Category Archives: Health & Nutrition

More about Cordyceps sinensis

Yesterday, I realized I have so much energy all of a sudden that the amount of caffeine I was using (4 cups of tea, 2 black, 2 green) was making really hyper.

I reread the article (linked below) and noted that Cordyceps sinensis “increases ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels in the body by almost 28 per cent. ATP is the body’s energy supply source—the body’s battery, so to speak—and is required for all enzyme processes.”

I’ve been taking one to two capsules a day for about six weeks now; the bottle says the dose should be 3, but I didn’t want to overwhelm my body.  Next month, I plan to try using 3 per day and see how that goes.

Anyway, a number of the studies mentioned noticeable improvement after 30 days, so maybe that’s why I suddenly seem to have so much more energy and really don’t need caffeine just to stay upright!  This is so cool!

Clinical research in controlled studies had elderly patients suffering from fatigue and senility-related symptoms report relief in these areas after using Cordyceps for 30 days. Their fatigue was reduced by 92 per cent, their feeling of cold by 89 per cent and their dizziness by 83 per cent. Patients with respiratory/breathing problems felt physically stronger and some individuals were able to jog up to 600 feet.


Cordyceps sinensis is considered a “food” by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is classified as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS).  I get mine from Nature’s Sunshine; it’s also sold at my local health food store.

Keep in mind as you scan down this amazing list that these claims are not anecdotal, but based on scientific clinical trials.

  • Cordyceps sinensis has been found to be effective against all sorts of bacteria that have developed, or are developing, resistance to other, more common antibiotics (such as penicillin, another fungus product!).
  • It improves immune antibody responses.
  • It protects against the damage caused by free radicals.
  • It improves sexual function.
  • It helps lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
  • It increases physical stamina so much that there has even been talk of banning it from sporting events.
  • It is effective in treating heart rhythm disturbances such as cardiac arrhythmia and chronic heart failure.
  • A Chinese study showed a 51 per cent improvement in chronic kidney disease after only one month of dietary supplementation.
  • It improves respiratory function, alleviating the symptoms of various respiratory illnesses including chronic bronchitis and asthma.
  • It improves the flow of blood in the body by relaxing the smooth muscles of the blood vessels and allowing them to expand, enhancing the functioning of the heart and lungs and relieving tired legs.
  • It improves liver function and has proven helpful to patients with cirrhosis, sub-chronic and chronic hepatitis and related liver diseases.
  • It proved effective in several clinical studies with various types of cancer, leading to a reduction of tumor size and prolonged life.
  • Perhaps most amazing of all, a study in Ghana showed, after six months, that NONE of the 3,000 early-stage HIV patients in the study had ANY HIV in their blood!



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Cordyceps sinensis is an AMAZING fungus!


I started taking Cordyceps because I read about a clinical study that showed significant improvement in patients with chronic kidney failureBut the article talks about WAY more than just kidneys!  You have to read it. Seriously!

I’ve been taking Cordyceps for about 6 weeks and, while I do not have recent blood work (that will come in early April), I did see a remarkable change in my urine that makes me think it’s really working!

One of the symptoms of chronic kidney disease is protein spillage that causes persistent bubbles in one’s urine.  This week, I discovered that I’m not making bubbles any more!

My kidneys were functioning at 14% in July, when I was hospitalized. 15% or less is officially kidney failure.  After I got out of the hospital, they improved, which was very exciting.  But then they got stuck at 23%, so my primary sent me to a nephrologist who explained that above 25%, the kidneys are so AMAZINGLY designed that they can do their work indefinitely!

But under 25%, the filtration cells get overworked and begin to fail, which leads to dialysis, transplant, death. :oP  So I just need to get my kidneys functioning ABOVE 25%. 

This lack of bubbles in my urine has me OVER THE MOON with excitement.  I can’t wait to see what my next blood test shows!

I’m taking Nature’s Sunshine Products’ Cordyceps.  I’ve used their products for about 30 years and really trust the purity and quality of them.

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Heal your gut! Heal your auto-immune disorder!

I’ve been recording my fermenting stuff in my “I ❤ Ferments” Facebook photo album.  Today, I updated the intro:

“November 2014: I started adding fermented foods to my diet in hopes of improving my very serious food and environmental allergies.  UPDATE: December 2014: I am already feeling so much better!!  UPDATE: January 2016: I ate an egg today with no problem!  UPDATE: March 2017 – For the past ten years, I have been too weak to walk from my house to the mailbox (about 40 feet). Today, I can walk a half a mile at a time.”

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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.


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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 @

I buy my oils and supplies (empty bottles, pipettes, carrier oils) @  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.


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