This is a fun time of year because it’s not only easier for people to make healthier food choices, it’s easy to find fun, healthy foods. Have you checked out your local farmers markets and food co-ops? If not, this is a great time to locate those nearest in preparation for your summer food shopping. A fun, easy and very healthy food to begin with is “fruit” it’s sweet, delicious and easy on the digestive system. Which is good for those who battle digestive issues such as IBS and IBDs. We’re less likely to crave comfort foods this time of year, so consuming more fruit is a great way to begin our day and a great way to wrap it up, by eating nice healthy fruit filled desserts. Fruit has incredible healing benefits, offering enzymes, healthy carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and cancer fighting tannins & flavonoids. For us Ankylosing Spondylitis & Autoimmune Arthritis Sufferers, fruit also offers amazing anti-inflammatory properties, while reducing pain and swelling. According to the Article: Inflammation and Foods That Fight via Arthritis Today, it is very important to consume a variety of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables routinely for best results. This is one of many steps toward achieving and maintaining a healthy “holistic” lifestyle. By eating fruit we reduce inflammation, pain and swelling, while increasing energy levels and wellness. We also reduce the likelihood of developing age-related and degenerative diseases such as certain types of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. We also enjoy the added benefit of improving skin appearance, our moods and mental sharpness. Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory & low-glycemic fruits are: berries, cherries, apples, pineapple, grapefruit, kiwi, plums & of course pears. What is your favorite fruit? Enjoy your summer even more by adding healthy, delicious fruit to your diet!
I’m a health, wellness and fitness professional & blogger. I also live with a form of autoimmune arthritis known as Ankylosing Spondylitis, as well as Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. I blog about how to navigate the symptoms of these conditions naturally and holistically, while also maintaining a positive mental attitude. I created The Positive Pear as a resource, where it’s my philosophy that we can be “Chroncially happy, healthy, fit & fab” in spite of living with Invisible Chronic Illness.
“Being Positive when Living with a Chronic Illness” has it’s own meaning for everyone. To many who are sick it’s a way of trivializing their suffering and to a small minority it’s this wonderful, peaceful state of mind that requires being completely oblivious to the realities of life. What does it mean to you? Being positive does not come at the risk of ignoring the realities of life, while pretending to be happy. It’s really about being as positive as possible in light of the circumstance, and that gives us the motivation and the ability to enjoy all that we can. I am an eternal optimist, I will always see the class have full and I will always find the positive side to any situation, but I am also a realist. Naturally “being positive” does involve” some degree of happy thoughts and smiling faces but that’s certainly not all. Being positive is a state of mind accompanied by appropriate action. Which if taken at the appropriate time will take us in the direction that we need to go.
I started the “The Positive Pear because I saw the need to encourage a positive mental attitude among people who suffer from invisible chronic illness, and more specifically auto-immune arthritis and aside from saying “be positive” I wanted to define exactly that meant to people who are battling chronic health conditions. While also providing effective tools, to help with achieving this goal. Those who live with chronic illness do not need permission or help with negativity. It’s a natural state of mind that we can easily gravitate towards, when we’re suffering. However people do need permission, encouragement and direction in terms of how to being positive. Sufferers need to know that it’s ok to smile, be happy and enjoy life without the risk of trivializing their own suffering. They need to know that it is not a requirement to appear downtrodden to be taken seriously.
“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh~
When I was asked by Tiffany Westrich, founder/CEO of the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) & WAAD Event Coordinator, to host a the chat ”Being Positive when Living with a Chronic Illness” I was honored and very excited to have the opportunity to discuss a subject that I enjoy immensely. I also knew that I had my work cut out for me, because this is not an easy subject to tackle with people who are in pain. I thought I’d start by addressing a few misconceptions relating to being positive and living with invisible chronic illness by counteracting these misconceptions with a few truths.
Misconception #1) In order to appear positive I need to smile, be fake and pretend to be happy all of the time:
Ok, let’s be real here, whose happy, or feels like smiling all of the time & who benefits from “fake” positivisty?? Absolutely no one. Though I’m often happy and I do happen to smile a lot, there are days when I simply do not have it in me. Some days you will not have it in you and that’s perfectly acceptable. We have to look at life realistically and accept ourselves for who are, where we are in our lives and how we truly feel. We are wonderful people who happen to be afflicted with a chronic illness. We have both good days and bad days and sometimes we feel wonderful and there are many times when we do not. Self Acceptance is important one of the very first steps to being positive. If we have unreasonable expectations of ourselves, then it becomes very difficult for us to be happy and when we’re unhappy we can not be positive.
