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Full Version: You make me feel like a natural-ly health woman! (Alternative medicine thread)
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cloverbee
it's how we appraise what happens in our bodies that cause us the undue stress. If my heart starts racing right now, I could think "wow, I may be having a heart attack" or I could think "hmmm...I must be excited about soemething, Yay!". And sometimes our thoughts that we are unaware of cause us bodily stress and sensations. But mostly when we are dealing w/ stress in our daily lives, it triggers our HPA Axis to release stress hormones which affect our bodies. it's a cycle.
midgemcgrath
clover--

if you grind up the flax seeds be aware that they absorb a LOT of water, so especially if you are IBS-c make sure you drink a lot of water with it!

about the anxiety, i have had amazing improvements with mainly practicing rational thinking to realize i'm not trapped and that i am in control of the situation, and also doing deep yoga-style breathing. (actually doing yoga all together has been a great help!)

and i used to have a lot of trouble with fatigue, until i found that it was being caused by food allergies, so after eating something i would get this crazy fatigue, like i couldn't even move i was so tired, until my ibs would act up, i'd poop it all out, and then be fine and awake again. so, if you ever get a chance to look into food intolerances/allergies with a nutritionist or allergist, that might be useful.

*hugs*
cloverbee
midge, you are very fortunate in that you can control those thoughts. Some people, especially those w/ OCD, aren't able to do that and the anxiety just builds and builds. I've learned to become much more rational through the use of medications but I still ruminate constantly about diseases. I just no longer am a slave to my bodily reactions.
angelle321
I've been meaning to ask this but kept forgetting. I've long been interested and wondering, how does one get into alternative medicine, if one wants a more formal education/training? I'm thinking I'd have to get more specific in what I want to know... but at this point I'm not really sure. And if it happened that a more formal education in it weren't available in my area (I'm in the mid-Michigan area) then what would be some good resources to become self-taught?
chachaheels
Usually people get into alternative medicine because they've found really good results with a particular practitioner, especially after experiencing little success with conventional medicine. Many become interested because they learn they are dealing with a chronic illness or disease--and conventional medicine has very few options for treatment for chronic disease of any kind.

There are many excellent schools in North America which offer high quality training and clinical preceptorships as well; there are also a number of regulatory bodies or associations for practitioners of the types of alternative medicine which can be very helpful in giving you an idea about prerequisites, length of study, number of hours required in the training and the scope of training involved in each medical system. If you're interested in naturopathic medicine, there are great schools in Oregon and in California which offer what I think is the best foundation training in all of North America--the one in Oregon will also allow you to choose to specialize your naturopathic training so that you can focus the majority of your studies on a medical system you might find really drawn to. If you're looking for training in Homeopathy, there is a North American Society of Homeopaths which spells out basic training requirements to look for in schools of homeopathic medicine (there is a standard of practice in the world that all classical homeopaths should meet). A friend I know belongs to an association regulating ayurvedic practice in North America (I don't know the details, but I can get them for you) so I might be able to direct you if you wish to PM me.
midgemcgrath
yes, clover, i realize how lucky i am especially seeing what a lot of the other busties go through, i am definately on the lighter end of the spectrum, and i think i started dealing with it fairly early too, which was good. of course i still have days where i can't rationalize things and use all those techniques, but that doesn' happen too often anymore, thank goodness. it'll be a real test next week if i make it through my thesis defence without having a panic attack!

that reminds me...anyone know of any good ways to be super relaxed (other than valerian...don't want to fall asleep either!)
halcyon
Have you ever drank kombucha, Midge? I like the synergy brand drinks (from natural foods stores); it seems to mellow me out a bit, but I recently found out that it's got some very small percentage of alcohol in it too. hah! Maybe that's why.
cloverbee
well, you could try a beta-blocker but they are harder to get. I use Ativan when I have to give a speech. You will need a script for that. Ummm....you can try GABA. There was another busty who said that they get it in some drops at Whole Foods. Hmmm.....otherwise, you will need some relaxation techniques. Good luck.
midgemcgrath
halcyon--no, i haven't heard of that...but if there's alcohol in it, that's a no-go for me unfortunately...

clover--yeah, i'm not really looking for anything prescription strength, that would be asking for more trouble than it's worth in my opinion. drops from whole foods though? interesting, i wonder what they were... maybe if i go there and ask someone will know?
cloverbee
they should know. You could also try some chamomile or scullcap. there are lots of herbs out there for relaxation.
chachaheels
Those herbs--and the prescription drugs mentioned!--might put you to sleep, not just "relax" you. If you use too much of the herbs, you'll incur an exacerbation of the nervousness you're trying to calm; though I wouldn't take them just before the defense, I'd probably use a cup of tea with valerian or chamomile just to help me sleep the night before. Getting all the rest you need makes a huge difference in how prepared you feel for the task.

If you're worried about a real panic attack, the best thing to do is prepare yourself well so that you can feel ready (this is approaching the problem logically).

Realistically, you've been putting together this thesis under supervision, you've had feedback about it all along the way from your advisor(s), you've worked as hard as possible to get it together for this defense...so, really, you are the authority on your work. You're the expert! People who will listen to you defend this aren't out there to "trip you up", they're interested in learning from what you've learned. Feeling a little nervous about going through this part of the degree requirements isn't something to fight--it will give you an edge, help you to think on your feet, allow you to engage your material and your audience with all your senses stoked. You wouldn't perform well without this little bit of nervousness: know that it's to your advantage to use this energy rather than try to suppress it.

Use deep breathing exercises if you know them--they do help calm the whole body down so you can focus on delivering your information rather than how hard your heart is racing, or how short your breathing is.
Remind yourself that this is supposed to be about your curiosity: what you wanted to learn, what you've discovered, how what you've worked on will impact (in terms of thinking) others in your field of study. Be curious to know! That takes a huge amount of pressure off you.

One other, useful thing: ask yourself "what is the worst that could happen during this defense?" and allow yourself to imagine what that would be. Then, ask yourself how you would contend with that worst thing, and how you could bring about the desired outcome--the successful delivery of your defense. Imagine yourself doing just that--coming up against this obstacle, dealing with it, and then being excellent despite the problems that come up. Make yourself mentally prepared to handle whatever comes along this way--and know you'll deal with it effectively.

Finally, arm yourself against what you're afraid of:

If you're worried about a flare up of your IBS or of just becoming too frightened to function, you could try a low potency dose of the homeopathic remedy Gelsemium, in a 6c or a 12c. Just one dose before you present, if you feel like a real panic is about to set in, should get you through your presentation with no physical problems and much more confidence. If you aren't feeling that fear, don't take the remedy--you don't need it.

