Quirky Thursday-Sayings: Stuff Tribes are Made Of

In my last blog I shared a family saying, actually two.  Our family has lots of them, maybe hundreds.  It got me to wondering if every family has them.  At first I thought of course they do, then thought back to my childhood and I couldn’t remember any that my family had. Then I asked one of my daughters the other day if her husband and his family has sayings like we do.  She thought for a minute, then laughed, and replied, “No, I don’t think they do.  Our sayings are like our inside jokes”. My first recollection of sayings were some that my friends came up with; some of these sayings I brought into my marriage.

The first one was, “You don’t know nothin’, just like the lady said”. Rob and Jim, two of my best friends at the time, probably when we were 14 or 15, came up with this beaut. They had a paper route for a short time and one day a lady called saying that she didn’t get her paper that day.  So Rob and Jim went over to her house to bring her another one, but one of them told her that, “I know I threw it right there on your porch”.  She retorted, “Well, you don’t know nothin’.”  They thought that was hilarious, came back and told the group we hung out with, and we thought it was hilarious, and thus, “You don’t know nothin’, just like the lady said” became a famous saying among us and carried on into my marriage.  It is very useful response when someone tells you “I know (insert something here)…” like they know they paid the bill on time, or “I know I was going the speed limit”.

Another early saying was, “Lighten up, Richard” which Husband and I still say to each other to this day.  This one originated at the Hollywood Bowl at a Rick Wakeman concert on one of our first dates.  Four 30-something guys were smoking pot in front of us when one of them started getting all upset over who knows what. One of his friends yelled, “Lighten up, Richard” which struck our funny bone for some reason, and since then we have thrown that saying into the conversation when one of us feels the other is taking life a little too seriously.

You may be asking what does this have to do with health?  For our family it like our tribal language, one way that a sense of community was built, for the most part on accident, but has also been a source of amusement, and that is fun, and fun makes one laugh, and laughter is good for health. But laughter was already discussed in another post.

A few more examples. If you are interested.

About 24 years ago our family went camping with 4 or 5 other families. It was the first day, and we were setting up camp, and cooking our own dinners. Our family was making camping bread to go with our canned Dinty Moore beef stew when up walks our friends five year old son, gazing longingly at our grilled bread, then said boldly, “I’ll take some of that”! Of course that became a new family saying.

Another one proceeded from my menacing lips.  Shaking my finger, I threatened, “I’m serious; NO value meals!”. This had its beginning about eighteen years ago at a family reunion in New Mexico.  It was spoken in the late afternoon after I heard a couple of the uncles (my brother-in-laws) and a bunch of the children heading out the door for a quick trip to McDonald’s.  My parents, sisters, and I had been cooking and preparing food all day for an early dinner to share with the second and third tiers of extended family that was due to arrive soon, and I knew my parents would be upset if everyones appetites were ruined.  I really don’t think I over-reacted.

At another family reunion, which by the way, is wonderful soil for new family sayings, a new one was sprouted.  We had been trying without avail to talk my dad into going jet skiing with us while vacationing at Lake Tahoe, when finally we heard him say exasperatingly, “I don’t want to see the carnage”.  We couldn’t figure out what kind of carnage he thought he would be witnessing on jet ski’s, but the gruesome pictures multiplying in our minds seemed so funny at the time. I think we all came back with all of our appendages in tact.

Our 3 year old little granddaughter can take credit for one of the sayings; after her first Disneyland trip, she was incessant about reliving the experience.  Day after day, she would sit at our kitchen counter saying, “Let’s talk about Dithneyland”, and we would all have to recount the fun moment’s we had on that special day.

This is probably a good place to bring up that that the key to the whole family saying thing is the way our family all uses the sayings naturally conversations; that is what makes them so amusing and bonding. I think that it is a very important tribal skill we all learned somewhere sometime.

And finally, “Then you are not allowed to eat anything hot and nutritious” is a more recent saying that caught on.  I already gave the explanation for this one on my blog The Freak Who Can’t Eat Wheat posted on April 2, 2014.  And you will probably see more sprinkled throughout my upcoming blog posts because they are such are part of our lives.