Misconception #2) I can’t complain, nor can I speak openly and honestly about how my chronic illness affects me:
This is a very common misconception. I think the mistake that many of us make is not establishing the proper support systems. We attempt to talk about chronic illness and our symptoms with people who do not understand and have no way of knowing what we’re going through, so they can not provide the proper encouragement that we need. As a result they inadvertently trivialize our suffering. If we can not find people within our families or within our communities, we have wonderful online communities filled with people who can understand what we’re experiencing. Sometimes you need to complain, other times you need to cry and it’s during these times that you truly need someone who will be there for you without judgement. We also want to make sure that within our support systems that we have people who are truly supportive. If needed, we have the right to remove toxic, negative people from our lives. Remember “Once You Remove Negative People Positive Ones Appear” & Be Positive & Surround Yourself with Positive People. If you haven’t already, begin the process of establishing a good support system.
Misconception #3) Being positive means I must ignore the bad things that happen in life:
Another common misconception. As we roll with the ebb and flow of life it isn’t hard to miss that bad things sometimes happen. Additionally, misunderstandings, disagreements and conflict also happen just like eating, sleeping and breathing. However, how we handle the bad things that we encounter is what truly matters. We must keep in mind our physical challenges and the impact that stress has on our symptoms and we’ll need to approach situation accordingly. It is important to deal with whatever comes our way. If we’re upset, sad or even angry. It is important to acknowledge how we’re truly feeling, why we’re having such feelings and the best way of coping with these feelings. Seek resolution, by addressing issues if and when needed, or by ignoring them if appropriate. Most importantly being prepared to move on once an issue is resolved. Harboring anger resentment or ill feelings do not benefit us. Being positive does not come at the risk of ignoring one’s own feelings even the bad things in life. However, we can not remain in this “bad” place. We deal with our rough patch, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and forge ahead! During these challenging times, I like to refer to a poem entitled “Don’t Quit” “When things go wrong, as they sometimes will” read it & refer to it, because it serves as a nice reminder.
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh~
If “being positive” is none of misconceptions that we’ve discussed, then what is it? Being positive while fighting chronic illness means having a positive mental attitude, inner and outer strength, peace, contentment, wellness and ultimately happiness. After all, in spite of battling chronic invisible illness we also deserve happiness. Be willing to let go of some of the self limiting belief systems and open yourself up to other possibilities. What are the best ways in which we can achieve a positive way of thinking? I’ve separated these methods into (4) categories. Giving us the opportunity to briefly discuss the impact that adapting these methods will have on our frame of mind, health, well-being and over all attitude.
1) Brain Food: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha~ What we feed our minds is just an important as what we feed our bodies. Feeding our brains positivity and encouragement while help us to feel both positive and encouraged. This is why you’ll find beautiful picture with inspirational messages in many of the posts on “The Positive Pear”. I think we need constant reminders, because we have the distraction of our symptoms to contend with. We also want to surround ourselves with positive people who can reinforce the type of thinking that we like to have. Just as we’d surround ourselves with successful people, if we were striving for success. Also having reasonable expectation of ourselves, while accepting ourselves for who we truly are and where we are in our in our lives. May is Mental Health month and a reminder to those of us who suffer from physical conditions. We must be mindful of the impact that our conditions have on our mental and emotional health as well. Keeping an eye out for symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. Educating ourselves about our conditions, all of it’s symptoms and the appropriate treatment and all treatment alternatives not just medications.
2) Healthy Nutrition: Our bodies are working to hard to function as they should, in spite of having compromised immune systems and numerous symptoms. It is important to feed our bodies whole food nutrition and “real food” (chemical-free) focusing on anti-inflammatory foods such as fruit and vegetables, drinking ample water and eat healthy protein. While reducing simple carbohydrates such as: cakes, cookies, pizza, pasta excessive amounts of sugar and completely avoiding processed foods. When eating carbohydrates make sure they are complex carbohydrates, such as those found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains. A good rule of thumb, when “eating for healing” is that if you can’t grow it, then you probably shouldn’t eat it. Though that only roughly covers it:) Have you considered juicing? It’s a wonderful way of getting massive amounts of anti-inflammatory greens into our system without reeking havoc on the digestion system. (check out TPP’s Organic Juicing section) Additionally we want to limit our chemical exposure such as insecticides and pesticides, by buying organic whenever possible and keeping a good fruit & organic/chemical free fruit/veggie cleaner on hand. We also want to avoid GMO foods where the DNA of the food has been altered to grow these precise chemicals within the foods themselves. What we feed our bodies is incredibly important when battling invisible chronic illness, because we use food as fuel and what we put into our bodies can exacerbate or symptoms. We want good fuel, because we want to feel good as often as possible.
