As a health and nutrition educator I work with people who are attempting to achieve optimal health and wellness. I often present the components of health and wellness using the three legged stool model. A wooden three legged stool balances well on all three legs. If one of the legs is shorter or longer than the others, the stool lacks stability and “wobbles.” If one of the legs breaks, the instability becomes a crisis.
I recognize the importance of the mind and the spirit. However, I cannot adequately discuss every aspect of health and wellness in one post and the focus of this discussion is the body. More specifically, I describe my introduction to the work of Katy Bowman. Bowman’s views have me reimagining the “three legged stool” models that I use in my workshops. (Clearly, I need help from someone with better design skills.)
Many of the people that I know are working to improve the health of their bodies through increased exercise. They will find Bowman’s focus on movement to have immediate practical applications. I have not, as yet, been successful in breaking her work down into easily understood bytes for them. They need to confront Bowman’s work for themselves and I strongly recommend that they do so.
I was introduced to the work of Katy Bowman through a video tour of her home.Watch “Tour of Katy’s House” on YouTube https://youtu.be/E-sROj4QrPI
I am reading and thinking about two of her books. The books are quite popular and well written reviews are easy find.
I visit her Nutritious Movement Website. I read her blogs. I listen to her podcast. I am using her full body mechanics programs to increase my strength and mobility.
Perhaps the most important thing that Bowman says is the simplest. Exercise is only one form of much larger movement options.
I found this idea enticing because, while I enjoy movement, I have less appreciation for counting “sets and reps.”
My attempts to explain even Bowman’s simplest ideas come out sounding like nonsense because I have fallen into the deep end of the pool. For years I have been studying how food creates biochemical cascades that alter physiological states. I have never paid as much attention to how movement also creates biochemical cascades that alter physiological states. Bowman pushed me to change that with her definition and explanation.
MECHANOTRANSDUCTION The process by which cells sense and then translate mechanical signals (compression, tension, fluid shear) created by their physical environment into biochemical signals, allowing cells to adjust their structure and function accordingly.
I immediately wanted to learn more and attempted to audit advanced courses in biophysics. The professors quickly sent me back to the “kiddie pool” of introductory human physiology. I have been here before. However, I know that I will benefit from the review, the integration of newly discovered knowledge, and approaching the course from a new perspective.
The learning goal of the course that I am taking has been set by the professors.
At the end of this course, learners will be able to recognize how the basic organ systems of the body work and apply the basic concepts that govern integrated body function as an intact organism in the body’s nine organ systems.
The learning goal does not indicate the minutia of the detail involved in this study. I plan to enjoy spending time studying human physiology while thinking about mechanotransduction. In other words, when I go for my morning walk and when I do Bowman’s programs, I am going to think about, talk about, and write about them from a physiological perspective. I am compelled to explore the idea of nutrious movement. This is definitely my lane.
I have not given up on nutritious food. I am still working on autoimmune protocol meal plans that do not exceed 1200 calories per day. I am thinking about how a person with extreme oral allergies can design nutritious meals for themselves.
I have not forgotten about the importance of sleep, or the mind, or the spirit. But those discussions will have to wait until I finish this. I think my current workload is more than sufficient.
TALK TO ME ABOUT BOWMAN’S WORK! TALK TO ME ABOUT HOW MOVEMENT IS ALTERING YOUR PHYSIOLOGICAL STATE.
Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is the first line of protection against outside invaders. That includes the skin of the scalp which is covered with hair. Pediatricians, social workers, teachers, family members, and even complete strangers will notice and judge how a child is being cared for based on the health of their skin and hair.
The hair and skin of children with African Ancestry can often present special challenges to their physical and emotional well being. Dealing with these challenges is no longer the sole responsibility of the mother. The fathers of children of African descent (at least some of them) have been stepping up to share the responsibility for this important area of HEALTH CARE. And as a health educator, health always comes first with me.
If you are person of either sex who is responsible for the care and well being of a child with African ancestry: Read, Watch, and then DO.
Hair and Skin Care for African American and Biracial Children. Written and Created by Nicole M. Hewitt, MSW for the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program.
Remember that skin color is not a skin type. In order to give your children the best skin care you will need to learn what skin type they have. One of the most common problems that I see results from believing that all dark skin is oily. It results in the needs of dark skinned children with dry skin going unmet and their skin being damaged by cleaning regimens that are much to harsh.
When Alexis Ohanian tried to join closed Black Hair Groups created for women, they turned him away. They empathized with his desire to learn how to care for his daughter’s hair. They pointed out that he did not need to join a group created for women to learn. They told him to go to YouTube. This is a brief compilation from 2018.
