Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Thrill!

I went grocery shopping yesterday and got really excited when I found a new item in Stop & Shop's "Nature's Promise" section of the store! As I was picking up my fertilized eggs, raw cheddar cheese, and GT's Kombucha, I found that they had added a new item there - "Nature's Promise" Organic Kombucha! OK, so perhaps I was a bit too thrilled by my discovery, but it's always great to find a new option for something that you really like. The primary benefits of Stop & Shop-brand items are that they are less expensive and as good or better than the brand name options.

Well, as it turned out, I was a bit too thrilled... There were 3 flavors of "Nature's Promise" kombucha available. I chose 2 of them - "Ginger" and "Raspberry Lemon Ginger" - to try. The results? I didn't like either of them.

The result? The thrill is gone... B.B. King, The Thrill Is Gone

Friday, November 25, 2016

Smoke on the Water

I probably could have com up with a more relevant title for this post, but I couldn't think of a better smoke-related title. So, Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" it is! Why smoke? Well, read on...

Today was an interesting Black Friday 'shopping' trip! We had every intention to do no shopping except for some groceries and our weekly pick-up of our raw milk at Deerfield Farm. Well, we ended up having one brief detour from the plan...

Yesterday, I read an article that described the benefits of 5 plants - benefits to improve your sleep. Who can resist the ability to experience better sleep? Soooo, I checked things out.

First, the article explained the benefits to have aloe vera, English ivy, snake plant, jasmine, and lavender plants. For me, two of those plants really struck a chord for me - English ivy and snake plant. According to the article, English ivy "is easy to grow and is the best air-purifier of all. It may be beneficial for those who have breathing problems and asthma. Studies show that English ivy can reduce air molds to 94% in 12 hours. You can hang it in a pot inside your house, or place it on a ledge where the leaves can trail down." Rather than it being a 'sleeping plant,' the "best air-purifier" is what really stood out for me. As for the snake plant - "They improve the quality of air and overall atmosphere at home ... They also filter nasty household toxins from the air." That last line is what really attracted me to snake plant. We live next door to a smoker - well, two smokers, technically - and we get way too much second-hand smoke infiltrating our home. I don't know if the snake plant will do too much for us as far as second-hand smoke is considered, but I can't rule out its potential benefits.

As the snake plant came in a decent-looking pot and I didn't want to spend anything for a better pot, all that I did need for pots for the ivy plants. So, for a grand total of $30, we ended up with 1 potted snake plant and 1 plant each of two different varieties of English ivy, the necessary potting soil, and 2 pots for the ivy plants. As soon as I got home, I re-potted the ivy plants...

The current plan is to put one ivy plant in the bathroom for its air-purifier/air mold-reducer aspect. Given that there is NO sun in the bathroom, I plan on rotating the ivy plants- one will stay where they are sitting in the picture while the other will be in the bathroom. I want them to establish their roots in the new pots before I start the rotation. As for the snake plant, my plan is to set it downstairs in the basement where the second-hand smoke seems to infiltrate our home.

When I re-potted the ivy, I took two of the vines from each pot and put them into a decorative 'vase' that has been empty for several years...


Hopefully, the ivy will take hold and provide both of its air-purifying benefits along with the decorative look!

I'll be sure to update you with the progress...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Heat(er) of the Moment

My song for this post is "Heat of the Moment" by Asia. This was definitely not the topic that I had planned on, today. I am, however, influenced to change my plans due to the heat (and the heater) of the moment.

Yesterday and Friday were so exciting! (Please note the sarcasm that can't be communicated through text...) We had to replace our water heater. Definitely an expense that I was neither expecting nor could I easily afford. We were out of the house on Friday for a good portion of the day. When we got home, we found that water heater had sprung a leak and we had a minor flood in our basement. We shut off the main water source for the water heater and started to make some calls. It was late enough in the day that we were unable to get any service from the various, local plumbers (even though they claim 24/7 service!). This turned out to be a blessing, though. Fortunately, we have some great friends and neighbors that helped us out. One of them offered to do the plumbing the next day if we were able to get a new water heater! Lowe's is right around the corner from us and they are running a 10% off sale for their water heaters. So, what would have been a minimum of $1,500 from the "emergency" plumber ended up only costing us $400 to get the new water heater and have it installed. Another friend is loaning us their dehydrator to help dry out the basement. We'll probably still have to replace the carpeting in the basement, but it could have been a whole lot worse...

How does this contribute to my journey to wellness and why am I sharing it with you? Well, wellness isn't just physical. It is also mental and spiritual. From this experience, I was able to view the benefit from the lack of emergency service from the plumbers rather than curse them. While it did cost us $400 to replace the water heater, we grew closer to two friends through their assistance to "fix the flapper" (remember that post?) rather than costing us more than 3 times than the cost of the water heater alone. So, this may not have been a step down the physical path but it was certainly progress down the spiritual and mental journey to wellness.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Key to D

Vitamin D - specifically, D3 - can be acquired 2 ways: through sunlight and through food and supplements.  As such, I'm giving you 2 songs on this post. The reason - technically, 2 reasons - that I'm using the first song might be more evident than the second song. It is "Waiting For the Sun" by The Doors. Reason #1: the sun is a fantastic source of Vitamin D. Reason #2: The "D"-oors! OK, it may be a silly reason, but there is more behind my choice of The Doors. Vitamin D isn't as simple as it may seem and you should have a key to unlock the 'D'-oor - hence, the title of this post.
The second song that I chose is "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down. There are also a couple of reasons why I chose this song. Of course, 'D'oors but also because of '3.' Vitamin D3 is really what we want to acquire through food and/or supplements because it is more absorbable/effective than D1 and D2. As well, D2 is synthetic and should be completely avoided! Title of the song also has multiple reasons for its selection. Vitamin D supplement could be your kryptonite if you don't, properly consume it (if you don't know the reference of kryptonite, look up Superman...). So, how do you properly supplement your Vitamin D? Consume it with Vitamin K! Get it? D3 - 3 Doors, K - 'k'-ryptonite? OK, so kryptonite is harmful to Superman/Super Girl but Vitamin K is beneficial to us... Still, I couldn't resist using this song.

So, I may have been a bit off by stating that K is the key to D, but if you are supplementing with Vitamin D3, you really should also supplement with Vitamin K2.

Essentially, taking Vitamin D as a supplement can lead to too much calcium in your blood. This can then cause the hardening of your arteries! Rather than spending too much time to describe all of that here, I recommend that you check it out HERE - the Vitamin D Council website.

What does Vitamin K do for us?

Here's what Dr. Andrew Weil says about Vitamin K:
"Vitamin K is an essential nutrient necessary for responding to injuries – it regulates normal blood clotting. In addition, by assisting the transport of calcium throughout the body, Vitamin K may also be helpful for bone health: it may reduce bone loss, and decrease risk of bone fractures. It also may help to prevent calcification of arteries and other soft tissue."

While it isn't quite the key to Vitamin D, Vitamin K reduces the potential for negative side effects and improves the definite benefits of supplementing with Vitamin D.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Turmeric Trigger

What?!? The title of this post isn't also the name of a tune?!?

Sorry, I tried - but couldn't think of a fitting song to marry to this post...

I don't know if turmeric qualifies as a 'superfood,' but it is quite amazing! There are several (understatement of the week!) articles re: turmeric promoting the benefits of this spice. Rather than trying to re-type all of that information, I'm simply providing you with links to some of those articles. Go ahead and peruse these links. I'll wait right here for you...

  • The reason that I go for turmeric rather than the isolated curcumin is described in this article found on Huffington Post:
      • In case you have an issue trying to access it through the link, I'm providing a quote from that article here:
"Another compound in turmeric may protect the brain. Aromatic turmerone or ar-turmerone is not as well-studied as curcumin, but it also likely plays a part in the turmeric puzzle. In a recent study, researchers found ar-turmerone promotes repair to stems cells in the brain. The study examined the effects of the compound in rats on a type of stem cell that is also found in adult brains. These stem cells are involved in recovery from neurodegenerative diseases like stroke and Alzheimer’s. The compound could potentially be used in the treatment of these diseases in the future, the findings suggest."

  • The last link that I'm providing is a little more scientific and a little less opinionated than the previous three. WebMD:
      • Definitely check out the 'Side Effects' tab before you add turmeric to your diet

...and, we're back!

OK. So, there are several reasons why you might want to add turmeric to your seasoning options. But why did I title this post "Turmeric Trigger?"

Well, turmeric is great, but it works a whole lot better when you also add its trigger to your seasoning! That trigger is piperine. Adding piperine to your spice increases the absorbability of curcumin by up to 2000%!

"So... Where do I find that piperine stuff and how much should I use?"

Piperine is easily found in black pepper and you can use as little as 1/20th tsp. to trigger your turmeric!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Best I Can

With my recent return to My Journey, I am also returning to my use of song names for the titles of my posts. While there are several songs with the title of "Best I Can," the one that I am referring to is from my favorite band, RUSH. I chose this song because - well - I'm trying to do that very thing, the best that I can.

