Cranberry Health

Cranberry juice drinker? I’ve just read why the cranberry drink you get in the shops is worthless. Here is an interesting article on the importance of where you source your them and why it is important to get them organic:

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/food-and-health/cranberry-health-benefits-dark-side-of-cranberry-farming/

Read here to discover the environmental damage caused by cranberry farming:

The dark and sordid history behind America’s obsession with cranberries

Slow and Consistent

I have never been very consistent with exercise or worked my way up to a level of fitness. I walked up Machu Picchu with a couple of  friends and other, much more experienced walkers, over the course of 3 days and in a pair of not very sensible skater trainers I had just bought. I always just started new sports suddenly, working out for the amount of time I aimed to reach from day one, without any aches or discomfort afterwards. I guess that’s what being in your 20s is all about.

80 - Machu Picchu - Juin 2009 - edit.2.jpg

Similarly I remember that when I noticed my first symptoms of MS I had suddenly begun cycling to and from work (about 3 hours a day) with no previous build up or training – after years of not having cycled everyday/ for more than 20minutes at a time. First I had some vague vision problems in my right eye that seemed to resolve themselves before I got to see an optician. I was a hypochondriac at the time, so I saw one within two days of the onset of the symptom. A few weeks later, a strange and constant (over 3 weeks) pins and needles sensation in both my legs made me see my GP and then a neurologist. But even with that strange feeling in my legs, I pushed through and carried on cycling.

About 2 years ago, as a result of lower back and hip pain I stopped swimming and cycling  against my better judgement and giving in to my strong lazy gene. My back is much better but the last six months or so I have been unsuccessful in trying to get back into sport. I start up at the same intensity I used to practice at, expecting to be at the level I used to be at before I stopped. So from no swimming at all for two years, I would start to swim three times a day again, knock myself out, need to rest then do the same thing all over again and again. Even when the wise advice to build up slowly was shared with me – I understood: swim once this week, twice next week and three times the week after that. Well as you have probably guessed, that didn’t really work!

It looks though, like I have finally begun to make progress rather than maintaining or worsening my condition. I finally seem to be accepting the fact that any exercise needs to be increased very slowly, but also maintained as I go. So, although it felt ridiculous at first, I can now see that increasing yoga poses -by one second  a week (!!!!) is the way to go. With cycling it has been slightly more, but only very slightly – I am talking one-five minutes extra a week…So at this point I have been doing 4 minutes on the cross trainer per week for the last 2 weeks…and intend to increase to two 4 minute sessions a week this week – maybe – if I feel energetic enough. With yoga, I work through a set of poses everyday and increase the length of time I hold a difficult pose such as warrior 1; for about one or two seconds longer – each week. So last week I held each stage of warrior 1 for 10 seconds, and this week I increased it to 11 seconds. No lie. That is how gradual this needs to be for me. I now have an electric bike to it is pedal assisted and means I am not yet dealing with hills. Yesterday I did about ten minutes though as I was tired – it is important also to rest when you need to.

It is the same with walking – I am not going on a long walk until I reach that distance in my daily walking…but I am trying to walk every day to maintain the little I can so far do. It’s all about the long game….and so gradual baby steps, but maintained baby steps.

A. gigantea Aldabra Giant Tortoise.jpg

Finally though, instead of feeling exhausted after an exercise session, I am starting to feel energized!

Free this Weekend: Autoimmune solution documentary

So all episodes have been re-posted for FREE until 12pm EST Sunday. Please check them out – they are really useful:

 LIVE Q&A

Episode #1

Episode #2

Episode #3

Episode #4

Episode #5

Episode #6

Episode #7

You’ll get to watch the episode or episodes you missed, or rewatch your favorite episode.

Please give your family and friends this link to get all of the powerful information we have created in this entire Docu-series.

If you’re excited about this please take a moment to leave a comment under the video, we would love to hear from you. I would like to know if this Series has impacted you, and how.

Please take a moment to share this with your loved ones right now. As soon as they start watching, they will be deeply grateful you took the time to share this with them. And the conversations between you on health topics will be at a much deeper level.

… Have you seen the LIVE Q&A yet? 🙂 Go ahead and CLICK HERE to watch it here now to get this vital information.

