Tag Archives: health

My Cleanse Results

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So I did 7 days of cleansing. And I’m … here. It was a rough week. Brutal, in fact. There was even a day where I had to call in sick from work because I was about to puke. But I hung in there, toughing it out like a badass… I guess. There was definitely some good things happening like clearer skin and my chronic shoulder pain is now gone, but I’ve also had nausea all week and have been extremely uncomfortable, so low on energy I’ve mostly laid in bed. I kept thinking, surely at some point I’m going to have a breakthrough and feel magnificent, right?

And then on the seventh day I was having a conversation with my mom about health issues and she told me about a friend of hers who had chronic issues until finally she discovered she had gluten intolerance. Then once she eliminated gluten, she felt great. Now I’m no stranger to gluten issues, I’ve heard all about it and how it has been discovered to give some people chronic health issues. I even looked it up way back when, but all I saw were symptoms like vomiting or having intense gastrointestinal distress immediately after consuming wheat products. Well that’s not me. But since I was thinking about it, I looked it up again, and do you know what I found? Apparently there is a skin disorder called Dermatitis Herpeformitis linked directly to wheat sensitivity. And the description of this skin disorder matches my symptoms exactly. MOTHER TRUCKER. So I kept reading and learned that although it’s pretty uncommon to have a wheat allergy with the acute symptoms listed above, it’s becoming more common to see people with a wheat intolerance, meaning maybe a small amount can be tolerated, but in larger doses it can cause all kinds of common chronic conditions like stomach pain and bloating, inability to lose weight, frequent headaches, immune conditions like frequent colds, flu, and bacterial infections, proneness to allergies, psoriasis, skin rashes, eczema, chronic fatigue, and unwell feeling. MOTHER TRUCKER AGAIN! I have just about all of these! And because it basically wreaks havoc within the intestinal tract, it creates a poor ability to ABSORB NUTRIENTS FROM THE FOODS YOU ARE EATING. TRIPLE MOTHER TRUCKER! mad face I was ready to drive to my dermatologist’s office and slap every last one of them. You mean to tell me that there is a clear, established link between wheat sensitivity and all kinds of skin issues like dermatitis herpeformitis, acne, hives, rashes, etc., and none of this was ever even mentioned in any of my visits? How do you do dermatology for a living and not know that??? Instead I climbed into bed and passed out. The fatigue has been terrible. I had been eating a new grain mix on my cleanse that had barley in it. (Gluten levels are high in wheat, barley, and rye.) I was also eating a sprouted wheat bread.

I don’t know if I truly have a wheat intolerance, but based on what I’ve read, it’s possible. I won’t be going to a doctor to do any tests. Apparently the tests for it aren’t’ always accurate, and I’m not going to pay LabCorp an assload of money out-of-pocket (I don’t have bad insurance, but they seem to weasel out of having insurance cover the majority portion of their testing – which I’m sure takes all of 2 minutes and costs them $3.25 but they want me to pay $200). So if anyone that works at LabCorp happens to be reading this, you can go suck it. You hear me LabCorp? SUCK IT! Did I mention I was irritable too?

One of the reasons wheat intolerance is so hard to detect is because there aren’t acute symptoms; symptoms generally show up 2 to 3 days later. Which could possibly explain why there seems to be no rhyme or reason for when my symptoms get bad. It also leads many people to target the wrong foods as the problem since when you’re digestive tract is inflamed, then you seem to have sensitivity to other foods too – Could it be that garlic is really my friend? And it could also explain why (COVER YOUR EYES VEGAN FRIENDS!) at one point of being very athletic I focused on eating lots of meat and protein, cut back on carbs, and felt the healthiest I’ve ever been. Admittedly, it might have been less about the meat and more about avoiding breads.

So I’m going to start eating Gluten free and see if symptoms worsen or improve. Here I go. Whenever I can get up enough energy to get to the store.

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My Nemesis and Pesto

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garlic3

Meet my nemesis. No – even worse, meet my arch-enemy. There he is. Look at ‘im. Seemingly innocuous little bastard. “Oh look at me, I’m garlic, I taste good and I’m good for you!” Yes, what’s good for one person’s body is not necessarily good for someone else’s body.

It’s a love/hate relationship you see. Actually, I love garlic. But garlic hates me. In my dreams I gently caress its paper bulb, whispering sweet nothings, gently cradling it in the crook of my neck. I used to eat garlic all the time. Like, nonstop. Raw. I couldn’t get enough. I would eat raw slices on a buttered cracker. The cracker being merely a vehicle for shoveling garlic in my face, I found myself slicing the garlic pieces larger and larger each time. I love all things made with heavy-handed garlic: bruschetta, pasta sauce, roasted garlic anything, caprese salad, guacamole, pesto – OH PESTO! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! I believe pesto was invented by GOD as a reward for all of our suffering on earth. I could eat it every day. But alas, the raw garlic in pesto does not love me back.

