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Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Face

My face. I almost didn't recognize it in the mirror. My face carries my head, held high, with flashing fierce green eyes. My eyebrows are more relaxed on my face as well as the lines by my eye and forehead. My eyes dance and flicker green at you with specks of gold thrown in. My smile glowed,and I smiled at everyone,very brightly - as bright as the sun! My lips look look pursed and strained. Additionally, my skin is a grayish hue and there are dark circles under my eyes!

The person I was looking at wasn't smiling, didn't look great, and just looked really tired.But most of all, I look so unhappy!

I had this realization in my bathroom a few minutes after this picture was taken.

The person I was looking at wasn't smiling, didn't look great, and just looked really tired. She didn't look like me, or what I perceived me to look like. I guess I've never really paid attention to those small details in life because there are just too many big details to think about. To be honest, I have never spent much time in front of a mirror because I had been raised a tomboy.

I know sickness and stress have made things worse. I have never been a beauty queen or anything, but this picture does me me feel self conscious about my appearance. But, I feel trapped at the same time because most days I'm too sick to do anything about my appearance. What do you do about this at home?

But, it is MY face, so I will love it because I love myself.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Stay Positive - Especially, in Difficult Situations

I know sometimes when you're in the darkness, it's hard to find any light. I can't tell you how many times that I've been kicked while I'm down or just feeling down. Sometimes, I feel like there's nothing left to fight for. When you're chronically ill, this isn't a new feeling. Everyone experiences some depression when fighting a long term illness. With Gastroparesis, it comes and goes. I'm going to share some tips I've found online to help you find your way back up to stay positive and to keep fighting.

Thirteen Ways to Stay Positive
by Wikihow - you can click HERE.

According to the article,

1. Examine your situation. What's causing the pain you are feeling? This is going to be key to working your way back to positive territory.

If it's situational—for example, you got fired, it's pouring down rain, and on the way home with all your office belongings in the car, that little spare tire that you've been running on gives up the ghost, leaving you stranded on the other side of town—you're going to need a different set of "positive" tools than if you have been diagnosed with a melanoma.

External factors can be dealt with by taking positive steps to repair or at least address the root problem as best as you can. Whatever the primary cause of the suckage, that cause must be addressed first. You may or may not be able to solve the problem, per se, but at least knowing you're taking positive steps forward is one less weight to have to carry, and it will help you improve your outlook. It will not be easy, of course, or we wouldn't be calling this "sucking."

If it's physical or mental—maybe you're bipolar, or suffer chronic depression—you must balance any attempt at "being positive" with an understanding that the reality is, it's going to be an ongoing battle for your own survival. Because depression will undermine even the strongest of wills, you will need help to maintain—or at least be reminded of—a positive outlook. Counseling, psychotherapy, and the right combination of medication will play a crucial role in helping to keep you from sinking into that very dark place that is the essence of depression. Be patient, but don't look for miracles. It may be that you will need the help of professionals throughout your life to maintain a generally even keel.

2. Don't give in. When you're in the middle of a suck vortex, those words will have little meaning, because everything you know in your bones to be true is telling you that giving in would be so easy to do.

People will tell you "just get over it," or "get a grip." They know—and you know—that if you were to look objectively at the sum of your life, that it's not as bad as it feels; there are many people whose lives are measurably worse than yours. So what! Their lives, no matter how terrible, are not your life, and your situation is unique to you.

Don't try to "get over it." If one could "will away" depression, there would be no need of doctors or drugs. What you can do is understand why you feel like you do, and explain to your would-be counselors that you wish it were that easy, and that you appreciate their concern. Don't push them away—at the very least, you can be positive that they are there for you, however clumsy and unaware their platitudes may be. Who knows, their bumbling efforts may even provide some amusement or distraction!

3. Take care of your body and soul. Given that you are probably an emotional wreck in a world of sewage, swimming in the debris of whatever damage the suckage has wrought, this is not the time to become a world champion hotdog eater, consumer of tubs of ice cream, or finding the bottom of the bottle of Jack. Treat yourself well, even though you feel like hell. How, you ask? Here are some ideas:

Give your pet some love. They know you're not their normal human, but the beauty of pets is unconditional, unquestioning love. Be playful with them, find a simple game that amuses both of you (the fake ball-throw is always a canine favorite), and let yourself forget your troubles for 5 or 10 minutes. It won't solve your problem, but it will lighten the load.

My personal advice is to contact a GP friend - either by phone or on Facebook. Get all of your anger out/frustration/sadness out. The person on the other end of the line understands completely.

Another bit of personal advice I'd like to throw in is to write. Writing has always been my stress outlet and it helps me cope with isolation and sadness.

4. Cut back on the caffeine drinks. You don't need to quit, but cutting back will help reduce chemically induced anxiety and stress, and smooth any recovery time.

Exercise your body. It may be a sport you enjoy, yoga, cross training, or even a simple walk in the park. But keeping your body active will help your outlook.

Throw yourself into a hobby you enjoy. Whether it's art, photography, music appreciation, or building a ship in a bottle, focusing on something other than the suck factor will give your mind some time off for good behavior.

Join a community that you're not already part of. It could be a support group for whatever you're going through, or a group of people that share your love of Lord of the Rings, or a charity such as Habitat for Humanity. You may find solace and purpose in ways you never imagined.

Do not crawl into a hole and disappear. Your friends and loved ones probably know your life sucks. They may or may not be able to help you directly, but they can give you emotional and moral support.

Sleep. You don't need to be told this. Your body is probably begging you for it when you are in the middle of hard times. You may actually be drawn to sleep all day. While that might feel good at the moment, it only puts off the inevitable, so try to maintain good sleeping habits. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, but allow yourself some leeway. If you sleep fitfully for half the night, then finally fall asleep at 4am, don't get up at 6:30 unless you absolutely must. Let your body get about 8 hours for the best results.

5. Seek help immediately. Yes, life sucks. Sometimes, it can become overwhelming to the point where you figure that swallowing a bottle of pills, or a 9 mm, will be preferable to another day of pain. If those thoughts start to invade your senses, deal with them as if your life depended on it—because it does.

If you're just starting to have those thoughts, speak to your physician or your therapist. They may prescribe something to help steer you back to the center, emotionally. It may be the act of talking about it is therapeutic enough, but don't assume that. Leave that call to the professionals.

If you're at a more advanced stage, thinking about last meals, what to write, how you'll do it, and if anybody will even care (or that this will "teach them a lesson"), stop whatever you 're doing. Pick up a phone. Dial 1-800-273-8255, and tell them what's on your mind.
If your urge is not quite immediate, go to Google, and enter "suicide hotline." The results should include the number above, plus local resources that can help, no matter what the cause.

Note that if your in the end stage of a terminal illness, the above suggestion may be not be the best course. Some countries, and one State in the United States, permits physician-assisted suicide—its purpose to provide for a quiet, controlled departure from this world.

Some Tips:

Remember to laugh. Laughing is a natural way to release tension.

Thinking positively means hanging on to hope and looking for new possibilities at the time when life's gotten too hard. It means striving against its challenges, however extreme. It means hanging on to what is good in yourself if everything else gets swept away and valuing your compassion, your warmth, your capacity to find beauty. There is always the sky, there is always a dewdrop on a weed. Speaking broadly, there is always tomorrow.

When you think positive, positive things do happen, in times of crisis it's hard but remember as hard as it seems the world does not owe us anything. Things happen for a reason. Stay strong, this is just a chapter in your life.

Be positive and active.

If the above fails for you, take the Buddhist view: Life is difficult. The fallacious thought is that we can change that. In accepting that life indeed is difficult, we begin to make it less painful...not less difficult.

To "go for it," simply get up and do it. If there's even the smallest voice inside saying, "Get up!", to do what it says; just dive in! Turn off the computer, turn off the TV, and get going!

When you think positively, you begin to view the world around a little more gently; you tend to look on the better, clearer side. Being resentful will render positive thinking useless.

Find a friend and talk it out. Ask them just to listen. Sometimes telling the situation out loud you hear it from outside your own head and see the situation more clearly. Talk therapy is great.

Leave bad fears in the past,don't let them ruin your future because its your future that your future that counts the most....

Love, forgive yourself. Don't be harsh on yourself.

How to Train Your Brain to Stay Positive - Article can be found by clicking HERE.

According to the article,

You can learn to cultivate resilience by training your brain to stay positive when times are tough.

"People tend to have a cognitive bias toward their failures, and toward negativity," says Matthew Della Porta, a positive psychologist and organizational consultant. Our brains are more likely to seek out negative information and store it more quickly to memory.

Work Positive in a Negative World Work Positive in a Negative World
By Joey Faucette

Of course, that bias is not always bad. Acknowledging problems and facing failures can lead us to better solutions. But too often, we go overboard, and beat ourselves up for our failures or let ourselves dwell in the negative.

By consciously increasing our focus on the positive, we start to even the balance. We find a happy medium where we can address failures and challenges without letting them get us down, leaving us more motivated, productive, and likely to succeed.

Try these three tips to help you train your brain to stay positive:

1. Express gratitude.Negative events loom large unless you consciously balance them out. "When you're faced with challenges, it's important to take stock of what's going well," Della Porta says. Thinking about the good in your life can help balance that bias, giving your brain the extra time it needs to register and remember a positive event.

To help your brain store positive events, reflect on what you're grateful for and why at least once a week. Write down your blessings, such as the opportunity to pursue a career you love or a family that supports you. If you prefer a daily habit, then keep a nightly log of good things that happened that day. "Just keep it very short," Della Porta says. "If you try to hammer [gratitude] home, then it becomes mundane." Day One, a journaling app for Apple devices ($4.99), or OhLife, a free email-based journal, can to help you do this.

2. Repeat positive affirmations. As any politician or advertiser knows, the more often you hear a message, the more likely you are to believe it. The same goes for messages about who you are and what you are capable of doing. By repeating positive affirmations with conviction several times each morning, you are training your brain to believe them. "Over time, you'll start to internalize them," Della Porta says. Repeat your affirmations silently if you feel self-conscious.