Anyway, there you have it, a little glimpse into our tribal language.  I would be so interested to hear if your family has one.

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Frame Freeze: Dealing with Stress

We like sayings around our house.  Maybe that was an understatement. Pretty much we live by sayings. These can be originals like something someone in our family said, or heard someone else say; or ones we have heard from a movie or a TV show and got a kick out of.

The newest one Husband and I have been using is “Freeze Frame”.  We say it to each other now when we sense the other is reacting poorly to a perceived negative situation. Here is how this one got started:

Last weekend I read an interesting book loaned to me by a fellow RN at work called The Heart Speaks written by a cardiologist, Mimi Guarneri, M.D.  I found a number of interesting things in that book, one of which is the concept of a technique to reduce stress called Frame Freeze.  This technique was developed by Doc Childre, founder of HeartMath Research Center.  At this point I hope that you are not thinking, “Blah, blah, blah, wooden, wooden, get me to the interesting stuff”.  Patience, Herbert. (That is another saying, taken from a children’s song umpteen years ago from an album called “Music Machine”.

Anyway, the gist of Frame Freeze is to stop (freeze like a frame in a movie) as soon as you feel stress mounting for whatever reason and consciously try to deal with the situation in a positive way, with positive thoughts. The goal is to reduce the level of stress and thus the negative effects your body would be experiencing. This technique can have dramatic effects on heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and immune system, among other things like inflammation.  I really encourage you to try it.

I found a more in-depth article on the subject by Dr. Rollin McCraty on the internet (see pages 9 & 10) which I recommend if you are interested in learning more.  However, in a nutshell, he states that the key elements of Frame Freeze is to push the pause button of your brain and shift your attention to your heart; activate a positive feeling about a person, place, or thing or a feeling of gratefulness, love, etc.; and sense “what the best perspective or attitude for this situation” you could foster. It occurred to me that things like memorized Bible verses could be valuable here and reflecting on spiritual things too.

I have only practiced Frame Freeze in a cursory level way so far, but have already found it to be helpful.  “Stop! Self. Take a look at the situation.  Does it really warrant all of this negative emotion?”, sometimes can be enough.  It has even made me laugh. Sometimes poor reactions to stress are just a matter of habit. And that habit can appear ridiculous at times; although sometimes it is definitely more serious, possibly even very grave, dire, or heart-wrenching. But regardless, stress should not be ignored or taken lightly.

The bottom line is that, in general, we all have too much stress in our lives, and it is dangerous to our health for a whole slew of reasons.  So Frame Freeze it.

 

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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

I am just putting every family member, coworker, friend, acquaintance, and stranger on notice that you could be fodder for my next blog post….

It will be unnamed family members today.

So, we recently had a mini epidemic of hand, foot, and mouth disease (aka HFMD) in our family, striking 2 adult daughters, 2 son-in-laws, one husband, and one small grandchild. I was spared.

We think it was Disneyland’s fault.  The incubation period is 3-7 days and HFMD started with the first family member on day 5 after a Disneyland trip; the happiest place on Earth creating a most unhappy time.  Incongruent, I know.

HFMD is a viral illness that usually onIy children get; most adults are supposedly immune to it because, it is thought, that most adults already got it as children, maybe even unknowingly.  It is supposed to be quite common. However, I don’t remember ever seeing this disease when my 6 children were growing up, or for that matter, ever, even though I am a registered nurse and see all kinds of things. But I hear that it is going around now.

Not to be confused with Hoof and Mouth disease (HMD), please.  According to the CDC and Wikipedia, usually only animals get that; fortunately humans are rarely affected by HMD. Interestingly, HMD is a highly contagious, serious, sometimes fatal virus that affects cloven-hoofed livestock such as cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats, but also can infect wild animals like deer, antelope, and bison. Well, I think it is interesting anyway.