Bach Flower Rescue Remedy is also extremely helpful in situations like this, too.

Bring the vial of the Gelsemium 6c or 12c, and the little bottle of the Rescue Remedy along with you for the ride, and know that you've got them if you need them.

Good luck!
cloverbee
I would really like to try the GABA drops. I wish whomever it was that mentioned them would come back and mention them in more detail. That was a helpful little tip. I haven't tried them yet. Right now I'm just using some cognitive-behavioral techniques like thought-blocking to keep sane. I would be willing to try some valerian root tea or something. that might be helpful. Or just do what I do and fake it. I like to fake confidence sometimes because often times your brain will take cues from your body so if you act poised and aloof, your brain will assume that you have nothing to worry about. this works both ways.
midgemcgrath
yes, clover--i hear you on the faking it, that is probably one of the most useful things sometimes...i think i'm going to try out some positive visualization along with that...it seems cheesy, but it might boost my confidence just to imagine it all going well!

i might drink some valerian tea the night before if i'm having trouble sleeping, but will see because sometimes if i miss the window of sleepiness it gives me, it's even worse after, and often i end up waking up in the middle of the night to pee from drinking tea right before bed! oy!
cloverbee
the visualization never really worked for me but it may work for you. I also like to try the antagonistic emotion game. It's where you try to create the opposite emotion than the one you are feeling b/c you can't feel both at once. So if you are afraid, try getting pissed off about something. think about what makes you mad and soon you will feel the fear dissipate.
chachaheels
Here's an introductory level "lesson" on GABA for you, if you're curious about learning what it does. We make this in our own bodies, but some people believe supplementing it can help (though it has to cross the blood brain barrier, and it doesn't do that easily). Anyway, it's widely available as a supplement, used largely by bodybuilders--it helps to pack on muscle mass.

The Brain From Top To Bottom

Hope it's helpful.

bustygirl
This is a derail, but I have a question if anyone knows any holistic ways to combat cholesterol? I am eating better (less fat and cholesterol), and exercising more, but I'd like to drop the cholesterol level before I have to take drugs and deal with icky side effects.
chachaheels
That's not a derail, it's the reason the thread exists, isn't it?

Get ready, cause this will be yet another Long Answer. There are lots of ways to do this, two of which I can think of by taking supplements. One of these, I learned about from at least 2 RNs.

But aside from that, and more importantly, is that there is a very large body of evidence suggesting the lipid hypothesis that's grounded the sales of those statin drugs (which don't work) and the whole issue of cholesteral is faulty, and based on a poor understanding of nutritional and functional reality in the body.

In any case, if you need the serum cholesterol levels to come down, you can take dietary supplements that will help the body repair whatever's unbalanced, so that cholesterol levels in the blood can come down for the right reasons.

The supplements: Red Yeast Rice capsules, which I assume is readily available in the US (the product has been pulled from shelves in Canada until each producer can obtain an "NPN" or natural product number license for it).

Cinnamon is also very effective at "lowering" cholesterol. I learned this from a couple of RNs. They suggested eating ground cinnamon or chewing on cinnamon sticks (peel off bits of it and chew on it) before taking the blood test to measure serum cholesterol. This isn't easy for everyone to do because cassia and cinnamon can irritate many people. You can get cinnamon oil capsules from a naturopath or a health food store carrying practitioner-driven supplement lines (the one I know is available in the US is "New Chapter").

Eating garlic, taking a small amoung of low dose of hawthorn berry and flower tincture on a daily basis--these work well as over all heart tonics.
A daily supplementation of anti-oxidants (usually vitamins A, C, E, and Selenium, with Bioflavonoids added in as well) can also ensure extra protection, and another means of lowering the LDL numbers on your tests is to take a daily serving of an extract of herb bitters, primarily Artichoke extract, for example.

As for dietary changes, it's not "low fat" that helps here (in fact, lowering your fat intake actually forces your body to make more cholesterol in each cell, driving your serum level outcomes even higher).

Instead you must eat the right kinds of fat, and then lots of it. Eating at least 1/2 an avocado per day, for example, lowers blood serum cholesterol very effectively, plus the nutrients from the food are really important, easily absorbed, and excellent for your health. Eliminating all rancid trans fats and hydrogenated fats, such as margarines of any kind--even the ones that say they have no trans fats, as they're lying--is of major importance. If you use oils for cooking they should be cold pressed, expeller pressed, and very fresh. Never use corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, or anything on the market called plain "vegetable oil". Instead, use real butter (if you can get pure, real, butter made from unpasteurised cream, that's the best), pure, cold pressed cocoanut oil, high quality olive oil (never use an olive pomace oil) and pure cold pressed nut or fruit oils (hazelnut, walnut, avocado oil, for example). Each of these have different "smoking" points so they can be used for various types of cooking: saute with butter, olive oil; fry with cocoanut oil as it has the highest smoking point; eat the others raw (as dressings for foods like breads and salads). I know this goes against what most of the "heart health" people say you should do--but so many of their diet plans are funded by margarine and corn/sugar agribusinesses that you can't take them seriously. I personally think these "heart healthy" plans cause more problems for patients than they solve and there is nothing healthy about eating the kind of processed foods these diets revolve around.

But I very much question the whole lipid hypothesis, and I know people do not get better if they're put on statin drugs. I think statin drugs do a lot of damage in the body, and mostly scare the hell out of patients who feel worse being on them and become even more terrified of heart disease. Busty, you're young and very strong; you won't get a lot of "buy-in" from your doctor on ideas having to do with alternatives for treating this situation (it's not an ailment, so I can't call it that). I don't put much stock whatsoever in those high cholesterol numbers (except that I know when a patient's numbers are on the low side, they're really not well), but sometimes they do make me look deeper at the case to assess the patient's mental/emotional stress levels and how these are reflected on the function of their livers. There, high numbers can indicate that liver function isn't as good as it could be. Of course, other signs and symptoms in the case have to point back to the liver imbalance too, before I can proceed with any treatment based on that assumption.

Bottom line, and I can't say this enough: you can't just treat this "symptom" out of context--you still have to figure out the impact of everything else that is going on in your life and take things into consideration holistically. It's just not enough to take the nutrient supplements and herbs and think that this will make the problem go away. If you're still stressed emotionally and mentally and physically doing more than you can manage despite the alternative treatments, you're still at risk for heart disease or for some kind of physical ailment--things have to change beyond taking a pill, monopharmacy or nutrient or herb.