Choose two to three affirmations that represent your values and goals, such as 'I can handle whatever comes my way,' 'There is plenty of time,' or 'I’m getting better every day.' The repetition will influence the way you interpret negative events, making you more resilient. "Especially if you're predisposed to negative thinking, this can be extremely effective," Della Porta says.

3. Challenge negative thoughts. Each time a negative thought arises, we choose how to respond. If left to our own devices, we tend to dwell. Our brains home in on negative events so they seem much bigger and more significant than they are. To combat that, start by imagining the thought as separate from yourself, as something you can observe and deconstruct. "Get in the habit of distancing yourself instead of dwelling," Della Porta says.

Next, challenge negative thoughts that are unfairly self-deprecating. For example, if your start up doesn't get the traction you hoped, you might think, "I'm a failure." That's untrue and unproductive. Instead, practice interpreting the same event differently. You might say, I worked really hard but I didn't account for a quirk of the market, so I'm disappointed, but now I’m going to try again with new information. That interpretation is gentler, truer, and more proactive. "At first, [this strategy will] be hard and you’ll think it doesn't work," Della Porta says. "But over time, it'll become automatic and negative thoughts will be less likely to come up. No one does this naturally; you have to learn and practice."

Read more:

That leads me into the next article I found:

How to Stay Positive in Challenging Times which you can read by clicking HERE.

According to the article,

Are you having trouble staying in a positive state of mind when challenging circumstances present themselves? The universal laws state: So without, so within. Everything is a mirror. We cannot change the reflection, but we can change the original (ourselves), and then, automatically, the reflection changes.

Here are my top five keys that can help you cultivate not only a positive mindset, but also the feeling state necessary for the positive law of attraction. The more you focus on bringing awareness to accepting and loving yourself, the more your inner beauty and harmony are reflected in your outer circumstances.

1. Relax and Accept - Relax and accept the challenging situation. Don't fight it, because that will make it worse. The more relaxed you are, the more productive you are. Creativity arises out of a relaxed state. And it's creativity that you need to come up with solutions to the situation you are in. Notice that I use the word "situation" and not the word "problem." There is no such thing as a problem, only a situation. When you shift your perspective and see the situation as it is, without negative commentary, then you come up with creative solutions, and/or you find the right person to help you.

2. Watch the Mind- Make a practice of watching the thoughts of the mind with non-judgment and compassion for yourself. It is not the thoughts that are the problem, it is our identification with them that creates stress and anxiety.

For five minutes a day, sit with eyes closed, body relaxed, and observe the thoughts of the mind. You don't have to censor them, or force them to be other than they are, simply observe with non-judgment, and let them pass by.

Over time, you become less identified with the thoughts, and more connected to your creativity, wisdom and clarity.

3. Create Positive Thoughts - A powerful way to undermine the influence of negative thoughts on your wellbeing is to create a practice of saying positive thoughts to yourself. At the beginning, these might seem tedious or silly, but, believe me, it works! The easiest way to break a bad habit of self-judgment and criticism is to create positive phrases that you repeat to yourself as often as possible. Even if you don't really believe them in the beginning, say them anyway! Over time, they become a habit and the negative thoughts simply dissolve.

4. Surround Yourself With Positive People - Be alert to people who like to complain, bad-mouth others, and/or have a depressed outlook on life. Avoid them. Keep yourself in the company of positive thinking people. This is a powerful way to keep yourself in a positive energy field that will lift you rather than bring you down. Your life is not determined by outside circumstances, but rather by how you respond to those outside circumstances.

Remember that all things are possible, there is a lot going on that is unseen to you.

The more you keep yourself on a positive vibrational level, the greater your chances of having positive outcomes to challenging situations.

5. Be Grateful, Laugh, Celebrate - Be grateful for what you have. If things are really bad, be grateful for being able to breathe, get out of bed in the morning, use your legs. Be grateful for the sunrise and sunset, for the beauty of the sky, the trees, the birds and flowers. There is always something to be grateful for. Put your focus there and celebrate what you have. Laughter is a powerful attractor factor. Seek out ways to bring more laughter into your life. You will be amazed at the miracles that occur.

Meditation: Befriending the Mind

When you befriend the mind you are surprised how radically life can change. It becomes much easier to dis-identify from the mind's constant chattering and see yourself, and life's situations, with more clarity and objectivity. You see life's dramas with perspective and compassion, and insights and understandings arise naturally.

Find ways to befriend your mind. The mind is our bridge from the subconscious to the conscious, our gateway of expression to the outer world. Be grateful for it. Find ways to appreciate the insights, understandings, and creativity it brings. See it not as an enemy but as a friend.

As this friendship with the mind deepens, your mind no longer disturbs you. You are not fighting it; you are simply letting it's thoughts pass by.The mind and the ego want to make it complicated, but it is not. Life sings a different tune when you are not controlled by the mind. Your natural joy, spontaneity, self-acceptance, love and compassion arise quickly and easily.

There is one other article that I think you should read and it's at Live Your Life Well. It describes tools, much like the articles I've just quoted, that could help you too. Click HERE to read it.

I know it's hard to stay positive, but look inside yourself and find one positive thing that's happened to you today. Mine was that I was able to leave the bed. It seems such a small thing but it's the little victories that make you pick yourself up to keep fighting.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Poop - What the Different Colors and Smells Mean

Image taken from Doctor Oz here:

I know this is a taboo subject because many of us are embarrassed to ask for help. I, myself, have had issues going number two in the bathroom. If I do have a bowel movement, it takes weeks.

When I finally can go to the bathroom, I'm in there pretty much nonstop. There is no warning for it, I have to go RIGHT THEN. So I decided to share some sources with you to help you when you are questioning weird smells or colors of stool.

Stool color is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool. As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes — changing the pigments from green to brown. Below are the colors and what they mean.

According to Wikihow, here's how they break it down,

"An Article From Wikihow which is here:

Medium brown bowel movement: Think "mb-BM" -- the healthy, reassuring color for your well being. Keep your GI system running smoothly, checking these suggested color-rules -- regularly and keep regular (twice a day is great, but even harder with GP).

Virtually all brownish-tan to medium shades of brown (color caused by bile during digestion) and even green (colored by green vegetables) are considered normal. Very dark brown stool color indicates a potentially serious intestinal condition due to bleeding.

Dull red or dull black bowel movement. Scary, but not always bad! Check this: dark or reddened stool, may often be:

Related to food or medications. Red shades? That may be from red food: beets and tomato sauce/paste products (eating a lot of various red sauces), BBQ, loading up on Ketchup, beets, cranberries, tomato juice (or soup), red gelatin or drink mixes, paprika and red pimiento peppers in sufficiently large amounts.

Dulled blackish shades may be seen after eating black jelly beans, black licorice, blueberries, iron pills, or using some anti-diarrhea medications.

Green bowel movement. Shades of green are considered unusual but normal (including green seen in diarrhea, regardless of color can be very serious, when food passes through the colon too quickly for final digestion there that can cause a green shade).[2] Green stool is not only on Saint Patty's Day, but can be from the green beer (green dyes in the food). And, also the result of consuming:

Green vegetables, including greens, spinach

Iron supplements (see black)

Or certain medications.

When to Seek Out Emergency Help:

Urgent -- tarry black, "black as tar": This is a sign of dangerous, deadly "bleeding" (a significant amount of digested blood). Call your doctor -- or get 'emergency care'! about checking bleeding or hemorrhaging in the upper GI tract: intestines, the stomach or the esophagus.

Urgent -- ashy pale colors: these can indicate liver or pancreas problems -- Call your doctor! If you see gray, clay-like stool that not only may suggest a liver problem, but also could mean your pancreas is inflamed and/or infected. Bile made by the liver is what makes stools turn brown; by not having enough bile, you'll get those ashen shades indicating:

Obstruction (possibly gallstones) of bile creation or its ducts, such as by infections, scarring, possibly by tumor or cancer, in the area of the liver, pancreas or gallbladder, Pancreatitis, Cirrhosis (Hardening) of the liver, or hepatitis.

Light-colored, white or clay-colored may suggest a lack of bile in stool. This may indicate a bile duct obstruction. Side effect of certain medications, such as "large doses" of bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol) and other anti-diarrheal drugs.

Caution: If there is a significant amount of bloody red stool, blood streaking, often caused by bleeding of internal or external hemorrhoids, or a maroon/red poop which means undigested blood: including other internal bleeding in the lower intestine, such as the large intestine or rectum -- Call your doctor -- or get 'emergency care' if: These red poops can also be of other kinds and due to:

Intestinal bleeding, including diverticulitis, ruptured intestinal walls (Dial that doc!).

Needs diagnosis. Yellow, greasy, foul-smelling. Excess fat in the stool can be due to a malabsorption disorder, for example, celiac disease, involving the protein gluten, as in breads and cereals. But, see a doctor for evaluation. Yellow stool is unusual, and may be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Yellow stool can be caused by conditions that reduce pancreatic lipase production or that block its transport to the intestines.

Infection, yellow diarrhea, if Giardia. That is a parasite that can be found in waste products and contaminated water, can cause yellow diarrhea, fever, and flu-like symptoms. "If your yellow stool persists for more than a day or two or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care."

When to Worry:

Record notes on getting worried about "any other colors" you're passing/dropping: think about all the possibilities:

Keep a record for 3- to 7-days to share your shades with your medical team to get the doctor's blessing/discursive views.

Check the reasons change color and "Poop Color Chart" (which you will see as the first picture posted at the beginning of this entry). You can see a page of facts about poop color at an online school.

Newborns, infants and toddlers

Observe newborns and infants, see also, Understand Baby Health by Poop Colors, Stool:
Newborns early-on will pass a dark green stool called meconium, which is normal, as are:
Breast-fed infants often producing yellow-green, green-brownish stool colors.
Formula-fed infants often moving yellowish, light-tan or brownish stool colors. See a doctor. Black, very dark, bloody after the first few days from being born is not normal."

