What I’ve Learned, Part 2

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Cherry Blossoms

Here are a few more things I’ve learned in almost 29 years of living with MS.

Inflammation: makes my MS symptoms worse [and probably yours too].

  • Reduce things that can cause it [like sugar; meats; foods made with white or enriched flour; sodas; artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners; milk, and more].

  • Use more natural foods that reduce it [like apples, flaxseed oil, celery, pineapple, aloe vera juice, strawberries, blueberries, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, and more].

Need Energy?

  • Dehydration [not drinking enough water] reduces energy. It also makes the blood thick so it runs like motor oil instead of a fast-moving stream. There is a saying for how many glasses of water to drink each day: “Drink 5  to stay alive, and 8 to feel great.”

  • Too many toxins [poisons] in the body make me feel sluggish [and will do that for you too]. I start my mornings by drinking 2 glasses of distilled water. This adds water back to the blood and helps rinse out toxins. Adding 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to this water helps get rid of toxins, and kills bacteria and viruses in the blood.  **If anyone is constipated, your blood has toxins in it.  Drink more water, fresh juices, or eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercise to help remove them.

  • Exercising increases circulation and energy.

  • Drink fresh fruit or vegetable juices; or eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables each day to increase energy and help clean out toxins.

  • Reduce sugar. It steals vitamin B1 which is needed for the production of energy.

  • Red kidney beans, brown rice, and sweet potatoes give me good energy and strength.

  • Help clean the liver of toxins by drinking lemon juice in your morning water, drinking aloe vera juice, drinking carrot and beet juice, or eating apples, beets, artichoke hearts, and celery.  ** The liver filters harmful substances from the body.  The more drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and artificial and junk foods that are used, the more the liver needs help with cleansing.

**My Opinion: apples are the most wonderful fruit for helping my health [and maybe yours too]. I eat 1 or 2 a day – Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, and more. They clean the blood and the skin, reduce inflammation, absorb toxins in the intestines , clean my teeth, give me strength, clean out toxins from the liver, and more!

Depressed?

  • Refined, processed, and fast foods can lack nutrients our bodies need. Eating too many of these foods can cause depression. Eat more fresh, whole, plant foods.

  • Let fresh air into your home. Breathing stale or recycled indoor air does not contain a good supply of oxygen, and can give us headaches, and make us feel sleepy, sad, and irritable.

  • Get outside in the fresh air and sunshine, breathe deeply, and do some exercise. Oxygen in fresh air energizes mind and body [and cleans the blood]. The sunlight gives strength to the mind, calms the nerves, and prevents and helps lessen depression.

  • Reduce sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and white flour products. They injure our moods. and memory, and for those with MS – our nerve function.

Like Kryptonite

Shortly after getting MS I noticed my muscles got weaker after I ate certain foods [like bagels, Raisin Bran and Shredded Wheat cereals, and more]. I didn’t understand why until 1987, when a wonderful lady told me about her husband. He had MS and was gluten sensitive. She cooked without gluten for him, and he did great. She said I was probably sensitive too. I was. But she taught me what to eliminate and recipes to try. When I avoid gluten, I do so much better. I thought all people with MS had this. They don’t.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and other grains. My muscles get very weak, and sometimes my facial muscles get distorted, when I eat these grains [or their products]. Gluten is my Kryptonite [like in Superman series]. Although there are lots of foods to avoid, I can still eat all the fruits, vegetables, oats, brown rice, and corn I want. I make pancakes from ground oat flour, and enjoy brown rice pastas. Do any of you have gluten sensitivity?
 

Get High!

Determine to find ways to do things you love; things that bring you great joy, even if you must do them differently than before MS. I adore bike riding, but can’t do it right now. I do ride my scooter and smile at folks [wearing my faithful cow hat]. When they smile back it gives me such a kick! And I also love to sing Broadway show tunes, like The Trolley Song from Meet Me in Saint Louis. It keeps the twinkles in my eyes!