To your health and happiness,and a life free of suffering and disease,
Dr. Tom O’Bryan and the Betrayal team

The Auto-immune Disease Solution they’re not telling you: Episode 5 – The Products Destroying You and Your Family

This mind-blowing episode is on the effect that our daily environmental exposure to toxins has on our health. The amount of chemicals we are exposed to everyday has drastically increased; up to 74 billion pounds of chemicals are being imported or produced every day in the US alone. Chemical use is being increased at a rate of 3% per year and it is estimated that this figure will be doubled by 2024…!

Of the 100.000 chemicals introduced since the 1940s only 5% of these has had their safety tested. Once introduced ‘successfully’ they no longer need their safety checked. Industry is not expected to prove these chemicals safe – it is only if proven detrimental that they are looked into! All US citizens now have at least 108 different chemicals and heavy metals in their body.

The toxins and heavy metals in our food, beauty products, cleaning products and general environment disrupt the communication of cells in our body – misaligned messaging between the wrong cells and organs takes place and the body starts attacking itself in self defense as a result. We not only need to detox our bodies of chemicals but remove them from our environment altogether. Some of these chemicals bind directly to human tissue representing the first stage in auto-immune diseases and cancer.

Our food is toxic. Supermarket chicken, even organic chicken is bathed in chlorine…! The mineral depleted soil our food grows in makes us vulnerable to the toxicity. The dyes used to colour the sheets we sleep in and the flame retardants they are loaded with have hormone distruptors. Hormone distruptors alter the function of hormone pathways in your body. Instigating autoimmune diseases. Here is   Please watch this documentary:

Episode 5 of this important free Betrayal series:

https://betrayalseries.com/episode-5-2g3msezd?inf_contact_key=16d06463ffe72f77aa4e558a44a4ea4bec4bbbf06597ab92d9286298af8d33ca

Free online today!!!! Check it out!!!

MUST-SEE Documentary on auto-immune disease; CAUSES AND Solutions

Episode 1 is a general introduction but episodes are being uploaded and removed daily. Today’s is on gut health PLEASE watch it, you may know lots already but I feel this is a great resource to summarize the important bits. Episode 2 (today’s) is about how digestive issues are a warning sign for auto-immune disease. If you suffer from digestive issues this is for you:

https://betrayalseries.com/episode-2-a5frf01y?inf_contact_key=614bf0088eb522a49b0798ddaae569c01ef2ba0c4d3a6c4a33e306b6c25644a4

Oh boy it’s complicated!

Why can’t they all agree?! Terry Wahls follows Paleo principles, but Wahls’ high-fat diet is basically the opposite of Swank’s low-fat diet. I don’t think I agree with her paleo principles any more than Christina Warinner does:

Dr Mcdougal – who, like Dr Terry Wahls has MS and got himself out of a wheelchair using diet has a message quite different to Wahls’ ; that starch is important! His book is definitely worth a read. In this video he is encouraging us to live on starch:

The thing is also that we are all different; so maybe we all need to be much more individual about diets. What do you think? Please let me know your views, I am interested.

Nutritional Ketosis: How Fasting Reduces MS Symptoms

Recently I have noticed that when I do not eat e.g. by waiting a while before eating breakfast in the morning, or through intermittent fasting: finishing dinner at 5 or 6 and then waiting a few hours in the morning before breakfast; I have no or much less MS symptoms. This has been a sum-what problematic discovery for me, as I consider myself to be under weight and am trying to gain not lose weight.

Terry Wahls, in her book has led me to a possible explanation for why fasting feels so good by introducing me to the notion of nutritional ketosis; the acceleration of the production of ketones through the reduction of dietary carbohydrates.

Ketone bodies are a by-product of burning fat. They are small molecules containing energy produced by the liver using fatty acids during periods of low food intake such as fasting or when on low carbohydrate diets. Ketones cross the blood-brain barrier where the brain cells’ mitrochondria can then burn them as fuel. The longer you are in nutritional ketosis, the more enzymes the body will make for burning ketones; the easier it is for it to use them.

