Happy Anniversary, Kiddo!

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This month makes 29 years that I am living with Multiple Sclerosis.  I’m happy to still be fairly independent, even though I do use a walker and a scooter, and my husband helps me a lot.  I’ve seen how much this disease can take from people, and I could be worse.  But I’m so absolutely grateful for what I can still do. 

I owe these blessings to God – Who strengthens me; my Mom – for a fighting attitude; my hubby who is so kind and helpful;-family and friends for their support, encouragement ,and laughter; and eating a healthy diet [sometimes I mess-up]; and exercising regularly .  For me [and you too], a healthy diet is tremendous in helping to prevent and deal with the symptoms and complications of this disease!

My body [yours too] is like a nice car or truck.  The fuel that goes in the tank matters a lot.  Apple juice and soda are cheaper than gas, but I wouldn’t dare pour those beverages in my tank.  But the years before I got MS I was dumping into my ‘tank’ [body] junk foods, Pepsi, frozen dinners, sugar-loaded foods, and fast foods.  And even though I was doing aerobics twice a day, jogging, swimming, and bike riding, I see where that ‘fuel’ got me.  But thankfully some kind people shared what they had learned. 

Over the years I was blessed to meet people who showed me the value of right food choices; that what I put in my body would lead to wellness or sickness.  It would also affect how I felt, thought, and moved.  And I’m forever grateful to the lady who introduced me to gluten-free eating [I’m sensitive].

So for all these 29 years I’ve not taken any of the MS drugs – I didn’t want any more problems from side-effects of those drugs.  And I treat my symptoms mostly with right lifestyle choices like a vegetarian diet [working on vegan], regular exercise, drinking more water, getting fresh air and moderate sunlight, getting good rest at night [to bed before 12am], avoiding the bad things my body’ doesn’t need [still struggling with that], and trusting God for help and strength.       *These choices are all part of the 8 Laws of Health.  We will go over each one in detail at Principle of Health #7.

I do take 5mg of Baclofen at bedtime for muscle spasms.  And won’t hesitate to ask my neurologist for Prednisone [steroid] if my symptoms get too bad, or I feel a relapse coming on.  It helps perk me up.

 

Now, for a few more MS tips:

  • Some things are outside of our control.  But even with MS, there are things we can do to help reduce our symptoms and complications, and improve our quality of living.  Like healthier choices. 

  • It’s not enough to take drugs for MS or its complications.  We must deal with the cause of the problem.  Take a good look at how we lived pre-MS.  Some things were not done right.  We need to correct them, or we will never improve.

  • I don’t think a wrong diet is the only thing that leads to MS.  But it is critical. Good food choices feed the cells, helping them to function properly.  Wrong food choices don’t nourish cells, which leads to their malfunctioning and disease.

  • There are wonderful benefits for making better choices to live with MS.   But those choices will also help reduce risks for getting cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and more.  Not bad.

  • And when we are working at improving our health, we can gently help our loved ones adopt some of those choices.  It will help improve their health and prevent other diseases too.

  • Not helpful to us are saturated fats [from animal products], dairy, foods made from white flour [weakens hands and muscles], sugar, high fructose corn syrup, flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate [MSG], artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives, and other man-made things.

  • Helpful to us are fresh vegetable or fruit juices and eating simply prepared plant-based foods.  They feed the cells so they can function properly.  

  • Eat a few dates each day for a sweet boost of energy.  They are also full of vitamins and minerals that feed the body  [especially B vitamins for nerves ].   *Diabetics don’t eat too many.  And watch out for pits.

  • I get foggy brain a lot, but listening  to classical music helps me focus, concentrate, and get many things done.  Researchers believe that this music does not disrupt natural body rhythms [some music does], but works in-tune with them.  This increases the body’s ability to function.  I listen online at www.allclassical.org, in Portland, Oregon.

  • Never neglect exercise.  Do what is possible.  Exercise strengthens everything inside and outside the body.  I’m getting another Rebounder.  Yeah!  They give a great workout. 

That’s all for now.  Take care and see you next time.

 

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

Principle of Health #3: What’s Blood Got To Do With It?

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A Vial of Blood

A Tube of Blood

A principle is a rule, truth, or law that never changes.  There are many principles for good health, but this blog will only cover 7 of them.  We’ve already introduced two:   

Principle #1: Man Comes In 3D  [Feb. 1, 2013]

Principle #2:  The Force Is With You [May 31, 2013]

Principle #3:  To have good health a person must have good  blood.  