But back to HFMD, the real topic at hand.  HFMD starts off with cold or flu-like symptoms, then in 90% of the people a rash develops after 1 or 2 days on the – you guessed it –  hands, feet, and mouth; although the rash is not entirely limited to those areas. Some of my family members reported the rash being extremely painful, likening it to shingles pain, but none of those people have ever had shingles, so…

photo 1 (2)IMG_5460

Anyway, THE RASH: Red, roundish, varying in size from very little to larger and running- together-size, that appeared in our family members flat or raised or as blisters.  After a few days the pain dissipates, the rash fades to more of a brownish color, and the skin looks rather wax-coated and scaly.  I was rather shocked to observe that when the skin was shed it looked like many layers of skin were affected.  One of my daughters told me that she read on an internet site that some people lose their fingernails or toenails.

HFMD usually runs its course over 7-10 days, presents with fever, sore throat, and malaise; and is usually without any complications. It is spread the same way as colds and flus.

The moral of this story is, no, not don’t go to Disneyland ever, but use good hygiene and keep your terrain strong.  And eat lots of coconut oil. (When the first family member got sick I started eating 2-4 tablespoons throughout the day.  Who knows, maybe that is why I didn’t get it.)  Bottom line, you just never know where the next virus will be hiding, waiting for an unsuspecting human.

 

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Meatza

Meatza, in case you haven’t heard of it, is the primal (or Paleo, or hunter/gatherer) version of pizza. A pretty tasty meal especially when you are craving tradional pizza.

First, make a meatloaf kind of mixture: Ground beef (grass-fed, of course), egg, salt, pepper, Italian spices, and some almond meal (to replace bread crumbs).  Blend it all together and spread out thinly on parchment paper on a ridged cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until the meat is done.  Pour off the liquid/fat.

Next, spread marinara or pesto sauce over the surface, and top it with toppings of your choice.  This time husband’s will be pepperoni, onions, and mozzarella; mine will be black olive, organic baby spinach, pepperoni, onion, and Daiya cheese.  Put under broiler for a few minutes watching carefully.
By the way, if you are wondering what the heck Daiya cheese is, it is a non-dairy, non-rice, non-soy “cheese”.
Below is husband’s, then the next picture is mine; ready to eat! Super delish!
By the way, the leftovers are great! This is quick and easy, with very little to clean up.  Meatza would be great with a salad, but would also be a balanced meal if enough vegetables were used as toppings.
Another quick thought.  Just as I was ready to post this I had an idea.  These would probably be great as appetizers! What if you made a bunch of meatballs on a cookie sheet, flattened them out into little rounds, and proceeded as above.  I am looking forward to trying this soon.
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Grounding or Earthing

Have you ever heard of either?  Neither had I until a few months ago.  Grounding and earthing are synonymous terms.  It supposedly happens when you walk barefoot (or with leather soles) on dirt, sand, concrete, rocks, and grass. Rubber soles supposedly block or inhibit the transmission of important electrons into your body. It is a controversial concept that the proponents claim that it is very healthful.  There is a middle ground constituent who are skeptical and would like to see more research, and then of course, there are the nay-sayers who quickly brush this all off as bunk.

Me soaking in all of the earthy goodness

Me soaking in all of the earthy goodness

I will start off with those who buy into grounding wholeheartedly.   According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health.”  Then there are Clinton Ober, Martin Zucker, and Dr. Stephen Sinatra who wrote a whole book about it titled, “Earthing”.  The health benefits from grounding include better immune function; reduction in stress, inflammation, and pain; improves sleep, influences electrolytes and cortisol levels, and neutralizes free radicals.

As for the interested but skeptical people I found Mark Sisson who is big on going barefoot anyway.  He wrote an interesting article on it in Mark’s Daily Apple on July 12, 2011.  Check it out in the link above.  One thing I really like about Mark in general is his reasoned, balanced approach with some scientific evidence.  I always like to get his take on things. He thinks there is a lot of anecdotal evidence in the book “Earthing” and not enough studies done for his liking, however, he is willing to be open to the idea that it is a real phenomenom. Another middle grounder (no pun intended) is Dr. Andrew Weil, who when asked if there is “anything to earthing” responded that some studies have shown it to be beneficial, that it needs more research, and also warns against commercialism as there have been quite a few products crop up that can supposedly help you get better grounded like special shoes and beds.  A third open critic is Dr. John Briffa who actually tested grounding out on himself and found it to work on 2 out of 3 different pains.  He also believes that there may really be something it, although he also thought there was the possibility that the first two pains may have been alleviated due to a placebo effect.

