The Conclusion of A Daughter’s Journey to Help Save her Mother’s Life: Results – 106 drop in LDL Cholesterol

November 1, 2012 – The results are finally in  . . . Cecile dropped an amazing 106 points in her LDL cholesterol in 3 months taking Nutrim®.  She took the challenge and followed through and had success.  This journey has sparked something inside for Cecile that is motivating her to make additional healthy lifestyle changes that not only affect her cholesterol levels and heart health but, also  her health in general.  Watch the video as Cecile reveals the following:

  • Amazing Before and After Cholesterol Test Scores from the Home Access Test kit and Her Latest Doctor’s Visit
  • Improved Lifestyle Changes Promoting her Overall Health-Quit Smoking!
  • Ways Cecile Used Nutrim®

As we now wrap up the beginning of Cecile’s journey to lower her cholesterol naturally by using Nutrim® – 100% natural oat β-Glucan super food, you can’t help but wonder what’s next . . .

I’m not just talking about my mother, because in this last video, she spells it out pretty clear that she intends on taking Nutrim® whether I am employed with the manufacturer or not.

But honestly, what IS next?  You may be reading this, holding your recent high cholesterol test scores, thinking this very same thought.  And I’m here to relay a message: “There is really no excuse.”

The words below are taken from an editorial article published in our company publication, Inside Nutrition (Winter 2012),  by one of our company’s executives, John Hunter:

We want to lose weight but only if we can do it by eating whatever we want whenever we want it.  We’re eating whatever we want whenever we want it.  We’re addicted to sugar, salt, and fat.  Our attitudes are similar to a child who stomps his feet and says, ‘I don’t wanna drink my milk.’ Yet, secretly, we hate the way we look, we hate the way we feel and we’re terrified of getting old . . . heart disease, cancer, and, (possibly the worse of all), dementia.

Despite all of this time, most of us keep telling ourselves that there is time. ‘Everything will be alright if I start next week, next month, next year, after my daughter graduates, after I get that raise . . .’

 Sorry, pal, time has run out.

 With what we know today about food, life-style and nutrition, there is absolutely NO REASON, (and yes, he’s shouting), for any of us to continue doing what we’ve been doing to ourselves. Good nutrition, knowledge of what will keep you healthy, and prevention are more easily attained today than at any point in our history.  We’re idiots if we don’t take advantage of [these] opportunities.  

Do you remember what I talked about in our very first blog together introducing our Nutrim® Video Series with Cecile? The clock’s ticking, so don’t let time run out like it did for my father because honestly, “There IS no excuse.”

cholesterol results chart

Cecile's Cholesterol Test Results Indicate 106 Drop in LDL "Bad" Cholesterol

A Daughter’s Journey to Help Save her Mother’s Life

August 10, 2012 – July 2008 was unlike any summer month I had ever experienced. After agonizing for almost four long weeks, I was being rushed into emergency surgery from the Hospital’s ER with the diagnosis of an aggravated hernia. I didn’t realize it at the time, but recovering in a hospital was the least of my worries.

My mother, sister, and boyfriend had all been to visit me in the ICU, but there was one visitor missing.  Hours passed before I discovered who my next ICU visitor was . . . the Kankakee County Coroner’s office??? My hospital room was the last number dialed on my father’s cell phone, which emergency workers fished from a car wreck boiling down the last memories of my father to a voice heard over a 2 minute phone call.  He was calling to say that he was driving down to see me and visit his grandchildren. That phone call would be the last time I would speak to my father – EVER.

The Daily Journal reported “the driver [being] southbound on I-57 near the Bradley-Bourbonnais interchange at 12:09 p.m. when the vehicle crossed the median strip, crossed the northbound lanes, ran through a fence and hit a crane” (“Two Killed…” 2008).

Later, it was revealed that what took the life of my father was not the accident itself, but what transpired seconds before the accident took place.  Charles J., 57, suffered a heart attack that caused him to lose control of his vehicle (Byrns 2008).   Yes, a HEART ATTACK!  The coroner’s prognosis completely blind-sided our family. And yes, we knew for years that our father was not a true picture of health.  However, there was never any indication of heart disease, other than knowing that his father had died of a heart attack at the golden age of 50. My father’s primary cause of death, as indicated on his death certificate, was Atherosclerosis.  I learned that you could develop this condition due to: elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking.

