Monday, 26 May 2014

Nakd Cashew Cookie Raw Food Bar Review

This is one of my favorite raw food bars to snack on, which is the Cashew Cookie bar from Nakd.

I like having some convenience foods on hand, especially for when im out and about but still want to have healthy snack to munch on.

The problem with many store bought bars is that they can often contain a myriad of undesirable and unhealthy ingredients from soya, gluten to various syrups. Another benefit to the nakd raw food bar range is that they are free from gluten, wheat and dairy, which makes them perfect for individuals with food allergies.

The great bit about the Nakd raw food bar ranges is that they contain no syrups or added sugar and are wholefood based. The only ingredients the cashew cookie bar contains is cashews and dates, thats it and they taste amazing.

Most health food stores seem to stock these but also im starting to see the nakd range of raw food bars pop up in various supermarkets, which again is convenient also because it is handy to be able to pick up healthy snacks whilst out and about.

Very indulgent snack and 100% vegan for those who follow plant based diets. I will be reviewing some more raw chocolate bars and such soon on the blog.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Are 21st century doctors obsessed with anxiety and depression ?

I was reading an article in the paper the other day about a woman who had premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) but had been misdiagnosed for years as just having anxiety or mental health issues.

This brought alot of memories flooding back about my own poor experiences with doctors over the years and quite frankly there incompetence when it came to diagnosing certain "harder" to diagnose conditions. Individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS), Fibromyalgia, PMDD and auto-immune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis will likely be able to relate to the above experiences. I can't count how many sufferers of these conditions often go undiagnosed or wrong diagnosed for decades, often being told that they are just suffering from anxiety, stress or depression.

Like the woman in the article for years i had been told my adrenal insufficiency and low cortisol were just anxiety, depression or all in my head for years and i had tried many of these anti-depressant drugs from citalopram to mirtazapine with no increase in energy or well-being. I won't go into the long list of side effects that these anti-anxiety drugs caused such as a lack of emotion/zombie type feeling, sexual dysfunction, irritability and more fatigue. Even when i provided these doctors with solid evidence from tests that i did have low cortisol, sub-optimal adrenal gland function and a host of other health problems they didn't really seem interested at all. Its little wonder these type of individuals never get the help they deserve and as such never get well.

I suspect the woman in the article isn't the only individual with PMDD(premenstrual dysphoric disorder) that has went misdiagnosed. PMDD is a more severe form of PMS which can cause a variety of disturbing symptoms such as extreme anxiety, depression, panic attacks, emotional instability and a number of physical symptoms such as breast and joint pain. The cause of PMDD is still unknown although it is thought to involve hormonal imbalances and possibly even a lack of serotonin.

It doesn't surprise me that physicians are so keen to label everything from irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) to adrenal fatigue as anxiety because they conveniently have a number of pharmaceutical drugs such as SSRI's there to prescribe you with.

Im not a great fan of these anti-depressants such as SSRI's to begin with because if you read the scientific research behind these drugs, many of them have been shown to be little better than placebo at treating depression. An international study found that those in the United Kingdom consume more anti-depressants than most of our other European neighbours.

This doesn't come as a surprise to me at all because i have felt for a long time that these drugs such as Prozac are being heavily over-prescribed by physicians and often for conditions that they have little to no research on being able to treat.

Many of these individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, auto-immune diseases and other harder to diagnose conditions often don't get the standard of health care that they deserve. All i can recommend if you are struggling to get a physician to take you seriously is to do tests privately yourself or better yet try and find a doctor who does understand your health problems.

Too many physicians are incapable of looking past these two symptoms i.e anxiety and depression and not looking at the full picture of their patients health. Many doctors are also too heavily reliant on basic blood work, which is often not a great indicator of health status out-width serious disease.

To be honest i can't say it doesn't annoy me to see so many people being treated this way and doctors completely unwilling to offer any diagnostic to these type of individuals. Often these conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and auto-immune disorders have a number of physical abnormalities that go un-noticed because they aren't picked up on a basic blood test.

It got to the point that i began to understand my health problems more than most of the physicians that i was seeing. I also had such a wealth of tests that i paid for privately out of my own pocket proving  that i had many physical abnormalities from low cortisol, severe nutrient deficiencies to elevated kryptopyrrole disorder that they could no longer complain that it was "all in my head" or just anxiety. It was no surprise that i was chronically fatigued with such issues going on.

Whatever you do don't spend a decade going round in circles with the same doctors if you feel they are not giving you the level of health care you deserve. At the end of the day everyone deserves to be well and have the best health possible. It can often take just a change of doctor to get someone who does understand your health problems to set you on the right road to recovery.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Fruit & Adrenal Fatigue

Eating fruit for individuals with adrenal fatigue is a controversial subject with experts having many different opinions. As someone who had severe adrenal insufficiency and low cortisol for over a decade, i thought id give my opinion on the topic.

There are two main issues with consuming fruit that relate to those with poor adrenal gland function, one being the sugar content and the other being that many fruits are very rich sources of potassium.

The issue with high sugar foods is that most individuals with sub-optimal adrenal gland function have difficulty balancing blood sugar levels and often suffer from low blood sugar/hypoglycemia. As such individuals with adrenal fatigue often find that they don't tolerate fruit and other high sugar foods well. Consuming a small amount of protein at each meal can help keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Another issue with some types of fruit is that they are often very rich sources of the mineral potassium. Some examples of fruits rich in potassium include banana's, dates, kiwi's, mangoes, raisins and oranges. Individuals with adrenal fatigue often have lowered levels of an adrenal steroid hormone known as aldosterone, which can effect the bodies ability to retain sodium. This is part of the reason why those with adrenal fatigue often have low blood pressure and may benefit from slightly increasing their dietary sodium intake. Consuming potassium rich fruits and foods often just exacerbates this issue.

Most of the potassium rich fruits also happen to be high GI, so they have the most potential to negatively impact blood sugar levels in susceptible individuals i.e those with adrenal fatigue, who typically have poor blood sugar regulation.

On the other hand fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is one of the most important nutrients for healthy adrenal gland function. The adrenal glands contain some of the largest concentrations of Vitamin C in the human body.

If you can tolerate fruit then the best choices in my opinion for someone with sub-optimal adrenal gland function would be the low GI fruits such as berries(blueberries, strawberries, raspberries etc). These fruits are lower in sugar and are packed with Vitamin C. These berries such as blueberries have also shown in studies to improve metabolic health in general. Supporting metabolic health and blood sugar balance is a vital component of any adrenal fatigue recovery program. Cherries, green apples and grapefruit are also good choices and again are lower in sugar than most other fruits.

However fruit based diets such as 80/10/10, which have taken off in popularity in the recent years are not only terrible for individuals with adrenal fatigue, but health in general in my opinion. There are a number of reasons why fruit-based diets are bad for health, firstly they are not nutritionally complete or balanced to begin with. Vegetarian and strict vegan diets in general are often lacking in a number of nutrients such as the mineral zinc, which are not only vital for general health but the proper function of the adrenal glands. Another recent article on - 6 Common Nutrient Deficiencies On A Vegan Diet

Overall i think if one tolerates a small amount of fruit fine then it can provide a good source of important nutrients such as vitamin C, which are vital for recovering from adrenal fatigue and supporting individuals who are chronically stressed.