Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The power of vitamins, herbs, spices and supplements you cant pronounce

As a child I used to hate taking medicine.   To me swallowing Calpol was akin to some kind of medieval torture, up there along with needles pretty much summed up my childhood fears. That and ET.  I have a very vivid memory of chopping a refresher Sweets to practice taking tablets and still gagging when I swallowed even though it wasn't real medicine.  It's ironic then that I would go on to suffer from a lifetime chronic illnesses requiring me to take the very thing that I feared most and face on a regular basis and the things I suffered from nightmares of.  Needles not ET obviously....

Was fetus Charlotte crying because she'd just seen ET, had an injection or seen her reflection....

So it comes as no surprise that I would look at alternatives to give me the best chance of not having to swallow down any unnecessary pills or liquids.  FYI I've had to refuse any liquid medicine as it involuntarily comes straight back up (if it makes it down in the first place) ever since I was about eight.
 They tried to give me liquid Prozac once and I had to have it made into chocolate ice cream milkshakes and it would go down (gagging with every gulp) and then come straight back up (this is Pre ED).
You should have seen me when I was on liquid potassium they wouldn't believe that it just wouldn't go down.
Given my hatred for going to the Dr (and their hatred for actually speaking to me with respect and listening to what I have to say).  If I'm feeling under the weather or something is wrong I will try and do research and see if there's anything I can do to try and make it better or see if there's anything that I am doing that is making it worse.
I'm a doctors worst nightmare and googles DREAM. YEP,  I'm a googler.

But not in the hypochondriac"I think I have everything wrong with me" kind of way, 
more in the using google as a way of looking at what the foods, herbs and spices around us do to us and how we can use that to our advantage

I first got the idea of looking to alternatives, through my eating disorder.  Anorexia will drive you to do crazy things.  I wanted to have the best chance possible of losing weight naughty charlotte.  So I spent vast amounts of time researching what food/herbs/spices aided weight loss.  But what really set me on the path was when I started researching about natural laxatives and diuretics.  I would like to point out that I had a laxative addiction and had stopped taking the tablets so was looking for natural remedies.  In terms of diuretics, I  have a severe problem with retaining fluid so I was looking for ways of  keeping my silly little self, abusing diuretics with things that have natural diuretic properties.  Obviously I was obsessive with it (although I suppose in my silly little fucked up head it was for the right reasons as it was keeping me from taking tablets that were dangerous).
 If I read something was a natural laxative it became my new 'thing', even if it made me gag (chewing whole tamarind is one memory I won't forget). So it was about finding a balance and making sure I was doing it for the right reasons.
 Now I'm not talking about spending extortionate amounts of money on oils and tinctures, I'm talking about healing the body from within with foods herbs, spices, herbal teas, things that chances are you have in your cupboard.

I don't have magic answers for you, I'm just telling you about my weird and quirky ways which may or may not help you in the way they've helped me!
In terms of pain nothing I've ever done has ever relieved any pain but I can't say it's ever made it any worse so who's to say it wouldn't have been worse had I not have used one of the remedies.  Well, actually I have found a supplement after much digging around on the Internet that has made a difference but more of that later.

It works in the opposite way too, say for example I want to know why a food, drink, herb or spice does something to my body and makes me feel a certain way, or if it might trigger a symptom (especially if it's regarding weight, water retention, migraines or digestion) then I'll try and find out as much as I can about it.  Whether it's a bad thing and it's obsessive or whether it's just curiosity who knows .....

There's three ways that you can use the type of information available to you prevention, treatment and cure.  I use all three depending on what  the problem is and I'll give you some examples of how I use what I research and the information that I find for my specific conditions and also general everyday health problems.

