Friday, September 30, 2011

Dark Circles Under the Eyes: Causes & Solutions

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Please read it there. Thanks much! Be well!


Many people consider dark circles under the eyes to merely be a cosmetic problem that is easily concealed using makeup. The truth is that most cosmetic issues have a physiological cause. Dark circles are no different. There are many different potential causes for dark circles. Some are easy to address and correct; others take a longer effort. Dark circles can also be ...


Hello! This post was transferred to my website and may be read in its entirety at:

Please read it there. Thanks much! Be well!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Corn in my Veins: Dextrose in IV Solutions

I wanted to share an update to follow up on what happened Sunday night. (See my last blog post, EMTs in My Bedroom, to catch up on that.) The good news is that I returned to complete health as soon as my blood glucose levels returned to normal ... with one small exception.

To bring my blood sugar levels up rapidly Sunday night, I was given a 50% solution of dextrose. This would be fine, except that dextrose is directly derived from corn. The problem with that is that I have an allergy to corn. The incidence of corn allergies is rising rapidly, primarily due to the fact that so much of the corn grown in our country is genetically modified (GMO). I was very fortunate the reaction I experienced was not extreme. Many people with corn allergies experience anaphylaxis (deadly allergic reactions) when given dextrose intravenously. These allergic reactions typically include a swelling of the throat and mouth which often makes it impossible to breathe. Again, I was very, very fortunate.

On a side note, I'm also concerned that I had genetically modified material directly injected into my veins. Over 90% of corn grown in this country is GMO (genetically modified). Having that crap in my bloodstream concerns me gravely, but I'm taking measures to protect myself.

Although the physiology of an allergic reaction is the same, there is a huge difference between eating an allergenic food and having it directly injected into your bloodstream. Let's look at what happens during an allergic reaction:
  1. The body is exposed to an allergen, triggering a complex cascade of cellular reactions.
  2. White blood cells release allergy-specific antibodies which then bind to mast cells, a very specific type of blood cell specifically designed to protect the body from allergens and antigens. Mast cells are most commonly found in the digestive tract and the respiratory system, which explains why allergic reactions typically affect those body systems first.
  3. The cells of the allergen bind with the chain created by the bonding of the antibodies and mast cells.
  4. When the allergen cells bind with bonded antibody and mast cell chain, it stimulates the mast cells to release multiple chemicals and hormones that create a chain reaction designed to kill the allergen and protect the body. 
  5. The most common chemical released from the mast cells are histamines. The histamines cause common allergy symptoms (inflammation, itching, etc.) that we are familiar with.
So that's that. Obviously, eating a food and having it digested and absorbed through the digestive tract is very different from having a substance directly infused into the bloodstream. The reaction created by receiving an allergen via IV is typically much more rapid than that caused by eating a food. (The exception to this occurs with severe food allergies in which the sensitivity is so strong that the mast cells immediately release large amounts of histamines and chemicals that cause anaphylaxis.)

I received the dextrose Sunday night and experienced immediate nausea that persisted for four days. Remember those mast cells in the digestive tract? They sprang into action and did their job as soon as the blood containing the corn product circulated into my stomach and colon. (Nice, huh?) The next day, I was extremely congested (the mast cells at work again) and ached from head to toe.

The achiness is what signaled me that I had been exposed to an allergen. One of the most common, although often unrecognized, symptoms of food allergies is sore joints and achiness. This is created by the inflammation caused by the histamines and other chemicals released by the body in an attempt to protect itself from the allergen. I immediately began researching and realized very quickly that the dextrose was derived from corn. At that point, all I could do was help my body eliminate the allergen. I also treated the inflammation using natural methods.

The most visible allergic reaction I experienced occurred in the site where the IV was inserted, the back of my hand. The entire back of my hand and several inches of my arm turned stunning shades of black, blue and red with visible dark red blotches where blood vessels had burst. I wish I had taken a picture, because it was quite a sight. An IV typically produces a bruise, but not one that measures 6" x 6". The entire area was extremely tender, also a result of the inflammation created by the histamines. The inflammation created by the corn in the dextrose caused some of the smaller vessels in my hand to burst, and created leakages in the larger ones. Not at at all dangerous, just ugly and mildly inconvenient.

