Dr. J. Renae Norton, Alternative to Inpatient Treatment. I am an eating disorder specialist in the areas of bulimia, anorexia, bulimarexia, binge eating disorder, BED, emotional eating disorder and obesity.
Except that’s not really true anymore. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but more and more “conventional” food seems to be replacing the organic foods in Whole Foods.
Here is a really basic example: I was having my special treat of an organic coffee at the Whole Foods organic coffee bar, when I discovered that neither of these items are organic anymore. What? I did not get the memo!
I stopped drinking coffee about a year ago in order to bring my homocystine levels down, and it worked like a charm. But I do love coffee and every once in a while I allow myself to sit at the Whole Foods coffee bar with my laptop and a delicious cup of hot coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon feeling safe in the assumption that both were organic. For some reason I looked at the coffee urns and noticed that it didn’t say organic and when I ask my barista what was up, he informed me that six months ago Whole Foods made the decision to no longer have an organic coffee bar. I feel betrayed and frustrated. This is just one more example of the reversal in what Whole Foods used to be about.
In fact you can’t get an item in their bakery or their deli that doesn’t contain canola oil.
In fact, according to Whole Foods own literature, only 45% of items in their store are non-gmo and/or organic. Not even half! Their quality standards, as outlined in their 2015 stakeholders report, makes no mention of an emphasis on Non-GMO products. To be fair, they do mention their GMO Transparency in Labeling by 2018 initiative.
While I understand that Whole Foods is a publicly traded company, and that they have investor returns that they need to make in order to keep their investors satisfied, I cannot help but wonder if their commitment to organic and non-gmo foods has been diluted by trying to obtain profits for the majority shareholders.
And yes, in case you were wondering, the majority shareholders of Whole Foods are the same as the majority shareholders of Monsanto.
If ever there was a week for self care, I would say the week of Christmas is one of them.
Unless you are extremely organized, and have been working towards Christmas all year, chances are you are scrambling to make it to Christmas. Last minute gifts, trying to cram in as many traditions as possible- it can leave a person exhausted. It’s no surprise people are totally burned out by Christmas Day.
I cannot stress how important self care is during the holidays.
What does self care look like?
Here’s my top ten list of self care strategies!
Take a nap. Yes, you! Lay down and take a nap. Everyone could use extra rest. If you can’t sleep, even just laying down for 20 minutes with your eyes closed may help reduce the feelings of anxiety or stress you are feeling.
Color. I’ve been posting a lot of articles about how coloring in those adult coloring books is scientifically proven to be as effective as meditation. So go grab your crayons or colored pencils, your fancy coloring book and zen out. In a pinch, I suggest a pen and a piece of paper. Doodling should have the same effect. There is a whole art form devoted to doodling called Zentangle. Check out this article from Psychology Today.
Go listen to some music. You can do this while coloring, or while napping/resting. Or you can just do it on its own. Think about the last time you just sat and listened to music. It was probably a really long time ago.
Call a friend. This is an excellent time to phone a friend. You can commiserate about how nothing is wrapped, or how your mother in law is driving you insane or whatever. Trust me, you’ll feel better.
Take a walk. Just going outside, especially if the sun is shining (which it isn’t today in Cincinnati) and feeling that sunshine on your face and hands while you walk can really help you relax.
Spend some time with a pet. Pets just make us feel better and more relaxed. So take your dog with you while you walk, or spend five minutes playing with your cat.
Cut a corner. If you feel yourself getting worked up about something on your list of to-do’s ask yourself if you can cut a corner. Does everyone really need homemade bath salts? Or can a jar from the store work just as well? Sometimes what we plan doesn’t match reality in terms of time or ability. And that’s okay. There were good intentions, but reality has constraints. Cut a corner.
Nourish yourself. Make sure you are eating foods that are nourishing you- not draining you. There’s a lot of sweets floating around this time of year and quite frankly, most of us don’t feel great after we overindulge.
Gratitude check in. Sit down with a piece of paper and spend two minutes writing down things you are grateful for. You might be surprised at what comes to mind, but go with it. Gratitude in even the smallest things can help us bear the anxiety of the holiday.