Please note this is not a post about all my different ailments pains and illnesses.  That's not what I want you to take from this as you may have different health problems to me or none at all and just be interested in it and I want to make this so it is as helpful to as many people as possible. The point of this post is not about me and my ails but what I do and THATS something I hope everyone can take from it and by giving examples of how I've used my crazy little fucked up approach I'm hoping people can adapt it to their own life ( in a less fucked up obsessive way maybe)

Migraines (Prevention)
When I started suffering from my migraines obviously I was terrified at the thought of suffering from another attack and before we knew the reason behind them, there was talk about if I might possibly have a migraine trigger what that might be.
Suffering from chronic pain I was desperate to not add another mark on the body that I had to rate on the pain scale.
 So I did some research to look at what common migraine triggers were.  There are obvious ones, such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate, cheese.  None of which I ever consume.  I did more extensive research and discovered that there were foods that can be known triggers that I did eat and on a regular basis  i.e. beetroot.  Now I've never had a reaction to it but I try and limit it, despite my love for the pink stuff.
Through trial and error, I have discovered that I get a reaction from two foods and that is garlic, even the smell of it and Stevia.  Garlic is not a common migraine trigger, I think I had something once before a severe migraine and my body now associates it with migraines and that's how it became one. Stevia is well known to cause headaches and migraines for anyone not just people with a predisposition to suffer from migraines and now it's being shoved into everything, it's even in my beloved ketchup.  Shame on you Heinz, shame on you.  So for prevention I make sure I avoid the smell of garlic let alone eating it, Stevia, limit beetroot, and in this example nothing else I found really applies to me. I am however REALLY affected by smells, I have a really strong sense of smell anyway and there are certain smells that make my head 'twinge' those being coffee, wine,  any kind of pig meat being cooked (other meats are ok just pig so pork, bacon, sausages etc...), certain floral scents, lavender although there's a medical reason for this which I learned  a few years ago and that's because sniffing lavender lowers your blood pressure which is why it's used in calming and relaxing remedies to lower your BP. But if you've got already low BP it can make you feel dizzy or give you a headache.

B12 (prevention)
Shit gets real here. I cannot believe I almost forgot to include this. Just the cause of the thing that killed my feet. DUMBARSE. Vitamin B12 deficiency. B vitamins, in general, are VITAL (well all vitamins) when suffering from an eating disorder. When my feet problem first developed it was actually my little googly ways that came up with the idea that it might be linked to a B vitamin deficiency. "yes you're right we should look into that" * insert eye roll emoji and slow hand clap for my Dr please* if you only do one thing then I would suggest it be, take a vitamin B supplement. When you become lacking in B12 its difficult to get it back up orally so I have to have injections (always in the arse cheek that's numb thanks to the severed nerve that my incompetent Dr hit giving me an injection irony of ironies). The best food sources of B12 are Red meat oily/shellfish and for us veggies is dairy products, marmite, eggs and soya products (although these have considerably less amounts of b12 so you'd need to consume more to match the amounts in the meat and fish)

Arthritis (Treatment)
I've suffered from various forms of arthritis since I was 14. I was first diagnosed with viral arthritis in my knee. I now suffer from osteoarthritis in my hips and ankles (but I suffer from painful joints all over my body) This is most likely caused by over exercising on osteoporotic bones. I was told at my last bone scan I had the bone density of a 90 year old. This was about 8 years ago and has only gotten worse since then.... Natural anti-inflammatory which I love are turmeric, cinnamon and chai spices. Yes, the spices that make chai tea all individually have anti-inflammatory properties. Making it yourself may be tedious but it means you get the best out of the spices, it tastes a million times better (how chai masala tea SHOULD taste) and can be stored in the fridge ready for when you want it hot or iced. Ginger is also recommended, but I find it aggravates my stomach as I get heartburn due to being prescribed NSAIDs without being told I should be on an acid reflux tablet with it and developed a stomach ulcer..... Standing ovation  to my Drs for that one
 Apparently the nightshade family of foods is to be avoided which is aubergine, potatoes (hate them anyway), tomatoes (can't digest them), peppers (sad face) and certain berries. I've never really followed this too much as I don't eat these foods to a great extent anyhow but if you're eating them on a regular basis it might be worth cutting them out to see if it makes a difference.

