Dear "Doctor" Marianne: Questions Answered!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hi everyone.  So, as you'll see, my Mom is answering roughly all of your questions from the "Doctor" Marianne post below.  Instead of addressing each one, she speaks broadly about each because there was a lot of overlap.  Hopefully you'll all find your answer, or close to anyway (if not, let us know)!  Also, those whose questions were about breastfeeding/ birth/ post-partum/ child vaccinations... your answers are still coming and will be answered by my sister who's a labor/ delivery nurse, and childbirth instructor (my Mom thought she was a bit more qualified to answer them since she had her last child in '84 and things change all the time.).  She's a new mom/ works part time/ yada yada yada... thus, she's slow.  I'll get on 

Now, I turn you over to my Mom:

I’ll begin responding to your various questions by giving you a short introduction -- by way of explanation of what I can and cannot intelligently respond to -- due to my qualifications and lack thereof.  Next I will lay out what I consider to be general healthy routines and philosophies that I believe should be part of everyone’s daily regime.  The majority of questions fall into similar categories.  I believe that there are some very basic healthy guidelines for all. If you want to avoid most of the common ailments that plague people (and that are referred to in this blog), I suggest you start here.   You will also hear from daughters who are more up to date on the subject of vaccinations and things relating to childbirth etc.  Hope you’ll find this informative and catch some of my excitement.  Make your health education a life-giving pursuit.  Let’s get started....
Health and all things relating to health became my passion when I was pregnant with my first -- who will soon turn 40!!  I was a pretty sick kid and began questioning if there was a better way.   And so it began.  We went the route of natural childbirth.  My husband was in the delivery room -- the first one ever in our local hospital.  Breastfeeding came next.  That was a no brainer.  Transitioning onto solid foods really got my attention.  That demanded so much more thought.  I needed to really start reading. I soon realized the importance and the impact of the choices we make on our overall health and well being.  And so it continues.  I read and enjoy anything and everything on the subject of health.  Except for a few official courses along the way plus age and some wisdom -- I have no real credentials!!  I’m here to say that a healthy life style is worth any sacrifice (real or imagined) that is required.  Where are we without our health?  Every ‘body’ is different.  But to the degree that we can influence our health -- why wouldn’t we?  
As I explain what I believe is a healthy daily routine in terms of meals, vitamins, supplements, exercise etc. , I understand that everyone is coming from a different place.  Reading the various blog entries, it’s not possible to know the individual state of health of the person behind the question.  But I consider these ideas to be basic for anyone who is seeking better health or wants to maintain their health.  Initially, I thought I would answer each question individually.  However, many of your questions are similar. I realized most of them were going to be addressed in the same way.  Basically, the headache/migraine, bowel disorders, constipation, skin problems, yeast infection, allergy sufferers are going to get answered by reading on.
I laugh when I remember a comment from one of our sons-in-law.  He was still getting used to us and listening to our lively conversations about nutrition, health, elimination.  Nothing is off limits.  He respectfully concluded that I must think the ‘gut’ is the center of the universe.  After a moment of hesitation I agreed -- that in fact I do consider it that important.  Our second brain, if you will.  To that end (no pun intended), here are some things that will help make life easier.  
Proper digestion starts in the mouth.  So start chewing your food thoroughly.  Being the last one at the table is a good thing.  The stomach won’t need to work so hard when the food arrives.  In addition, skip drinking anything with your meals.  It actually washes away the digestive enzymes.  Occasionally sipping wine with a meal -- unavoidable.   For intestinal health--and certainly for anyone suffering with real bowel disorders--consider proper food combining.  A new concept for some but definitely worth taking a look. I googled ‘food combining‘ and there was lots of information.  Try this And stay away from processed, packaged foods.  The body requires whole food--but more on that later.  
Sharing the spotlight on the importance of caring for the gut is saying NO TO SUGAR!  I read “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty at the same as other lightbulbs were going on in my head.  Like everyone else, I added a couple of teaspoons of sugar to my tea -- a couple of times a day.  After all, doesn’t everyone need an afternoon lift?  I also had no reason to say no to desserts etc. I had not made the connection -- WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. However, after seeing the truth in print, it was hard to ignore.  Find a copy and enjoy a good read.  
But for purposes of making a fast and powerful impact, read what Dr. Mercola has to say on the subject of sugar.  Anyone with whom I have talked health to within the last 15-20 years has been urged to read Dr. Mercola.  He’s an M.D. with a whole lot to say about everything regarding how we should be eating, exercising, eliminating and just about everything else too! You can sign up for his free online  newsletters or search topics in his archive.  I urge you to read what he says about sugar.  Besides the obvious -- obesity, diabetes etc. sugar can exacerbate, contribute to or cause everything from arthritis, to depression, to migraines, to bowel disease, to Alzheimer’s -- he actually lists 76 dangers of sugar to your health. Read it--Please!!  