I wanted to get a broaden my research to see if there are other perspectives that might be helpful as well. I mean, I knew what most stools meant but I'm learning things I never knew while writing this article.

According to WebMD, the link found here: this information could be helpful:

"Bowel movements are the end result of your body taking the nutrients it needs from the food you eat and eliminating what's left.

“Bowel movements are important for your health because they are the body’s natural way of excreting waste from the body,” says Eric Esrailian, MD, section head in general gastroenterology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

When it comes to frequency, color, shape, and size, a general rule of thumb is that normal bowel movements are defined as what’s comfortable for you. But being knowledgeable about your digestive process can help you identify when normal goes awry.

Frequency: “There is no normal when it comes to frequency of bowel movements, only averages” says Bernard Aserkoff, MD, a doctor in the GI Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

It’s average to go once or twice a day, he says, but many people go more, and some go less -- maybe every other day, and or as infrequently as once or twice a week. As long as you feel comfortable, you don’t need to give your BMs much thought.

Color: “Bowel movements are generally brown in color because of bile, which is produced in the liver and important to the digestion process,” Aserkoff tells WebMD.

The food you eat typically takes three days from the time you eat it until it finishes its journey in your toilet, Aserkoff says. If it takes a shorter time, the result may be greener stool because green is one of the first colors in the rainbow of the digestive process.

Color can be a red flag when it’s a drastic change, Aserkoff says.

“If stool is black, it can mean that you are bleeding internally, possibly as a result of an ulcer or cancer,” he says. Stool that is black due to bleeding is also "sticky" (tarry) and smells bad. However, black stools are common when taking a vitamin that contains iron or medications that contain bismuth subsalicylate.

Stool that is light in color -- like grey clay -- can also mean trouble if it’s a change from what you normally see. Although it doesn’t happen often, very light-colored stool can indicate a block in the flow of bile or liver disease.

Size and shape: “We used to believe that size was indicative of a problem if the stool was ‘pencil-thin,’” Aserkoff says. “But recent research indicates that this is actually not true.” Size and shape are irrelevant, Aserkoff says, if what’s coming out is normal for you.

Odor: Bowel movements usually smell. But is it normal if your trips to the bathroom mean that the rest of the family has to avoid that part of the house for an hour or two?

The answer is yes. It’s normal, and probably a good sign that your gut is abundant with bacteria that is working hard to keep you healthy.

Your intestines are swarming with trillions upon trillions of bacteria that enhance digestive and metabolic processes. They are also the reason why poop smells -- a direct result of the bacterial activity in your GI tract. So although it's no bed of roses, it is normal for your bowel movements to stink.
Poop Problems

So what happens when your poop process gets out of whack? The first sign that your intestines aren’t up to par is a shift from your normal GI routine, and as a result, discomfort below the waist.

Constipation and Diarrhea

Constipation is a concern when you normally have a bowel movement once or twice a day, and that changes -- maybe you haven’t gone in three days, or more. However long it’s been, you now feel gassy, bloated, and generally uncomfortable. When you try to go, you have to push and strain, and what comes out is a whole lot of nothing.

Constipation can have many causes. It might be that you’ve had a shift in your diet, such as a drop in fiber intake, or maybe because you’re not drinking enough water each day, or because your physical activity level has decreased, slowing your metabolic processes down, including digestion. Certain medications (such as narcotic pain medicines and iron supplements) can also cause constipation problems.

Although constipation causes one set of problems, diarrhea can also mean digestive disaster. Whether it’s caused by a meal that just didn’t sit right, or a harmful bacterium or virus, it's categorized by loose stool, and another hallmark of GI trouble -- discomfort.

“Diarrhea can be caused by any number of factors,” Aserkoff says. “But the problem with diarrhea, in addition to the obvious, is that it can cause other health problems, like dehydration, if you’re living with it for more than two or three days.”

Generally, you recoup from a bout of diarrhea or constipation in a day or two, Aserkoff says. If not, it’s probably worth a trip to the doctor for further GI troubleshooting.

Blood in the Stool

“One of the most significant warning signs when it comes to bowel movements is blood in the stool,” Esrailian says.

Blood in your stool could be a symptom of something as significant as cancer and warrants a call to your doctor right away -- even if you think it could be hemorrhoids, or tiny tears in the anal tissue, as a result of constipation and straining, he says. If you’re over 50, or if you have a family history of colorectal cancer, a colonoscopy is probably in order.

Other warning signs to watch for when your bowel movements have taken a turn for the worse are fever, abdominal pain, or dehydration -- any one of which could be tied to GI trouble, such as a virus, appendicitis, or food poisoning.

Proper hydration is also key for your colon, ensuring you have enough fluid in your body to move stool through the digestive track and out the other end on a regular basis, Esrailian says.

Exerciseis also beneficial for your bowels. It helps improve GI “motility,” he says, and can often alleviate constipation by improving your metabolic and digestive processes.

Overall, normal is a pretty easy mark to make when it comes to your bowel movements, both experts say, and aside from the warning signs they offered, what goes in one end usually comes out the other with minimal problems along the way."

Poop Smells and What They Mean:

According to Kymberly Snyder, with her link here:,

++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
What is your poop and pee telling you
Source:What Your Poop and Pee Mean

Five Ways Poop can Advise you for Your Health:
Article by Lynda Thrasybule, link here:

"A person's poop can say a lot about his or her health. How often you go to the bathroom, and how much waste you expel, can indicate your general digestive health.

"The digestive tract contains more bacterial cells than there are cells in the entire body," said Dr. Jean-Pierre Raufman, a gastroenterologist at University of Maryland School of Medicine. "It's very important that our bowels work well to absorb necessary nutrients but also keep out any foods, chemicals and germs that could do us harm."

While most people probably don't want to put much thought into pooping, it's an essential body function that can tell them if something is wrong. A change in bowel movements could be due merely to a change in diet, but it could also mean the body is fighting an infection or dealing with a serious condition.

Here are five hints that your poop could be giving you about your health"


Stool color is often a reflection of what you eat. While various shades of brown are considered normal, some colors like black or yellow are not.

"Black stool could indicate bleeding in the stomach or the first part of the small intestine," Raufman said.

Iron supplements can darken the stool to more of a dark green, he added. Taking bismuth-containing medicines, such as Pepto-Bismol, or eating black licorice or blueberries also may cause black stools.

Bright red stool usually suggests that blood is coming from the lower part of the digestive system, such as the large intestine, rectum or anus.

Pale white or yellow stool also can mean a problem.

"The reason why stool is brown is because of our normal production of bile," Raufman said. "If there's a problem with bile flow, that may mean a problem like cancer of the bile ducts, or pancreatic cancer or hepatitis."


A change in stool shape also could be cause for concern. Stools that are narrow and pencil-thin are thought by some experts to be a symptom of colon cancer.

"It could be a sign of obstruction in the lower part of the colon," which means the bowel is partially blocked, getting in the way of the fecal matter that is passing through, Raufman said.

Another sign of a potential problem is soft stool. Stool that sticks to the side of the toilet bowl, or is difficult to flush, could indicate the presence of too much oil.

"Oil floats, so you'll see it in the water," Raufman said. "They look like fat droplets, which can mean the body isn't absorbing the fats properly." Diseases such as chronic pancreatitis block the body from properly absorbing fat.

Whether stool floats depends on how much gas is in it. "Generally, stool that sinks or floats don't mean there's a problem," he said.


Though the smell of poop can be rather unpleasant, smells that are particularly strange or foul shouldn't be ignored.

"It's hard to tell people that stool can smell even worse, but it can," Raufman said. "If there is a change in your stool that persists or is unusual, you should see your doctor."

Stool is made up of undigested food, bacteria, mucus and dead cells. It usually smells bad because of the bacteria and parasites, but it also can have compounds that produce an especially unpleasant smell.

"If you have blood in your stool, that usually comes with a particular strange odor," he said. "Also, stool with a lot of fat can smell particularly bad."

Reasons for a foul smell could include certain medications, having food that's been stuck in the colon for too long, or having an infection, he said.


Dry, hard stools that are hard to eliminate are a sign of constipation. People who are constipated may have bowel movements fewer than three times a week.

Constipation is a common complaint, and most people experience it at least once in their lives. More than 4 million Americans have frequent constipation, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Constipation could be caused by a number of factors, including a poor diet, lack of exercise, certain medications, lack of fluids or various bowel disorders.

If ignored, constipation could lead to complications such as hemorrhoids or rectal bleeding. The best way to relieve symptoms is to follow a well-balanced high-fiber diet, drink plenty of water, try to exercise regularly and go to the bathroom when you feel the urge.


Diarrhea happens when loose, watery stools pass through your bowels too quickly. Generally it lasts one or two days and goes away on its own.

"It's a normal way for the body to get rid of toxic substances, like bacteria or viral infections," but it also can lead to dehydration, Raufman said.

Parasites found in water and food can enter the body and disrupt the digestive system, causing diarrhea that can last several days.

Diarrhea also can suggest a more serious problem. Diarrhea that lasts for at least four weeks may be a sign of a chronic disease, such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease.

But diarrhea also could be a sign of chewing gum that contains sugar alcohol, such Xylitol or sorbitol. Raufman said, "Someone who chews one or two packs of sugar-free gum a day could also get diarrhea.""

I hope this has been as informative to you as it has to me! I learn new things all of the time about GP. But, the poop question, I couldn't pass up. I know a lot of people are curious about it, so I hope this article helps!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Aversions to Food and Why the Smells Make You Ill

I recently received a request to cover this subject. I have to admit that I was a bit curious too. If anyone cooks (my room is off of the kitchen) or makes coffee, I start vomiting. If I sit down and try to eat, I can't I'm being conditioned not to eat by my scumbag brain and here's why:

The psychology of food aversions
Written by: David Solot with CNN

He writes,
Is there a food you just don’t like, and you can’t explain why? Or perhaps a food that made you sick once, and now you can’t come near it? It could be the result of a million-year-old survival mechanism.