I heartily recommend doing some more research on the whole issue of cholesterol and its role in the body (for instance--did you know every single cell produces it in the body, if you're healthy and strong?). Based on some excellent long term studies, there are big changes coming in the way of "treating" this issue with diet alone that are very effective at creating all around optimum health. Here's one article that cites at least 20 different research findings from peer-reviewed journals including JAMA, the Lancet, The American Journal of Cardiology, etc. It's a long article, but a great introduction. It's best to learn as much as you can before making decisions regarding treatment, no matter what's at question.

Benefits of High Cholesterol
Statin Drugs and Risk
cstars124
So, I've decided that I'm going to take a natural approach to making myself feel better, cause I've been feeling very sluggish and gross lately. I'm going to do a 30 day body clense. I ordered this thing called CleanseSmart online. Has anyone heard of it?

Anything I should really expect with the cleansing? I know a lot of busties have done the cleanses before so I figured this was a good bunch of people to ask. Thanks!
chachaheels
Did you get the CleanseSmart First Cleanse? Or the Advanced Cleanse?

Cleanses are great for a limited amount of time. Some of the herbs that are used for organ support can actually be too much for people, and I think, generally, that cleanses should be done with supervision. The First Cleanse regime is not too bad, as it's just for 15 days. The most important thing about doing a cleanse of any kind is to choose a time when you know you will not be subjected to extreme stress--don't do a cleanse, say, when you're about to undertake a hiking trip, or when you know you'll be packing up and moving your apartment.

Follow the food suggestions, eat light (I wholly recommend buying organic meats and making some excellent, delicious soup stocks to drink while you're cleansing, as they are loaded with nutrients that are easy for you to absorb, and cause very little stress on the body--make them with bones if possible for added nutrients and benefit) and try to set aside a block of time when your time committments will be less heavy. You will need time to do things like walking, socializing with other people, sleeping when you're sleepy, meditating or just thinking--that kind of thing. Taking a fibre supplement (there should be a FibreSmart component in these kits, but you often need to buy two) is also extremely important, as is drinking a lot of pure water.

_octinoxate
Cstars, my only experience with cleansing is a one-day detox I did last year. You focus on eating certain foods and avoiding others for a week leading up to the cleanse, then do a 1-day cran juice w/ flax fast, then close out with another week of the food plan. I can't say it made me feel dramatically different, but it did encourage me to be more aware of my eating and to make healthier choices for 2 weeks.

(But then, as soon as I was off it I indulged in all the things I'd been avoiding... mostly sweets. It seems it didn't get rid of the cravings as promised.)

I'll look forward to hearing about your experience with your cleanse.
cstars124
chacha, I'm not sure what cleanser it is. I'm pretty sure, though, that it's the first cleanse and not the advanced one. Thanks for the advice though, cause I am moving soon, so I don't want to take it and have to do anything strenous.

My goal with this cleanse is to hopefully quit smoking and eat better afterwards.

I'll definitely let you guys know how it works for me once I'm finished!
pepper
hey cstars, i quit smoking by rolling my own herbal combination of half mullein, half lobelia, and a pinch of catnip. the lobelia mimics the effects of nicoteine, though very mildly and without being addictive, so it was easier to give up the tobac. it was easier for me to conquer one addiction at a time too, the pysical addiction first and the pyschological addiction last. after about two weeks of smoking those rollies i stopped really wanting to smoke anything at all. two weeks is about how long it takes to get the nic out of your system and break the addiction. i really, really wanted to quit though, i think that essential.
good luck!!
dani837
Girls I need help!
Tomorrow I have to go to take an exam in Manhattan(for a job, to apply to it is more difficult than to be in american idol) and I've been coughing eevery day and waking up around2am almost chocking to death(because my throat is super dry). I already took tylenol with no results(advil, tylenol and all of those never have any effect onme), and I haate to take any medicine. I was wondering, does anyone here knows a natural way to cure a dry, (not too sore yet) throat? Like with stuff from the kitchen?
thanks!
cstars124
QUOTE
hey cstars, i quit smoking by rolling my own herbal combination of half mullein, half lobelia, and a pinch of catnip


I've never heard any of these things, except for the catnip. Are they healthy to smoke, or is that the point? Some days, I think I'm really ready to quit and other days, I just don't care. But the truth is that cigarettes are REALLY expensive, and I've noticed that my taste buds aren't as sharp as they used to be and I can't sing along to my favorite songs without my throat getting all scratchy and starting to hurt after a while. But on the other hand, I also like to tell myself that I'm not a heavy smoker, which is true, I suppose. I only smoke three cigarettes a day, really.

Where do you get these herbs?
cstars124
Nevermind. I found the herbs and i bought them online including some rolling papers! Yay.

What if i don't use the catnip? Does that still work? Also, would it be a bad idea to do the cleanse AND smoke the herbal cigarettes? And is there anything I should know before I roll up and smoke these shits? Thanks!
chachaheels
It's best to just do one thing at a time...either wean yourself off the cigarettes using the herbals first, then cleanse, or cleanse first and then use the herbals. You'll be using enough herbs during your cleanse and it's best to just let those have a chance to support the organs as they're meant to, without interference from the catnip and mullein.
whino
Anyone on daily probiotics (esp. kombacha) experiencing stomach upset? I've been told that you can't get too much probiotic, since so little bacteria actually makes it to the intestines. However, I've been having a really noisy, grumbly stomach lately and was very sick all day Sun. sad.gif Could it be the probiotics?
chachaheels
It could be. You can have too many--there is such a thing as too much, and there is also such a thing as sensitivity to the type of probiotic you're using. The microflora is usually listed by species so that you can choose specific types to treat particular ailments: maybe you're using the wrong type of microflora. Also, some probiotic species work better with a prebiotic, others might be better for you if they don't come from a dairy source (Metagenics makes a couple of different DF probiotic products).

So, why are you taking them? Any particular concern? Maybe I can help point you toward a more appropriate product.