3) Exercise: Exercise is crucial to all, especially those of us who suffer from chronic illness. Staying fit can even help us to manage certain symptoms, such as depression, stiffness and chronic pain. What are some exercises that are helpful? For Autoimmune Arthritis Sufferers, strength training is incredibly important, because strong muscles relieve stress on the joints. Yoga is a wonderful way of maintaining flexibility, detoxifying the body, and fighting depression. Dance-Fitness such as Zumba, Salsa, Hip Hop Cardio, Hula Hopping are typically low-impact, incredibly fun and a wonderful way to sneak in weekly cardiovascular exercise without feeling like you’re working out. Also Swimming, Pool Aerobics, Biking, Hiking & lastly Walking which is something that everyone can do and it’s something that you can incorporate into a weekly fitness routine. Exercise reduces stress, allows us to maintain our mobility and it also releases endorphin’s which helps to regulate the pain centers in the brain.
4) Symptom Management: Using a well-balanced approach to managing our disease and chronic conditions is incredibly helpful. Eating well, getting proper amounts of rest and reducing your stress levels are incredibly important in reducing symptoms such as flares. Using healing methods such as exercise, yoga and meditation, natural and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, TENS, MENS, chiropractic treatment (for those without musculoskeletal conditions) herbal supplements, food based supplements such as protein powders which are high in amino acids can be a great way to supplement current treatment methods. Though this falls more under “brain food” educating yourself about your medications and all potential side effects and making changes if needed is also helpful for symptom management. Is your condition something that can be managed naturally and holistically? Consider it as an option and if not, further consider adding a few of these alternative therapies & unique healing elements to your overall care.
Brain Food, Exercise, Healthy Nutrition, Symptom Management are (4) of the key areas to helping us in working toward balance. Being balanced is crucial to achieving and maintaining a positive mental attitude and our positive mental attitude allows us to maintain our hopeful outlook on life. Thank you for taking the time to read this post on how to “Be Positive When Living with a Chronic Illness” and thank to those of you who also joined us for the WADD “World Autoimmune Arthritis Day” Live Chat hosted by The Positive Pear. It is without question, very possible to live “Chronically Happy, Healthy, Fit & Fab” in spite of battling chronic invisible illness.
“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be, for I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” First Lady ~Martha Washignton~
(All rights reserved. Please feel free to share this article in its entirety, excerpts or links provided full & clear credit is given to The Positive Pear Blog)
Health Activist Roundtable on Ankylosing Spondylitis:
On April 27th, I had the pleasure of participating in a Rountable discussion with two fellow advocates from the Ankylosing Spondylitis community. It was a great having the opportunity to discuss the myths that are associated with this disease, while providing accurate information, in an effort to dispel some of these myths. We also discussed the needs of the community and what we offer individually through our blogs & other social media platforms that we each use. Some of the tidbits from the discussion are posted on the WEGO Health Blog and I’ve re-blogged their post here:
“May 5th marks World Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Day, and in order to spread awareness, WEGO Health recently held a Health Activist Roundtable with several leaders of the online AS community. In line with WEGO Health’s mission to set the record straight this month, AS Health Activists debunked myths and misconceptions and shared their hopes for increased awareness both amongst AS’ers and in the medical community at large”
What AS Health Activists want YOU to know
- Awareness is the number one priority of the AS community. Many people suffer from this disease and yet no one knows about it. Patients often know more than their doctors, who often lump AS in with RA.
“I think people need to be clear about the precise symptoms that go along with AS and how it’s different from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Mental health and living with chronic illness is also an important topic that should be covered.”
- For those living with AS, your rheumatologist might not have all the answers. Because AS shares symptoms with CFS and fibromyalgia, an internal medicine doctor may have better tools to deal with those symptoms.
- Complementary therapies, including regular exercise and dietary changes, can HELP to naturally manage AS, but everyone responds to these interventions differently.
“The difference that I have run into is people not understanding the difference between autoimmune arthritis and degenerative arthritis. AS doesn’t just affect the joints, but also the internal organs. The eyes, heart, lungs, liver, stomach can also be affected by the disease. We need to talk about this outside the pain that we’re experiencing on a daily basis.”
Myths and Misconceptions about Ankylosing Spondylitis
Myth: Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is the same as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Fact: AS shares many symptoms with RA, as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. AS differs in several ways, primarily in that it can result in “fusion” of the spine.
Myth: AS is a rare disease.
Fact: “This disease isn’t rare but the disease isn’t well known. 33 million people around the world have spondylitis but it’s very isolating, I’ve never met anyone with it. The majority of the time we know even more about the disease than the doctor does.” – Kelly (@Hope4AS)
Myth: AS is a man’s disease.
Fact: AS does not discriminate by age or gender. Women are often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.
Thanks so much to all the Health Activists that participated, we hope that this Roundtable will help you to spread AS awareness and can’t wait to hear about all of your efforts today for World AS Day! We hope you’re wearing blue today!
