SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

January 30, 2009

Probiotics-Digestive Health

This was a post I was working on earlier and somehow it got lost in the shuffle.  This was taken from a  Dr. Mercola’s newsletter.    He is a good man as many of you know already and this was a very good rendering of the information involved.  It ties in nicely with my own thinking, especially with regard to probiotics and the benefits of  home made fermented veggies which I have shared with readers. (Alyson @ Wholesome goodness and Donna Gates of B.E.D.)

Incidentally, I just a made a new batch of “fermented foods” which is so fantastic and I opened my first container of it last night for dinner.  A real winner!  I had added a couple of rather hot peppers and stripped out most of the seeds therefrom, and I had started with red cabbage instead of white;  my usual ton of garlic and carrots and onions.  I fell in love all over again.  This is indeed, so much fun.   Back to the subject at hand – – enjoy!

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Wall Street Journal Gives BIG Thumbs Up to Good Bacteria

Probiotics, yogurt, good bacteria Consuming healthy bacteria, or probiotics, can improve your body’s overall balance of good versus bad micro-organisms, boosting your general health. But be careful — not all of the probiotic-containing products found on store shelves provide the health benefits they claim.

Some regular foods contain healthy bacteria naturally, such as yogurt and naturally fermented pickles. But pasteurization has eliminated many of the probiotics that should be found in modern foods. The recent boom in probiotic products reflects an effort to re-introduce bacteria that promote good health.

When choosing a probiotic, look for products that list a specific strain of bacteria on their label, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG — the final two letters identify the strain. A product that simply uses the first two names may include a similar, but not identical, bacterium that doesn’t have the same scientific testing behind it. It’s best when the actual product — not just the bacterium — has been tested in humans. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research, especially when a simple Web search can yield a lot of information.

Some additional tips: Look for the word “live” on the package, since organisms killed by processing won’t be helpful. The expiration date may be particularly important, because even if a product still tastes good the bacteria may no longer be alive. For maximum benefit, try to consume a variety of different bacteria, as each may contribute something slightly different.
Sources:

* Wall Street Journal January 13, 2009

Melatonin

Dr. Mercola Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
The Wall Street Journal article linked above shines some mainstream media attention on something I have been promoting for many years — probiotics. In fact, probiotics are one of only two supplements that are recommended to all new patients who come to the Natural Health Center (the other being an omega-3 fat supplement). It’s also one of the few supplements that I personally take every day.

Ensuring that you’re getting a regular supply of good bacteria in your digestive system is so important because 80 percent of your immune system is located there.

That’s right, 80 percent!

So supporting your digestive health is essential to also supporting your immune system, which is your number one defense system against all disease.

Quite simply, if your digestive system is crawling with unhealthy bacteria, there’s a good chance your immune system will be suppressed as a result.

What are Probiotics Doing in Your Digestive Tract?

Your body is loaded with bacteria, of both good and bad varieties. In fact, about 100 trillion bacteria live inside you — which is more than 10 TIMES the number of cells you have in your whole body.

The ideal balance between the bacteria in your body is 85 percent good and 15 percent bad. This ratio between the “good” bacteria and the other bacteria is one of the critical factors determining your optimal health, as the good bacteria are essential for:

• The proper development of your immune system
• Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease
• Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients

The probiotics in your gut also play a role in helping numerous bodily functions, such as:

• Digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates.
• Producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins.
• Keeping bad bacteria under control.
• Preventing allergies. Friendly bacteria train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately.
• Providing vital support to your immune system. Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system as well.

The microflora in your digestive system is also emerging as a major player in weight management. A baby’s gut bacteria is linked to his or her future weight, and babies that are given the best start nutritionally by being breastfed (the source of your first immune-building good bacteria) also tend to have intestinal microflora in which beneficial bifidobacteria predominate over potentially harmful bacteria.

One Washington University professor likened the functioning of this gut microflora in your body to that of an ant farm that works together as an intelligence to perform an array of functions you’re unable to manage on your own.

One of those chores includes extracting calories from the foods you eat, so the microflora in your gut may play a key role in obesity.

Multiple studies have shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than slim people, and it appears that the microbes in an overweight body are much more efficient at extracting calories from food.

Aren’t There any Natural Ways to Get Probiotics?

This is a common question and a important one … and the answer is YES!