Dani, one of the best things for soothing a sore, dry throat is honey warmed with a little lemon juice, or in a light tea (like a linden or chamomile tea).
midgemcgrath
hey whino--

probiotics bother me sometimes too. from what i understand, if it you are taking them for yeast, the yeast getting killed off is a little bit toxic if there is a lot of it and can give you a bit of upset stomach or diarhea until things balance back out. if it is seeming like too much, maybe try taking it less frequently, like only every second day instead so you don't get too sick!
pepper
quit first, then cleanse. if you cleanse while you're smoking it can get nasty, and quitting before you cleanse makes it easier for your body to get rid of junk (that you aren't just adding to as you go along) while reinforcing the loss of nic addiction.
rolling the herbs can be a bit strange, the mullien is sort of fluffy like mattress stuffing and the lobelia is twigy-sticky-leafy. the catnip is just for a bit of flavour. when you roll then don't aim for perfect, just aim for reasonably smokable. roll a few as an emergency "i need a smoke NOW!" supply so you don't give in to the tailor made cancer sticks but try to roll them as you go. it gives you something to do with your hands too, a good thing.
at first the smoke may not 'feel' strong enough, smokey enough but after a few days it will seem so very smokey that you won't want it much at all. it becomes irritating (as it should) to breathe in a burning something without all that tar and nic to make it tolerable. stick with it, stay strong and tough it out. this is the ONLY thing that helped me to finally unshackle myself from that grody ball and chain and i have Never, Ever looked back. i can taste, i can smell (and I smell better), my skin looks way better, my hair and mouth and hands don't stink, and i'm not hemorraging money on garbage. that feels great.

good luck!!!!
cloverbee
whino, that happened to me the first time I ever took probiotics and then after that I was fine. I looked at it as a good thing---like they were working. It helped me get thru it.
cstars124
Thanks chacha and pepper for your help! I'll try to quit smoking first and then the cleanse. Hopefully this works. I'm sorry if i have a lot of questions, but will the herbal cigarettes stop any headaches I may get from lack of cigarettes? Thanks again!

Whino, I just recently started using some probiotics again and my stomach has been much less upset than when I WASN'T taking them. But occassionly, my stomach will get kinda grumbly, but all in all, I feel like they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. Hope that makes you feel a little bit better. smile.gif
chachaheels
I don't know if the herbal cigs will stop the headaches from nicotine withdrawal, but technically your freshly cleansed and well supported liver will be able to carry out its detoxification processes so much more effectively, which should ease some of that pain.

If it doesn't, you could take a low potency dose of homeopathic Nux Vomica (also sold in Canada as Colubrina), say, in a 6c or 12c potency if you're faced with a bad headache while quitting. That always helps get rid of any kind of "ailments from abuse" of any kind of drug--tobacco, alcohol, etc. You'll probably only have to use it a few times while you're quitting, but you can keep the vial handy for things like hangovers, for which it works like magic.

Just use the nux vomica when you need it; it doesn't have to be taken on a regular basis. You can also use it when you're feeling especially irritable while quitting (cause it's great for calming you down in that case, too). I guarantee it will keep your closest friends from suggesting you start smoking again, if only for their own sanity.
dani837
QUOTE(chachaheels @ Aug 23 2006, 11:24 PM) *



Dani, one of the best things for soothing a sore, dry throat is honey warmed with a little lemon juice, or in a light tea (like a linden or chamomile tea).

Ahh thanks! I'm taking ricola cough-drops right now(cherry with honey) and that seems to work! Now Im gonna go and buy some honey to make the tea. I wonder what that would taste like tongue.gif
chachaheels
Why, it would taste...so fabulous. Enjoy and feel better soon.
_octinoxate
So, I received my first acupuncture treatment today, for a knee injury. In fact, it's really my first experience with alternative medicine whatsoever. I don't know quite what to make of it yet. Right now I'm feeling conflicted, though, about to what extent I should pursue traditional Western treatment and to what extent I should complement or replace it with Chinese medicine. The Western treatment right now consists of steroid iontophoresis and megadoses of ibuprofen; the Chinese would be acupuncture and herbs, specifically Chase Wind Penetrate Bone formulation. I'm confused about if I can pursue both of these routes at once, or if they'll interfere with each other or even hurt me. Neither my doctor nor the acupuncturist seem to know enough about the other method to advise me on that. Anybody? Chacha? Is this an either/or situation? Also, how can I learn more about Chase Wind? A google search just gave me vendors of the product, no info.
chachaheels
One thing to think about: was the acupuncture effective? Another: What did you think about the practitioner? Do you feel he/she is competent? Easy for you to work with?

Thing is--and this is so true of "energy" medicines--what your body is now doing to heal itself will be stopped by the highly suppressive medicines that will be used in the conventional treatment. Acupuncture is part of a "vitalist" medical system: what it does is unblock the energetic force in your (whole being, really, not just your) body, so that it can effect all the necessary chemical and energetic reactions it would create and carry out in order to restore your health completely. Energy medicines don't do anything more than that--they give you the correctly directed vital energy, and often the information, that your body needs to heal itself very quickly (and very often, completely painlessly). It should feel as though you "suddenly just got better on your own" because that is exactly what should take place.

Conventional medicines will force a specific series of physical events to happen, particularly if the drugs being used are heavily suppressive. Steriods are suppressive, which might be fine in cases of severe trauma and in extreme dire emergency...but they work at a huge cost to the body. For every forced drug action, your body will have its own, often severe, reaction, usually ending up in large term suppressive drug use that ultimately slows down any kind of healing or "gifts" you with much more to contend with in the long term. For example, steroid use will affect all glands in the body, and ultimately the entire hormone balance--even if the steroid use is limited. It can take years to just get the body functioning "normally" again. As for Ibuprofen, as an NSAID it has all the troubling side effects you already know about: it causes stomach bleeding and digestion upset, long term and a whole host of other problems, including counterindications for use with steroids. Some of my patients experience things like increased blood pressure whenever they use an NSAID of any kind, ibuprofen included. If you're in a great deal of pain it will mean large doses for a long time, so chances are you will experience these unwanted effects.

Most importantly, using both the acupuncture and steroid treatment will be counterproductive, as the steroids and ibuprofen will literally "get in the way" of what your body is trying to do to restore itself, what the acupuncture has "set in motion", so to speak. You have to choose one or the other in this case.

TCM (including Acupuncture) has many parallels with Homeopathy (and that's not accidental, as the founder of Homeopathic medicine studied the asian systems of vitalist medicine too); however, the herbs and materia medica used in TCM are not potentized as they are in homeopathy, even though they are applied in a very similar fashion (the Natural Law of Similars is used in TCM too). So, even though they might actually use the same raw medicinal material it's applied uniquely in each medical system, or, as is the case with acupuncture, physical changes are encouraged via the use of pressure, or touch (which is what the needles in acupuncture do). I try to counsel my patients to ask me directly for information about the remedies I give them, so I can help them to understand what they've been given and what I would like to see the drug do in each case (otherwise it's easy for someone who is not schooled in interpreting the materials to jump to the wrong conclusions, to "see themselves in every single remedy", and end up interfering with the treatment to their own detriment). Going to the internet for information is a mistake here. This is why I ask your opinion of him/her--if he/she is skilled and knowledgeable, your practitioner is your best resource for information. Ask him or her! There's nothing good practitioners like better than to explain what they are doing to their patients, and set up a dynamic where the two of you work together in the treatment.