Call your therapist. If you can get an appointment with your therapist during christmas week, take it and don’t give it up! That is gold! A conversation with your therapist during christmas week can help reinforce all the good things you’ve been doing for yourself and bring perspective to whatever your worries. Truly.
Autoimmune disease is the 8th leading cause of death among women and most people cannot name one autoimmune disease.
Why is this happening?
One of the reasons is that makeup and personal care products contain endocrine disruptors that interfere with our immune response. What are endocrine disruptors? An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that when absorbed into the body either mimics or blocks hormones and disrupts the body’s normal functions. This disruption can happen through altering normal hormone levels, halting or stimulating the production of hormones, or changing the way hormones travel through the body, thus affecting the functions that these hormones control. Chemicals that are known human endocrine disruptors include diethylstilbesterol (the drug DES), dioxin, PCBs, DDT, and some other pesticides. Many chemicals, particularly pesticides and plasticizers, are suspected endocrine disruptors based on limited animal studies.
So not only are we bombarded with endocrine disruptors in our natural environment and our food, we are are also subject to them in personal care products that we use daily. Parabens are a good example of an endocrine disruptor. Propyl Paraben, which is found in food items, is also used in body wash, lotion, etc.
Consider this unsettling statistic: Did you know that just using make-up can add 5 pounds of chemicals into your body a year that are dangerous and a threat to your health? I’m not talking about the lotions, shampoo, deodorant and other personal care products; this is just what you put on your face! It may explain why women are dying of autoimmune diseases at a much higher rate than men; men tend not to use as much makeup. For a great discussion of the problems associated with cosmetics see this article by Mercola.
I bring all this to your attention, because this past year I made the switch to exclusively organic make-up, deodordant, shampoos and conditioners or brands that are safe. And much like when I made the switch to clean eating, the results are amazing. Here are some of my favorite products that I have discovered along the way:
HABA is a Japanese company that uses Squalane for most of it’s products. HABA’s products do not contain any parabens, artificial fragrance, mineral oil, artificial colourant and petro-chemical surfactants; ingredients that are likely to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.I get my facial washes and oils, makeup, shampoo and conditioners and body lotions from this company.
Squalane is the more stable version of squalene, which comes from and is found in the liver of sharks, who have very high natural immunity. Although shark livers typically have some of the highest concentrations, many plants, including olives, avocados, rice bran, wheat germ, and some vegetable oils contain Squalene as well.
One of the most common uses for Squalene is in cosmetics. It is light, colorless, and odorless, and can almost immediately improve skin softness and smoothness without feeling heavy or greasy. It’s usually suitable for all skin types, and regular use is said to help fade fine wrinkles, prevent skin pigmentation, lighten freckles, and improve skin texture. It may be able to relieve eczema and some researchers have also speculated that it can regenerate skin cells. I absolutely love it!
Be aware, the instructions are in Japanese, but there’s always an illustration too! You should be able to figure it out!
You could also pretend you are on vacation in Japan while using these products- an additional clean beauty bonus!
Juice Beauty is another company I really like that makes great blushes and lipsticks. Bonus: all of their products are gluten free. Not many people realize that gluten can be found in lipstick, lipbalm, skin care and shampoos. Best of all, you can find Juice Beauty in big name stores, like Ulta and Sephora.
You don’t want to be eating chemicals or gluten all day, do you?
The body refiner has no plastic beads to pollute the environment.
It is kind of hard to rub on, (very thick) so I spray some MSM water from Dr. Ron’s on my body first and then add the lotion. Very healing and moisturizing. The MSM adds magnesium, which is very good for us. I really don’t think you can go wrong with any product from their line. If you read my blog you know I love their infrared hair dryer and their plant stem cell renewal complex.
The best thing that ever happened to my skin is the sun. After I began laying out in the sun again, my skin went back to being skin, instead of crepe. Moderation is the key, no burning! Just pinking!
Alba Organic Beauty Studio, Hyde Park, OH.
I go to an organic hair salon, Alba Organic Beauty Studio, here in Hyde Park, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Love it, love them! Organic nail polish and hair products, even hair dye….awesome!
So as you can see, going organic in your beauty regimen can be beautiful and beneficial. No patchouli scented hippy’s here. There are so many amazing products out there now because consumers are demanding safe cosmetics and personal care products. And we should!