Was there an alternative? Yes. In my case, I could have been given a medication called glucagon. Glucagon stimulates the liver to produce sugar (glycogen) and to then release it into the bloodstream. Although glucagon has its own set of side effects, the use of glucagon could have eliminated the allergic reaction I had. It's a minor point since the reactions I had were minor, but its use could have avoided disaster had my reaction been severe.

As I stated in my last post, the EMTs who came were amazing. I'm so thankful they were there. I do find it incredible that standard IV procedure does not include asking the patient's family what allergies the patient has prior to the delivery of IV fluids. Dextrose is included in multiple IV solutions. Knowing that a patient has a corn allergy would enable the team to select an alternative solution and avoid disaster.

I'm sharing this to ensure that anyone with corn allergies is aware that some IV solutions contain corn derivatives. When possible, please ask about the contents of an IV solution before allowing it to be administered. Most glucose solutions contain corn derivatives. Be careful!

Monday, September 26, 2011

EMTs in My Bedroom

This is the hardest blog post I've ever had to write. It's hard because it forces me to admit that I am vulnerable. I hate doing that. Seriously hate it. I "have" to write this post because I need to be 100% transparent and because I want to use it to educate others and to encourage others that "vulnerable" does not mean "weak." They are two very different concepts.

Let me clearly state I have Type 1 diabetes, not Type 2. People with Type 2 diabetes typically do not experience this degree of extremes in their blood sugars. I also want to clearly state that I was 100% fine as soon as my blood glucose levels returned to normal.

Last night, for some unknown reason, my blood sugar dropped to dangerously low levels. My husband, Terry, did everything right, but my sugar refused to come up. He was forced to call 911. Before the EMTs arrived, I had a seizure with mild convulsions. For the record, a seizure is caused when the brain receives conflicting signals. Symptoms vary but may include staring into space, appearing awake but being non-responsive, etc. Since the brain's only source of "fuel" is glucose, it is not unusual for diabetics to have seizures - but not convulsions - when they have low glucose levels. A convulsion is a series of involuntary, rapid muscle contractions that are sometimes caused by the abnormal electrical charges occurring in the brain during a seizure. The belief that seizures always cause convulsions is false.

My heart breaks that my husband had to experience this. I can only imagine how frightening it must have been. As I said, he did everything perfectly. I spent today thanking God for him and his wisdom. From what he tells me, I fell asleep (probably due to a low blood sugar) and then awoke but was completely unresponsive. My eyes were open, but I was not acknowledging his presence and would not respond to verbal cues. I was having a seizure.

He fixed a solution of sugar and water and was able to get me to drink from a straw. (He's brilliant, by the way!) He then took a blood sugar. It was 25. I've had sugars of 25 and lower before and been completely coherent. The fact I was still unresponsive with a sugar of 25 indicates my sugar had been much lower and that my brain function was still mildly affected by the seizure. (Which is very temporary and perfectly normal.) He called 911 when I failed to become responsive even after drinking the sugar water.

The EMTs gave me IV glucose and I finally "came to" about 25 minutes later. It took a total of over sixty minutes between the initial seizure and complete coherency. One of the interesting things the EMTs told me was that I appeared to be "ready to fight" when they arrived. The brain is an amazing organ. My survival instincts were fully functioning even when the rest of my cerebral functions were not. Seeing strangers enter my bedroom caused me to react belligerently. On some level I knew I needed their help, but they had to talk me into letting them help me. I apparently changed my mind in the middle of receiving the IV, because I jerked my hand away and succeeded in spraying the carpet with blood.

The EMTs who came were incredible. A man and lady, they were experts but were also very kind and personable. Unfortunately, I failed to ask their names. I owe them a debt of gratitude and need to call to find out who they were.

