A Most Remarkable Person, Part 1

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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].

To Be Continued In Part 2 …       

  Copyright © 2013 Regina Spence     

PS:  The GEEK Squad, at Best Buy, helped me find out why I could not copy and paste on Friday.  It was so simple.  They fixed it and I’m back in business!  Thanks for your patience.

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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

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

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

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