When I talk about healthy gluten-free snacks I can’t help but rave about one of my all time favorites and that’s the Roasted Seaweed Snack by Trader Joes. These small paper-thin snacks are only 30 calories while offering only 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 50 mg of sodium. If you are now thinking, “why on earth would I ever want to eat seaweed” then consider its incredible healing benefits. Seaweed is packed full of Amino Acids, ionic and trace Minerals plus Vitamins, most specifically Vitamins A, B and C. It also contains Beta-Carotene and Iodine, essential for Myelin production which helps to combat symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by nourishing the mitochondria. Seaweed also contains high amounts of Iron, Calcium, and Fiber, along with the non-essential amino acid Taurine, which is great for alertness and mental clarity. Incredibly beneficial to those who suffer from *Fibro Fog, memory issues and depression. It also aids in bile production which helps with digestion. Seaweed is also instrumental in naturally lowering cholesterol levels which is essential to heart health. This wonderful super food also has antiviral and antibacterial properties, as well as an abundance of anti-inflammatory properties. Proving very beneficial to those with chronic inflammatory conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).
Seaweed also contains Selenium, Collagen, Asparagine, Boron, Bioflavonoids and Antioxidants. When you eat this amazing little snack, you are strengthening your hair, bones, teeth, gums and connective tissue, while improving your thyroid, eyes and skin. You are also sharpening your brain, removing toxins from your body such as mercury, lead and heavy metals, while helping your body to fight infection, colds, flu, allergies, and other respiratory problems. In addition to lowering your risks of breast and prostate cancer. Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack is vegan-friendly and a great substitution for chips and other high calorie, high sodium snacks. Plus, there is no need to swim to the bottom of the ocean to enjoy this tasty little snack. They are packaged nicely, sold at your local Trader Joe’s and are very reasonably priced at only $.99. They also travel well for eating on the go and they are quite addicting, so be sure to stock up!
Great packaging, opens easily and travels well. Roasted seaweed remains fresh and in tact.
Beautiful snacks which you can serve on a plate or in the included plastic container. They tend to absorb moisture rather quickly, so be careful of leaving them out for too long. Especially in humid climates, or you’ll risk losing the crunchiness which is their appeal.
Paper thin, filling and incredibly delicious!
If you like a little kick be sure to try their mouth blowing Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snack. I like spicy, but one bite of this flavor was all that I could take. I will say it’s worth trying and if you can’t handle the heat revisit the idea of the original flavor.
There is now neuroscience research that support yoga’s positive effects on anxiety, stress and depression. As the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga does this mean that one day your doctor just might prescribe yoga for what’s ailing you?
We’ve heard about the amazing healing effects of meditative techniques such as relaxation, meditation and yoga for many years, including how these reduce the activity of the autonomic nervous system, alleviating stress-related maladies, including migraines, anxiety and depression, among others. Now there’s additional medical research available to back these claims. Dr. Chris C. Streeter Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine practices yoga and conducts research on its effects.
Dr. Streeter conducted a study with doctors of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, comparing two groups of exercisers (group 1) people doing yoga and (group 2) people walking. After 12-weeks, those in the yoga group showed greater improvements in their mood and anxiety levels compared to the walkers, and there was a positive correlation between increased Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA levels were measured through brain imaging, and improved mood. The results of her study latest study is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinein 2010.
There is an estimated 20 million Americans practicing yoga. It’s no wonder that yoga and alternative therapies have shown up as elective courses at many medical schools across the country, including Boston University, Dr. Rob Saper of BU a former burned out medical student in the 80′s took a year off to study at Kripalu, the yoga retreat in western, Massachusetts, which he says, inspired him to “try to change medical education and medical care in a way that’s more wholistic” with an emphasis on self-care. Medical students at BU learn of yoga’s research-based benefits, in hopes that these future doctors will be able to exploit their knowledge to help patients as they become comfortable enough to include this alternative therapy in their evidence-based practice (EBP), perhaps one day prescribing yoga as they would Prozac or even pain killers.
Thanks to much research, the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga among other natural and alternative healing methods, this is a wonderful news for those of us with who live with invisible chronic illnesses, and their multitude of symptoms, and many of which we might choose to manage naturally. Yoga is also great for chronic pain, it also lowers levels of inflammatory proteins, and helps with many other ailments. As an avid yogi and sufferer of Ankylosing Spodylitis, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction, I for one look forward to seeing yoga or even acupuncture appear on doctor’s electronic prescription pads. Perhaps doing so will garner even more support from insurance companies, hopefully making alternative treatments affordable and accessible to everyone.
