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Back in 1996, despite feminism, careers, and independent spirits, we were pretty quiet about what we were dong.
We had been given pronouncements, by our medical practitioners, that there was nothing to be done for us.
We refused to accept that and started in on a 20-year exploration of what might help — quietly.
No funding drives. No drums and bugles. Just reading and trying and discussing.
As a writer, I was used to sticking my neck out to say things – and used to having it chopped off now and then. I began to write up a report every month and, via the increasing magic of the Internet, was able to send it to everyone on our list at once.
Besides the meetings, phone calls and emails brought more information — and more questions.
Real research starts with a mess of information and questions. It doesn’t start with the right sequence of steps and the answers.
Funded research starts AFTER that when a lot of the mess has been sorted and sequenced and readied for replication. Oh, and ready for money-making.
In 2001, I calculated, for an incredulous reporter, that we had spent $250 000 out of our own pockets on supplements collectively in the first six years of our group, trying to figure out what might work. That was 22 years ago.
We have been criticized a time or two for being a group of middle class white women. How wonderful that we spent our resources and bent our educated intelligence for the benefit of everyone, of any colour, gender, class, etc.
Anyone can use the tools we have found so useful – the rotation diet, a clean environment at home, gentle movement, the Nutrient Scent test — to help her/himself to better health.
Our first practitioner Educator, Emily Kreeft Banyard in Calgary, is starting to test people with the Nutrient Scent Test.
Welcome, Emily. May you break even more new ground as you continue the tradition. May you be joined by a new cohort of young women, and hopefully young men, who will formalize the research while still helping out so many.


Heartburn may have some surprising causes.

My dentist recommended that I stop using baking soda and start using toothpaste. So I did.

Back in April I had a stomach upset of some kind and my heartburn got worse after that. Betaine HCl smelled a little good so I started using that which helped a lot. However, I finally realized that heartburn would hit around bedtime at night and a while after breakfast. What those two times had in common was brushing my teeth.

I stopped using the toothpaste and so did having heartburn. It was Tom’s of Maine toothpaste so I thought I was doing the right thing. So what ingredient caused the problem? Not sure but maybe Tom’s uses real mint. Mint anything usually gives me indigestion.

Heartburn can have many causes –low stomach acid, high stomach acid, but also food reactions. Chocolate, coffee, and many other foods may be the culprit.

As always, paying attention and maybe even keeping a food/exposure diary are your best tools.

The Nutrient Scent Test, of course, can help identify low or high stomach acid. Tara Foods and West Side Guardian Drugs both have our display boxes a the betaine HCL testers.

You can go there and ask Charlotte or Wahab.

I found this interesting in that the researchers distinguished chronic pain from ‘alarm’ pain using MRI imaging.
However, they are still not considering biochemistry since the MR imaging technology has not been coordinated with nutrients.
When someone latches on to the idea that nutrients could affect the images then we might see some exciting progress in pain management. I suspect that the scent test will be even more interesting when it is done with MR imaging.
However, have a read and see what you think.…/…/07/02/the-neuroscience-of-pain

