I know a lot of you like it when I share what I am doing in my own quest for better health so here I am again to tell you what I’m up to currently. I do these posts to remind me what I’ve been doing when I look back, but mostly in the hope that it gives you some ideas or inspires you.
Generally, my health has been pretty static for the past two years now, so that in itself is great news. I am well unless I try something that doesn’t like me – which is far too many foods still, although I rarely react to chemicals and smells so much now. My diet is a bit samey and boring, but it seems to suit me. I have got some treats back in which makes life a lot nicer – the odd coffee (bean to cup, ground myself), piece of very dark chocolate, a couple of luscious Medjool dates or a bowl of almond flour/fruit crumble with honey. Yum.
I realise that there are certain parts of me that inflame easily and, if I have eaten something that triggers an inflammatory response, those places are where I will feel it. My weak areas are my head, sinuses, jaw, gums, spine and legs. A reaction for me is usually my back or legs going into spasm, a sinus or head pain (thankfully the migraines are nowhere near as bad) or gum swelling/bleeding, jaw bone/TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain.
I am convinced many of those symptoms would come down if I could get my general inflammation level down and my inflammatory response under control. I feel SO much better when I am taking anti-inflammatories (liquid Ibuprofen caps are the only ones I tolerate), but clearly I don’t like taking those too often and only when really needed. But the clue is there all the same.
Much of the inflammation is a lack of nutrients as I don’t believe I am absorbing very well yet. My diet is much more nutrient-dense as you’ll see below, and I have managed to get Quinton Minerals (Isotonic) and Magnesium Spray in most days which certainly helps. Oh for a wonderful TGF-safe multi I could tolerate!!
The other reason for the continued inflammation is the infection in my mouth. We all know by now the effect oral infections have on health systemically. The problem started about 8 years ago now with a necrotising infection in my front lower gum: a hole just appeared right in front of me. Sadly, lovely as my dentist was, he managed to spread it and it now affects my whole mouth and we gave up on antibiotics after the fourth lot. And later on any hygiene treatments, in fact, any dental treatment at all because it kept spreading, infecting and causing a huge amount of pain after each visit as I became more and more reactive to even the water they were using.
I have just coped with it ever since with teatree etc as I can’t tolerate any normal toothpastes or whatever. In fact, I know it is also related to food reactions because it settles down mostly on my status quo diet, but flares up again if I eat something it doesn’t like. Other than that, though, I am at a loss to know what to do about it. I am worried I will react to any treatment procedure especially since even Reverse osmosis water (which my dentist uses) sets it off terribly. Goodness knows what implants etc might do to me – I am losing teeth though now so something has got to be done soon, eek! Any ideas grateful!! Meantime, I continue to try and get plenty of Vitamin C in with blueberries and cherries, zinc as pecan nuts and swish my mouth with the Quinton as often as I can. Next, I’m trying a turmeric paste but it made it worse last time I tried so I’m not that hopeful
I need also to start using some brain training techniques to encourage it to heal. A conundrum anyway and more than likely at the heart of the reactivity I have left after the Healing Plan (UK version, US version here) resolved much of my hypersensitivity. I feel the Healing Plan has helped relieve the emotional causes of my chronic illness (which were huge and totally surprising!) and I am now working on any remaining physical causes. Determined as usual, but must admit the need for dental treatment is stumping me.
Anyway, that’s where I am.
My current programme is designed to
- lower inflammation generally
- increase nutrient-density and
- improve my cardio fitness, muscle and bone strength, which over a long term chronic illness tend to decline rather dramatically; I am so unfit!
This is my daily routine (well, I say daily, but as often as I can!):
Intermittent fasting or autophagy – known to lower inflammation levels and encourage deep repair and healing – I have started to do a 12-14 hour ‘fast’ where I stop eating early at night and have my breakfast later. I’m doing some research into this currently and will report on intermittent fasting more for you anon. Interestingly, in my 20s I did it naturally as I was working so hard (for Holland & Barrett head office ironically) and I felt great: tons of energy, very fit (I did a lot of fitness and weight training then too) and no reactivity to speak of (was this because I was so young??!). I tended to eat two meals a day: lunch and dinner. It may not suit me now in my 50s, but I’m having a go. On days where I feel rubbish, I eat like a horse and going 2 minutes, let alone 12 hours would be pretty impossible, but on days where I feel well (most now), I seem to be able to do it quite easily. I’ll report back on it anyway.