I want to share what I experienced and what I remember in the hopes it will help others understand what it's like to have a seizure caused by low blood sugars. I remember becoming extremely tired and lying down. The sudden tiredness was a signal my blood sugar was low, but I was not capable of recognizing that at the time. I have no memory of anything until I began having a strange dream where strangers were in my room and a blond woman was speaking very firmly to me. I thought it was a dream, and then wished it were when the realization hit that the woman was an EMT and that my sugar had bottomed out. I became coherent when my sugar reached the mid-30s. The EMT checked my levels and got a 40 after I became coherent and was conversing in a way that made sense. As soon as coherency returned, I began eating fruit to continue the upward rise of my blood sugar. As I said previously, a blood sugar of 40 is low, but is not a level that typically causes incoherency for me. I've had diabetes for over 45 years, so my body has developed an ability to tolerate extremes that most people could not. That fact scares me more than anything else. I hate to imagine how low my sugar was when I first had the seizure. 

After coherency returned, I was embarrassed beyond belief. Was it wrong to feel embarrassed? Of course it was, but that's how I felt. I was mortified to have needed the help and felt horrible to have put my husband through what he went through. Could I have prevented this event? Probably not. I maintain exquisite control of my blood sugars and work hard to maintain control. I probably didn't eat enough yesterday, but there is still nothing that can explain having a sugar low enough to completely destroy my ability to function. Stranger still is that drinking a large amount of glucose failed to raise my blood sugar rapidly enough to restore coherency.

Strangest of all is that my liver had already released the store of glycogen (a natural sugar) that the body typically uses to raise blood glucose levels in emergency situations. My blood sugar should have been in the 400s after that combination of events, yet the highest it got was a very temporary 216. Drinking sugar water, eating fruit, receiving IV glucose and the liver's release of glycogen should have sent my blood sugar through the roof, but did not. My sugar quickly dropped to 95 once the IV glucose wore off This can only mean that my pancreas actually kicked in at some point and did what it was supposed to. I've spent the last 10 years working hard to restore function to my pancreas. The fact my efforts appear to be working is very encouraging, but does mean I must be even more diligent in controlling my blood sugars. I'm ok with that.

The after-effects of an extremely low blood sugar and seizure vary. Mine included a splitting headache and a body temperature of 94 degrees. My body stopped maintaining a normal body temperature in an attempt to provide more glucose to the brain. In effect, I had hypothermia and a reduced core temperature without being exposed to cold. A long, hot bath was the only thing that worked to restore my core temperature to normal.

There you have it. I always want to be 100% transparent when it comes to my health. Sharing this was harder than you know. I hope it helped provide some education and understanding on some level. More than anything, please remember that people with diabetes can't always control what happens with their blood sugar. We try our best, but our bodies sometimes do things that can't be anticipated. Please read my follow-up post, Corn in my Veins, for the unexpected side effects I experienced from the IV solution I was given. Important info for anyone with a corn allergy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Much Food Do We Waste?

It is my incredible pleasure to share a guest post by Randy Clark. Randy is a top-notch marketer (his bio follows his post) who also has a great sense of humor and an interest in natural foods and community action. I highly recommend following him on Twitter and Facebook. It is an extreme honor to share his post.

How Much Food Do We Waste?

Last Friday evening, my wife and I attended a reception for the Hoosier Auto Show sponsored by the Circle City Corvair Club. Corvair owners, (It’s a car from the sixties) had driven from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio to show their cars. The event was catered. I understand last year they ran out of food. This year, there was plenty of food. As a matter of fact - there was too much food. There were four unopened containers of pasta, and bread. I sent a tweet asking who could use the food and Pamela suggested the Wheeler Mission. My wife and I left the reception to deliver the food. It was needed. It would have been thrown away. It would have been wasted.

