The power of vinegar

Is the power of vinegar an old wives’ tale or a well known fact?  Vinegar is basically acetic acid and as such makes an effective and inexpensive cleaning agent.  I must admit, being very aware of and sensitive to TOXINS, I do use extra strength (10%) plain white vinegar for many things.  Here are a few of the uses:

  •     carpet cleaner
  •     drain unclogger (with baking soda)
  •     laundry cleaner (disinfects) and softener
  •     weed killer, but be aware that it is non-selective meaning it will kill your grass too, so is best used between patio stones etc

 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV), made from fermented apples, has the benefits of acetic acid as well as enzymes, magnesium, probiotics and potassium.  It has become more popular recently as a dietary aid and home remedy to:

  • relieve heartburn
  • relieve sunburn
  • detoxify your liver and lymphatic system
  • lose weight and maintain healthy weight
  • remove skin tags
  • treat acne
  • clean wounds (antiseptic)
  • balance blood sugar levels
  • lower cholesterol levels
  • boost energy
  • condition hair
  • keep blood alkaline
  • clear sinuses by thinning out mucus
  • clean teeth
  • improve circulation

 

That is an impressive list of benefits for both white and apple cider vinegar.  White vinegar can be used as a cleaning agent directly from the bottle.  Apple cider vinegar should be diluted before use.  To drink it,  add one or two teaspoons to an eight ounce glass of water.  As a weight loss remedy, drink it before meals.  Rinse your mouth after drinking to prevent erosion of enamel from your teeth.  There are other adverse side effects of apple cider vinegar too, especially if consumed in excess.

So dig out those bottles of vinegar from the back of your pantry and put them to work as non-toxic cleaners and home remedies.

 

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Bulletproof coffee

What is bulletproof coffee?  It is a new trend or fad, but not necessarily a healthy one. The biggest reason it is not healthy is because people are replacing a more nutritional breakfast with this coffee.  This coffee contains what is called empty calories because they contain little nutritional value.

Bulletproof coffee is made by adding 1 tablespoon of butter, preferably grass-fed and unsalted, as well as one tablespoon of MCT oil to one cup of coffee.  MCTs, by the way, are medium chain triglycerated fats like coconut oil.

Saturated fats are becoming more popular lately than their “fake” over processed cousins.  The fats in this coffee recipe supress hunger so avoiding breakfast is possible.  They also raise ketone levels in the bloodstream which supplies the brain with energy providing fuel.  The problem becomes when one third (assuming you eat three meals per day) of your daily nutrition is eliminated.

 

bulletproof coffee

 

The solution would be to have a bulletproof coffee in addition to your nutritional meals.  That is if you can afford the extra calories in your diet.

The end of Alzheimer’s

The book I read recently, called The End of Alzheimer’s, is the inspiration for this post.  It is written by Dr Dale Bredesen and can be purchased here.

Seven years ago I was struggling with various health issues including a terrible short term memory.  As I worked through the process of finding out what my problem was, I discovered that many common dietary habits are linked to poor short term memory and the general fatigue I was experiencing.

More recently I heard about this book that claims to contain the solutions to preventing and even reversing the cognitive decline of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  I was intrigued since the causes of cognitive decline outlined in this book are eerily similar to what I discovered were the causes of my earlier health issues.  That is my excuse for why there are so many internal links to my previous posts.

I will attempt to summarize these causes and their solutions, but read the book for full details if you are seriously concerned about yourself or someone you care about.  What I took away from reading this book is that the main cause of cognitive decline (dementia including Alzheimer’s) is an overproduction of sticky amyloid plaque that destroys the synapses of the brain.

Alzheimer's
synapse: Wikipedia

 

This amyloid is produced naturally as a defence mechanism when our immune systems detect irritants or pathogens in our bodies.  The problem becomes when our immune systems face a chronic (consistent) bombardment of irritants to fight and never shut off.