I’ve considered writing about this topic in many different ways over the past few months. I’ve started a few drafts, yet I struggled a bit with the most appropriate way to approach this subject. I desire to help others understand the importance of having a positive mental attitude while fighting chronic health conditions, without inadvertently trivializing anyone’s emotional or physical pain. I’ve also sat back and observed and I can’t help but notice the amount of negativity that comes from people who are physically suffering. When I’ve chimed in with my messages of hope and sunshine, I’ve been asked if I even know what its like to live with chronic pain or chronic illness. I initially found this surprising, then realized by the many negative comments and private conversations, that many feel they must appear downtrodden to be taken seriously. After all, living with chronic illness can often mean their conditions are also invisible to the naked eye and because these conditions are also difficult to diagnose, they’ve had much to endure. This showed me the great need for positivity within this group who are living with Invisible Chronic Illness and I set out to share my positive message.
By the way, the answer to that question is yes, I do know what its like to live with invisible chronic illness, as I’ve lived with two chronic conditions since childhood and another that I developed after a horrible car accident a few years back. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). Like most of my fellow sufferers I look fine, and because of my positive and very hopeful outlook on life, on the surface I might also act fine. I’m an eternal optimist and in spite of my difficulties and physical challenges, I’m the type of person who is most likely to see the glass half full, rather than half empty.
Why is this? When like most of you I’ve lived with symptoms of chronic invisible illness for many years, going undiagnosed or being misdiagnosed. I’ve also had my symptoms trivialized or blatantly disregarded by numerous doctors. I’ve had “friends” incapable of understanding why I would have bouts of spontaneous swelling or why I was physically debilitated for 8 months, using a cane & crutches without a single diagnosis. As a teen my mother would tell me that I was being lazy and would force me out of bed at 2am to wash dishes that I couldn’t get to because of fatigue, during what I know now to be AS & CFIDS flares. My mom would also suggest that I was far too young to be tired all of the time and that I needed to “snap” myself out of it. As my conditions progressed, I can recall my husband asking how long I’d plan to be sick, when it came to cooking and cleaning the house, as he sat and watched football. I’m sure that if I asked each of you to list below your many encounters with insensitive people, doctors, friends, strangers, or family members, that the comment section would be full. However, I know the effects of dwelling on the negative and as I recall these situations, I can still tap into the awful feelings that I’d experienced at those precise moments. I also know that as easily as I can focus on the negative, I can also think of many positive situations in my life to draw upon. I can name 20 very supportive friends, at least one doctor who finally listened to me, leading to a correct diagnosis. I can think of a phone conversation with my mom, as I explained the spontaneous swelling that I’d experienced as a child, was the result of AS and the debilitating fatigue I’d also lived with since childhood, was due to Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS/CFS. My husband has since taken over the cooking and cleaning, as I now sit and watch the occasional football game. My friends and family are now my biggest supporters, and I do not harbor resentment toward them because they did not understand invisible chronic Illness. I didn’t even understand it myself and I’d lived with (3) of these conditions for most of my life. I’ve also found great healing in forgiveness and not so much of others, but of myself. Letting go of much of the guilt that comes from being chronically ill. Allowing myself to mourn the loss of the former me and embracing all of who I am today.
Through knowledge I empower myself. I also posses an inner strength and a sense of joy that absolutely no one can steal from me. As my own health advocate I walk into a doctor’s office and I can say with great confidence that I’m looking for someone to partner with me in my health care. I want a doctor who is more knowledgeable about my conditions than I am and sensitive to my needs as a patient and when they are neither, I fire them. That’s right fire them! I recently “fired” my primary care physician after 8 years and I used the term “fired” because Its empowering. She had not been at all helpful in identifying any of the (3) chronic conditions that I have, because she continually trivialized or ignored my symptoms. I even had to demand appointments with specialist, because she would never refer me on her own. On one occasion dragging myself to an Infectious Disease Specialist, simply to prove that I did not have Lyme Disease. However, I had to sever ties, when she blatantly lied about finding a lump in my breast preventing me from receiving the type of mammogram that I needed. I felt this was an attempt on her part to hide her lack of cooperation with me on my many mammogram requests in the past. Now faced with a rather large lump she could have been exposed or worse liable. It was obvious to me that her reputation was of far more importance to her than my health, so, I “fired” her! I asked for a meeting with her boss, which I received, where he apologized on behalf of his department and proceeded to order the mammogram and ultrasound that I needed.
Even from this situation I can find a positive. I’ve gained even more confidence to stand up for myself as a patient. I can share my experiences with others, so that they too can the find their inner strength. I am not a victim of chronic illness and neither are you. As a result, I do not allow the autoimmune disease that I have or the two other invisible illnesses take control of my thinking or to define who I am. I choose to navigate through life with a positive mental attitude and so can you. because it is a choice. I also find great strength in controlling things that are within my ability to control. I exercise daily, I eat healthy, healing foods, I take natural herbs and supplements to give me energy and to help with managing the multitude of symptoms that I encounter. Knowing that stress is a symptom trigger, I keep my stress levels low by resting when needed, meditating, practicing yoga, making sure that I have some “me” time and by being grateful and truly appreciative for all that is right in my life. Being positive does not come at the risk of ignoring the emotional, mental or physical pain, the bad moments in life or the negative situations that we encounter. Life is full of those. Feel free to face those head on, cope with them, feel the anger and the frustration and be ready to stand up for yourself when needed. What’s most important about the negative things that we encounter in our lives, is not the fact that we encounter them, it is how we recover from them and its easiest when we do not allow these moments to consume us, instead allowing ourselves to learn, grow and move on.