Mary Grace is one of the retired nurses in our original nurse/teacher group studying ways to better health. When we first met, Mary Grace had been in a hospital bed at home, on multiple inhalers for breathing problems and was making progress using nutrients from Shaklee.
For 20 years, Health Pursuits met monthly to discuss books, strategies, results and experiences. For a great many of those meetings, Mary Grace Amann was there to support the effort, either by calling it like it is, gathering memberships or sharing a laugh.
Since then she has overcome many health challenges, built an environmentally friendly home, climbed a mountain and received the blessing of grandchildren. Not bad for someone, like may of us, not expected to make it.
Not satisfied with conquering her own issues, Mary Grace was been a leading volunteer with the Lions Club organ donation program. In addition, she has for many years volunteered at KHSC (Kingston Health Science Centre) as a Patient Experience Adviser to represent and speak for patients and their families. To do so one must have had experience within hospital as a patient or caregiver. She
has and does represent patients and family members on various committees, counsels and activities.
She was the first member of the group to cause KGH to implement the then-new Environmental Health Clinic guidelines for hospitals dealing with chemically-sensitive patients. I am sure many people since then have benefitted from the hospital’s experience.
Not one to restrict herself to the broad picture, Mary Grace has always facilitated in small ways too. If you had access to some Alka Seltzer Gold to quell reactions to chemicals or foods, Mary Grace was probably the one who sourced and bought it. She even bought me a foldable cart for all the meeting materials. My back thanks her.
Mary Grace has always been an enthusiastic cheerleader too -urging me to commit our version of the Rotation Diet to paper and then the Nutrient Scent Test book.
Since we have transferred our sharing to this-line forum, I realize how fortunate we were to have had our remarkable group for as long as we did. Nothing lasts forever but the waves of learning and collaboration from people like Mary Grace will spread out for a long time to come.
‘Nutritional Medicine’ is a 40 year labour by Dr. Alan Gaby to collect and collate reputable information (e.g. published, peer-reviewed articles) about nutrients and medical conditions. Since the first edition was published in 2011, we have used it to help interpret the Nutrient Scent Test results and to include information in the NST which can be taken to medical practitioners.
A recent example was an 86-year-old man who was suffering extreme pain. He had been given a prescription for 3500 Lyrica and told not to come back. Thiamine smelled like cookies to him. I did his report and included a copy of Dr. Gaby’s section on Thiamine which listed the pain conditions associated with Thiamine deficiency ( e.g. neuropathy, neuralgia, back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, etc.) and as well as all the references to back up the list. He was to see his doctor a week later. Shortly after that, I was notified that my Linked In profile had been accessed by Kingston Health Sciences. Maybe a connection. I can only hope that the man received the blessing of his doctor, and maybe help, to pursue some relief via Thiamine and other indicated nutrient therapy.
If you had information about a nutrient or a condition before from Dr. Gaby’s massive reference book, ‘Nutritional Medicine’, then you might like an update.
If you haven’t read sections of the book relating to your personal needs, then maybe it is time. Jane, Adrienne, Christine, Emily in Calgary, and myself all have electronic versions of the book. You can send an email inquiry through
You could also purchase an electronic copy for yourself. A bit expensive but worthwhile. Was there money in the Health Pursuits account to pay for these? No, so if you want to consult the book, you could chip in something to help. Or book an NST and get your required reading as a bonus.
We have booked a booth for the annual Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, Nov. 9-11. Unfortunately, they charge $1800 with no relief for a very small non-profit. The purpose of spending this money is to spread the word about targeting nutrient therapies using the NST, sell the book and sign up practitioners who would like kits for testing and analysis for their clients’ results. In other words, to make Health Pursuits self-supporting which has been the goal since applying for funding seemed an endless path.
The famous line about “April is the cruellest month’ definitely applies to depression. When the weather lifts and spring has sprung, we should feel good. However, when depression is involved, that may not be the case.
Vitamin D levels are at their lowest along about April and May because of lack of sunshine but there may be other nutritional factors in play.
A study linking genes to expression of depression may give clues to more targeted orthomolecular (nutritional) treatments.
Spring is well named. It happened with its usual 0 to 100 kph acceleration leaving gardeners in the dust so to speak. I’ve been busy in the actual garden and also in tending our Health Pursuits patch.
Mothering implies taking care of something. We apply it to children but also other people, pets, plants, etc.
