health

4 a.m. Yoga

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I love 4 a.m. yoga. I am not a major yogi, and I have enjoyed doing yoga at more normal times of day, but my latest pastime is 4 a.m. yoga.

To clarify, I am not getting up, out of my warm, comfy bed, at 4 a.m. to do yoga. For those of you who know me, you know how I detest mornings. I will never be one to get up early for yoga, or much of anything else. For one, my muscles are way too tight to do any yoga poses, and for two, in my grumpy state I might accidentally kill someone. So, for these and other reasons too pedantic to go into, I only do 4 a.m. yoga when I am working night shifts.

4 a.m. is sort of a witching hour, don’t you think? It’s that time when the night can go either way — get better or get worse, get crazier or get saner. By doing yoga, I can stave off the crazier for a little longer and I get to stretch and do something that is fun but that, honestly, I don’t usually make time for in a regular day. I mean, I could take a break at 4 p.m. any old day and do some yoga, but I’m usually busy doing something else, or I would rather go for a walk (and get ice cream or cheezies, but that’s got nothing to do with yoga).

Well, enough preamble. Let me get to the core of the issue: the real reason I enjoy yoga at 4 a.m. is because it is humbling. I am no yoga perfectionist, but when I do it at other times of the day, I can usually pretzelate myself pretty well and I pride myself on being able to do the poses fairly well. But at 4 a.m.? I am just grateful to be awake. I allow myself to be completely horrible at it. I am humbled by the demands it makes on me, and that I am actually pretty awful at it. My sense of balance is almost non-existent, which makes some of the standing poses hilarious. So, I am humbled and chagrined — I have to laugh at myself a little — by this strange 4 a.m. practice.

Now, I know this isn’t likely to catch on for yoga classes or whatever, but I do my yoga alone. I have never been to a yoga studio, and I’ve never taken any lessons. I’ve learned the poses I know from a couple of videos. Despite this sheltered yoga-life, even I have noticed there’s quite a bit of ego involved in this spiritual-practice-turned-exercise-routine. I mean, if you’re self-effacing, you don’t buy hundred-dollar pants to do yoga in. I just think it might be getting a little crazy, and my 4 a.m. yoga is a nice change to that. It’s humbling. Grounding. And it helps me get through the longest part of the night in a pleasant, positive way. Plus, I can wear fleece long johns, which are far more sane than hundred-dollar pants.

So, if you’re interested, join me in some 4 a.m. yoga! Just don’t actually join me — I don’t want you to see me wobbling around on one leg in ill-fitting fuzzy long johns. :)

If You’re Happy and You Know it… Grow Some Neurons!

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We’ve all heard and intuitively know that when you’re happier, you’re healthier. Joseph Campbell has been saying for ages — follow your bliss. Abraham-Hicks says it too — the most important thing is that you feel good now. Well, I recently came across a tidbit of research that tells me science is finally catching up!

I read this excellent article recently that explains how scientists have proven that serotonin — the hormone associated with happiness — helps rats grow new brain cells. Specifically, when a certain serotonin-receptor is stimulated, the rats grew new neurons in their Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The ENS is a complex system of about 100 million neurons that inhabit the “gut” which supervise digestion and have intricate ties with the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This alone is quite revolutionary, that we have neurons, essentially brain tissue, in our gut and not just our brain. In fact, we have two “small brains” — one in our gut and one in our heart, which account for the nervous, fluttery or heart-poundy feelings we can get at times. As a fetus develops, all the neurological tissue starts out in one area, a sort of tube, which extends out to form clusters which eventually become the brain, the heart and the gut. The exact role of these “small brains” is unknown, but I can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with our intuition. This is another excellent article about the heart’s rhythms and how the heart is a “small brain.”

