Monthly Archives: August 2009

Alternative Medicine Real Food

How I Cured A Raging Sinus Infection Naturally, With No Drugs

Over the last few months I’ve been hearing about a lot of people who have been ill with terrible head colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, flus, and sinus infections.

It always seems strange to me when people are coming down with stuff like this in what is not typically considered the cold and flu season. But when you stop to consider the diet and subsequent state of health of people in general, it really shouldn’t be surprising.

In the summer of 2006 my husband, son, and I all became ill with a terrible sickness that I might have otherwise described as West Nile Virus – except for the fact that none of us had been bitten by mosquitoes or been around any areas where mosquitoes inhabit. Our symptoms were severe – extreme fatigue, malaise, body ache, and high fevers that lasted for over a week (in my son’s case he had a fever for 15 days!). From start to finish, the entire episode lasted for nearly two months. But our symptoms started subsiding immediately after we paid a visit to my acupuncturist and Chinese herbal doctor.

Since then I’ve been a devoted follower of natural treatments. This year, I was once again reminded just how useful natural treatments are when the sore throat and body ache I came down with turned into conjunctivitis and a horrible sinus infection. The sickness first came on in mid-June, and I figured it would just be a mild sore throat that would last a day or two…after all, I’m a pretty healthy person who eats a good diet and doesn’t get sick much anymore…but I was wrong. The sore throat, headache, body ache, fatigue and cough went on for about five days. Day six found me with a sinus headache and red, weepy eyes. I assumed these symptoms would go away without much consequence. Wrong again.

The normal course of action I take with a sinus infection is to use my neti pot and breathe hot steam with essential oils. Because at first my condition didn’t seem too severe, I didn’t irrigate frequently enough. Within a few days the infection became so acute I was in excruciating pain daily until afternoon when the congestion would subside and have me believing that it was on its way out. Then, the following day I’d wake up again only to be in agonizing pain within an hour or two.

Just two days before my sinus infection developed, I had paid a visit to my neighbor, a nutritional therapist. She said that I had strep in my body, and I tested positive for candida. I had performed a candida cleanse in 2007 which lasted about 14 weeks. I wasn’t too thrilled about having to do another candida cleanse, but knew from talking with her and my own research that both the sinus problem and the conjunctivitis could likely be caused by a candida overgrowth. After I put these things together in my head I decided to do another candida cleanse and went on a grain and sugar-free diet. My normal diet is pretty healthy anyway, so I just removed a few things and also began taking Candidase by Enzymedica. This is a product I’ve used before in the past, but there are other products formulated for candida removal as well.

In the meantime, I was seeing little improvement. I tried everything my neighbor had suggested – I took an oil of oregano supplement and colloidal silver. My research revealed that goldenseal, apple cider vinegar, and various immune-boosting herbal products I already had in my house were effective natural treatments for a sinus infection. I also used hot compresses with oil of oregano, peppermint, lemon, melaleuca, and eucalyptus, breathed essential oils in hot steam several times a day, and used my neti-pot ’round the clock. I was drinking a lot of water and eating well, but nothing seemed to work.

During this time of course, everyone around me was urging me to go to the doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics. All I could think of was how this would wipe out my immune system – especially because I now had some kind of candida problem that would inevitably only get worse with antibiotics.

I’ve had enough!

Although I thought I’d lose my mind if I didn’t figure out a way to get over the sinus infection, this factor alone is what kept me from breaking down and going to a conventional doctor.  Finally, I decided to go see a naturopathic doctor who also has an M.D. working in her office. I decided that if she couldn’t help me with something natural, I’d have her do a culture to determine the cause of the infection – bacterial or fungal, as any sinus problem that goes on for that long is not usually caused by a virus. If the culture came out positive for something besides a virus, I was nearly resigned to taking antibiotics or an anti-fungal medication if necessary. From my experience and what others have reported, most medical doctors don’t think of sinus infections as being caused by fungal sources, they usually just tap on your head and write out a prescription for an antibiotic. I wanted to find out what was causing it and fix it. I didn’t want to be given some random medication and sent on my way.

The naturopath said she wasn’t sure that anything else she could do would cure my sinus infection since I had already been doing those things for three weeks and had not achieved results. But she was willing to try and wait to see if I felt any improvement the following day. We agreed that if what she did failed to work, I would come back and do a culture to find out what type of medication would be best.