The awards banquet was the following night. Jonathan Byrds  had been hired to cater the banquet. The food was excellent and the employee setting up the service was great. But, there was a lot of food left over, unopened containers of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. I asked the service person what happened to the food and he told me it was all carefully packed, put in a cooler at Jonathan Byrd’s, and donated to Second Helpings. This is as good of an example of corporate responsibility, community involvement, and caring from a business - as you will find. It made my night.  

Americans waste about one pound of food everyday for every American

According to an article published in the New York Times:  “Americans waste an astounding amount of food — an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption, according to a government study — and it happens at the supermarket, in restaurants and cafeterias and in your very own kitchen. It works out to about a pound of food every day for every American.

Waste not, want not

The Jonathan Byrd service person shared a story with me. His Grandmother had lived in Europe before World War One when much of Europe was in a depression. After World War One she waited in breadlines with her family. As an adult she moved to America and experienced the great Depression. She had learned the hard way. She didn’t let much go to waste. They had some land on Long Island where they planted a large garden, raised livestock, and dogs. What the family didn’t consume was feed to the hogs, the dogs, or both. Like he said - not much was wasted, and the conservation lessons were not wasted on him. My new friend wondered aloud how much we could all learn from his grandmother today. I don’t have to wonder.

Every night 190,000 children go to bed hungry - in Indiana

Green Answers answered the question, “How many people go hungry everyday in America?” “According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 500,000 households suffer from hunger each day.  They are classified as 'food insecure.' “  According to The Guardian over a million American children go hungry every day.”  Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) brings it home with this statement, “Every night 190,000 children in Indiana go to bed - hungry.”

Stop Wasting - Start Helping

What else do we waste?

Randy Clark

Randy Clark is the Director of Communications at TKO Graphix, where he blogs for TKO Graphix Brandwire  Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He is a beer geek and on weekends he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under The Radar. He is the proud father of one educator, one Principal, has four amazing grand children, and a public speaking wife who puts up with him. His twitter handle is @randyclarktko, Face book: Randy Clarktko.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Simple Ways to Evaluate the Validity of a Research Study

This post was transferred to my permanent website. It can be read in its entirety there by visiting:

I know first hand that scientific studies often make claims which are not valid...

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Friday, September 16, 2011

What Does a Diabetic Look Like?

"Wow ... you don't LOOK like a diabetic!" I hear that comment frequently. I know it's a compliment, and it's one I appreciate, but I confess the comment offends me. There, I said it. Being told I don't "look like a diabetic" offends the heck out of me. Why does it offend me? Because it implies that people with diabetes are sick, can't function normally and should look like invalids or be morbidly obese. Nothing could be further from the truth!

I've had Type 1 diabetes for over 45 years. Yep. Almost half a century. In spite of that, I travel frequently, ride a motorcycle (as the rider, never a passenger), keep a crazy schedule, live life to the fullest, and prefer to say I have diabetes instead of referring to myself as a diabetic. (The difference in perspective is huge.) Diabetes has NEVER stopped me from doing anything, and it never will. Well, ok ... I confess having diabetes could have once stopped me from parasailing, but I lied and said I didn't have it. (God forgave me.) There are laws that say I can't get a commercial driver's license, fly a plane or scuba dive, but I can darn well do everything else. Having diabetes means I have to plan ahead. It doesn't mean I had to give up.

Although I have Type 1 diabetes (the type that is controlled using insulin), most people in the US have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is typically controlled using diet, exercise and oral medication if needed. Some things discussed in this post are more applicable to people with Type 1 diabetes, some are more applicable to people with Type 2. Regardless of which type of diabetes we are blessed to have, people's perception of us changes the minute they hear we have "it." The judgment and assumptions drawn are often incorrect and always unfair.

Based on what I see in the media (I've been known to throw things at the TV during commercials for diabetes products) and hear from people unfamiliar with diabetes, here's what I suspect a diabetic is "supposed" to look like:
  • Diabetics have syringes for arms & legs, a pill bottle for a head, and one leg in the grave: The fact I have diabetes doesn't mean my life is controlled by it. I have challenges and have to consider things others don't, but I control it ... it doesn't control me. Period.