Last month marked, the 4th “angel-versary”, of my father’s horrific passing from Coronary Heart Disease.  When I landed a job working at FutureCeuticals Direct in 2011, and found out that they were on the brink of expanding the distribution of their heart-health product, Nutrim, which helps lower cholesterol naturally; I knew this had to be a sign from above.  With one parent gone, I only have one left—my mother.  This weekly video series will document a Nutrim–beginner’s journey–starring my mother, Cecile.

To listen to Cecile’s story, watch below.

Video Highlights:
Name:  Cecile
Gender: Female  Age: 58
Marital Status:  Widowed (4 years)
Occupation:  Nurse, (30 years)
Youngest of 5 siblings (1 male, 4 females)
Cholesterol Total: 265; LDL:183; HDL: 61
Gained 22 lbs over past year; weighs 220.

Family History: 
Mother died at age 57 – suffered from chronic hypertension– issues with cholesterol unknown.
Father at age 79 – died of massive heart attack with no prior heart conditions known.
1 Brother; age: 65- 2 yrs ago suffered a 5 bypass coronary; 90% occluded due to high cholesterol.
1 Sister; age: 62 currently suffering from chronic hypertension on-going for the past 20 years and has a history of high cholesterol.

 Cecile’s Personal Goals while taking Nutrim: lower cholesterol naturally, lose weight, gain energy, avoid side effects and be able to live a long life without taking prescription meds.

Citation:
“Two Killed in Interstate 57 Crash.” E-Editions. Daily Journal, 1 Aug. 2008. Web. 25 July 2012. <http://daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=424991>.
Byrns, Bill. “Grassy Medians Meant to Contain Accidents Have a Fatal Flaw.” E-Editions. Daily Journal, 6 Sept. 2008. Web. 25 July 2012. <http://daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=424991>.

How much does Marketing influence our Health?

A recent study about teens believing sports drinks are healthy really got me thinking. How much of our food choices are made because of clever marketing, especially marketing that would make us falsely believe something is healthy. And we are no different from teens.

It is surprising how much we take the food companies word for it. For example, I was reading a nutrition label for a multigrain cracker that was in our company’s break room. The first ingredient was whole wheat, which is a whole grain. A good start. But to find the next grain (not wheat) I had to skim to the fourth ingredient. To find the next real grain, not just a grain byproduct, I had to go 9 ingredients past the 2% or less ingredients. Literally they are sprinkling other grains over the top and claiming multigrain.

I wouldn’t have been so upset about the whole issue except they had this picture of a big wooden scoop with all these different grains pouring out of it. Great, now I’m all upset about it again. Give me just a second…

I guess it never ceases to amaze me to see all the tactics that are used to try and trick us into eating food that is not healthy, and by my personal standards, not even real food. These tactics are regularly being exposed, but before we figure out what tactics they are using they are already on to the next one. Some marketing tactics are here today and gone tomorrow, but some can linger on for years, even decades.

A great example is margarine. Most people can remember when margarine was not only promoted as healthier than butter, but they were so good at their message some people would have considered it a health food. Sometimes the issue is not only good marketing, but in this case the government backed the promotion of margarine. We now know that the partially hydrogenated oils that made up margarine are the most unhealthy oils you can put into your body. They are especially bad for heart disease, increasing bad cholesterol and decreasing good.

So if the junk food and fast food industries are pumping 10s of billions of dollars into marketing and sometimes getting government support to promote their unhealthy food than what are we to do? How can we possibly overcome such a huge deficit of misinformation. The answer is actually easier than you would think. We need to learn how to buy and eat real food.
The most basic step you can take is start reading labels. Stop believing the commercials and the marketing jargon on the front of the label. Go straight to the back of the label and read the ingredients. Avoid processed oils, grains, and sugars, as well as food additives and preservatives.
If you need a refresher on what real food is here is a fairly comprehensive list: beans (legumes), whole grains, nuts, seeds, whole fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. If you spot one of these ingredients on your label than you have found something that contains real food. The question is how much of these real food ingredients are in there?

The only way to overcome false marketing is understand true ingredients. If you can’t understand the label, probably because the food companies don’t want you to, than you should just leave that food alone. Breaking free from sly marketing tactics will not happen overnight, but if you start to look to the source of truth- the ingredients label- than you are well on your way.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_103746.html

Who Is In Charge of My Health Care?

You’ve probably heard the debate about health care reform and the changes that are needed.  If you are like me, you are giving a little more thought to your own overall satisfaction with the health care system.  The reform debate has been about more than just who is going to foot the bill.  In the debate are questions about quality of care and general satisfaction with the health care system.