Nutritional Ketosis is a mechanism the body has always used to heal and survive at times when food is less available, for our ancestors; this was during winter. During this time the body begins to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. Because modern diets are loaded with carbohydrates, our bodies burn sugar for fuel instead of fats. The latter is easier but not more beneficial. Glycolysis* takes place through fermentation, in the cell cytoplasm, outside of the mitochondria. Sugary, starchy diets cause inflammation.  Burning fat is better for the brain and means our bodies go into the more efficient form of energy production that occurs when we go into ketosis*.

*Glycolysis: spliting of the sugar molecule

*Ketosis: the metabolic state in which the production of ketones is increased

Here is a brilliant video of Mark Mattson’s simple explanation of how neurons grow and synapses are strengthened during intermittent fasting – how it can help reduce inflammation and improve the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA:

Here is another good albeit quite long video on Nutritional ketosis:

 

 

Swank Vs Wahls

I am reading Terry Wahls’ book on the treatment of autoimmune diseases with a high fat diet. I have adopted her mega veg/fruit intake and am aiming at 9 cups a day (3 green leafy veg, 3 bright colours and 3 sulfur-rich). I have also cut out all grains and legumes as well as started to eat meat again…following the Swank diet rules as described by Judy Graham in her book Multiple Sclerosis – A Self-Help Guide to its Management and which I summarise here.

I think that the high-fat content prescribed on the Wahls Protocol is too contradictory to the Swank low-fat diet. I am still awaiting a response from Dr Wahls on Twitter about the contradiction between high/low fat – but can see from her webpage that it will not come without money changing hands first.

I think that people with MS (or any illness for that matter) should help one another with their findings instead of charging others for the knowledge. Anyway – that is my view; Dr Wahls obviously has her own.

Roy Swank introduced his diet in 1948 and so many have benefited from following it ever since. In comparison, Wahls’ diet is quite new. Although a high-fat diet has helped her tremendously, according to Swank; following a low-fat diet is essential in order to stop the progression of MS. Seeing as Dr Wahls was unwilling to comment on the differences between the two diets, and given the greater time period covered by Swank’s research; I think it is safer to stick to Swank.

If there had never been a Swank or Wahls… there are still facts to support a low fat diet for the treatment of MS. The illness is most common in the wealthier countries of the world,  and less so in less affluent ones. The exception to this rule is Japan. What do the poorer countries of the world and Japan have in common? A diet less reliant on animal foods than the countries where MS is prevalent. The heavy consumption of animal fat in richer countries has a direct correlation with a higher incidence of MS.

I do however believe that you must believe 100% in whatever you decide to do to improve your health. The mind is our most powerful tool; what we believe is of utmost importance.

Dr Wahls’ book has been helpful nonetheless. It has reminded me of the importance of vegetables – I am eating LOTS more now by following the 9 cup rule. It has also encouraged me to give up all grains – not just gluten ones and I feel better as a result. I am still bloated and need to work out what in my diet is causing this, but I am feeling very positive about these new changes in my diet.

Finally Wahls has introduced me to the notion of nutritional ketosis which provides an explanation to why I feel better when I do not eat.

 

Nordic Walking Poles

After a very long relapse, I have been reprogramming my brain with physio therapy in water and the use of Nordic Walking Poles on land :). The walking poles helped me remain upright and keep my balance when I had trouble walking. Now that I no longer need them I can see that as well as improving my walking they have also corrected my posture. The physio is ongoing in the water with my lovely auntie.

I also had a break in the sunshine in May which was extremely helpful 😀

I LOVE WALKING IT IS A JOY TO BE IN REMISSION WOOOHOOOO!!

I will not be sitting through the cold next winter! Sun sun sun 🙂

Tis the Season to Have a Relapse

Every year it’s the same. It’s getting boring now. You do too much – just one more thing – just one more and then I’ll rest – just this and then day off – and, before you know it, you can’t do anything anymore, for the next two or even three months. Sound familiar? You go to a wedding, to your boyfriend’s gig, to a baby shower. You’re doing loads, you feel like you again. Nothing crazy, no out-til-6am like the good old days; but maybe until midnight (woohooo) twice in a row (uh-oh). Two places to go in a day – MS Action (home for lunch) then to my sister’s house. Exhausting. Seriously. That’s how it is. I’m feeling tired just thinking about it, (right n0w it’s 8.30 and I’m ready for bed, teeth are clean and at 9 I will be in bed, I assure you. (I will probably finish this post tomorrow.)