One detractor, Steven Novella, calls grounding a pseudoscience in a blog that is filled, in my opinion, with bad logic. Another writer, Christopher Mims in MIT Technology Review calls it “a bunch of horse puckey”, but does not give any convincing arguments either.

I don’t really know where I stand on the subject.  I see preliminarily that some studies do point to the validity of grounding. So, I am taking a wait and see approach, but would not be surprised if additional research gives more credence to grounding.  However, if wishes could be fact, I would wish for it to be horse puckey.  I like going barefooted, but I live in a warm climate.  And it does make me feel more nature-ish. But I would feel sorry for all of those people who live where it is cold a good part of the year.  Maybe I would even feel guilty for all of my barefoot health and pleasure.  And it could just be one more thing to worry about like getting enough exercise, or sleep, or vegetables, or vitamin D.

Anyway, on another note, but somewhat connected, is floor sitting.  I came across it while doing research for grounding.  Mark’s Daily Apple actually had an article about floor sitting. The article is pretty interesting and provides some compelling information why it might be a good idea.  I just have to mention it because of my upbringing.  I wish that my mom was still alive to read the article; because, you see, whenever we had company, and there were no more chairs left, she would sit on the floor.  Invariably someone would object to her sitting on the floor, and invariably she would always respond, “No, I like sitting on the floor”.  The funny thing is that she never seemed to prefer sitting on the floor when we didn’t have company and there were plenty of chairs for everyone!  So, it has remained a family joke to this day.

For super health, just think of the possibilities if we did floor sitting outside while grounding on dirt, concrete, sand, or grass.

 

 

 

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Quirky Thursday-Removing Stains with Coke

The Experiment Provoker

The Experiment Provoker

Several weeks ago a pink highlighter leaked in the pocket of my white scrub coat.  I immediately took it off and was putting cold water on it in a sink at the clinic where I work when up walks my boss, a guy in his early-mid thirties, also an RN, with his stain tip.  Coke.  “It’s an acid after all”, he stated, like he was saying ‘duh, you should know this with all of your nursing education’.

Being the chemical-avoider that I am, I was planning on using soda water when I got home, something which I have been doing for about six months with varying results. When the stain is really bad, after the soda water, I spray on Shout (the triple acting laundry stain remover), but of course this leaves me feeling a little guilty.  I know deep down that I am not green enough, although I am making progress.  And that counts mega large, right.

Anyway, it sparked an idea.  How about an experiment!

On Purpose Stains to Old Sheet Strips

On Purpose Stains to Old Sheet Strips

Interestingly, I noticed after I applied all of the stain products that I accidentally sort of made faces!  Totally random, not planned.

STAIN EXPERIMENT

So, I applied yellow mustard (the bangs), then dark chocolate and light chocolate (the eyes), red wine (the nose), and blue, pink, & orange highlighter stripes (a grim or perplexed mouth; I cannot decide which).

I then let the stains set on top of my warm dryer for about one hour. Next I soaked the 4 different strips in the 4 stain removing solutions for 1 hour as follows:

Coke: Thoroughly saturated the cloth

OxyClean: 2 lines in cup provided in 4 cups of tap water, thoroughly saturated the cloth

Shout: Full strength, thoroughly saturated cloth

Mineral Water: Thoroughly saturated cloth (I thought I had soda water, but did not.  A quick look on the internet substantiated my guess that mineral water and soda water would have the same or close to the same results, allowing me to continue this experiment with confidence.)