That’s all for now. See you next week. Uh oh, I think I feel a song coming on! 

Copyright© 2013 Regina Spence

What I’ve Learned

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What I’ve Learned

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Barbados

I’ve been living with MS for almost 29 years and have learned a lot. For this Post I’ll be sharing a few of those things. Hopefully they will help someone else.

  • Disease is not normal, but the body’s attempt to clean out toxins, and repair and rebuild damaged areas. We need to help it do its healing work by giving it rest, water, fresh air, natural fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans, and more.   **See Cells Matter and The Body Can Heal Itself for more details on helping the body heal.

  • Every day our choices are moving us closer to improved health, or toward sickness and disease.

  • Everything matters.  Every action has a reaction.  Like what we choose to eat and drink; how much sleep we get; our thoughts and attitudes; how we treat other people; and even how we treat animals and nature. They all affect body chemistry and move us toward good health or sickness.

  • MS brings losses. But in every sadness or loss there are lessons and blessings. Look for the lessons and learn them. Search for the blessings and embrace them.

  • The mind and body are closely connected. Our thoughts, feelings, words, and attitudes all have incredible effects on body chemistry, and our ability to get and stay well.

  • Hippocrates, called the father of Western Medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. I use healthy foods to control my MS issues* – except when symptoms get bad.   Then I will ask the doctor for whatever drug will help fix the problem. But for preventing illness and improving energy and health, foods work for me. And their side effects are not harmful.  *I do take 5mg of Baclofen at bedtime to reduce muscle spasms.

  • What we eat and drink not only affects how we feel, but our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours.

  • I sleep better [with fewer muscle spasms] when I eat more vegetables with dinner. Like kale, collard greens, carrots, tomato-basil pasta sauce, and more.

  • Supplements may be needed at times. But it’s better to get vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other beneficial elements in their natural food form – the way nature made them. This way you get the right amounts that your body needs.

  • For improved energy I drink more water; have a big breakfast; get more exercise and fresh air; eat more fresh fruits [especially blue and strawberries], vegetables, and nuts [like almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil Nuts]; and use less sugar, white flour products, and caffeine.

  • Avoid chemicals in foods and beverages as much as possible. Man-made chemicals cannot help the body. Eat whole, natural foods. Prepare them simply, but make sure they also look and taste good. They contain elements that protect our bodies from disease, and if needed, help them heal.

  • Avoid artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners when possible. Artificial means not real; it’s made by man. Our bodies have real live cells that need real food. When I eat any of these by accident, I get muscle spasms.

  • My left pointer finger bends over at times and won’t straighten up, and I also get pins and needles sensation in my fingertips. I get both after eating foods with too much sugar or made from white or enriched flour [like biscuits, bagels, crackers, cookies, donuts, and more]. But when I eat some fresh fruits or vegetables – especially apples, greens, sweet potatoes, and more, that finger straightens up and the pins and needles go away.

  • Having something useful to do each day is critical to our mind and body. It gives us purpose and takes our attention off of poor me or why me.

  • Helping others is powerful!  When we go to help someone else, without looking for anything in return, we will always be helped and receive a blessing!  And the endorphins that are released give great joy, help improve our health, and help us to heal.

  • It used to bother me when people or kids stared at me. But one day I started smiling and waving at them. Some still stared, but I always felt better. And the kids usually waved back.

  • Exercise is an absolute must for anyone, but especially for those with MS.  What we don’t use, we will lose.

  • Cool or cold water hitting the skin [in bath or shower], helps spastic muscles to relax and be more flexible; strengthens the immune system; improves circulation; calms the nerves, and energizes mind and body.  Start out with warm water and gradually go to cooler water.  It feels great!

That’s all for now.  Let me know if you have any questions?  See you next time.