The first thing she did was perform some manipulations (she knows chiropractic treatment) on my neck and head. Then she took four long cotton swabs and soaked them in essential oils and pushed them up into my nasal passages – yes, inside my nasal passages! It felt very odd, but once they were in it wasn’t a problem and she left them there for ten or fifteen minutes. While the swabs were in, she did some head and facial massage and manipulations on pressure points corresponding to my sinuses. After she was finished with these treatments, my head was almost completely pain free – for the first time in over two weeks! It was amazing. She also told me to go home and do alternating hot and cold compresses on my sinuses before bed, take an herbal tincture from her office, and perform a sinus rinse with colloidal silver in my neti-pot (I had tried the colloidal silver as a nasal spray already with no success).

Later that afternoon I talked to my neighbor again and she suggested putting a probiotic capsule in my neti pot. I take daily doses of probiotics, but had not yet tried breaking open the capsule and putting it in the pot. I used self-massage on my sinuses throughout the rest of the day, as shown by the naturopath. I also did the compresses and took the tincture as directed.

Now here’s the most amazing part - at bedtime, I emptied the contents of a probiotics capsule into the neti-pot and proceeded to pour the warm water, salt, baking soda and probiotic mixture into my nasal passages. Immediately I felt a terrible burning sensation that went on for a good ten minutes. It was quite painful, but as it subsided, I was filled with a peaceful calm, and then retired to bed and had a good night sleep. The next morning, I awoke and was surprised to find that even as time went on, my head remained pain-free throughout the day. The horrible “ice pick” sinus pressure which was normally in full-swing by 10 a.m. was completely gone. Whenever I felt like I was getting a slight ache, I performed the facial massage to my temples and sinuses I had done the day before. I also used the probiotics in my neti pot a few more times over the next five days, along with my Whole Body Defense from Gaia Herbs, and some grapefruit seed extract (about 5 drops in 6 ounces of water twice a day). I was cured! I really believe those probiotics did some magical trick – although I’m sure some of the other things I did helped as well – because the first time I did it, after the burning came and went, the pain was completely gone and has not returned since.

Some people might still be skeptical after reading this and say, “yeah, you got well naturally, but it took nearly 4 weeks!” Yes, that is true. But how many people do you know who take antibiotics and don’t get well for weeks…or become sick again after thinking they are cured? How many others take one antibiotic, only to have it not improve their condition, and then return to the doctor for one or two more rounds of other antibiotics? This is a pretty common occurrence, and I didn’t want to be one of those people.

Here’s something else important to remember: the first two weeks I assumed whatever I had would go away on its own and didn’t make much of an effort to treat it sufficiently. It wasn’t until at least week two where I realized it was a serious infection and decided to do something. In many cases, the first thing you try isn’t the thing that is going to work. Just as described above, medical doctors often try many different medications before something actually brings results…and still, sometimes, it doesn’t work.

The other factor in all of this that people fail to take into account is the natural immunity granted to your body when you allow it to recover naturally instead of using pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications. These artificially-produced, toxic substances weaken the immune system by wiping out friendly bacteria and depleting the body of vital nutrients. They are also responsible for  a wave of resistant bacteria which could ultimately cause the death of mass numbers of our population in the not-so-distant future. These bacteria become impervious to medications when they are actually needed, and in some cases, cannot be killed at all or will only be taken down by certain medications which are dangerous to use and can cause damage to the human body. Ultimately, I claim victory in this situation because even though it took me awhile to get over this, I did it without compromising my immune system and I gained natural immunity to whatever was making me sick.

Are antibiotics useful?

Remember that the word antibiotic literally means “anti-life”. Antibiotics have their place in the world, but they shouldn’t be used every time you get a flu, cold, or respiratory infection that lasts longer than 7 – 10 days . I once heard a story from a friend who went to the doctor and was given a prescription for antibiotics. When she asked whether antibiotics were really necessary, the doctor replied that she didn’t want to mess around with a possible infection and antibiotics were the best thing. My friend asked whether she would die if she didn’t take the antibiotics and to which the doctor replied, “it’s possible”.  So what if she hadn’t taken antibiotics for her infection? What would be the likelihood of her dying because she did not follow the doctor’s recommendation? Most people have compromised immune systems due to diet and poor lifestyle anyway, but taking antibiotics when your health is compromised will only make the problem later worse – even if it temporarily stops an infection in its tracks.