When I was about six years old, I started hating cherry Jell-O. There was no apparent reason for it. I liked cherry Kool-Aid and shaved ice, and I was fine with other flavors of Jell-O. But the sight or smell of cherry Jell-O would instantly make me nauseated.

My reaction to it was so bad that my parents used to tell people I was allergic to it, just to avoid my reaction. They even wrote it down under “allergies” on a school form. I just couldn’t touch it without feeling sick.

Perhaps you feel the same way about raw tomatoes, yogurt, or eggs. If there’s a food that makes you feel sick on sight, chances are that your brain is enacting a behavior that’s been passed down for millions of years. It’s called taste aversion, and it’s one of the strongest conditioned reactions in humans.

Here’s how taste aversion works: You and your buddies go out for a few drinks. You’re young and wild and love drinks with the strong coconut flavor of Malibu Rum. Things get a little out of hand, and you spend part of the night praying to the porcelain god. You recover, and next weekend go out for drinks again. The bartender passes you your favorite drink, but this time the smell of coconut immediately makes you want to vomit. You loved Malibu for years, but now, the very thought of it makes you sick.

What you’re experiencing is your brain protecting you from being poisoned. When we were primitive creatures, we weren’t sure what was safe to eat so we tested things out.

If you survived the experience, your brain had to make sure that you never ever ate that same thing again. So, if you ate something that made you feel ill, your brain decided "better safe than sorry," and conditioned you to feel sick anytime you saw, smelled or even thought about that same food.

The next time you went foraging for food and came across a berry that made you feel sick in the past, you would get hit with an overwhelming feeling of nausea and go eat something else. The people who were good at developing taste aversions lived and had children. The ones who were bad at it - well - they largely got poisoned and died. So over the centuries, our ability to form taste aversions got stronger and stronger.

The reason your night of drinking resulted in a hatred of Malibu is due to this same survival mechanism. When you felt nauseated at 3am, your brain sensed that you had been poisoned. Your brain didn’t know for sure what caused it, but it did remember a really strong coconut flavor from earlier that night.

To protect you, your brain decided "better safe than sorry," and assumed that the coconut flavor was to blame. To make sure you don’t poison yourself in the future, it set up a conditioned response so that the smell or taste of coconut will make you feel sick.

That’s how taste aversions work properly - you no longer want to eat the thing that made you sick. But it can get more complicated than that.

You may find that you suddenly hate coconut shavings on ice cream. A year later, you may push away a plate of coconut-battered shrimp at a restaurant, and have no idea why you find it so repulsive. Taste aversions are just that powerful, and they can last for years after only one bad experience.

To make matters more confusing, sometimes aversions form for the wrong food. Imagine that on the way to work one morning you stop off for your traditional cup of coffee. Later that day, your coworkers all go out for Indian food. You’ve never had Indian food before, but you’re up for something new. You have a delicious meal and try lots of new items. But around 3pm, you start feeling queasy. It gets worse and worse, and by the evening you’re sick to your stomach and not able to hold anything down.

Your brain senses that you’ve been poisoned. Once again, it isn’t sure what did it, but it does remember a lot of strong spices and flavors that it never tasted before. To make sure you don’t poison yourself in the future, your brain decides “better safe than sorry,” and conditions you to feel sick any time you smell, taste or even think about Indian food.

The problem is, it turns out that there was nothing wrong with the Indian food - it was the creamer in your morning coffee that had gone bad! “No way,” says your brain, “we’ve had that coffee every day for a year. We know that it’s safe. It had to be that weird new food we ate.”

Suddenly you have a strong aversion to Indian food, even though it tasted good and there was nothing wrong with it. To make matters worse, you’ll probably never know your hatred of Indian food is irrational, because you don’t know that the real cause of your illness was your coffee. You’ll likely think that Indian food makes you sick and avoid it in the future.

This kind of thing is happening to us all the time, and we’re mostly oblivious to it. Have you ever had a really bad cold, and decided to make yourself feel better by eating your favorite food? You might find a few days later that you’ve stopped liking your favorite food. That’s taste aversion in action! Your brain assumes that the illness was caused by the food, and is teaching you to not like that food any more.

This effect is so strong that people undergoing chemotherapy (which can cause severe nausea) are cautioned to avoid their favorite foods. You might think you’re comforting yourself, but what you’re really doing is teaching your brain that "favorite food = feeling sick."

Luckily, our conscious minds are mostly able to overcome this effect. The key is to recognize what is happening and to think about the reason for the reaction.

Consciously reminding yourself that what you’re about to eat is not poisonous can help you to interrupt the automatic survival mechanism. With practice, you may find that you are able to stomach the foods that used to hate. You may even start to like them again.

The key is to go slowly, and expose yourself to the food in positive surroundings. Teach your brain that there’s no connection between the food and feeling bad.

As for my cherry Jell-O aversion, I remembered that back in kindergarten I was served room temperature cherry Jell-O and whipped cream, all swirled together. I got sick to my stomach, and that’s when I started hating it. By thinking about the cause of my reaction, I was able to teach myself to enjoy cherry Jell-O again. But if I put whipped cream on it, I still get a little queasy. A million years of evolution is hard to overcome!

Is there a food that you just can't eat because you got sick from it? Please share below.

There is another website where the scientists are conducting research on food aversion. You can read more about it

With my personal experience, I keep vomit bags in my purse in case my husband has to meet with people, and that usually involves a restaurant. I would actually sneak off and vomit because I didn't want to embarrass myself. But, the food smell at the restaurant really bothered me. I haven't been to a restaurant in a while because of that. As a matter of fact, it's been but three days since I've eaten because my stomach is still spasming from botox.

I hope this helps somewhat! But there is a scientific reason behind it - your brain is trying to protect you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Laxatives - Friend or Foe for Gastroparesis

Laxatives and My Story

As always, do not try laxatives or anything without first consulting with your GI/Motility Doctor to make sure that this is the right course for you. According to Wikipedia, "Laxatives are foods, compounds or drugs taken to loosen the stool, most often taken to treat constipation. Certain stimulant, lubricant and saline laxatives are used to evacuate the colon for rectal and/or bowel examinations, and may be supplemented by enemas under certain circumstances. Sufficiently high doses of laxatives may cause diarrhea. Laxatives work to increase the movement of feces along the colon. Some laxatives combine more than one active ingredient. Laxatives may be oral or in suppository form."

I always see questions about laxatives when it comes to Gastroparesis. The most recent question that was asked by anonymous, "Does anyone use laxatives to manage their GP?"

From my personal experience, the Mayo Clinic doctor I saw told me to use Milk of Magnesia nightly. There are many different flavors of it, so I could pick and choose which one I wanted to take. In the end, I chose cherry. The image source can be found by clicking HERE.

After trying laxatives for about a month, it helped somewhat. My advice, if you are just starting out using laxatives to help constipation with Gastroparesis, try a low dosage first. Then, gradually increase the dosage until something happens. You don't want to start off with a huge dose and suffer for hours in the bathroom, which I'm ashamed to admit has happened to me before.

But, my body has the issue where nothing seems to really move down but everything comes back up. With the Milk of Magnesia, I was able to have a bowel movement maybe once a week and a half which is more than what I was doing before. However, my Mayo doctor wasn't impressed with that and had me up the dosage. I take it nightly but since I barely eat, nothing really comes out. My specific problem is that almost everything I eat or drink comes up, instead of going down.

So, I posed a question to the Gastroparesis Page on Facebook ( and Gastroparesis groups on Facebook to ask about different people's experiences and results with Laxatives. I received an amazing amount of responses.

Jax replied, "I have a laxative regimen for severe slow transit constipation - Movicol liquid 40ml 4 x a day (easier than sachets) I take Paraffin Liquid 3 times a day - Glycerin Suppositories twice a day - Docusate 3 times a day - microlette micro enema (daily) - Bisacodyl (my colo-rectal Specialist swears by that) and various other stool softeners. However none of that moves by bowel so I need it removed. Even pre-op bowel cleaning meds/bowel wash outs don't work for me, I was admitted for a week to have them all to try and kick start the bowel with no success at all. The large amounts I take do cause me to have more nausea/vomiting at times. Some aren't too pleasant to taste and the volumes I take don't sit well. Sometimes I get the crampy feeling that I'm about to have diarrhea but it never happens as I'm so impacted (except overflow after a few months). Before it all got this bad, I simply used Senna (Senokot) 8 a day and they helped provide gentle relief."

Alison says, "Hi Emily. I have to use laxatives every day or else nothing occurs. I have found the best ones for me are bisocodyl (ducolax is the counter name). I have to take a minimum of 6 a day if I take less nothing happens & wen I need to take more then its a stay nearer to toilet facilities than usual. If I take just the 6 I go once any less than 6 I won't go at all. The only issues I get are cramping sometimes but that's usually if they haven't worked the day before. Tried picolax & a dissolvable sachet one before but they didn't do anything so ended up compacted. Not nice lol. It helps but adds extra stress of having to take extra meds but thanks GP is all I can say to that is lol."

Brittany responds, "I live on Miralax daily, take laxatives very often, and do enemas and suppositories also very often. This isn't related to my GP though. I've always had chronic constipation and if I don't take anything, I just don't go. I've been diagnosed with colonic inertia (slow transit colon), and there are talks of having my colon removed in my future."

Brandy says, "I used to before I started using 2 body by vi shakes as meals and just eating one solid meal/small snacks. I haven't had to in months now."

