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The Top Ten Most Interesting Things About Having Chronic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Apr 27, 2012 health , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Note: Acute carbon monoxide poisoning = getting exposed to a high level of CO and passing out or vomiting or whatever quickly, and chronic poisoning indicates a smaller dose of exposure over a prolonged period of time (in our case, six months for sure, and potentially up to eleven more at our old place across the hall).

Also note: this is a very serious issue, and I spend a lot of time on the verge of tears.  I’m not making light of anything that has happened, but rather, trying to use humor and sarcasm as a coping mechanism so I don’t go even crazier than I already am.

1. While acute poisoning is totally “normal,” chronic CO poisoning is considered “controversial,” and you have to fight for treatment.  That makes not one, but TWO controversial illnesses I’ve had in recent years!  Remember: it doesn’t matter what they say.  As long as they’re talking about you, that’s what counts.  I’ve always loved controversy, even if it is only with my insurance provider right now.

2. My musical tastes have been opened up.  While my inner feminist would never have been able to look past Eminem’s grossly offensive lyrics, said inner feminist is in a bit of an intellectual coma these days, and poisoned me has been spending months having a passionate musical relationship with Eminem.  I love his voice, his intonations, his lack of caring what others think of him, and his catchy beats.

3. I’m a fucking survivor, yet again.  Now, at the tender age of 34, I have survived everything from devirginizing teenage date rape to a disease many people never recover from to six months of freaking chemical POISONING.  And those are just the things I’m willing to share publicly!

4. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers.  If you thought of Michael Jackson when I said those words, you thought correctly.  They are the treatment for CO poisoning (both acute and chronic), and starting Monday, I get to spend 1.5 hours a day, five days a week, for 30-50 sessions being cool like him.  Besides him being dead, the King of Pop, and likely a child molester, Michael Jackson and I are pretty much the same.  How cool is that?

5. I do not ever say, “Damn you auto-correct!” like everyone else does.  As someone who only remembers her name these days because she has to pronounce it so often for people who can’t comprehend ARE-ee-en, my spelling has gone way downhill in recent months, and if it weren’t for auto-correct, I probably just wouldn’t be able to text or write at all.  Then where would I be?  Stuck actually TALKING to people?  Right.  Because I’m super talented at THAT, lately, too.

6. As soon as I don’t have a headache anymore, I am going to be SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO excited to not have a headache anymore.  I’ve had a nonstop headache for four, maybe five months now.  Are YOU excited to not have a headache?  I didn’t think so.  You just take it for granted.  You probably couldn’t even care less that you don’t have a headache.  But I, I am going to be REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY thrilled whenever the big giant who has been squeezing my head all year loosens his grip.  And there is little more that one can ask for than to have things to be thrilled about.

7. After the Lyme, I was a very grateful person.  I felt full of love and cherished every step I took without pain,  every clear thought I had, every time I put on a small-size pair of pants and they fit.  Now I will be infinitely more filled with gratitude when I get all that back… again.

8. I am learning how to cope with decisions you can’t reverse.  Ever since we found out what happened in here, the issue of Bill dying has been more traumatic than ever.  While I don’t tend to say it, the wish that we hadn’t moved across the hall into what seemed like a dream of a three bedroom apartment has been eating away at me.  Ace mentions it regularly, and I tell her to not feel guilty, we didn’t know, we can’t change anything.  Inside, though, I feel that same guilt, as well as the guilt of saying, “I’m sure everything is fine,” every time Ace said that something smelled funny in here.  I can’t go back.  I can’t say, “You know what, I can’t really smell it like you can, but we need to figure out how to get this fixed RIGHT NOW before anyone dies.” That is so hard to live with.  And I have no choice but to figure out how to live with it, and to forgive myself because the best we can do in life is the best we can do.  We were already months into being poisoned, my decision making skills had plummeted, and I never fathomed that we could be getting gassed on the daily in our own home.

9. My suddenly poor math skills are understandable now, so it shouldn’t be a big deal when I say that in my head, I totally had ten good reasons thought out.  But I’m all out of them.

10. See number nine.  This was the best I could do.  I hope I figure out how to stop wishing we never moved here, I hope Ace recovers fully, I hope my headache stops and my joint pain lessens and I stop getting my period every six weeks with PMS for three of those weeks and every other symptom I can’t remember without referencing the paper I wrote them all on goes away too, and I hope that if anyone else is ever in this situation, they speak up, as loudly as they can, as soon as they can, and they DEMAND that no stone be left unturned until their home is returned to the 100% clean habitable environment that EVERYONE deserves.

I guess I failed at staying humorous, and got a little political there.  Maybe my inner feminist will make it out of her coma eventually after all.


Goodbye, Grandma

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Apr 19, 2012 health , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

While Spring is generally considered to be a time of rebirth, unfortunately around here there has been a lot of loss thus far.  Last month we lost our beloved cat Bill, and just a few short weeks later my Grandma died.  She was my last living grandparent, and lived a very full 96 years.  I’ve no doubt that her healthy lifestyle kept her well for so long; she was a fan of morning smoothies, and did fruit fasts one day a week for many years.  Her husband, my grandfather, cured his cancer in the 1980s at the Gerson Institute, and they were followers of Gerson techniques for health (which I am as well).  One memory that was shared at my Grandma’s memorial was that her father had delivered produce for a living.  Through the depression, when people regularly struggled to for their next meals, my Grandma’s family always had fresh vegetables.