In the past, and to some extent still today, people used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut to support their digestive health, as these foods are rich in naturally beneficial bacteria.

Fermented foods are part of nearly every traditional culture. As far back as Roman times, people ate sauerkraut because of its taste and benefits to overall health. In ancient Indian society, it became commonplace (and still is) to enjoy a before-dinner yogurt drink called a lassi.

Bulgarians are known both for their longevity and their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir. In Asian cultures, pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots still exist today. One such variety that I personally eat often is a type of fermented soy called natto.

If you were to eat a diet rich in fermented foods that have NOT been pasteurized (this will kill the probiotics), then you could likely still enjoy great digestive health.

However, if you eat a lot of processed foods or rely on mostly cooked foods, the balance of bacteria in your digestive tract will have a hard time staying optimal. Sugar is also an incredibly efficient fertilizer for growing bad bacteria and yeast in your gut, so if you indulge in a lot of it you’re fueling the bad bacteria. Likewise, stress, pollution, and taking antibiotics can further upset the balance in a negative way.

Since helpful bacteria are increasingly absent in most people’s diets, it is important to purposely include foods that contain live probiotic bacteria in your diet, or take a probiotic supplement.

I have used many different brands over the past 15 years and there are many good ones out there. But one of the best is the one that I had developed late last year, Complete Probiotics, as it incorporated everything I have learned about these valuable tools over the years.

Related Articles:

Probiotics Protect Top Athletes

The Benefits of Probiotics

Good Bacteria May Relieve Autism Symptoms

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January 29, 2009

FERMENTED FOODS

(Note: please see Sinusitis, what to do, 12-16-08) and
(Sept 22, 09 – Fermented Foods (how to)

FERMENTED FOODS

It is clear that there seems to be more than a little interest in “Fermented Foods” which has been referred to in the post on “Sinusitis” written by Donna Gates of BODY ECOLOGY. (B.E.D). I quite understand.. I first learned about Fermented Foods from Alyson on her blog site of Wholesome Goodness.  And because she talked about it so eloquently, ascribing lofty qualities to it, well she reeled me in, hook, line and sinker. Also, she has this great tutorial which shows you step by step how to do it, what it looks like and what to do. As is usual for her generous nature, she credits Donna Gates for getting her into the fermented foods as part of the overall regime to rebuild her ailing inner eco-system (her immune system) and apparently, she is bit by bit, getting better.

Alyson has a very good blog, one I enjoy very much. I have helped myself to many a fine recipe and regard her as a highly creative, intelligent and aspiring young woman ( a newlywed who seems to be loving life).

I jumped in with both feet and immediately started making the fermented veggies. Its was fun if not more than a little time consuming. But you don’t make just a little, I made like two gallons of it. Then let it percolate in the pantry about 10 days. My first few tastes of it were very surprising. I could hardly get it down. My Gawd! Did I do something wrong? So I started emailing Alyson who responded with delicate compassion, explaining that it can take some people a little while to get used to the taste. She also had to “get used to it” and that is why she started searching for a variety of recipes. By the time I heard back from her, I had already got used to the taste, and now I actually craved it! Go figure. One of the amazing perks was that my craving for chocolate which is lifelong (a true chocoholic) was lessening. Some days, I could do without it altogether.
Among other recommendations, she said I could try getting corn tortilla chips and use it like a dip. Turns out that was a great idea. I generally try to get at least ¼ to ½ cup in with each meal.   I truly believe that for the first time in my life, I AM rebuilding my own immune system. With Dr McDougall’s reliable methods, B.E.D. and now the fermented foods, I am beginning to believe any thing is possible.

I love the internet and the fact that we can reach out all over the world. With regard to fermented foods, I have discovered another source which I shall pass along as well. This one is in Australia He refers to himself as DOM. His site says Welcome to DOM’s KefirKraut In-Site. His name is Dominic N Anfiteatro (dna) and his location is:
http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/ kefirkraut.html. I must say that his method is quite different from BED or Alyson’s, but the way he describes it sounds exciting and I will try it. He also makes a tooth preserving paste which re-mineralizes teeth which sounds like a real winner, but with the exchange rate and the value of the dollar these days, it is quite costly. For those who can afford it, read about it and give it a go. (It’s a very big blog as he seems to like to talk a lot – more than me if you can believe that).