Without question each day brings its own challenges, especially when living with chronic pain & invisible chronic illness, but we do have a choice when it comes to being negative ~vs~ being positive. Deciding to have a positive mental attitude not only empowers us, but it gives us the opportunity to see the wonderful things that each day brings.
Another TPP article giving us the why’s and how to’s: “Being Positive when Living with a Chronic Illness”
Zingiber Officinale also known as Ginger Root, has been used as medicine in parts of world such as Asia, India, and Arabia as herbal traditions since ancient times. In China, for example, ginger has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea for more than 2,000 years.
Ginger is an incredible herb with powerful anti inflammatory properties. I can attest to this, as I use this herb regularly to manage inflammation associated with an autoimmune disease that I have known as Ankylosing Spondilitis. It’s also good for approximately 100 other arthritic conditions including Osteoarthritis. Because Ginger is a natural and very powerful (cyclooxygenase) Cox-2 inhibitor, just as NSAIDs and aspirin are, it is also quiet effective for pain. I find it incredibly helpful for the pain associated with AS, as well as the widespread musculoskeletal pain associated with having Fibromyalgia.
There have been studies on ginger comparing its efficacy to that of aspirin and not only did it take smaller dosages to accomplish pain relief, there were also no known side effects. In further comparison to aspirin, it is common knowledge that doctor’s recommend daily usage of aspirin to inhibit the blood thickening enzyme which can lead to clogged arteries. The only issue with taking aspirin daily are the potential side effects, such as stomach upset, bleeding ulcers, joint discomfort and a potentially compromised immune system. Other studies show that regular aspirin consumption increases the rate of mortality, and this would include the use NSAIDs. One way to successfully accomplish the effects of aspirin without the harmful side effects, is to substitute with the use of Ginger Root. A cardiology clinic in an Israeli hospital now recommends that all of its patients take 1/2 teaspoon of ginger daily in place of aspirin. Ginger is quickly becoming the “wonder herb” because of its incredible healing effects on the circulatory system, even transcending the potential of many modern cardiovascular drugs. Heart disease is the #1 killer in United States, and individuals are becoming more “heart health” aware, wanting positive results without the harmful side effects, so its no wonder that ginger is growing by leaps and bounds in its popularity.
A group of researchers from Cornell Medical School published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 confirming that ginger did in fact inhibit the life-threatening process of platelet aggregation. Because of ginger’s many physical healing properties, it offers synergistic cardiovascular effects, such as antioxidant, strengthening of the heart muscle and lowering serum cholesterol. Ginger is known to actually prevent cholesterol biosynthesis.
Because of Ginger’s stimulation of immunity and inhibition of platelet aggregation, it has a positive influence on cancer patients. Ginger also soothes the stomach and aids in digestion, so for this reason its great for symptoms relating to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), flu, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, even chemotherapy related nausea. It also eases cold symptoms, and works as a catalyst for other herbs making their effects stronger, so for this reason you’ll want to be mindful of other herbs and medications that you decide to use with Ginger. Because of Ginger’s effects on the circulatory system and its ability to regulate blood sugar it is great for diabetics and for those looking to give a boost to their reproductive system. Researchers have concluded there is a significant increase in the sperm swimming ability and sperm content associated with ginger consumption, so with this being said Ginger has the ability to increase fertility.
Ginger is good for:
3) Stomach upset/Digestion
5) Morning Sickness
6) Chemotherapy Related Nausea
7) Heart Health
10) Blood Sugar
12) Cold & Flu
Ginger Root is great in many forms, Tea, Herbal Supplements, Liquid drops, Herbal Powder and Fresh Ginger. Do not exceed 4g of ginger per day. Recommended dosage: 2 ginger capsules, or 90 liquid drops, 1/4 Fresh Ginger, 1 pre-packaged tea bag or 1/2 tsp of Ginger Root Powder. Take 3x times daily or every four hours as needed for many of the symptoms mentioned above.
