For months I’ve gradually been cutting down on sugars. I’m a “dessert queen”, but even those have decreased. And it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. Because I keep in mind several terrible experiences when I ate too much sugar. But this past Monday I took some backward steps by asking my husband to bring home a McDonald’s chocolate shake.
It looked wonderful and tasted very sweet. But I finished it right down to the whip cream and cherry. Then I felt sick to my stomach and started getting tingling in my fingertips. Not good.
I wondered how much sugar was in that shake. So I did a Yahoo search on sugar in McDonald’s chocolate shakes. A medium chocolate shake contains 111 grams of sugar, which equals 27 ¾ teaspoons of sugar [111 divided by 4]. That’s a lot of sugar! Who would sit down and eat all that?
At my sister’s suggestion I put 27 ¾ teaspoons of brown sugar into a glass, just to see how it looked. It’s almost ½ of a 19 ounce glass. Yipes! I took a picture of it and posted it on today’s blog. *A McDonald’s shake can get worse: the large triple chocolate shake contains 168 grams of sugar, which equals 40 teaspoons sugar!
Today, too many people are eating lots of sugar. Some we add to our foods. But much is already ‘hidden’ in the foods and beverages we buy. When possible, and a food item has a label, we can check those for how much sugar is in them. Take the grams of sugar in each serving and divide it by 4, then multiply it by the total number of servings. That will give you the teaspoons of sugar in that product.
Sugar helps foods taste good, but it has some unpleasant properties that all of us could do without. Such as: increases risks for diabetes and obesity; raises blood fat levels; cripples the immune system to fight against germs and cancer cells; causes inflammation [making my MS symptoms worse]; ages the skin; causes constipation; clouds thinking; steals vitamin B-1 which nourishes nerves [hence, tingling in fingertips]; can cause hardening of the arteries and heart disease; dehydrates us [sugar needs more water to be processed]; increases risks for cancer, and more. *The more sugar and animal fat consumed, the greater the risks for several kinds of cancers [including breast, prostate, and colon].
I’m not saying not to eat anything sweet, just do it moderately. A little sweetness is okay, but not too much. And try to keep track of how many sweet items we put into our bodies every day. And try to watch what your children and families are taking in.
When I bake, I use Sucanat sugar to sweeten things. To sweeten cereals or oatmeal and cornmeal porridge, I use chopped dates, organic maple syrup, or chopped fruits.
But I especially want to emphasize the way sugar cripples the immune system. Humans have always been exposed to an assortment of bacteria, viruses, pollutants, cancer cells, parasites, fungi, and other invaders. But it seems to me, that today’s world is seeing an increase in all kinds of new, old, and even returning super-invaders. Some are totally unresponsive to medications. To help fight today’s germ warfare, a strong immune system is our best defense. When in tip-top shape, the immune system can identify and kill invaders. But when weak, it can’t do much. And at times it can’t do anything.
The more sugar eaten [and animal fat], the less fighting and killing power our immune cells have. So, to help stay well, cut down the sugar. If sick and want to get better faster, cut out the sugar. Other ways to help improve the immune system include good rest every night; decrease stress; drink more water; eat more fruits, vegetables and nuts; get moderate sunshine and exercise daily; help others, and decrease caffeine.
I’d been dragging around this emotional weight for decades, and finally real help was within view.
I didn’t know how I would pay for the therapy, but found out that the health center, a county facility, charged based on a person’s income. Blessing. Then, I didn’t have a car, but getting to the center was a snap. The bus stop was ½ block from my apartment, and its last stop was right in front of the health center. Blessings.
That Friday I was on time [better be], and the counselor came to the waiting room for me. She was a short, pleasant-looking lady, with a nice smile, and kindness in her eyes. Immediately I was comfortable with her. Blessing.
She had me sit in her office across from her desk, then looked directly at me and in a soft-spoken voice said, “You really don’t want to kill yourself, do you?” I couldn’t speak, since the tears were flowing down my cheeks. I just shook my head, “No.” She then hit me directly with, “You just want the pain to stop.” The tears flowed harder, but I nodded, “Yes.” Her face and voice were so full of compassion. She understood, and I was in safe hands. Major blessing.
Then she got down to business. She pointed to a magic wand on her wall and said, “Do you see that magic wand?” I said yes. She said, “That’s the magic wand I don’t have.” I smiled for the first time in a long while. “We are going to work through this. We will take a journey together. We will look at your life and decide what pieces we will keep and which ones we’ll toss out.”
Every Friday at 11am, for the next 12 months, we had our appointments. She once told me, “I’m going to be good for you. I’ve made the same mistakes you have.” Blessing.
Sometime in our 3rd month of sessions, I learned why I had such a poor self-worth; what had happened, and why. I was able to understand and even forgive those responsible – not in person [was not possible], but in my heart before God. Major blessings!!!
In the 6th month of our sessions she told me, “You have a broken wing. You’ve probably not been flying well for a while [my whole life], and now you are grounded.” But in my case, and maybe some of yours, being grounded is absolutely necessary. You can do needed repairs only when grounded. You can recover and regroup when grounded. And surely, broken wings can heal better when we slow down, stop, and get help. My healing had started. I felt happy and lighter. All that heavy baggage was going away. I’m grateful for all these blessings!!!
If life’s struggles overwhelm you – especially with MS, don’t be afraid to seek help. I still have MS, but healing of all my emotional wounds feels so good!
They came from childhood. Issues that left me feeling worthless. I tried not to say too much in case others wouldn’t like me, or more likely, they really didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I was even told that I was as a jinx; and would bring bad luck to anyone who helped me. So, I used to pray for the protection of anyone who did something nice for me.
These struggles with a poor self-worth were bad enough. But then MS slammed me with more issues. A big one was financial problems. Especially because, for three-plus years I was not able to work full-time, and barely part-time, and was silly enough to buy a car.
I was a new Registered Nurse. All my classmates and co-workers had cars. I used to ask to borrow their cars to go places. I should have had my own car. Right? So, I bought one. But, during those early years, having MS did not allow me to work enough to make regular payments. Can you tell where this story is going? I’ve never shared this with my family, so dear ones, don’t be too shocked by this news.
Things got so bad that the bank repossessed my car, and it was hard to keep up with my other bills. I had to file bankruptcy. Everyone asked “What happened to your car?” I sort of lied and said, “Someone took over the payments.” Yes, the bank did. On top of already feeling worthless, this was a crushing blow. Now I was a legally registered failure.
MS also changed the way I walked. I looked disabled. Also, many people shied away from me as though MS was contagious.
As I struggled with these, and other issues, and made some very bad decisions, the emotional weight became unbearable. Last week I shared with you that dealing with the losses MS brings, could possibly require professional help. Over the years I did seek out help. But the counselors were not right matches for me, and I couldn’t afford regular sessions. So the pain continued – until one evening in 1998.
Enough was enough. I had reached a breaking point, and saw no way out of always feeling bad about myself. Some say drastic times require drastic measures. Actually, they require drastic prayers, but I couldn’t see that during that time. I cut God out of the picture, but He didn’t cut me loose. I’m so grateful for that!!! I’d wanted to end my life, and knew I would if I didn’t get help. But God’s finger prints are all over what happened next.
One evening I called the ER at the local hospital and shared my need. They immediately put me through to an Intake Counselor on the Psychiatric Unit. Blessing!!! He asked many soul-baring questions, but I was beyond being embarrassed. I was in deep crisis mode. Then he told me to call the local health center, in the morning, for an appointment. I figured oh no – a delay. But when I called and spoke with another Intake person [more soul-baring questions], my appointment was for the coming Friday at 11am. Blessing.
For those with MS, nerve impulse transmissions decrease, and weakness increases, when the body temperature goes up [from outside temperatures or fevers]. Stay cool as much as possible.
We each have value and a purpose for living. We have gifts and talents we are to use to help others. Disease and illness does not stop that. So look at your gifts and see what you can do. When working in your purpose and helping others, life will get so sweet!
Try to avoid foods with chemicals. This can be difficult unless you only eat fresh produce and make foods [mainly] from scratch. Chemicals; additives; artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners; preservatives, and more, do not help the body.
What we reap, we will sow. Or, every action has a reaction. What we feed our bodies will eventually determine the health or sickness we get.
Because so much of today’s foods are genetically modified, and all kind of additives are mixed in, buy the best fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans your budget will allow [organic or farm grown]. Sacrifice in other areas if you must. But good food is an investment for your health today and many tomorrows.
We all have a choice in what kind of health we will have. If the old choices are not working, we can choose new ones. It can be hard, but the brain adapts to our choices.
Eat less man-made foods [in boxes, cans, packages, etc.], and more foods made the way nature grew them. Nature’s foods have what the body needs in just the right amounts. And they contain elements to make us strong and help protect us from disease.
I eat foods to help reduce many of my MS symptoms. I believe that some of my symptoms may be due to not enough good nutrition. Eating well helps. At times I use drugs, but not much. Here are 3 examples:
Eating a Red Delicious or Granny Smith apple before bedtime reduces spasms while sleeping. I sleep soundly and wake up refreshed, with a clear mind, feeling stronger, and having improved balance. Incredible!
Eating a salad with Romaine Lettuce helps me sleep with few or no spasms. It is so relaxing, I can barely stay awake after 9pm.
Eating a stalk of celery quickly stops muscle spasms. In minutes. For real!
Anyone living with nerve-related diseases [like MS] should try to avoid refined foods, like white or enriched flour foods [and refined sugars like white or high fructose corn syrup]. These items, and foods made from them, are missing many nutrients – especially vitamin B-1 [thiamine]. Thiamine nourishes the nerves.
Whenever I eat white flour or enriched flour foods, I get weakness in all my muscles; my fingers don’t grasp or pick up very well, and at times my speech becomes slurred. And once, after a dish of yummy ravioli, my facial muscles became very twisted. Scary! These symptoms quickly go away when I eat some fruits or vegetables.
MS folks should eat a low fat diet, because fat causes decreased oxygen levels, and makes blood cells stick together. *Low fat is also good for the heart and blood vessels.
Sip warm water [2 glasses] first thing in the morning, and throughout the day. Warm water quickly gets into the blood to help it flow better, and help keep cells from sticking. When I do this, I can almost ‘hear my body say, “Thank you!” ‘
Getting good health should be simple, make sense, and be affordable to all. Not complicated and expensive.
One way to improve energy is to drink more water and do more exercise. Simple.
In my opinion, the best exercises, if able, are rebounding, biking, swimming, and squats. They are so strengthening for body, mind, and spirit, and so energizing. *All action helps to build stronger nerve cells.
I recently got a new rebounder – for bouncing on. I also have a stabilizing bar on mine, because of poor balance. I love this equipment. It’s my 3rd one. Here are a few of its benefits: makes me smile while bouncing; thinking becomes clearer; improves my energy, balance, and muscle and bone strength; makes me sleep better; improves the immune systems; and improves the drainage of my lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is made up of lymph, lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels [for transportation], and organs – like tonsils, the thymus gland, and the spleen. It works with our immune system to protect the body. It’s like an internal vacuum cleaner that sucks up garbage, toxins, wastes, excess fluid, infection and more. Sluggish lymphatic systems cause the lymph to become thick and cause problems like insomnia, muscle spasms [for me], diseases, and infections. Rebounding [and other vigorous exercises] stimulates drainage of the lymphatic system.
MS or any disease is a loss of health. Losing anything makes us grieve that loss – whether it be keys, limbs, jobs, a loved one, etc. As a result we will go through the stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We may go back and forth through the stages, but work at getting to acceptance. Try not to get stuck in the first three stages. For some this may require professional counseling. Don’t be ashamed or afraid of getting help. I had to because of emotional issues from childhood and issues in dealing with MS. It really helped me.