As I was saying, you go to a wedding, do the shopping, work on your project. Go to a funeral. For me, grief is definitely the straw that breaks the camel’s back (fav expression of a friend I used to have). How can I describe it? Sadness is heavy. It is a load everyone struggles with. It is something you let yourself give into, in the moment, you stay in it a while longer than your body is telling you you can.

I have been thinking about this relapse problem. I need to learn my lesson, and slow down – especially in winter, when my body is weaker. I need to break the chain, and I am determined not to relapse next year. I will lay low and sit this one out as I must, but next winter I will take it easy until the weather gets warmer, and hopefully, I won’t relapse.

Everybody Is Different; and So Is Their MS

Following the advice from a wonderful book I came across recently for people with MS, I put my feet in a (washing up) bowl of cold water first thing one morning and last thing that same night. The book professed that this was a great way to improve blood circulation – by dipping your feet in cold water for ten seconds, then exercising them over a towel 10-15 times. If I had thought about this before plunging (my feet) into it, I might have reasoned that warm foot baths always make my feet feel better and so this exercise was not for me. Instead, I inflicted MS symptoms (numb feet) on myself. My feet are still numb (albeit somewhat less) now, several days and several warm foot baths later.

I am in no way suggesting that this exercise is useless; the writer of the book (New Developments for MS Sufferers) worked closely with MS patients such as Roger MacDougall who felt it made a great difference. But it is not for everyone with MS; like most therapies/treatments of MS, you need to try them out for yourself and see what works for you. In my case for instance, I have noticed that going to bed early makes a HUGE difference to how I feel the next day. I do not always get to bed by 9pm as I would like, but aiming for it means I am in bed before 10 on most nights. Try it, it might mean giving up on nights out but it really might work for you and believe me it is worth the sacrifice!

So, now that I have come to the realisation that everyone with MS needs to do different things to manage their MS, I would like to point out that the MS Diet and the lifestyle I outline here on this blog, though proven useful for the majority of people  with MS who they have been tried and tested on; is not perfect for everyone with the condition. Some people for instance, might have an aversion to some of the ‘safe’ foods included in the MS diet – we are not all allergic to the same foods; finding your ideal diet is a personal mission. Though having said this, the vast majority of MS patients are allergic to cow’s milk, and to gluten – even though I myself denied this for some time, I have now realised that gluten is a problem and have accepted that I need to avoid it.

The basic diet outlined on this blog is of value to most people with MS, though you will inevitably find that you need to make your own tweaks to it. If like me for instance you tend towards anaemia; red meat is of great value – you do not need to eat a whole steak to benefit from it – stick to the rules so you don’t cross the saturated fat limit, but make sure you get your weekly dose. If you are a little underweight, legumes and brown rice are gold dust. You might need to cut them out for a while due to digestive issues but as soon as you are able to, make sure you incorporate them back into your diet. There are loads of easy recipes for instance like humous or my new favourite: lentil dip that can help you make these useful legumes a very tasty part of your diet. If, like most people with MS you suffer from constipation, you will need to re-establish a good balance of intestinal flora by taking an adaptagen or by following a gut healing diet involving the removal of wheat and dairy from your diet until you are regular again.

We are all different; make it your mission to find what’s right for you.

Health First; Friends and Family Later

Friends and family have always been important to me, but this year’s spring clean has also involved filtering out harmful relationships. I am very lucky; most of my friends have been extremely supportive of my decision to treat my MS without the use of steroids or disease modifying drugs. One of these friends is a doctor who prescribes allopathic medicine on a daily basis. She is one of the most open-minded people I know. She has never treated my anti-drugs attitude with an ounce of doubt, she sees that I believe 100% in what I am doing and so she is supportive of my decision. She is training to be a GP and I am so pleased for the lucky patients she will soon treat. There are other people in my life who have been much less supportive.

Being over-sensitive is one thing – and a thing that many people with MS have in common (if this is something you need to work on I highly recommend reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle)- but having worked on this personally, I find I am much less offended now by things that people say. What I am talking about here is not over-sensitivity on the part of the person with MS, but negativity directed onto them by other people.

