Category Archives: Health & Nutrition

Gardening and Spirituality

Plant Gardens & Eat Their Fruits – Watering [4:02]

Plant Gardens & Eat Their Fruits – Fig Tree [2:58]

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Why Epsom Salts Help

Epsom salts are known scientifically as Hydrated Magnesium Sulfate.

  • Magnesium stimulates nerve and muscle function, limits inflammation, and improves oxygenation and blood flow through the body. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium which, according to the National Academy of Sciences, contributes to heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a number of other ailments.
  • Sulfates are also very important, playing a role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins, digestive enzymes, and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract.

Also, magnesium and sulfate stimulate detoxification pathways in the body.  When you soak in a hot Epsom salts bath, reverse osmosis moves toxins out of the body and pulls magnesium and sulfate inward through your pores. Avoid using soap during an Epsom salt bath as it may interfere with these processes. I shower at the end to remove salts and essential oils.  I dunno if this is necessary, but my skin is really sensitive and rashy, so I don’t take chances.

HOW MUCH: Dissolve 1⁄2 cup of Epsom salts in water for every 50 lb of body weight.

WARNING:  You should not take Epsom salt baths if you are severely dehydrated. If you have large wounds or burns, are pregnant or suffer from cardiovascular or kidney disease, consult your doctor to see if it is safe to begin an Epsom salt bath regimen.  Don’t assume any of these conditions rules it out.  I have kidney disease and my doctor recommended it.  Also, don’t worry about your girlie parts; it doesn’t sting and it is safe to get your whole body down into the water!

NOTE: Some Epsom salt manufacturers add fragrance.  Beware of these!  Read the label before purchasing.  If the fragrance is a natural essential oil, it will say so.  If the fragrance is a synthetic, the label will say fragrance and/or perfume.  These synthetic fragrances are made from hydrocarbons and other chemicals known to be harmful to your health.  My preference is to get the plain stuff and dribble some essential oils on my bath water right before climbing in.

GARDENING:  Epsom salt is also great for your garden. It helps speed up plant growth, increase a plants nutrient uptake, deter pests, increase flavor of fruit and veggies, plus increase the output of vegetation. See Best Plants article below for specifics.

SPLINTERS:  If you can’t get a hold of the splinter, soak the affected area in 2 tbsp of Epsom salt in a cup of water.  The splinter will move out of its own accord.

Sources:

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Why Essential Oils Help

A massage oil blend that suits your needs and preferences can be very helpful in the treatment of chronic pain.  Certain essential oils reduce inflammation, relieve pain, increase blood circulation, and reduce the stress and anxiety that pain causes.

Essential oils are truly amazing.  I raised my kids on them.  Tea tree oil for lice and ringworm.  Eucalyptus oil for colds.  Manuka for warts.  Ginger for tummy aches.  Lavender and Peppermint for headaches.  Lemon and Rosemary for study aid.  When they moved out, they each got a wooden box with a starter set of oils and a book.  When they deployed, they got travel sets to keep in their packs.

When my youngest was at boot camp, I dripped some clove oil (relieves neuralgia) on a letter to her, figuring she was pretty achy from all the PT.  She told me later she burst into tears when she opened the envelope.  Her bunk mate asked if she’d gotten bad news and she sobbed, “Nooooo.  It just smells like HOME.”

Over the years, I’ve gotten more help from essential oils than from OTC or prescription medicines and at a fraction of the cost.  Years ago, I designed a massage blend for a bi-polar friend.  Using it did not get her off her meds, but it improved her symptom swing enough that she was able to reduce her meds and live a much more comfortable life.

I was hospitalized in July for kidney failure.  I’m doing better now, but chronic kidney disease is a fact of life.  So when my doctor cleared me to start using essential oils again, I researched and designed a kidney health blend that I use on my neck and shoulders.  One of the oils is specifically for inflammation, so when I wrenched my knee last week, I started using it there as well.  It really helps.