According to this book, the three culprits that cause our immune systems to be overworked resulting in the overproduction of amyloid are:

  • inflammation including infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic) poor hygiene (gum disease) and poor food choices (trans fats, omega 6 fats vs omega 3s, sugar, dairy, gluten)
  • the shortage and decline of nutrients, hormones and molecules that are necessary to support our brains
  • toxins (metals, chemicals, antibiotics, medication, alcohol) and biotoxins (mold)

So, how do we prevent or reverse the onset of cognitive decline and yes, even Alzheimer’s?  The author uses the analogy of terrorists on an airplane.  If you prevent the terrorists from getting on the plane, they cannot blow it up mid air.   Likewise, we can thwart these neuroterrorists (listed irritants) that are wreaking havoc on our immune systems by not ingesting them.

Note that the first two irritants on the list are diet related, meaning they should be easier to control.  Removing the toxins in your home and life may be more complicated, but can be done.  Note too that this neglect or abuse of your immune system has (most likely) gone on for years.  That means fixing it won’t happen over night!

From my own personal experience I can say that eliminating gluten, reducing sugar and trans fats, choosing omega 3s over 6s, and reducing my exposure to toxins for the past seven years has made an incredible difference in my overall health.

 

 

Another food intolerance

I have discovered another food intolerance, the hard way.  I have known for a while that many artificial flavors and ingredients in food items trigger bad reactions in my gastrointestinal system.  This past weekend I narrowed a particularly bad bout of stomach cramps and diarrhea down to the ingestion of red food color.

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I know it had to be the food coloring because I was very careful what I ate that day.  I hosted a baby shower for my daughter-in-law and prepared most of the food myself.  As I and a few other guests are wheat or gluten intolerant I made sure there were plenty of gluten free choices on the table.  I made my favourite gluten free biscotti, but to fancy them up for the occasion, I dipped them in white chocolate that I had tinted pink.  A few drops of red food color in the melted white chocolate resulted in a pretty pink color, perfect for the baby shower menu.  Unfortunately for me, those few drops of red food color did me in.  Because I had several of the biscotti (did I mention they are my favourite?) throughout the day, my allergic symptoms lasted much longer than they usually do.

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I don’t know which of the ingredients in the red food color (apparently red dye #40 is a common culprit)  I reacted to, but I will be avoiding any food tinted red (or pink) from now on!

 

Autoimmune disease

What is autoimmune disease, what causes it and how can it be treated?  This is my stab at explaining what I have learned since I suspected I have one or more.  A recent conversation with two cousins revealed many of my relatives have similar chronic issues.

There are many known autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, arthritis, thyroid disease, fibrocystic breasts, cystic fibrosis and psoriasis, to name just a few. They are all caused by inflammation which causes your immune system to work overtime.  When your immune system is on all the time, it produces too much fibrin, a mesh-like protein.  Normally our bodies produce proteolytic enzymes to remove the fibrin, but if too much fibrin is produced, the enzymes cannot keep up.  It does not help that our natural production of these enzymes starts to decrease in our late twenties.

Your immune system is designed to attack anything foreign entering your body, whether it is a virus, bacteria, toxin or food allergen.  When it detects something foreign antibodies are produced.  The problem arises when your organs get attacked by these autoantibodies and surrounded by the cobwebs of fibrin.

Although research has shown that autoimmune disease is genetic, the genes are not activated until “turned on” by toxins, food allergies, yeast or mold infections and viruses.

A few indications that you may have an autoimmune disease include:

  • unexplained weight loss or gain

  • insomnia,

  • heat intolerance and sun sensitivity

  • muscle or joint pain, weakness or tremors, numbness or tingling in hands or feet

  • rapid heartbeat

  • unexplained hives or rashes

  • brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor short term memory

  • constant fatigue

  • multiple miscarriages

  • abdominal bloating and pain, diarrhea

If you suspect you have an autoimmune disease, unfortunately, you will probably have to stop and reverse your symptoms yourself.  Why?  Because most doctors only treat the symptoms, hardly a long-term solution.  Pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars producing products to treat the symptoms, so why find the cause?  To add insult to injury, many of these medications increase the risk of cancer and severe infection. That issue is a whole other can of worms that I have talked about in a recent post.