Feet (Treatment) 
Something I really wanted to talk about which I can tell you definitely HAS worked.  It's not something you will find in your cupboard but is definitely worth investing in, if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy (ie my Feet problem).  I 've been suggested every type of pain relief under the sun, not even morphine helped AND that was liquid so *urgh gross gag*  Nothing touches the pain in my feet.  I'm doing another blog post talking specifically about my feet, but there are different types of pain so read that to understand more about it.
Having tried the strongest pain medication there is I'd expected that there was nothing that could help.  I was actually researching something else online to do with blood sugar when I came across something called Alpha lipoic acid, and the magic words peripheral neuropathy jumped out me.  I obviously immediately started to read what it said and was amazed to find that high doses of ALA had been said to be of benefit to diabetic peripheral neuropathy.  Although mine was not caused by diabetes it is essentially the same thing.  So I decided I had nothing to lose and although it meant taking tablets (and these are big buggers) anything is worth if it was going to help the pain.
After several weeks, I was gutted but not surprised that there was no improvement and the pain was the same so I stopped taking them.  Almost immediately the pain I get in them which gets worse at night got worse.  So I've noticed that I feel an improvement if I take them but when I stop taking them the night pain gets worse. And I know that I'm having a decline in my nerve function at the moment so I feel like the Alpha lipoic acid is keeping on top of any further decline so when I stopped taking it I can definitely feel the difference.  It didn't even occur to me at first that that's what it could be the first time I stopped, then  lo and behold as soon as I started taking them again I could feel the difference. There are also several other benefits to ALA especially if you suffer from diabetes so if you suffer from neuropathy caused by an ED or have diabetes or are at risk of neuropathy PLEASE LOOK INTO THESE! I got mine here as amazon was cheapest

Skin (Cure)
I've had clear skin all my life but annoyingly one of the side effects of my migraine medication I have to take everyday is that when I get an increase in dose I get folliculitis along my hair line and on my forehead. Like spots but not. Not great for someone with an already disturbingly high hatred for their appearance. But I've always used a topical treatment and normally they go down after a few weeks. But earlier this year I spent months on antibiotics for an infection caused by ermmmmmmm self injury to my face.... and I couldn't understand why my forehead was getting worse. I eventually asked for some stronger antibiotics but before starting them I did some research and worked out it was the antibiotics that had caused my forehead to get worse. When you go on antibiotics they kill the good bacteria and can cause an overgrowth of yeast causing a fungal infection in the skin (candida) which is what I had. So I looked into what can help this and started to aggressively tackle it as well as requesting to try a topical antifungal cream. AND IT BLOODY WELL WORKED.  I then had to have an increase of my migraine meds. Causing the other type of spots to come back and it's only just getting under control, today is the first day my skins started to like normal instead of gross and lizardy this year. GO ME! If anyone has been on antibiotics and their skin has not gotten any better or gotten WORSE, I would recommend speaking to your Dr about the possibility of it being an overgrowth of yeast so a fungal infection rather than acne. Although be warned unless its a dermatologist, GPs will find this hard to diagnose. I just asked for the cream to try from a nurse and did the rest without seeing anyone because I'm a hermit and can't even leave my bed... But if you DO think this is what you're suffering from don't this is something you should talk to your Drs about and I've mentioned below some of the things that helped me
Don't be fobbed off by your Dr if you're not happy then ask for a second opionion. Or third...

Hair Loss (cure)
Yet another side effect of my meds is my hair. I've never suffered from hair loss with my eating disorder, but as soon as I started on my meds I started shedding like a bitch. I used to have hair so thick that 2 days after I washed it, it'd still be damp. Within a year, I'd lost over half my hair leaving big bald patches along my hair line and throughout. funny thing is because it was so thick to start with it was then just getting thin whereas someone else would have been bald at that point! I did some research and read that biotin could help halt hair loss. at this point it was coming out in clumps. I didn't hold out much hope but got some anyway, I knew I needed to try something as my dose was likely to be going up and with every increase I was losing more and more. Within a few weeks, the hair loss stopped completely, I was gobsmacked! I cannot recommend this enough if you're suffering from thinning hair! Obviously supplementing a tablet isn't a substitute for a healthy diet, it's in addition to, as you can't guarantee you're getting the correct amount of biotin a day and with a tablet you're making sure you are.

So I've talked about my fucked up little googly ways and I thought I'd share with you what I've learned. This information is not meant to be used as advice to abuse but more to help people.
Here's a list below of my top ten herbs spices and natural remedies and what they can do for you.

