by Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, science & health educator & writer
How often do we think about our thyroid glands? Probably only when something goes wrong. Me too, but looking back, ever since puberty or earlier, my thyroid gland has probably been a little bit sluggish. Not pathological, just ‘not firing on all cylinders’. I used to need a lot of sleep, feel the cold, had cold hands and feet, poor digestion, put on weight easily which I found difficult to shift, plus my hormones were out of balance… these are all signs associated with low-ish thyroid activity. Ironically I had enormous amounts of energy for my high levels of physical and mental activity, from waking to bed-time, in contradiction to the pattern of low thyroid, which usually goes with poor energy levels. I was evidently getting my energy from somewhere else – and in retrospect I’d say it was nervous energy that kept me going.
Seemingly unconnected to these low thyroid signs, I did not want to eat broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower or beans. Something in my body didn’t want them, and I did not like the smell or taste of these foods, so it was easy for me to not eat them. That is still true today, and they make my body very uncomfortable for a few days if I consume them.
Fast forward to recently when I discovered that these foods are known to suppress thyroid function! So for me (not necessarily everyone) with my low-ish thyroid, they may not be suitable as regular dietary choices. Obviously my body knew this, even way back as a child, maybe even before scientific research brought us this information.
Continue reading ““Hello Thyroid””
by Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, Australia
The science of psycho-neuro-immunology has been showing us a lot about ourselves – that we already know from our own bodies and life experience – but often pretend we don’t.
The nervous system (which includes the brain), the immune system and the hormone system all talk to each other, and take their cues from each other about how to ‘behave’, how to respond.
Stress releases hormones that affect our brain and immune system. Stress alters how many of what kind of immune cells are made, and imbalances lead to illness. Stress suppresses our immune system’s killer cells – we are therefore more susceptible to cancer and other diseases. Stress also tires out the systems that produce the hormones – like the adrenals – leading to exhaustion.
Three important regions of the brain are affected by stress hormones, and those brain regions are important for memory, learning, dealing with life, thinking, making sense of the world, fear, emotion, fight and flight…. so it’s definitely not a good thing for them to be continually stressed! Continue reading “How we hurt ourselves with reaction”
By Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, Goonellabah, NSW
It is possible to tune in to a particular part of the body to find out what is going on there and what is needed. Science confirms that all the cells of our body communicate with each other in various ways, and we can consciously access those messages.
I had a most striking experience of this while preparing for shoulder surgery late last year. I knew this would render my right (dominant) arm unusable in a sling for a couple of months and relatively useless for a couple more. Thus two weeks before the surgery I began training my left hand to clean my teeth, so that at least there would be something I could do for my own hygiene while in a sling. At first it was like trying to poke holes in my own face, as you can imagine! But it did improve and in 2 weeks I could do a fair job of tooth cleaning with my left hand. This is all very normal and expected – that one can, with time and repetition, train a part of the brain to co-ordinate an activity and muscles to carry it out when they are not used to doing it. Continue reading “Conversations with my body – Part 2 – Learning to use my left hand”
By Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, Goonellabah, NSW
As a child I suffered from hiccups. And when I say ‘suffered’, I mean SUFFERED! Once they started, they’d go on and on, every 5 to 6 seconds, 24/7, for days and days. I’d be sleepless, frustrated, irritated, driven crazy by them. I was in despair. I tried every remedy suggested: held my breath, breathed into a paper bag, put sugar under my tongue, drank water upside-down, fasted, ate…. all to no avail. By the time the hiccups would subside (by themselves) I’d be exhausted and very sore in my throat and chest. And in dread of the next bout. It’s one of the reasons I became such a slow eater – to help avoid the ‘hell’ of hiccups!
Continue reading “Conversations with my body – Part 1- the cure for hiccups”
By Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons,Goonellabah, NSW.
When I was a little child, I was already committed to my health. At school we were taught in the subject ‘Health And Hygiene’ to brush our teeth 3 times a day, so I did that diligently. But no-one told us or demonstrated how to actually brush properly. And no-one told us about toothbrush care. They also told us that sugar was bad for our teeth and caused decay and that’s one of the reasons we should brush our teeth 3 times a day. But no-one told us what foods sugar was in! And no-one told us about relating the sugar consumption and the brushing together in time i.e. that you needed to brush your teeth after you ate the sugar and what this would mean for the wellbeing of our teeth.
My mum had false teeth, as she ‘lost’ all hers in her mid-teens. That was so horrifying to me that I was motivated to care for my teeth! Not only that, but because she had no real teeth for her whole adult life, she was no role model for tooth care for her children. Putting your plastic choppers in a glass at night hardly qualified! Continue reading “A Tooth Quest”