Supplements on a Budget
I have a tight budget. What are the most important supplements I should get? I really can’t spend more than $40 a month.
DR. SHILLINGTON ANSWERS: On a tight budget, there is only one product that I would recommend above all others since it does it all. This is “Total Nutrition” as manufactured by Organic Solutions, Inc. It has all the building blocks necessary for creating a healthy body.
Doc a Vegetarian?
Dr. Shillington, are you a vegetarian? I know you eat raw eggs, but do you eat any other meat or cheese? And what do you recommend? I am considering being a vegetarian myself and want to make sure I am making the healthiest choice.
DR. SHILLINGTON ANSWERS: I am NOT a vegetarian. The only time I have a person go vegan is when they are cleansing. The reason for this is that I want the body’s attention to be focused on healing rather than on digestion. Eating meat takes up way too much time in the digestion process. Healing requires that the body gets REST, and this includes a rest from the heavy digestive processes of eating meat. For the most part, inactive and sedentary people eat far too much meat. Only those who labor heavily should eat large quantities of meat. I believe in balance. 4 to 6 oz of organic meat (tops) with 6 to 8 oz of vegetables in a meal is excellent. Cheese has too much fat and should be eaten sparingly. Raw eggs are brilliant since they contain the enzymes necessary to process the protein in them, and a fertilized egg contains every amino acid there is. I have two every day.
Hope this helps.
(Note from OLM: If you eat eggs, especially raw, be sure they are organic !)
I am trying to choose birth control. I am 30 years old, and I am concerned about the toxinsI will be putting into my body. I have tried the pill and the depo shot. I become very moody and irritable on these. My boyfriend and I have tried condoms, and he has trouble…umm…achieving his goal while using them. Also, they tend to tear or come off sometimes, too. Is spermicidal cream my best option? And if I choose to go on the pill again, any ideas to help with the mood swings?
Wendy (name changed)
RYAN HARRISON ANSWERS: Birth control is both a very personal and individual choice and one that should be made by consensus in a partnership. Obviously, if it doesn’t work well for both partners, it’s worth looking for a solution that does. There are many different kinds of birth control available today with new ones introduced to the market fairly regularly.
Though I certainly appreciate the health-related complexities of the common birth control pill, I’m not a woman and wouldn’t presume to give definitive advice on that topic. So, I’m turning to another expert on the subject, Susun Weed. In her seminal work the Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, she suggests three different kinds of herbal birth control: sterility promoters, implantation preventers, and menstrual promoters. Naturally, she suggests that such herbal approaches are “most effective when combined with knowledge of your fertility cycles, selective abstinence, mental control, and barriers to sperm,” but the list of herbs she presents have a long history of preventing pregnancy.
Among the sterility-promoting herbs, Weed suggests Stoneseed root (Lithospermum ruderale), used by women of the Shoshone and Dakota tribes to cause sterility. Another herb called Jack-in-the-Pulpit root (Arisaema triphyllum) was used by Hopi women, preventing conception for one week.
Implantation preventing herbs may be a more suitable choice; they safely and painlessly make the endometrium unsuitable for the growth of an embryo. The seeds of Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) can be taken daily starting at menstruation or even immediately after unprotected intercourse and continued for up to one week to prevent pregnancy. Smartweed leaves (Polygonum hydropiper) can be found all over the world as a common weed. This herb is used world-wide as a fertility regulator as it contains naturally-occurring components that interfere with normal pregnancy.
Among herbal remedies that promote menstruation are Ginger root (Zingiber officinale), which is one of the strongest and fastest actingemmenagogues (menstruation promoters) around; Tansy leaves (Tanacetum vulgare); and Pennyroyal leaves (Hedeoma pulegioides), an herbal emmenagogue that is so potent it can also act as an abortifacient.
Obviously – and I cannot stress this enough – if you want to approach birth control from an herbal angle, you need to work with a very qualified, very well trained herbalist. Collecting the herbs mentioned and trying to tackle this on your own may not only prove futile but harmful, as many of the herbs listed here can have powerful side-effects when used improperly. It’s certainly worth looking into, but I encourage you to do so with a professional at your side.
Condoms remain one of the easiest, efficient and side-effect free ways to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. They can tear, yes. To prevent this, be sure that there is plenty of lubrication involved, and that it is appropriate for the condom being used. (Mismatched lubricants and condoms are at the top of the list for reasons for condom tearing.) If the condom slips off with regularity, I suggest exploring different kinds of condoms. All condoms are not created equal! Condoms actually do come in different sizes, as well as in different textures. Some may work better for your partner than others.