There is a wealth of information about essential oils and how to use them safely and effectively.  I bought a couple of books and routinely check on-line as well.  I’ve put a lot of what I’ve learned in an album at My Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/christine.bravomom/media_set?set=a.230556967092519.1073741856.100004146523282&type=3.

I buy my oils and supplies (empty bottles, pipettes, carrier oils) @ http://www.aromathyme.com/.  It’s a woman-owned, home-based business, which is something I like to support.  And Debbie has good quality products at fair prices with good customer service.

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Why Ferments Help

A great deal of pain is caused by inflammation, which is an immune response.  The immune system is backwards from every other organ system.  Under stress, everything else slows down; the immune system goes into overdrive.  An overburdened immune system goes bonkers even without appropriate (bad germs) reasons, causing inflammation-based, autoimmune disorders like arthritis.

Something like eighty percent of the immune system is NOT in the blood, like I always was taught.  (White blood cells.)  It’s in the bacteria and yeast that live on the lining of the gut.  This lining includes all the tissue on the insides of the sinuses, mouth, throat, stomach, and small and large intestines.  That’s a LOT of square feet and it is all covered with microscopic critters.

Americans eat a mostly pasteurized, pesticide and herbicide laden diet that is seriously deficient in the dozens and dozens of species of healthy bacteria and yeasts (pro-biotics) that God intended should live in the gut and do that 80% of immune work for us.  Consequently, we have both an overburdened 20% causing everything from allergies and arthritis to diabetes and heart disease, but also a gut biome crowded with species that are NOT healthy.

A prime bad actor is Candida albicans, the chief cause of diaper rash and vaginal infections.  C. albicans flourishes whenever the stronger, healthy pro-biotics are diet deficient and/or wiped out by antibiotics.   It does nothing for the immune system, but does, on its own, produce toxins that cause fatigue, depression, bloating, and a host of other problems.

Because fermenting is such a fine method for preserving produce, in the old country, our ancestors ate a lot of pro-biotic rich foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled this, that and the other.   And God is so cool, He arranged for it that fermenting also makes food taste better and … believe it or not … have MORE nutrients!  For example, when you ferment cabbage, it CREATES Vitamin C.  How cool is that?!   This is why ships carried huge barrels of it on long voyages.  It didn’t spoil and it did prevent scurvy.

When pasteurization of produce via boiling bath and pressure cooker canning* was invented, the naturally fermented foods slowly became extinct.  The sterile, canned varieties are just so much easier to store, ship, and market.  Food manufacturers tried to replicate the look and taste of the live foods that immigrants were accustomed to, for example by adding food dyes and vinegar to pickles.  But the bottom line is that pasteurizing food kills all the pro-biotics.  Add in antibiotics and rampant removal of healthy appendixes (where gut bacteria and yeasts are kept out of the way of scouring diarrhea) and you’ve got the American diet plus a long, long list of American chronic illnesses.

We get our starter package of gut pro-biotics from our mothers.  But over the generations of depleted eating, we have become less and less gut-healthy and more and more prone to the chronic illnesses that a sick gut produces.  Two years ago, I was researching diet and autism for my daughter whose eldest is autistic.  I stumbled across the phrase, “Heal your gut. Heal your allergies.”  Since allergies are pretty much everything** that is wrong with my poor old body, I was immediately intrigued.  I’d never EVER heard of anything that could heal allergies, only make it easier to live with them.  So I read everything I could find on-line and bought and borrowed books and DVDs.

Two years ago, right around Thanksgiving, I began a new diet regimen I call “Three Ks A Day.”  We have a sign on the fridge :).  The three Ks are Kefir, Kombucha, and Kraut.  Kraut is my generic name for any fermented produce.  My goal has been to eat at least one serving of each per day.  Today, I am in FAR less pain than when I started and I have regained both many of the foods I had lost to allergies and also the ability to leave the house occasionally!