Jami replies, "I was diagnosed with colonic inertia around the same time I was diagnosed with GP. We realized I had been severely constipated my whole life after I developed a rectal prolapse (at age 21). Medtronic has another pacer that's the same as the gastric pacer except that its implanted in your back and helps to stimulate your colon. I got that. It didn't help with my colon (but helped my bladder issues tremendously, so we kept it in). I ended up having to have a colectomy (3 surgeries in one: colectomy, rectal prolapse repair, & pelvic hernia repair). That helped me so much. I never knew what it was like to have a BM everyday. Before the surgery I had a bm maybe once every 2-3 weeks (but I didn't know that wasn't normal bc I've never had a discussion with anyone about the frequency of BM's and because I've only gone once every 2-3 weeks for as long as I can remember). The biopsy of my colon showed that over half the cells weren't functioning at all, which basically means that my colon barely worked and that it might be paralyzed (possibly GP related)? I still have to take Mirolax occasionally but that surgery made my life much easier."

So are Laxatives a friend or a foe? Well, with Gastroparesis, they can be both. I usually view them as a foe because of all of the pain they cause - the cramping, waiting around, and pain. But, there are times that laxatives can be useful. So, I'll let you decide which camp you fall into - friend or foe.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Juicing Recipes and Tips for Gastroparesis

Juicing; How Healthy Is It? What to Know Before Adding Fresh Juice to Your Diet.

According to Anna Nguyen through Web MD, Juicing is popular. A lot of my friends with Gastroparesis juice to get the nutrients that they need. But before you try it, you might want to know what it may or may not do for your health.

For example, what are the nutritional benefits and drawbacks? Nguyen goes into more detail with pros and cons of juicing.

Jennifer Barr, a Wilmington, Del., dietitian, occasionally makes fresh juice as a snack for her kids. Her favorite juice combines kale, carrots, ginger, parsley, and apples. She then adds the leftover pulp from her juicing machine into muffins.

“If you’re not big into fruits and vegetables, it’s a good way to get them in. It can help you meet daily recommendations in one drink” and be part of a healthy diet, says Barr, MPH, RD, LDN, who works at Wilmington's Center for Community Health at Christiana Care Health System.

But you shouldn't count on juicing as your sole source of fruits and vegetables.

"Don’t think because you’re juicing that you’re off the hook with eating fruits and vegetables,” says Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesman and founder of Eating Free, a weight management program.

Aim to eat two whole fruits, and three to four vegetables a day. They should come in different colors, as the colors have different vitamins and minerals, Barr says.

Is Juicing Healthier Than Eating Whole Fruits or Vegetables?

According to the Mayo Clinic Website and expert Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D., Juicing probably is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit. However, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fiber, which is lost during most juicing.

Proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help you remove toxins from your body, aid digestion, and help you lose weight.

But Nelson says there's no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself. On the other hand, if you don't enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn't eat. You can find many juicing recipes online or mix up your own combinations of fruits and vegetables to suit your taste.

If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. And when juicing, try to keep some of the pulp. Not only does it have healthy fiber, but it can help fill you up. If you buy commercially produced fresh juice from a juicing stand or store, select a pasteurized product. Note that juices from some fruits and vegetables can contain more sugar than you might realize, and this can add unwanted calories and lead to weight gain.

What's Left Out When You Juice?

Still continuing from the article by Nguyen,

"A juicing machine extracts the juice from whole fruits or vegetables. The processing results in fewer vitamins and minerals, because the nutrient-rich skin is left behind. Juicing also removes the pulp, which contains fiber.

You can add some of the leftover pulp back into the juice or use it in cooking.

Besides muffins, Barr uses other combinations -- such as spinach, pears, flaxseed, celery, and kale -- to make broth for cooking soup, rice, and pasta. She calls it 'going the extra step to fortify your meals.'

Juicers can be expensive, ranging from $50 to $400. Some more expensive juicers will break down a lot of the fruit by grinding the core, rind, and seeds, Barr says.

You may not need a juicing machine to make juice. You can use a blender for most whole fruits or vegetables to keep the fiber -- add water if it becomes too thick, Villacorta says.

You’ll also want to remove seeds and rinds, and some skins."

Calorie Count

As with any food, it’s important to consider calories and sugar content.

A medium piece of fruit has about 60 calories. A cup of vegetables has about 25 calories, and 3 cups of leafy greens have about 25 calories. Each 60-calorie serving of fruit equals about 4 ounces of juice. A typical juice is usually 12 to 16 ounces.

Those calories add up.

"You could be taking up to four fruits and now the calories start adding up. If you use vegetables to juice, the calories are a lot less. If they use mainly vegetables, add an apple or kiwi for flavor. Calories are a concern if it’s pure fruit juice," Villacorta says.

To make a juice more balanced with protein, some good sources are almond milk, Greek yogurt, flaxseed, or peanut butter.

Food Safety and Juicing

When juicing, follow these food safety guidelines:

Wash your hands before touching the fruits and vegetables.

Thoroughly clean the produce.

Use hot, soapy water if you have to hand wash the juicer or blender. Let all parts completely dry before putting away, to prevent bacterial growth.

Use your dishwasher's sanitize cycle if the juicer is dishwasher safe.

Don’t keep juice longer than a week. It’s best to drink it the same day, since the juice isn’t pasteurized.

Juicing Health Claims

There are many health claims about juicing on the Internet. For instance, juicing fans say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer and boost your immune system.

It's true that eating a plant-based diet is linked to lower risk of heart disease or cancer. But there hasn't been a lot of research done that's specific to juicing.

There is some research on juicing and immune system, but any immune system benefits probably come from eating fruits and vegetables, whether it's in juice or not, Barr says.

Fans of juicing also say that juicing is better than eating whole fruits and vegetables because the body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives the digestive system a rest from working on fiber.

But "the nutrients might not have the same potential because you’ve processed them," Villacorta says. "There’s nothing like eating the whole fruit or vegetable." However, with Gastroparesis, it's really hard for us to do that or even attempt that.

It's true that too much fiber can sometimes block the absorption of nutrients. But most people don't even get the recommended amount of fiber per day, Villacorta says.

It’s important to speak with your health-care provider before integrating juicing into your diet to avoid any potential food and drug interactions.

For instance, large amounts of foods high in vitamin K, such as kale and spinach, may change how an anti- blood clotting medication works, Barr says.
Juicing for Weight Loss and Cleansing

Juicing as an extreme weight loss measure is a fad diet. You can't stick to it for long -- and you shouldn't.

On a juice-only diet, you may not get enough fiber to make you full. And it's so limited that you may rebel.

“If you’re doing a juicing diet, you’ll be so tempted to eat something like a cake or donut because you’ve restricted yourself,” Barr says.

You may also not get enough protein. If you are trying to lose weight by only juicing, then you are putting yourself at risk to lose muscle mass. Research shows that adding protein is essential to preserve muscle mass during weight loss.

By the end of any extreme diet, your metabolism may have temporarily slowed down. Once you start eating a more normal diet, you’ll be prone to building fat cells, Villacorta says.

What about juicing as a way to detox or cleanse your body? “I haven’t seen any research or science paper to support that cleansing is happening from juicing,” Villacorta says.

Your liver and kidneys take care of that -- whether you're juicing or not. This article was brought to you by Web MD.

A Lesson in Juicing

According to A Lesson in Juicing, fresh juice is invigorating - straight up, blended, or as part of whatever I'm making. It seems the most important thing is to use vibrant, healthy produce. Use the best quality produce you can get, great if it's organic or sustainably grown. If that's not happening, wash it gently, but thoroughly. A few other observations: The blender and juicer are entirely different beasts.

According to the article, the author knows this seems obvious, but the blender does chop-chop, and the juicer seems to separate all the fibers and solids from the juices. The juicer produces essences that are incredibly intense, alive, and bright. The flavor is main-lined. Below is a picture of a juicer:

Article Sources:

For the picture at the top of the article:

For the picture for Lessons in Juicing:

Recipes for Juicing from A Lesson in Juicing.

According to A Lesson in Juicing:

Almond Milk: Soak 1 cup / 5 oz almonds overnight, covered, in filtered water. Drain. Add three cups water, and ladle into juicer. This produces a full-bodied almond milk. If you like it a bit thinner, go with 4 cups water. The flavor really sings when you season it with a touch of salt and sugar. Just go with your taste buds, until it tastes good to you. Makes about 3 1/2 cups. Also, be sure to keep the meaty by-product of making the almond milk, just scrape it out of the juicer. Salt it a bit, and it's a great homemade almond butter.

Oat Milk: Soak 1 cup / 3 oz rolled oats (not instant) overnight, covered, in filtered water. Drain, add 3 cups water, and ladle into juicer. Makes about 4 cups. Note to self to try a version with toasted oats. You could experiment with it as and ingredient in custards, puddings, french toast, and the like.

Pistachio Milk: Soak 1 cup pistachios / 5 oz overnight, covered, in filtered water. Drain, combine with 3 cups water, and ladle into juicer. This is the author's favorite non-fruit juice by a stretch. Really nice. The author kept trying to combine it with little accents like orange blossom water, or citrus zest, but in the end the author liked it best straight. Makes about 3 1/2 - 4 cups. And like the almond milk be sure to keep the meaty by-product of making the pistachio milk, just scrape it out of the juicer. Salt it a bit, and it's a great pistachio butter.

Sesame Milk: The author had high hopes for this one but it really didn't work. The unhulled seeds never broke down in the juicer.

Fennel Juice: Trim the root end, but use all the rest of it. 1 large bulb = ~1 cup juice.

Celery: Lob off the root end and use the rest. And I didn't bother restringing. 1 medium bunch = 1 1/2 - 2 cups juice. I'm enjoying using the celery juice as a component in all things brothy. The fennel juice as well, but to a lesser extent.

Cucumber: Juice it all. And leave the skin on, it lends a nice color. 1 large (8 oz) cucumber yields about 1 cup of juice. Not really the season for cucumber juice at the moment, but I juiced it anyway. Super cooling.

Cilantro:1 big bunch, leaves and stems = 1/3 cup juice. I threw a couple serranos (deveined and deseeded) into the juicer here as well for a spicy version. You just know it's going to be good swirled into yogurt or creme fraiche and spooned into a bowl of roasted tomato soup!