After finding out about her death, Ace and I flew up to say goodbye with my family.  My father let us choose belongings to help remember her, and in addition to a few pieces of jewelry I found some wonderful photos, as well as a telegram.  It was the first telegram I had ever seen in person!   My great aunt sent it after my Grandma gave birth to my aunt, in 1948.  Such a treasure.





We will be driving this weekend to attend her burial in Tucson, AZ, where she’ll be laid to rest next to my Grandpa.  While in Tucson, we’ll be able to visit my maternal grandparents graves as well.

This was the obituary than ran in the local newspaper recently:

Sue Resnick

Sign the Guestbook

Sue Resnick passed away on Monday, April 9, 2012, in Ashland, Ore. She was 96 and had a full life knowing love from the day she was born. Sue spent over 65 years as a resident of Tucson, Ariz., and will be laid to rest there next to her husband, Hyman.

Sue’s passion was caring for others, and she was a hospital volunteer in her 80s, and spent the last 15 years crocheting over 600 blankets which she donated to local hospitals and orphanages. This was recognized with an award from Bens Bells, which she proudly wore daily.

She is survived by two sons, David and Allan; a daughter, Sharine; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three sisters, Rachel, Mary and Gloria; and one brother, Saul.

 A family remembrance was held in Ashland, and will be repeated for her family and friends in Tucson.”

Goodbye, Grandma.  You are an inspiration, and I am very sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye before you left.  I wish I had expressed more how much I appreciate and admire your warmth, your progressive nature, your positive outlook, and your stamina. I love you.














Goodbye, Bill

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Mar 27, 2012 health , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Sigh.

I haven’t blogged in nearly two weeks because our beloved cat, Daizy William, was dying.  We had a home vet, another home vet, and finally, a three day stint in an emergency hospital.  Bill died on Saturday, March 24th, at our home in West Hollywood.  He waited until we picked him up, gave Ace one last meow goodbye in the car, then passed in her arms on our balcony (next to plants and flowers he loved) hours before we were scheduled to have him euthanized.  It was a whirlwind of supplements, medications, force-feeding, clean up, etc., leading up to that day.  Bill survived a full two and a half years with chronic renal failure as a healthy boy before getting sicker, and was one of the sweetest, most well-behaved cats I could ever hope to love.

One person in this situation who helped make it more manageable was someone we never even met, the vet who was scheduled to put Bill to sleep.  He died while I was on the phone with her asking if we could move our appointment to earlier in the afternoon.  We didn’t know how to tell if he had died, and she walked us through where to touch and check.  The vet’s name is Robin Holmes, and her business is called Gifts of Peace.  She gave us the info for the pet mortuary while on the phone, was flexible about scheduling, and had a very gentle demeanor.

The mortuary is called Guardian Animal Aftercare and they were also incredibly kind.  They picked Bill up that afternoon, and he was ready for us the following day in a lovely little cedar box with a plaque.  The man arrived at our door with a basket and blankets, giving Bill’s send off a much warmer feeling than the bag or box I was fearing they’d bring.  He was solemn and sympathetic, and the people at their office the next day were warm and understanding.

Bill’s legacy lives on in my brand’s Buffalo Bill Cowboy Kale Chips, where his face graces the label.  If you are an RnR customer, please enjoy our snacks in loving memory of him.  Bill’s easygoing nature touched everyone he met, especially those who got to watch him lounge on his back.  He had a beautiful, regal demeanor, and Ace referred to him regularly as a politician– specifically, a Republican one, given his affinity for watching Fox News with Ace’s former office mate.

Goodbye, Bill.  We know you’re still here with us, but the pain of losing you is immense nonetheless.


















How to Not Go Crazy on a Candida Diet/Cleanse

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Mar 6, 2012 gluten free recipes (pls note that all raw/vegan recipes are GF- these are predominantly cooked recipes), health , , , , , , , , , , , , 8 Comments

Just like my last juice fast, candida diets are beginning to feel like old news to me; I battled candida during Lyme for a long time a couple years ago, then had an unexpected bout return this past December.  In the last month, it has come back again, which is not surprising now that we’ve found out we may have mold in our bedroom.  We’ve had a LOT of health problems since moving across the hall in November, and tomorrow they are opening the offending wall and we will know for sure whether nastiness is growing in a spot under the window that sprang a leak shortly after we moved in.  We are, of course, hoping that it IS moldy in there, because if it isn’t, our household has become randomly riddled with really odd ailments, for no apparent reason.

Back to candida– and by candida, I am referring to the kind in your gut, not other areas, just to throw that out there for the record.  It’s back, it’s got me STARVING CONSTANTLY, and in turn I have of course put on all the weight I’d lost since the hormone situation (which, if there is mold in the wall, explains why all that got so bad too).  While just a month ago I was back to my normal skinny pants, those are again a lost cause.  I spent a minute (err, couple weeks) thinking, “Fuck it,” because I knew I had to wait until the wall situation was fully dealt with, and that has involved numerous inspections, tests, etc.  I didn’t go crazy and eat yeasted bread or anything, but I had wine close to nightly and what the average person may consider a slightly obscene amount of chocolate.  Now that the wall is being handled, it’s time to handle me, too, so I ordered Renew Life Enterprises “CandiGone,” will bust out the Rife machine every few days, and began a joyous standard candida diet.  Only, being me and having lofty goals, I decided to also cut out foods that I know I have been consuming way too much of, that are typically allowed.  Read: Ace has staged numerous nut-interventions on me lately, and I’ve come to realize that they are just too big a part of my diet.  So although the candida diet says they are ok as long as they’re roasted, I’ve decided to cut nuts and seeds out entirely for a short while.