Some people are blinded by the system we live in. People who work hard everyday have reason to be critical of people who are able to work and choose rather to claim benefits. However, whatever the government and the ‘free’ press want you to believe; these people are a minority, and there are many people fighting chronic illness who need to work part-time or not at all in order to manage their condition. When the Job Centre decided that my fluctuating long-term condition did not mean I was not fit to work fulltime, one friend rejoiced, claiming this was a sign of my obvious good health (!) I have also had several friends who were critical of my natural approach to treating my MS. These people are dangerous for anyone suffering from a chronic illness, and these are the kind of people that we need to filter out of our lives.

Another source of negativity is that of people who  do not approve of me taking responsibility for my illness, researching ways to manage it naturally and being disciplined in my endeavour to regain my health. A person I know who also has MS told me to “live a little!” when I refused to eat some chocolate cake (!) This was very funny to me; as I am following a diet specifically in order to continue living, and I hope “a lot” (!) but such is the behaviour of others who wish not to make themselves responsible for their own health. It is a personal decision; each person needs to make it for themselves.

MS is a challenge, it needs to be approached positively, and I decided, that if I am to succeed in my natural treatment of it; any negative influence in my life needs to be removed. It is nice to have childhood friends around, but not if their snide comments and mind games interfere with your healing process. One of these such friends snapped at me when I tried to defend her boyfriend in a discussion over him not being a professional, because he was working on an artistic project that did not generate much income. To me the sound of this guy’s creative dream was of great value and I tried to stand up for him but as a result was called unprofessional myself because I was working part-time. With friends like these…all the energy I invest into my health is undermined.

And so the process of de-cluttering began last winter, in the anticipation of spring. It has expanded into family life too, which has provided great relief. When family members are un-supportive or a source of stress or anguish the friction their words, actions or expectations bring to your life is just not worth it. So I have put one family member in their place, and where this was difficult to do, distanced myself from others. All of this has provided great relief and left me feeling unburdened.

Why should people expect you to do things for them because you have more ‘time’ or, if you do not work as much as they do, judge you as lazy? MS is a chronic illness, to manage it successfully you need to learn to manage stress – and remove unnecessary worries and tension from your life. Criticism, even when unspoken is felt and is very unhelpful. Things that other people have no trouble doing are not always as easy to do for someone with MS, no matter how ‘well’ they look. Chronic fatigue and brain fog are very common, as are many other invisible symptoms that people with MS deal with on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, I find that when people are critical and counterproductive in this way; it is that they are unsatisfied with their own way of living; they are only harming themselves. Distance yourself from that negative energy, it can only harm you.

In Judy Garner’s book (an essential read for anyone with MS), there is a section on relationships which talks about how MS cannot be walked out on by people who have it, but can by their partners. I am lucky to have a very understanding partner. But am aware that not everyone does. If you have MS and your partner or friends are un-supportive; you have great reason to let them go and start afresh. They will only hold you back, and may impede your recovery. MS is a journey, let it take you where you want to go, do not let others stop you achieving your goals – no matter how long they’ve been your friend, no matter how much they may need you; friendship is a two-way street. No one has the right expect anything from you. You alone can decide what you should do with your life; a stress-free life style with plenty of rest and exercise is the way forwards. It is great to have big plans. Recover your health first so that you are fully able to make them happen, leave the unhelpful people behind.

Slow Down!!!

June? Already??!! We are half way through 2014, and I was asked to reflect on it, but do find it a strange time of year to already be doing so. Usually June is busy, not reflective. By June we are all fixed in our routines, and (in Britain at least) dreaming of the promised sunshine. Thinking back on the year gone by usually happens for me all of a sudden somewhere in the middle of November. Now that I think of it, this always happens in November, I don’t really know why. Perhaps because the end of the year is looming and I am thinking about all the things I didn’t quite get round to doing. Looking back through my diaries I can see several ‘November Again’ entries. It is always November that gets me. But perhaps it isn’t a bad idea to look back on the first half of the year, now; that we still have a 6-month-shot at carrying out any plans we had in the New Year.

