy. She also reported that over 80,000 chemicals are un-studied or under-studied according to the President’s Cancer Panel. Babies in the US are being born “pre-polluted”. Nine months in the womb preprograms us for diseases that manifest 50-60 years later. Then there is the issue of stressed mothers in pregnancy.
OB/GYN’s are not stepping up to the plate to warn pregnant women about toxins other than alcohol and drugs, and they rarely ever take an environmental history. Many feel the rise in autism has an environmental-chemical cause at work. A study of twins in which one had Parkinson’s and the other did not revealed that the chemical exposure trigger likely occurred 40 years prior to the onset of the disease symptoms.
BPA (found in plastics and food cans) is linked to increased obesity. Mice that were exposed to DES in high doses were actually small in size whereas mice exposed to tiny amounts of DES were obese. This negates the dose causes poison theory. Children and fetuses are more at risk for chemical exposure problems, and the first child may get a larger dose of chemicals due to their storage and excretion in breast milk.
And then there are the endocrine disruptors in tampons and sanitary pads. Dioxin, chlorine, plus pesticide residue from GMO cotton crops gets placed in a very absorptive area of the female body. It’s no wonder women have issues with thyroid.
Companies are replacing BPA (because consumers are demanding it) with BPS. It is still not safe. It simply has less research proving it isn’t safe. Best practice is to avoid plastics and use glass to store food.
Assess your workplace, home, hobbies, and childhood fun for sources of toxins that may be triggers for disease. She told a story about a friend with breast cancer who remembered how she and her brother used to chase the crop duster planes through the fields. The object of the game was to see who could stay in the chemical mist the longest.
We can advocate for change with our dollars by purchasing products from the “green marketplace”.
Food decisions need to be organic whenever possible. Learn about the dirty dozen and the clean 15. Organic IS better if for no other reason than safer soil, no sewage sludge for fertilizer, no GMO’s, and no antibiotics. They are also pesticide free, which should help to reduce the toxin load. We also need to advocate to keep the organic standard pure in light of big food companies becoming involved in the organic food market. Choosing to eat from the clean 15 of conventionally raised foods reduces pesticide exposure by 92% vs. eating the dirty dozen. Oh, and babies should NOT be given only rice as a first food. Can you say arsenic?
BPA was in 90% of urine. It leads to obesity and heart and prostate problems. Avoid canned foods and opt for flash frozen. Plant based diets are less contaminated than animal diets which have antibiotics and chemicals/pesticides that are stored in animal fat. A Korean study looked at whether diet makes a difference in toxic exposure levels. 25 people stayed in a monk temple and were fed locally grown pesticide free foods. Their toxin levels dropped quickly. Another study on BPA showed three days of clean eating dropped BPA levels in the body significantly.
Water is usually contaminated with things like lead. Over 50 pharmaceuticals have been found in water including endocrine disruptors such as birth control pills. Most cost effective solution is carbon filtration. Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) has a water filter shopping guide.
And we haven’t even talked about cosmetics and EMF exposures yet. There is a free educational module at http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/education/online_courses/enviro-med.html on environmental health.
That, folks, was the first session.
The second session talked about research into gut bacteria. My favorite line from that session was, “70% of stool is shed microbiome. They double every 20 minutes. If we don’t poop, they run out of room.”
Our diet shapes the types of microbes we have in our gut. Those microbes extract nutrients from the food we eat. Some types are associated with high fat diets and some are associated with a high plant diet. Metabolic syndrome in mice treated with antibiotics (to kill the gut critters that a pre-diabetic person has living in there) resulted in improved glucose tolerance test results. Along those same lines, offspring of moms exposed to antibiotics during gestation were more likely to experience diabetes.
Bottom line, our life span appears to be linked to the makeup of our gut microbiome.
The third experience of the day was a breakout session presented by a group from UNM-Taos, which is a community college. They shared how they are bringing integrative medicine to underserved populations by teaching it within the associate degree and certificate programs they have. Many students are single moms and are on Pell grants, so the education gives them access to the information on integrative medicine practices so they can become self-healers. One of the most interesting ideas shared was the concept of getting mindfulness practices into the schools as young as head start by implementing breathing practices before the children go home.
The most significant take away from this class came not from the presenters, but from a really nice blonde-haired Jesus-looking dude who is an RN and LMT at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos where they have a care team that provides CAM services to patients in the hospital. They have a number of folks on staff that are trained in a variety of complementary practices. He specifically mentioned the orthopedic doctor who would “order” massage, acupuncture, or aroma therapy for his patients. I was fascinated by this “care team” concept. Not only do they take care of patients, but they also take care of staff members as needed and as time permits.
And that rounds out HALF of Day 3. It’s bedtime. The best will have to wait. The best includes integrative nursing and the temazcal. More on those later.