What is blood?  It is living material, pumped by the heart, throughout the body at about 6 quarts per minute or 2,000 gallons per day.  It is part fluid [plasma], and part cells [red and white blood cells, and platelets], and other substances.  The blood cells and platelets have very specific work to do.  For example, red cells carry oxygen, nourishment, and water; white cells identify and fight off enemies; and platelets help stop bleeding [clotting]. 

Every human being has the same blood cells, but we each have a different blood type – A, B, AB, or O.  And these blood types each carry an Rh positive or Rh negative sign [important for blood transfusions].

So, what does blood have to do with good health?  A lot.  If blood stops, life stops.  Blood is the stream that carries life and strength to every part of the body, and takes away wastes and impurities.  The quality of our health [good or bad] depends on the quality of our blood.  And taking a simple blood test [CBC: complete blood count] can tell a lot about a person’s blood and health.  I saw this clearly in 1982 .

As a nursing student, volunteering at a professor’s community health screening program, I was able to get a free blood test.  My results showed an abnormal platelet count.  I didn’t feel sick or have symptoms until 1983!  Blood tests are useful in detecting problems, giving us a chance to seek help, long before symptoms show up.

If we want good health we must have good blood.  And we build our blood by the things we put in our bodies.  What we eat, drink, and breathe provide the raw materials to feed and build cells.  And the cells then help build up the body. 

Some things make good blood like fresh air; water; and the vitamins and minerals in simply prepared fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.  And some things make impure blood like caffeine [in soda, coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, etc.], and too much pork and other meats, and sea-foods [can contain high saturated fat; bacteria; parasites; mercury; and more]. 

And it’s not just the blood that is important, but its ability to move around the body through miles of blood vessels [arteries, veins, capillaries, etc.].  This is called the circulation.  The better the circulation, the better the blood can do its work.  But sadly, some things make for poor circulation.  For example:

  1. Eating too much fat can clog blood vessels and slow blood flow to the brain and body;

  2. Eating too much sugar makes red blood cells clump together, making it hard for them to pass through tiny blood vessels;

  3. Wearing tight clothing around the chest, abdomen, and waist interferes with proper breathing.  Circulation is improved when we breathe deeply – especially of fresh air.

  4. Not drinking enough plain water makes blood thick and run slow;

  5. Not enough regular exercise will lead to poor circulation.  And disease follows poor circulation.  But exercise speeds up and balances the circulation.   Whatever physical shape anyone is in, we must do some form of regular exercise.  Move what we can and the body will respond;

  6. And not breathing deeply of enough fresh air.  Fresh air helps purify blood and fill it with oxygen – which is needed by every part of the body.  

*FYI: Sunlight and helping others increases blood circulation.  Incredible, but true.

I can no longer afford to take my blood for granted and treat it any old way.  It’s way too important.  Every day I must be determined not put anything in my body that will not make the best blood.  My present and future health [and yours too] depends on what the blood carries in it!

That’s all for now.  See you next time.

 

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

How I Deal With Fatigue, Part 2

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"What was I going to do?"

“What was I going to do?”

Continued From Part 1 …

4.  For the past week I’ve been enjoying a boxed gluten-free, corn, breakfast cereal. However, it has 240mg of sodium in 1 cup.  And its freshness is preserved with BHT  [Butylated hydroxytolune].  I’m going for less salt, sugar, fat, and chemicals.  So I’m going to finish that box and go back to eating my energizing raw oatmeal for breakfast:  1 cup of old-fashioned oats; 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, 1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds; a handful raw almonds; 4 chopped dates.  Mix and soak with Soy Dream Classic Vanilla Soy beverage [my favorite], or pineapple juice.  Refrigerate overnight.  In the morning I add grapes, apple chunks, sliced banana, or pineapple chunks.  This is so tasty, energizing, and strengthening!

5.  Yesterday I went to Whole Foods Market and got some VegLife Vegan B-Complex tablets.  After lunch I took 1 tablet.  Up to lunch time I was exhausted and didn’t feel like doing anything but sitting and watching TV.  Within minutes of taking that one tablet, I felt my mind clear and my energy improve.  I was ready to cook and do all kinds of things!  For real.  B vitamins help nourish the nerves and help the body make energy. 

6.  For a quick burst of energy in the morning a cool/cold shower works well.  I start off with warm water, then slowly turn it cooler and cooler.  It increases the blood flow [circulation], energizes my mind and body without negative side effects, strengthens the immune system so I don’t get sick as easily, and makes my leg muscles more flexible.  Awesome!

7.  And last, but never the least – I’m determined to exercise regularly for 30 minutes.  There is no way my body can fight fatigue and weakness without me exercising regularly.  No pill can do what I can do [and you too].  This week I’m enjoying stretches [feel wonderful], squats, marching in place, and side-to-side stepping.  After I post this blog, I’ll go outside and walk, with my walker, up and down the driveway.  Exercise increases energy, oxygen in the blood, waste removal, strength, flexibility, and joy.