If you are curious about the current beauty/personal care products you use, I highly recommend taking a moment and using the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. You can search by product name or category. You may be surprised by the toxicity of the products you are currently using or you may discover you have a knack for choosing healthy beauty products. Either way, I encourage you to take a moment and find out.
Here we are in the midst of the holiday season. Inevitably we all have to buy gifts for people that are difficult to shop for. They either have everything, or they are uncommunicative about what they would like.
Let me challenge you to give this person the gift of health this holiday. I have rounded up a few, select items that I think are fabulous gifts. After all, nothing says “I love you,” more than a gift that is meant to extend the time that you have with a person on this earth. It’s like saying, “I love having you in my life so much, I want to make your life even longer.”
I know you are never supposed to give an appliance for a gift, but for us health nuts/foodies, a VitaMix is the ultimate luxury.
Can you think of a better gift than this VitaMix? Seriously. I couldn’t live without mine. It makes my smoothie every morning and it will make my soup at night after a hard days work in a matter of minutes, and it comes with a recipe book! Available in a multitude of finishes (although I have a whole red theme going on in my kitchen.) The one thing I consistently hear in my practice, for patients who are exploring making smoothies, is that it is really difficult to replicate the texture of a smoothie that you get from a juice bar or health food store. I totally disagree. With a VitaMix you can! It really comes down to the equipment. When you really think about it, it’s ridiculous to spend $10.00 on a smoothie every day (That’s what a good smoothie costs these days.) That’s a $300 a month smoothie habit! I guarantee you, this is one of the best kitchen appliances and personal health appliances in my house. If you love her/him splurge on this one.
Again, another kitchen appliance I couldn’t live without. And frankly, the bigger, the better. It makes my bone broth and/or some of the best meat dishes I have ever tasted. I usually throw a roast into the bone broth just before it is done. It doesn’t matter how tough a cut, it melts in your mouth. If you throw in some chicken breasts, when you take them out after 4 or 5 hours, they shred. Throw on some homemade barbeque sauce and oh my goodness it tastes just like pulled pork! My one piece of advice when looking for a crock pot is to make sure yours has a timer element. Otherwise, if you are away at work or out of the house, it won’t automatically turn off and switch to the warm setting.
Another must have for the health nut. For example, after you brew your bones for 3 or 4 days for your bone broth, you DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY. You keep using them until they disintegrate, you just add new ones each time so that you get the marrow too. So of course, you have to shrink-wrap them to refreeze them. Enter the food saver. So quick and easy to use!
It is also a must for the healthy person on the go. I encourage my patients to get into the habit of cooking sometime over the weekend or on one of their days off and freezing enough for several meals. No excuse then for not having something quick to eat. Just take it out in the morning and heat it up when you get home. The food saver makes it so much easier. You can also freeze fish, poultry and red meat in a marinade and use your food savor to freeze individual portions. Then when you thaw it out, it is ready to go. So you save time making all the marinade at once and in terms of prepping it the evening you want to have it. Click here for the marinade recipe.
Food Saver V3835 (179.99) at FoodSaver.com (By the way, they were running a pretty hefty sale with all kinds of discounts and bonus parts when I looked at the website. )
Near Infrared Sauna
Can you imagine how much you really love someone when you give them a gift like this? You are saying, “your health is so important, I want you around for forever. Here’s a way to do that.”
This is probably one of the most important health appliances in my arsenal. It is one of the reasons that I was able to change my leaky gut to a squeaky clean gut. For my patients wishing to lose weight, it has definitely made a difference. And finally, it is a great way to detox heavy metals. I have a very small one that I ordered from Wendy Meyers and I love it.
I love Intelligent Nutrients. I’ve tweeted my praises of their stem cell plant renewal complex, but I want to introduce you all to their amazing Near Infared Hair Dryer. This awesome blow dryer kills germs and microbes and does a fantastic job on your hair at the same time. Infrared heat infuses cuticle while protecting outer cuticle, decreasing dry time. The anti-microbial violet technology helps cleanse and deodorize while smoothing, increasing shine and manageability. It’s just a great blow dryer.
Another very critical tool if you have cholesterol or vitamin D issues is the UVB lamp. We stop getting the right kind of sun for increasing Cholesterol Sulfate here in Cincinnati in November and must use an alternate source for several months. So from now until March, this is my primary source of UVB sunlight.