Apparently, fermenting foods is a technique which has been around forever and there are many and varied approaches to the methodology.  Investigating various sources conveys the understanding that we have latitude in the process AND the chosen foodstuff we prefer and wish to include according to personal preferences.  Cabbage is the mainstay, so it starts off with that (any kind or color).  I have a strong love of garlic and onions and even hot peppers, but one can use any fresh herbs and choice of veggies and fruits desired.   So if you want your food as close to nature as you can get;  want to re-establish the ideal balance in the intestinal flora which in turn has limitless benefits to your body, here is a new hobby for you.

So, here’s to your health!

January 28, 2009

Got GOUT?

Love of friend years ago, echoes forward to bless me now.

As I wound down last Friday and settling into my favorite TV shows, I noticed something off in my right foot. Heading to the kitchen for something to eat, it was clear that the foot was more than just off – it damned well hurt. Looking down at it, I could see the foot was swollen near the big toe joint and was perceptibly reddened. It is confounding how quickly this all arose; now I was limping as it really hurt to put pressure on it. To heck with eating, I’ll just grab a beer and an ice-pack for the foot. It helped, but it wasn’t fixed, as I limped to put the icepack back in the freezer, walking on my heel.

I became anxious as I contemplated caring for Heidi; our walks and her endless potty trips outside – how would I do it? My Gawd, what’s wrong with my foot? Curiously, I remembered Alan B from forty years ago and how he became afflicted with GOUT

Because of my great affection for him and my need to try to help, I had researched the disease (no computer in those days) and remembered that it was due largely to the rich American diet and the acid/alkaline balance within the body being off (too acid). The pain is caused by uric acid crystals which form around the joint – usually the big toe. Well of course, that was it! I had over recent weeks been deliberately eating more meat-stuff in an attempt to loose a few pounds. Curses! I knew better. Now look what I’ve done. I fancied that I have always been a fairly ‘clean’ eater, so how could this happen? Then I remembered calling to tell Allan of my findings and advise that pure Cherry Juice, the kind one buys in a health food store was known to be a natural treatment for this condition. He thanked me deeply for my caring but he and his wife who was a medical person of some standing would remain with the physician who was treating him. Out of my respect for him, I said no more. Since then I have also read that one can neutralize an over acid condition and gain immediate relief with a dose of ½ teaspoon of baking soda mixed into 3-4 ounces of water, especially at bedtime.

I had cherry juice but no idea how much I should take, so ventured two ounces …yuk, add a little water to dilute. Okay. Now for the baking soda. Struggled back to the TV to prop up the foot. Within half hour relief crept in. By ten there was no pain at all. Gone. I repeated the procedure as I went to bed. Next day, the episode was only a memory. I have not re-treated as all seems okay, so why mess with perfection? Clearly, some diet changes are in order so I searched through my library and found Dr. Jordan Rubin’s “Restoring Your Digestive Health” and pages 149 – 156 covers what I was looking for. The entire book is a treasure.   Also, Donna Gates in her book “The Body Ecology Diet” goes greatly into the acid/alkaline balance and proper food combining (which is truly at the heart of so many ailments.)   In case you might be interested, there is a truly good book called “The Food Combining Bible” by Jan and Inge Dries.  Much good stuff to learn there.


Reflecting back on Allan B and the suffering he went thru and continued to experience for some time is a sorrowful thing. I am however so glad that I dug to find out about this condition and that my brain filed it all away for future use, because look who I helped in the long run! I am amazed, just amazed that the effort to relieve and control was so effective and immediate. I am reminded that nature has provided for us with every herb of the field, a remedy for our various afflictions. It is for us to dig in and find them, using our bodies as our labs to test things out. We must be open and find what works, not be closed, fixated and elitist. Now, just in case there is someone out there who is so afflicted or perhaps knows of someone who is – share the wealth! I’d be happy to hear from you.

The Extra Mile, (once again)

Filed under: Extra Mile,Pain — Jan Turner @ 2:25 pm
Tags: ,

In October,  I did a post on teen-ager Shelly Navarre of Upper Arlington, OH who on the surface is an ordinary girl making her mark on the world in what seems an ordinary, normal way.   That her accomplishment defies logic, that her struggle was not apparent, but a private journey of discipline born of an inner strength and personal desire – – astonished me.   I had wanted to share her story with others as I had found it very uplifting  To me she is heroic.  That I had dubbed the post “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” may not have conveyed my deep respect and awe of her.

I believe we all need living, breathing “ordinary people” doing extraordinary things to buoy us up,  to keep on keeping on, and maybe to try a little harder.  Today I found another “modern day hero” I’d like to share and laud.  I hope this stimulates new ideas and possibilities as well as making your day  too.

MENTAL HEALTH

Stylist’s visits show healing power of hair care

By Ruth Sheehan
MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS


RALEIGH, N.C. — Bessie Henderson was having a bad hair day.
Four days earlier, she had undergone pancreatic surgery at Duke University Medical Center; she’d been sweating at night,    and she hadn’t bathed.
Henderson, of Warren County, N.C., was feeling low.
That’s when Jacques Shy Sr. — aka Mr. Jacques — swept in with a white coat, a rolling duffel and a massive inflatable sink.
He wrapped her shoulders, filled and hung his portable shower bag on the intravenous stand and set to work with a tingly shampoo. Soon, the 55-year-old’s weary face was creased with a smile.

He massaged her scalp, blew-dry her hair and used a flatiron to create a head of curls. In 15 minutes, Henderson was transformed.
“I look like a whole new person,” she said. “I feel like a whole new person.”
It’s a phenomenon the doctors and nurses at Duke see time and again when Shy, 57, arrives on the floor.
He started going to Duke six years ago, purely by chance. A longtime hairdresser on disability, he had agreed to fix the hair of an ailing friend. But he saw the need. Other patients and family members asked whether he was available.
Soon he was visiting all nine floors, five days a week. He had no official authorization, but he proved what scientific studies show: Laughter really is the best
medicine, optimists heal faster, and happiness spreads more quickly than sadness.
Before long, Shy became an institution.
He works at Duke three days a week. Doctors and nurses ask him to bathe the area around patients’ brainsurgery incisions, to style the hair of people in comas, to delicately massage the scalps of people suffering the ravages of chemotherapy.
“He brings something more than just a beautician,” said Van Blalock, a clinical pharmacist who works in cardiology.
For one thing, he carries malpractice insurance.
Waving Shy’s business card, Henderson called to
Shy on his way out, “I want other people to see this.”
Shy wants the word to get out, too. He hopes to see a field he calls medical cosmetology recognized by the state and nationwide.
“It’s a win-win-win,” Shy said. “It helps the doctors and nurses, it enriches my soul, and it gives patients hope.”
Katherine Titus-Wells, a 34-year-old nurse who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome in October, knows how easily hope can evaporate. When she arrived at Duke 80 days earlier, the vibrant young woman was a quadriplegic because of the disease that affects the immune and nervous systems.

“I couldn’t move,” said Titus-Wells, who can speak in short bursts through a tracheotomy. “He made me feel better.”
Shy washed and styled her hair six or seven times, sometimes braiding it.
“He was so encouraging to her,” said her mother, Mary Lou Titus. “Every week he’d tell her, ‘Hey, look at the progress you’ve made.’ ”
Shy’s jacket is studded with gold stars given to hospital employees who go above and beyond in patient care. He often pins extras on nurses who labor without recognition.
Until Shy showed up, Titus-Wells had the hair treatment that most bed-bound pa
tients get: waterless foam in a cap and a pillow full of damp hair for the rest of the day.
Shy provides the full treatment.
Sheryl Gaillardet, a traveling nurse on staff at Duke, said that in all the hospitals where she has worked, she has never seen anything like Shy.
“For 10 or 15 minutes, he takes patients out of the sick factor,” Gaillardet said. “This is a little pampering.”
But it isn’t fluff, noted Da Wai Olsen, a nurse and scientist who works in the neurological intensive care unit.
Many of Olsen’s patients have head injuries — some are unconscious or awakening from surgery or a coma. Many are in the hospital for extended periods.
“They often have blood and icky stuff in their hair,” Olsen said. “Jacques gets rid of all that. We trust him.
“For patients who are conscious, it’s true that when you
look better, you feel better,” Olsen said. “When the patient looks more like the person they used to be, the family feels more hopeful, too.”
Shy learned firsthand how depressing infirmity can be. In 1991, he severely injured his back and neck working at a youth correctional facility in his home state of New York. From then until 2002, he stayed at home, raising his two sons, caring for an adult brother with Down syndrome, collecting a disability check and managing his pain.
One day — right about the time he volunteered to do his friend’s hair at Duke — he was talking to his oldest son about the boy’s future. His son told Shy, “Daddy, I want to be just like you.”
Shy beamed — until his son said, “I want to sit at home and collect a check.”
“That’s when I knew,” Shy said, “I had to do something, for myself and my sons, to get back my self-respect.”

