Mrs. Charlotte Hamlin passed away on March 7, 2013 at age 94
*Her name, information, and pictures are used with her son’s permission.
I’d like to tell you about a very special person: Mrs. Charlotte Hamlin. She was one of my professors, a mentor, role model, and dear friend. We knew each other about 30 years. And it’s quite interesting, that, although I do not remember too many birthdays, I never forgot hers. And I must have really admired her, because I’ve adopted her distinctive laugh!
It was in Nursing School, in our Community Health class, that I first met her. She was the professor and a very striking personality. First of all, she was a senior citizen. Then, she was happy and full of life; had beautiful, silky, white hair, twinkles in her eyes, and her posture was straight and strong; she was quick and light in her movements; and she filled the classroom with her enthusiasm for the subject we were all there to learn.
She was about 67 years old at that time. And her words and actions were not what I was used to in older folks. Some of my classmates even felt that she was a bit nutty. Because as she shared about her life, we learned that she ran and won medals in Senior Olympics, rode a bike, and swam in the lake in front of her house [the one with the snakes]. Back in 1980 I don’t think any of us students knew seniors who did things like that. Today many seniors are quite health-minded and active.
Mrs. Hamlin described herself like this:
“I have been a vegetarian for 50 years, take no supplements or medicine, have high bone density [and no osteoporosis], and have never had any major surgery.” From her book, Ride With the Wind, P. 29
She was definitely different, but no nutty professor. As I observed and listened to her, I concluded that she was ‘sharp as a tack’ [very intelligent], had more energy than most of us students, and was onto something that I’d better pay attention to!
Why was this lady like this when so many of her age group [and even younger] were full of aches, pains, and medications? Here is how: she not only taught us students about the laws of health, but she lived them every day! She was a walking advertisement that using these simple principles really worked.
And she didn’t keep this ‘good news’ to herself. Three ways she shared it were:
1. Her “Prevent the 3 Cs” Classes – which were a continuing education series teaching folks how to help avoid Coronary [heart attacks], Cancer, and CVA [strokes]. Community members, and university faculty, staff, and students were all invited to attend. To start, everyone got blood tests to see what their risks were. Then there were classes to learn about each of the 3Cs, and how to put into practice the laws of health. At the program’s end, blood was tested to check improvements. Many were helped. I was also helped.
It was in her 3Cs class that I first learned that women who eat the most animal fats are inclined to have the highest risks for breast cancer. Before then I’d never heard of any connection between diet and cancer. Today we are hearing much more about this relationship. **[Eating much animal protein and sugar also increases risks for breast and other cancers as well].
Eating turnip greens, kale, or collard greens increase my strength;
Eating apples increase my strength and balance; reduce blurred vision and ‘foggy brain’;
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:
“What did you eat or drink that could have caused this?” Most times I can [quickly] trace my symptom back to a wrong choice.
What are you getting too much of [that my body doesn’t need] or not enough of [what my body needs]?
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.
• The body needs protein, but not as much as we think, and it doesn’t have to come from animals. Everything that grows has some protein.
• When we eat meats, pork, poultry, game, sea foods, etc. – our blood can get a few things from the animals. Like fats, high protein [contributes to osteoporosis and cancers], growth hormones and hormones of fear [released as animals are transported and slaughtered], bacterial and environmental contamination, and antibiotics.
• Animal foods have cholesterol, but no fiber. Plant-based foods have fiber, but no cholesterol.
• 2 strengthening foods to eat once or twice a day: an orange and an apple.
• Most of today’s killer diseases [heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, etc.] can be prevented by right and regular use of the 8 Laws of Health. And if already sick, health can be improved by their use as well.
• Many experts say we should eat like a king for breakfast [biggest meal], a queen for dinner , and a pauper for supper [smallest meal].
• Don’t skip breakfast. Eat a good one daily. Why? For one, it helps prevent sticky platelets which can form blood clots and lead to heart attacks and strokes. Two, it gives the body good ‘fuel’ to start the day and helps reduce snacking and weight gain. And three, it helps with better learning, memory, and well-being in adults and kids. People who eat a good breakfast are less likely to be irritable – their cells are well fed and happy.
• Each day our bodies need 30 to 50 grams of fiber [best source is from fresh, plant-based foods]. Try getting at least 10 grams of fiber for each meal. Fiber ‘sweeps’ the body clean of excess cholesterol, as well as toxins, and wastes – helping the bowels to move more easily and regularly. The more servings of plant foods you get, the more fiber you’ll get.
• Eating more plant foods will help lower elevated serum cholesterol levels. Their fiber grabs cholesterol and takes it out the body with the feces. The safest cholesterol levels are below 200, the ideal being between 170 and 190.
• Eat a ‘rainbow ’ of colorful plant foods [red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet]. Eat fruits in various rainbow colors with breakfast. And for dinner, eat vegetables in various rainbow colors. The more colors, the more nutrients you will get.
• Get essential fatty acids – they are healthy fats that the body needs, but cannot make. All cells need them especially brain cells. They are found in flaxseed oil or ground flax seeds [keep both in refrigerator], all beans, nuts [esp. walnuts], cabbages, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, squash, whole wheat, wheat germ, and more.
• Enriched flour is refined flour [in breads, pastas, crackers, biscuits, etc]. Foods made with this flour look and taste good, but they are missing a lot of what the body needs to function best. If you are going to eat these, eat them with foods that are rich in nutrients [like fruits, vegetables, nuts, or beans].
• Going from a whole wheat grain to white flour requires processing that strips away 24 of the whole wheat’s vitamins and minerals; protein; and 68% of its fiber. Then only four nutrients are replaced, and this flour is labeled ‘enriched’. Read labels and look for flours made from 100% whole grain, multi-grain, stone ground, or sprouted-wheat on your labels.
*Reduce use of sugar, dairy, fatty and greasy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
*If you are weak, it might be from MS or one or more of these:
Eating too many sugary foods. They steal B vitamins from the body. B vitamins help feed the nerves and make energy.
Too much dairy and sugar. Both increase inflammation.
Not drinking enough water – will make it hard for muscles to work.
Not eating enough calories from wholesome foods.
• The best defense against sickness and disease is a strong immune system. It can be weakened by too much sugar, fat, alcohol, animal products; not enough rest, water, sunshine, or exercise; guilt; a mean, selfish, or unforgiving spirit, and more.
• In making healthier changes with the way you eat, drink and live, go slow. Change is hard, but it is possible. Make 1 or 2 changes at a time. With foods, take the foods you love, or find recipes you like, and make them in a healthier way. But the foods should look, smell, and taste good. Because eating is not just nutrition, it’s family, friends, holidays, traditions, enjoyment, and more.
• Whatever good we do for the body, the body will respond. So, even if you don’t see improvements right away, keep making good choices.
Even while living with MS, let’s do our best and try to build improved health that we can enjoy every day. OK? See you next time.
*Coming soon: A Recipe page, and a post on Autointoxication