If This Could Improve Your Mental Health Would You Do It?

What you eat impacts your mood. An explanation:
The first image shows how various foods impact your blood sugar levels. Notice that fat is least likely to promote blood sugar, protein is second and carbohydrates are far and away the most likely. Also, note the quick rise and fall of blood sugar as promoted by carbohydrates, in contrast with more sustained curves for protein and fat. This is important, as the steep, quick curve of carbohydrates can promote mood swings.
The body makes insulin in response to a rise in blood sugar. Insulin controls blood sugar, and prevents it from getting too high. Insulin is a storage hormone that turns blood sugar to fat.
The second and third graphs illustrate the story of insulin, blood sugar and mood swings.
The second graph illustrates ideal fluctuations in blood sugar, along with insulin. For health, you should not sustain blood sugar or insulin that is too high. In general, to achieve this ideal trend it is best not to eat highly refined carbohydrates (sugars and starches that spike blood sugar–see the first chart), and to eat adequate fats (which have little effect on blood sugar, also illustrated on the first chart). Eating this way creates a buffer against stress, keeping hunger at bay while promoting an emotionally smooth day and amiable mood.
To be clear, sugar is not the only sugar in our diet.  Grain flours and their products turn to sugar in your digestive system, and enter the bloodstream as glucose.  Examples:  An unsweetened bowl of cornflakes is a bowl of sugar (glucose); a bag of bread is a bag of sugar; a bowl of oatmeal is a bowl of sugar; a plain bagel is a bolus of sugar, etc.  Fruits of all kinds, tropical fruits in particular (bananas, e.g.) contain sugar.  Dates and raisins are high in sugar.  Milk sugar (lactose) is sugar.  Sugar, sugar, sugar…  I think you get the picture.
The third chart applies to the a Standard American Diet (SAD), a 55-65% carbohydrate diet, much of this composed of processed foods, refined starches and both natural and added sugars (see the sugar examples in the paragraph above). See the yellow area under the curve? That is excess blood sugar.  If this gets high enough it could put you in a coma.
Fortunately, the human body has a strategy to avert this danger: insulin to the rescue!  Insulin whisks away excess blood sugar, helps convert it to fat then locks it safely away in your fat stores.
But, while it saves your life, there is a downside to this 911 system. When a surge of insulin kicks in there is a rapid decline in energy, resulting in hunger, often accompanied by anxiety, headaches, irritability and other symptoms. You may feel “hangry” (hungry and angry). You need fast relief. You grab the nearest refined starch or sugar (bagel, e.g.), and up goes your blood sugar. You feel better for a time,then the cycle starts over again. 
Folks who eat this way complain of frequent bouts of hunger, mood swings, irritability, poor concentration, anxiety, panic, post-meal drowsiness and “brain fog” during the day. Over time there is stubborn weight gain. This high refined carbohydrate diet can be a disaster for the brain. Eat this way often enough over decades and you could become demented (Alzheimer’s, aka Type III Diabetes).
So, which of the last two graphs is yours? If giving up refined grains (including whole wheat breads), cereals of all kinds, and sugars while eating more fat could help improve your mental health, would you do it?

My Lecture from May of 2015

With thanks to Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low Carb http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com/ I present my 2015 Low Carb Cruise lecture.

In this lecture I explain 3 things:

1.  Why I believe humans are carnivores (click http://buff.ly/1SGyFgp to see how some of the slides looked in this section)

  1.  Eating for dental health enhances physical and mental health
    3. Low carb, high fat eating is “the bomb” for dental and mental health, particularly for people with pre-diabetes and diabetes.

    To hear my lecture, just click the link below:


Thanks for listening–Cheers!


The WHO and Meat

The World Health Organization has a longstanding reputation for discouraging meat, and red meat in particular.

In defense of dietary meat, I pose this (long!) question:  Given that heme iron from meats (higher in red meat) is the most bioavailable iron source in the human diet http://buff.ly/1kMKRRh ; that iron deficiency is on the rise in America in women of reproductive age (if these women become pregnant they may have complicated pregnancies and their infants may be born with permanent cognitive disabilities, or may acquire such disabilities within the first three years of life) http://buff.ly/1LVG6M7  with the bulk of iron deficiency seen in children, whose natural developmental requirements render them particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency-related disability http://buff.ly/1k7i4Gt ; that longstanding iron deficiency in young children is associated with permanent cognitive impairments, even when iron is restored http://buff.ly/1k7iNYn  ; that 15% of American children (1 in 7) currently have developmental disabilities http://buff.ly/1N5p6r2 , and iron deficiency/iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwidehttp://buff.ly/1N5psOi  , is a move by the World Health Organization to discourage consumption of meat the most helpful dietary strategy for the health of nations?

