Tuesday, September 22, 2015


"Prolonged inflammation can damage your body’s healthy cells and tissue, and weaken your immune system,” says Stephanie Maxson, senior clinical dietitian at MD Anderson’s Integrative Medicine Center. 

Causes of chronic inflammation can include obesity, smoking, stress, lack of exercise, exposure to secondhand smoke and poor dietary choices. Chronic inflammation often shows no signs and many people are unaware of the health risks.

An anti-inflammatory diet can help avoid diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. This type of diet can also help with cancer, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Some TIPS for changing your food choices include:

Include more plants and whole grains:
  1. Add more plant-based foods to your meals. Make one-half of your plate non-starchy vegetables and fruits of all colors.
  2. One-quarter of your plate should include whole grains or starchy vegetables.
Limit processed foods:
  1. Choose whole, fresh foods and do your own preparation and cooking. Nutrients and phytonutrients keep us healthy in many ways including reducing inflammation.
  2. Skip fast or instant foods as they have less nutrients and more refined sugars, flours, fats and artificial ingredients. 
  3. Avoid processed meats such as sausages, bacon, lunchmeat and pepperoni.
  4. Choose water over soda and sports drinks.
Add Omega-3 fatty acids:
  1. Omega-3 fatty acids are contained in healthy foods which protect your body from chronic inflammation. These include salmon, tuna, halibut, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans and avocado.
  2. Omega-6 fatty acids are included in refined snack and processed foods such as cookies, crackers, sweets and frozen entrees. Read labels to avoid oils such as corn, sunflower, peanut and soybean.
Limit RED meats:

By limiting pork, beef, lamb, deer and buffalo to 18 oz. or less per week, you reduce many healthy risks.
  1. Choose high protein foods like skinless chicken, turkey and fish to reduce chronic inflammation.
  2. Replace some animal proteins with plant proteins such as legumes, beans and lentils.
  3. Choose grain and pasture fed animals which supply eggs, cheeses and milk.
Eat fermented foods:

Fermented foods contain probiotics which help reduce inflammation in the body. One small serving per day can assist in a healthy diet.
  1. Choose low-fat, plain organic yogurt or kefir.
  2. Eat sauerkraut or kimchi with a sandwich or salad.
  3. Add a cup of miso or kombucha tea before a meal.
Chronic inflammation needs the effort of your healthcare team to help you heal your body. Be proactive in contacting your doctor for further information and help.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article and I encourage you to learn more about healthy foods and exercise either from this blog or other articles on the web. Take care and see you again soon!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Natural Pain-Relieving Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

An article shared by NBC news* outlines natural supplement products that have proven laboratory results showing reduced pain in many patients. As one who uses some of these supplements, I can attest to their pain relieving properties.

Ginger, turmeric and holy basil along with fish oil are four natural remedies which reduce inflammation in the body. The article shares acclaim for these herbs by saying "some experts are already sold: "Each herb has its own scientific database of evidence," says James Dillard, MD, author of "The Chronic Pain Solution."

Capsaicin is another product used in cremes which is very effective for some arthritis sufferers. I personally have tried a variety of products using this red pepper supplement and it has only caused me more pain. I have neurological pain too, so this may be a contributing factor, I don't know for sure. But it may be worth a try for those suffering from RA or OA.

Homeopathic Arnica, part of the daisy family, is another herb used to reduce swelling and pain post-surgery. In tablet or ointment form, this ingredient comes from a European flower. Auqamin, a red seaweed supplement high in calcium and magnesium, helps to reduce joint inflammation.

More information is available in the original article found at http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26136767/#.UUXd7NFERIw . I hope you found some new information regarding natural remedies that be useful to you or a loved one. Please leave comments if you use a natural supplement that works for you! We can all learn from each other. Thanks for coming by today. See you again soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Green Onions

There are several laboratory studies looking at Welsh green onions. It appears the extract from the fibrous "root" of the onion is being studied for it's anti-inflammatory properties. This same little onion is showing a decrease in blood sugars in laboratory mice. Extract of this root is inhibiting colorectal tumor growth as well.

If you like onion, you might add a few more GREEN onions to your diet and perhaps it will benefit you if you have diabetes, inflammatory diseases or cancer? As research studies are published, we will find out more information about this simple little vegetable. Sometimes simple little changes in our diet can be of great benefit to our health. It couldn't hurt, could it?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Restarting the blog!