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

Principle of Health #1: The Spirit of Man

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The Spirit of Man

It's like a bridge

It’s like a bridge

Man is made up of three parts: a body, a mind, and a spiritual nature – usually just called ‘the spirit’. We’ve already looked at the body and the mind.  Now we’ll turn our attention to the spirit.  But first, because the words soul, spirit, and spiritual nature are used in so many ways, we want to clarify their meaning in this Blog.   *Bible texts are from The King James Version

Spiritual Nature or Spirit will describe our connection to the Creator-God. Or for some, it describes their connection to other supernatural beings, a religion, or a set of beliefs.
Soul will describe the body of a person or an animal. You and I are living souls.  If your pet is alive, it is a living soul. But souls can die [Ezekiel 18:4].
Spirit is also used to describe the ‘breath of life’, or pneuma [has to do with breathing, air, or spirit]. With this breath in us we are alive or living souls. When this breath leaves the body, we die or become dead souls. A dead soul has no brain activity like thoughts, feelings, or memory. The spirit or breath of life comes from God [Isaiah 42:5]. When we die, it returns to God as breath [Ecclesiastes 12:7].   A body + the spirit or breath of life = a living soul [Genesis 2:7].
*Because various writers define these terms differently, the best way to get their meaning is to read as much of their context as possible. And for more information on immortal souls, spirits, and ghosts, check www.ghosttruth.com .

A spiritual nature makes man unique. It sets us on a higher plane of existence, since plants and animals don’t have one. Some call this spiritual nature a “God hole”; a space that only God can fill – if we let Him. It is also a ‘bridge’ between a person and the Creator-God. The body, mind and spirit are all different but work together in perfect unity. And it is through the delicate nerves of the mind [in the brain] that we have the only channel for communication with the Creator-God and heaven. ¹  A spiritual nature allows us to understand, be touched by, and be influenced by “God things”, holy things, and religious things.

We were designed to have a personal relationship with our Creator. The need is built-in and our brains are wired for it. But we were also created with the freedom of choice. We can choose or refuse this relationship. God is the purest form of love, and this true love gives.  It never forces anyone to do anything.

Just imagine, the Creator of the universe wants a friendship with each of us; to walk and talk with us; and be a part of our everyday lives!  But He respects our wishes and never pushes Himself on anyone. We have to invite Him into our hearts.  And even if we don’t want Him in our lives, His concern for us never stops. He is a tender-hearted Father Who draws us to Him with His love, and is always watching and waiting if His children will come to Him [Jeremiah 31:3]. Should anyone want Him in their lives, He will ‘run’ to them with open arms.

Since the body is also home for the mind and spiritual nature, we need to be careful how we treat it. Because our lifestyle choices can affect the kind of spiritual nature we have. Here is how: The nerves of the mind are the only communication pathways between each person and heaven. So, sharp minds are needed to have a spirit that can pray; worship; understand and appreciate spiritual things; and clearly hear God speak. A sharp mind depends on a strong and healthy body.  And a strong and healthy body depends on what we eat, drink and how we live. Whatever we do to the body we also do to the mind and spiritual nature.

A few things that weaken the spirit are: drugs; alcohol; caffeine; nicotine; not enough sleep or exercise; unhealthy diets; overeating; grudges; mean actions, sickness; negative entertainment  – like profane, perverse, and violent reading, listening, and viewing material; and more.

Some things that strengthen the spirit: a healthy body and mind; reading The Bible – one way God speaks to us; praying – where we talk to God and listen for His voice; go to church for worship and fellowship; acts of kindness; spend time in nature – it tells us about God and His love for man; forgiving others; regular exercise; enough sleep; a healthy diet; no drugs and alcohol, and more.

Bottom Line: good health involves taking care of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.  Each of these parts has a tremendous influence on the others.  And it is only when all 3 of them are strong and energized and able to do their jobs well, that a person truly has good health.

References:
¹ Mind, Character, and Personality: guidelines to mental and spiritual health. EG White. (Nashville: Southern Publishing Association, 1977). Volume 1, page 73.