After comparing the results on the nutrient test between some people who mother themselves (good) and people who do not (not very good), I was left wondering why some people do not ‘mother’ themselves.
Jane and I compared these sorts of results. We found one possible reason that I thought we should share.
Not surprising really. Some who have been abused or neglected as children do not do a good job of mothering themselves.
At times, we all fall short of taking care of ourselves because of other pressing priorities but it should not be the usual state of affairs. We can’t ‘parent’ anyone else if we can’t ‘parent’ ourselves.
So keep firmly in mind that you are worthy of care. Caring for yourself, whether it is some exercise, good food, clean air, nutrients, or some laughs, is important. If you don’t think so, why not? Figure it out. The ‘gardening tools’ are available. Maybe by ‘Fathering Day’ things will be better.
In Alan Gaby’s reference book, ‘Nutritional Medicine’, he gives a list of conditions that thiamine can help prevent — neuritis, neuropathy, back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, diabetes.
I just met someone who has severe pain – neuropathy, back pain, sciatica, and more. He had been to expert pain specialists who had given him a prescription for 3500 doses of Lyrica and told him not to come back.
The thiamine smelled like cookies to him!
I recently met a young woman with Fibromyalgia. The thiamine smelled good to her too.
How come I am running into so many with thiamine problems right now?
Is it springtime deficiency of vitamin D that is preventing absorption of calcium and then thiamine?
Is it the oh-so-prevalent magnesium deficiency that is also hindering absorption of thiamine?
Whatever it is, be on the alert for B1 deficiency if you have a pain condition and look to your magnesium, vitamin D and calcium status.
Pain is never simple. It can be biomechanical habits, environmental toxins, life stressors, or problem foods but nutrient status can be a big part too. It all flows around with factors influencing other factors. We have a saying in the Health Pursuits group, “When the dominoes start to fall, it isn’t enough to try to prop up just the last one. Effort has to be made to support up them all for success.”
That said, I had better get my walk in or I will have more pain and it will be my own fault. (And take my digestive, take my vitamins, eat a good meal and get to bed early. ) Phew! one way to keep out of trouble. Try to be healthy. You won’t have any time to get into mischief.
Interestingly, I have had quite a number of people testing positive on Thiamine recently. I can hardly open the bottle it smells so bad to me but these people found it quite pleasant.
Thiamine requires calcium and magnesium for aborption so that gets us into the whole calcium uptake situation with the chain reaching back to vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K.
For one person, vitamin K seemed to be the requirement.
For another magnesium was the requirement.
For another it was the calcium and vitamin D situation.
Here is an eye opener. Caffeine and alcohol both deplete thiamine so if you like your wine, you might want to add some thiamine to your B complex.
As a double whammy, sulphites deplete thiamine so wine with sulphites depletes more. Of course, you could source wine that does not have sulphites.
A clue can be that regular magnesium supplements do not work for you and magnesium sulphate does.
Makes my brain hurt sorting each situation out.
You may be indoors weathering the ice/snow/wind/rain storm so happy researching.
Two pieces on CBC reminded me how important it was that our group met once a month for 20 years and shared information that we got from doctors, books, journal articles, etc. Not every piece of information passed the experience test. Those that did helped us all.
Almost ten years ago, we watched an amazing video, Strolling under the Skin, by Italian researchers, that showed the amazing structure of shape-shifting fascia and tiny pockets of fluids under the skin. Interestingly, the duodecahedron form is repeated in all tissues and living things.
Now a researcher has now posited that this system of pockets is a new organ. Who was it who said there are no new ideas! Check out link below.
The other rather connected piece is about Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), especially recurring ones. The lining of the urinary tract was once thought to harbour dormant bacteria that would spring to life now and then to cause the infections.
The solution was to use longer courses of antibiotics.
Now,Dr. J. Curtis Nickel, Canada Research Chair in Urologic Pain and Inflammation at Queen’s University, has said that approach is not the best way. He lists cranberry supplements, probiotics, diet, environment, and stress reduction as better ways.
Sound familiar? Maybe for the past 20 years? We have also had people cure UTIs by drinking more water, by going off gluten or dairy, by using one-a-day garlic, by keeping their environments free of as many chemicals as possible, by exercising to strengthen core, and many other strategies that did not ‘carpet-bomb’ (Nickel’s phrase) the gut bacteria.
You can check out the link to Dr. Nickel below as well.
Combine those thoughts with the ‘new organ’ ideas. Interesting juxtaposition.
Good work, Health Pursuits members. You are ahead of the curve.
Diagnosing UTIs is ‘a dog’s breakfast,’ and that’s affecting women | CBC Radio
Time to re-think human anatomy, a new ‘organ’ has been found | CBC Radio