Dad’s are helping their daughters have healthy hair and boosting their self esteem.
If the fathers in the compilation are above your skill level, don’t despair. Everyone had a first time.
Step Up Dads! Real men care for the total wellbeing of their children, including skin and hair. This is not vanity, this is HEALTH.
We need to identify the foods to which we have a negative reaction, allergy or intolerance (1), and eliminate them from our diet while making sure that we are still providing our bodies (and our families) with adequate nutrition. Elimination diets are an important tool in this process. I have a few food allergies and I am intolerant of many. The elimination diet (2) that works best for me is the autoimmune protocol (AIP).
Getting Help with the AIP
For a long list of reasons, I NEED A FULL AIP RESET. Changing from any dietary lifestyle to another requires planning. Even though I am not an AIP newbie (3), I decided to use the work of Jaime Hartman, a nutritional therapy practitioner, to help with the planning. (4)
I am using Hartman’s meal prep method to organize my own AIP compliant recipes and meal plans. However, I have accelerated my move into the AIP by using Hartman’s “AIP Done-For-You Prep Plan.” The recipes in this plan are compliant with a the full elimination phase of the AIP. The recipes are free of all major allergens. They are also free of legumes, nuts, seeds, and nightshades.
While it is commonplace for people to focus on what foods elimination diets require them to relinquish, I have found it useful to look at what I am allowed to eat during the full elimination phase. I shopped, using Hartman’s list. I prepped using her method. Then I cooked and enjoyed the fruits and vegetables pictured, as well as chicken, turkey, beef, and tuna.
I never once felt deprived. Through the shopping, the washing, chopping, slicing, and dicing, I felt as though I was providing myself with the type of self care that I deserve. My only regret is that I did not treat myself this well decades ago. Thank goodness it is never too late to love yourself more.
To live with a food allergy is to live with the fear that the accidental ingestion of the wrong food could lead to immediate death. To live ignoring food intolerances is to live a potentially long life feeling miserable from of any of a long list of chronic inflammatory diseases. I sometimes refer to this as, “the I been eating this my entire life syndrome,” as in, maybe you would be better off if you had not. But habits are a nutrition educators worse enemy and best friend. It’s about changing one habit for another.
“Some of the symptoms of food intolerance and food allergy are similar, but the differences between the two are very important. Eating a food you are intolerant to can leave you feeling miserable. However, if you have a true food allergy, your body’s reaction to this food could be life-threatening.
2. Recently, I experienced some digestive symptoms after eating the small triangles of mass produced bread used to create cucumber sandwiches (I adore cucumber sandwiches). Some members of an online support group to which I belong to suggested that I needed to try a “Low FODMAP” Diet.
As I eagerly await the as yet unannounced Netflix premiere of season 5 of Luther, I have watched the official trailer, read reviews of the opening episode on British television, and read interviews with the star, Idris Elba, and the writer, Neil Cross.
I am fascinated by the character. Luther is a big man who brings his big walk, and gale force passions into the world of psychopaths and serial killers. Cross gives a nod to Columbo and explains that Luther is not a “Who done it” but rather a “How to Catch Them.” This characteristic is also shared with Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I definitely compare DCI John Luther’s intelligence with that of Lt. Columbo and Detective Robert Goren.
Cross compares Luther’s tendency to “cross the line” and frenetic need to be in more than one place at a time to the Vic Mackey character from The Shield. Luther is definitely not the quiet sensitive serial killer detecting empath, Will Graham, portrayed by William Petersen in the 1986 film Manhunter. (My favorite adaptation of The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris which continues to be my favorite novel in this genre.)
Like millions of other readers and viewers around the world, I enjoy peeking into the darkness as I read novels by Harris and Cross and watch movies and television programs based on their work. This is why Amazon Prime video suggested that I might want to watch Taboo. I could not look away from the darkness and unashamedly binge watched the entire season.
If you are concerned that this focus on the dark will scar my psyche, well you should have been around when I was nine years old. That was the year I read Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The next year it was Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Shelley’s Frankenstein. Were these works not on your high school and college reading lists?
Aspects of Taboo that annoyed critics tended to amuse me. For example, James Keziah Delany was delusional. Many of the fictional characters that I have enjoyed over the past 68 years have been delusional. By today’s standards a number of important historical figures were delusional. Important historical events resulted from mass hysteria or delusions. Who decides when another person’s supranatural belief system is delusional.
And could James, a severely traumatized man, sometimes be experiencing flashbacks instead of delusions? According to his servant his mother did try to drown him when he was an infant. According to the storyline, he did play an important role in sending a hole full of enslaved Africans to a frightening death. I could go on and on.