Dill: 1 large bunch (stems and fronds) yields about 3 tablespoons juice. Equal parts dill juice + olive oil and a pinch of salt has been great over greens, savory pancakes, and eggs this week. I imagine like the other intense herb juices, it would be welcome as a vinaigrette component, drizzled over gratins, and tarts as well.

Ginger: 8 ounces unreeled yields about 3/4 cup ginger juice. Freezes quite well. I've been using in teas, broths, citrus juice (grapefruit-ginger is my favorite), dipping sauces, etc.

Grapefruit: 1 large = 1 cup juice. I could live on this during the winter.

Pomegranate: I'm not sure I'd recommend using a juicer here. Mine definitely wasn't happy. That said, the resulting juice is electric - straight-up incredible. Juice the seeds only, but review your juicer's guidelines before an attempt. 1 large pomegranate = ~ 1 cup of seeds = 1/3 cup fresh juice.

Carrots: 1 lb = 1 cup juice. You know, it's just occurring to me as I'm typing this to try a carrot soup with pure juiced carrot. Use it to make the silkiest carrot soup ever.

GP Member's Juicing Recipes:

Lynn W. shares her juicing recipe with us: I started off with Carrot, apple, tomato, orange, ½ slice of lemon. Add beet once a week. Add greens slowly. Today I went a little crazy, using things from the garden. I did a small beet (peeled), the greens from the beat, 1 granny smith apple, half lemon with rind, 1 a medium tomato, 1/4 C carrot, 1 large kale leaf, small piece of endive, 1/2 cup cabbage, 2 large strawberries, 1/4 c cantaloupe, and 8 big cherries. I got roughly 8oz of juice. I have been adding cherries and strawberries every time since cherries are supposed to help with inflammation and that is a huge problem I have with fibromyalgia. I have even put arugula and mustard greens in it. Depends on what I get from the garden that day. I even tasted the granny smith apple juice alone today and it was real good. I normally cannot stand apple juice. Here is a website with some simple recipes:

Amber shares her Smoothie recipe with us: Ingredients: 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 peeled cucumber, 1 cup coconut water, 1/2 cup cranberry juice, 1 tsp liquid ginger, 1 serving Vega One nutrition (Berry), 1 serving Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energy, 1 serving Vega Sport Protein (Vanilla), 1 digestive enzyme capsule (empty capsule contents into smoothie) Blend for at least 30 seconds, until completely smooth. On days that I have a flare-up, I modify recipe by removing the serving of protein, removing the blueberries (the two items that are the hardest to digest). My diet is comprised of liquids, smoothies and purees. I can't tolerate any solid food, but I always make sure I pack everything I can into my morning smoothie. If I have a good day, I can take in more calories; if I have a bad day, I at least know that I got in a large dose of nutrition to get me through the day. Hope this is helpful. Finding your staple food or drink is really just a matter of experimentation. It took me a year to find mine. Good Luck!

Angela shares her daily GP smoothie with us: My daily gastroparesis smoothie! Ingredients: 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 peeled cucumber, 1 cup coconut water, 1/2 cup cranberry juice, 1 tsp liquid ginger, 1 serving Vega One nutrition (Berry), 1 serving Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energy, 1 serving Vega Sport Protein (Vanilla), 1 digestive enzyme capsule (empty capsule contents into smoothie) Blend for at least 30 seconds, until completely smooth.

Simply Carrot Juice

5 Medium carrots

This one is pretty simple!

Wash and top the carrots, juice and enjoy.

Wash your juicer immediately it is not made with stainless steel, otherwise the carrots will stain it.
If you drink enough carrot juice every day your skin will start to turn slightly orange! This is because carrot juice is very high in beta-carotene, an orange-colored antioxidant that gives carrots their color. If we consume a lot of beta-carotene it will build up in our skin. This is not dangerous however.

Simply Green Juice

- 1 cup of spinach

- 2 cups of kale

- 2 cups of parsley

- 1 cucumber

- 3 celery stalks
Add a little garlic and/or ginger if you like. Wash thoroughly and juice.

Apple and Cucumber Zipper

-2 1/2 apples

- 1/2 cucumber

- 1″ of ginger

Remove apple stems and juice everything together. Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help some people reduce arthritis based joint pain. Evidence points to one of the antioxidants in ginger called gingerol. It helps to combat oxidation damage to joint cells.

Alkaline Juicer Recipes Heaven.

- 1 cup of spinach

- 1/2 cucumber

- 2 stalks of celery including leaves

- 3 carrots

- 1/2 apple

Wash all vegetables thoroughly, top the carrots, remove apple stem but don’t peel apple (the peel is full of flavored antioxidants), enjoy.

The Cucapple

-1/2 cucumber

- 2 apples

Remove stems from apples, cut a cucumber in half and juice.

The nice thing with apples and especially cucumbers, is you get a lot of juice out of them. This is a great when you just need something quick

Parsley Pep Up

- 1 cup of parsley

- 1/2 apple

- 2 carrots

- 3 celery stalks

Wash all thoroughly, remove apple stem, top the carrots, juice and enjoy!

Carrot and Apple Zip.

- 2 carrots

- 1 apple

- 1″ of ginger

Top carrots, remove apple stem and juice.

Eye Eye Captain.

- 6 carrots

- 1 cup of kale

That’s right, it’s good for your eyes!

Liver Health.

- 1/2 beet with greens

- 3 apples

Wash all thoroughly, remove apple stems and put the whole 1/2 a beet in.

Green Juice Recipes Energizer.

- 2 apples

- 1/2 cucumber

- 1/2 lemon (peeled)

- 1/2 cup of kale

- 1/2 cup of spinach

- 1/4 bunch of celery

- 1/4 bulb of fennel

- 1″ of ginger

- 1/4 head of romaine lettuce

This one is a real blast, brimming with goodness.

Sweet Green Juice.

- 1 cucumber

- 1 carrot

- 1 green apple

- 1/4 cup parsley

- ¼ cup mint

- 1 stalk of celery

- ½ inch of fresh ginger
- ½ lemon (peeled)

Katie Lovebomb, a GP member wanted to share her testimony with us:


Nobody knows your body, like you. I mean hell, think about how much time you spend shopping to make
sure clothing fits, shoes are comfortable and your new haircut is visually pleasing.

Why the hell don't we spend that much time finding a perfect doctor?

I used to believe that getting well meant going to a doctor for answers. I used to believe that doctors truly knew better than I did because they were the "educated" ones.

I would take the first appointment I could get, with whoever was covered by my insurance. I saw many
doctors from a very prestigious hospital. When I realized that my body had started to shut down and that I wasn't going to make it, I found my voice. I challenged their thinking, I challenged their diagnosis, I challenged their medication options and their treatment plans. Many Doctors don't want us to have a voice, to challenge their opinions. My medical files were labeled “Defiant and Difficult”.

If I didn't challenge the doctors I was seeing at that time of my life I wouldn't be here today. Accept fate or create your own!

I found my voice and used it to own my health, to own my life and my future. I took hold of my life because I realized that feeling sorry for myself because of my illnesses was causing me too much negativity and frustration.

Since then I have taken part in many medical treatment options as well as holistic practices. I am confident saying that nothing, NOTHING, has offered me the physical healing, mental healing and emotional healing that Juicing has offered me. The comfort and the peace of mind that I have experienced is absolutely the best thing that has happened to me. It has been THE LIFE SAVER FOR ME.

I have been juicing on and off since 2005 but I have became a hard core juicer for the past 8 years. I
watched Crazysexycancer the Documentary and was able to witness the benefits juicing had for patient
Kris Carr. I knew this would be a big change for me and it was socially not the norm.

In 2006 I was lucky enough to have parents who believed that I knew what my body needed. They gave me
a gift, the Breville Juicer, something I desperately wanted. I had done a lot of research and knew that this juicer would extract the most pulp. I have now been juicing for years.

Before juicing I lived off NG tube feedings, unnatural meal replacements made up of chemicals. They
were inconvenient and everything I was taking in made me feel worse. I felt sluggish, tired, and lethargic. I started listening to the cues my body gave and began to connect the dots. I promised myself to be patient while I tried to find a healthier alternative.

Overtime I discovered that while juicing, I look better, feel better and have a healthier body. My blood work comes back perfect, my weight went up, I am active, my mind is clear, the bloating is far less. My body cannot handle anything else. Do I slip up, sure I am human, but I don't get angry with myself, I let it go, and move on.

I know there are plenty of recipes, I have so many books of them. But sometimes what I find is, listening to my body and its cravings and buying those ingredients. I do a green juice once a day, and for another meal I do one sweetened up with apples or clementines. Sometimes I just toss any and all into the juicer and hope for the best. Some of the best juices were mistakes or left over combos.

I am always willing to share my experiences and stories with anyone who wants to listen to help us all heal.

The natural route is absolutely the one that needs to be taken if you have any desire to live normal and own your own life.

I create the chapters of my life, not my illness. And I am so excited for all the pages I have yet to write ahead.

To read Katie's Blog, Please visit:


These are not my favorite recipes however, they are GINGER based ones. Sometimes the only thing to help you work through a flare up or episode.

So I am listing them. I also make ice cube ginger combos to suck on for the summer. I have a tough time wanting to take ginger into any drink but I know the physical response from my body is well worth it.

1 Carrot

1/2 Honey Dew Melon

1 Limo

1 inch cube Fresh Ginger Root


3 carrots

2 large celery sticks

1 inch cube Ginger Root

1 tbs spirulina

(1/2 fennel build small) I don't use this but it was listed.


Peaceful Greenz

1/4 lb broc

1/4 kale

1/2 parsley

2 apples (fuji I love most)

Celery sticks (more for more juice quantity)"

I am willing to start another blog entry with nothing but Juice and/or Smoothie recipes. Please email: if you would like to share a recipe.