  • Diabetics are all fat: Diabetes has become such a common disorder that it no longer has a "standard" demographic. People with diabetes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are rail thin, some are grossly obese, and most of us fall somewhere in the broad range between the two. Not all fat people have diabetes, and not everyone with diabetes is fat. Please let go of that stereotype and move on.

  • Diabetics spontaneously combust if they eat sugar: The myth that diabetics can never eat sugar is just that ... a myth. People with diabetes do need to make careful choices when it comes to food, but an occasional indulgence is not going to kill us. Frequent indulgences may, but please don't freak out or give us a disapproving look if we eat a cookie in front of you, ok? We're smart enough to know what we can and cannot eat. People with Type 1 diabetes take extra insulin to counteract the effect an indulgence has on their blood sugar. People with Type 2 diabetes hopefully exercise or use other methods to counteract dietary indulgences. I don't mean to imply that people with diabetes can eat like pigs. (Or like most people in the US eat.) People who have diabetes and eat whatever they want with no regard for how it affects their blood sugar typically suffer higher rates of complications, such as blindness, amputation, heart disease, etc. However, eating a single Twinkie won't cause us to spontaneously combust. I promise.

  • Diabetics are weak invalids who have a lot in common with Eeyore: Most people with diabetes lead full, vibrant lives. They do if they choose to, at least. They have challenges, but they choose to control diabetes instead of letting diabetes control them. Yes, it is true that diabetes has the capacity to kill us if we don't control it, but many people with diabetes are invalids because a medical professional at some point in time convinced them they had no other choice. Many people with diabetes have told me the doctor who diagnosed them told them they had diabetes and went on to say their condition would continually deteriorate and that they would eventually die a horrid death from it. Instead of telling them they had diabetes and that their condition could be controlled, their doctor sucked the hope right out of them and then sent them home to die. It's criminal, but it happens more frequently than people realize. The truth is that there is no reason people with diabetes need to let it interfere with leading a full, vibrant life. None. I don't mean to imply diabetes is not a serious disease that is ruining lives. It is ... but not for everyone.
There you have it. Apparently that's what a diabetic is supposed to look like. I guess I can only thank God that people are surprised I don't look like one. When people find out I have diabetes, I often see their foreheads crease with concern and their eyes glaze with pity. I don't choose to spend much time with those folks. The people I adore are the ones who acknowledge I have diabetes but who form an opinion of me based on who I am, not what I have. They are the friends who hand me a bottle of juice when they know my blood sugar is low, but who don't assume it's low when I'm having trouble doing something. They ask before assuming. I love them. Dearly.

If you know someone with diabetes, I can almost guarantee they would LOVE one of these t-shirts as a gift. I want one of each!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why You Should NEVER Use Splenda (Sucralose)

Hello! This post was transferred to my website and may be read in its entirety at:

Why You Should Never Use Splenda

Please read it there. Thanks much! Be well!


The Dangers of Splenda (Sucralose)

I'm often asked which artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes I prefer. The answer, quite simply, is few of them because most create a wide variety of negative side effects. The newest, Splenda (Sucralose), has its own dangerous history and set of dangerous consequences. The dangers of Sucralose and the side effects of Sucralose cannot be denied. Sucralose is marketed as Splenda. I use both names in this post.

If you're interested in reading about another common product which research has proved to be dangerous, please read my post: Why You Should Never Use Hand Sanitizer: The Dangers of Triclosan ...


Hello! This post was transferred to my website and may be read in its entirety at:

Why You Should Never Use Splenda

Please read it there. Thanks much! Be well!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Golden Corral Dilemma

This post was moved to my permanent website, You can view it there in its entirety at:

Today my son turned 17. Birthday tradition in our house is that we go out to eat at a restaurant chosen by the birthday person. For some unexplained reason, Jared chose to eat at Golden Corral. Not Fogo de Chao, not Fujiyama ... Golden Corral. Off we went! So what does one eat at Golden Corral that's relatively healthy? Here's what I had ...