This also gives you an opportunity to set up some "fail safe" protocols, so you can use the acupuncture treatments as a core medicine, but have some fall back conventional medicine handy just in case you experience extreme pain, so you and your practitioner both feell like you've got all the contigencies covered.

Good luck and I hope you feel much better soon.
_octinoxate
Chacha, thanks a lot for the informative reply. I understand why you say that the steroids and acupuncture shouldn't be combined; that makes sense to me. So now, for choosing one or the other... hm. It's hard to say exactly how I feel about the acupuncture/TCM practitioner. He was willing to answer all my questions and able to answer most of them as well... though he also said that sometimes he doesn't know why something works, he just knows from experience that it does. It's just... I don't know how to evaluate a TCM practitioner because I know so little about the practice/philosophy, and I tend to be very skeptical in general about most things. So I really want to trust him, but I'm not very inclined to--nor am I totally inclined to trust Western doctors, for the record. That's what makes this so hard: I feel I need someone's help, but I don't know whose it is. (Do you have any pointers for evaluating a TCM/ alt med practitioner?)

As for the acupuncture's effectiveness: I definitely felt something happening when the needles were in... a sort of heaviness setting into the joint. It seems it might be a tiny bit better since the treatment, but I also may be imagining it, or it may be the effects of the ibuprofen. So still, I feel lost as to what to think and do.
_octinoxate
(Sorry to double post...)

Also: is acupuncture supposed to produce immediate effects? In other words, if that first treatment by the practitioner I saw didn't make me feel too much different, does that mean he's not any good? Or just that I have to be patient?

And: do you have any experience with Golden Flower herbs? I just read some scary stuff about mercury content in some brands of Chase Wind Penetrate Bone and it really eeked me out!

Thanks. (BTW- we should rename this thread "consult chacha about all your alt med needs!)
chachaheels
Well, the practitioner seemed prepared to answer your questions, and that is a big PLUS in my book. Physicians who simply dismiss your questions or answer with really inadequate responses and don't explain well never earn your trust as a patient. I'm actually encouraged by a TCM practitioner who tells you he "doesn't know why it works or how"; so much about energy medicine in really about the minutiae of physics, which so much science still hasn't caught up with...so the only viable answer could be "that we know from experience that it does" because it is empirically based. But, it's been empirically based for almost 10,000 years; that's a long time to see consistent results. Many conventional medical drugs are still a big mystery to science, and we still don't have any idea how they work (SSRI's, for example, are complete "guesswork" as far as the biochemistry involved, as is plain old aspirin) but we also know that under the right conditions they can work too.

I don't know where you are, but chances are very good that your TCM acupuncturist has to display his credentials, and possibly be a member to some kind of regulatory body which supports him in his practice. Ask him about his qualifications--where did he study, for how long (I love hearing "China", and "for several years" (at least 3 to 5), as the best acupuncturists teach and practice there. There are also good schools in the US like Bastyr University in California, which I hear has a good program). If you're in Canada, the best TCM practitioners here all studied in China.

I am familiar with the Golden Flower Herb company, its a very good Chinese herbal line, pure processing and the quality is always higher than the "standard" imposed by the government (organic or pure wildcrafted herbs). It is one of the most widely used lines in TCM and it is designed to be somewhat more accessible to western patients than the usual Chinese herbs you seek out in raw form at a Chinese apothecary shop.

Next: what do you mean by "mercury" content? Mercury has been used as a medicine for many centuries--and, again, it depends on how it is used and in what quantity. Here again I want to stress the difference between the western paradigm (which uses mercury to this day in massive doses, and not according to any curative method) and the vitalist one (which uses it in minute doses and only in specific circumstances, and keeps the usage to an absolute minimum where the effects are monitored and easily limited). It's something you should ask your practitioner about again, but the basic difference between using medicines safely and harmfully is quantity and application. Applied by the law of similars, you'll most often get cure; applied randomly and universally when no similars dictate its application, you'll actually create another disease. This is a concept that isn't well understood in Western medicine, and most of us are pretty heavily conditioned to see things along the western medical paradigm so we're really misinterpreting this stuff out of our own limited view...as I said, looking at information sources we can't understand will not help us here, but your TCM practitioner is an excellent resource for information. He's the one you should ask.

In many cases, particularly in cases where there is intense pain and injury, I've seen immediate and lasting results with acupuncture. In some cases where the trauma is greater, things might get worse before they get better or they improve very gradually but you become well much more quickly and permanently than through the use of other methods. If you felt an actual change take place during the treatment on the localized part, then that was definitely the acupuncture (as Ibuprofen does not "localize" its treatment that way!). After the initial acupuncture treatment, which alters your own body's energy, you are doing all the restorative/reparative/pain alleviating work, not the treatment. Sometimes it needs to take a little longer than just the "immediate" time because everything depends on what happened in your particular case. Sometimes there's only nerve damage (so there's intense pain and a little paralysis), sometimes that's paired with other tissue damage (to the bursa, cartilege, bone, anything)...so everyone is different. Once your body's own abilities to repair and restore tissue is "unblocked", things can proceed very quickly. You can ask your practitioner for an idea of how many treatments he thinks you'll need before things are restored, in your case: you can ask what to expect of the treatment too. Your practitioner can estimate things reasonably well and give you the best idea about what to expect.

Again, you can devise, with your practitioner, that strategy where things go along with the acupuncture as you heal, with a "backup" plan of being able to use the ibuprofen if the pain is really too much and you have no access (or it's too soon for) another acupuncture treatment...or, he could suggest some other herbs for you to take on a limited and monitored basis to help alleviate any discomfort you encounter. This way you feel like you've got your own personalized protocol (which you do have!) and all your bases and concerns are covered.

You see how much more involved you have to be in your treatment? It's part of a process where the interaction and your conscious participation are crucial to becoming well again. It's not just something that's "done" to you and you're sent home with a scrip for a series of prescription drugs and a possible appointment to follow up in a few weeks, though in either case you need to operate on trust with your physician. Your treatment will be more hands-on with the TCM, and you will work more closely with your acupuncturist than you would with an MD or kinesiologist...but that gives you ample opportunity to learn from the experience, react to whatever you need in the process, and make the treatment wholly individualized for your needs.

