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


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

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 3

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These are my experiences.  Check with your healthcare provider before trying anything.

What happened to you?What happened to you?

Before we move on to Principle of Health #3, I’d like to share a few more things I’ve learned while living with MS.  In July it will make 29 years!  Wow!

    1. Eating turnip greens, kale, or collard greens increase my strength;

    2. Eating apples increase my strength and balance; reduce blurred vision and ‘foggy brain’;

    3. Drinking freshly juiced wheatgrass [buy at health food stores], or pineapple and cantaloupe juice increase strength and steadiness, clear up ‘foggy brain’, and make my body feel so happy!  For real!

  • I try to choose foods to help me get and stay well.  But when I get weaker, tired, foggy-brained, have blurred vision, or other symptoms, unless it’s very serious, I try not to go to the doctor right away [will go if needed].  First I ask myself 3 questions:

    1. “What did you eat or drink that could have caused this?”  Most times I can [quickly] trace my symptom back to a wrong choice.

    2. What are you getting too much of [that my body doesn’t need] or not enough of [what my body needs]?

    3. What do you have in the house that can help reverse these symptoms?

  • For me, my MS symptoms increase when inflammation increases from unwise choices.  To help reduce inflammation I drink ground flaxseed water; eat pineapple, strawberry, papaya, or grapes; munch on celery and carrot; eat brown rice, beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, greens [turnip, kale, collard, etc.].

  • Disease is common, not normal.  But change is possible.  We may not cure MS [or other illnesses] by eating and living better, but by making healthier choices we can improve our existence.

  • Years ago I used to fall a lot – either while walking or when I could still ride my bike [don’t fall anymore].  I had bumps, bruises, and cuts on my arms, legs, and face.  But I started to see a connection to things I ate.  I could name the food I’d eaten before each accident.  A few usual suspects?  Bagels, brownies*, boxed cakes, Kaiser Rolls, and foods with breadcrumbs on them.  They all contain gluten – which I am sensitive to; all are made from refined flour – which is missing most of the B vitamins needed by nerves; and all weakened my muscles and balance.  People with nerve problems need to avoid refined foods, and eat plant foods as close to how nature grew them. 

    • *Bad Brownie: A few days before an important date with my, then, soon-to-be hubby, I ate a brownie.  Afterwards, while shopping for a dress for that event, I  tripped outside a store, fell, and smashed my right cheek bone on the sidewalk.  Major black and blue!  But with prayers, frequent ice, and Epsom Salt wet packs, my face looked fine for the date.

  • In my dreams I can run.  And in one bad dream I even ran away from criminals shooting guns at me.  Ha!  I’d love to be able to walk well again.  But it would be wonderful to run.  The body has the incredible ability to heal itself if – we stop destructive choices, and give the body what it needs [like water, fresh air, nutrients, fiber, rest, exercise, etc.].  If I consistently treat my body well, just maybe. 

    • Years ago, my therapist at a lifestyle center told me, “Bombard your brain and muscles with the messages: lift your feet; wider stride; do squats and go deeper each time.”  He meant – try to move and keep trying.  Each attempt sends a message to the brain and muscles.  I will try and perhaps, one day, I’ll really run.  I’ll keep you informed.

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

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