I hear a number of my customers say that they are not satisfied with the level of care they receive.  Some people express that they feel they have no control in their health care process, like a secretary waiting for the next stack of papers to process from the boss.  You may feel like if you try to speak up or ask questions you may get fired by your doctor.  This perceived lack of control in the doctor’s office can leave some people frustrated and upset.

One government group is calling on patients to become their own advocate; calling for consumers to take control of their health by asking 10 questions.  They emphasize how we should go into the doctor’s office fully prepared so we get the most out of each visit.  I have heard it said elsewhere I should go into the doctor’s office prepared in the same way that I would for an important business meeting. 

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) has put out a “10 questions to ask your doctor” campaign that is meant to help you get the most out of your doctor visits.  In another campaign they give the charge “You’re in charge of your health.” 

By adopting some of the recommendations you will find on this government site I believe you will help raise satisfaction in your health care experience, increase your quality of care, and maybe even decrease your overall cost of health care.

Ten questions to ask your doctor

http://www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer/

They also have a great podcast about “Getting the Most Out of a Visit with a Primary Care Health Professional”

http://www.healthcare411.ahrq.gov/podcast.aspx?id=14

They also put together a campaign with Fran Drescher that talks about “You’re in charge of your health.”

http://www.healthcare411.ahrq.gov/videocast.aspx?id=460

Other Issues With Atherosclerosis

Know Your Blood-Flow

Atherosclerosis can narrow arteries and decrease blood supply to just about any part of the body.  The plaque of atherosclerosis can also become unstable and burst, causing a complete loss of blood to an area.  A loss of blood to the area can cause major damage or even cell death.  While you really don’t want this in any part of your body, there are a few parts to be especially worried about.

Cholesterol Can Hurt More Than Your Heart

When this loss of blood flow happens in the brain it is called a stroke or TIA.  Strokes can cause sudden death.  They can also leave someone mentally or physically impaired.   In the heart, loss of blood-flow can cause a heart attack.  This can also cause sudden death or loss of strength to the heart.  The loss of function in the heart is known as heart failure, which is a debilitating disease that is on the rise. 

Low Cholesterol Helps Your Whole Body

Atherosclerosis can also cause a decrease in blood flow to the legs.  This is known as peripheral artery disease.  This can cause pain and fatigue in the legs that increases with activity.  Atherosclerosis can also cause kidney failure and erectile dysfunction.  Obviously, this disease is one to avoid.  What many people don’t realize is that prevention of severe cases is very possible.  By following a low-cholesterol, heart-healthy lifestyle from a responsible age, atherosclerosis can be avoided.

Heart Disease Gets an Early Start

The Earlier You Start, the Better

Atherosclerosis and the problems it causes get an early start in life.  Cholesterol starts depositing in the arteries of Americans at an early age.  A study in 2003 looked at the arteries of 17 and 18 year old being assessed for the Austrian army.  The signs of atherosclerosis were already present in these young men.  This study concluded that the development of atherosclerosis begins early in life.

http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/108/9/1064?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=austian+army&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

This means that waiting until later in life to make lifestyle changes is not the best course of action.  While it’s never too late to become healthy, living a long life of healthfulness is the best option.

Obese Children Show Signs Even Earlier

A more recent study presented to the American Heart Association showed that obese kids had arteries that looked like those of someone 30 years older.   The researchers of this study noted the importance of exploring the effects of weight loss and healthier lifesyle decisions for these children.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_71522.html

These studies point to an important fact: heart disease is progressive.  Since this is a long term issue it takes good choices every day to avoid atherosclerosis and its side effects of heart disease and stroke.  Living healthfully from a a young age is a great way to avoid atherosclerosis.  However, if you’ve waited a little longer, don’t feel like it’s too late.  Healthy habits are a good idea of any age.

Tell Me About Fat and the Fat Content of Foods

Get the Skinny on Fat

Is fat good or is fat bad?  In America over the last 50 years this question has become more difficult to answer.  Part of the issue is that there is not one statement that can be made that would take into account the complexity of what fat is and what it can do in the body.

For all natural forms of fat it is good to stick to the addage- everything in moderation.  I believe this issue of fat being good or bad is most properly addressed by the balance of foods in the diet.  If a diet is primarily composed of animal based foods then saturated fat becomes a fat that can have negative side effects.

Bad Fat

Too much saturated fat can lead to an overabundance of calories which can contribute to obesity.  An excess of saturated fat can also lead to elevated cholesterol levels.  In turn, high cholesterol can lead to heart disease.  It is because of these two issues that the government and health athorities began recommending people decrease fat in the diet. 