The results of the study on the rats was published in The Journal of Neuroscience in August of 2009. So this isn’t even cutting-edge research (it’s just new to me). Yet so many of us are taught that if you drink too much, you’ll kill brain cells, and that you were only born with a certain number of them and if you kill them, you’ll never get them back. This is only half true — you can kill brain cells but you can also grow them back. If you are happy, your brain is healthier, and you are able to regrow new brain cells and the health of your existing cells is maintained. Plus, you can grow neurons in places other than your brain, and keep your gut and heart healthy.

Rack it up with all the other evidence that being happy is the best way to be! Nourish your playful spirit! Don’t let anything get you down. You are 100% in charge of your happiness and you can never blame circumstances when you’re miserable.

Note: I don’t approve of animal testing in general, but these studies on rats are pretty revolutionary. I hope the rats were treated well.

…About Your Son

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Note: I was going to email the following to a friend of mine, and then I realized that many people might be going through similar things and could benefit from this inspiration.

I wanted to give you a few thoughts about your son. You mentioned that you’ve been having some trouble with him – with his health and his behaviour – and I said that it can be a difficult time for a boy his age, but thinking about it today, I want to take that back, or at least rephrase. Although it can be a difficult time for him as he enters teenage, it doesn’t have to be. I know you want to spend more time with him, and that will help, but only if you have the right frame of mind.

As much as you can, don’t let yourself think of your son as flawed in any way. Even if they say he has Asperger’s or any other syndrome, so what? Micheal J. Fox has Parkinsons’. Stevie Wonder was completely blind and look what he did. Doctors like to label people, and if they don’t quite behave like everyone else, they get labelled. There are plenty of children today being diagnosed with things that in the past – say a hundred years ago – would have just been called “personality.” One very cool thing I heard lately: kids who are different tell the adults “we aren’t disabled, we’re re-abled.” Some kids are born with more abilities, but those with a small perspective see it as a “problem.” I am sure your son is very good at some things – figure out what those are and encourage him to do them. Celebrate his unique skills!

Whenever you think of your son, think of what a great kid he is! He isn’t flawed and just because he doesn’t have a lot of friends does not indicate there’s something wrong with him. If you can befriend him and treat him 100% normal, he will start to feel that way too. You should go on a canoe trip with him!! Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Give him an adventure, teach him some new skills and get him out of the house.

And if you would like him to have more friends, just imagine him with the perfect friends, who understand him and get along with him. Talk to some other parents – there might even be a kid similar to yours who needs a friend and maybe they can hook up together. I guess this will be a little harder with him away on summer holidays, but you can still change your thinking in that direction and then see what happens when he gets back.

Your son is perfect. There is nothing wrong with him! He might just be a little misunderstood. Remind him that you love him and everything will work out great.

All the best,
Teresa

P.S. If you are really interested in this concept, watch this video! :)

Weekend at the Fire Hall

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As an entrepreneur, my weekends are rarely weekends like they are for Monday-to-Friday office workers. I often work on weekends, and actually, I think I’ve only had one full day off since the last week of October, but that’s beside the point. This weekend, I had a lot of fun and hard work over at the Fire Hall!

Perhaps at this point, I had better add **WARNING: GRAPHIC MATERIAL — NOT FOR SQUEAMISH PEOPLE OR THOSE WITH A WEAK STOMACH!**

I signed up to take an EMR course, and this Fri-Sat-Sun was our first full weekend of training. EMR stands for Emergency Medical Responder, for those who don’t know, and it’s normally about 80 hours of classroom time, with lots of scenarios to practice too. Tuesday evening was our first class, and it went well; after Friday’s class, though, I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed! An EMR friend of mine said that an EMR is more-or-less a “really good first-aider,” but I think he under-played it! We have to learn quite a bit of anatomy and diagnostics — or at least, how to figure out what might be happening to the patient. I’m surprised at some of the examples our instructors are giving us — the things they can figure out, on the scene of an accident or if someone is gravely ill, with very little diagnostic equipment or tools — perhaps just a stethoscope and a blood glucose meter. The rest is done by feel, by looking, by listening and asking questions (if the patient is conscious).