So, I get up when I wake (when the sun in my East-facing bedroom wakes me up or when the cat purrs very noisily and stabs me gently with a tiny claw…), drink a big glass of water to rehydrate and go to my garden studio (which is now my She-Shed rather than my office as I prefer to work in the house and have this as my private space).
There I have started doing a couple of sections of the old Elle McPherson the Body Workout I used to do in the 80s! I still love it and it is very effective. It’s a combination of cardio, stretching and weights which suits what I need. I used to do the whole thing in one go, but I’m being gentle and most days do the warm-up, a cardio section and a strength section. Incidentally, if you look on You Tube, you can usually find it somewhere. If the weather is nice, I go for a walk to the beach and back the long way. If I feel a bit less energetic, I might do a 10 or 20 minute Qi Gong session instead, or just sleep more! (Use the link on the shop page; I don’t have stock of this by the way).
Swish my Quintron Minerals around my mouth and have a shower, then make myself a cup of fresh ginger tea and chill for a while.
When I start to feel hungry, I make myself a large smoothie which usually consists of a banana, berries, apple (with peel for pectin that helps heal leaky barriers), pecan nuts (for zinc), brazil nuts (for selenium) and I add a date for sweetness. I vary it depending on what I’ve got. I use RO water (which I am currently having to stand for 2 hours or so to let something off-gas that seems to set my jaw off – they changed my usual filter, grr). Drink that whilst standing on the balcony if not raining and breathe in the sea air.
Lunchtime, I make a big smoothie-soup. I blend carrots, celery, capers, fennel, some green leaves, left-over roasted veg, a handful of cashews and water. I heat it up and add some seafood (raw prawns, mussels (more zinc), squid etc) and then drizzle it with extra-virgin olive oil, some Maldon seasalt and a few leaves of basil. I may have an apple after that or a couple of dates. I tend to go for liquidy meals for most of the day both for simplicity and convenience but also because it gives my body less to digest and the nutrients are more easily assimilated.
After lunch is usually my weakest part of the day. I tend to do my meditation here for 20 minutes or even have a restorative cat-nap; it seems to be just what I need so I listen to my body and do it. If I’m too busy, I’ll just carry on and get through it.
After work, I do a 20 minute evening release Qi Gong session. I find this really helps to release any tension and relaxes me ready for tea. I particularly like to shake my limbs out, which looks funny but really seems to relax me! I might have a bath, which acts as my sort-of stop button for the day.
Tea – I’m trying to have a bit earlier for the intermittent fasting. With the foods available to me, it doesn’t vary much and consists of either fresh fish from the harbour (quickly frozen to ensure less histamine) and veg, which might be roasted root veg, cauliflower mash, broccoli, spinach etc (always at least 3) OR courgette and carrot noodles with basil pesto and seafood OR cauliflower rice with wild salmon flaked through it. That kind of thing. I might have a couple of dates or a bowl of almond flour, honey and olive oil crumble on top of fruit compote, usually cooking apple (with peel) and berries simmered down with some honey.
I try not to watch negative things on the telly, preferring things that make me laugh or interesting documentaries, but I confess to liking a good drama! Go to bed quite early, read something inspiring or that helps my brain training (see the Healing Plan for how I do this) and try to sleep – which is not as easy as it once was as I approach menopause, a common complaint. If I can’t sleep, I lie there and do progressive relaxation around my body and repeat my brain training phrases so it’s useful time at least!
So, that’s what I do, or try to do most days. I can’t honestly say I do it religiously because life is for living and I might vary it – like having a coffee on the balcony yesterday morning as a treat and sitting on my bum all day Saturday reading magazines and papers! But I think it is good to have a framework to give us structure and help us move forward in our quest for better health. If we keep on the same path we are on, we will end up at the same place we are going, so we have to be prepared to change things a bit to end up at different destination – and that’s what I am always trying to do.
We are in control of our illness and how we feel about it; it is NOT in control of us even though I know it sometimes feels very much like it! We can’t solve everything, but we can inch forward ever so, ever so slowly and make progress. I always feel that if I have done something, even a tiny thing each day towards my goal, even if that’s more sleep or a treat that gives me joy, then I am forever moving forward and that gives me hope for the future. That has to be a good approach, huh?
Now – how are you doing? Do please share and inspire someone else with your great ideas. If you don’t want to do that on here, join our Purehealth private Facebook group or the TrulyGlutenFree one for chronic illness.
Right, lunchtime and soup for me….I spent the whole morning crafting that, oops! Emails after lunch, promise…