Conditions and Diseases

Swallowing Glass

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Have you ever swallowed glass?  On purpose or accidentally?  I can’t image.  But, then again I can.

How about being stabbed repeatedly by a knife, in the abdomen?  I can’t image.  But, then again I can.

This is how I must describe my bout with recently diagnosed diverticulitis.  There is just no closer resemblance to the pain when diverticulosis becomes an infection.

I never knew I had either of these conditions until last month.  I am pretty darn healthy and eat a vegetarian/pescatarian diet 99% of the time.  I occasionally will have chicken and turkey, but definitely get plenty of fiber, which is of high importance each day (and seems to be lacking in diets of those with this diagnosis) for someone with diverticulosis.  I still don’t know how I got this.  More tests are forthcoming.  (Including the dreaded colonoscopy, I have coined as the “butt scope”).

My doctor initially thought I had appendicitis and sent me to the emergency room, where I had a CT scan which discovered this lovely infection and condition.  I had a fever, as well.  I am so thankful I followed up, usually I grin and bear it, but I knew something serious was wrong, as this was not your normal tummy ache.

What is diverticulitis and diverticulosis?

I think I will refrain from going into all the disgusting, gross details here and point you here where you can read up about it if you wish: Diverticular disease.

Something I have discovered that has tremendously changed my symptoms and digestion is the Food Combining Diet.  I bought a little book and did plenty of research after hearing from a friend that it totally cured her symptoms and flare-ups from diverticular disease.

I added a simple little reminder chart here that I keep on my refrigerator as a reminder:

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Basically, eat fruit alone.  I have my fruit in the morning, before breakfast and after my morning cup of coffee.  Also, do not mix lean proteins with carbs.  Period.  I have lean protein (such as fish, chicken) with veggies and a salad for dinner.  You can mix carbs with veggies- those are the fun meals!  (Think pasta, bread and salad).

I have omitted tomatoes (high acid & seeds), hot things like peppers and jalapeños (which I love) and small seeds like sesame.

I am feeling good and losing some weight as well.  When we let our bodies digest foods in the best and easiest way possible, our bodies will thank us.

Getting older comes with many surprises concerning our health.

I am certainly missing my hot foods, but definitely never want to feel the pain of a diverticulitis recurrence.  I hope this was helpful to you.  I’ll let you all know how I survived my upcoming “butt scope.”  I’m more concerned with what I might blab during sedation (my doctor is a handsome devil!). Wish me luck!

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Homelessness: Desperation, Addiction or Scammers?

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I live in a relatively small coastal town.  It is not unusual to bump into people you know where ever you may be.  It is also very easy to recognize the homeless: new panhandlers and regulars.  Over the years I have learned how to recognize the differences between true homelessness and its desperation, as well as those sign holders who make their living for their addiction or even the liars, cheats, lazy scammers.

It completely pisses me off infuriates me when I see how many scammers and addicts have taken over our parking lot exit ways and streets.  I used to feel so sorry for them all until my encounter with the deaf-mute man at Jack in the Box many, many years ago.  I will get to that in a minute.  But, what really irritates me is our city police who do nothing about this growing epidemic.  We have an ordinance against such panhandling, yet these lowlifes people are everywhere…so are the cops, who choose to ignore.

Let me share some photos that pull at my heart strings (possibly yours as well):

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Those who do not hold a sign, but rather bring their pets (my heart turns to mush over animals) and a bucket/container.  I always imagine their story.

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^How about the ones WITH a sign, bundled up in blankets WITH their pet(s)?  This always makes me sad…for the dog.

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Now, we move forward into the audacity of some.  Some idiots people will actually give money to these types because they think their nerve is funny or others even applaud their honest acknowledgement that the money they receive will be for booze or drugs.  These type of sign holders truly anger me, and I feel disgust over the many who support their lifestyle.

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^Ever seen one of these?  I have seen a few in our town.  It greatly bothers me when I see such sign holders because our children can see them, the children who are at the age of reading well for themselves. Not cool.

Moving on, I appreciate the people who hold signs like this:

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or even this:

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…yet, I will NOT give them a penny.  They are willing to trade a service for food.  Really?  Sometimes I have given them a Happy meal.  Or offer them a job.  Most of them have turned down any job offered because “they can make more money holding a sign for a few hours.”  Seriously?  THAT infuriates me.  And we cater to this epidemic.

