Hey there, it's Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson and welcome to the Weekly Vlog. I was on the Accountability Call just recently and I coached someone who said, "Susan, I keep having these urinary tract infections, and I'm taking cranberry juice and it's really helping. It's pure cranberry juice, it's unsweetened, but it is juice, and juice isn't Bright Line friendly. What do you think?" She said, "It's kind of gross. I don't think it's triggering me at all." I said, "You know what? This brings up such an interesting point."
We just got through the winter and I have to use cough drops sometimes to get through the winter. I use sugar-free cough drops, but artificial sweeteners are not Bright Line friendly. Sometimes I need to use them to get through a video shoot, like my throat gets scratchy and I need a remedy right there. There's all kinds of other things where there are these health aids or remedies, or treatments that are sort of... so some of them are borderline. And some of them are flagrantly, extremely not within the Bright Lines at all.
Here's a flagrant one. When I was pregnant with twins, well, both my pregnancies, the doctor said, "I need you to drink this jug of sugar so that I can tell if you have gestational diabetes." I said, "No," basically, I said, "I can't do that." I said, "Doctor, I haven't had any sugar in years. And I cannot tell you what would happen to my brain, to my body." I explained my food addiction. I mean, my doctor already knew, but I pushed back really hard. He did finally say, "Well, there's one thing we can do before you have to do that, I want you to eat the most carbohydrate heavy breakfast that is on your plan. And then I'm going to test your blood sugar before and after you do that. I'll be able to tell by the difference between those two numbers. And it's possible I'll still make you drink this jug of sugar to really see for sure."
But as it turned out, my blood sugar before and after was rock steady. It was something like, my blood sugar was, I don't know, it was like 87 before and 89 after or something. He was like, "You don't have gestational diabetes." But that's an example. Another example of a flagrant one is the colonoscopy prep, right? You've got to drink these jugs of stuff to cleanse you out, and it's heavily sweetened and it's all sugar and it never triggers anybody. It's the weirdest thing, right?
And then there are all these borderline things, so the cranberry juice is one example. The cough drops are another example. I mean, not that they're so borderline if they were just foods, they wouldn't be borderline at all. They'd be a no. But because they're remedies or treatments, now that's what makes them questionable, right?
Another one is Ari Whitten's Energenesis, which I've taken at various times. I've recommended it various times and it's sweetened. I mean, I think, he keeps changing the formulation, but I think it's goji berry sweetened. And the latest formulation seems a little sweeter to me. It's a berry flavor. But there are clear health benefits. Especially for someone who's struggling with fatigue, that absolutely might be something that you would consider.
So many examples. I'm actually on something right now. I have all this pain these days. I mean, terrible joint pain. My shoulders, my knees, my hip, it's off the hook. I'm working with a practitioner who's having me do this cleanse stuff that she really wants me to be on, and it's therapeutic. It's tons of herbs and supplements in there and stuff. I read the ingredients carefully and it was like apple juice powder was in it.
I was like, "Ugh." I tasted it and it was not very sweet at all. It didn't seem triggering. So I'm drinking this stuff. There's another example. It happens all the time. I mean, really most chewable things or drinkable things that are medicinal are going to either have a real sugar sweetener, or an artificial sugar sweetener, or some sort of natural sweetener that's still a sweetener. All of them technically are not within the Bright Lines, but what do you do about it?
Okay, I've got some principles for you. Here we go. Principle number one is, try to find an alternative, right? I pushed back on my doctor and said, "I don't want to drink that jug of sugar. Let's find an alternative." We did find an alternative and it turns out I could sidestep it all together. Before you try the cough drops, try the throat coat tea. I find I have to do both usually. Maybe instead of cranberry juice, try the cranberry capsules. They've got them in capsules so you don't have to be drinking the stuff and tasting the sweetness, right? There often are alternatives. Another one would be a lot of tinctures and things that where you're drinking the alcohol or drinking the sweetness, if you can find capsules, that's way better, right? Try to find an alternative. Now, I'll say it's not always possible. This cleanse regimen that I'm on right now, there's no capsules. It's either take it or don't take it. And now I'm weighing the pros and cons.
The second principle is tread cautiously. Really, tread cautiously. This is where you keep in mind, what's the status of your Bright Line Eating program? Right? I mean, I always keep in mind that for my health, getting back to a state where I'm knocking myself out with a pint of ice cream, right, is going to be a way worse scenario than whatever health concern that I'm dealing with, right? If my Bright Lines are wobbly, if I'm not in solid condition, then it might be better to not do it, whatever it is. But this is the kind of thing we all need to weigh the pros and cons, depending on what the health condition is, depending on the odds that we put on it. Whatever this treatment is actually working or improving it, just tread cautiously.
That's the next principle. The third principle is so interesting, and I wish I knew the brain-based reason for this, but it turns out that motives matter. It's kind of stunning. Motives matter in terms of how the substance seems to trigger or not trigger the addictive centers in the brain.
It's almost as if the nucleus accumbens knows whether you're taking the opiates, because you've had a surgery and you really truly have pain that you're treating. Whether you're taking the opiates because you're a dope feign and you want to get high. It's like that part of the brain knows. I don't know what the brain-based reason for it is, but now that I say it out loud, I know that there is some sort of anticipatory effect of the dopamine, right? It's not just that the substance causes the dopamine release, it's that the addictive anticipation of wanting the hit sets those neurons up to receive the dopamine response in a certain way, right? The dopamine hit in a certain way. It's kind of like if you're not looking to get high, it doesn't hit you the same way. Motives matter and keep that in mind. If you're taking something medicinally, it's got a lot better chance of working and not tipping over the apple cart.
Finally, what all this means is that you're responsible, and this is a principle we come back to a lot in Bright Line eating. There's no Bright Line eating police. There's no Bright Line eating judge and jury. You are responsible so you've got to weigh your options. Most of us at various times have taken something that's outside of the Bright Lines, but seems reasonable given the circumstances. I mean, this is all a first cousin to people who are running marathons or climbing Mount Everest, eating dried fruit because no, they can't bring eight apples up Mount Everest, but they can bring little baggies of raisins. And so that's what they do, right, and that's the food. Again, when your motives are true and pure, that dried fruit doesn't hit your tongue or your brain in the same way that it would if you were just sitting at home and mainlining raisins and cashews watching TV, right? I think this is such an important topic and we all need to weigh it for ourselves.
I've got to say, just as a final thought, I've done all of the things that I've described. I have not done certain treatments. For example, I stopped doing Energenesis recently because it was just tasting a little sweet. My energy was really good, so I didn't really have a condition to treat at that time. I would go back and take it if I went through a slump in my energy and I really thought the mitochondria needed the support, right? I do sometimes just not do something or not take something because I just value my Bright Lines so much, right? Why mess with it? And then sometimes I take a treatment, I absolutely do. I use my cough drops. I'm taking this cleanse stuff and it's fine. It feels like it's the treatment I need at any given time.
I guess what I'm saying is it's a flowing, ever evolving journey where the answer that felt right last month, or last year, might not be the answer that you arrive at today when you re-weigh all of the factors. What are you trying to treat? How's it going to hit you? What's your motive? What's your status at that moment? But these things are not necessarily off the table just because they're not within the Bright Lines if they were just foods. But they are questionable treatments and remedies indeed. That's the Weekly Vlog. I'll see ya next week.