In case you do not know how important this is, the UVB rays create Cholesterol sulfate when they are absorbed by the body (which is the mother of all hormones.) The by- product of the cholesterol sulfate is vitamin D3, which is critical for the immune system. Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D3. The UVB lamp allowed me to take my vitamin D3 from 21 to 53 in 3 months. This is far and away the best way to get your vitamin D3, as the supplements cannot compare. That said, it you have low vitamin D3, and cannot get sun, then supplement, but use the highest quality you can find and include vitamin K with it. Even better is get yourself to a sunny place, with a beach. But if you cannot, get a lamp>
This is a book of inspirational advice that I have found very helpful personally and that I have used with my patients, most of whom, have also found it to be life-changing. The author is Don Miguel Ruiz. It is hard to describe the work, except to say that he seems to touch everyone with his unique way of teaching us to:
Again, give the gift of health to someone you love this year. Long after the paper has been torn off, and other gifts have disappeared to the back of the closet, I guarantee you these gifts will still be playing a role in your loved one’s health (or your own) on a daily basis.
We tend to blame the victims of disordered eating, no matter what form it takes. Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia, Emotional Eating and Obesity are all assumed to be the result of poor choices and/or emotional disturbances that lead to over eating. Anorexia is often perceived as a choice the patient makes to achieve cosmetic improvements.
The eating problems plaguing Americans are the direct result of the deficiencies and toxins in the food supply and are not the result of implusive choices or vanity.
The Big Pharma complex, industrial farming, and the food and beverage industries, (I call them Big Pharma, Big Farming and Big Food or the 3 Big Pigs) have worked hard to convince us that our foods, beverages and drugs are safe as long as we take/eat them in moderation.
The issue is serious. The United States has the distinction of being the unhealthiest wealthiest country in the world today. So, how can a country with so many economic and natural resources not maintain healthy eating habits? The answer is simple and scary. Not only are the foods and drugs constructed by the 3 Big Pigs not safe, they are driving the catastrophic decline in the health of Americans and seriously decreasing the quality of life for millions of people.
Clean food heals the dysfunction and diseases caused by polluted foods. One of the reasons my patients get well is that they learn to trust food again by learning how to “eat clean.” Clean eating empowers them—it frees them from the slavery of addiction, and it calms the anxiety they have about eating. The more clean food they eat, the fewer cravings they have because the systems that regulate eating behaviors and weight fluctuations stabilize in the presence of clean food. Under these circumstances my patients can learn new healthy eating patterns.
The sad thing is that most of the treatment for eating disorders completely ignores the role of food pollution during recovery. To highlight how important clean food is and how destructive therapies can be that ignore the problems with our food, I’m going to describe the experience of a young patient of mine (age 14) in a typical residential treatment program for eating disorders.
In the residential program MA was ingesting the majority of her calories in the form of Boost as a behavioral consequence of refusing to eat. She was also being kept in bed, all day, every day, for 13 days in a row. Understand she was not being kept in bed because she was too medically unstable to be up and around; she was kept in bed because she refused to eat. Her parents, or their insurance company, were paying a small fortune for this “treatment.”
Her treatment with me began by giving her choices about her food. She could pick whatever she wanted, as long as it was clean and had the necessary nutrients for her to slowly regain her weight. She slowly but consistently has expanded her foods to include everything she needs to thrive while consistently gaining weight.
Here is her experience with my approach to eating disorder treatment:
Did I mention this patient is only 14? She wasn’t asked to write this, she felt compelled to. After having such a terrible experience in residential treatment and finally finding a treatment program that was really working for her she needed to express what was changing in her relationship with food.
Whether you are bingeing, purging, restricting or are addicted- I guarantee that polluted food is playing a part in your illness. The food is at fault!
 These are the first 10 ingredients in Boost: water, sugar, corn syrup, milk protein concentrate, vegetable oil, (Canola, High Oleic Sunflower, Corn) soy protein isolate, and Carrageenan. The only ingredient that is not GMO or a form of processed L-Glutamine (MSG) which is highly addicting, is the water. (See Chapter _ Sources of Food Pollution)