My board, which a lot of GPers are pinning to right now with juicing recipes can be found here:

Sources with Juicing Recipes and How to Make Them:

Movie for Juicing:

If you have any suggestions for juicers and and/or more links for recipes, please comment in the comment section and I will keep this article up to date. Thanks!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Vitamin Deficiencies; Causes, Signs, and Symptoms

What Causes Vitamin Deficiencies?

According to Right Diagnosis, vitamin deficiencies are caused when you are not able to have the nutrients your body needs to thrive. With Gastroparesis, our diet is strict and we cannot eat certain foods to replenish those vitamins. For me personally, I vomit up almost everything I eat, so I am unable to get the vitamins I need. A lot of GPers are the same way. I am going to list each vitamin deficiency and the signs and symptoms of each.

How to Test for Vitamin Deficiencies and What to Look Out For.

If you suspect or identify with any of the vitamin deficiency symptoms below, please make an appointment with your doctor to be tested. Dr. Oz has a video that you can view by clicking HERE that contains four easy steps to self test for vitamin deficiencies.

According to Fox News, there are five unusual warning signs that you may be vitamin-deficient. The good news: Most are fixable with dietary tweaks. However, if that doesn't work, please make an appointment with your doctor to discuss other options. The warning signs are:

Body Clue No. 1: Cracks at the corners of your mouth.

Body Clue No. 2: A red, scaly rash on your face (and sometimes elsewhere) and hair loss. (For more information on hair loss in relation to vitamin deficiencies, please visit:

Body Clue No. 3: Red or white acne-like bumps, typically on the cheeks, arms, thighs, and butt.

Body Clue No. 4: Tingling, prickling, and numbness in hands, feet, or elsewhere.

Body Clue No. 5: Crazy muscle cramps in the form of stabbing pains in toes, calves, arches of feet, and backs of legs.

Additionally, I am going to walk through each vitamin deficiency so that you know what the signs and symptoms are to watch out for.

Vitamin A Deficiency; What Causes It?

Vitamin A can be deficient due to dietary issues. According to Wikipedia, iron deficiency can affect vitamin A uptake. Excess alcohol consumption can deplete vitamin A, and a stressed liver may be more susceptible to vitamin A toxicity. People who consume large amounts of alcohol should seek medical advice before taking vitamin A supplements. In general, people should also seek medical advice before taking vitamin A supplements if they have any condition associated with fat malabsorption such as pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, tropical sprue & biliary obstruction.

Infection is very draining on vitamin A reserves and this vitamin A deficit leaves the individual more susceptible to infection (Combs, 1991, Wikipedia).

According to Right Diagnosis, other causes for a vitamin A deficiency are:


Inadequate diet


Certain lipid-lowering medications

Vitamin A Deficiency; Signs and Symptoms.

The symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency are:

Reduced night vision

Night blindness

Dry eyes (the inability to produce tears)

Eye inflammation

Corneal inflammation

Rough skin

Dry skin

Vulnerability to respiratory infection

Vulnerability to urinary infection

Growth retardation in children

What Causes a Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Deficiency?

According to article writer, Paul Simms, a vitamin B1 deficiency can occur because of many different causes. The most basic form of thiamine deficiency results simply because the individual does not consume enough of the vitamin in the food sources they eat. Vitamin B1 deficiency can also be caused by a problem absorbing the nutrient in the small intestines. There are several disease states that can cause this, but the most usual cause is over consumption of alcohol, which inhibits vitamin B1 absorption. Because vitamin B1 is necessary for energy production in cells, the most notable symptoms are related to low energy levels. These can be very striking when involving the brain because brain cells require large amounts of energy to function properly, and when functioning improperly, the effects are quite visible and dramatic.

There are three general causes of vitamin B1 deficiency. The first is caused when not enough thiamine is consumed in the foods eaten by the individual. The can be because of poor food choices, or because the food is prepared improperly. It is very easy to accidentally destroy or remove vitamin B1 during cooking and boiling. Diseases that effect the small intestines can also greatly reduce the amount of vitamin B1 that is absorbed from the foods that are eaten. Finally, the most common cause of vitamin B1 deficiency in the western world is the over consumption of alcohol. Alcohol prevents thiamine and many other nutrients from ever being absorbed by the small intestines.

Here is what vitamin B1 does for your body:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Signs and Symptoms.

There are many basic symptoms that are associated with vitamin B1 deficiency. In most cases, these symptoms can be reversed easily if nutritional levels of vitamin B1 are increased or if supplements are given. Most of these symptoms result from the beginning stages of cellular starvation. Simply put, the cells do not have the energy to function any longer. In the brain, these symptoms include depression, irritability and memory loss. In muscle cells, a short term vitamin B1 deficiency will result in muscle fatigue, tenderness and weakness. The peripheral nervous system can also be effected, with symptoms such as pins-and-needles, poor coordination and slowed reflexes.

In more severe and long term cases of vitamin B1 deficiency, a disease called Beriberi will result. This is a severe condition that can lead to death. Symptoms of Beriberi disease caused by vitamin B1 deficiency include extreme weight loss, emotional imbalances (anger,depression),muscle weakness, and pain in the extremities. The individual will also often lose control of the use of arms and legs temporarily. The most dangerous aspect of Beriberi disease is it's effect on the heart. congestive heart failure and death is a real possibility when vitamin B1 deficiency has reached this level of severity.

Another condition that can develop either individually, or in association with Beriberi disease is Wernicke's encephalopathy and/or Korsakoff syndrome. These are severe mental conditions that result in amnesia, impaired sensory perception, mental confusion and loss of control of motor skills. These conditions usually result in the patient being deranged and uncontrollable. When the vitamin B1 deficiency reaches the stages where it causes these symptoms and disorders, much of the damage is no longer reversible. It is also important to note that the major cause of the severe of a case of thiamine deficiency is chronic alcohol abuse.

The symptoms include:


Involuntary eye movements (nystagmus)

Mental confusion

Speech difficulties


Weight loss

Difficulty walking (loss of balance and coordination)

Emotional disturbances

Impaired sensory perception

Loss of muscle function or paralysis of the lower legs

Weakness and pain in the limbs

Tingling or loss of feeling (sensation) in hands and feet (numbness)

Periods of irregular heart rate

Edema (swelling of bodily tissues)

It may increase the amount of lactic acid and pyruvic acid within the blood. In advanced cases, the disease may cause high output cardiac failure and death (other symptoms are described in Wernicke's encephalopathy in Wikipedia).

What Causes a Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Deficiency?

According to Web MD, Niacin deficiency is a condition that occurs when a person doesn't get enough or can't absorb niacin or tryptophan (the ingredient that makes you sleepy found in turkeys). Tryptophan is one of the amino acids that makes up protein. Your liver can convert tryptophan from high-protein foods like meats and milk into niacin.

Also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, niacin is one of eight B vitamins. Like all B vitamins, niacin plays a role in converting carbohydrates into glucose, metabolizing fats and proteins, and keeping the nervous system working properly. Niacin also helps the body make sex- and stress-related hormones and improves circulation and cholesterol levels.

In the 1800s, pellagra was common among poor Americans whose diets consisted mostly of corn, molasses, and salt pork -- all poor sources of niacin. Today, most people in the developed world get plenty of niacin in their diets. Niacin deficiency is more likely to be caused by problems that affect absorption of niacin or tryptophan. The most common cause is alcoholism. Other possible causes include disorders of the digestive system and prolonged treatment with the tuberculosis drug isoniazid (Laniazid, Nydrazid).

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Signs and Symptoms.

Symptoms of mild niacin deficiency include:



Canker sores



Severe deficiency, called pellagra, can cause symptoms related to the skin, digestive system, and nervous system. They include:

Thick, scaly pigmented rash on skin exposed to sunlight

Swollen mouth and bright red tongue

Vomiting and diarrhea






Memory loss

If not treated, pellagra can lead to death.

If you don't eat a lot of niacin-rich foods or if you have a medical condition that affects the absorption of niacin or tryptophan, speak to your doctor. Niacin supplements or multivitamin/mineral supplements, which usually contain at least 20 milligrams of niacin, can help prevent niacin deficiency.

What Causes a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

According to Web MD, vitamin B12 has many important functions in the body. It works with the B vitamin folate to make our body's genetic material. It helps keep levels of the amino acid homocysteine in check, which may help decrease heart disease risk, and it is essential to the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the blood to the body's tissues.

But many people are deficient in this important vitamin.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can have a number of possible causes. Typically it occurs in people whose digestive systems do not adequately absorb the vitamin from the foods they eat.

This can be caused by:

Pernicious anemia, a condition in which there is a lack of a protein called intrinsic factor. The protein, which is made in the stomach, is necessary for vitamin B12 absorption.

Atrophic gastritis, a thinning of the stomach lining that affects up to 30% of people aged 50 and older.

Surgery in which part of the stomach and/or small intestine is removed.

Conditions affecting the small intestine, such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, or a parasite.

Excessive alcohol consumption.

Autoimmune disorders, such as Graves' disease or systemic lupus erythematosus.

Long-term use of acid-reducing drugs.

Gastroparesis (which I'm going to add because it affects absorption).

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also occur in vegetarians, because the best food sources of the vitamin are animal products. Strict vegans (people who don't eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, or milk) are at greatest risk. Vegetarians who eat eggs and milk products are also at risk, because, on average, they consume less than half the adult Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12. Babies born to mothers who are vegetarians may also be deficient in vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency; Signs and Symptoms.

A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. A mild deficiency may cause only mild, if any, symptoms. But as the anemia worsens it may causes symptoms such as:

Weakness, tiredness or light-headedness

Rapid heartbeat and breathing

Pale skin

Sore tongue

Easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums

Stomach upset and weight loss

Diarrhea or constipation


If the deficiency is not corrected, it can damage the nerve cells. If this happens, according to Harvard, vitamin B12 deficiency effects may include:

Tingling or numbness in fingers and toes

Difficulty walking

Mood changes or depression

Memory loss



Yellowed skin (jaundice)

Difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss

Paranoia or hallucinations

What Causes a Vitamin C Deficiency?