I’ve got to tell you — I enjoy helping people and stretching myself, but this is taking it to a whole new level! If you know me, you know I’m not afraid to try new things, get outside my comfort zone (what comfort zone?!? :)) and “get my hands dirty.” But this is people’s blood! Yikes. We watched a video to learn about anatomy, and the doctor hosting it was just digging around inside the cadaver, to show us this organ or that artery. “Way under here… is the spleen!” It was crazy! She was so comfortable with it, I was just overwhelmed. The blood and body parts were not a problem; it was just overwhelming what we needed to know, and that we might be the ones diagnosing these problems on a scene. Obviously, a doctor at the hospital would make his or her own conclusion too, but we would make our observations, act on them, and pass them on to the docs.

Don’t get me wrong; EMRs are very limited in what we can actually do. We don’t start IVs or give medications (except ASA or oral glucose), but we do insert airway tubes, administer oxygen, and take blood pressures, for example. That’s a lot more than a first aider just feeling for broken bones or doing basic CPR! EMRs work on ambulances and provide basic life support. Sometimes, they work with an EMT or Paramedic, and as such, there are a whole bunch of medical terms we have to know. In most places (cities), they would do a minimum on scene and then transport the person as quickly as possible to an ER (Emergency Room), but out here, we have over 400 km of highway to cover, and as such, transport times can be very long and we might end up doing several reassessments and treatments to keep the person going until we get to the hospital. There are even bone fractures that a patient here might not survive, simply because of the transport time and capability of our hospital. We have an operating room, but there are only some procedures our doctors can do, and they aren’t fancy emerg surgeons! When there’s a procedure they can’t do, the patient must be flown out via medevac to Grande Prairie (about 45 minutes by air, and they can’t do every surgery either) or Edmonton (about 1 and a half hours away). I am learning more about the health care system than I ever thought I’d know.

One crazy thing I’ve heard lately is that the Alberta government is handing the emergency medical care in High Level over to a private company, rather than take care of it themselves. It seems a little weird, since such an arrangement costs more, and has less-integrated and less-professional care. I might be writing a strongly-worded letter about this little bit of strangeness! Why should us northerners have less-professional EMRs and EMTs responding to calls, and they’re using less-modern equipment!

Soon the fire department will be helping out though, by officially being part of a Medical Co-response system that allows us to go to medical calls when the ambulances are busy or if there are multiple patients. That’s why a bunch of us volunteer fire fighters are taking this EMR course, put on especially for us by Alberta Health. We have medic-bags on most of our fire trucks, so we can do quite a bit once we know how!

Suffice it to say, I’m learning lots in this course, feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I think I will enjoy it and I know I will be able to help a LOT more as an EMR than as a first aider. Oh, did I mention, we had to cut class short yesterday due to a call-out to a bad MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident)? Yes, my day was 5 hours of class, 3 hours on the call, and then a workout. But man, I slept awesome! :)

Subscribe to my blog to hear all the updates on the EMR course and my other adventures!

How I Kicked Fibromyalgia

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Back in high school, during grade 11, I developed fibromyalgia. It took a while before it was diagnosed — primarily by process of eliminating other illnesses — and by the summer before grade 12, I was diagnosed and in a fair bit of pain. In university, I managed to get an appointment with a specialist who had studied it extensively, which was rare; at that time, family doctors barely knew what it was and there weren’t very many doctors who even really understood fibromyalgia. The specialist told me it was chronic. I’d have it for the rest of my life. The best thing I could do was exercise. Exercise! I could barely move some days! Did he have any idea how much my muscles hurt?!? He replied saying “Be as active as you can. The only person I know who was cured of fibromyalgia became an exercise fanatic.”

Exercise fanatic? I thought he was nuts. There was no way I could exercise, I was in so much pain from my tight muscles.

But, stay active I did, mostly out of necessity. I was a starving student, and couldn’t afford a bus pass, so I walked about 40 blocks per day to university and back. One term, I was able to fit the free skate into my schedule 3 times a week, so I did that. I liked getting my blood pumping, and it really helped me burn stress. Yup, I was sore afterwards, but the stress-burning was worth it.