Before ferments, I was completely home-bound.  For an entire decade, I literally left my carefully controlled, air and water filtered environment five times and only for emergencies, like a rotted tooth.  Today, I am going out once every other week with my husband for our Big Grocery Shopping excursion and we just this month decided I am doing well enough that, on the alternate weeks, we could try having a date excursion.  Last Friday, we went to the Science Center on the morning of a school day, so it wasn’t packed with bigger kids, just SAHM moms with little ones and a few home schooled kids.  The weather was so nice, we also went miniature golfing.  The Science Center has an 18-hole course we really enjoyed.

I’m proof positive that “Heal your gut. Heal your allergies.” really works!  And, good thing for me and my kidneys, since I am now limited to no more than 4 acetaminophen in 24 hours and that’s not much.  But my pain level is so much lower than it was, I often get by with 1 or 2, sometimes 3, and almost never 4.

*The reason botulism is such a concern with canned foods is that it tolerates higher heat than the pro-biotics. But in fermented foods, Clostridium botulinum never has a chance.  The pro-biotics are way more potent than C. botulinum, so any that are present get killed off.  A guy from the USDA said that home fermenting is the safest method of food preservation for home use.  If anything goes wrong, you can see and smell it.  I’ve been doing it for two years and had only two batches go bad early on while I was learning.  They got moldy, which was immediately apparent so I threw them out.

**My kidney disease is the result of taking OTC pain meds daily for decades. The pain was caused by allergic reactions, so kidney disease is a related outcome.

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Just posted to my ferment board

First time in ages!  And it’s the second time in two days that I’ve felt well enough to sit at my desk and work online.  Yowza!

On Monday, at my checkup, my doctor suggested I try soaking my whole body in an Epsom salt bath before bed.  I have now done it twice … Monday night and Tuesday night.  I got much better sleep than usual and have been clear minded enough to post both mornings.

I need to keep it up and see if the benefit lasts, but for now, I’m just so thrilled to be here twice in a row cuz … dayum, poor Pete!  This is too big a job for one person.  He’s been such a trooper during my long, long illness.  {{{{{Pete}}}}}

Here’s my ferment post, if you’re interested. I’ve added a photo of my 90-gallon freshwater show tank at the bottom because pictures are fun.  Plus, it’s one of my rehab projects and I’m really proud of how well it’s turned out.  I love to lie on the couch and just go all zen with my fishes. 🙂

I started fermenting around Thanksgiving of 2014. I was so excited about the totally novel idea that I could heal my allergies by healing my gut.

I’ve been totally home bound for many years by all my food and environmental sensitivities. Back in the early 1980s, when I was tested extensively, my doctors found me to be a universal reactor.

My immune system was so screwed up that it just sensitized to everything, including my own unborn children.

50 foods tested; none were safe and some were devastating. 300 molds; 299 were positive and the testing tech said, “You’ve just never been exposed to this last one.” Dogs, cats, birds, rodents, dust, pollens of all kinds, fragrances, formaldehyde, chlorine, yada yada yada … even my own hormones!

I ended up forced to live a monastic life in a few climate-conditioned, air filtered rooms. I haven’t been to church in decades and I couldn’t attend my daughters’ graduations or weddings.

BUT …. after almost 2 years of fermenting, I can now go out sometimes! I’ve been able to garden, walk the dogs, go to the grocery store, run the vacuum cleaner … all for only relatively short periods of time and I’m still on the couch a lot, but still … WOW!

I still can’t even think about church … way too much perfume … but I was able to attend my daughter’s baby shower this month where everyone specifically did not wear perfume for my sake and we had my air filter running and a door propped open. I was there for FOUR HOURS before I crashed and had to go back to my home slash allergy oasis!

On the food front, my biggest success is that I can eat now one egg a week. Eggs were one of my worst foods ever. I had a special type of food allergy to eggs known as an addictive allergy. In short, I HAD to have eggs every morning or I wasn’t fit to live with, but a few hours after eating them, I’d suddenly be very angry about nothing.

I remember wondering why my kids were so annoying at 11 am every day LOL … but I didn’t connect it to the eggs until I got to a Clinical Ecologist (M.D.) who could explain the workings of a totally messed up immune system like mine. In fact, at my intake interview the week I turned 30, she asked, “Is there any food you have to eat every day?”