I have learned that when I eat garlic my skin condition flares up, my face breaks out something wicked, and I become prone to angry outbursts. Wait – I misspoke. I’m a yoga teacher so actually I never have angry outbursts. Ever. It’s a friend of mine who has angry outbursts. She had this son who’s not a morning person just like her and she has difficulty getting out the door and getting to work on time. She sometimes has angry outbursts. So I hear.

Anyhow, I found a pesto recipe in The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen cookbook by Talya Lutzker that doesn’t have any garlic in it. Could it be true? Will it be good? Let’s find out! Here’s the recipe:

Amazing Pesto Chutney
1/2 c. raw tahini or almond butter
1/2 c. toasted sea palm or raw, wild nori
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c. olive oil, plus more as needed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch dill weed, chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper (omit for pitta)

Put the tahini, sea palm, lemon juice, and 1/2 c of olive oil in food processor or blender. Process for 5 to 10 seconds. Add half each of the cilantro, dill, and fennel. Process for another 20 seconds. Add remaining 1/2 c of olive oil, remaining cilantro, dill, fennel, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Process for another 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl or blender jar. If the pesto is too thick, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and process again.

Pesto made2

I didn’t make this exact recipe, rather I made a few adjustments to use up some ingredients I already had in the fridge. I threw in some mint and basil and didn’t use dill. So how does it taste?
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It’s delish! It’s fantastic! I love it! Sans garlic and all! It looks like it made about 2-3 cups, so like 1 serving. (Kidding.) (Not really.) It’s cooling and soothing. As in the opposite of doing shots of cheap whiskey and feeling it burn all the way down. My insides feel more like when you climb into bed between cool sheets. Aaaaaah.
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I realize some folks really hate cilantro. But I would bet you could substitute parsley, basil, or watercress just fine. So many variations to try!
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I’m outta here…

Check out Lissa Rankin

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Click here to view Lissa Rankin’s blog.
Lissa Rankin
She’s a doctor who became so frustrated with only being alotted 7 1/2 minutes per patient, she decided to leave the medical field. But then felt called to return to help heal the healthcare system. She has a book coming out this spring entitled Mind Over Medicine, and she asserts that people can, in fact, heal themselves and that patients shouldn’t dump all responsibility on a doctor to “fix” them. She also says that if you are in a bad relationship or hate your job for instance, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise or eat healthy; if you don’t remove the things or relationships from your life that are making you sick in the first place, you won’t get better. This particular post I attached is about how we create our own health reality based on what we believe. I love her!

Enjoy!

Scene of the Sloth

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couch2Here it is. My couch. The place I don’t want to leave. It’s so comfy. I sit down for a moment and find I can’t seem to get back up again. I don’t have the willpower. I don’t have the strength. I’m feeling pretty sad too, which doesn’t seem logical because I didn’t have a particularly bad day. But to hell with logical! This is how I feel. And then I zoned out and stared at the wall for some unknown extended period of time. I think it might be time for bed now. I don’t know. I’m hungry. I should get up and eat something. Maybe. Probably not. The kitchen is so far. All 4 feet. Won’t someone come feed me? Maybe someone could bring me a delicious pizza size large. And a platter of mac’n’cheese on the side. Mmmmm, that would be marvelous. And then some cookies for dessert. And chocolate cake with thick icing. And maybe just a little sliver of warm, apple pie. And then carry me to bed.

Whatever you call this, my energy is that of unbalanced Kapha. If you read my “Ooh Ooh! Take a holistic diagnosis quiz!” it’s where I posted the video of Jabba the Hutt to illustrate the heavy and slow characteristics of Kapha, the energy associated with Water. Here it is in all its glory. I am plagued with heaviness. So how do I get out of this? How do I get motivated again? How do I get my energy back?

Some Sun Salutations first thing tomorrow morning would surely do me some good, but that’s not possible in my job environment. So I’ll start with an herbal infusion of spices. And thank God for prepackaged tea bags so I don’t have to actually make something myself! My choice for the day: Trader Joe’s Ruby Red Chai which contains Rooibos, cloves, ginger, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon. No milk. No sugar. Hopefully these spices will light me a spark.
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Anyone else ever feel this way in winter? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Got a cold?