I took extra courses in my second year of university, which didn’t help matters. With classes and labs and the extra course — a choir I was in for credit — I was a very busy gal. The fibromyalgia got worse, and by the end of that year, I was quite a wreck. Third year, I made a change of pace. I took on the job of Production Editor of The Gateway, which meant only 2 classes but a lot of other work and very late nights. I enjoyed it immensely and didn’t feel quite a bad physically. The specialist had warned me that the first 5 years would be the worst. I was only into year 4. I also got a work term in Ottawa for 6 months, so that gave me a needed break from classes.

The last two years of university are a bit of a blur. Then one day, while walking home from my job in Sudbury, I realized: I don’t hurt anymore. I feel great! I made it past those 5 years and I’m not living in constant pain anymore! Looking back, I realize there were a few things I did that helped reduce my pain, and if you’ve been diagnosed with this muscle-fibre disorder, there’s hope! In addition to treatments your doctor may recommend, try these tips and see if they help:

1. Remove extra electrical influences. The first 2 years or so in University, I had a waterbed. I loved it — it was always warm, and with the fibromyalgia, the heat felt wonderful. I kept it cranked pretty much year-round, max heat. I don’t think the electrical field from the heating unit was good for me. Later, I moved on to an electric blanket, which I would sleep on top of, or under. I loved it too, but it wasn’t until I ditched it — I think I was afraid of a bed-fire — that I started to feel much better. I don’t know if the heat helped or hindered, but I think it was the electrical fields that were really harming me.

2. Eat less-processed foods. When I was a starving student, I thought about food differently. I ate whatever I had. I got eggs from my parents, and my typical breakfast was 2 eggs, scrambled, cooked in my microwave with a slice of processed cheese on top. Lunch was whatever I had, supper the same, or nothing, and rarely any produce. A few times, I got groceries from a food bank to get me through, for which I’m very grateful. But it was all canned or otherwise processed — SPAM is nasty! Only when I got a good job after graduating and was able to stop adding-as-I-went while grocery shopping did I start to really improve.

3. Stay active. Yes, there were times I hurt so hard I could barely get out of bed. Lots of times. But I still went to classes, walked a lot, went up and down stairs, and even did a little actual exercise. Since I was consistently active, when I felt better, I just naturally did more, until I realized one day that I was doing lots and not hurting. I even joined a dragonboat team in Sudbury (and later, in Edmonton), and if you want to feel the burn and work so hard you feel like throwing up, dragonboating is the way to go! Doesn’t that sound like a blast!?! Well, it really was! I am well beyond the tentative movements of a fibromyalgia sufferer. I am cured!

These days, I canoe and kayak a lot (over 800 km this summer!), walk a lot to do errands around town, cross-country ski and skate in winter (although I’m usually pretty sore after the first time of the season, but I consider that normal!), and even occasionally swim. I did a 10-km run a couple of years ago, but decided I don’t like running that much, so I don’t. :) I do what I enjoy! I’ve done a bit of t’ai chi, yoga, and pilates. Find something you think is fun — belly dancing, curling, jumping on a trampoline,* even simply stretching — and do that! Get rid of extra stress in your life. Be very careful about how you talk to yourself. Be positive and treat yourself well!

One last point: Do not doubt the power of the mind. That doctor told me that someone had been cured. At the time, I didn’t think it was possible, but he planted the seed. That seed grew and I took his advice to stay active and I consciously decided I wouldn’t let it stop me from doing anything I wanted to. I did a 3-day hike around the back of Mount Robson. I could have said “oh, I’d better not, I can’t. I’ll hurt too much.” Nope, I did it anyway, and yes, it hurt a bit, but I don’t even remember the pain now. I just remember the feeling of accomplishment and fun with friends.