Now that I look back on the first half of 2014, I realise that something important has changed this year. Something important that I might not have been able to place in time had I not looked back until my customary November panic. As I sit at my desk writing, I am aware of a scruffy list I have placed on top of a messy, and surprisingly high, pile of other lists. In the past, my endless lists, (which are nothing new) would have been a reason to stop writing and get back to work as it were, running and completing errands; reasserting goals, making them more realistic…if not crossing them out altogether! As I sit and reflect on the last six months, I realise that this year has been a bit different to the last few. Although it has raced by, like the last five years or so; faster even, I have felt able to do things in my own time, and for once, not been getting annoyed at myself for not fulfilling my January, February, April goals on time.

Since my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis in late 2009, my perception of time has been constantly changing. At first, it was all about doing as much as I could in the time I had left – MS kind of reminded me that we are not here forever. I sort of panicked and decided I needed to focus on things I really wanted to do. I started learning German, took up drawing lessons, learnt to use a sewing machine, really got into yoga, took up the bass guitar, started singing lessons, decided to write a book, all this on top of a new healthy lifestyle, all at roughly the same time (!) Soon I started to work as a teacher full-time, and still had most of these other plans in the back of my mind, picking up one then the other on weekends or holidays and after hours of marking homework!

MS has been a wonderful eye-opener. Although initially I rushed in all directions trying to do everything, it has also made me learn to enjoy the moment, and to reject unnecessary stress and distress. And, gradually, as I have learnt to maintain my health – both physical and mental, it has also made me realise that if I am going to live well for as long as I can, I need to slow down when I have symptoms/relapses – or rather, before they begin at all.

2014, for me has been putting this last, important realisation, into practice. I have lots of goals and lots of things I was expecting to have started this year, that I have not yet been able to. But there is one thing that has really started to change; I have slowed down, and learnt to stop when I need to rest, before reaching the point of no return, the point I always reach; where I have overdone things, again. This, for me, has been a tremendous achievement, and I am working each day to remind myself, that although time is whizzing away, there is no point in doing everything, if it eventually means I will reach a point where I can no longer do anything anymore. I am also very pleased to have stopped like this; mid-year, to notice this change, which I have known for some time now; was a necessary one.

A close friend of mine turned 30 this year, and as I thought about useful things to tell her in this significant year; the year that I too will turn 30; I came across a very wise piece of advice for 30-somethings: You can’t have everything; Focus On Doing a Few Things Really Well. This made a lot of sense to me. Instead of spreading yourself thinly, trying a bit of everything; the key is to try to do fewer things, well, in-depth and whole heartedly.

I feel like the universe has been trying to tell me this since the death of both of my grandmas in late 2013. When my grandmothers of 95 and 89 who had lived 4456 KM away from one another their entire lives, never meeting; died within a month of each other; I felt they were both sending me the same message: that I am not going to live forever, that no one is immortal. In my reading I have come across a similar message. I am currently reading the books of Carlos Castaneda. He relates the teachings of Don Juan, who argues that the only life worth living is that of a warrior; someone who performs every act as if it were their last on earth. The universe is telling me that I will not be here forever and so I’d better get on with my plans, and do them well!

Although I have decided on a few things to focus on, my main personal goal is to stay well, and to do this, I need to continue to take things slowly. So I am not worrying about not accomplishing too much this year; I have already achieved perhaps one of the most important life goals for myself, as part of my management of MS. I hope that you too will have decided on a few important things to focus on; and if you haven’t yet decided/started working on it – you still have six glorious months in which to do so.

Free Books on Alternative Treatment of MS in the UK

Overcoming MS (Prof george jelinek) and Recovering from MS – two books I have read and recommend, especially the first one, are being sent to people for free for a limited time only in the UK. All you need to do is write to:

omsuk@overcomingms.org

Tell them you saw a leaflet about the two above mentioned books and you’d like to get them for free.

I think this will only be available for a short time period, as when I received mine, there was a leaflet with it advertising an event in London on the 16th June for £65(!) – so I think the free books are about creating an interest in the event. The books are free though, so go forth and order!!

Also, it looks like these books are only being given to the newly-diagnosed, which I think is quite unfair. So make sure that when you are asked, you give a diagnosis date will falls in the last six months.