How about this one:

panhandler

These type of sign holders like to make you feel guilty or recount a scriptural truth concerning blessings.  Many religious people who love God will give to these types.  Panhandlers truly have learned the art in how to manipulate us all in some way or another.

Anyway, on to the Jack in the Box deaf-mute man, who I was pleasured to meet many years ago when I drove through Jack in the Box with my kids for milkshakes.  He greeted me at the order window holding a sign made out of cardboard which read:

“PLEASE HELP.  CAR BROKE DOWN ON WAY TO AIRPORT.  HELP MY FAMILY HAVE A HOTEL FOR TONIGHT.  I CANNOT SPEAK OR HEAR.”

As I was reading the sign he held in front of him, he was using hand gestures and facial expressions to pull my heart strings.  I gave him all the cash in my wallet (I think it was about $16) and used my debit card to pay for our milkshakes.  I also bought the deaf-mute man milkshakes for his entire family (family of six).  My kids and I felt so good and were just glowing during the drive home, feeling like we had helped this family.

Well…it was about two weeks later my kids wanted another milkshake and as we entered that same Jack in the Box driveway I saw the deaf-mute man once again.  Except this time, he did not see me.  He was hanging out with a group of sign-holders under a tree towards the back of the parking lot with their camper.  He was quite vocal.  He could also hear quite well.  He was even listening to tunes with ear buds, rocking out.  I spied on him for a few moments and my kids were dumbfounded as pissed as I was.  He was laughing and seemed to be having a great time conversing with the others.  I saw red!  I did all the math and felt so dumb.  I had been completely fooled by a “scammer.”

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Since then, I have a somewhat guarded heart and attitude towards sign holders.  I have seen documentaries about their addictions.  I have learned all about their “ways.”  There are so many resources in our county (as well as all over the United States) for the homeless including shelters, food pantries and meals provided through various churches and centers, our public schools serve lunches during the summer to ANYONE, the ACE program provides medical care, and we have donation sites everywhere.  Truly, if you are homeless in my town you CAN find a bed, clothing, food, shelter and opportunities for rehabilitation and jobs.  We have a few transitional housing centers to help families get back on their feet.  There is even a “river community” of people who are provided services for their needs- they live in our local river bottoms.  Usually when we give money to a sign holder or panhandler, we are only enabling them and feeding a bad habit/addiction.

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But…what about our heart strings?  My own has come to recognize the truly needy, the ones who do not hold signs, the ones who strive everyday to find hope.  We can be that hope sometimes.  Not in an enabling way, but rather much like a guardian angel whose paths cross with such at a particular moment in time.  I have crossed paths with one particular man over the years and just the other night.  He has a shopping cart filled with what little belongings he owns, covered with a blue tarp.  He slumps terribly.  He is very dirty and always sunburned.  He never holds a sign, he never asks for anything.  He just walks.  Sometimes he rests.  He travels miles in one day.  I wonder where his destinations are?  His clothing and shoes reflect he cares about his appearance even if he cannot locate a shower.  His hair is trimmed neatly.  A few years ago I passed to him a Von’s gift card I had received worth $25.  His eyes danced.  They even sparkled.  I KNEW hope came to him that day. I saw him again the other night when I was getting gas.  Once again I felt that urgency and pull in my heart to give him what cash I had in my wallet.  I found a $10 dollar bill.  It was as if he recognized me when I handed it to him and said, “God bless you.”  His eyes danced and sparkled again.  He was so thankful.  I KNEW he was so thankful.

Only we can decipher between true homelessness desperation, addiction, enabling or the scammers.  Follow your heart, but try not to let it be manipulated.  Let go of guilt, because there are resources available.  I know I am thankful every single day for what I have.  I take nothing for granted, honestly.

So, when your heart strings are pulled, let the song play.  Otherwise, grab a milkshake once in awhile for you and your own family.

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Cravings

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Recently, I have been craving fish.  My cravings have been daily and even in the mornings I think of fish tacos!  (No, I am not pregnant!)  I decided to do some research this morning to see if there are any reasons behind this that I need to be concerned about, and lo and behold, I certainly did see that may be I need to add some more calcium to my diet.  I love fish, but these cravings have been a little more than normal for me.  (For example I had salmon for dinner last night and this morning I am once again craving a nice tilapia filet for breakfast!)