I've been really loyal to my eating plan. Even yesterday, I went to a wedding - I was the Best Man - and could have gone way off of the path. I may have been a bit off, but I stuck to beef, asparagus, carrots, and a baked potato for my dinner and only a couple of sips of champagne for the toast. The potato might have been a little much for my carbs, but at least it wasn't sugar.

As for the best that I can do (and what I intended this post to be about)... I have been adding turmeric as one of my main supplements. Turmeric has a lot of benefits!  I'm also not limiting my consumption of turmeric as a supplement but adding it to a lot of the recipes that I'm cooking. In fact, my use of it as a seasoning as far outweighed my use of it as a supplement. So... Why?

Turmeric has been found to be beneficial to the brain. MS, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's disease symptoms have all been reported as being positively effected by turmeric. What is interesting, though, is that turmeric isn't terribly bioavailable. The body's digestive system doesn't really like it. It does have a 'trigger' that is easily found, however. The trigger is piperine. "Wait! I thought you said that is was 'easily found.' What is piperine???" Well, piperine is found in black pepper. See? That's pretty easy!

I don't always have breakfast in the morning, but 90% of those meals is an omelet. I use 3 free-range, fertilized eggs, a couple of ounces of raw cheddar cheese, and a shot of raw whole milk for the standard ingredients. For seasoning, I add sea salt, black pepper, garlic, parsley, and turmeric. Another regular meal for me is tuna. For this, I mix a can of tuna with mayo, chopped onion, chopped celery, sea salt, pepper, and turmeric.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Revisit, Refocus, Renew, and Recovery

Here I am, revisiting the blog after another year of blog-silence. This is due to the fact that I am refocusing on my eating habits because I need to renew my health recovery. (See how I came up with the title of this post? :-) )

If you aren't familiar with my story, let me recap my last 9 years for you. You are certainly invited to go back and read any/all of my previous posts, but let me save you some time for now...

In 2007, I began to experience some numbness in my right foot. Over the course of the next several months, that numbness expanded up my leg, into my waist, and then down my left leg. Additionally, the numbness grew in intensity to where I couldn't even walk without support from a cane and no more than 15 minutes at a time. Due to my lack of mobility and prednisone, I gained about 150 pounds to where I weighed 350+. Fun? I think not! I was prescribed Rebif for - what I was diagnosed with - Multiple Sclerosis.

Fast forward to October, 2008...

Using Rebif wasn't helping me at all. The side effects were making my life worse. It was killing me! (Sure, I may be exaggerating, but...)
At this point, I was introduced to a product called VIDACELL. After reading about it, I decided to give it a decent trial of three months. It only took two weeks to make a difference! I was more able to walk, climb stairs, and more...
In addition to VIDACELL, I changed my diet. I started to follow the plan as described in The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin. Also, I went through several cycles of The Master Cleanse. (All of my experiences with these phases are detailed in previous posts on this blog. If you want more details, contact me or check out the other posts - I'm more than happy to answer any questions.)

Long story, short: While I didn't experience complete recovery, I was able to improve my life.

Fast forward to January, 2011...

Certainly not an immediate improvement, but it was at this point in my life that I decided to try to go back to work. From childhood, I had a desire to be on the radio. I figured that pursuing this dream just made sense. My mobility wasn't perfect, so a job that required me to be on my feet didn't make a lot of sense. Also, my endurance wasn't all that strong... I figured that sitting at a microphone for 4-5 hours at a time just made sense for a job! So, I attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting to pursue that dream. Things turned out pretty well!

Until May, 2012, when I experienced a stroke... Recovery from that was a lot of FUN! (sarcasm, maybe?)

Fast forward to today (well, maybe 3-4 months ago...)

Now, I'm experiencing the flare-up of the numbness. It has expanded into both arms and hands. My left hand is less numb than my right hand. In addition to the numbness, I will sometimes experience what I refer to as a 'buzz.' Basically, I blackout for a couple of seconds - up to a minute. Both the duration and the intensity of the buzz varies. Sometimes, I simply just lose the ability to focus my thoughts. Other times, I really do blackout - hence, the lack of ability to drive.

Are you still with me?

So today, I have decided to be more focused on my diet and activity. I am going back to a modified Maker's Diet. Basically, a low-carb Maker's Diet. I am also looking more deeply into the benefits of various spices and foods - like turmeric, ginger, bone broth, and all things coconut.

I'm hoping that my Journey to Wellness sees as much - or more! - success as I previously had and that you'll join me on this journey, too.