whino
Thanks Chachaheels, midgemcgrath, cloverbee, and cstars124 for your help!
I am still on the probiotics and my stomach seems to be settling itself.
Chachaheels, you mentioned that specific types of bacteria might be better for certain problems. You amaze me with your knowledge, and I would appreciate any help you can offer.
I was initially taking the probiotcs in a small quantity just because it was recommended by a friend at Whole Foods as good practice, just like taking a daily multivitamin. Then I came across a description of Candidiasis in the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook that my therapist asked me to read. It seemed to sum up many of my physical symptoms. Two years ago, my doctor and I thought I might have Lupus, but my bloodwork hasn't supported it as a diagosis. I've been trying to figure out what's going on for about three years now. My main symptoms are joint pain, greying and numbness of the fingers and toes, occasional white spots in my mouth, fatigue, the onset of allergies (when I never had them before), rashes and hives, inability to concentrate (fogginess), and anxiety/ depression. Is it possible that an over-abundance of yeast might be causing some of my symptoms?
I should mention that, although I rarely take antibiotics, I do work in the wine industry. In addition to drinking wine, I also spend a great deal of time swirling wine around in my mouth before spitting it out. Most of the wines I represent are unfined and unfiltered, so they are high in yeast. Is there a specific type of probiotic that might benefit me most? I've gotten pretty used to dealing with my symptoms, but I would be so thrilled to reduce them. Any advice is greatly appreciated!! smile.gif
chachaheels
You're welcome, whino! Glad to help. I do this for a living and I teach people about homeopathy and nutrition and other alternative medical systems, and I try to keep my own learning up to scratch as I go. There's no way to give anyone a "diagnosis" over the internet (and diagnoses are not necessary in what I do) but maybe we can hash out some possibilities as to what is taking place, and what your options might be for the best possible choice of treatment.

First of all, whino, I've worked in the wine business for a while, too! I live on a vineyard where we grow some varieties of vinifera grapes to sell to the local wineries. I don't make the wine, as you do; but I did use to conduct tastings (I can't do that anymore, though--too many other things going on). What region are you in?

Now, let's clear up a common myth: working with yeast will not give you candidiasis. In fact, unpasteurized fermentated foods (like the wine you're making) are some of the best traditional health enhancements you could have in your diet--every traditional diet on the planet has had these types of foods as necessary constituents for maintaining health...and I mean every diet for every culture, for millennia. It's only in the last century or so, specifically the last 70 years or so, that we've started to make the drastic changes in diet that have excised things like fermented foods, organ meats with their high fat content, unpasteurized milks and milk products, etc., etc., etc. We're getting a lot less of the foods human beings have been dependent on for evolution and survival because we've replaced them with lower-fat muscle meats, altered fats which are literally poison, and refined, depleted foods which have in many ways been completely denatured through processing...and now we're seeing widespread chronic diseases (many of which never plagued people on such a large scale before). The physical exposure to the yeasts and chemicals in your work (yes, you're exposed to yeast--but you're also exposed to sulfur, which can halt any yeast growth and any fermentation...so it's crazy to assume only one thing has an impact and not the other) might be an issue only if you've somehow become susceptible to them.


It doesn't sound to me like candidiasis is the problem in your case, but it is clear your body has been weakened severely and all your "immune" defenses are compromised, and candida may be one of the many signs of that weakening (though not a cause; it's an opportunistic ailment that would result from being immuno-compromised). There isn't enough information in what you write to give clear ideas as to your symptoms, (for example, do the white spots in your mouth have a shape, definition? Do they hurt? What makes them feel worse, or better? Or, when your finger tips turn grey and numb, do they also feel very cold? Do they ache? Do you have any skin eruptions on them as well? Are you experiencing any changes in your menses as well?) but the impression all around is that you are extremely worn down--which explains the sudden allergies, the fatigue, joint pain, the lack of clarity in thinking and the lack of focus, and depression.

You can take a dietary approach where you support the body with specific nutritional enhancements to your diet--adding, in your case, daily cod liver oil capsules (for the vitamin A and D they provide) and evening primrose oil capsules; a serving of pure, cold, expeller pressed cocoanut oil with each meal (and, oh yes, you should be sure to eat real butter and cut out all hydrogenated, trans, and industrially processed fats of any kind in your diet); and seek out real foods (like organic and free range eggs, organic or drug free meats, unpasteurized, real dairy (so important), and add a fermented food like a beet kvass (I can give you a recipe to make this, which you'll only take till you're better) to your diet to really help with absorption of all nutrients and the elimination of yeast overgrowth. Eliminating specific types of foods -- foods that are denatured, refined and then "enriched" (this would mean most grain products on the market!), highly refined sugars (anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, for example), soy products and other goitrogenic foods (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower...unless you ferment them, like in sauerkraut) would really help to support the thyroid gland, your adrenals, and, in general, your ability to derive sustenance from your food. Anyone can benefit from these basic changes, but in a person who is so depleted, these nutritional changes are fundamentally important.

But the most important thing: there is something which is making you susceptible to all this illness and it isn't just physical exposure. I'm being extremely presumptuous here, so let's just use this as an example and not a strict possibility: I know enough about the wine industry and the way people who work in it are treated (women especially! as the best wine makers in my area are all women, all extremely talented, all underpaid beyond belief) to see that feeling of not getting enough rest, not receiving enough support or physical help or compensation for the work being done is endemic to the work. It does get to some people to have this kind of ongoing relationship with the work they do and the industry in which it's done: for a lot of people this is the kind of ongoing strain which creates an emotional health threat, which then undermines physical health to the extreme. Wine-makers are, by trade and definition, perfectionists (at least the good ones are)--this type of work reality could set such a person up for some serious chronic disease, literally "eroding away all their defenses" in the course of doing their work. For such a person, they are doing something which literally gives them their personal outlet for creativity, growth, and self-sustenance, but they are operating under the conditions which basically eliminate all these possibilities from their daily life, just because the relationships in these conditions (with the work itself, with other people in the industry, with the on-site working conditions, etc. etc. etc) take away from all these health and life giving aspects. So it is a huge "drain" on them as people, which must be addressed (though many in this situation are often terrified of speaking up, or don't know how to re-design the situation so that their needs are met and not constantly neglected).

It's just an example: I know it may well not be the case for you at all! But I want to point out how one could be predisposed to become susceptible with such conditions. You have to give some serious thought to what it could be in your life that has made you susceptible. I always ask "When did this all start?" to see if people can at least envision a "before" and "after" scenario of their lives--then they can examine precisely what was taking place during those periods--who entered or left their lives, any big changes (or seemingly small changes) which took place (such as change in living arrangements, change in routine for whatever reason, change in relationships, change in jobs....etc) and what was significant in those scenarios. Then you need to think about how those events affected you emotionally, physically, mentally, any way at all; and you need to consider how you feel/felt about those events at the time, and now. This is a start of the work you've got to do to understand your own tendency to susceptibility: without addressing this, you can't get well again, so it is crucial.