Do you have certain cravings for particular foods or other strange things like dirt?  Here are the reasons behind 10 foods you may be craving:

1. When you crave dirt you need to detox

Either that or you’re pregnant. Pregnant women have been known to crave dirt. Some say that it’s because they need calcium. As late as the nineties, some markets actually sold dirt for this kind of human consumption. And gaining calcium might still be the case for those currently knocked-up, but dirt also seems to be a good way to detox internally. It was once thought that only humans and macaws ate clay, but recently researchers have observed more and more species doing it. They notice, especially, that animals do it in seasons when fruits aren’t yet ripe. Unripe fruits and berries contain alkaloids. They have been found to be toxic to humans and animals alike. Certain people today smear clay on unripe potatoes, which contain solanine, a bitter and toxic alkaloid. Clay contains kaolin, which neutralizes the bitter taste, and takes out the alkaloids, making the food safe and tasty. When people get a craving to eat clay, they’re acting on ancient, and correct, instincts that tell them they’ve been poisoned.

2. When you crave rice and beans you need protein

Lysine is an amino acid that everyone’s body needs, but can’t manufacture. Methionine is another. Beans have lysine. Corn, wheat, and rice, have methionine. If you’ve thought of, and are now craving, a meal that contains all of these things, it shows that you live somewhere on Earth within walking distance of a burrito. To be fair, there are plenty of less popular cuisines that blend those same foods together. They do this because the taste combination is incredible. They also do this because the combo of foods substitute for meat pretty much perfectly. The flavor and nutrition complement each other so well that, for a long time, it was thought that unless some combination of rice and beans were eaten at the same meal, the body couldn’t absorb the amino acids properly. Since then it’s been shown that it’s not necessary to combine the two in the same meal, but both are needed and the body craves them both the same way it might crave, say, a nice juicy steak. This means that our body makes us crave not only certain food, but suggests certain food combinations that give us complete nutrition. Our cooking isn’t as inventive as we think.

3. When you crave spice you need to cool down

There are quite a few reasons why spicy foods and hot climates go together. Spicy food, especially of red peppers, triggers immediate sweating. Generally, when you sweat, you don’t feel cool. The body sweats only enough so that it doesn’t overheat. A sweating person is still warm and uncomfortable. They’re just not dying. Eating food with capsaicin, though, triggers sweating above and beyond what is needed to keep the body from overheating. Capsaicin stimulates receptors that sense heat in the mouth and along the mucus membranes of the nose. The body sweats everywhere, trying to respond to the heat and flush away the irritant, and the person eating the food finally feels cool when they sweat, instead of just sticky.

4. When you crave licorice you need hormones

Addison’s disease is a disease of the adrenal system, often brought on by an attack from a person’s own immune system, that causes the adrenal glands to produce too few steroid hormones. This can cause weakness, abdominal pain, and can even cause blood-pressure crashes that end in coma. One of the hormones regulates salt excretion, which causes people with the disease to get rid of too much salt, and have extreme cravings for it. That’s pretty straightforward. Stranger, though, is their craving for licorice. Doctors couldn’t account for it, until they saw that licorice contained glasorisic acid, which causes salt retention. Without having any idea as to why they might want licorice, patients gravitated toward a food that had substance that relieved their symptoms.

5. When you crave milk in your tea you need protection with your morning beverage

Tea is not the bland, inoffensive leaf stew that day-time TV commercials make it out to be. It is out to get you — with tannins. These are a kind of astringent that scours everything from one opening in your body to the other. They’re also found in coffee, just waiting to scrub you out until you get sick with a digestive disorder. They have a dry, bitter quality that the body is supposed to interpret as, “Don’t drink this, dummy!” Sadly, people overcome that. Happily, they instinctively know how to cope with it. Milk protects the throat from tannin, and consequently cuts the bitter taste. The fact that we can tolerate milk at all, as adults, is its own kind of nutritional adaptation. Feeding milk to adult animals often makes them sick. Lactose intolerance is still a problem in a lot of humans. Milk drinking in adult humans has happened relatively recently, so it’s doubly impressive that, as soon as we developed the ability to tolerate milk, our taste buds lead us to ways that it can protect us from other dumb stuff we swallow.