If you become sick and take antibiotics, you are really only wiping out all the bacteria in your body. You are not dealing with the underlying cause of the illness, which is why you became sick in the first place. This is why people get sick over and over again, even though they have taken antibiotics.

Viewing health holistically

It goes without saying that maintaining wellness isn’t just about curing yourself. It should be viewed holistically through a  healthy diet to give your body the foundation with which to fight off viruses, bacteria, and fungal infections in the first place. It’s also about getting enough rest, drinking enough filtered water, staying active, and avoiding chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, pesticides, and other toxins in the environment.

Would I do things differently in the future? I certainly would. But antibiotics still wouldn’t be part of my solution. Next time I feel something coming on, I’ll react more quickly to implement a natural remedy, and be more aggressive about treatment instead of waiting a week or two. After finding the right treatment, it worked to eliminate my sinus problem because the pain was still severe the day I went into see the naturopath, and when I left her office, the pain was almost 100 percent eliminated. Then, after following recommendations from the naturopath and my neighbor, the infection was gone and did not return. Nothing else I had tried up to that point made much difference.  So, never again will I believe otherwise – proactive measures are the best bet for staying healthy.

UPDATE 10/26/2012:  This last spring I had a pretty severe sinus infection again, and this time it didn’t respond to using my neti pot with probiotics in it.

My solution was to get a clean dropper bottle with warm filtered water (filled maybe about halfway full) and add liquid minerals to it (8-10 drops). I used Best Process by Dr. Morter’s liquid minerals. I switched liquid minerals brands this year because I had used Concentrace liquid minerals for a number of years and they didn’t really work for me (adding it to water).

Then I heated up a hot pack with buckwheat hulls in it (purchased from the health food store), and heated it in the microwave (the only thing I use the microwave for). I lay down on my bed and placed the pack on my forehead and then tilted my head back, and took the dropper bottle and put anywhere from 10-12 drops in my nasal passages and just let it stay there for a few minutes. You can do this while hanging your head off the bed or prop up a pillow to support your head so you can lean it back. After a few minutes, I either just let it absorb naturally or go to the sink and spit it out.

My ND told me that getting those minerals up in the sinus cavity is critical to eliminating the infection. One of the primary causes of most disease is mineral deficiency, and if you look at how deficient our soils and foods are of these important elements, this makes sense. It may take some days or a week or more of doing this multiple times a day until your infection will go away, and I had to do this for about 8 days, but it did work for me.

Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food

Eating Healthy In A Time Of Recession

www.mypicshares.com

The name of the game in tough economic times is to save money. But don’t throw your money in the trash and spend it on processed foods with no nutritional value.

Consider just how expensive some of that cheaper food really is. On the surface, a six-pack of soda or juice can run anywhere from 2 to 3 dollars (and if you buy name brand, it could be higher). And what are you getting for your money? Sugar, chemicals, and toxins.  Does it satisfy your thirst? Do you have to keep drinking more to feel satiated? If so, chances are you’ll buy more.

Soda healthy?

Many people become addicted to sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks, so they buy more to feed their addiction. And in the process, they are harming their health by continuing to consume these beverages which contribute to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, Diabetes, and cancer. Is this really a good definition of saving money?

Bottled water

Water may or may not be cheaper, but it depends on what type of water you are buying. Most bottled waters are of questionable quality, and can leach BPA and other toxic chemicals from the plastic bottle. Find a good source of water at your local health food store that you can buy in your own refillable bottles or invest in a good filtration system for your sink or home. This will ensure you are getting better quality water and you are saving money from continually purchasing expensive bottled water that may or may not be good quality.

Your tap water is dangerous to drink and should be avoided. According to the Ralph Nader Research Institute, tap water contains over 2100 toxic chemicals.  Some of those are heavy metals like cadmium, iron, mercury, and lead. It also contains arsenic, fluoride and chlorine, proven in studies to be harmful to the human body. Finally, tap water that is filtered out by water reclamation sites does not get filtered for all the other substances that go down the drain – prescription medications that people take, pesticides, and many other toxic chemicals.

Boxed cereal

What about a box of processed cereal? A box of Cheerios will probably cost around $3, less if you buy the generic. If you buy whole, organic grains from the bulk section of your store, you will spend anywhere from around .75 to just over $2.00 a pound. But the whole grain cereal will last you longer because it is a real food and will deliver nutritional value to your body that the boxed doesn’t. Processed cereals contain extruded grains that the human body cannot absorb, and the nutrients are all stripped away during processing and then synthetic nutrients are added back in. Because this is not a real food, it is not useful to your body.