However, the most important thing about Taboo for me is that it forced me to look more closely at some historical questions. I now have a better understanding of who ruled England during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. I definitely know more about the East India Company, the conflict with Spain over the Northwest passage to China, and the treaty establishing the border separating Canada from the US.
I have a better idea of what life was like in the British Isles during this time period. I sidestepped into some fictionalized accounts of the settling of Australia as a penal colony. I watched both the controversial Banished and The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant.
AFTER MARY BRYANT it was time to switch back to a more romantic view of Cornwall. I accomplished this by using my Masterpiece Theater subscription to finish season 4 of Poldark. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU NEVER HEARD OF POLDARK? WE LIVE IN ALTERNATE REALITIES.
After getting my Scifi fix, I jumped back in time to watch season two of Jamestown. It hit a little closer to home. For more than 30 years, I attempted to explain to students that the integrationist versus the separatist orientations among African Americans did not start with Dubois and Garvey. I loved seeing them played out on screen between Maria and Pedro.
After months of reading about Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 from the US perspective, I am enjoying the view of the War of 1812 from the English side presented in the FX program Taboo. I am binge watching it on HULU. This is not Masterpiece Theater.
I have been enjoying the fictional presentation of the Hudson Bay Company in the Canadian made television series Frontier. Until I started watching the FX based Taboo, I had no image of the East India Company in Canada. Now I am comparing the fictional accounts presented in the television series to what historians present as more factual.
I am especially interested in the role of the two English companies in the genocide of the indigenous people of North America and the enslavement of Africans. The television programs are very unlike those of my youth, in which Native Americans were presented as savages deserving of death and Africans as savages deserving of enslavement.
Both television programs are gut wrenchingly violent. With the English being presented as the most violent. Both shows portray the importance of class and nationality in England. The poor were very poor and the Irish were generally poor and oppressed. I have recently watched several movies with these same themes.
Ever since I was a child fascinated by the historical fiction of Canadian author Thomas B. Costain, I have not been able to resist comparing how novelists and historians present the same time period or historical incidents.
So, in addition to comparing the two television shows to historical works, I am off and running on the Underground Railroad.
I started attending school in 1950, when I was four years old. I stopped teaching school, probably for good, in 2016. That amounts to 66 years of reading books because they were required by classes in which I was a student or classes in which I was the teacher. My own choices had to be snuck in on the side.
I am 72 years old. My eyesight is failing and I can’t read as rapidly as in the past. I am also coping with constant back pain and autoimmune flares. I am very comfortable coping with these by reading and watching what I select for myself. I tend to ignore recommendations that are not on topics of current interest as politely as possible.
Of course, I am interested in recommendations for fictional (video or written) and historical (video or written) works on English history during the colonization of North America and the enslavement of Africans, as well as those that deal with the so called Underground Railroad.
My homeplace is in the Alabama Blackbelt (1). According my DNA story, as told by Ancestry estimates, many of my African ancestors started the American leg of their journey on the coastal plain of North Carolina (that includes parts of Virginia and parts of South Carolina). I share a North Carolina connection with more than 1000 of my 23,000 matches on Ancestry (2). It is my intent to share this “interim report” and reading list with those matches who are interested in the journey.
I am interested in learning more about the experiences of my African ancestors in the English colonies and in the United States. Some of my DNA Cousins share this goal. In order to achieve this goal, I must learn more about the Europeans who enslaved them, including those Europeans who are also my ancestors.
I have, of course, studied Colonial Virginia. I have read books and articles and I have spent great days in Virginia’s historic triangle – http://www.history.org/foundation/historic_triangle.cfm?showSite=mobile-regular. While I have stood on Point Comfort, looked at the Atlantic, and contemplated what the voyage in the hold of a slave ship meant for my African ancestors, I have never looked at the history of Colonial Virginia from a personal perspective. Beyond Richmond, beyond Nat Turner, I have never focused on any location in Virginia that did not make it into the tourist attractions (3).
That is changing. Using data from DNA to help construct my “family tree,” I have followed one European ancestral line back to Colonial Virginia. The earliest English immigrant in the line that I am following arrived in Virginia in the 1630s. Being a descendant of these early arrivals in Virginia, who came from Scotland as well as England and Wales, helps to explain why I have so many DNA matches. It also explains why such a large proportion of these matches are connected to me through a specific line.
The lines from which I am descended moved from Isle of Wight County, Virginia to that part of Edgecombe County, North Carolina that became Halifax County. I know even less about Colonial North Carolina than I do about Colonial Virginia. I have started to read.