I've realized in the year or so that I took time off from writing on this blog, that I have really come to miss learning more about health and well-being. The diseases I come to live with, have become overwhelming and I shut out all of the world for awhile. So in the days ahead, I hope to post interesting article links and shared information. I hope you will feel free to share with me, your thoughts and insights as well. It's a quiet world when there are no replies.

With an optimistic outlook, I'll be seeing you around here!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

HOW do you develop GOOD eating habits?

I don't know about you, but I didn't develop my current health conditions by having perfect eating habits. It's the truth! First of all, I came from a family where you had to eat everything on your plate. We rarely had sweets around our house, so I remember making a lot of peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches. My comfort food was Mom's homemade macaroni and cheese. (This was actually before Kraft packaged foods.) The only vegetables that ventured to our table were from the naval commissary and sat in our pantry as canned peas and creamed corn, warmed up only as an afterthought.

As I grew into adulthood I didn't have the slightest idea how to cook. I decided to read a lot of cookbooks and ended up joining a Gourmet dinner group. We alternated homes and selected menus by trying to out do the previous dinner groups. Not exactly a healthy way to cook, but in my twenties I wasn't really concerned about healthful eating. I was an active youth and young adult, participating in dance, gymnastics, running and skiing and I wasn't concerned about my weight.

That was until the night, at age 23, when I was hit by a drunk driver and ended up in the hospital for 3 months. My physical activity basically came to a stop as I worked through multiple hip surgeries and months of physical therapy. My doctor's told me swimming was my best option. I learned to swim and did lap swimming for several years until I developed severe ear infections and a vestibular disorder.

As I raised my kids, I became more aware of whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables and started changing my cooking techniques for my family's needs. As the years went by I learned more and more and actually had the energy to invest more time and effort to create healthy whole meals. Some were more successful than others but we definitely had our favorites. Freshly baked breads with wholesome ingredients brought everyone running to the kitchen because of the amazing aroma.  As my daughter became a teenager, she wanted to be a vegetarian. I had her talk with our family doctor to explain the importance of eating whole proteins. My daughter depended a lot on dairy products for many of her proteins, however we did eat a lot of legumes and whole grains. Our greens branched off from eating iceberg lettuce and cucumbers only to spinach and kale.

As my health issues multiplied and my activities lessened, the doctors recommended I lose weight, their only "suggestion" was to join Weight Watchers. I did so, and through the decades the menus and food groups changed a little, but this is where I really learned to eat a variety of colored vegetables. My best success came when I prepared the vegetables as soon as they came home from the store. I cleaned, chopped, sliced and diced - putting vegetables into containers or bags ready for the weeks' activities. My kids loved this stage. They were very happy to have tasty snacks easily available. It took a lot of self discipline to keep this habit going and I did so for quite some time.

As my health got worse and nausea took over my daily activities, I lost much of my desire and discipline. There were months when I could not drive or leave the house. I nibbled here and there, trying to stop feeling so nauseated. It wasn't a healthy habit. We really couldn't identify the reason for the chronic nausea.

My arthritis got worse, exercising became more painful. I had multiple surgeries, nerve paralysis, liver disease and then I developed diabetes. This became serious. I've researched and learned a lot to help my specific health needs. It was earlier this year I learned about anti-inflammatory foods and am continuing to learn what foods help or hinder my health. It's been a challenge as sometimes I think I have it figured out, and then I have health reactions and try to determine whether it's food driven or not. Unfortunately diligence has not necessarily paid off.

I'm learning about nightshade vegetables, and as I select one of the foods and try it (say, tomatoes) I see how or if it appears to inflame my body. I determine whether I can eat a small amount, what variety and then track my food choices in a food journal. There are some foods (tomatoes) which truly inflame my body no matter how I fix them or in any amount. I add new foods to my diet - and in doing so, I end up eliminating other foods (mostly carbs).

When I don't feel well (which is several days a week), I don't like to cook or prepare food anymore. I just grab easy foods, but I'm trying to make better choices - like Green Smoothies! (Yum, see link below.)  It's hard to lose weight when I cannot exercise very much. My doctor is helping me manage the pain and try to do more. I try to pace myself and make priority lists to help set goals. I use the balance ball every morning to straighten my core muscles and stretch my back, neck and leg muscles.

I'm still learning - it's a life long goal. If you have had success in developing good eating habits - please share your experiences (here) with others! Thanks for stopping by today - hope to see you again soon.
Here's a link to try a Green Smoothie!  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/groovy-green-smoothie/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pain and Depression - Are You Overwhelmed or Proactive?