Obviously, I became a real warrior.   As the children went off to school (and out of my control) I really wasn’t any fun.  My daughters have their various stories about how they managed their sugar fixes.  Good nutrition was not part of anyone’s awareness in the seventies.  I was really ‘out there’.  Now we have come full circle and my children are raising their children according to the same principles with which they were raised albeit with more wisdom and grace.  I managed to lose my sweet tooth. I’ve done a good job of saying no to sweets and desserts and do not consider it a hardship. I’m going to say that keeping sugar out of my diet is probably the biggest reason my weight has not changed in 40 years.  To that I will add my good energy and healthy immune system.  Praise the Lord!!
A proper discussion of what foods should be avoided is not complete without reference to grains -- pasta, breads, cereals, pastries.  Gluten sensitivity is just now getting recognition.  Generally, our diets are so heavily laden with these foods and what was considered somewhat rare is now affecting way more people.  People with gluten intolerance can suffer from obscure, undiagnosed maladies to far more common, everyday complaints.  Again, I send you to Dr. Mercola here (linking to his info on grains) who will go into great detail.   Personally, I know that if I eat a sandwich for lunch -- I will immediately be sleepy.  I also know that grains/gluten contribute to gas, bloating, indigestion, extra belly fat and are a strain on our systems during allergy seasons -- contributing to our allergic reactions.  So, even if you are not sensitive to gluten -- keeping these foods at a minimum in your diet is going to keep you feeling good.  Working on your gut health (see next paragraph) will help with gluten sensitivity.

As we move from don’t to do’s --  a good probiotic is an essential addition to your health regime.   It is a important for our gut immune system.  Helps keep us regular!!  If you are someone who has taken antibiotics, doesn’t always eat the most nutritious foods, gets colds etc., please consider taking a probiotic.  Which probiotic you purchase is important.  They are all not created equal.  Again, I defer to Dr. Mercola (on probiotics).  Let me say this about Dr. M:  He sells on his website.  But as he recently explained on the Dr. Oz show -- his passion is health and if he was to continue spending his time educating and getting the country healthy--he could either advertise or sell on his website.  He decided to sell--thereby guaranteeing us the very best in supplements.  He is also controversial.  Perhaps you won’t be ready for everything you read -- just consider it ‘food for thought’ and file some of it away for another time.  But don’t stop reading! 
A quick word here about your daily multiple vitamins.  I’m all about whole food vitamins.   It just seems logical (more here).  Far more digestible -- thus more utilized.  Eating properly prepared nutritious (organic as much as possible) whole foods is first.  Let food be your medicine.  But realistically speaking, we will not be getting everything we need from our diets -- most of us will still need supplements.  
The last addition to my daily regime is cod liver oil -- your source of omega 3 fats.   But it’s critical to buy the right kind of cod liver oil.  It can easily be rancid.  I’ve been using Carlson’s Lemon Flavored liquid but Dr. Mercola recommends krill oil and there are other choices available as you will see after reading the following paragraph and checking out the next website I mention.  Read on.