It was even more interesting to read Boddie’s (1938) claim that the first permanent settlement in North Carolina was established by people from Isle of Wight County and Nansemond County, Virginia in 1660 or 1661. Boddie describes one of the early North Carolina settlements as including 27 families and 427 servants. I really want to learn more about the “servants.”
It appears that the primary line I am following moved to Edgecombe/Halifax after 1699. This suggests that by the time I had European ancestors born in Edgecombe/Halifax, the pathway from Isle of Wight was well worn. After I have studied the records of Isle of Wight County, Virginia and Edgecombe/Halifax, North Carolina, I will follow the migration of this line into Georgia and the Mississippi Territory.
The earliest African ancestored person with whom I am connected, thanks to my DNA COUSIN Angelis Robinson-Smith – https://angelissmith.com/ – is Clarissa, my third great grandmother, who was born in North Carolina about 1810.
(2) Soon after I started studying my family history, my DNA Cousin with expertise in this area used Gedmatch to estimate my Native American ancestry. She discovered that I shared slightly more than 5 cMs with the Lumbee reference group. The Lumbee are also associated with North Carolina. One of the surnames associated with the Lumbee is the surname of my maternal grandfather. The Lumbee are not important to my identity and I am definitely not interested in being a member of the tribe.
(3) This does not mean that my perspective on Colonial Virginia is romanticized. I know that around 1660, chattel racial slavery was codified in Colonial Virginia and Maryland through court decisions. When I visit Colonial Williamsburg, I think about the Founding Fathers who sat in a tavern and talked and wrote about the equality of all men while denying the humanity of my African ancestors. When I visit the battlefield at Yorktown, I think about how the hopes of Africans who fought with the Colonials in the war were betrayed.
(4) I have traced a second European line that entered South Carolina more than a century after those who entered Colonial Virginia and converged in Isle of Wight County. This line entered through Charleston, but before moving westward to the Mississippi Territory, settled in Kershaw County, South Carolina, which is on the coastal plain and closer to North Carolina than to Charleston.
(5) I can no longer afford my book habit. Each of these books was borrowed from a library. The early articles are in the JSTOR free online collection and/or the Internet Archive.
I was discharged from the hospital one day after the removal of a synovial cyst and some scar tissue from my spine. I will be writing about that experience. What is important here is that several days later I was able to push my rolling walker into the kitchen, take a frozen prepared meal out of the freezer, and heat it in a microwave oven.
That is not my customary dietary style. For years I have preferred a nutrient dense whole foods diet that excludes prepared foods, refined oils, and sugar. My lactose intolerance also means that I customarily limit dairy. I do not cook in a microwave. By the third week after surgery, I was feeling the effects from eating the prepared foods and dreaming about the meals I would prepare for myself when I able to cook.
I was reading about food and health, especially chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The autoimmune diseases with which I have been diagnosed are in remission, technically. That means that the disease activity in my body is too low to be detected by standard testing methods. However, I have been living with autoimmune diseases for more than 50 years. That means that I am one trigger away from a flare. I tend to think of the autoimmune conditions as organic malware lurking in the background waiting for a single signal to launch an all out destructive attack on the systems of my body.
I also know that I am still living with chronic inflammation and pain. I am still living with unending fatigue. I sometimes experience nerve wracking brain fog. I know that I am extremely photosensitive. By the first of March the need to protect myself from UV rays will require energy that I do not have. Each of these diminishes the quality of my life.
I am fighting back. I believe that improving the quality of my life requires a complete dietary reset. I have decided to accomplish that reset using the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Transitioning to a Paleo dietary style requires that I continue to avoid processed foods, refined oils, sugars, and dairy while also avoiding grains and legumes.
The AIP then helps to identify other foods that may be problematic for me by eliminating them for at least 30 days and then allowing for their gradual reintroduction. The foods that must be eliminated for at least 30 days are eggs, dairy, nightshades, nuts and seeds.
I have also invested in Ballantyne’s books. The first book that I am reading is The Paleo Approach,. This book is not just for people who have autoimmune diseases. It is for anyone who wants to understand how the foods we eat, and our lifestyle behaviors influence our health.
I want to improve my own health. I must try to understand the science behind AIP. I must implement the approach in a way that fits my personal circumstances. I am thinking of it as “AIP for One – On a budget.” I have a lot of work to do.
The work is not just for me. The secondary audience for this work includes those people with whom I share an inherited propensity toward chronic disease. For us, this may be more than a simple dietary reset. It may be an AIP epigenetic reset. Another audience for this work is anyone who is interested in Ballantyne’s presentation of the contemporary scientific literature dealing with the impact of food, and lifestyle on health.
I would love to discuss this book with people. Let me know if you would be interested in reading this book and joining in the discussion.