The easiest way, for me, to not feel completely deprived of specific foods, is to remove myself completely from food and do a juice fast.  But since I just did that a month or so ago, and since I am STARVING CONSTANTLY, that sounds very not fun right now.  Instead, I’ve decided to switch up my normal eating life as much as possible so that I don’t notice what I am missing as badly as I usually would.  My tips for a candida cleanse overlap with those for a juice fast, but I think there are several important things that can help you get through any restricted period of time, so I am including them again here.

1. Buy a plethora of snackable green produce.  I kid you not, I have eaten an entire head of celery as a snack lately.  Candida hunger is like the munchies from smoking pot exaggerated to the millionth degree, only without any laughter or fulfillment.  Know that you will still be hungry for awhile, and plan accordingly with things you could eat all day and not have to worry about.  My two favorites for this are Persian cucumbers and celery.  Broccoli stalks also work.

2. Don’t try to substitute.  If you love, say, regular pizza, don’t think you’ll be fooled and satiated instantly by gluten free crust and Daiya cheese and pesto sauce.  Forget about pizza for a minute, and try making, say, an Indian food dish you’ve never had but have been curious to try.

3. Since you have added a bunch of new rules, release some of your standard ones.  Personally, I am mostly raw and I rarely buy products with ingredients.  So for me, buying brown rice cakes (I never buy rice cakes because puffing grains at high temps denatures them and renders them nutritionally void) is a huge treat.  What’s in my cabinet right now?  Brown rice cakes!!  What’s my treat for eating a raw greens salad with probiotic onion dressing for lunch?  Brown rice cakes!!  I also have roasted seaweed snacks, and So Delicious sugar-free coconut milk and ice cream.  (Seaweed and coconut are in the “top ten foods to eat” while getting ridding of candida, btw.)  This all helps me to feel like there are tons of “guilty” treats waiting for me, and eases the focus off the fact that I can’t currently have any fruit, chocolate, nuts, wine, etc.

4. Protein- what’s a non-meat eater to do on a diet that usually stresses meat?  I am huge on listening to one’s body, and have actually had several times throughout my adulthood where my body said, specifically, “feed me poultry.” I listened, gave it chicken a couple times, and it shut up about that for another couple years.  For reasons like that, I eschew labeling myself as anything other than a raw foodist, even though my diet is at least 90-95% plant based and I think I eat a lot more veggies than the average vegan.  (I also tried eating liver twice at the recommendation of several different alternative health practitioners, but that didn’t go over well in the slightest, and I plan pretty solidly to never try it again.)  On the regular, I consume a small amount of raw dairy in the form of raw cheese, which is, of course, not allowed on a candida diet.  To solve this issue, I prefer protein shakes.  Currently I have Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, which is brown rice protein with spirulina, greens, and herbs for energy (thanks to the health issues I’ve got lethargy, malaise, and ennui written all over me lately).  I wish it was all organic, but at least some of the ingredients are.

5. Make simple things special.  Examples of this are having a shake or juice in a fancy glass, mixing a salad in a beautiful bowl, or breaking out nice dinnerware for a regular weeknight meal.  You are doing a candida cleanse for YOU, because your body is important and you want to help it rebalance itself.  However, the more we focus on what we are missing/can’t have, the more stressed we get, and the worse we in turn make our bodies feel.  Reward yourself in every possible way!

Protein shake/faux milkshake with So Delicious sugar-free milk and ice cream, Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, coconut oil, and toffee flavored stevia. I usually add greens to my smoothies, but this was meant to feel/taste like a dessert treat- and it did. =)


Raw, Live, and a Great Time: my Experience on an Internet TV Show

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Mar 2, 2012 health , , , , , , , , , , , , , 8 Comments

I’ve done my fair share of activities involving cameras before… I spent a number of years modeling, and have had parts in film ranging from principal character in indie movies to Generic Background Dancing Chick in music videos.  But I’ve never really spoken much on camera using words that were MINE, or about anything personal. Today, that changed when I appeared as the guest for a raw food and lifestyle program called Blythe Raw Live.

I was more nervous than I think I’ve ever been for anything filmed, because I always knew before that as long as I stuck to the lines I memorized, all would be fine.  But here, there wasn’t anything to memorize, and ever since the Lyme I have a hard time feeling confident in my thinking/speaking abilities.  Sometimes I misplace words, sometimes I lose thoughts in the middle of a sentence, and other times I have a thought that I just. can’t. get. out. of. my. mouth.  I was such a bundle of nerves that I didn’t even get to try the really delicious looking walnut-apricot boats Blythe made on the show AFTERWARDS, because my little tummy still hadn’t chilled out enough to accept sustenance!