So try this to harness the power of your mind: Once a day for at least 5 minutes, think about the cells in your body as smiling. Just beaming from ear to ear! Each cell is completely happy and getting exactly what it needs. Bask in this feeling and try to remember it throughout your day.

I’d love to hear how you feel after trying the other 3 tips as well! Even if you just have ordinary aches and pains, give them a try and let me know in the comments! Removing extra electrical fields and changing the food you eat will give almost-instant results. Getting more active may take a couple of weeks to start showing the benefits.

*In my experience, if you decide to start rebounding, start slow! Adult bodies aren’t as flexible and resilient as children’s, so take it easy at first! Of course, corporations always say to “talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program,” but you can also just start slow and give yourself days off in between exercise and increase from there.

Surviving Cabin Fever

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It’s been a while since I did a Top Ten, so here you go! :) Perhaps others don’t have such a hard time with this, but I think it’s relevant for the season!

Teresa’s Top Ten ways to combat cabin fever when it’s been too cold for too long:

10. Get smashed. Go to your liquor cabinet, with a tall glass in hand, and pour one shot of each liquor — whatever you’ve got — into the glass. Add ice, if you like, and a splash of orange juice, coke, or grenadine, depending on your tastes. Drink one of these every hour until you can’t walk, talk or think. JUST KIDDING! Don’t do this! If you do, you’ll have the worst hangover ever! But I guess you wouldn’t be bored any more! :) Seriously, it can be fun to invent a new drink, with just one or two types of liquor and have one or two with a friend.

9. Clean something. Ya, I know, it’s not a very fun one, but it’s a productive way of spending some time at home… tackle that messy hall closet or scary corner of the basement. Keep reading, I have better, funner ideas coming up!

8. Eat something. But not just anything… Scour your cookbooks or go online and make something wild and fantastic you’ve never made before. Like this chocolate cake (it took me three days to make last year!), these brownies (so strange yet soooo yummy!), or a spicy curry dish (one of my favourite meals). Maybe you’ll have to make a trip to the grocery store, but you probably have a lot of crazy ingredients at home that you could use. Check out the “leftover wizard” at bigoven.com. Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients if you don’t have what you need and you don’t feel like leaving the house. Then savour your creation!

7. Make something. If you’ve got a project half-done, finish it! If you don’t, check out the Make webpage and see if you’ve got something around the house that you can transform into, say, a guitar!

6. Grab a book. You probably have a few books (or 20) that you’ve bought or been given, that you just haven’t quite started yet. Grab one, and a nice warm beverage, cozy up in your favourite spot and read the afternoon away.

5. Play a game. If you’re home alone, I guess it’ll be solitaire or something computer-based. But if you have family or friends over, convince them it’s time for Twister, Wii, or get out the cards. Aggravation is one of my favourites, or Blokus. No doubt you’ve got something you can play… strip poker anyone? (Not to be played with granny.)

4. Learn a new hobby. Got something you’ve thought about trying? Why not do it now? You can find videos for almost anything online, so as long as your internet (and your furnace) work, you can do anything! You could learn to knit or crochet, do yoga, do tai’chi, make fishing lures, build something out of wood, learn photography, start a blog or podcast… your imagination is the limit!

3. Play music. Get out that guitar you haven’t played in months (or the one you just made) and learn some new chords. Or, if you find your house strangely lacking in musical instruments, go through your music collection, listen to something you haven’t heard in ages (your fav’s from the 80’s!) and just enjoy the tunes! Dance your heart out. Air-drum along, or use pots. :)

2. Get off your duff. Step away from the TV, or computer (not right now, as soon as you finish reading this), and get some exercise. Most of us have some form of exercise equipment around the house, and most of it is rarely used! Blow the dust off, get out the track pants, and burn a few calories. Don’t do it because you have to, do it because you’re bored silly — do it for your sanity! (I promise it will help.)