*I also keep my iron up by taking 1 tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses and eating some beets with dinner.  Low iron will make me feel tired, because the blood can’t carry enough oxygen.

*And I take the flaxseed oil.  The brain needs those essential fatty acids [EFAs] every day to function well.

*An energy smoothie:  blue berries, strawberries, peaches.

Well, that’s all for now.  Thank you all for helping me get back on track.  And I hope something here helps you too.  Take good care.  See you next time.

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

How I Deal with Fatigue, Part 1

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"What was I going to do?"

“What was I going to do?

 

Years ago I didn’t understand about fatigue.  Back then I just knew there were times I didn’t have any energy or interest in doing anything.  I Just felt so utterly blah.  At those times I’d just sit and watch TV [food channel and home and garden], and eat junk food.  I didn’t realize inactivity and poor food choices was simply adding more ‘wood’ to my fire.  

But I have you readers to thank for helping me deal better with fatigue.  How?  Ralph Waldo Emerson “[19th century poet] said it well: “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”  Blogging to help others is helping me on so many levels!  Looking up information reminds me of things I forgot, stopped doing for one reason or another, or didn’t pay too much attention to. 

After doing last week’s post on fatigue, I was once again alerted to what I needed to get out of the thick fog of fatigue.  I was in it deep.  Last Monday, after accidentally eating several muffins that contained gluten [I’m gluten sensitive], I had 1 ½ sleepless nights and was exhausted.  My thinking and memory were off, and doing everything – including the blog, was hard and took so long.

So, as I wrote tips for you to help your fatigue, I committed to following some of them myself.  Here is my list to feel alert, snappy, full of zip, and so on:

  1. Watch what goes in my mouth, because, by way of the stomach, it will affect the brain nerves.  And the brain controls the whole body through those nerves.   Avoid or reduce white flour foods; sugars; refined foods; additives; preservatives; artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners; chemicals; caffeine; guarana [in energy drinks and has much caffeine];and more.  These items take from the body.  Anyone with nerve problems cannot afford to consume items that steal from what the body needs.

  2. I’m drinking more water to help keep my blood flowing smoothly and rinse out toxins and wastes.  Blood without enough water [dehydrated] runs slow and thick like motor oil, instead of like a fast-moving stream.  Thick blood can cause high blood pressure and make us feel sluggish, because oxygen, nourishment, and wastes are not getting where they need to go fast enough.  And well-watered [hydrated] muscles move better and faster.

  3. I ordered 2 quarts of Aloe Vera Juice from [online] Forever Living Products, plus a tube of their Aloe Vera Gelly [under Skin Care – Body].  When they come, I’ll add the aloe juice to some orange juice and drink several times a day.  Aloe is very healing for internal problems, plus it cleanses the blood and the liver, and is very energizing [take small samples to make sure you are not allergic].  The Gelly is used for minor rashes, bites, and burns.  It’s good to keep in every medicine cabinet and first aid kit.  *I used to drink this juice regularly from 1984 to 1993.  And for a while I made my own juice from the gelly in the aloe leaves.

To Be continued …

Copyright© 2013 Regina Spence

Fatigue

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*If you read this blog on Friday or Saturday and it looks different today, it’s because I edited it.  I wanted to make some of the material clearer and easier to understand.  I hope it helped.  Let me know if you have any questions.

What is it? 

The body must keep itself in balance, and one of the cycles it uses is the cycle of work-then-restBut in our fast-paced and high-pressured society, balance and rest are often pushed aside [a lot], so we can get things done.  Millions worldwide suffer with this.

Fatigue is feeling exhausted over a long period of time.  As a person becomes fatigued, functioning at their very best is reduced.  They become inefficient [like a beginner], use more energy to get things done, take longer to do them, and make more body waste that needs to be removed. 

Fatigue is not a true disease.  It’s a symptom or ‘red flag’ alerting us of other problems in the body [like flu, diabetes, anemia, allergies, poor circulation; or hormone, heart, and respiratory issues, and more].  Fatigue could also be a way to slow a person down and have them look at how they are living.  Then they can make corrections or seek help before burning themselves out.  Some body damages can’t be reversed.

 

Here are a few of the types of fatigue:

Mental fatigue – continual brain work without proper rest and regular exercise.  It makes mental work harder and longer to do; learning and memory slow down; and a person can become moody, irritable and ready to fight or argue.  I can testify to that.  Years ago, after days of being exhausted, I got into an argument on a New York City subway –trying to defend someone else!  Crazy!

