Archive for February, 2006

Thoughts about Bulemia

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

As the new year gets into full swing, some of us are thinking again about the size and shape of our bodies. And for women, it is a common topic of concern. Unfortunately, this is often tied into emotions, and one’s self-image. We humans will hunger for fulfillment of our needs, but will mistakingly choose a different form of “nourishment” than what we really need. Or perhaps we will exchange one form of control in our lives for another. We will use food as our control, instead of addressing the real issue at hand. A study in Tacoma, WA in 1999 demonstrates how common this problem is. Lauder,TD and colleagues examined the eating behaviors of women in the military and found 33.6% at risk for eating disorders, like Bulemia. 8% actually qualified for a full diagnosis of an eating disorder. (Lauder TD, Williams MV, Campbel CS, Davis GD. Abnormal eating behaviors in military women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999 Sep;31(9):1265-71.)
The growing awareness for such conditions is reflected in organizations’ missions. A friend/patient of mine recently introduced me to “Pocket Nutrition ,” with a tasty sublingual vitamin B complex spray. I found the dlivery system easy and palatable, and was interested in the company’s mission regarding treating eating disorders. The founder’s daughter suffers from anorexia nervosa. The founder herself had an interesting history of competing in beauty pageants.
The cycles that a person experiences in Bulemia is confusing and frustrating to that person, and those around them. There is a hunger for something…physical and emotional nutrients…that cannot be satified with calories and chewing. And there is a need for control, even if it is ultimately self-destructive. Then there is the guilt, realizing how futile and damaging the binge has been. And then follows unhealthy, unrealistic efforts to undo the previous metabolic damage.
If you think that you may have an eating disorder, I strongly recommend that you seek care with a health care provider who is versed in treating such disorders. This is not something a person can “fix” with help from friends. It is dangerous, physically and emotionally.
For those of you who would just like to find better ways to control the amount of food calories you consume, here are a few hints about human feeding patterns.
1. The brain is non-specific in asking for the nutrients in needs. It is unable to consciously state “I need to eat 2 oysters and an additional selenium supplement of 200mcg today to fulfill my selenium needs for the next 9 hours.” Instead, it just says “I’m hungry!”
So, before meals make sure to consume a nutrious green drink, like Metagreens , so that the appetite is less ravenous. Also, supplement the diet with a good multivitamin, like 30 Day Renewal, and other nutrients as recommended by your health care provider. Even Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a healthy aging expert, points out that chromium helps decrease his appetite. Many people suffer chromium deficiencies, especially if they have a high sugar intake. So think about the need nutrients, not calories.
2. Eat in the company of people that you are VERY attracted to, enough that they make you a little nervous. That love-interest with the great body, gorgeous eyes, and incredible mind is a perfect dinner mate for keeping the calorie consumption to healthier limits. Besides, the love interaction that follows such a meal is more exciting when the lovers are satisfied, but not bogged down by stuffed bellies. Ever wonder why the makers of Viagra and other erection meds recommend not to use it after a heavy meal? It’s because it slows the arousal physiology.
3. Leave the plates and remains of food in your sight at the table to remind you of how much you have consumed.
4. Don’t eat when you are rushed, feeling emotionally stressed, or can not concentrate on the meal before you. I know, it’s easier said than done. In the movie “Kate & Leopold ,” I appreciate that the character of Leopold, played by the gorgeous actor Hugh JacKman, points out that the meal is a compilation of reflection. So please enjoy each meal for what is supposed to be. Make time for it to be special, nutrious, organic and shared.
And if no love-interest is available for tip #2, then just imagine that you are dining with Hugh Jackman!
5. Take control of your life! If you don’t like the situation you are living in, then move out! If your job is driving you crazy, then get a new one. If you are being emotionally or physically abused then seek help. Change your life and you can change your eating habits, because you will respect and love yourself more. And that chemical high or relief that you are seeking from food now, instead will be satisfied by the buzz and mystery of life itself.
Bon Apetit!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Soy Isoflavones

Monday, February 13th, 2006

Do your heart and that of your lover’s some good with including soy isoflavones in your diet. A heart-shaped block of tofu may seem like an unconventional Valentine, but it promises more health than a powdery sugar confection with the message “Be Mine” inscribed on it.

Give it to Some Bunny you love:
Soy isoflavone diets have been tested on rabbits, with positive results seen in decreasing atherosclerotic plaques. In other words, it helps decrease hardening of the arteries. To create hardening of the arteries, the research bunnies were fed casein, a protein found in cheese and some “nutritional” drinks (yikes!). But some bunnies were also fed 5mg/kg/day of isoflavones with this casein diet. The isoflavone plus casein diet bunnies showed 36% less bad cholesterol (LDL), 36% less aorta wall cholesterol, and twice as much good cholesterol (HDL) than the other group. They also had lower rates of the heat shock proteins related to atherosclerosis. (1) These isoflavones, especially genistein, has been found to protect the cells in the walls of human blood vessels at the DNA level. So the picture of vessel damage is not just about cholesterol levels and deposits. Genistein inhibits and reverses the cell death propcess that the toxic amino acid homocysteine creates. (2) It heals and protects!

Go at it like rabbits!
Nutritional supplements like soy isoflavones, vitamin E, selenium and lycopene can help protect against prostate cancer . (3) Some worry, though, that the hormonal modulation effects of soy isoflavones may interfere with fertility. A metabolite of isoflavones called Equol has the potential to decrease 5 alpha dihydrotestosterone, a very potent form of testosterone. (4) However, a study done in 2004 showed no alteration in male rabbit fertility, even at doses of 5 mg/kg/day. Some of the biochemistry in the rabbit semen even improved, like HDL levels.(5)
So when you want to make your true love a heart-healthy, sex healthy treat this Valentine’s Day, include soy isoflavones like that in tofu, on your holiday menu! Happy Valentine’s Day!

References:
1 Rosier Olimpio Pereira I Saes Parra Abdall D. Soy isoflavones reduce heat shock proteins in experimental atherosclerosis. Eur J Nutr, 2005 Nov 24
2 Fuchs D, et al. Genistein blocks homocysteine-induced alterations in the proteome of human endothelial cells. Proteomics. 2005 Jul;5(11):2808-18
3 Kucuk O. Chemoprevention of prostate cancer. Cancer Metastis Rev2002;21(2):111-24.
4 Lephart ED, et al. ILAR 2004; 45(4):443-54
5 Yousef MI, et al. J Environ Sci Health B. 2004;39(5-6):819-33

Natalie Kather, MD