These are my recommendations, again based on my (limited) knowledge on the subject.  I am not a doctor nor an expert, merely one who was frustrated and confused with my declining health at an early age.  This is not a get better quick process either, it will take months even years to straighten out.

Start with removing irritants from your gut because most of our immune system is in the GI tract or gut.  Problems in your gut are so much more than gas, bloating, and diarrhea.  Many chronic health conditions, like the ones listed above, start in your gut too.  Removing known inflammatory foods is the first step.  While it might be difficult to remove all of these from your diet, try to eliminate as many as possible.  They include:

  • gluten (a wheat protein): bread, bagels, pasta etc

  • sugar: brown, white, anything that ends in “ose” (sucralose, fructose etc)

  • nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, white (not sweet) potatoes, peppers, eggplant

  • processed foods that include trans fats and omega 6s

  • dairy and soy products

  • corn and other grains like rye, spelt, barley and rice

  • pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat

  • eggs

  • alcohol

  • legumes (peas and beans)

If removing these items from your diet for a period of six months does not do the trick, find a doctor that will test your stool for hidden infections and bacteria as well as your blood for antibodies, infections, and toxins like mold and mercury.

Once you have removed these inflammatory foods,  you can try supplements of natural anti-inflammatories.  These include turmeric, devils claw, rutin, bromelain, papaya, boswellia, ginger and yucca root.  I do not take any supplements, but I do include ginger, turmeric, and pineapple (bromelain) in my daily smoothies.

It is a long and frustrating process but can be done.  I know because I went through it myself!  Many of my previous posts, especially the earliest ones, discuss my journey to health.  In fact, that is why I started this blog.  Feel free to comment, email or message me with concerns, corrections etc.

The main thing to remember is this.  Just as the genes for inflammation get activated by allergies, viruses, infections, and toxins they can also be deactivated.

 

Christmas flu bug

This Christmas I gave you the flu, the very next day, you gave it away….this song, sung to the tune of Last Christmas is the theme this week.  My whole family has been sick with a flu bug, starting with my grandson on Christmas Eve.  He then passed it on to his sister, then his mom and dad, then his two uncles and other set of grandparents.  My husband and I have not come down with it….yet.  I did get the flu shot early November, so I may or may not be proof that it does work.

For the children, Pedialyte freezies (with electrolytes) helped to keep them hydrated and children’s Tylenol, borrowed from my neighbour, helped with the fever.  My youngest son favored Gatorade and ginger ale.   I have since stocked up on all of these products…

 

 

Sorry Carter, but I think I like Andrew Waines’ version of Last Christmas better!   Because this was your very first Christmas and you are soooo adorable, you are forgiven, but next year we would prefer something different!!

 

 

Massage Therapy and Reflexology

Jerrold Carton was my first cousin.  I knew he was a fantastic artist, but never knew he was into reflexology and massage therapy.  This post is written by his daughter…

Massage Therapy and Reflexology Art

In the late 90’s my dad decided he wanted to try to get into massage therapy.  After working all day as an Art Therapist, he went to night school in Kansas City for massage. When he completed that he went more in-depth to become a neuro-muscular therapist. He created these paintings for reference, which hung in his massage office. Eventually he realized that he was too old to be doing two jobs, and wasn’t willing to quit his day-job for massage.  He gave the paintings to a cousin who was also doing massage therapy, and she recently returned them to me.

 

relexology reflexology relexology

They have been professionally scanned and are ready to be made into high-quality prints on paper or canvas. If you’re interested, please email me at carrie@jerroldcarton.com