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be weaned to meats and vegetables http://buff.ly/1WfV4qm

I rest my case.


Congressional Hearing on Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015

Criticism rained on the heads of the Secretaries of Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Agriculture on October 7th, 2015 regarding the pending Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

I recently received a summary of comments, as organized by Nina Teicholz.  Rather than provide the entire, many pages long document, I’ve published some highlights for you.

Please understand that, because this writer is a human being with a passionate viewpoint, you are likely to see what I believe are highlights.  With apologies in advance, please understand that is the problem with reading what humans with strong opinions write. I will try to be even handed, while brief.

These are not necessarily in the order they were spoken, and there may be typos.  Caveats said, here we go:

Guidelines are for prevention, not treatment

VILASCK (Secretary of Agriculture): I think it’s important for people to understand precisely what they [the Guidelines] are and what they are not. This is not about treating disease.

That’s not what these guidelines are about. These guidelines are about preventing that circumstance to begin with. There isn’t an avenue within the guidelines today for that treatment discussion. And that’s I think why there’s a lot of confusion about all of this and why there’s a lot of angst about it, because some people are looking at the guidelines as treating all health issues. And we’re looking at what the law requires us to do, and that is focus on dietary and nutritional guidelines relative to prevention.


Most Americans need treatment


BENISHEK (R-MI): As a physician, I have been involved in peer reviewed science in my training and in my career …That’s why I’m concerned that — because it is leading to me to — some of your comments suggested that, you know, with diabetes and pre-diabetes and obesity are major problems in this country and because of the cutdown in the fat portion of the diet, we’re in — we’re recommending more carbohydrates. Well, this is a — that’s exactly the problem that pre-diabetics and diabetics have is not being able to respond to carbohydrates.

So, I mean, for the majority of the people — 52 percent of the people being pre-diabetic, this is the wrong diet to recommend. So when you say it’s a general diet, well, that’s great, but then it — shouldn’t it be a — you know, the caveats that Ms. Hartwere (ph) mentioned. I mean, this is pretty serious stuff here because I — somebody else mentioned when we were kids, people aren’t as fat back when we were kids; w’were eating more fat.

And it — frankly, it is — it’s not an exercise thing as — as — as far as I can see because, you know, I’m experienced with that. You — if you eat a lot, you can — you can’t exercise it all off. You have to get it right.


Infants, children and youth are not served


DAVIS (R-IL): My most serious concern today is what I see as a lack of evidence to show that the recommended dietary patterns proposed by DGA have been based on any evidence on children. According to the citations in some previous advisory reports for recommendations, the recommended diet has been tested almost exclusively on middle-aged men and women whose nutritional needs obviously are very different from young people and growing children…

In particular, I’m concerned because young children need certain vitamins and minerals, obviously, in order to grow and develop. You know, we’re talking about where in previous reports, the expert report states that their recommended dietary patterns do not meet sufficiency goals for potassium, vitamin D, vitamin E, choline and a vitamin A sufficiency, may be marginal.

Conflicts of interest on the committee

A.SCOTT (R-GA): There are certainly some questions about the fact that Ms. Millen (ph) was from the private sector there are questions about the fact that she’s now a member of the private sector chairing the committee.

Historically, we have not allowed industry representatives on the panel.


Red meat


The following discussion of red meat is in order of occurrence: 


VILSACK (Secretary of Agriculture): In terms of the issue of red meat, I think it’s fairly clear that there’s a recognition that lean meat is and should be part of a healthy diet. I think the challenge is to understand that as Americans, if we look at the obesity epidemic that we’re confronting in this country, that some of us are consuming more calories than we should.

And so the recommendation is in relationship to the over all consumption of calories, and one way to reduce the overall consumption of calories is obviously to eat less of certain things. And in that category would be red meat, but that’s by no means the only thing in that category. So I want to be clear here…


ROGERS (R-AL): Well, I don’t understand. I’m sorry, Mr. Vilsack, but why would you include in that category red meat? I mean, why wouldn’t you just say anything that takes you over a caloric level that’s unacceptable, you shouldn’t eat. Why would there be a category of things not to eat?