Contraindications and Precautions Ginger Root:
If you have any of the following, please consult with your doctor before taking: Food Allergies, Medical problems associated with your Heart , Gall Bladder (gall stones), Brain or Nervous System. Do not take Ginger if you have a bleeding disorder, taking heart medications, on a blood thinning medications such as Warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin or NSAIDs.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine. Side effects from ginger are rare, but if taken in high doses the herb may cause mild heartburn, diarrhea, and irritation of the mouth. Many of these side effects are avoidable if Ginger is take in capsule form, but remember it is highly recommended that you not exceed 4g of Ginger Root Daily.
The Kellogg Report: The Impact of Nutrition, Environment & Lifestyle on the Health of Americans, Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Medicinal Qualities of GINGER: Common Spice & Wonder Drug 3rd edition, Chart page 64, The Aspirin Myocardial Infarction Study Research Group. “The aspirin myocardial infarction study: Final results.” Circulation 62 (6, Pt 2.) (Dec. 1980): V79-84, Dorso, C., et al. “Chinese food and platelets.” New England Journal of Medicine 303, no. 13 (1980): 756-57, Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan ginger 2005 byYakugaku Zasshi, A Literature Review Of Ginger, The joy of ginger.” American Health, Bioscience Biotechnology biochemistry: Induction of neutrophil accumulation by vegetable juice by Yamazaki M, Nishimura T, Ethnopharmacologic investigation of ginger (Zingiber Officinale) 1989, Biomedical Reviews (Bulgaria)-Pharmacological effects of spices
Have you ever considered how where you live geographically impacts your health? This is definitely food for thought as we consider geographic locations and its impact on specific conditions. Its long been my theory that living farthest away from the equator, thus depleting levels of Vitamin D, has an effect on symptoms of certain diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis. I plan to expand upon this idea in future articles, but I came to this conclusion after moving from the West Coast to East Coast and seeing my AS come out remission, in addition to seeing symptoms of my AS & Fibro advance.
I think it’s common knowledge that our environment has a direct impact on our overall health. Perhaps its not too far fetch to consider the idea, that the state I currently reside in, might have its own environmental triggers, or perhaps its simply the climate. Either way its something to consider and how this knowledge could effect our futures decisions. It’s very exciting when considering the idea of place history and how our doctors might use this information when treating us, or how we might use this information when deciding on which jobs to take, or where we might live permanently or choose to begin families. It would be great to see doctors inquiring about this information on future health questionnaires, as this would be a step toward gathering useful information, that could potentially help both us and our doctors. Jack Lord MD got the ball rolling on this line of thinking nearly 10 years ago via the “Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care” project. Now there is an answer to the question of ”how environment impact our personal health” through the collection of data via Geomedicine software.
Geomedicine produces a new type of medical intelligence that leverages national spatial data infrastructures to benefit personal human health and improve the quality of the care medical professionals deliver. View the talk below given by Bill Davenhall Global Marketing Manager, Health and Human Services Sow lutions of ESRI. This is certainly an interesting way of viewing our health, as well as many chronic health conditions.
Amino Acids are protein building blocks and proteins are the building blocks of life itself. There are 20 which are crucial to human heath, relating to growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Nine of these amino acids are considered essential and required through proper nutrition, which will enable the body to produce the required protein. These are: leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine and histidine. The eleven non-essential amino acids are arginine, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
Many non-essential amino acids may not be required for protein building, but through much research it has been discovered that they are instrumental in healing and relieving symptoms of many conditions, thus used therapeutically. Many with chronic health conditions often have deficiencies of both essential & non-essential amino acids. Conditions and symptoms such as, Allergies, Ulcers, Anemia, Osteoarthritis, Autoimmune Arthritis such as Rhumatoid Arthritis & AS, lupus, cerebral palsy, certain cancers, depression, cognitive issues, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, associated with CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome), musculoskeletal pain and discomfort associated with Fibromyalgia, Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBD, ADD (attention deficit disorder) & ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), as well as others. Amino acids work synergistically with many drugs and treatments, so interactions are not ordinarily a concern, but if you have decided to supplement with amino acids, your doctor should be informed. A few Therapeutic aminos are L-histidine, L-Carnitine, L-Taurine & L-Tyrosine. L-Trosine is often low in individuals battling depression, as well as those suffering with kidney disease. L-Theanin is found in green tea and is said to help relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety, while enhancing focus and concentration. Which is perfect for those who are cognitively challenged, as with ADD & ADHD, Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyaglia.
Nine of the essential amino acids can be found in protein rich foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products. Plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits and grains, will only provide some of the nine essential amino acids. For this reason, a vegetarian diet should be balanced to ensure that amino acids are derived from all parts of the diet. Vegetable sources of protein such as nuts, beans, and grains are incredibly healthy, because they not only provide amino acids, but additional nutrients such as fiber, vitamins A and C.