  • Cinnamon- just sprinkle that should everywhere, sweet savoury, solid liquid gas it doesn't matter....Some call it the cinnamon challenge, I call it breakfast. It helps regulate blood sugar and reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Prunes- I've spoken about my prune yogurt before on one of my videos so go check it out here
  • Probiotics- By far the most important thing is getting back the good bacteria killed by antibiotics and I'd recommend anyway for skin or digestion problems which I also suffer from. I use these as I'd read they were the best and I was desperate. If you don't want to take a supplement Fage yogurt, also has the little bugs in (interesting fact did you know the bugs in probiotics are harvested in animal shit)
  • Turmeric- Its said to be a natural anti-inflammatory and good for arthritic pain, headaches, cold and flu, plus it makes your tongue a funny colour.
  • Cayenne- Obvious cold and flu benefits, also has anti-fungal properties, said to be good for migraine prevention, detoxification, capsicum is actually used as a topical pain relief for neuropathy (didn't work)
  • Coconut oil/Fat- Caprylic acid. The shit found in coconut basically. It dissolves the cell membrane of candida causing it to die off. you can get it in capsule form, coconut oil, coconut flour, my favourite Koko milk, apparently it's also found in breast milk, can't vouch for that.... Fat is needed by our bodies to live and coconut is my favourite, its great for skin, digestion, it tastes great, and it can't be stored as fat, it's used as energy.
  • Fennel tea- So I got a bollocking from my neurologist for the amount of green tea that I drank but you try explaining to one of the worlds best neurologists that "I have to because it makes me weeeeeee" if I'm brutally honest i hate green tea anyway so I looked at alternatives that were caffeine free but had the benefits I wanted and this great for helping digestion, bloating, is a natural diuretic ad it tastes better than green tea too.
  • Garlic/Asafoetida- As I can't eat garlic as it triggers migraines, I eat asafoetida instead but If I could eat garlic I would as it's got such amazing healing properties. Asafoetida is amazing for digestion, it has an onion/garlic taste and makes your tongue yellow. What more do you need?
  • Grapefruit seed extract- This is another tablet, it's a natural antifungal and helps promotes skin healing and wound healing. Although check for possible interaction with other medication.
  • Oregano-  a natural anti-fungal as well and helps aid skin healing.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid-  Multiple neurological benefits, migraine prevention, multiple benefits for people suffering from diabetes go here for more info

My fail safe recipe for Colds and Flu aka how to destroy your tastebuds in one easy step

Obviously when you're feeling ill the last thing you want to do is cook. to chop up vegetables and simmer and all that malarky but this fail safe can be cooked in 10 minutes and have you back to bed to let the healing feeling sorry for yourself and watching Netflix  continue.
I use Tesco value frozen vegetables as I like that they are all consistent in size, some veg doesn't freeze well and whole carrots are one of them, these are chopped and in my opinion taste better plus as all the veg is equal size it'll all cook the same time meaning you can get back to bed asap!
Get a small sauce pan and add in some oil or spray oil and add the following spices
1 tsp cumin seeds, ½ chilli powder, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp chilli, 1 tsp garlic, ½ asafoetida, ½ turmeric, ½ crushed chilli,¼ tsp cinnamon, ½ ground coriander, (cardamom pods optional) heat these in pan adding a little till you've got a paste then add in the amount of veg you want, this is enough spice to make probably 2 portions, note the 4 types of chilli, this shit'll unblock your sinuses in no time.... add 1 tbsp of tomato puree and simmer and stir until veg is defrosted and cooked, about 5 minutes, adding water to make sure spices don't burn. if you want you can add a tin of chopped tomatoes but I hate them and find it dilutes the spices, I like that shit spicy, I sometimes add raisins for a sweeter curry, or a little bit of Koko milk for a coconut flavour. It takes no more than 10 minutes start to finish will blow your brain off, the shit that's making you feel ill out of your body, it's full of every possible spice that helps unblock sinuses, ease sore throats and eases inflammation in the body

We are lucky in that we have the ability to have this wealth of knowledge at our fingertips via the click of a button and it's silly not to take advantage of it. So if you're suffering from something that you're getting little help from your Dr from, as well as badgering your Dr for more help,
Take matters into your own hands, see if theres anything you can be doing or are doing now that you shouldnt be that is making it worse.
 If nothing else it's bloody interesting! So all hail the mighty Google (less so google plus) I didn't mean it please don't delete my account except I kind of did you're just a bit shit google plus but please don't delete my account
Do you guys have any remedies you use? Or do you think it's all a load of Bollocks I'd love to know your opinon!

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