The essential vitamin known as vitamin C is one of the most important elements in an individual’s daily diet, according to Discovery Health. We need Vitamin C to help contribute to good cellular growth, promote function of the circulatory system, and generally help our bodies to develop and maintain themselves. A vitamin C deficiency is a serious issue, and should be caught early and treated with natural foods or dietary supplements that contain plenty of this critical ingredient.

Vitamin C is destroyed by the process of pasteurization, so babies fed with ordinary bottled milk sometimes suffer from scurvy (which is a disease resulting from a vitamin C deficiency)if they are not provided with adequate vitamin supplements. Virtually all commercially available baby formulas contain added vitamin C for this reason, but heat and storage destroy vitamin C.

With Gastroparesis, it is hard for us to eat citrus or other foods that are high in vitamin C, so we become deficient. However, if you juice and can tolerate it, try and incorporate as much vitamin C as you can.

Vitamin C Deficiency; Signs and Symptoms.

According to Fit Day, a variety of symptoms will show that an individual is suffering from a vitamin C deficiency. Here are some of the top signs of this kind of shortage in the system.

Fatigue – Early on, someone with a vitamin C deficiency will tend to get tired easily and experience reduced energy. Because chronic fatigue is a symptom of so many illnesses, it can be hard to catch a specific condition based on this symptom.

Mood Changes – Individuals with a vitamin C deficiency may become irritable or short tempered.

Weight Loss – As with other “wasting conditions” someone with a vitamin C deficiency may experience sudden weight loss.

Joint and Muscle Aches – Chronic pain in the limbs or joints can be a symptom of a vitamin deficiency.

Bruising – Individuals with a vitamin C deficiency will tend to bruise easily. Excessive bruising is a sign that the body’s chemistry needs to be improved.

Dental Conditions – Just as a healthy daily dose of vitamin C contributes to healthy teeth and gums, a deficiency can cause deterioration of the gums. Periodontal problems are a symptom of a vitamin C deficiency that has been allowed to develop to a hazardous level. This kind of deficiency was classically called "scurvy" when it happened to mariners who had no access to nutrients (or sometimes even fresh water) on long trips at sea. In today’s world, it is a rare but frightening condition.

Dry Hair and Skin – A change in hair and skin conditions can also signal that the body is not getting enough of vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Infections – When an individual does not have enough vitamin C over time, this can have a negative impact on general healing of wounds and the fighting of infections. Generally, the body’s immune system will be compromised.

A shortage of vitamin C in the system can be treated with dietary supplements. However, it’s important to seek professional medical help, rather than self-medicating with natural medicine. Vitamin C supplements are generally not known to have side effects, although at extremely high levels, they can cause nausea or indigestion. Those who experience any of the above negative symptoms should see qualified family practice doctors to talk about what may be the issue and whether a dietary deficiency may be the root cause.

What Causes a Vitamin D Deficiency?

According to Web MD, Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:

You don't consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a strict vegetarian diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver.

Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.

You have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. As people age their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D. Certain medical problems, including Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, gastroparesis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestine's ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.

You are obese. Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Deficiency; Signs and Symptoms.

The best way to discover vitamin D deficiency is to take a blood test that will measure the level of the vitamin in your blood. You can either ask your doctor to administer the test or buy a home test kit do the test yourself. However, you are certainly vitamin D deficient if you have any of the following ailments, and you need to consult with your doctor regarding your preventive, as well as curative, options as soon as possible, according to Natural News.

Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Natural News says the following,
1.) The flu - In a study published in the Cambridge Journals, it was discovered that vitamin D deficiency predisposes children to respiratory diseases. An intervention study conducted showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children.

2.) Muscle weakness - According to Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, muscle weakness is usually caused by vitamin D deficiency because for skeletal muscles to function properly, their vitamin D receptors must be sustained by vitamin D.

3.) Psoriasis - In a study published by the UK PubMed central, it was discovered that synthetic vitamin D analogues were found useful in the treatment of psoriasis.

4.) Chronic kidney disease - According to Holick, patients with advanced chronic kidney diseases (especially those requiring dialysis) are unable to make the active form of vitamin D. These individuals need to take 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 or one of its calcemic analogues to support calcium metabolism, decrease the risk of renal bone disease and regulate parathyroid hormone levels.

5.) Diabetes - A study conducted in Finland was featured in in which 10,366 children were given 2000 international units (IU)/day of vitamin D3 per day during their first day of life. The children were monitored for 31 years and in all of them, the risk of type 1 diabetes was reduced by 80 percent.

6.) Asthma - Vitamin D may reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Research conducted in Japan revealed that asthma attacks in school children were significantly lowered in those subjects taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 1200 IU a day.

7.) Periodontal disease - Those suffering from this chronic gum disease that causes swelling and bleeding gums should consider raising their vitamin D levels to produce defensins and cathelicidin, compounds that contain microbial properties and lower the number of bacteria in the mouth.

8.) Cardiovascular disease - Congestive heart failure is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Research conducted at Harvard University among nurses found that women with low vitamin D levels (17 ng/m [42 nmol/L]) had a 67 percent increased risk of developing hypertension.

9.) Schizophrenia and Depression - These disorders have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. In a study, it was discovered that maintaining sufficient vitamin D among pregnant women and during childhood was necessary to satisfy the vitamin D receptor in the brain integral for brain development and mental function maintenance in later life.

10.) Cancer - Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC discovered a connection between high vitamin D intake and reduced risk of breast cancer. These findings, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research, revealed that increased doses of the sunshine vitamin were linked to a 75 percent reduction in overall cancer growth and 50 percent reduction in tumor cases among those already having the disease. Of interest was the capacity of vitamin supplementation to help control the development and growth of breast cancer specially estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.

Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:

Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Cognitive impairment in older adults

Severe asthma in children


Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

These various health conditions associated with vitamin D deficiency need not be something to fear. A proactive approach to prevention can assist in the avoidance of the many chronic diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency. For one, thousands of dollars can be saved, not to mention the peace of mind, simply at the cost of taking a walk under the sun. Save the umbrellas for the rainy days.

What Causes a Vitamin K Deficiency?

According to Paul Simms, a writer on the subject, vitamin K deficiency is rarely seen on its own, it is usually the result of another problem within the body. Not only is Vitamin K found in a large variety of easily obtainable foods such as vegetables and dairy products, it is also synthesized by bacteria in the small intestines where it is absorbed into the body. The body is also very efficient at recycling Vitamin K; each molecule can be used multiple times before degrading.

The most frequent cause of Vitamin K deficiency is the long term use of antibiotics. Since about half of the Vitamin K in the body is produced by bacteria in the small intestines, the use of antibiotics, which kill that bacteria will lead to a drastic decrease in the amount of Vitamin K available for absorption. For this reason, individuals taking antibiotics are often given Vitamin K supplements. Related to this, often times newborn infants will have a Vitamin K deficiency, not because of antibiotics destroying the beneficial bacteria, but because the bacteria has not had time to properly populate the small intestines.

Another reason an individual might develop a Vitamin K deficiency is because of an illness, injury or disease that affects the small intestines and prevents the absorption of the nutrient. Inflammatory bowel disease or other chronic diseases of the intestines often result in deficiencies of many different vitamins and minerals because the cells lining the intestines are unable to extract the nutrients before they pass through the body.

The final reason for the appearance of many symptoms of Vitamin K deficiency is because of liver damage or disease. After being absorbed by the small intestines, Vitamin K is processed into it's functioning forms in the liver. When there is damage to the liver, like is seen in cases of alcoholism or Hepatitis, sometimes the processing of the Vitamin K is diminished to the extent that it cannot perform its functions.

Vitamin K Deficiency; Signs and Symptoms.

According to Newsmax, deficiency of vitamin K results in serious complications such as prolonged blood clotting time and an increased risk to haemorrhages. Inadequate intake of vitamin K can lead to a deficiency. The best way to counter the symptoms of vitamin K deficiency would be to add foods like soybeans, leafy vegetables (spinach and broccoli), wheat bran, berries, etc. in the diet.

Signs of vitamin K deficiency:

Deficiency of vitamin K causes delayed blood coagulation, gum bleeding, nose bleeding, easy bruising, and tendencies toward nose-bleeding and gum-bleeding. Symptoms and signs of vitamin K deficiency further include bleeding within the digestive tract

Appearance of blood in urine or stool and experiencing heavy bleeding during menstrual cycle are also signs of vitamin K deficiency.

Deficiencies of vitamin K are not very common among adults, but newborns are found to be at a higher risk as breast milk is typically low in vitamin K and the infant’s natural vitamin K cycle may not be fully developed.

Signs of vitamin K deficiency include weakening of bones, osteoporosis, and fractures.

Other symptoms of vitamin K deficiency are hardening of heart valves, owing to calcification, purpurea, and neural tube defects.

A deficiency of vitamin K can affect a new-born baby or fetus as well. Vitamin K deficiency may result in internal bleeding (in the skull), malformed fingers, and under-developed facial features like ears, nose, and chin. Vitamin K helps in the overall development of the fetus. This explains why a pregnant woman is usually given vitamin K in the form of food supplements.

Hemorrhages are also among the signs and symptoms of a vitamin K deficiency. Deficiency of vitamin K leads to a reduction in the prothrobin content of blood. If you are deficient in vitamin K, you will suffer from blood clotting. Deficiency of vitamin K can also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Other prominent signs and symptoms of vitamin K deficiency are prolonged clotting times, hemorrhaging, and anemia.

Vitamin K deficiency-related symptoms lead to excessive deposition of calcium in soft tissues. Hardening of the arteries or calcium-related problems are the other common signs of vitamin K deficiency. So are biliary obstruction, malabsorption, cystic fibrosis, and resection of the small intestine.

Here are some charts that go along with vitamin deficiencies that I wanted to include:

List of Sources: