Simple Things

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 Getting, protecting, and recovering health should be simple, make sense, and be accessible to all.  Today I just want to share a few of my favorite, tried and true, simple remedies.  A remedy is something that helps healing.

Cool Showers:  Years ago I used to take cool showers, so in the winter I wouldn’t be so cold while riding my bike to work.  It worked.  Here are just some of the benefits of cool showers or baths [especially for those with MS]:

  1. They strengthen the body to resist feeling cold
  2. They stimulate the nerves
  3. Invigorate the mind and thinking
  4. Increase muscle tone [strength of muscles]
  5. Increase muscle flexibility
  6. Increase muscle endurance [can do more for longer periods].  *Drinking water will also help.

After a cool shower I always move better, and feel ready to conquer the world.  For those afraid of cold water, try what I do:  I start with warm water for a few minutes.  Then I gradually turn the water to cool or cold for 2-3 minutes.  Make sure the water hits the entire body.  After the warm water, the cold does not feel too bad.

Lemon Water: It is the juice of ½ or 1 fresh lemon added to a cup of warm water. Warm water gets into the bloodstream faster than cold.  I drink it in the morning before eating any food.  I also add a shake of cayenne pepper [it helps circulation and helps clean mucus from blood], and 1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup [touch of sweetness, vitamins and minerals].

Lemon juice has lots of benefits, but here are just three:

    1. It helps the body resist bacterial and viral infections.  And if sick, it helps you heal.  *Germs cannot live in the presence of lemon juice.

    2. It strengthens the body’s immune system.

    3. And helps remove toxins from the blood.

I drink this to help clean my blood.  But if getting signs of a cold or the flu, I take it to reduce chances for getting sick.  But if sick, I drink it every few hours to speed my recovery.  It works.  I’ve had bronchitis twice, and both times, drinking lemon water every few hours helped me get better quickly.  Drink it during flu season.  Drink it before you get sick.  Give it to your family too.

Apples:  Called “the queen of fruit”, apples also have abundant benefits.  A few of them are:

    1. They reduce inflammation.   I’ve noticed that my MS symptoms are worse when inflammation is present.
    2. They remove toxins from the intestines by way of the feces.
    3. They help constipation.
    4. They help keep blood pressure low.

For me, being under the influence of apples is a good thing.  When I eat an apple [Red Delicious or Gala] my vision clears, my thinking becomes sharp, my balance and muscle strength improve, and my complexion looks clear and smooth.  And when I eat an apple before bedtime, I sleep well with few or no muscle spasms.

Activated CharcoalNot barbecue charcoal!!!  I recommend that a bottle of activated charcoal be in each home, and each camping first aid kit [along with a Bee Sting/Snake Bite extractor kit].  You can get it at pharmacies, health food stores, and online.  It comes in powder, tablet, and capsule forms. *I use Nature’s Way Activated charcoal capsules.

Charcoal has numerous benefits, but here are a few:

    1. It can adsorb [not absorb] many poisons, toxins, gases, chemicals, drugs, and venoms.  Adsorb means that the carbon in charcoal is quick to combine with these poisons and make them harmless.  Don’t neglect to call 911 for serious bites, but while waiting for the ambulance, do something to help.  Giving charcoal after bug and critter bites or stings, or for drug over-doses can be very useful.    **Never give charcoal to an unconscious person.  Call 911!

    2. Charcoal can help relieve and stop intestinal gas

    3. It can help stop diarrhea

    4. It can help treat infections.  I’ve used it successfully to treat infected bites from unknown insects on my foot [they ‘bit and ran’].  How?   By making charcoal poultices [see below].

To use charcoal internally, take the tablets or capsules with a tall glass of water, or stir the powder into a glass of water.  Take hours before or after any medications – since it will adsorb it.

To use charcoal externally, make a poultice with the charcoal alone, or mix it with ground flaxseed.  The charcoal powder is very light and can blow around easily.

*Poultices:  Do a search on the Internet for how to make a poultice.  There are several good sites.  **Drinking some charcoal and applying a poultice are very good for Brown Recluse Spider bites, while waiting for the ambulance.

    1. Basically, you will take some charcoal powder [or break open a few capsules] and add enough warm water to make a paste.  Only stir with a spoon.  Charcoal will stain skin, but will fade over time.

    2. Then, depending on the size of the bite or infected area, get a clean, damp cloth to cover that size.

    3. Put some paste on the damp cloth [must stay damp], and cover with ends of cloth – like making a sandwich.

    4. Apply to the skin snugly

    5. Cover with plastic wrap and secure with tape.  Keep it on and then change the poultice every few hours or the next day. 

That’s it for my simple remedies.  I hope they will help you too.

See you next time.

Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence


Foggy Brain, Part 2

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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