1. Do something fun outside. This is perhaps the hardest cure for cabin fever, but it’s also the most effective. Bundle up, wear double scarves, toques, mitts, whatever it takes, and go outside. If you’ve got equipment like cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, or a ski-doo use it! If not, simply take a walk, go tobogganing (cardboard will work on a packed hill), make snow angels, or stomp out patterns in fresh snow. When you get back, you’ll be glad to be inside, cozy and warm!

The overall strategy for curing cabin fever is distraction. Distract yourself from the fact that it’s freezing and you’re stuck inside… that you’re bored or lonely… that it’s cold and only getting colder… :) I hope this blog will help you distract yourself with something that’s mildly productive or fun (more fun than TV)!  :)

I think I’ll do my next blog on how to dress for cold weather. It’ll be practical and fun, yet serious life-saving stuff! Check back in a couple of days!

Population Cycles

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licking-his-chopsI recently saw a show about cats — a National Geographic program — which talked about their special adaptations for hunting and how they became domesticated. They actually chose to be domesticated by humans. They were attracted to where people live, catching mice in our barns and houses, eating dropped food (or getting handouts!), using our shelter, and overall, they realized that living with people is advantageous to them. The other cool thing is that they can also quickly go feral and live totally on their own again in the wild. So although they are domesticated, they can reverse the process at any time! This explains my usually mild-mannered kitty suddenly going berserk when he gets overstimulated, for example. But he’s nothing like the cat I had that went feral.

His name was Arnie, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, and we used to let him go outside, and then had to track him down at night to get him back in. One night, he wouldn’t come back in and was nowhere to be found. For several days we looked all around the neighbourhood, but no sign of Arnie. Eventually, we stopped looking, but an ad in the paper about a month later described our cat found about 20 blocks away — sure enough, it was Arnie. But he wasn’t the same. He was totally wild, quite scruffy looking, had signs that he’d been in some fights, and really did not want to be indoors. He spoke through his body language, as cats always do, and scratched my husband on the eyelid. After that, we let him out and sort of stopped looking for him to come in at night, and he was gone for good.

But coming back to the idea of cats eating mice and other vermin… In the middle ages, vermin (love that word!), and therefore cats, thrived in cities, but also around that time, people started getting really superstitious. They started accusing each other of being witches, and many cats were killed too, believed to be the minions of darkness. You have to admit, they can be kind of spooky — silently appearing out of nowhere, slinking around, eyes glowing in the dark… In any case, superstitions got the best of them, and they killed off almost all the cats who would have killed the rats who carried the fleas who carried the Bubonic Plague. An estimated 75 million people died in that plague — 30-60% of the population of Europe at the time, and the plague spanned from China to Northern Africa and throughout Europe. It turns out cats are partially immune to the Bubonic Plague! Isn’t it ironic that cats could have saved humans if we hadn’t been so irrational and superstitious. (Hmm… I wonder if we have any superstitions or false beliefs now that are affecting our future…)

I’m currently reading a great used bookstore find, Nahanni, by Dick Turner. It’s about his adventures in the Northwest Territories and Yukon in the 30’s – 50’s. The explorers of the time truly lived off the land; they literally walked a hundred miles a year in the wilderness maintaining trap lines, hunting, and doing whatever they had to do to survive. Turner observed the land and the animals, and he noticed certain cycles — the typical predator-prey cycle where, as the moose population grew, so did the number of wolves. Then, as the wolves decimated the moose population, they starve or have to move to other areas. Predator and prey… it’s a natural cycle, and although we don’t seem to like it, that’s the way the natural world is. We especially don’t like being prey! Come to think of it, we aren’t fond of starving either! We want to be the top predator, but never starve. Anyways, Dick Turner noticed another cycle: periodically, the rabbit population would climb, until 3-4 years after peaking, a disease would come and rapidly wipe almost all of them out. Then, they would gradually start reproducing again, and even though they had many predators, they reproduced so fast, they would eventually reach that peak-disease-decline part of their cycle again. The cycle repeats about every 7-11 years.