I’d been treated by a traditional Allergist (M.D.) since I was a teen.  He told me I had NO food allergies and he certainly had never asked me a question like that!

My fermenting regimen has been simple … Three K’s A Day.  Each day, I try to have at least a little bit of kefir, kombucha, and some kind of fermented produce – Bubbie’s pickles or my own kraut or salsa are the most common.

This year, I also started juicing and we made a bigger commitment to organic eating, both of which I think have also helped.

2016_10-26-my-90-ga-show-tank

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High-Frequency Noise Pollution Concerns Mount as Florida Releases Bats to Combat Zika

Bats2j

And Hillary shrieks enough by herself. With thousands of little Hillaries flying around, the noise will be deafening.

Miami New Times – Bats are, famously, one of the mosquito’s natural predators. According to some experts, a single brown bat can gobble up to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour. So if the county released a cave’s worth of bats into the Wynwood sky every day, Miami’s mosquito problem would be eradicated in a fortnight, right?

Turns out the idea isn’t all that crazy: Last month, the New York Times chronicled suburban North Hempstead, New York’s plan to build “bat houses” — which look and function like bird houses except with slot-shaped holes for bats — across its Long Island town. According to one mosquito expert the Times quoted, bats burn so many calories through flying that they pretty much have to inhale mosquitoes indiscriminately to keep themselves full.

But town officials say it’s impossible to quantify what impact the bats have had, and Laura Finn, a Central Florida bat conservation expert who spoke with New Times via phone, says she doubts they would be able to wipe out mosquitoes on their own.

Read the whole story at Miami New Times.

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Paying attention to pH

When I first encountered the idea that body pH was important to health, it made total sense to me. I have been keeping tropical fish for many years and, as all enthusiasts know, maintaining the right* pH in the tank is critical to keeping the fish healthy. Organic waste is acidifying, so as the fish eat, pee, and poo, the water becomes increasingly acidic. Timely water changes are a must for success.

Other things I’ve picked up along the way …

  • A healthy human body is slightly alkaline.
  • Diseases thrive in an acid environment, including diabetes, cancer, arteriosclerosis, and chronic fatigue.
  • Minerals buffer pH, which suggests to me that acidity also causes bone loss.
  • The more acidic my pH is, the higher my pain levels are.

Dearest and I have been working for a long time now to shift our diets to the right on this chart. It gets easier the longer we stick with it, because the foods one eats seem to become the foods one prefers. Plus, the personal connection I have made between pain and pH has been a huge incentive for me to eliminate coffee and only take OTC meds when I can’t get my symptom level low enough naturally** to get a decent night’s sleep.

Acid Alkaline foods chart

I’m going to try this recipe tomorrow. It looks yummy and we have all the ingredients on hand.

http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/nutrition/hearty-chicken-sweet-potato-apples

*Fish tank pH: Each species of fish has its preferred pH, based on where it comes from in the wild. It’s important to choose fish that are not only compatible socially, but that also need the same pH. The simplest and cheapest thing is to stock only those fish that thrive in the pH that comes out of your tap. A pH test kit costs less than $10. If you want a happy, healthy, beautiful tank, you should test the tank pH often enough to learn how much and how often to do water changes.

**Naturally: I use stuff like prayer and meditation, light exercise (mostly stretching to relieve muscle cramping from pain), epsom salt foot soaks, magnesium oil and essential oil massage, essential oil diffusion, supplements (herbs, vitamins, mineral), and some tonics I mix up myself that I’ve found helpful.

Source:
Achieving Alkalinity to Treat Illness and Disease: Changing Your PH Balance

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Bubbies: Live Culture and Audible Crunch

Bubbies

“Good pickles have an audible crunch at ten paces. This is measured using an Audible Crunch Meter. Pickles that can only be heard at one pace are known as denture dills.”

http://bubbies.com/kosher_dills

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