~ Food Has Power ~
Hello everyone! I am so excited to have found this great wealth of knowledge! I'm working towards taking steps to health, but with so much information it's a bit hard to know where to start! I'm a young single woman, and I currently live in India where I am tutoring missionary kids. When I go home to the States in May I will be working full time, studying part time, and eventually studying full time(nursing!) and working part time. My full is full and exciting!
However, over the past year and a half I have really struggled with my health. As an average American, I'm pretty healthy. My family(whom I live with when I'm in the States) does not use much sugar, we eat whole foods, I am a very healthy weight, and I live an active lifestyle. My biggest trouble has been allergies and sinus problems. Last fall I began to have difficulty with fatigue and constant headaches. I ended up with a chronic sinus infection in the winter and took antibiotics(I did take acidophilus while on the antibiotics). That helped for a while, especially with the post-nasal drainage from the infection, but eventually all(including daily sinus headaches) but the worst drainage returned. This fall, when I realized that I had a sinus infection again, I went to a different doctor. She gave me an antibiotic for my infection(Again, I also took probiotics), but when I told her about my daily headaches and chronic fatigue, she suggested that it was because I have chronic allergies which caused me to sleep restlessly at night, which resulted in headaches and fatigue. She told me to take a benadryl every night, which I began doing. The result was amazing. It was like I got a whole new life! I finally had the energy to do the things I loved! No one, not even my specialty doctor that I had been to before, had told me that I have chronic allergies(respiratory) and so I had felt helpless to do anything about how I felt. Now however, I'd like to find some long term solutions to the problem, and not just treat my symptoms with medication.
So, for what I'm eating: Here in India, I live with the family I tutor, and I eat their Indian food. So, basically we have rice at every meal with papoo(cooked lentils, onions, tomatoes, and spices) or curry(vegetables with a tomato sauce and green chilies). Usually one meal a day we have chicken, and occasionally salad(cabbage with carrots), onions and lemons, a dessert(American), or chaptis(wheat tortilla-like bread). And, I'm pretty much stuck with that. Twice a day, we drink chai tea. I love those times of day. =) We often have some fruit on hand--lemons, apples, oranges, or whatever is in season, and raw nuts. As a bonus, most things are organic and grown locally. As a bummer, the spicy food gives me super bad heartburn(Which, in turn, causes a splash up my esophagus, which takes bacteria up into my nasal cavities and causes sinus troubles and a nagging soreness in my throat.). If anyone has any solutions for this, I will love you forever! =)
My goal is to find some basic steps for living healthy, eliminating medication(I know that nightly benadryl can't be good for me, and definitely not the antibiotics), and feeling great! As you can see, I'm a busy girl. I'm not a full time Mom like many of you, so I just don't have the ability to do EVERYTHING, or even the 14 steps for healthy guts. And, while I'm in India I'm kind of limited in adding things to my diet and so forth, but I'm planning ahead for when I go back to the States. My current 3 daily things for health are: 1. Drink Water 2. Sleep Well 3. Exercise Daily I'd like to add two more while I'm here in India, and then maybe up to 5 more when I return to the States.
1. Here in India I do have a couple things on hand: Coconut Oil, Magnesium(Natural Calm), Activated Charcoal, and garlic. Are there ways that I can use these to help my gut out and improve my over all health? Also, is there anything I can do for my poor allergies to eliminate benadryl? (There are some visitors coming in January, so I have about a week left to order something to be brought over with them). And anything I can do for my frequent heartburn? I don't want to use antacids!
2. When I return home, I'm planning on getting a personal sized blender so I can make breakfast smoothies with yogurt(made from raw milk from our family's dairy)(Maybe kefir? Haven't looked into it yet), fruit, coconut oil, and probably sometimes greens and making that part of my daily healthy routine. What are a few other important things that I can do? I can't add 14 steps to my morning or day, but I can do 5. However, I don't really know what to pick. What would you say are some of the best things I could do to heal my gut and feel great?
#1 would be MAGNESIUM. :-)
And to focus on improving stomach acid: avoid liquids with meals. Chew food well. I'd try some raw apple cider vinegar in water (1tbl in 4oz) about 20 minutes before meals. Or some type of fermented veggie or fermented liquid with meals (again, just need a tablespoon). Cultures for Health can send some water kefir grains internationally. You just add them to sugar water or juice.
Zinc is important for adequate stomach acid. Many people/most foods are deficient. Pumpkin seeds have some. But, I give our son zinc and magnesium. Everything else I rely on food.
Nettle infusions are amazing for allergies. And they are inexpensive. Local raw honey at bedtime or a couple of times a day could help with allergies too.
I'd go easy on coconut oil, since you've had all of the antibiotics. 1-2 tablespoons a day is helpful. And yes - garlic any way you can!
Ferments are the most important issue to introduce, imo.
Bio-Allers is a homeopathic for allergies. It is inexpensive and effective and I think Vitacost.com probably could ship it to you. (there are different versions: nasal spray or oral; indoor or outdoor or pet allergies)
Sunshine, onions and rosemary can help with immune system and sinus too.
P.S. According to the Mayo Clinic, 96% of sinus infections are fungal in origin. Antibiotics do not help! Antibiotics make fungal infections worse and recurrent.
Also, here are Enzymes (food sources).
Thank you Pat, that is very helpful without being overwhelming! When you talk about ferments, is that the same as other homemade probiotics or is there a difference?
Yes, fermented veggies and cultured dairy (or dairy-free) foods.
The first thing I would do in your situation is start using a Neti Pot daily. I have seen people eliminate chronic allergies with that alone. Think of it like brushing your teeth - as in, it's a daily habit.
The ferments will help rebuild your gut, which will help with your immune systems. Nettles are also very helpful for allergies and easy to do.