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Not surprising at all, I can tell that I have another cold brewing about in my system. So allow me to share a great recipe to help ward off colds. Darshana Thacker posted this recipe called Autumn Tea on her website www.vapikaspirit.com. As soon as I feel a little tickling in my nose or throat and congestion in my sinuses, I drink this. I would swear it’s like some kind of miracle tonic. The past several years I have gotten sick constantly, but this fall I’ve only had a couple of minor colds that did not last anywhere near as long as they used to, thanks to this tea!

Here’s the goods:

Autumn Tea

1 1/2 cup filtered water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger, fresh
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder or 1/2 inch stick
1/4 tsp black pepper corns, whole
6-8 cloves
1/4 tsp mineral salt
1/2 tsp lime juice

“In a pot, add all the ingredients except for the salt and lime juice. Bring this to a boil till the color of the tea changes from yellow to reddish orange, about 5-7 minutes. Strain into a cup and add salt and lime juice and sip while its hot, as hot as you can tolerate.”
Autumn Tea2

If you haven’t used turmeric before, it stains like a very bad word, so be careful! But don’t let that scare you away from it altogether. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, helps digestion, maintains the flora of the intestine, reduces gas, and helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Bring it on!

For straining, if you don’t a handy mini cup-sized strainer like this one, you can use a large tea filter bag.

Happy drinking!

Ooh! Ooh! Take a holistic diagnosis quiz!

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Ready for a mini-lesson on Ayurveda? Please bear in mind that I am not an Ayurvedic physician, and if one were to read this, he or she might admonish me for simplifying a scientific healing system that is so complex. Ayurveda, which means “The Science of Life,” requires a very complex ability to read and understand subtleties within the body, and no two people are alike. There are 3 Doshas, or body types, which include the physical body, emotional body, temperament, general attitude, and energy levels, among other things. The 3 types are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata is associated with the air element, Pitta is associated with the fire element, and Kapha is associated with the water element. Everyone has all of these present, but there will be one or two that will predominate in your make-up.

Allow me to put it all in laymans terms:

Vata is thin, moves fast, talks fast, indecisive, creative, energetic, adaptable, and anxious and panicy when out of balance. Common illnesses developed from out-of-balance Vata are osteoporosis, insomnia, and tinnitus. Whenever I think of Vata disorder, I think of this woman with the anxiety problem: If you don’t have video, it’s the scene from Airplane! where the woman goes into a panic attack and everyone’s standing in line for a chance to slap her. It only goes to show that if you’re Vata imbalanced you get on everyone’s last damn nerve. *AIR*

Pitta is sharp, critical, determined, independent, courageous, opinionated, and angry and agitated when out of balance. Common illnesses that can stem from aggravated Pitta are acne, heartburn, and ulcers. Here’s my favorite Pitta movie character: If you don’t have video, it’s Michael Douglas from Falling Down going off on a construction worker for shutting down a road when there’s nothing wrong with it. Um, should I feel ashamed for relating to this guy? (Well, relating to him minus the gun.) The whole system of road construction is just wrong and stupid, right? I mean, I see this all the time with roads completely closed off and NO ONE IS THERE WORKING ON IT. WHY WOULD YOU CLOSE DOWN A ROAD IF YOU’RE NOT READY TO START WORKING ON IT?? AND THROW OFF EVERYONE’S ENTIRE DAY SITTING IN TRAFFIC???? Ahem. (deep breathe) I digress. *FIRE*

Kapha is heavy, walks slow, talks slow, steady opinions, consistent, reliable, loyal, and when out of balance has can have bouts of sadness and laziness. Illnesses that can develop are diabetes, angina, and gallstones. I thought of Jabba the Hutt to illustrate the heavy and slow qualities of Kapha, but when I watched Star Wars as a kid, I thought Jabba was funny. This clip is not funny. I am totally creeped out and disturbed by it. Eeuw. OK, here’s something a little less disturbing.
*WATER*

Air, Fire, Water. Maybe one of these really feels like you. Or maybe you feel you’re more than one. Here’s two sites with a quiz to find your dosha:
http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/
http://www.whatsyourdosha.com/

I took the Chopra test and it came back as Pitta mind, Kapha body. Excuse me while I go vegetate on the couch with 6 boxes of Twinkies and criticize my dog for whatever stupid thing he’s doing. I think my results are somewhat accurate – I am definitely a Pitta mind because I’m driven, sharp, critical and I’m easily irritated. The body test shows Kapha because I’ve been congested and unmotivated while fighting off colds.