That your partner is unable to achieve orgasm with a condom on speaks less about the effect of the condom on his penis than on his state of mind. Any man will tell you – at least if he’s being honest – that sexual arousal can be achieved simply as a result of thoughts, let alone physical stimulation. So, what’s going on in his head is just as important as what he’s wearing “down there.” If you’re not opposed to a little experimentation, I’d suggest you and your partner explore manual stimulation with a condom on. Find out what it takes – words, sounds, ideas, images, etc. – to bring him to orgasm while wearing a condom. Once you both know, you can incorporate those aspects into your sexual encounters.
Finally, if you do opt for a standard birth control pill, you should take time to find one that reacts well with your unique physiology. There are many different birth control pills on the market; some will cause cramps or mood swings, others may not. It can take some shopping around to find the one that works best for you. Either way, as long as you are taking birth control, you should also be taking a good, enteric coated probiotic. One of the downsides of regular birth control pill usage is that it negatively alters your body’s intestinal flora. You can do yourself a huge favor by supplementing daily with a probiotic to keep the beneficial bacteria plentiful. Additionally, you should know that women on the pill have an increased need for vitamins B6, B12, folic acid and zinc.
I eat very healthy, but way too much. I am 6’3” and overweight by about 45 pounds. Besides being overweight, I consider myself to be very healthy. I just can’t quit eating!!! If I buy only fruit and vegetables I will eat a week’s worth in a day! Any ideas?
RYAN HARRISON ANSWERS: The human appetite has both physiological and psychological components. On the one side, we feel hunger for a reason: our bodies let us know when they require fuel. On the other side, emotional connections to food can be so powerful as to create the illusion of hunger even if it is not physiologically required.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear someone say “I eat very healthy” is “what does healthy mean to you?” Some people truly believe they follow a healthy diet, but actually consume a good deal of empty calories – calories with no real redeeming qualities such as vitamins, minerals or phytonutrients attached to them. And the problem with empty calories is that they often promote hunger, weight gain and cycles oF addiction. So, if there’s even the possibility that your version of “healthy” could be different from mine, I’d suggest you contact a nutritional consultant to get a second opinion.
Otherwise, I’d suggest that the foods you may be eating may not be in the ratio that your body requires to function optimally. In a perfect world, the human diet would consist of roughly 65% complex carbohydrates, 20% healthy fats, and 15% high quality protein. The typical American diet, unfortunately, is 28% carbohydrates (typically simple, not complex), 40% fat (including saturated and trans fats), 12% protein (often accompanied by high amounts of saturated fat) and 20% sugar. The truth of the matter is that if your body is not getting the blend of macronutrients that it needs, it might send you hunger signals even if you’re eating lots of food!
For example, you mentioned that you can go through a week’s worth of fruit in one day. In some ways, that’s actually pretty good for you; most people don’t get even the meager 5 servings a day that the USDA recommends. Unfortunately, if you’re eating mostly fruit all day long, you are not getting the amount of protein required by a 6’3” body. And protein helps promote feelings of satiety, whereas fruit – even with all its fiber – tends to digest fairly quickly (in some cases, taking only 30minutes).
If you are eating a more balanced diet, then you might take a look at your emotional connections to food. Are you an emotional eater? Do you eat when you’re happy or sad? Stressed or relaxed? To reward yourself? As a punishment or a pick-me-up? Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to keep a food journal, writing down how you feel each time you start to eat something and whether you think your feelings are affecting your appetite and/or food choices. The results may surprise you.
Some might suggest finding a supplement that curbs hunger. One such supplement recently hit the market like a tidal wave, but has since faded (as they always do). It’s called Hoodia gordonii and while it is a natural appetite suppressant, I warn against any kind of diet pill. The truth is that, even if it works, when you stop taking the supplement, your basic attitude toward and approach to food will not have changed. This is why people can take all kinds of diet pills, lose all kinds of weight, and then once the pills have run out, they gain it all back plus some. So, my advice is to simply steer clear of diet pills, including appetite suppressants.
Finally, here are a few suggestions that may help curb your appetite, or at least control it. Drink a full glass of purified water before you eat a meal. Sometimes, hunger is really dehydration in disguise. Eat 5 or 6 smaller meals during the day instead of 3 large ones. Having food in your stomach more or less all day keeps the metabolism up and can help take the edge off of hunger pangs. Limit your portion sizes. That may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s probably half the battle. If you’re going out to eat, ask for a to-go box right at the start and when your food arrives, immediately put half of it in there and out of sight. You may experience unpleasant hunger as you limit your intake, but it doesn’t take long – maybe a couple days – for the human body to adapt to such a change. I believe that most people eat more than they really require for optimal health. Making this kind of change may be one of the best investments in your overall health and longevity that you can make. OLM
Email your questions to questions [at] organicmail.net. Questions may be edited for clarity or length.