Good Fat

These experts were not always specific about what type of fat to decrease and many people got the impression that all fat is bad.  It turns out that there are some fats that are beneficial.  Most plant based foods contain what are called essential fats, fats that our body can’t operate without.

Let the Good Outweigh the Bad

There are diets which are high in fat and heart healthy.  The Mediterranean diet, for example, derives 40% of calories from fat, whereas the typical American diet derives 33% of calories from fat.  This diet has been well studied and shows great benefits for the heart.  The Mediteranean diet consists of beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.  It contains some fish, poultry, dairy products and olive oil.  Very little red meat and eggs are eaten.

While we should not overindulge in plant-based fatty foods, it is important to find a balance in the amount of fats from plants sources and animal sources we consumed.

Where Did All the Fiber Go?

Fiber’s Disappearing Act

Most health experts believe we should be getting 25-35 grams of fiber every day.  As Americans, we consume on average 10-15 grams of fiber a day.  This is a problem.

The consumption of fiber in the human population has continued to decrease over the course of human history.  In the last couple centuries it has taken a dive.  This most recent drop seems to have started with the genesis of food processing.  All that processing removes valuable fiber, as well as other nutrients.  Add that loss of fiber to America’s preference for poor food choices, and it’s easy to see how our fiber intake is decreased.

A Hole in Our Diets

Progressively, we have been exchanging high fiber, whole food products such as whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables for processed grains, potatoes with no skins, sugar, and processed oils.  This has left a huge hole in our diets, especially considering the health benefits of fiber.

Beyond the Basics

Most people are familiar with using fiber for constipation, but research in the last century has shown fiber to be benenficial for much more.  Fiber is broken down by good bacteria in our intestines.  It is a source of food for them, but when they have digested the fiber it serves as fuel for our intestinal cells.  Fiber is also beneficial for removing toxins from the body.  It has been shown in studies to help with maintenance of healthy weight and weight loss.

Fiber Helps More Than Just Digestion

Soluble fiber, such as those found in oats and beans, help lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.   Beta glucans, the soluble fiber from oats, have been allowed to carry a heart health claim by the FDA.  Soluble fiber is also beneficial for promoting maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels, which makes it especially important for diabetics.  Heart disease and diabetes are two of the most critical issues facing Americans today.  Finding one natural substance that helps fight both conditions is good news for the health world.

Time for Change

In an era of elimination issues, cardiovascular disease, and sugar imbalance, fiber is an important element to to return to our diets.   Since it is abundant in many whole vegetable-based foods, it is not difficult to add back into the diet.  It just takes a little conscious effort, and maybe a slightly longer preparation time for dinner.

Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X)

An Unknown But Common Problem

The term “metabolic syndrome” probably sounds like a term that is best left in the circle of the medical elite.  Well, I think it’s a concept that should be better understood by all Americans.  Metabolic Syndrome is a very American disease, for lack of a better term.  It only occurs in affluent nations.  Approximately 50 million Americans have this syndrome.  To understand this syndrome is to understand a major sickness affecting our nation today.

Increasing in Frequency

Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  One focus of ATP III is the management of metabolic syndrome (syndrome X). Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors such as high blood sugar levels, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure. This syndrome is becoming more common in America and is being given more attention by the American Heart Association and other leading organizations.

There’s Still Hope

Metabolic syndrome is highly influenced by diet and life style choices.  Because it’s based on America’s bad diet, it’s necessary to include a variety of whole foods such as beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, whole fruits,  and vegetables.  The only sure way to avoid Syndrome X is to lead a healthy life.

Lyon Diet Heart Study

The Approach

An American Heart Association Science Advisory summary of the Lyon Diet Heart Study starts with these words, “Diet is a cornerstone of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and treatment efforts.”   The Lyon diet that was the focus of this studied emphasized foods that are considered to be part of the Mediteranean Diet.

The Components

The experimental diet was high in fruits, root vegetables, cereal grains and breads, nuts, seeds, and beans.  Low to moderate fish and poultry were consumed instead of pork and red meat.   Olive oil, canola oil, and a special magerine that contained a higher amount of omega 3’s and no hydrogenated oils were used to add oil and fats to foods.

Looking at the Facts

Subjects tested in this study had already had warning signs of or experienced heart problems.  The goal was to see if the Lyons diet could decrease risk of a second cardiovascular episode.

Compared to the control group that ate more of a traditional American diet, the experimental group had a 50-70% decrease in risk for a second cardiovascular event.  These results were remarkable and show once again that diet has an enormous effect on our health and disease prevention.  This can be a ray of hope for people who want to decrease their risk of a second heart attack.