10 Foods You Crave — And Why You Crave Them

6. When you crave ice you need iron

When I was pregnant with my second child, I craved ice daily!  For some reason, people who are anemic tend to have a voracious craving for ice. Whenever the iron levels in their body increase, the craving goes away. This is one of the cravings that isn’t quite explainable, since chewing ice doesn’t increase a person’s iron level. It could be, though, that patients are seeking to relieve their symptoms and not their core deficiency. With iron deficiency comes inflammation, and with inflammation comes soreness. Anemic patients especially tend to get inflammation in their tongue and mouth area. Chewing ice can relieve the pain before they even know that they have it.

7. When you crave fish cooked in greens you need calcium

My cravings particularly have been for fish covered in cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, in a corn tortilla, or with spinach.  Two different culinary traditions cook fish wrapped in certain green leaves. West Africans often wrap fish in banana leaves before cooking. French cooks wrap fish in sorrel leaves. Both have a practical convenience – the bones of the fish dissolve, making for less picking and choking. More importantly, though, it gives the fish a richer flavor that people come to crave. This is because the bones don’t disappear, or drip away. The calcium from the bones dissolves into the flesh of the fish, causing a huge boost in calcium received by the body. (A vegetarian alternative to this was found in Mexico, where people soaked corn for tortillas in water in which they had dissolved limestone. Limestone is calcium carbonate, and the tortillas delivered a huge amount of calcium to the diners.)

8. When you crave ginger you need to heal your heart (literally)

Ginger is one of those herbal medicines that make the rest of herbal medicine look good. It suppresses nausea, reduces pain, quiets the need to cough, clears head aches, and flavors food enough to make it tolerable to the queasy. Doctors found, though, that even when they weren’t sick in any measurable way, some people craved ginger. Studies revealed, though, that ginger reduced clotting that might lead to heart attacks, that it lowered cholesterol, and that it strengthened heart muscles. Considering how much damage it might have done to people who see results from ginger and then put their faith in unregulated herbal supplements, though, and it would have to do heart surgery itself to break even, socially.

9. When you crave caffeine you need a painkiller

Let’s say you’ve exhausted the painkilling power of ginger and moved on to manufactured painkillers. If one of them doesn’t get the job done, reach for a cup of coffee. Caffeine doesn’t just cause headaches via withdrawal. It’s been shown to boost the power of painkillers, and stop migraines from setting in. In fact, while some health professionals warn people away from coffee, others say about two cups a day are good. The stuff can decrease both physical and emotional pain, since it’s a mild stimulant that can decrease mild depression. Some studies show that it can actually help people sleep better, and get them on a better sleep cycle, since it’s generally a regulated habit that can get someone up at a certain time every day. Basically, this isn’t the devil-brew that many doctors make it out to be, which is why so many people crave the kick.

10. When you crave chocolate you need to get high

Chocolate took most Western nations by storm, and looking at it today, it’s easy to think you know why. It has all the necessary components. It’s sweet and fatty and the perfect dessert. Of course, the cocoa beans that first became popular weren’t any of those things. Although they were dressed up different ways, for a long time chocolate was relatively coarse and bitter. Originally it was mostly served with spices as a drink, or over snow. While early Americans did occasionally sweeten it, it took a while before Europeans thought to add sugar to chocolate, and even longer before they added milk. It was often served over meat as a savory substance. So why was this flavor so very, very popular?

Some people point to phenylethylamine (PEA), the so-called “love chemical” that people produce when they’re in love or feeling especially happy and excited. Researchers point out that PEA breaks down to quickly in the body to actually affect the way that people act, and that other food, like cheese, contains more PEA anyway. A more likely story is the cannabinoids that chocolate contains. These chemicals, related to the THC found in marijuana, trigger anandamide, known as the “bliss molecule.” This triggers a high of happiness and well-being that a lot of people feel after eating chocolate. Researchers point out that most people would have to eat pounds of chocolate to get the same high as they would from pot. Chocolate also contains theobromine, a compound similar to the caffeine that gets people addicted to coffee. Chocolate, as it turns out, is a bubbling brew of 380 chemicals, a bunch of which are known to have an effect on mood. It’s a darling little meth lab of feel-good chemicals in a heart-shaped box. Forget alcohol or tobacco, this is the drug of choice for pretty much everyone.

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So, with that I am going to take some extra calcium each day and enjoy my fish as well! I hope this information was beneficial to you!

Have a wonderful Monday,

Wendy