Commercial meat

The cost of buying commercial, industrial meat may be less on the package, but what are you getting for your money? Meat that is loaded with hormones, antibiotics, too many Omega 6s from the animals eating the wrong types of feed (corn, soy, grain), high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, and low in protein. Nutritional content in this type of meat is not only poor, but the chemicals contained in the meat help deplete your body of nutrients as well. Locally-raised, grass-fed meat, on the other hand, is high in protein, low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates, and is an excellent source of Omega 3 EFAs and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is extremely beneficial to the human body. Grass-fed meats generally cost more, but they are nutritionally good for your body and can help prevent heart disease, Diabetes, and cancer.

What’s the cost of eating processed foods?

Then there’s the long-term effects and deferred costs of eating nutritionally-bankrupt foods. Weakened immune system. Frequent colds and flus. Headaches. Sore throats. Allergies. Asthma. Chronic fatigue. Depression. Insomnia. Anxiety attacks. Fluctuating blood sugar which leads to insulin resistance and Diabetes. Weight gain. Irritability. Heart disease. High blood pressure. Cancer. The list goes on.

So then: if you are buying cheaper foods, but they are not delivering nutritional quality to your body, is that a waste of money, or do you still persist in thinking you are saving yourself money by eating this way? Investing in your health and well-being doesn’t have to go beyond your budget, it just has to be planned out and managed well.

Here are some ideas for saving money on healthy food during a recession:

  1. Eat all or most of your meals at home. Food costs less and tastes better when you make it at home, and you have control over every single ingredient you use.
  2. Take small steps: if you can’t do it all at once, do one thing at a time. For example, eliminating vegetable oils from your pantry is a great first start. Replace those with real butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. Here’s a great guest post by Marilyn Moll from The Urban Homemaker about how to replace unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones.
  3. If you do shop at the store, buy the most minimally processed and whole foods only. Avoid purchasing foods in packages, cans, and boxes.
  4. Eat some meals meatless and/or spread your meat out amongst several meals. Use foods like cheese, milk, eggs, butter, broth, lard and tallow from healthy animals on pasture as your main source of fat in some meals.
  5. Learn to make food from scratch rather than buying convenience foods: salad dressings, marinades, beans, soups, etc. A great place to start is Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, which has a huge variety of recipes for preparing foods traditionally and healthfully, as many of our ancestors did.
  6. Buy from farmer’s markets and local food growers. You will be supporting your local economy and you can often get foods for reasonable prices because you are not paying for packaging, marketing, processing, and transportation of your food.
  7. Become interested in and learn to grow, can, jar, cook, freeze, and sprout, soak, culture and prepare foods at home. The more you do these types of things, the further your food will stretch. You will save money and your health.
  8. Be willing to do without extras and make healthy eating a priority. Instead of going to the movies, invite friends over to watch something at your house and make home-made organic popcorn with butter or ghee and coconut oil.  Instead of going out to dinner, prepare a special meal at home for a loved one or friend.
  9. Use up all your food at home before buying more. If you plan meals and ingredients, you can make food last longer.
  10. Plan shopping and pick-up trips. Make a list before you go, and stick to it.  If you are buying foods from the store, use your trips wisely. If you are buying from farmers, see if you can find others who also want to buy food from the same source such as a CSA (community supported agriculture share) and take turns delivering/picking up food.
  11. Use networking in your area to find new resources for healthy food. Talk to neighbors and folks at the farmer’s markets and local health food stores. Attend events where local, sustainable food is being served. Look in your local paper and also do an Internet search for a list of resources and activities centered around local food and food growers. Check this list to find a local Weston A. Price chapter in your area – WAPF is dedicated to helping people learn about sustainable farming and food, and the value of nutrient-dense diets.
  12. Take time out to grow food in your own yard or space. Be sure to use organic fertilizers when you plant so that the nutritional content and disease resistance of the food you plant is higher.

Want more information on eating healthy for less?

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of cheap food

1 in 4 meat packages tainted with pathogenic bacteria

Proof that real food doesn’t have to cost a bundle, is nourishing, and satisfies!

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays Carnival. Please visit this site and read the other real food posts there.