Episode #74: Cankles, birth control, constipation & copper

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Episode #74: Cankles, birth control, constipation & copper

UPCOMING EVENTS: The Balanced Bites Workshop with Diane & Liz!

Saturday, March 9, 2013 | Washington, DC
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1. Can I become cankle free? [4:05]
2. Help with reintroducing foods [14:32]
3. Mirena vs. Copper IUD [24:50]
4. Hereditary constipation [31:30]
5. Thoughts on copper supplements [39:00]
6. Meals that freeze well  [44:10]
7.  Prebiotics & FODMAP concerns [48:30]

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1. Can I become cankle free?

Lauren says,
Hi Diane & Liz, I wanted to get your opinion on swelling in the calves. For as long as I can remember my calves just seem to be ginormous! Some days I actually feel like they are almost the same size as my thighs and I definitely have what our lovely society calls “cankles.” It makes shopping for pants difficult sometimes because pants might fit around my waist and hips but are super tight around my calves. I usually wear a size 0-4 petite depending on the brand. The same goes for boots.I’m only 5’1″ so my legs are pretty short. The circumference of my calf ranges between 14-15″ depending on the day. I feel like it does not get any smaller than this despite what I do. On bad eating days, or when I have had alcohol, I get really bad pulsing in my calves and they feel very swollen. The only time I’ve seen them get smaller is when I used to run about 3-5 miles 4x-5x a week for 3 months. I do NOT run that much anymore!
I’m self conscious about them but also worried that I have some kind of inflammation or edema going on down there. My father’s side of the family has a history of heart problems, which is part of the reason I switched to Paleo and a healthier way of living. I wanted to see if you have any suggestions as to how to decrease swelling in the calves or any exercises that could lean them out? – Thanks a bunch! Lauren
I just started eating Paleo again after 3 months off (Aug-Nov) but have been eating Paleo since February 2012. When I say off, I mean really off. I was eating all sorts of bad food. A typical day of food now includes 2-3 pastured eggs, sauerkraut, and a veggie for breakfast sometimes with a 1/2-1 cup of bone broth. Lunch is usually 4-6 oz. of meat with vegetables and a fat such as avocado. For snacks I’ll usually eat either macadamias, some deli meat slices, olives, fruit, etc. Dinner is again meat with vegetables and fat. I take fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend and I’m on exogenous hormone birth control (have been for about 6 years). As for exercise, I go to CrossFit three to four times a week and on weekends usually take my dog for a 45 minute hike in the park. I also work in NYC so I walk around as much as possible. Sleep is not great, on a good night I’ll get 7-8 hours but usually I’m around 6-7 and it’s not very restful as the rest of my household likes to watch TV until the wee hours of the morning. I have to wake up at 5am for work and usually do not get into bed until about 9:30 or 10pm. That will be ending as of May however, when I go back to school. Not sure if this is important but I’ve also started to cut out beauty products containing chemicals (a la Cave Girl Eats). I’m now washing my hair with BS and ACV, washing my face with the oil immersion technique and am expecting my oil based soaps from gfsoap.com to arrive today.

2. Help with reintroducing foods

Jenny says,
Chronic eczema on my hands since I was a child. Keratosis pilaris on backs of arms. Antibiotic use for acne in my teens/college years. Took birth control for several years in 20s to help control hormonal acne. Diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis in early 30s – treated with Metronidazole but kept recurring.
Almost two years ago, I started having all kinds of new skin problems – dry, flaking skin around my eyebrows, redness in my T-zone and around my eyes, eczema patches that itched like crazy on my shins, armpits, in the crook of my elbows. I was patch tested, went to an allergist, saw a specialist 2 hours away, eliminated all of my products to the bare bones free of fragrance & dyes etc. Nothing helped. I should also note that around the time these skin issues started, my period stopped. After 10 months and multiple trips to the doctor to no avail, my acupuncturist suggested that I try a strict gluten free diet for one month. Within 4 days of being GF, the eczema that had been on my hands for YEARS cleared up. Then I noticed that when I accidentally ingested gluten or got cross-contaminated, my stomach would hurt for days, blow up to where I looked 3 months pregnant and my bowels would be messed up. I went back to my GP and they tested me for celiac. The blood test came back positive (which I would later learn was misinterpreted) so they referred me to a GI specialist. I had to wait 4 months to see the specialist. I continued with the GF diet and started realizing that I was reacting to other foods as well: mainly sugar and legumes. I eliminated those and scheduled an appointment with an Osteopath in the area to have more testing done. I should note that after being GF for about 2 months my period came back. My Vitamin D levels were low, my B12 was dangerously low (196 scale of 200-1200), and my reverse T3 was slightly elevated. He put me on a 3 week elimination diet and started me on B12 injections.
I continued to have reactions (red face, itchy hands, bowels messed up) during those 3 weeks. When I finally saw the GI specialist, they tested me for lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption. The fructose test came back positive. A DNA test for celiac came back showing that I’m high risk, so I decided to go back on gluten for 4 weeks t o be scoped for celiac & a new blood test. I got very, very sick during that 4 weeks to the point where I almost had to stop. But both tests came back negative. I was given a sheet with instructions on how to follow a low-FODMAP diet (dated 2004) and sent on my way.
Going back on gluten for 4 weeks reset all of the healing my body had done prior to that. Although I went GF again immediately after my endoscopy, I found that I started reacting to foods I could eat with no problems before the tests. I decided to try the GAPS diet (although a more restricted version, and I did not do the full Intro). I started this 8 months ago and have experienced a ton of healing. On this very restricted diet, my eczema & sebhorric dermatitis have cleared up, I can breathe out of my nose for the first time in my life, I wake up feeling rested, I have more energy, the bacterial vaginosis does not recur, my cuticles have all grown back after years of not having them and my fingernails no longer break, my hair & skin are soft. My bowels have also become healthy and regular. When I went back on gluten for the 4 weeks, my back and jawline broke out horribly. This has almost completely cleared as well. My keratosis pilaris has dramatically improved.
My issue is that when I try to introduce new foods (sweet potato, acorn squash, small amounts of rice, nuts, almond flour, Brussels sprouts, any fruit other than berries, honey or maple syrup, coconut flour, milk or butter), my stomach typically bloats, the rash on my hands flares, the vaginosis symptoms recur and my face & back break out. I am frustrated because I feel like I’m at an impasse. I’m incredibly bored with eating the same foods over and over again. My osteopathic doctor says to stay the course and that more healing will come. My acupuncturist is starting to suspect I have a parasite (I did travel to E. Africa about 5-6 months before these symptoms started occurring and had GI issues while I was there). I am also suspicious that I have small intestine bacterial overgrowth and am wondering if I should get tested. I recently tried taking the peppermint oil capsules (considered a homeopathic remedy for SIBO) and experienced a lot of die off. I would love some advice on where to go from here.
Should I try to convince my doctor to do more testing (one of the treatment protocols for SIBO is antibiotics…not sure I want to go that route)? Should I try the GAPS diet Intro and see if more healing occurs (this is hard to do while working full time)? Should I keep doing what I’m doing and keep trying to introduce new foods every so often?

3. Hereditary constipation?

Maria says,
My question is about my husband’s so called constipation. Every night after dinner he takes 2 herbal laxative pills from a company called Swiis Kriss. He’s been taking them for as long as we’ve known each other (10yrs) and way longer than that. I’ve tried to tell him that it’s not a good idea to continue taking them because he’s become dependent on them. He claims constipation runs in his family because his mother told him so. She claims her mother’s sister, his great aunt, only pooped once a week. I told them that doesn’t mean it’s hereditary it probably means her diet was bad.
Is constipation hereditary and is he doing damage to himself by popping these laxatives every night. He drinks two big cups of coffee every morning and lots of water during the day. At night it’s more water and herbal tea. He has two big bowel movements every morning, but I don’t think they’re ever solid. His body temp runs very warm and he sweats profusely with little exertion. Could that be part of his problem even though he drinks water constantly all day? He works out for an hour every morning and we’ve been eating Paleo for a year now. Thanks for your time.

4. Thoughts on copper supplements

Matt says,
Short and sweet: Is having copper in a supplement ok or deadly??????
Details: Robb Wolf has long recommended either natural calm, ZMA, or a Magnesium and Zinc supplement. He has mentioned Jarrow because their Zinc supplement comes with added copper, the reason being Zinc can strip Copper from the body per Robb.
Then, Chris Kresser had a podcast basically saying having copper in a supplement was very unhealthy for you and could cause problems.
THEEEEEN…..Paul Jaminet was on Latest In Paleo, and he recommended copper as a supplement if one did not have copper pipes in their home.
My reason for taking the Mag/Zinc+copper is better sleep. I feel like I took a sedative some times when I take even just a 1/2 dose of Magnesium (without the Zinc+Copper). I was just adding the Zinc+Copper because adding Zinc to the Mag seemed an across the board recommendation.
So is copper the new eggs?????? Ok one minute, then acid to the body the next, then great for perfect health?? Just looking for input from you two ladies. Thanks and love your show.

5. Meals that freeze well

Karen says,
First of all, I’d like to say how much I love the podcast! It is stuffed with really valuable information and hey, I can be down with anyone who feels that strongly about New Girl! 🙂
To my question – I’m currently 8 months pregnant and all the advice I’m hearing from moms everywhere is to spend the next month cooking and freezing meals so that I won’t have to stress about food once the baby has arrived. I think this is great advice! However, my freezer is seriously under utilized. I was hoping you could recommend some meals that would really freeze well. I’m not sure where to start! I plan to freeze some egg muffins for breakfasts and quick snacks but that’s all I’ve got. Any advice would be appreciated!
Keep on rocking 🙂

6. Prebiotics and FODMAP concerns.

Hi ladies,
Just posted on your latest podcast but I’d thought I’d drop you line here with more info on my mother and myself.
GREAT podcast. Thank you so much for all that you do. My mother suffers from RA, both her hips replaced by age 50, and now she is doing Paleo with low FODMAP and no nightshades and feeling amazing. It’s been 4 months with the change in diet and she is off of the scary medication and all. Hooray!
I have a quick question about FODMAPs. I know that consuming prebiotics is encouraged to help heal the gut. I just purchased my own kefir grains and am starting to culture my own kefir for myself and my mom. I know that dairy is not recommended when doing low FODMAPs, so I looked into doing coconut milk kefir instead. Then I learned that coconut milk is discouraged as well. What is the better option with making your own Kefir but also pursuing a low FODMAP diet? Goats milk? Raw dairy kefir? Or is coconut milk okay in moderation? Can’t wait to hear your advice!

Thanks for listening!
Liz & Diane

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