Chronic pain affects every aspect of your life. [It affects your quality of life as it limits your physical functioning, your ability to perform activities of daily living, and your ability to work. It has social consequences for your marital and family relationships, it may limit intimacy with your partner, and it may prevent interaction with friends. Given the pervasiveness of pain, it's no wonder that chronic pain affects your psychological well-being as well.

Why do pain and depression co-exist so often? Scientists have been studying this relationship through neurosciences and epidemiology and have made important discoveries. First of all, both depression and the suffering of pain are located in the same area of the brain. Second, the same chemical messengers are involved in regulating pain and mood.What are the mechanisms that affect these parts of the brain and these chemical systems? We find that depression runs in families, so that the stress of having pain may trigger the chemical changes in the brain leading to depression in persons who may be vulnerable because of a family tendency (genetic) to depressive illness. More commonly, however, a person has no family vulnerability to depression, but may get "worn down" by all the stress, losses and problems encountered by having pain over many months. Either way, this "wearing down" is biochemical, such that certain important chemicals (similar to vitamins) that are responsible for regulating both pain and mood appear to be functionally depleted. This is why the same medications that are helpful in depression may also effectively treat pain, because they enhance the pain and mood regulating effects of these chemical systems in your brain.

Seeking help and advocating for yourself are the first steps to treating your pain. Your physician's goals in treating you are to reduce your pain, improve your physical functioning, reduce your psychological distress and improve your overall quality of life. There are many different ways to treat depression and anxiety related to pain. Your physician may suggest one or more of the following therapies to reduce your psychological distress:

  • Medication
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Stress management (e.g., relaxation techniques, hypnosis, biofeedback)
  • Supportive counseling
  • Family counseling
It's important to remember that being depressed is not a sign of personal weakness – depression and anxiety are related to chemical imbalances in your brain. Depressive and anxiety disorders are illnesses that can be treated. Taking medication and going to therapy to treat your depression is the same as taking antibiotics to treat an infection – the necessary steps you take to get better.

  • Keep a diary and record changes in your pain and emotions. Bring it with you to your doctors' appointments to remind yourself of how you were feeling and when you were feeling better or worse.
  • Identify a support network. Support persons could include family members, friends, support groups. 
  • Educate yourself through books, reputable web sites, and organizations.
  • Set realistic treatment goals.
  • Stay active – with your doctor's advice and approval, begin an exercise program.
  • Try stress management techniques and use them regularly. Guided imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback, and relaxation techniques really can work if you work at using them. ]
This information is from the National Pain Foundation website:   http://www.nationalpainfoundation.org/articles/98/pain-and-depression

I have had chronic pain for 35 years (from an auto accident) and I struggle with feeling overwhelmed at times. I have found I cannot handle the stress of pain and depression along with other health complications alone. Sometimes I need someone from my support network to help me get back on track. Whether it's taking more time to pace myself because I'm doing too much - or  I may need to get out of the house and get out of myself. My friends and family help me immensely when I'm willing to listen to them and let them help. I will never forget there was a time when I had no support system and that was a very dark time in my life but I did make it through. I encourage all of you who deal with pain (or chronic illnesses) and depression to get the help you deserve. No one should have to deal with these symptoms alone.  Feel free to leave your comments here if this is something that concerns you. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Faux or Fresh, Foods and Ideas

I have been reviewing parts of Jessica Black's book, The Anti-inflammatory Diet and Recipe Book regarding the elements to avoid and include in an anti-inflammatory food regimen.  Along with this book and the multitude of research articles I've read, the main focus is to eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables,  along with whole grains, lean meats and rich omega 3 fatty fish. The success of this diet lies in avoiding all processed food and drink. Often dairy, wheat and corn products are also recommended to be eliminated from your diet for their inflammatory properties.

I believe it's always important for you to discuss changes in your diet and nutrition with your health care provider, especially if you have serious health issues. Often physicians don't have a lot of nutritional training, but they can refer you to a nutritionist or dietician. I encourage proactive education before talking with your healthcare provider. By doing your due diligence of reading and research, you can be more effective in discussing your symptoms and desired outcomes.

Setting goals and then checking back in a few weeks to see how those goals are working out is a helpful tool to use with your healthcare provider. Modifications can be made and re-evaluated over and over until real success is achieved.

I encourage you to look into getting the support you need to aid in promoting your  health and well being. It's hard to change life long behaviors, but if you are experiencing an increase in health related problems - it's worth looking into the options of learning new behaviors that can benefit you.

Thanks for checking in today - and I wish you all the best 'fresh foods' have to offer. May they nourish every cell of your being with needed nutrients.