Thankfully, I was able to get out most of what I tried to say, and I don’t think the average person would assume there is anything particularly wrong with me, so that’s a total plus.  I do feel like I look really fidgety and am kind of swaying oddly, which is funny because I was worried I’d look too stiff.  The crew for the show were all incredibly sweet, and Blythe herself was one of the most shining/vibrant people I’ve encountered before.  The energy level she kept through the entire show was beyond impressive; when I watch videos online, I am always drawn to those who seem genuinely excited about what they’re presenting.  She has that down pat!

Here is a link to the episode of Blythe Raw Live today- which over 14,000 people watched live!!  I’m about 45 minutes in, discussing my brand, Rawk-n-Roll Cuisine, as well as how I beat Chronic Lyme Disease holistically.  The segments before mine are great too; the spirulina mask Blythe makes is something we are going to have to try here at home soon.

These are a few stills from the shoot:

Let the kale chip examination begin!

I don’t know why, I just love this one.





Two of our flavors: Notchos and Buffalo Bill Cowboy Kale Chips. Blythe’s expression when she tried the Notchos was priceless! People never expect so much flavor.


Holistic Happiness: How I Dealt w/Fibro & Insomnia from Lyme

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Feb 19, 2012 health , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 8 Comments

After all the lovely responses I received from my blog on natural products I’ve used to help with energy, I decided to write one about what helped me with two of the worst aspects of having Chronic Lyme Disease: fibromyalgia (aka, horrible pain everywhere all the time for no apparent reason), and insomnia.  I only have a couple products that worked for each, but they worked very well.

Insomnia
My insomnia began pretty quickly after I started treating Lyme with the Rife machine. I would go to bed on nights I used it, and just not fall asleep. By five am, I’d be in tears, and I would either not fall asleep at all or finally fall asleep in late morning, only to sleep for a couple hours. Since I used the machine 1-2x a week, the insomnia would diminish as the days passed between treatments, then occur again as soon as I used the machine. Within a few weeks, it became nightly, and torturous. My LLMD prescribed me ketamine, which I refused to take. All I could think was, “K-Hole,” and, “Why the hell would I want to be on the most popular date rape drugs of the 90s?” I’d had a disastrous experience with Ambien in my early 20s and didn’t want to go near that, or any other pharmaceutical. I tried an array of supplements until I found a combo that worked:





An Shui Wan by Plum Flower Brand, approximately $15 for 220 pills: I had taken this after the Ambien disaster in my 20s, and it cured the insomnia I had in college.  Not only does it put you to sleep, but it also regulates your circadian rhythms.  This teaches your body to get tired at the same time every night, which is very helpful.  In the past, An Shui Wan alone had knocked me out.  They say to take 2-8 tiny tea pills, and I’d have success with a dosage of six or so.  With the Lyme, though, I needed much more.  I took about 15 An Shui Wan tea pills a night, along with:

Amantilla Extract by NutraMedix, approximately $20 for 1 oz: This alone didn’t put me to sleep, but combined with An Shui Wan, I never needed to use a pharmaceutical sleep aid.  The dosage is 15-20 drops, and I generally took 30.  Granted, this is twice the recommended dosage for both herbs, but given that they are natural and safe, I think doubling up is far, far less harmful than taking actual drugs.  Between the two, I slept full nights the entire time I treated the Lyme.  As I got better, sleep came more easily, and I backed off each of these until I slept unaided.  There were no side effects at all in coming off of them.

One other thing that helped with sleep also helped with pain, so it makes a good segue.  I imagine most people dealing with chronic illness or fibromyalgia are likely already familiar, but just in case you’re not:





Ever since Kramer on Seinfeld referred to taking a bath as, “steeping in a tepid pool of your own filth,” I’ve had an aversion to them.  But man, epsom salt baths are sooooo important for Lyme treatment.  I took one after every time I used the Rife, and it made the detox process much more effective.  It also made me sleepy, and made me feel a bit less like I was made of lead.  Be careful, of course, when using these if you have a serious illness, because they say it can knock you out or make you detox too fast.  I never had any negative results myself.  Espom salts are available for super cheap at any grocery or drug store, and it’s suggested that you work your way up to the full 2 cups slowly.

Pain/Fibromyalgia
When I started treatment, my first route was the Cowden Condensed Protocol. The only thing I have to say about that is, f!ck the Cowden Protocol. It did indeed start killing the Lyme, but no matter how much of their detox herbs I took, or anything else I did for detox, I could not get the toxins out. Cowden took me from fully mobile and normal to unable to walk in less than two months. Not only was I in constant, unexplainable agony, my joints wouldn’t bend. Trying to walk, I looked like I was 80 years old. My knees simply refused to bend AT ALL, I couldn’t even sit in a chair. I couldn’t lift my arm high enough over my head to get a glass for water, let alone bear the weight of a full glass in my hands. It was such a nightmare. We went to visit my parents (I got a wheelchair in the airport, which was a new low in life, but for the record, zooms you right on through security!), and my mother nearly died when she looked at me. My sister had just gotten a Rife machine because my initial diagnosis had prompted her and her husband to get tested– both were positive– and while there, I stopped taking the Cowden products and used her machine’s detox settings. When we left a few days later, I was again able to walk. My parents then got me a GB 4000 machine, which is what she had, and I used it for three months to kill the Lyme dead.