*Working long hours with the brain [office, school, computer, etc.] must be balanced with exercise, or it will throw the nervous system off-balance.  That will leave you tired, tense, and even depressed.  Brain work strains the nerves of emotion.  This can be balanced with exercise – which activates the nerves of motion.  This will leave you more energized and relaxed. 

Physical fatigue – too much muscular activity without rest periods.  This reduces muscle strength and performance.  Rested muscles work better than exhausted ones [so do muscles that get enough water].  It’s also caused by a poor diet of too many refined and processed foods [they use up nutrients that strengthen body]. 

Chronic fatigue – continually feeling exhausted or pushing yourself to the limit, and never taking time to rest and recover. 

Emotional fatigue – too much emotional stress without good relief [seek help if needed].  It drains the nervous system and tires the body.  Can also be caused by constipation, auto-intoxication* [see Auto-Intoxication Post, Parts 1-3, on 05/03/2013], nutritional deficiencies, and negative outlook and attitudes.  It brings anxiety, tension, depression, feeling overwhelmed, hopelessness, and more.

 

Causes

Fatigue is due to too much or too little of something in a person’s life or environment.  Such as too many hours of mental or physical work, and emotional stress.  And too little rest, not being able to stay asleep, not enough stress management, and not enough proper nutrition [eating high-fat meats and cheeses; white flour foods; refined sugar; junk and fast foods; etc.].

 

Avoid

  1. Caffeine and other stimulants.  Brain cells talk to each other chemically.  Caffeine disrupts these cell conversations, and reduces the nervous system’s performance.   *Depressed folks should limit or stop caffeine use.

  2. Sugar robs B vitamins – needed for nourishing nerves and producing energy [sugar also robs calcium for bones].

  3. One of alcohol’s side effects is chronic fatigue.

  4. Smoking robs energy from the body.

  5. Toxins and wastes can cause fatigue, depression, aches, and pains.  Help body cleanse by drinking plain water and fresh juices.

 

What You Can Do

  • Include exercise in each day’s schedule:  20 to 30 minutes 3 to 5 days a week – or as you are able.  *Activity is good, but it’s stop and go.  Good exercise keeps you moving for at least 30 minutes to raise up the heart rate and strengthen muscles, bones, nerves, organs, and other body parts.

  • Eat a balanced, plant-based diet to help nourish and strengthen the body: fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains [like oats], nuts [like almonds and walnuts], seeds [like sesame], and beans.

  • If no allergies to bee products, get a good bee pollen supplement.  It helps nourish and energize the body.  I used to take Forever Living Product’s Bee Pollen [Online] and drink quarts of their Aloe Vera Juice – very cleansing and energizing.

  • Take a good Vitamin B complex supplement to help nourish the nerves and produce energy.

  • Get a good night’s rest – especially before 10pm, but don’t go over 8 hours.  It will make you fatigued and even depressed.  *Too much of even good things can hurt us.

With fatigue, there are many things within our reach to help avoid and correct this problem.  Hope this helps.  See you next time.

 

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

Foggy Brain, Part 2

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Help! I can’t think.

What Causes It, Continued From Part 1 …

7.  Not enough daily exercise [especially while eating fatty foods] makes blood move sluggishly and decreases circulation.  This decreases the oxygen brought to the brain, muscles, and all body parts.  It also slows down the removal of wastes from brain cells.  If able, do 20 to 30 minutes of non-stop  exercise of something within your abilities, and that you enjoy.

8.  Not enough deep breathing of fresh air.  Fresh air has negatively charged oxygen, and has many benefits to health, moods, and brain function.  Fresh air  energizes the blood; increases oxygen in the blood and brain; and increases mental performance.  Recirculated indoor air has a positive charge and doesn’t offer many benefits.  So, air out your home or get outside in nature and breathe deeply – especially by a lake, stream or beach; near evergreen trees; or after a rainfall

9.  Too much sugar dulls the brain in adults and kids [especially milk and sugar combinations].  Eat fresh fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth.

10.  Too much fat causes red blood cells to stick together.  This slows down their ability to carry oxygen to the brain and body.  The brain can’t operate at peak with limited oxygen.

11.  Too much meat weakens the brain’s ability to think, know, and reason.

12.  Over-eating, or eating too many types of foods at a meal, causes indigestion [choose 3 dishes].  This causes a drain on the brain’s vital force [energy].  The brain and stomach have a very close relationship.