I then took the other online test What’s Your Dosha, Baby? Those results came back as Pitta also, but my Kapha score was very low here. This girl is on fire! This girl is on fiiiiiire! (A la Alicia Keys) No really, I’m burning up over here. There were different questions asked on this one that I felt were a little more relevant to typical behaviors, rather than my current winter state. And my Vata score ranked much higher on this one. Oh! I’ve gotta get out of here! I’ve gotta get out of here! Really, I’ve got tendencies for all 3 doshas, with the focus on Pitta, so they’re both accurate.

See what you think. Take a quiz. And feel free to post if you think your results were accurate or not.

My Journey to Self Healing

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Hi!  And Happy New Year to you!  I’m Carrie, and I’ve been trying to manage all the effects of stress on my body after my divorce.  Mind you, it was not one of those knock-down drag-out “You’ll get nothing! Nothing I tell you!” kinds of divorces.  But still, it was the crumbling of combined dreams, a combined life, the loss of my best friend, the loss of my home, and the pure torture of returning to the corporate world for a decent salary.  (Yes I did just refer to corporate America as pure torture, and no I’m not being overdramatic.) Despite being a  30-something and generally healthy, it is just amazing how stress can ravage our bodies.

 Carrie

While I don’t have cancer or some other life-threatening disease, I’ve got all kinds of symptoms revealing the anguish inside.  And I want to fix these issues before they do turn into cancer or some other disease.  A list of some of my ailments: bleeding gums, eyelids so red and inflamed I’ve had to go extended periods without wearing my contacts to allow my eyes to heal, some unidentifiable skin condition that behaves a little like psoriasis but not psoriasis, constant and excessive peeling fingernails along with my big toe nails snapping right off at the quick every 6 weeks or so (very strange), flair-ups with acne, exhausting and gripping tension and pain in my shoulders and neck that won’t go away, and very poor immunity – I am constantly sick.   Maybe these don’t sound severe, but they are nagging, with the skin condition and constantly being sick at the forefront.  Especially when I do lots of yoga and eat really healthy ALL OF THE TIME.  How could I possibly ever get sick, right?

My goal – To heal myself.  I think just about everyone has something going on with their body.  And I’ll assume if you’re reading this, you might also be interested in healing yourself.  

Ah, now the bigger question: Why self-healing?  Why not just go to the Dr?  The answer: I already tried that.  What I learned: Doctors don’t know shit.  They have absolutely no idea what is going on with my body, why it’s happening, how to prevent it, or how to fix it.  A doctor’s basic prescription basically boils down to this:  Come back when it turns into cancer; then we’ll know how to treat it. 

Geez, I’m getting a little snippy here, aren’t I? You betcha!  Here’s a quick rundown of some key events:  My mother, an otherwise very healthy person, has occasional bouts of dizziness, pain, and an inability to get out of bed for days at a time, which has come and gone over the last few years.  Doctors have done all kinds of tests.  They have no idea what it is.  My dad has annual physicals including chest x-rays.  He went to the Doctor for pain in his side, and lo and behold, he has stage 4 lung cancer.  His doctor couldn’t see stage 4 lung cancer in his chest x-ray 6 months prior?  He couldn’t look at his gray nose and see he wasn’t getting proper oxygen to his body?  That’s a sorry state of affairs. I went to a dermatologist about my serious skin condition that would itch and then ooze and bleed.  (Pretty gross, eh?) When I would go for follow-ups because it hadn’t gotten better, they would never bother to even look at it, they would simply write a stronger (and ridiculously more expensive) steroid prescription on their little notepad.  I finally gave up and decided to figure it out on my own. So maybe reading all of this unconventional stuff isn’t for you, and that’s OK.  I’m just a regular person.  I wouldn’t call myself an expert in anything, but I’ve become very frustrated with our healthcare system.  I want to make myself well and  I am on a journey to try to make that happen. 

It seems we’re missing something vital in our society.  We get so caught up in the stress of our daily lives – Where is our connection to ourselves?  Where is our connection to each other?  The earth?  I believe food can be medicine.   I believe we can heal ourselves.  OK, so maybe I don’t really believe Doctors are worthless, but I do believe that Western medicine has some serious limitations.  Namely, it mostly attempts to treat disease.  It doesn’t do much to prevent or identify beginning stages when something is “off” within the body so that the person can remedy the problem before it develops further, as Eastern medicine does.

Ayurveda is the ancient system of holistic healing originating about 5000 years ago in India.  It means the science of life, as it encompasses the health of body, mind, and consciousness.  And in my next post, I will explain more about Ayurveda.

But first, have any of you felt frustration with the lack of preventative medicine, or had serious symptoms of illness and no doctor can tell you what it is?  Feel free to share your thoughts.