I cannot say enough good things about this machine.  Yes, it is a high initial investment (nearly $2500), but how much money does the average Lymie spend on antibiotics that have a 66% cure rate with a 35% relapse rate?  Lots more, for sure.  The machine can be used for everything from candida to hiccups, and I still bust it out on occasion when new health problems arise or return.  It has pain settings/programs on it, and you can change the set up so that you put the pads on your hurt parts and actually feel the muscle contractions and relaxing relief.  It helped immensely for pain by using the pain programs, and helped a lot indirectly via the detox settings/programs.  I ran detox and pain nearly all days in between treatments.  While I was pretty laid up and non-functional during these months, I was at least not wanting to die like when I couldn’t move at all.





Thermoderm cream, approximately $15 for a small bottle: slather your body in this, be prepared for about half an hour of horrific heat and burning, then settle into nearly 12 hours of SERIOUS pain relief.  I LOVE this cream and it actually made me feel like I could move my limbs and muscles.  With it, as I began to get better I was able to slowly start stretching again.  I had gone from being someone who could touch her toes/put her hands flat on the ground, to someone who couldn’t even bend to the knee.  Thermoderm loosened everything inside up, numbed the pain, warmed my muscles, and gave me a much needed mental break from thinking, “OW!” nonstop.






 




Ganja, mon: I’d been a TOTAL pothead for about 15 years before Lyme.  When I first got sick and didn’t know what was wrong, I stopped enjoying pot and had to stop smoking it.  I thought I’d grown up, and gave myself a pat on the back for finally achieving Big Girl status.  What had actually happened was that Lyme f-ed up my brain and changed its chemistry dramatically, so I didn’t respond to anything the way I had before.  I stayed off the crazy weed for about two years, until eventually after a lot of suggestions I tried it for the fibro pain.  At first, I got a sativa from a friend, which is what I had smoked before, made it into butter, ate way too much, and spent about four hours laughing and crying hysterically.  Not fun.  I went ahead and got a medical marijuana card, then went to a club to ask them what they recommended specifically for pain.  I alternated between two strains of indica that made me feel a lot less awful: Blue Moonshine (pictured left) and Iron Maiden (right).  I smoked a very, very small amount- eating it just didn’t work for me for some reason- on a daily basis until I got better, then kept it up on occasion when it sounded like fun.  Both of these strains made me feel relaxed physically but did not make me feel like I was in a mental state of panicked impending doom, like sativas did.





Last, but just as important as the GB 4000 Rife machine, acupuncture with mobile cupping: I didn’t get two Yelp “review of the day”s on this place for nothing!  Acupuncture had helped me with a lot of health problems in the past, but what Antonio Whiteley of Body and Soul Acupuncture did with mobile cupping helped get me out of pain quickly, as well as catapulted me into wellness.  As of when I went to him, I didn’t know it but the Lyme was basically all dead already from the Rife; I was just still having symptoms because I couldn’t get all the toxins out.  The first visit I went, he did a back shu treatment and then mobile cupping all over my back afterward.  Somehow, this jumpstarted my entire body.  Within the first week of treatment, I could stretch again (thanks also to the Thermoderm), and within a few weeks, I was seriously doing kickboxing class videos at home.  Acupuncture/cupping mobilized the toxins right out of my body, and that is when I got well.  The whole recovery process, after years of illness, took less than a month, and I have not had fibro pain or insomnia since.  It has been over a year since then, and I still see Antonio regularly.  In the same sense that I still take supplements to keep the Lyme under control, I utilize acupuncture as a proven way to keep my body properly detoxifying.

If you are suffering from fibro or insomnia, or any other related health condition, the above options will be much easier on your system, and have far fewer negative effects (if any), than the pharmaceuticals doctors prescribe.  Before you begin something that may do you further harm, please consider one of these natural alternatives.


What Gets Me Going: How I Handle (and Have Mostly Beat) Chronic Fatigue

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Feb 7, 2012 health , , , , , , , , , 6 Comments

One of the many gifts/life lessons Lyme bestowed upon me is CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  My playful description for CFS is, “No matter how many times I say ‘Go go Gadget body, it refuses to move.’” I swear, I spent so much time and energy just TRYING TO MOVE, only to remain stuck wherever I’d last planted myself.  The term “feeling like lead” is the most perfect definition of CFS for me.  When I recovered from Lyme a little over a year ago, the CFS mostly went away, along with the fibromyalgia, brain fog, etc., but it does still reappear when my body gets out of whack, and I do have to manage it regularly.

I don’t have the energy I had pre-Lyme, and might never; for one, I’m a few critical years older now, and for another, I think I had a pretty insane amount before.  I worked 45-50 hours a week, minimum, in restaurant management, and was so highly active running around that I used to eat ice cream around midnight almost every night just so I didn’t lose any more weight- I was about 105 lbs, which at 5’6”, is skinny enough that you’ve passed enviable territory into the, “are you ok?” zone.  After work, I’d generally go out to a bar with coworkers, and rarely made it home before 2 or 3 am, only to enthusiastically do it all again the next day.