Next on the list is eating smart/sensibly.  There’s no mystery here.  Keep your foods as close to whole as possible.  As much as possible, avoid refined.  Anything that comes out of a box has been processed and is lacking in vital nutrition.  This isn’t meant to be a nutrition lecture.  I’d like to introduce you to Weston Price.  Who is Weston Price?  He was an early pioneer who traveled to isolated parts of the globe to study the health of populations untouched by western civilization.  His goal was to discover the factors responsible for good dental health.  His findings in 1930-40  and subsequent recommendations are how our grandparents and great-grandparents ate.  Explore The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Also hoping you’ll be inclined to purchase a terrific cookbook authored and published by this group -- “Nourishing Traditions”: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon.  Educational, informative, fabulous!!  Will set you straight on fats, carbs, proteins, and everything else you ever didn’t want to know about how to eat nutritionally.  Again, you won’t be ready for all of it -- what’s that?  Fats are our friends?  Seriously, keep the book nearby and refer to it often.  Please explore this interesting website--very informative.  It led me to the author’s blog.  Recipes, videos....take a long look.  
I’ve gone on too long.  So much left unsaid.  But I cannot conclude talking health without mentioning exercise.  Everyone knows the importance and everyone has their favorite way of working out -- whether or not you actually do it is another story.  I have been a yoga enthusiast for a very long time and except for walking and gardening I pretty much stick to yoga.  I prefer Ashtanga Yoga.  It’s very vigorous.  Anyone interested in yoga can begin with finding a good beginner’s Iyengar class.  Iyengar is learned through a series of postures and breath control.  You can progress safely from basic postures to advanced gaining flexibility and strength in mind, body and spirit.  
That’s all for now.  The remaining questions that are more specific will be handled separately.  This is already too long!! 


  1. I'm having trouble uploading photos! Dang blogger I thought it was just me =]

  2. I was having trouble too...but I switched over to the HTML view and it let me import a photo, and then switched back to the editor and it was there! Feel free to gaze at my husband's newest creation, superbed!

  3. This is awesome. I've been waiting for your mom's answers to start coming- even though I didn't submit a question!


  4. Can I request further information from your mom? I'd love to know what she eats. I know the general "whole foods" but seriously, especially without eating much in the way of grains, what all does she eat? I'd love to see day in Marianne's diet, or even a week would be amazing.

  5. @amy, i will forward that on to her! good question. i assure you it's not JUST tree bark, seaweed, and kale chips. hahaha.

  6. Amy you read my mind. As a mom of three kids (4 and under) I try hard to feed them "healthy". I am still trying to figure out exactly what that is. I have read so many contradictory opinions. Do eat grains, no gluten, meat, no meat, eat whole foods, organic...and it goes on and on. I have to be honest that it makes my head spin and leaves me completely frustrated (and I am a pretty positive person...but a subject this important leaves me overwhelmed). I would also LOVE to see what your mom eats in a week. Ideas on how to really make this way of eating a part of life not just something that will easily fade out. Thanks so much!

  7. YES YES YES. i agree whole heartedly with everything your mom had to say obs. thanks for the kind words today...

  8. She is just a wealth of knowledge! Wow! I cannot wait to hear the rest.

  9. Wow, this is a great post! Please thank your mother for me! Also, I know this is asking a lot, but would she mind coming up with a one-week menu, or even just a menu for a couple days? Just enough to give us an idea of how to put together proper meals. That's really the hardest part for me.

  10. Just found your blog and love this post!

  11. So interesting! Keep them coming

  12. Your mom is brilliant! I've been interested in natural health for a long time now, but the thing i find the hardest is curbing my sugar habit. It's so hard to say no to dessert! x

  13. you don't know how helpful this is!! thank you!

  14. thanks marianne! sometimes i think they should give out nutrition degrees to people who absolutely know what they are talking about.

  15. Very helpful! You can tell she has devoted so much time to health through out her life. Love that!

  16. um... nourishing traditions is my FAVORITE book. i love your mom already....

    but i also read this while eating a cupcake. obviously, i have a lot to learn.

  17. The post was very good. I was wondering what one of Dr. Mercola's books she recommended?

  18. Wow! Amazing post!! Thanks for all the great info!!!

  19. Ah! Love this! My husband and I have been Paleo for over two years and plan to raise our kids this way too. I just found nourishing traditions though and I am going through the book and making all the recipes! So excited for you. I seriously feel like a different person. I was an undiagnosed chronic illness teenager/young adult who went to ever Dr. and was diagnosed with literally everything. Then thru Crossfit I found the paleo diet and all my health problems went away.


talk to me.

(also! if you have a question, check back as i usually answer it here!)


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