Soaking in Stain Removing Solutions

Soaking in Stain Removing Solutions

I must make a few comments at this point.  First of all, Shout has a very strong odor and I felt headachy every time I went into the kitchen where they were soaking. Then I rinsed each item individually and washed them together in the washing machine on hot with my normal detergent. I am hoping that it does not work the best because I never want to buy it again.  I am seeing that my logic is a little faulty here so I better add that I may never buy it again anyway.  Secondly, when you do experiments it is always a good idea to predict what you think might happen.  Being such a compliant person, I am predicting that OxyClean will have the best results because quite a few people I know swear by the stuff.  That is not very scientific, but…

Okay, so here are the results:

Stain remover results

Stain remover results

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More on Probiotics, the Good Guys

So I got home from Whole Foods a while ago with a new container of Solaray Multidophilus, capsules of probiotics, which is basically acidophilus and some of its friends. I had mindfully protected the vulnerable little good bacteria (which is supposed to be refrigerated) with a bag of frozen brussel sprouts while I shopped. When I got home I was in a hurry; had to put the food away; had to eat a quick bite before going to work.

The next day about 24 hours later, I discovered that I had accidentally put the Multidophilus in the vitamin cupboard. Filled with dismay, because I had just spent $15 buying it, I called Solaray to ask if I needed to throw it out now. Fortunately our house probably maintained temperatures in between 68-72 degrees during that time. Happily, the Solaray rep informed me that the manufacturer puts in more bacteria than is stated to “insure adequate amounts after transport and other handling, so your product should be fine”. Whew! But it also answered other questions. Like can you take a probiotic capsule with a swig of hot coffee? Can you leave one on a napkin for a few minutes before ingesting? Obviously the answers would be that those are pretty safe risks deducted from the above info.

Here is a quick primer in probiotics. They are a friendly bacteria for the gut, balancing agents. Studies have shown that they are useful for/aid in:

  • digestion
  • immune function
  • nutrient absorption
  • improving diarrhea from rotavirus
  • restoring balance of microflora in urogenital tracts
  • preventing/managing eczema in children
  • reducing negative effects from antibiotics
  • reducing lactose intolerance
  • reducing incidences of yeast infections
  • promoting anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body
  • preventing and treating urinary tract infections

Side effects are nil to minimal. I have read that they can cause mild gas or bloating, but I have never noticed anything adverse and I have used them for years. However, individuals with immunosuppression or who have been taking immunosuppressants medications should consult their doctor before taking.

Incidentally, a few years ago my doctor had my stool, um, I hope you are not eating right now, tested for a bunch of things like parasites, presence of undigested food, bile production, bacteria, etc. This test showed that I had very little acidophilus in my gut, probably due to antibiotic use, so I was urged to supplement with it every day.

Incidentally, I rarely ever heard a medical doctor advising patients until recently, like in the last year, to supplement with a probiotic while taking an antibiotic in order to replace the good bacteria that the antibiotic is killing along with the unwanted bad bacteria. Sometimes I hear the doctors say to take a capsule or eat some yogurt with live cultures, I always tell the patients when I have the opportunity capsules with at least 6 billion microbes and to take them at least two hours apart from the antibiotic or else the antibiotic will kill the probiotics.  And to continue this for at least one to two months after the antibiotics are finished twice daily.  However, I think it is becoming more clear from research that most of us can benefit from probiotic supplementation on a continual basis.

I am frequently asked where to get probiotics.  I know that Costco and drug stores carry them, and I think regular grocery stores might as well, but I always get mine from Whole Foods or Lassens in the refrigerated supplement section because they are alive and I just figure that what I get will be higher quality. I used to buy Solaray brand, but switched to Jarrow-Dophilus (10 billion per capsule) and Ultimate Flora (30 or 50 billion per capsule) depending what I think my needs are.  And then I take them one to two times daily; only once daily with the higher doses, or if I am getting probiotics from another source like kefir.

I am learning more and more the importance of probiotics and different ways to get them in my body, not only from capsules, but also kefir, water kefir (see recipe in menu bar above), kombucha, and fermented vegetables like homemade sauerkraut.  I just made a batch of the latter with the help of my daughter Lindsay.  This exciting development will be shared in a post soon, but here is a picture taken on the day we made it.  Now, pretty much all we have to do is wait 10 days or so for the batch to adequately ferment.

Future fermented cabbage

Future fermented cabbage

Happy bacteria consumption!

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