If you are able to eat and digest protein rich foods such as meat, poultry, seafood & dairy products then you are more than likely getting your required amounts of amino acids. However keep in mind that many chronic health conditions can prevent absorption of many vitamins, minerals and amino acids through food intake, so supplementing might be required. Since our protein requirements are actually lower than most people consume, below are many fruit & vegetables sources of amino acids which you can easily add to your existing diet:
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a low-starch or low-carb food friendly list, rather its to provide overall information on foods which are high in amino acids.
Alanine – Main source being alfalfa, but also found in: celery, carrot, lettuce, cucumber, turnips, green pepper, spinach, plums, apples, guavas, grapes, oranges, almonds and strawberries.
Arginine – alfalfa, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beetroots, cucumber, celery, lettuce, radishes and potatoes.
Aspartic acid – carrots, celery, radishes, cucumber, mint, tomatoes, turnips, lemons, grapefruit, apples, plums, pineapples, melons and almonds.
Cystine – alfalfa, beet roots, carrots, cabbages, cauliflower, onions, garlic, apples, pineapples, raspberries, raisins.
Glutamic acid – found in carrots, turnips, cabbages, celery, beetroots, mint, lettuce, spinach and papaya.
Glycine – carrots, turnips, celery, mint, alfalfa, spinach, garlic, potatoes, figs, oranges, raspberries, pomegranates, melons and almonds.
Histidine – radishes, carrots, cucumber, beetroots, celery, garlic, onions, turnips, alfalfa, spinach, pineapples, apples, pomegranates and papaya.
Hydroxy glutamic acid – carrots, mint, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, grapes, raspberries, plums.
Hydroxy praline – carrots, lettuce, beetroots, turnips, cucumber, plums, cherries, figs, radishes, grapes, olives, pineapples, almonds and coconut.
Lodogorgoic acid – carrots, celery, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce and pineapple.
Isoleucine – papaya, olives, coconuts, almonds, apricots, pistachios and walnuts.
Leucine – coconuts, almonds, apricots, papaya, olives, pistachios and walnuts.
Lysine – carrots, cucumber, beetroots, mint, celery, spinach, turnips, alfalfa, germinates soyabeans, plums, pears, papaya, apple and grapes.
Methionine – cabbages, garlic, cauliflower, pineapples and apples.
Norleucine ( NLE a form of lucine)
Phenylalanine – carrots, beetroots, spinach, mint, tomatoes, pineapples and apples.
Proline –carrots, beetroots, lettuce, turnips, cucumber, plums, cherries, figs, grapes, olive, oranges, pineapples, coconuts and almonds.
Serine –radishes, garlic, onion, carrots, beetroots, celery, cucumber, mint, spinach, cabbage, alfalfa, papaya, apples and pineapples.
Threonine – carrots, green leafy vegetables, alfalfa and papaya.
Thyroxine – carrots, celery, lettuce, turnips, spinach, tomatoes and pineapples.
Tryptophane – beetroots, carrots, celery, spinach, alfalfa and turnips.
Tyrosine – alfalfa, carrots, beetroots, cucumber, lettuce, mint, spinach, green pepper, plums, strawberries, cherries, apples, melons, figs and almonds.
Valine – carrots, turnips, sweet gourd, celery, mint, beetroots, tomatoes, apples, pomegranates and almonds.
When supplementing look for free form amino acids and you’ll want products with a full amino acid profile, many will read “amino acid complex.” such as with protein powders or protein drinks. Amino acids work synergistically with vitamins and minerals, thus working naturally with our bodies. Though it is preferred that we obtain vitamins, minerals, as well as amino acids through our diet, when we are chronically sick or have malabsorption issues such as those related to chronic inflammation & IBD, supplementing just might be required. Be careful of taking excessive amounts of amino acids and be sure to follow label instructions.
Food based Amino Acid Supplements: Braggs Liquid Aminos NON-GMO soy (contains 16 amino acids/8 essential.) This product is great to use in place of regular and potentially GMO contaminated soy sauce. Should not be cooked or heated.
Coconut Aminos by Coconut Secrets contains 17 naturally occurring amino acids. Nutrient-dense, certified organic, dairy free, gluten-free, soy-free and raw-vegan friendly.
By ensuring that you are eating foods that are high in amino acids, or that you are supplementing via a well balanced protein powder or free form amino acids, you are improving your chances for optimal health, greater energy, strength, recovery, improved muscle definition, beautiful skin, better mood, better memory and enhanced brain function. Incredibly beneficial in combating fibrofog, pain and stiffness relating to Ankylosing Spondylitis and the multitude of symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, including depression.
Amino Acids, Angelo P John research based on amino acid cancer therapy, amino acid, amino food guide courtesy of Naturopathy for Perfect Health. The Healing Power of Organic, Real Food, Superfoods & Whole Foods, Nutritional, Gluten-Free, Diary-Free, Low-Starch & Inflammation Friendly Recipes