This is a start, but I've taken up a lot of space here so I'm going to stop for now; but feel free to comment, ask more, PM me, whatever you like.
whino
Chachaheels, you are wonderful!!
Thanks so much for your insight and expertise. I realize that I've been looking for a concrete "diagnosis" because I want so much to start feeling like myself again, and I guess I feel like it's a lot easier to fight against a known adversary.
*Let me clear something up right away- I work in wine sales, I'm not a winemaker. I wish I had that kind of talent. Basically I travel from account to account with a bunch of open bottles and "taste" them over ond over again throughout the day. I admire you for growing grapes. That's a difficult endeavor! I'm in NC and vinifera grapes really don't do well here. French-American hybrids (like seyval blanc and chambourcin) seem to flourish though.*
Your comment about an "emotional health threat" really made me think about my situation in a different way. I've been assuming for years that I have a physical condition that is causing my symptoms, including anxiety/depression, which has become much more acute in the last couple of years. I never stopped to think that my anxiety/ depression might be creating a climate for fatigue and susceptibility to illness. I've always had sleep issues like insomnia and sleepwalking, which are easy to attribute to stress factors, but joint pain and finger numbness seem like totally different issues to me. (That's what's so amazing to me about what you do. You can find paths of connection that most people would never even contemplate).
When I went to my doctor presenting with symptoms of Lupus, I was only a couple months out of a five year relationship, and alone for the first time in 13 years. I also had a terrible work situation which I exchanged for a new work situation and its associated stress.
I guess that I'm actually headed in the right direction in several ways: I have a great, talented therapist who's helping me with anxiety, I exercise now on a regular basis, I do eat pretty well (I worked at Whole Foods for 5 years, so I avoid anything trans or artificial, and eat mostly "whole" and natural products. But where do you get unpasteurized dairy? I haven't found any in my area).
I also love soy, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower! They're bad for your thyroid??? Should I cut them out completely, or have in moderation?
I can totally do the cod liver oil (it was actually recommended for me for joint pain, but I ran out and never re-filled). I'm up for the evening primrose oil and coconut oil, but can you tell me what purpose they serve?
Also, I would loooove to have your recipe for beet kvass! Beets are one of my favorite foods and I'm crazy for anything fermented.
I feel very fortunate to be able to talk to someone as knowledgeable as you. Thanks again for your time and advice. smile.gif smile.gif
_octinoxate
Chacha, thank you so much. It's always enlightening and reassuring to hear your take on things. I think you'll be happy to hear (?) that I've found a really caring, knowledgeable acupuncturist/nurse practitioner here, who I'll be seeing in a week or two.
chachaheels
Octinoxate, I am really happy to hear you've found a good nurse/practitioner. Yay for Nurse practitioners! We had so many nurses in homeopathy school...the really, really good ones are always pushed to learn new ways of helping their patients, and nurses are well-trained to work closely with patients anyway (in a way doctors just aren't). I really hope you love working with this person and that you're better very soon.

Whino, I always thought the French-American hybrids were viniferas too! We also grow some seyval blanc, and cabernet sauvignon here...our oldest vines are marechal foch. It's certainly not a big vineyard but we are surrounded by so many others growing vast amounts of things like gewurtztraminer, pinot gris and noir, reisling, and lots of vidal for icewine. Maybe you're not a winemaker, but you are relying on your sensitivity and sensibility (you must have a good palate and a sharp mind), and I know it's a really difficult job to do what you do.

Anyway, I know what you mean about the need for a diagnosis--we're fixated on that and to a certain extent a diagnosis can help us "grasp" an idea of what's happening physically so that we can feel like we can control what's going on (though, so many diagnoses are nothing more than statements about a group of non-descript symptoms, labelled a syndrome, which really indicates "no one knows for sure"). It's easy to see illness as a "fight against an adversary", as you put it: but I want to encourage you to think of it as something your body is doing to tell you that you've become susceptible to disease. Symptoms are the way a healthy body communicates its attempts at healing itself--they aren't really an adversary so much as an alert. It's really you telling you that changes need to take place so that you can continue living to your full extent.

As to the issue of physical pain initiating emotional pain and vice versa--who knows what comes first? The physical, the emotional and mental and the spiritual aspects of who we are as beings are all interconnected and inseparable--when you hurt emotionally or even spiritually, you will also hurt physically; often we manifest what we do in our "outward" lives in very real physical symptoms that essentially recreate exactly the same energy inside us as the one we're in (and create) all around us. This isn't speculation--it's just how we are as human beings. If you see things as part of a larger totality, then it's really very easy to see how things are "connected". Some people don't want to be bothered with this, but I think it gives us some very important tools for bringing our lives back to health.

So...Beet Kvass! This is basically a medicinal drink, but it isn't unpleasant tasting...and since you love beets, you'll like this. Drink a cup of this before each meal. Be sure to use the very best beets you can find--organic, fresh, the very best you can get because the quality of the beets has a profound effect on the results you will get. The kvass acts as a blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver, and gets rid of kidney stones too.

First: you'll need to make a homemade whey. Use a quart of really good quality plain whole yogurt or kefir. Line a collander or strainer with a kitchen towel and set it over a bowl. Place the yogurt or kefir in the towel lined collander, cover with a towel or plate, and leave overnight. The whey will drip into a bowl--collect this, put it in a jar and keep that in the refrigerator. Take the ends of the towel containing the yogurt or kefir and tie them up, keep that suspended over a tall bowl (use a large utensil, like a long handled spoon, to suspend the bundle from the top of a deeper bowl so that more whey will drip from the towel over the next day or so. Collect that and add that to the whey you've already collected and stored. Then, take the kefir/yogurt out of the towel, and you'll have cream cheese! You can store that in the fridge where it will keep for a couple of weeks. Eat the cream cheese and use the whey to make the kvass.

You'll need 3 medium or 2 large organic beets, peeled and coarsely chopped (don't grate them! They'll be too sugary and they'll ferment too quickly). You'll need to use 1/4 c. of the homemade whey, 1 tablespoon sea salt, and a quantity of filtered water.

Place the beets, whey, and salt in a 2 quart glass container. Add filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep this at room temperature for 2 days before transferring it to your fridge. To serve, pour through a strainer.

When most of the liquid has been drunk, you can fill up the container with filtered water and keep it at room temperature another 2 days. This will be less strong than the first batch, but still good! After the second brew, discard the beets and start again, but reserve some of the liquid and use this as your inoculant instead of making more whey.

Check out realmilk.com for some source suggestions on where to locate raw milk in your area. Some states allow the sale of raw milk (California, for eg); others do not. It is idiotically not available to Canadians but considering the way dairy is created in large agribusinesses, I guess the raw milk quality would be suspicious at best...though I know it can be sourced through organic growers who farm small scale.