13.  Not enough sleep over time is very damaging.  Most adults need 7 to 8 hours.  Less than 7 or more than 8 hours will hurt the mind and body.  To have healthy bodies, clear minds, and balanced emotions we need good sleep – regularly.  Going to sleep 2 hours before midnight is superior to 4 hours of sleep after.  In the hours before 12am the body makes more of the hormones melatonin and growth hormone [needed to repair and build up body] than it does in the hours after 12.  But to benefit, we must be asleep.

What helps it?

  • Correcting any of the negative items listed above.

  • Avoid sleeping pills – they have many negative side effects, don’t give you a refreshing sleep, and can become addictive.

  • Eating a variety of plant-based foods like fresh fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, beans, and seeds.  They give strength and energy to the brain.

  • Eating apples, strawberries, and blueberries helps memory and balance.

  • Daily eat a big breakfast.  It is the fuel to get your motor [the brain] started and running efficiently.  The best combination is a few  fruit, a handful of nuts [like walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.], and whole grain cereal like shredded wheat, oatmeal, whole wheat cream of wheat, or cooked brown  rice with fruits. and yogurt.  Or whole grain bread/toast with peanut or almond butter on it, and top it off with applesauce or strawberry applesauce [blend applesauce with a few strawberries].  Without a good breakfast, a person will quickly get hungry, snack, feel irritable, and over-eat at lunch and dinner.

  • Drinking fresh fruit or vegetable juices helps reduce inflammation.  My favorites are fresh wheatgrass juice [buy from health store], aloe vera juice, and soy bean milk.  Occasionally I make my own soy milk, but machines are available to make it – like Soyajoy.

  • Exercise regularly – especially outside when possible.  It helps every body part get better and stronger, increases blood flow, pulls in oxygen [which germs and cancer cells don’t like], and decreases inflammation.

That’s all for now.  And forgive me for not posting this on Saturday evening as I had promised.  This topic was more involved than I anticipated.  But I hope it helps.  Take good care and see you next time.

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence

Foggy Brain, Part 1

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Help!  I can't think.

Help! I can’t think.

Years ago I noticed times when I couldn’t get things done.  I had thoughts, but could not get from thoughts to actions. It was scary.  I called my neurologist and said, “I can’t think.”  There were other symptoms that went along with that.  But now I understand that for me, foggy brain usually meant I was full of inflammation and in a relapse. 

Back then correcting it involved 3 days of high dose steroids [1000mg of I.V. Solu-Medrol], followed by tapering down doses of Prednisone.  After that blast of drugs, I felt like I had a turbo brain and body.  My thinking was laser beam sharp and all kinds of things got done rapidly.  One day I even cut 4 of my neighbor’s hedges!  These days if help is needed I’ll just ask for short-term Prednisone.  

What is it?

Many with MS, and even many without it, have problems with their thinking and memory.  For those with MS our foggy brains are called Brain Fog.  It falls under the category of Cognitive Dysfunction – a loss of mental sharpness. 

It is a worrisome problem, so I want to share what I’ve learned about it, and hopefully help someone.

What causes it? 

From a medical standpoint I don’t know, except that brain fog is part of the MS picture.  But I strongly believe that the way I eat, drink, and treat my body [and many of you too], does something to the blood flow and oxygen to the brain.  Then this affects the electrical transmissions between brain cells so they are not as fast, sharp, or snappy as they should be.

Here are a few possible causes, because of how they affect the brain:

  1. From my living with MS these 29 years [in July 2013] I really suspect inflammation.  Why?  Because, when I take steroids foggy brain [and other MS symptoms] disappears almost immediately.  Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs.

  2. I also suspect poor nourishment and poor waste removal.  Both can cloud up thinking. The brain cells need a constant supply of good food and rapid waste removal.  And whenever I drink 2 ounces of wheatgrass juice or eat an apple, my thinking clears up quickly.  Both have anti-inflammatory properties, but both have lots of nourishment.  And whenever I go through a colon cleansing process, my thinking gets clear immediately.  For real!

  3. High Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS] is a man-made sweetener found in many sodas, juices, canned goods, and more.  Read labels to limit your consumption.  Regularly taking lots of HFCS slows the brain and interferes with learning and memory.  Taking essential fatty acids  can help counteract that [like in flaxseed oil, walnuts, beans, and leafy greens].

  4. Caffeine in coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate, and guarana in some energy drinks [it’s rich in caffeine], disrupts brain chemistry and how brain cells talk to each other.  It also excites the nerves, irritates the stomach, and poisons the blood.

  5. Tobacco and nicotine weaken and cloud the brain.  They reduce oxygen and increase carbon monoxide.

  6. Not drinking enough water slows blood flow [circulation] and the nerve messages sent between brain nerves.  These messages travel fastest when the fluid between them is pure from enough plain water.

To Be Continued …

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence