When I was a small child I was obsessed with berries, especially strawberries. I could eat dozens of them, to the point of making myself sick. Did I instinctively know that I needed all that extra natural folate? Was I self-medicating? I wasn’t thinking about these things at the time, of course; I just knew I loved strawberries and I wanted to eat as many as anyone would give me. They must have made me feel really good.

strawberries folate

As I first began my investigations into my health this year, all the doctors were telling me that nothing was wrong with me. I couldn’t rely on that. Deep down I knew something wasn’t right. I was paying attention to my own symptoms, keeping track of indicators and sensitive to the changes I was feeling. Eventually I paid for my own testing, leading to the MTHFR diagnosis and eventually finding doctors who knew what was going on and could help me.

Dr. Constantine Hering’s Law of Cure states that “all cure starts from within out, from the head down and in the reverse order as the symptoms appeared.” With regards to the head down part, I believe that part of this includes self-awareness. One must be aware of the challenges they face within their bodies before healing can begin. Nobody knows more about your body than you do. After all, you spend every second inhabiting it. You need only call upon your memory for detailed background information or a history of symptoms, allergies and reactions. You are and have to be the expert on you. While most medical doctors today follow standard protocols for each patient, the reality is that each of us are different. We are all composed of different cocktails of genetics and prior exposure to toxins. What works for one person may not work, or even be detrimental for the next. What we need is personalized medical care, which is so difficult to obtain these days.

So when you’re trying to solve your health problems I recommend being meticulous about it and taking time every day to meditate on how you are feeling and what your body is telling you. If you are using supplements or medications in your treatment, keep a diary of your symptoms and what you are taking. Record your reactions and non-reactions to things, recognizing that it may take some time for certain supplements and drugs to take effect. Keep track of what you are eating as well because sometimes your negative reactions may be caused by food or drink rather than supplementation. Or perhaps certain foods will have negative interactions with your regimen.

When you go to the doctor (armed with knowledge from your research, of course), if something doesn’t feel right about what he or she is telling you, don’t go ahead with it immediately. Get a second opinion and then go and get a third one from someone who is an expert about your problem but has a different way of approaching it. This may be a holistic doctor if you’ve been seeing only standard medical doctors, for example. Do your own reading, talk to other people with the same illness and ask questions constantly. Don’t accept everything someone says without proof, even a doctor, especially if what he or she is saying sounds outdated. It is important to question the testing that is being ordered (or not ordered for you) and the procedures and protocols being followed, especially if something doesn’t feel right. The best thing to do is to find a doctor you trust. Even then, you may find you can’t get everything you need in one place.

Of course, sometimes your body will let you down. You won’t run a fever when you have a virus or your body will tell you it wants sugary snacks and junk food when in reality it is just feeding a carbohydrate addiction. This is where your education backs you up. But often your body is going to tell you just what it needs, or at least that it needs something. If I’m feeling tired during the day, for example, I have a nap. Just a short one, mind you: fifteen minutes and I set the clock. Hey, I have an excuse: I have diagnosed adrenal fatigue. But this actually can make a person more productive. Instead of working hard to fight against an impending head nod at my computer for hours, I give my body what it needs. After that little nap I end up with much more energy. Afternoon saved.

I believe firmly in being your own health advocate. If I listened to everything the doctors had told me I would still be on T4 only thyroid medication and consuming folic acid as we kept trying to get pregnant. Perhaps we would have succeeded, but I doubt it. I wouldn’t know that I had MTHFR and my homocysteine would still be elevated. I would be deficient in vitamins and minerals and would be eating a crappy diet. I would believe that there was nothing I could do about my elevated FSH hormone test, when I am actually noticing improvements to my menstrual cycles after three months of changing my diet and supplements. I would still suffer from fibrocystic breast pain from ovulation to menses every month. I would not be eliminating the toxins in my body.

We have to be our own doctors in a way. The lives we save will be our own.

 

If you have a comment that is related to your own health or have questions that require an answer, please leave these in the community discussion forums and not in the comments below. Thanks! =)

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It’s been years since I’ve made a yeast bread, my past efforts being completely underwhelming. But the other day I had a craving for my favorite kind of bread, a rich, crusty baguette. It’s not like I can just head down to the supermarket or local bakery and buy one there, not a gluten-free baguette anyway. So I jumped online and looked for some recipes for making them myself. We’d already found a great gluten-free baking mix in bulk the previous weekend (because gluten-free flour gets really pricey if you’re buying small amounts). I had no excuse not to make my own bread.

And I think I did pretty well in the end! My dough shaping and forming skills could be better – the baguettes pictured here came out a little lumpy (but no less delicious). This recipe is a combination from two wonderful blogs, Bread & Companatico and Art of Gluten-Free Baking. I tried the version that uses two egg whites and one whole egg instead of three egg whites. I think from now on I will stick to the three egg whites because when I think baguette, I think of a lighter style than what is shown here.

3 cups Namaste Foods Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend

(this is my current favorite gluten free flour – if you want to create your own for this recipe, use one cup each of sorghum flour, brown rice flour and tapioca flour, plus two teaspoons xanthan gum; the Namaste flour has the xanthan gum already mixed in)

1 ½ tsp. sea salt

1 T. honey

2 T. active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)

1 T. olive oil

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

3 egg whites

Rice flour for dusting

gluten-free baguette

Place flour and salt into the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Mix to combine.

In a small bowl, dissolve the honey in the water and then dissolve the yeast. Wait several minutes for the yeast to foam and rise. Add the oil, vinegar and egg whites to the dry ingredients. Add the yeast mixture to these ingredients in the mixer bowl and mix slowly to combine for a minute or two. I used the flat mixer attachment, not the wire whisk beater or dough hook for this.

Turn mixer to high speed and mix for three more minutes. Pull the dough from the beater and turn the ball of dough into a large bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and separate into two halves. Spray a baking sheet lightly with olive oil and shape the dough into two long oblong baguette loaves. Taper the ends. Using a sharp knife, slash the top of each baguette diagonally three times. Cover the loaves with the towel again and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Pour some water into a large pan and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Allow this water to heat with the oven.

When the loaves are ready to bake, dust the tops with some rice flour and then place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy the same day. If you must store them, place in a bread box or leave out uncovered.

If you have a comment that is related to your own health or have questions that require an answer, please leave these in the community discussion forums and not in the comments below. Thanks! =)

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