VILSACK (Secretary of Agriculture): There — because of the importance of having balance in terms of what you consume, in terms of what a healthy diet consists of. Again, remember what this is. It’s a set of guidelines which is designed to give you the best chance of reducing cardiovascular, cancer and chronic diseases.

ROGERS (R-AL): But wouldn’t red meat be part of a…

VILSACK (Secretary of Agriculture): It is.

ROGERS (R-AL): … list of things that you should eat as long as you eat lean…

VILSACK (Secretary of Agriculture): It is. It is. That’s what I’m saying.

ROGERS (R-AL): I’m sorry. I thought you said that you would put it in a list of things not to eat.

VILSACK (Secretary of Agriculture): No.

VILSACK (Secretary of Agriculture): I can, and I can also suggest — it’s my understanding — and maybe I’m wrong about this — that the report basically is fairly consistent with the recommendation that was made in the 2010 guidelines with reference to lean meat. I would be surprised if our final conclusion is not to include that as part of a healthy diet.


What I think


If the Dietary Guidelines for Americans were just guidelines, America could take them or leave them. But the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are mandates. They mandate the contents of school lunch programs, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for low income women, children and families), influence hospital food and more.


With the health of our nation at stake, complacency contributes to our current problem.  As Dr. Benishek rightly points out to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, “You have to get it right.”


I let my Representative know what I think.  Let your Representative know what you think.


Thank you.


Nutrition’s Industry Conflicts

With the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans under discussion, industry conflicts of interest are highlights of nutrition news.  Recently a Premier Sponsor of the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), CocaCola, broke ties with the
AND http://buff.ly/1LYgO3F .

Of note, CocaCola continues to maintain sponsorships with:

The American College of Cardiology http://buff.ly/1iRBIpn


The American Academy of Pediatrics http://buff.ly/1O9b8E2

Links below connect you to critiques from Eat Drink Politics on conflicts of interest among national nutrition entities:
US, 2013: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (aka AND. Of note, sponsors have changed since this was published)


Australia, 2015: Dietitians Association of Australia (aka DAA)

What do you think?  Do you agree with Eat Drink Politics that money talks?  Or is advice provided by sponsored national organizations in the United States and Australia unbiased and objective, funding sources notwithstanding?


Dr. Childers’ Paleo Pancake Recipe for One or Two

Gluten free, milk dairy free, low carbohydrate and delicious!

1/2 Cup Sprouted Almonds, Macadamia Nuts or Filberts

(HigherPower.biz in Eugene, Oregon has them available on line ????

1/2 tsp Aluminum Free Baking Powder

2 TBSPs Great Lakes Gelatin

4 large organic eggs

Celtic Sea Salt to taste (about 3-4 pinches; more if you like them saltier)

I use a Magic Bullet or NutriBullet for these.  A regular blender works as well:
Put dry ingredients in blender and blend until almonds turn to flour.

Add eggs and blend again.

Fry as you would regular pancakes, flipping when slightly dry with lots of bubbles.

Serve loaded with butter or ghee from pastured cows, and toppings of your choice (fresh or thawed blueberries, e.g.).

To make crepes, thin the batter with water to the consistency you like.

Leftover pancakes make great roll ups or “sandwiches”.



Time to Reveal: Life Balance Coffee!

OK, folks, I am no expert on coffee specialties.  And depending on your views or health conditions (anxiety, adrenal fatigue, lack of sleep, stomach upset, irritability, e.g.) coffee, caffeinated or not, may not be the best idea for you.   But for those fortunate coffee lovers who thrive on the bean, the aroma and flavor are irreplaceable.

This said, it is time for to share my Life Balance Coffee secret with you.

You will need:
Caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee beans, ground medium to medium-fine
1 TBSP powdered gelatin
1 TBSP (or to taste) unsalted ghee or clarified butter, from pastured cows
Unwhipped heavy organic whipping cream, preferably from pastured cows, to taste (optional) The ingredients listed on the carton should be limited to “cream”, and nothing else.
Stevia if you need a little sweetener; some folks prefer luo han guo.  I use KAL Pure Stevia (in the individual brown packs–just a tiny bit; it’s powerful stuff!), or a little Slim Sweet Lo Han.
Water just off the boil (about 210 degrees).

Before you begin, take time to find coffee you love.  If the aroma of the beans and the coffee’s flavor lift you into a state of bliss, caffeine notwithstanding, you’ve got the right stuff.  Life is to short to drink coffee you just tolerate.

Put 1 TBSP of gelatin powder in the bottom of your coffee cup.  You read that right, gelatin.  I use Great Lakes Gelatin, Kosher Beef type.  Dampen with water and mix it quickly to a smooth consistency, before it clumps; unless, of course, you prefer the texture of lumpy coffee, as some people do.  Gelatin gives your coffee a smooth and creamy mouth feel, while super charging your nutrition.  It makes me feel great, drops the aches in my joints, and it seems to whiten my teeth–wierd, right?  But I digress…

Make your morning coffee as you usually do.  I like to stir the grinds into a glass container full of just off the boil water (about 210 degrees F), let it stand for 4 minutes, then pour the mix through a filter into my cup.

Immediately after your filtered coffee reaches the cup, stir thoroughly by hand to mix in the gelatin until smooth, being sure to scrape gelatin from the bottom of the cup.  I use a 5 inch whisk for this purpose.

Mix in the ghee/clarified buttter, and if you wish, heavy unwhipped whipping cream to taste. Stir in sweetener if you like it that way.  The butter will probably float to the top; if so, it’s OK.  You might even see butter droplets from the heavy whipping cream.  If so, lucky you ????

That’s it!  Rich and delicious Life Balance Coffee!  Enjoy.

Depressed Much? Starches and Sweets Could Be To Blame

A diet bad for your waistline could be bad for your mental health, researchers find.  Refined sugars and starches were associated with depression in post menopausal women in a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative.  Refined sugars and starches can be found in commercial breakfast cereals, bread, cookies, cakes, candies, muffins, protein and energy bars, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice, sports gels, grain and potato products, pizza, chips, and more.

Researchers said sugars and starches (refined carbohydrates) such as are found in white bread, white rice and sugary drinks trigger a hormonal response in the body that lead to a sugar “crash”, a steep decline in blood sugar levels, causing or worsening mood changes, fatigue and other symptoms of depression.

[I would like to add that other research shows whole wheat bread is even more likely to cause sugar crashes than white bread; typical brown rice and starchy/sugary gluten free products also lead to crashes.  Don’t be fooled by the phrase “no sugar added”.  If it is made of starch, or naturally sugary like fruit juice, to your body it’s sugar (glucose).  Whether or not it is sweetened your body perceives starches as sugars.  Think of a loaf of bread as a bag of sugar; a carton of orange juice as a carton of sugary drink; a bowl of cereal as a bowl of sugar, a cup of fat free skim milk as a milk sugar drink, etc.]

The reports go on to note that high consumption of refined starches and sugars is a known risk factor for inflammation and cardiovascular disease, conditions also thought to cause or worsen depression.

“Although our study only included post-menopausal women, the theorized mechanisms by which a diet high in refined carbohydrates could lead to depression would apply to other populations as well,” Gangwisch told CBS News in an email.  There is a high likelihood these populations include you and me ????

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but since I’ve already gone there, here’s my recommendation: If you are depressed, or if you don’t want to be, take this news seriously and make dietary changes today.   Reject those yummy delicious processed and refined carbohydrates and sugars you crave so much. Substitute them with carbohydrates from whole foods, fresh vegetables, berries and more, found on the perimeter of most grocery stores.  Eat well sourced meats, fish, eggs, poultry, shell fish, real pastured butter or ghee, and other fresh foods, fats included. Your cravings will diminish, and your brain will thank you.

Read more here http://buff.ly/1IT1lQo and here http://buff.ly/1Mdk3F3

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015: Update

Dear Readers,

I thought you’d like to see the latest on the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, if you have not already.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC, also listed as DGA) makes recommendations to the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services about what should be published in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scheduled for September of 2015.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the academy that oversees America’s Registered Dietitians.  Two items of interest are listed below:

Academy Submits 2015 DGA Recommendations http://buff.ly/1OVAkwb and Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics Commends Strong, Evidence-Based Dietary Guidelines Report http://buff.ly/1ISZviC (Press Release)

Quotes that follow are from the Press Release, above.  Underlines are my own emphasis, and not part of the original text.

Cholesterol and Saturated Fat:

“In comments recently submitted to USDA and HHS, the Academy supports the DGAC in its decision to drop dietary cholesterol from the nutrients of concern list and recommends it deemphasize saturated fat from nutrients of concern, given the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease” (by the way, the DGAC and AND agree on cholesterol)


“There is a distinct and growing lack of scientific consensus on making a single sodium consumption recommendation for all Americans, owing to a growing body of research suggesting that the low sodium intake levels recommended by the DGAC are actually associated with increased mortality for healthy individuals,” Connor said.


“The Academy supports an increased focus on reduction of added sugars as a key public health concern.” (not far enough, IMO–see my next post Depressed Much? Starches and Sweets Could Be To Blame, which describes the role of refined starches in raising blood sugar and causing blood sugar “crashes”.)

So, here it is.  I hope these new recommendations will be emphasized in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 to be issued later this year, scheduled for as early as next month.

If the recommendations from the AND are not fully adopted it will be interesting to see whether America’s Registered Dietitians and its Academy practice in accordance with current Academy recommendations, or default to US Government recommendations.  Stay tuned.

Magnesium Recommendations for My Adult Patients

Many of my patients suffer from symptoms of magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium deficiency is difficult to diagnose, but worth the effort given that the “cure” is safe for most, economical, and has a high probability of improving both length and quality of life. An estimated 70% of Americans do not get enough magnesium from food.

Magnesium is a mineral that acts as a natural muscle relaxer.  Magnesium provides protection for the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system.  It helps protect us from physical and emotional stress.

Because it is essential to life, the body is skilled at moving magnesium to where it is needed.  The body circulates its magnesium cargo in blood to provide abundant magnesium to the heart and other organs, making it difficult to detect magnesium deficiency with a blood test.

People who do not have enough magnesium can suffer greatly, even become disabled in extreme cases.  When I suspect magnesium deficiency I consider whether my patient has any of the following symptoms:

Migraine Headaches (as many as half of migraine sufferers respond well to magnesium)
Grinding teeth; TMJ; jaw tightness or popping
Heart palpitations
Hearing loss
Absent morning hunger, quiet stomach (no growling)
Difficult to control asthma; tight chest
Difficulty managing blood sugars in metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, diabetes
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
High blood pressure
Muscle cramps and spasms
Facial tics, particularly around the eyes
Pre-menstrual syndrome and/or menstrual cramps
Irregular heart rhythm
Mitral valve prolapse
Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue symptoms

When I suspect magnesium deficiency in an adult patient, I usually make the following recommendations:

Make sure you have no heart or kidney disease before taking
Magnesium supplements.  Check with your healthcare provider to ensure you are a candidate for magnesium therapy and let your him or her know what you plan to take.

Start with 400 mg to 600 mg of magnesium every evening or as recommended by your healthcare provider.  Take with food.
Magnesium may be taken in divided doses if not tolerated (if
stools become too loose or you have stomach upset): for example, 200 mg twice a
day, 250 mg twice a day or 300 mg twice a day.  Again, take with food.
If your stools become too loose even with divided doses, cut
back on each dose (if it was too high at 300 mg twice a day, take 200 mg twice a day, e.g.).
If you get cramps or if cramps worsen, stop this supplement
and tell your healthcare provider.
Taking a B-6 vitamin or a multiple vitamin with B-6 in it helps magnesium to be absorbed into the cells.  Some preparations have B-6 in them; check the bottle.  Take no more than 75 mg B-6 total per day.
  • Magnesium Hydroxide (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Oxide (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Carbonate (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Aspartate (neurotoxic) or
  • Magnesium Glutamate (neurotoxic)
Look for:
  • Magnesium citrate (especially if constipation is a problem) 
  • Magnesium malate 
  • Magnesium glycinate 
  • Magnesium taurinate or taurate 
  • Magnesium succinate 

The best formulations, in my opinion: A combination of Magnesium Citrate & Magnesium
Malate.  Another good formula, in my opinion: Jigsaw Magnesium with SRT.
Source Naturals makes a couple of magnesium products.  One, Ultra-Mag, is an acceptable blend of
magnesium salts.
Jarrow Formulas makes Magnesium Optimizer, which is
Magnesium Citrate, Potassium Citrate and Taurine
My preferred magnesium formulation is Jigsaw
Magnesium with SRT, 125 mg tablets.  Take one to
two tablets twice a day or as directed by your physician.  You can order
this at: www.jigsawhealth.com or by telephone at: 866-601-5800 or on Amazon.com
You may be able to get adequate magnesium from food, depending on the health of top soils it is raised on and the methods in which the food is raised.  Potentially rich food sources of magnesium include sprouted pumpkin seeds. Other sources include squashes and green leafy vegetables, depending on how these are grown and prepared.  Water should be another source of magnesium, but here in Northwest Oregon we drink more soft water, which does not contain the calcium, magnesium and other minerals of hard water. 
To your health,
from Dr. Ann