Progesterone Cream – When Progesterone Goes Bad

10 Jun

This is just a quick post about my thoughts on the use of Natural USP Progesterone Cream.

This cream can be purchased over the counter. No prescription required. No real knowledge required. That’s how I got my little hands on some.

I listen to waaaaay too many podcasts. I read waaaaay too many blogs and websites. I participate waaaaaay too much in the online information sharing community. The little voices speaking from my netbook kept urging me  to run out and get some of this cream.

One practitioner with a weekly podcast says repeatedly that a women cannot get enough progesterone. Another said she would recommend girls start taking it at puberty and for the rest of their lives. And yet another claims that there are zero (yup, he says 0) side effects from its use.

Heck, what did I have to lose? So I started slathering it on at bedtime two weeks out of the month as instructed.

Initially it gave me a really nice sleepy bedtime feeling.

After a time I noticed I was becoming quite irritable during the day.

Then, a lovely set of soft fuzzy sideburns sprouted up.

It took me a while to link this to the Progesterone.

Note to self: NEVER TAKE A HORMONE WITHOUT TESTING FIRST!!!

In a stressed person progesterone can converted to very undesirable hormones.

Want to learn more, check out this blog.

Fear of Intimacy and Food

7 Jun

I have a new theory about modern foods and the people who eat them.

Processed foods come in sanitary wrappers and packaging. Vegetables and fruit are wrapped in rinds, peels and sometimes seeds. If you grown your own they can be wrapped in soil, manure and even bugs.

Store bought meat and fish is enveloped in condom-like in plastic and placed on Styrofoam trays. Hunted game comes packaged in fur.

Conventional eggs are neatly placed in obsessively ordered rows for our convenience. Fresh eggs are shat out onto a pile of hay.

I can think of few things more sterile than the crinkly sound of chip bags. Thrusting one’s hand into a package of “whatever” strikes me as a totally lifeless act. I read somewhere “we have to take in life to sustain life.”  Processed foods cannot possibly generate the “life” we require as humans.

Vegetables, fruit, hunted or well butchered meats – these are foods you can get intimate with. Just pop open a pomegranate and slowly munch the seeds one by one – harvest a carrot and run your hand over all the little hairy roots sprouting out of it – collect freshly laid eggs and marvel in their un-uniformity.

Most of the people I know don’t want to get to know their food at all.

Look an elk in the eye, appreciate the life it has led, shoot it deftly and swiftly, take it apart and notice it’s anatomy, eat as much of it as possible. To me, that’s intimate.

"Diseases of Adaptation"

22 Mar

Quick post – the kids are napping and I am getting into reading some Hans Selye. Fascinating stuff.

Here’s a bit that has made me look at health in a new way:

Many maladies are due not so much to what happens to us as to our inability to adapt, and they have therefore been called “diseases of adaptation.” The most common of such diseases are peptic ulcers in the stomach and upper intestine, high blood pressure, heart accidents, and nervous disturbances. 

This is a perspective for me to explore ailments. Taking a step back to ask myself “What am I doing that I am not adapting to?” may seem simple. But, I, like many other people, tend to whip myself harder when I seem to be weakening.

Now there can be a hormetic response to short, punctuated stresses. These would be short intense workouts, intermittent fasting, periodic low protein intake, reading complex material, learning a new language, etc. That’s called adaptation. You get stronger from the stress because eventually you STOP and recover.

When you fail to recover (adapt) illness results. And, according to Selye’s work, the illness is typically nonspecific and systemic. For example, it is accepted that heart disease can be a down stream result of unrelenting stress. But, people don’t simply develop only heart disease – they also get diabetes, cancers, inflammation, etc. Selye says it better:

No malady is just a disease of adaptation. Nor are there any disease producers which can be so perfectly handled by the organism that maladaptation plays no part in their effects upon the body. Such agents would not produce disease. This haziness in its delimitation does not interfere with the practical utility of our concept. We must put up with the same lack of precision whenever we have to classify any other kind of disease. There is no pure heart disease, in which all other organs remain perfectly undisturbed, nor can we ever speak of a pure kidney disease or a pure nervous disease in this sense.