So… could this ever happen to us? We aren’t exactly rabbits, but really, man has no major natural predators. Sure, grizzlies and wolves killed and ate some of the pioneers, and still get a few people a year, but it would seem that man’s main population control is in diseases. Unless you consider self-predation — war still kills far too many of us with far too few working on preventing it… in this way, we are our own predators. But it seems possible that diseases might be our population-control cycle, if we get too crowded. We are getting better and better at curing and preventing some of them, yet we still die of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more self-inflicted diseases. And we’re working on eliminating other things that kill us — accidental deaths and crime in the developed world, and hunger and various diseases in the developing world (malaria and AIDS come to mind). We are working so hard to maintain and extend our lives, and reproduce, on a planet that must eventually have a limit to the amount of life it can support. Unless we get a lot smarter about how we grow food, purify water, and consume natural resources, it’s possible that another Black Plague might come to reduce our population.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

A few minutes ago, as I was writing about death, my heart started pounding a little. It’s uncomfortable, yet it shouldn’t be. Death is a part of life. A flower, so beautiful and fragile, must die to produce the fruit it is meant to produce. Perhaps we are the same, but we are so attached to this life, and the superficial things in it, that we can’t see any good in death. And we get sidetracked, when we could be living fully in the moment… and so we miss the most beautiful parts of life and death. Perhaps we would do well to be like a flower, happily enduring the heat, the cold, the rain, the wind, and always turning to face the light. To just be. To stop stressing about the future, including diseases, and just be.

frozen-pansy

Beware the Halloween Sugar!

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I’ll say it straight up – I am not a big fan of Halloween. There are many reasons, but the latest and most compelling is due to a theory that I have -that Halloween is the direct cause of the dreaded cold and flu season that is just getting into full swing! You see, sugar, especially refined sugar, shuts down the immune system, and so when our society as a whole starts consuming huge amounts of it, it’s no wonder that illnesses pass between us quickly and linger longer than if we stayed away from the powdery white stuff. Problem is, it also can be quite addictive, not unlike other white powers out there.
I am writing this as the trick-or-treating is taking place… I’ve had a few kids ring the doorbell, and poor Eddie runs for cover because he’s terrified of it! But I’m not giving out candy this year. I just can’t contribute to the mass-poisoning of our young people! (Myself, yes, in moderation.) :)
If I was a real conspiracy theorist, I’d say that the chocolate companies must be in cohoots with the pharmaceutical companies, especially those that make the flu vaccine…and Hallmark is probably in on it too! But I’m not that hard core!
There’s good news, though, and you needn’t consider yourself doomed to suffer every cold and flu if you’ve been consuming a bit too much sugar (probably in the form of chocolate). From what I’ve read, the answer is to increase your intake of Vitamin C to give your immune system a fighting chance. You see, sugar and vitamin C compete for the same receptor sites on a cell that’s essential to your immune system, and if there’s more sugar than Vitamin C, the sugar wins by majority. So, simply taking Vitamin C (I recommend the timed-release kind) is a huge help! From Earl Mindell’s Vitamin Bible, a good dose is taking 1,000 mg twice a day, with breakfast and dinner, but avoid taking it if you are getting any lab work done (it can change test results). It’s best taken with bioflavonoids (this is included in many versions of the pill) and calcium and magnesium (present in multivitamins). Bioflavonoids are just like the white part of the orange skin. Aspirin apparently increases the excretion rate of Vitamin C, so you need more if you take aspirin. Who knew?!? I am learning a lot reading this section of the Vitamin Bible. Anyways, read up on it more if you plan on taking more than 2,000 mg a day (which is quite safe and a good idea if you keep on with the sugar)!! 4,000 mg is probably not too much. The all-knowing Wikipedia has more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C
On another note, I think I’m going to make Halloween Eddie’s birthday! After all, he’s a black cat and was born some time in the fall… and this way I can keep track of how old he’s getting! He’s seven now! :) And he’s quite hard to take pictures of, since he seems to absorb all light… :)
That’s all from me… so try keep away from the white stuff, or at least keep it in balance, and take the C! Take care everybody!