Friday, October 7, 2011
The health list
This year I have been in better health than last year and the year before, when I was sick every few weeks. My body seemed to pick one area, and I would keep getting the same thing all the time. It used to be my throat (tonsillitis); more recently it's been my kidneys.
While I have had a few issues this year, overall it is far less frequent and less severe than before. I also used to get colds constantly, but have only had one since Christmas.
There may be a huge number of reasons why my health has improved. I certainly believe in the body-mind connection and that physical illness is often a result of psychological imbalance. There is far less drama in my life right now than even a few months ago. I keep stress levels down through meditation and yoga. I try to be kinder to myself. But I also think I have changed some more tangible things, especially diet-wise, and these are what I want to focus on here, as I usually always talk about the mental health stuff.
I am hesitant to list what seems to work for me, because the irrational part of me believes bad things will happen as a result (because clearly that's how the world works...), but here we go (please note these are just my personal observations and not definitive):
- Taking probiotics. All the antibiotics I was on played havoc with my body. I have been taking these probiotics for a few weeks now, and notice an improvement. (I used to just get acidophilus, but then I did my research and apparently you need different strains of probiotics for different problems)
- Eating more ginger. In soups, in hot water, in any dish that I think it will work in (some people would disagree...). Ginger helps with all kinds of ailments, both as a cure and preventative measure, from colds to headaches and period pains.
- taking cranberry capsules (because of all the urinary tract infections). I don't like taking supplements and try to get everything I need in my diet, but this is an exception. Cranberry does not cure an existing infection, but can prevent them. The ones I take also have lots of Vitamin C
- using coconut oil (my newest obsession) for everything. A tablespoonful in porridge or hot muesli (...I eat muesli hot), and for cooking instead of other oils (though I still use olive oil, too). It is supposed to provide an instant energy boost and to be antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal and boost the immune system.
- Sauna and steam room. The cure for everything, in my opinion. When I feel cold and miserable this is where I go. My friend's doctor advised him to be cautious in the steam room, though, as bacteria flourish in warm moist places. If somebody is in there coughing, get out.
- Running and swimming. Regular exercise makes you less susceptible to illness.
- Propolis drops and bee pollen. I take the drops when I feel I might come down with something (they are a natural antibiotic and immune system booster) and eat two teaspoons of pollen every day.
- Huge amounts of green foods, which are great in so many ways. Until this year I had never had spinach for breakfast, but now it's a weekend staple. I love spinach, so that helps. I would eat spinach as a side dish with just about everything.
- Lots of raw food. Harder to do now that we're approaching winter. I notice I feel much more energetic and my skin is better when I have a big portion of raw vegetables every day.
- Quinoa and millet instead of pasta and rice as often as possible. They are packed with nutrients, gluten-free and actually taste great, too.
- Less sugar. I experimented with giving it up completely, and it's easier than I thought to eliminate it, but I love baking, and when I bake, I inevitably eat some of the end product, and I love chocolate, and I don't want to be a spoilsport-healthfreak in social situations, so the answer for me at the moment is that a bit of sugar is ok
- Baths with Epsom salts to detoxify (and for a magnesium boost)
Also important: not to be too fanatical about any of the above. There are still days when I don't eat anything green, but instead cake for dinner, and that doesn't mean it's all in vain.