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

Principle of Health #1: Inner Space

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Man has 3 parts: body, mind, and spirit.  We’ve just finished looking at 5 outstanding qualities of the body, and now we’ll look at man’s second component: The Mind.

Ideas

Ideas

The brain is in the head. It is divided into several parts [lobes]. Each part has a specific job to do. Behind the forehead is the largest part of the brain – the right and left frontal lobes. Usually they are just called ‘the frontal lobe’. This lobe isn’t fully developed until age 30. And this lobe is the mind or what some call our “inner space”.

The brain controls the whole body, but the mind controls the whole person – who we really are. It controls the highest and most complex mental and moral functions that make each person unique. For example: intelligence, applying knowledge, thinking, memory, ideas, imagination, creativity, conscience [right/wrong], judgment, reasoning, will power, hope, prayer, spirituality, understanding divine things, character, values, personality, emotions, caring, self-control, moral choices, social behavior, and more.

These are such important aspects of a person. Who can afford to have any of them damaged or destroyed? But sadly, some of our choices are hurting our frontal lobes and slowly ‘chipping away’ pieces of who we are.

 

danger thin ice - warning sign by a lake

 

One choice that can damage the frontal lobe is hypnosis: or one mind controlling another mind. It’s popular and may appear quite innocent, entertaining, or even promise therapeutic benefits.  But once entered into, a person’s mind will never be as strong and stable as it used to be.¹  Allowing another person to control our thoughts and behaviors is like giving away the passwords to our bank accounts and home security systems. Our valuable attributes [like will power and individuality] would be available to their suggestions. If you need entertainment or therapy, please seek safer methods than this.  The frontal lobe is our control center.  Never give it over to anyone else – ever!

We build healthy or sickly bodies by what we choose to eat and drink. If the body is healthy, the mind will be clear and sharp. But sickly bodies will give us minds that cannot run at peak performance. The mind and body are so closely related that whatever happens to one, affects the other.

Here are 3 more things that can injure the frontal lobe and cause mind alterations:
#1 – Trauma to the head from sports, accidents, fights, etc.
# 2 Surgery to take out part of the frontal lobe.
# 3 Poor Lifestyle Choices like:
• Lots of sugar from foods, beverages, candy etc;
• Illegal drugs;
• Some prescription drugs [like some high blood pressure medications, tranquilizers, narcotics, pain relievers, antidepressants, cold and allergy drugs and more];**
• Little or no exercise;
• Too much saturated fat [mainly in animal products];
• Watching TV weakens the power of the frontal lobe in young and old;
• Not enough sleep decreases blood flow to the mind/brain;
• Alcohol impairs judgment, causes a loss of brain cells, and more;
• Nicotine weakens and clouds the brain and frontal lobe;
• Caffeine – a drug that disrupts brain/mind chemistry and brain communication.²   *We will go over each of these in more detail in upcoming Blogs.
**Please do not stop taking any prescribed medications. That could worsen your situation. But ask your healthcare provider about lifestyle changes that you can make to help your condition, using less drugs.

Here are some things that help improve the frontal lobe:
• Protect the head from injury: wear seatbelts in the car, and helmets for risky activities.
• Good nutrition – especially lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.
• Omega-3 fatty acids from plant foods [flaxseed oil, walnuts, almonds, avocado, etc].
• Glucose [sugar]. The brain uses lots of energy. Its favorite ‘fuel’ is glucose from complex carbohydrates – plant-based foods that are higher in fiber like apples, pears, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, beans, and more].
• Regular exercise improves oxygen and blood flow to the mind/brain, so it can run better.
• Little or no TV – because it drains thinking power and creativity.
• Getting outside in the fresh air, sunlight, and nature refreshes and strengthens mind and body; improves blood flow [and oxygen]; calms the nerves; and helps decrease stress and depression.