So, as long as we rest and recover we can keep stressing our selves endlessly right? We’ll just keep getting stronger and stronger right? Well, Selye says “no”.

 Apparently, we have hidden reserves of adaptability, or adaptation energy, in ourselves throughout the body. As soon as local stress consumes the most readily accessible local reserves, local exhaustion sets in and activity in the strained part must stop. This is an important protective mechanism because, during the period of rest thus enforced, more adaptation energy can be made available, either from less readily accessible local stores or from reserves in other parts of the body. Only when all of our adaptability is used up will irreversible, general exhaustion and death follow.

Interesting. So, we are able to adapt and get stronger, but it may be at the expense of other energy stores. This makes me wonder if we are really getting stronger?

We should be very selective about the kinds and frequency of the stresses we introduce. Before forcing your exhausted body to workout, before denying your starving body food because you are on a diet, before skimping on sleep to watch late night TV, ask yourself whether this stress will make you stronger and at what expense to the rest of your body?

(Quotes taken from “The Nature of Stress,  http://www.icnr.com/articles/the-nature-of-stress.html).

Hitting the Wall (HIIT-ing the Wall?)

21 Mar

I am rethinking low carb Paleo.

There, I said it. 
I know Paleo is not necessarily a low carb diet, but I sure made it one. The most “carby” item I ate was nuts. Otherwise it was eggs, meat, vegetables and lots of green tea. No dairy, no fruit, no legumes, no grains. I did this for about two years. 
Over that time my workouts have gotten more intense. More intervals, more heavy weights. About a month ago I think I hit the wall. I would become shaky during workouts, feel totally depleted all day, and be cranky as all get out. After listening to Matt Lalonde describe a post workout low blood sugar experience I knew I had to change up my routine. 
I am reading a lot of Ray Peat right now.  His site has a huge amount of information. If I am interpreting him correctly, I think that his philosophy of health is based quite a bit on Hans Selye’s work on stress. A stressed body is out of balance and therefore not optimally healthy. 
I am not totally abandoning Paleo concepts, I am simply rethinking what is best for keeping my body healthy. To loosely paraphrase Matt Lalonde “Just because Paleolithic man ate something doesn’t necessarily make it healthy.” 
Perhaps it is best to work our way backwards from the destination. If health if our ultimate goal, maybe it is best to look holistically at what it takes to get there. 
I think I’ll chew on some of Peat’s work and spit it back out here from time to time. 

Taking Advantage of Post Breastfeeding to Build Bone Mass

16 Mar

It’s been  nearly two months since weaning and I have put on 8 lbs. (This is why I HATE the scale. Weight is a measure that really doesn’t tell us very much – but I really, really what to know what this gain means. Hello crazy.).

I have naturally reduced my food intake due to waning appetite, my workouts are better than ever and my sleep is pretty okay. Besides my jiggly backside, the rest of my body does not seem to have any fat gain. I also don’t perceive there to be much muscle gain either.

So what the hey?

Interestingly I discovered this study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ar.20403/full (highlighting is mine).

At the end of lactation, there is a rapid reversal of bone metabolism from predominantly bone resorption to a profound anabolic period characterized by greatly increased bone formation (Bowman et al., 2002; Miller and Bowman, 2004). Morphologically and functionally, this period appears to represent a classical bone remodeling reversal phase because osteogenesis rapidly commences on bone surfaces that were previously resorbing (Miller and Bowman, 2004). The initiation of this postlactational bone formation period in the maternal skeletal is characterized by a greatly increased proliferation of osteoblast progenitors resulting in a rapid expansion of osteoblasts on bone surfaces in the maternal skeleton (Miller et al., 2005). This results in greatly increased rates of bone formation with a rebuilding of the maternal skeleton and augmentation of bone strength (Vajda et al., 2001). Increases in serum markers of bone formation with increases in bone mineral density are also observed in humans after lactation (Lopez et al., 1996; Akesson et al., 2004). This postlactation phase of skeletal reconstitution is considered to be the most anabolic phase in the life history of the adult female skeleton (Bowman and Miller, 1999; Vajda et al., 2001). It has been hypothesized that the primary purpose of this profound postlactation anabolic period is to prepare the maternal skeleton for the next reproductive cycle (Bowman and Miller, 1999, 2001).

I am stoked! Could it be that I am building bigger, stronger bones?

Here’s the deal, though. I cannot take full advantage of this bone anabolism by upping my milk because dairy is like poison to me. It has been all of my life.

Instead I have decided to take a supplement that has not only calcium but also K2, magnesium, potassium and other goodies. It’s called “Bone Up” by Jarrow (I get nothing for this “commercial”). I am also doing a two day a week very heavy (for me) Olympic style lifting session along with a super-slow and heavy protocol. I do NO “aerobics.” Instead I do sprinting and other interval-like exercises on  most non-lifting days. Also, long, slow, easy meditative walks with the kids.

I am hoping that this will help me to continue to gain precious bone.

Post Breastfeeding Depression and Zinc

15 Mar

One year and one month after birthing my 2nd baby I decided to unceremoniously cut him off the boob.

Even though I breastfed my first son for over 2 years, I just couldn’t go on any longer with boy #2.

Maybe it was me. Maybe it was Henry’s penchant for biting my nipple. Maybe it was the fact that we now live in an actual town and not the middle of a lifeless desert in which I had nothing else to do but sit and snuggle my growing toddler.

Anyway, nursing my 2nd baby for over a year is a pretty good track record. But once I stopped breastfeeding, my body went into a total tailspin.

First I swelled up like a balloon. Then I noticed a distinct fattening of my rear end. Finally I got really cranky – like full on b****. I was pretty miserable. (So was my poor, dear husband).

Thanks to Dr. Google I got schooled pretty quick about the horrors of estrogen dominance and the wonders of zinc. (This is by no means an exhaustive list).

Since estrogen and progesterone are kept low throughout breastfeeding, it would seem that abrupt weaning would cause quite a hormonal tumult. I went from nice even breastfeeding moods to grumpy hormonal mess overnight. Also, pregnancy and breastfeeding takes a toll on zinc levels.

So I deduced the following:

My zinc levels were in the dumps from pregnancy and a year of rigorous nursing. But, because my estrogen and progesterone were kept low I didn’t get any real hormonal symptoms until weaning. Once I stopped nursing my estrogen probably kicked into high gear, but because of low zinc, my progesterone couldn’t keep up to balance me out. (Did I mention that estrogen is anti-thyroid as well? Bye-bye metabolism! Hello expanding buttocks.).

I do realize that when it comes to hormones it is a complicated system with no magic bullet. Nonetheless, I have been supplementing with zinc. We’ll see how it goes!

Hunting for the Newbie

16 Dec

I grew up in heavily developed, heavily populated New England. Ten years ago I dropped it all to follow my then boyfriend (now husband) across the country traveling from National Park to National Park (that’s his job).

What a shock it was to go from having the choice of ten grocery stores within five minutes drive to having VERY limited access to anything convenient. Our last home was in southeast Utah and was four hours from a grocery – and that was ONE store. If they didn’t have it, you didn’t eat it.

But, living in remote areas has had its advantages. My husband has taken up hunting.

Always a great fisherman, my guy had never hunted anything his whole life. For the past five years he has purchased elk and deer tags, but he has’t bagged one yet.

But this year he acquired some bird tags. Bingo! Success after success!

Bird hunting has been really easy to transition to because in many cases you can take many birds a season. And, in a day you can have tons of shots at nabbing one. (Yesterday he came home with duck and goose!)

Best of all, it’s been my duty to clean and cook these critters. Let’s just say that the first time cleaning a duck was poopy and gross, but now I am used to it.

I so appreciate my husband’s hunting hobby. It is giving me the opportunity to teach my boys about where meat comes from. That it’s important to honor the animal by not wasting any parts. And, that meat doesn’t come wrapped in plastic. It comes wrapped in fur and feathers and ideally lived a free and beautiful life in the wilderness.

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