Yes, soy, broccoli, etc. etc. are bad for the thyroid. Soy products are also hazardous for many other reasons beyond thyroid harm...but let's just say fermented soy, like pure, organic miso and real tofu made from non-gmo soy that's organically grown and eaten in strict moderation is basically all you should have of the stuff. Fermented cabbage, or sauerkraut, is also good; if you do choose to eat the broccoli and cauliflower, make sure you don't eat them raw and do eat them in moderation only.

Okay: now for the fats I mentioned...the cod liver oil you already know about, so use it and keep using it, but also be very picky about what you'll use. Nordic waters, purified oil is the only acceptable kind--fats have to be of the highest quality to be of any benefit, but they are so necessary to the diet and we'll all been conned to cut so many of them out of the diet that we're suffering. A high vitamin cod liver oil is best--you'll need to take 10000 to 20000 IUs to restore your health. Some brands your health food store might carry include "Garden of Life", Nordic Naturals, or Carlson. There are a couple of mail order companies in the states that sell the high vitamin cod liver oil if you can't find it from a retailer, and these are radiantlifecatalogue.com and greenpasture.org

The (pure, organic, expeller pressed cold pressed) cocoanut oil is one of those really necessary saturated fats that will work synergistically with the cod liver oil you will be taking; it is also anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and organ supportive (of the liver and heart, especially). It contains lauric acid and many medium chain fatty acids--you'll make monolaurin with the lauric acid in the body, and this has the ability to increase the number of T-cells in the blood; this is what makes it effective as an anti-microbial and anti-viral. Cocoanut is a huge immune booster, and your immune system needs a boost if you're to stop being as allergic as you are. It will also help you assimilate the benefits of the oil of evening primrose as well. Using the cocoanut oil and other necessary saturated fats (like the kind you get from butter, full fat milk and cheese, eggs, and meat) means you will not have to use a great deal of the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to be completely healthy. The severe immune deficiency, joint pain and numbness and fatigue are all major signs of fat deficiency. You really need to add these foods to the diet AND limit the intake of polyunsaturated fats in your diet (corn, safflower, soy, canola all should be avoided completely) to get well again.

So...how's that for a start? I think working with a therapist you feel good about is something you should continue to do, as well as all the other beneficial things you're doing (like exercising, as you say). I know you shop at Whole Foods but BE PICKY!! about meat and eggs they sell. They're great at creating the idea that their foods are organic or free-range, but a lot of the eggs they sell don't come from chickens which are actually allowed to eat foods found in pasture, like natural grains and grasses, worms, things we all know chickens should eat but aren't fed if they're raised in pens (even if they are fed "organic" feed). It may be easier and cheaper for you to find a local source that you can buy from directly...and if you're close to a rural or agricultural area chances are great there'll be someone you can find for some good produce, eggs, and dairy. I'm gonna encourage you to seek out any new farmers' markets that set up in your area, or see if anyone's running a CSA operation that sends you fresh produce and dairy and eggs on a weekly basis...but all in good time.
whino
Chachaheels-

I am so excited to try making the beet kvass!!! It sounds great, and I will start with the supplements asap. I know it will take some time to see changes, and meanwhile I'm trying to learn to be more in touch with my body and mind. I am learning how to breathe correctly and will begin yoga classes in a couple of weeks. I'm also hoping to volunteer at a local stable for the chance to be around horses and spend more time outside.

I'm guessing from the varietals you plant that you're probably in British Columbia, or maybe in Oregon or New York (Finger Lakes). What's your favorite wine, if you don't mind my asking?
chachaheels
I'm in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada, right on an area known as the Beamsville Bench. Our climate's much more warm and moist here than in BC, very similar to the climate in Bordeaux. We're slightly warmer and sunnier than the Finger Lakes in NY--I meet a lot of those winery owners cause they love to come up here to taste. Such good wines from there, too!

But my favourite wine--that's too hard. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't start "looking for the right labels" when I started out--I do want to try out wines and like them for what I'm tasting, without a bias about who makes them or where they come from. That being said, I seem to always choose wines made from certain grapes-- Brunellos (esp. from California...there's a tiny winery there called Jacuzzi that's produced some unbelievably good wines) and Amarone from Italy; and I love the classic bordeaux, or, as we're now calling them from here--meritages. I've yet to try a bad sauvignon blanc from New Zealand (and I like the way they do things there in terms of their methods) and there are two oaked Chardonnays made with grapes from the same vineyard (two different winemakers) just down the street from me. Their wines are always very good, and they always win awards for them and get great international press, but they only make a small amount and you've got to go to their wineries in person if you want to buy them. Finally, I love ice wines and late harvests--esp. from good reislings and vidals.

What are your favourites, and which wines from your region do you love best?

I hope you love the kvass--the cream cheese that results from the process is really delicious too, and it can make a great "cheese" cake. There's a recipe for exactly this kind of cheese cake in the original Moosewood Cookbook (if you don't have it, let me know cause I do).

I really want to thank you--it's lucky for me to have come across your question when you asked...I'm pulling together research notes on a class I'm teaching on holistic nutrition this fall and your question made me go back and re-think the course material to include data about traditional diets. They're super controversial because they all go against current "scientific" ideas about good diet, including eating low fat and using lots of meat substitutes and supplements, and traditional diets were always rich in (mostly) saturated fats. Teaching these classes to the health conscious is hard because the vegetarians and vegans and low fat people in the class HATE to hear about how healthy, strong, resilient, long-lived and disease free people were eating all the things we're told are bad for us...but facts are facts. People get well on good food the human body was designed to eat and utilize immediately. Also: good food is supposed to be delicious and satisfying...so enjoy the kvass, and the cheesecake too.
bunnyb
o/t (sorry, I can't bear asshat to be at top of every thread cos I almost burst into tears when logged on and saw that) but I'm trying to make genuine points and been meaning to ask this for while:

is it evening primrose oil that is a natural remedy for PMS?

when I have more time I need to read the archives of wine talk!
pepper
bunny, it can help.
i take a veritable cocktail of supplements and other junk. iron, calcium, acidophilus, essential fatty acids, zinc, b-complex, and green stuff. i don't know which one is actually doing what at this point but i don't care. it all works to make my pms and general mood so much better.
faith
Ooh chacha, after reading your beet kvass recipe I got some organic, locally grown beets. Does it work with non-raw milk? I couldn't get any at the farmer's market and they told me it was illegal. If I have to, can I substitue regular milk?

And I got primrose and fish oil pills and I am going to start taking them -- I will keep you posted bunny. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I've been treated for depression/anxiety, and I take conventional medication for them, but the hormonal component has always been severe, so I am hoping these things combined will work.

Thanks again Chacha for all your helpful posts!!!
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