I got my first symptoms of Lyme when I started my business, which took off at lightning speed; the first month, I worked over 16 hours a day trying to keep up with grocery store orders myself.  At the end of the month, when I hired a staff and rented a permanent commercial kitchen, my body was shot.  I’d gained 15 lbs (without even eating much- my thyroid just went downhill), I was spilling things everywhere, I cried frequently, and all I wanted was white flour and sugar (which, being raw, I didn’t even eat at the time).   My body has never returned to the state it was in prior to March 2009, but I am elated with how well I’ve bounced back from the two horrific years that ensued after that month.

The following are what I use for energy, drive, and stamina.  I don’t take all these things all the time, but cycle through them as needed, and tend to focus on whatever my current kick is.  The sites they link to are where I tend to purchase them, usually because that is the best deal I’ve found.

D-Ribose





This is the brand of ribose powder I’ve been using happily for awhile.  I add one scoop to my pot of tea in the morning, and take an additional half-scoop prior to exercise.  The dosage is higher than many other brands, so you only need one scoop instead of two like with others.  You can also get ribose with magnesium malate for pain, but I didn’t find that helpful when I had fibro.  If you take too much ribose, you may get edgy and snippy, so start slow.

NADH





This supplement is a GODSEND, and I’m not even vaguely religious.  Unfortunately, this particular brand has been discontinued, but I still have plenty on hand because my mother buys in bulk, so I can’t specifically recommend another maker since I haven’t tried any.   While NADH does not provide any palpable, notable energy, it gives you stamina.  Once well, I still crashed by five pm daily, unable to make dinner or clean or anything after a few hours spent working.  From the first day of taking 10 mg of NADH onward, I could come home from the kitchen and have a productive evening.  I haven’t been taking this lately, as I haven’t been doing terribly much, but I take it regularly when I am active, or when I know I will have a long day.  It eliminates my late-afternoon fatigue completely.

Coconut Oil





Organic, extra virgin coconut oil is something else I add to my daily pot of tea.  I have about two tablespoons a day of it, and notice a minor increase in my energy level from it.  It’s medium chain fatty acids are good for everything from thyroid function to liver function, and it can aid in weight loss (though it has never helped me with that).

Gaia Adrenal Support





This product made me feel SO good.  Happy, vibrant, and alive.  Sadly, it made me break out in huge, cystic pimples, so I can’t take it anymore.  This isn’t the herb combo’s fault so much as the fault of my shoddy liver, and I still recommend it for those who do not have major issues with acne.  I’ve recommended it to others, and it hasn’t made anyone else break out.

Spring Dragon Longevity Tea





I’ve posted about this tea before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  It contains many of the ingredients in the Gaia formula, and unlike that, I don’t break out from it.  The gynostemma has a mildly euphoric effect on me, and the Chinese herbs give me smooth, clean energy.  One tea bag makes three cups of tea, and I drink 1-2 bags a day.  In the morning, I combine one tea bag, sometimes a  bag of liver detox tea also into a three-cup pot, and add one scoop d-ribose, 1 tbls coconut oil, and about 1/3 tsp stevia powder.  It’s delicious and got me off caffeine quickly; the only coffee I drink now is decaf.

CocoCeps





iHerb sent me a sample of CocoCeps with an order about six months ago, and it was the most effective marketing tool ever.  Figuring it would taste shroomy and gross, I was amazed that this product tasted like nothing more than cocoa powder.  Made of three simple ingredients- non-alkalized organic cocoa, reishi, and cordyceps- CocoCeps mixes fairly easily into any hot beverage (water, milk, etc), and tastes like a plain ole nice cup of cocoa.  It does need to be sweetened, which the package mentions.  It also contains 14 mg caffeine, so it isn’t suitable for those who can’t have caffeine.  14 mg is less than even green or white tea, so it’s a pretty minimal amount.  I drink this every morning with decaf and stevia, prior to my pot of Spring Dragon, and it makes for a super healthy, delicious mocha.

Rebounding 





I paid about $35 for my rebounder, which I chose based on the fact that it was foldable.  I envisioned a product that would be similar to something on the Jetsons, and go from the size of a car to that of a briefcase.  Alas, it was way more of a pain than that, and has stayed open the whole time I’ve owned it.  As you can see from the clickable link, jumping up and down like a kid on a little trampoline is very good for you, and the fact that you get twice the exercise minute-for-minute on a cellular level is an added bonus.  If I don’t feel up for much, I at least try to use it for a couple minutes, and I always feel better afterwards.  Generally I use it for 20-30 minutes, with 2 lb weights in each hand for half the time I’m on it.

E3Live





On the one hand, this stuff is really expensive pond scum.  On the other hand, it is one of the most concentrated phytonutrient sources on the planet, and it’s excellent for your health.  It also provides a solid boost of energy, and the one with “BrainOn” helps with clarity of thought.  I use this occasionally, one ounce a day in the morning after teas and before breakfast.  I tend to go through a full bottle in a short time, since it’s only good in the fridge for a week, then pause awhile before the next bottle.

Whether you are so fatigued that you can’t reach for the remote, or you just would like an extra competitive edge on life, I encourage you to try any of these products.  I know I wouldn’t be able to have written all this without them!


Juice Fast Tips; or, How to Not Go Crazy Not Eating

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Feb 2, 2012 health , , , , , , 2 Comments

Today I passed the miserable, headachy, hungry, bitchy, lightheaded, don’t-even-think-of-trying-to-have-a-rational-conversation-with-me part of my juice fast, and woke up straight on the fast track to a happy day.  Sometimes the early, icky part can take people 3-5 days to go through; mine may have been quicker because I’ve done these things many times before, or because I tend to eat, as previously mentioned, like a SugarNaziHealthFoodFreak.  In terms of detox, my waking life includes many tasks, supplements, and foods consumed regularly both to keep me healthy and to keep my Lyme in remission.  The goal of this cleanse is specifically to get my body to stop being a hormone factory, as I’ve been gaining hormone-specific weight (boobs, thighs, hips) and felt very off for months now, ever since I took a supplement for progesterone prescribed by a naturopath.  From what I’ve researched, the best way to get overproducing hormones out of your body is to clean up your liver.  And the best way to clean up your liver is to let it take time off from dealing with food digestion and give it lots of nutrients.

Anyway, today I got all happy and stopped being starving and thought about how I’ve done this whole juice fasting thing at least three or four times before, and I decided that that pretty much makes me way more of an expert on this than the average person.  So I thought I’d share some of the techniques that get me through the duration of a cleanse.

1. Variety: you NEED variety to stay with a juice fast.  Do not drink the same juice combo daily!  Change up your veggies, change up your spices, so you don’t get bored.  Fresh herbs like parsley and basil are super healthy- and cilantro if you don’t hate it like I do- and their juices are cleansing/detoxifying.  For instance, lots of basil, a couple cloves of garlic, and the juice of a lemon or two added to your green juice = Pesto Juice.  Far more comforting than you may be thinking, right now, trust me.  Also, change up your cups and glasses.  It seems silly and trite, but it helps.

2. Tea: almost a subset of variety, tea is very important because not only will it make you more able to drink all the water you need to be drinking in order to flush the icky stuff that’s leaving your organs out of your system, but also because Tea Has Taste.  It has all kinds of tastes, depending on what kind of tea it is!  It just needs to be herbal or rooibos or gynostemma or any other naturally decaf or made-into-decaf type to be beneficial.

3. Fats: Bodies eventually go into starvation mode when you don’t feed them much, and you want to avoid that.  You also want to keep your liver functioning as well as possible, and livers need oil to do so (something I only learned recently).  I’m taking krill, borage, and evening primose oils daily, and also putting about two tablespoons of coconut oil total in my teas.  This helps with hunger, makes tea taste surprisingly rich, and prevents issues like your hair and skin drying out while you fast.

4. Chew something daily.  Within two days of a juice fast, you’ll start to notice that your teeth don’t feel right.  You might also notice that the saliva in your mouth is a strange viscosity.  This is because mouths were made to chew regularly, and you have upset nature by suddenly halting that practice.  Chew something every day, even if it is just an almond or two.  You should be getting some kind of fiber, so make that chia or flax as thick as you can rather than diluting it in lots of water nightly, and chew the hell out of it.  You’ll thank me later.  I had a terrible time after my first Vita-Mix cleanse, when I ate nothing but pureed veggies and superfoods for 14 days.  My jaw muscles got so out of practice that it took at least a week before I could eat like a normal person.  I don’t recommend gum, partially because I hate gum, and partially because it creates stomach acids in anticipation and the last thing you need to do is give yourself a tummyache.

5. Groceries: avoid the grocery store for at least the first 3-4 days by stocking up on the produce you’ll need to get you through the first days beforehand and getting any other items you or your s.o. will need, THEN begin fasting.  Do not just pop into the store a day or two in and think you’ll be ok.  You won’t.  You will be looking lustfully at a million products you’ve never tried, tried and didn’t like, or, worst yet, really DO care for, and you will want to cry.  During my last three day fast in October, I almost had a breakdown over animal crackers.  Have I eaten animal crackers since I was like 10 years old?  Of course not.  I dealt with this by promising myself that if I still wanted them after my fast, I could come buy them.  I didn’t.  But still, no point in making yourself sad, is there?

6. Free time: take the time you’d normally spend eating (drinking is quick) or cooking (juicing takes time in the morning, then you’re done for the day) and do something for you.  Anything from taking a walk to finishing a project you started ages ago will help you feel less deprived.

7. Scheduling: start on a good day, like a Monday.  That way, either you do a five day fast if you’re looking for a short one and are ready to socialize on the weekend, or if you’re doing a longer one you’re already feeling good and will be less likely to give in to alcohol and food when out.  I’ve gone to bars 10 days in to a juice fast, not drank anything, and still had a good time, because I was feeling so good from the cleanse.

8. Sugar: skip the sugary and starchy veggies, and fruit entirely, at least at first.  Carrots, beets, apples, etc., are all good for you, but their juices spike your blood sugar a lot and you will end up with major crashes.  If you do want to incorporate these foods, wait until a few days in when your body is steadily burning fat for fuel.  If you’re doing a juice fast for weight loss, it’s better to skip them the whole time.  If you’re just doing it for general health and rebooting, beet juice is an excellent blood cleanser and can be added without issue later.

9. Oxygen high: it will kick in, and it will be GREAT!  It may take a couple days, it may take a whole week- just depends on your body and how much bad stuff it’s full of.  The more you’re a bacon and vodka loving donut eater, the longer it’s likely to be, but it will happen.  And when it does, it is really lovely.  You’re taking in scads of raw nutrients that your body can easily assimilate, and it is gonna make you feel awesome.  Pinky swear, it happens every time.






Juicing These Hormones Out of Me, Day One

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Jan 30, 2012 health , , , , , 0 Comments

There are people for whom “good enough” never is.  These people often “can’t leave well enough alone.” They are constantly striving for more perfect perfection, to be better at everything they do, judging themselves against an invisible ideal that only they can see, and they tend to be controlling types who are their own worst critics.  I am very much one of these people.  On the positive side, we usually are inventors, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers.  On the negative side, we tend to screw ourselves over a lot with our ideals.

Late last summer, after being fully well from Lyme (and gloriously skinny again) for about nine months, I found a naturopath who claimed she could get me off thyroid medication.  Unable to be satisfied with just being thin and healthy again, I jumped at the opportunity to get off the only medication I’ve ever taken long-term.  Lyme- which I cured completely holistically, no antibiotics- damaged a lot of my systems, such as digestive, nervous, and endocrine, and I was left with what was according to my LLMD lifelong hypothyroidism.  The notion of taking medication for life was one I couldn’t bear, and I was on the lookout for anyone who thought thyroids could be rebuilt.  I found a naturopath who dealt in plant stem cell extracts, and two dozen blood tests later, she gave me a litany of stem cell extracts to help me do everything from get off my thyroid med to balance my hormones to strengthen my poor battered liver.

The experience was a disaster.  I followed her protocol to the t, even though Ace warned me against the whole thing and specifically of interfering with my hormones, and went off my thyroid med as instructed a couple weeks into it all.  Within a week of going off the medication, I gained eight pounds.  The naturopath claimed it wasn’t going off my meds, but rather food allergies (which I’ve never had) causing the weight gain.  She also claimed that my suddenly one-cup-size-bigger, painful breasts were not the result of her progesterone-enhancing chaste berry stem cell extract.  Deciding she was a quack, I stopped the entire protocol and demanded a refund.

After going back on my medication, I lost most of the weight in about a week.  However, it soon returned right after we moved across the hall, but specifically in my breasts/hips/thighs.  My arms, face, etc., stayed skinny, and for months now, those parts have continued to grow daily, leaving me constantly battling to get into pants that fit just a few days ago.  My pants size is currently larger than even when I was sick with Lyme, yet I still have major collarbones popping out.  This past weekend I decided to do a vegetable juice fast to help detox the hormones out of my liver.

This is far from my first juice fast, so I’m pretty well-versed in these things.  I do the fast with no sugary produce so my body burns only fat for fuel, and consume a decent amount of oils so I don’t go into starvation mode.  This time I’m using coconut oil in tea, and taking borage oil, krill oil, and evening primose oil.  Every morning in my GreenStar I make at least 32 oz each of two juices, a savory and a sweet, and at night I eat about 1/4 cup of something fibrous like flax or chia.  I’m skipping the flax this time because it’s a phytoestrogen and I don’t want anything that could inhibit the hormone flushing.  My juices include the following, and all ingredients are always organic:

Savory: chard, purple kale, mustard greens, spinach, celery and/or cucumber, beet greens, bell pepper, parsley, lemon, lettuces, and garlic.  I add Himalayan salt after.  If tomatoes are in season, I add those- right now, they aren’t.

Sweet: chard, beet stems, celery and/or cucumber, ginger, mint, and purple kale.  I add stevia after.

At least once during the fast, I take a one day break from those juices and do a liver flush that involves cranberry juice, lemon juice, and spices.  You can read about that here: http://www.annlouise.com/15/diet-detox/52/ I do not cook the juice with the spices then strain it like they suggest, but instead add them in powdered form and drink them in the juice so I am getting as much of them as possible.  When I did it the first time, I did indeed lose three pounds in one day as claimed.  My intent this time is more just to push the stuck hormones out of my liver.

I also have another pretty serious detoxifying practice that I’m not interested in discussing publicly, and this time my cleanse will not be 100% vegan as it has been in the past: to help my liver function, I am swallowing capsule-sized pieces of frozen, raw bison liver.  After learning that the best thing I could do to bring up my liver function was to eat liver, and failing pretty miserably at that via the pate my kind mother made (I haven’t really eaten meat since childhood, and had never consumed liver before), I’ve decided to treat fresh liver as a supplement/vitamin instead.  I purchased a very small slice at a local organic/pastured butcher shop, cut it into itsy-bitsy pieces, and froze them last night.  So far I’ve had one capsule sized piece, and it went down all right.  I’m also continuing all my normal supplements, the list of which would be another blog in itself, as well as consuming non-juice liquids like herbal teas, kombucha (GT Dave’s non-fruit flavors with four grams of sugar), and CocoCeps and Dandy Blend powders in water, sweetened with stevia.

Now all I need to do is wait for that good ole oxygen high to kick in (which usually happens after about 3-4 days), and hope I don’t have to go to the grocery store anytime soon.  I like to not decide beforehand how long I’ll fast for; it’s better for me to just do it until it stops feeling good, which is anywhere from 3-14 days.  My goal this time is a minimum of seven days, and to stop feeling like my body is having a torrid affair with nonstop pms.

It’s almost "black juice," more so than "green juice." I add as many purple ingredients as are available.