January 18, 2009

Still About Quitting Smoking…

Filed under: health,How To Quit Smoking — Jan Turner @ 10:35 pm
Tags: ,

This blog, “SMOKINCHOICES” relates to people struggling to quit smoking and because I have been there and done that, understand their angst and frustration wanting to quit. Perhaps they are really needing to quit, while at the same time, torn because they are devoted to the pleasure they are deriving from nicotine. As anyone who has been to these pages before might know, I’ve given it my best shot in  STOP  SMOKING – FREE, listed in the pages. There, a few simple but powerful tips and tools are fully disclosed revealing the uncomplicated but vital and empowering techniques so necessary for total success. Total success? Yes! One winds up with the power in one’s own hands, in self – not in things ‘out there’ that one can buy or acquire, (and lose), suggesting that the power to accomplish lies outside of self, in things and stuff and not in self at all. To be truly secure and empowered, it is best to have that power in self, your own control.

January 5, 2009

Fixing Water. .

Traffic to my blog reveals quite an interest in the quality of the water we drink and also to the water we shower in.  No need to discuss them again here – already covered in November’s post “CHLORINE and your SHOWER” and the “YOU think FLUORIDE is SAFE?” post. This post (small and to the point) covers “things I should have said”, but neglected.

Therein,  I did discuss my own experiences with distillers.  I have tried several brands, always endeavoring to be as economical as possible, yet picky virgo that I am, not willing to yield quality – thats first!  I don’t happen to think one can beat the quality combined with frugality that the Sears Distiller offers. I may have been using them for about 20 years.   My current one is modern, sleek, fairly quiet and around $100.00 (on sale) – white in color and stands proudly on my counter top, off in the corner.  I love it.   Yields about a gallon of water in 3 – 5 hours, depending on if you start with cold (as instructed) or warm (which I do) tap-water.  The item is called KENMORE water purifier.   I did try something I researched online (mainly looking at price).  It looked the same as the then Kenmore product, but lasted less than three months and was very noisy.  Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

This product does just what I want it to do – gets rid of everything in the water.  (To my knowledge, only the Reverse Osmosis and the Distiller are the only two types of water purifier that can actually rid water of these chemicals we seriosly do not need) While that is good – XLNT really, even so, this presents a problem.  We want more from our water besides hydration and quenching thirst.  We want taste and  Minerals. So we must add minerals back to the gallon of water.   Not good enough to just count on your vitamin-mineral supplement.  There are elite mineral compounds out there, some with prestigious pedigrees.  My needs are totally satisfied with Thropp’s Nutrition who sells  Ionic Trace minerals (16 oz). They have a website, http://www.throppsnutrition.com or call toll-free at 877-373-9122.   Dave Thropp claims these minerals from Utah’s Inland Lake are the strongest, most concentrated mineral supplement you can buy.    I have been quite satisfied with them, as they are effective and reasonably priced.  But, to each his own.

The second post which has really piqued interest lately is the chlorine in Shower water.   Again, I have used something very satisfactory and I’m sorry I did not just tell people what I did to combat this problem.  I guess I have hesitated  as I did not want it to sound like I was selling something, or more to the point – saying something in order to sell something in order to make a profit.    I have sold during my life – insurance and real estate and as a teen-ager, sold in a lovely little gown shop (which I loved).   So I am not averse to “selling” – we all do it every day consciously or unconsciously.  But this blog is not about selling.   It is primarily about health issues of all kinds. These are suggestions only, please do your own research.

When it came to purifying my water for the shower I turned to www.Watershed.net after much research online.  They dechlorinate the water with this delightful shower head attachment which I was able to install myself.  They also have a Crystal Bath Ball, but I don’t soak, just shower.  Again, I found many solutions, but most were too costly for me.  Some were whole-house which I don’t need.  As a renter, one is slightly more limited in choice. You’ll find the prices on view – less than forty dollars and lasts a family of four about a year.   Then one buys refills, around $20. (Don’t quote me, check it out)

Okay, so I feel better having told you guys, so be happy, stay healthy and have a great new year!

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