Bottom Line: We only get one mind. If it gets damaged, some injuries can’t be reversed.  So, let us commit to taking care of it, by what we put in our bodies and how we treat our bodies.  This way it can run well for a very long time.

References:

 ¹ Mind, Character, and Personality: guidelines to mental and spiritual health . EG White. (Nashville: Southern Publishing Association, 1977). Page 706.  *Available in Kindle Edition on www.Amazon.com

² Proof Positive: How To Reliably Combat Disease and Achieve Optimal Health Through Nutrition and Lifestyle. Neil Nedley, M.D. 4th Printing. Edited by David DeRose, M.D. (Ardmore: Neil Nedley, M.D., 1999). Pages 264-289. *Available on www.Amazon.com

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

Principle of Health # 1: Cells Matter

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Cells are the last quality of the body we will look at. I am totally fascinated by these tiny powerhouses.  Every moment of every day they do so much for us!

Quality # 5: Cells Matter

Magnified view of red and white blood cells

Magnified view of red and white blood cells

To better understand the body [and health], we need to look at the cells. First, cells are the ‘basic building blocks’ for making all living things. And they are the smallest living parts in the human body. Cells vary in size, shape, and the work that they do [function], but they all contain the same basic parts. And like the organs, they help each other keep balance inside the body [maintain homeostasis].

Second, each human being began life as a single cell [zygote]. And look at us now! It’s absolutely amazing that way back in each mother’s womb, even before the brain was formed [the brain controls the body], that cells were busy following instructions for making and operating a new life. How? The information or “blue print” for a new person was built into each cell’s DNA [in the cell nucleus].

Third, each person is also made up of cells [skin, muscle, bone, etc]. The average adult has between 50-100 trillion cells, and that includes 200 different types of cells. And these cells are almost constantly active. How are we built from cells? Atoms combine to make molecules; molecules combine to make up cells; same types of cells make up tissues; different tissues make up organs; and different organs that work together make up organ-systems [immune system, digestive system, nervous system, etc]; and several organ-systems make up the human body.

Fourth, all human cells are alive and need 4 basic things to live, build-up the body, and fight-off enemies [like viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, cancer cells, etc].
Cells need:
1. Oxygen, especially from fresh air;
2. Plain water;
3. Proper nutrition from plant-based foods [100% whole grains – like wheat, brown rice, corn, or oats; fresh fruits; nuts; beans; seeds; and vegetables].  These foods contain essential elements for building up the body, making energy, and helping to protect us from disease.
4. To get rid of waste products quickly [this is helped by drinking water; fresh fruit or vegetable juices; exercise, and more].

A few wastes that have to be removed from the cells are:
1. Worn out cell parts;
2. Useless by-products from when we breathe, eat, or when our cells make or burn energy;
3. Wastes that are produced by every movement of every organ.
If wastes are allowed to remain and build up, they can harm the body. It has been said that all diseases can trace their roots to cells not getting the right nourishment, or cells not getting rid of wastes fast enough. We will take a closer look at that later on.

Fifth, cells also “speak” to each other all the time. Not with words, but electrically, chemically, or with hormone signals. Think about this: with cells constantly sending and receiving messages, could some of the things we put in our bodies [legal and illegal] possibly interfere with, confuse, or short-circuit their conversations? We will talk about this later on as well.

Sixth, disease begins at the cell level. By the time a person notices a symptom, their cells have been fighting for hours, days, weeks, months or even years, to correct a problem and keep the body in balance and alive. But if cells don’t get what they need to make energy, to fight and repair, or if they get damaged [from pressure, tearing, changes in pH, or chemical poisons], this causes a loss of balance. If the problem is fixed fast enough, things could return to normal. But if it continues or gets worse this could lead to other changes in the cells that cannot be reversed; changes where the body can’t keep balance, and disease is the result.

Bottom Line: Cells really matter. Everyday we need to give our cells what they need, so they can do their jobs well. Since, happy cells will make healthier and happier bodies.

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence