So the past 3 weeks has been filled with a cold/sinus infection that has been quite wild. It's been years since I had anything like this so I am very grateful for the way I've been caring for myself with diet/exercise. I think that's played the biggest part in my health thus far. I can remember before going raw, being sick once a month for quite a long period of time (like 2 years) so I've come a long way so far on this journey and I intend to keep plugging away in this raw food/healthy life endeavor. :-) I wanted to write out what I've been doing to take care of a sinus infection sans antibiotics. I've never done this before and I do acknowledge that it takes a bit more diligence than popping an antibiotic each day. So let's begin with alllllllll the things I've been doing in the past 3 weeks. OK, let's go... The week prior to me becoming sick, my kids had a cold/cough - they were relatively mild colds and the cough went away within a week. They were coughing in my general direction each day for a week and that's typically not a big deal. They've done that before. My immune system is usually quite strong. This week, however, I had some stressors come in that I think, in retrospect, brought my immune system down a bit. So when the feeling came on that I was feeling run down (late on Friday, Feb 19th), I tried some hydrogen peroxide sprays in my ears. This came from my friend Peter. He said he earned about it years ago from a retired MD (Stewart Fason, aka "Dr. Jon") who liked to buck the medical establishment. He gave me a link on it here: http://www.healingdaily.com/exercise/hydrogen-peroxide-in-ears.htm. So I tried it. I sprayed a couple sprays in my ears and I definitely felt like some germs were getting attacked! I did that for 2 nights. I'm always concerned about QTYs and durations of things when I do them and I admit leaning on the side of being a conservative when it comes to herbs. Hydrogen peroxide is what I use to bleach things so I was thinking I didn't really want to put a lot of bleach in my ears for too many days. I will also say that I'm quite a sensitive sort. For my height/weight, I would/could be prescribed a lot (at least what adults typically get) but I require only a child's portion of most medicines and that does me really well. Anyway, along with the hydrogen peroxide, I started gargling with salt water and using the neti pot. I was starting to feel a bit of congestion in my right ear and my right sinus. So for the first few days, I was doing these things 3 x per day. I began taking my herbs: I almost always take the Healthy Woman elixir because I just love it so much but started adding the Immune Builder herbs and because at this point my glands were starting to get swollen, I took the Lymph Cleanse tinctures. Again, taking these things 3 x per day. I started making a morning pudding so I could add in lots of stuff. This is what I've been eating each morning for the past 3 weeks. breakfast vitamineral pudding 1 banana frozen berries when I had them 1/4 - 1/3 cup raw oats 1 oz E3 Live 1 tsp medicinal mushrooms 1 tsp vitamin C 1 tsp magnesium calm 1/2 tsp astragalus powder acidolphilus bifidus capsule that I emptied therapeutic enzyme cap that I emptied supergreens - about 1-2 tsp vitamin code b complex capsules, emptied zyflamend softgels that I emptied omega 3 oil sunflower nut butter drizzle of hemp seed milk Whirl around in a small food processor until a pudding like consistency. This was soo good I made a less potent variety of it for the kids. Other morning supplements: I took ginger force daily with some water, sucked on zinc lozenges and a liquid drop of Vitamin D. I typically don't take supplements. I usually take some medicinal mushrooms in my smoothie each day but I felt that with my immune system down, extra help would be good. The pudding is great because I basically emptied a bunch of herbs/supplements and I didn't have to swallow the stuff plus the pudding tasted really really good. The first week of my cold, I stayed home and rested as best I could. Matt was away in DC so there was lots of things to do plus we had a snow storm that brought 18 or so inches in a 24 hour period. Mother Nature is big out here in VT and that took a lot of getting used to for me when we moved here. I felt like my body was improving over the course of the week. Clear, drippy, drainy sinuses started to thicken up which is usually a sign of improvement (drying up.) By week 2, I started taking pulsatilla, a homeopathic remedy for colds with thick snot. In the afternoons for the first week, I was drinking a lot of herbal teas. Teas to soothe my throat as what started in my sinuses seemed to move to my throat. Teas with marshmallow root herb and echinacea, licorice root, medicinal mushrooms seemed to feel really good. Some afternoons I had a green juice or a greens smoothie but for that first week, I wasn't super hungry. I also had elderberry syrup when I remembered to have it. Dinner tended to be some kind of wrap with green sprouts, vegetables, tempeh, steamed broccoli, seaweed. Eating usually brought about a temporary opening in my congestion and felt good. At nights, I had the humidifier going in my room as well as the pot on the wood stove to help the very dry air have some moisture. I was also taking some Self Heal flower essences (I love flower essences.) AND I was doing salt water foot soaks. This is really just something I enjoy doing but the eucalyptus and rosemary oil felt so soothing to breathe in. By week 2, I was feeling better. Matt came back from his work trip and I felt like I was coming towards the end of this cold. However, by the weekend, the stuff that was moving down to my throat wasn't really improving and my ears continued to feel clogged/congested. So, I upped my game again and I used mullein garlic oil in my ears at night. I also started trying Belladonna and switching that with Silica homeopathic remedy. I started spraying the back of my throat with propolis spray. I also read somewhere that ground mustard when used as a foot soak or as a paste on the bottom of the feet can be very antiviral. I decided I would try the mustard overnight. Matt made a paste of it and put it on the bottoms of my feet. He put on wool socks over top so that my feet would get hot at night. The problem with this for me was that some of the mustard paste got on the band of the socks that went around my ankle and I woke up in the morning with BURNS on my ankles! I guess the skin on my feet are tough enough but the skin on my ankle is a bit too soft/sensitive for mustard oil! LESSON LEARNED! I now had another thing to care for during this cold. NOTE: even basic culinary spices can be quite potent when used medicinally! (The ND told me yesterday when she makes a paste, she also adds flour to cut down the strength of the mustard as it is very potent!) So, now I know! So this is week three and I decided to go to my ND to see what else I could do as Sunday past, I started to feel drippy sinuses again and I thought, "Oh, no! It's coming back!" FYI: To take care of the burns on my ankle, I've been using the All Heal Salve and covering it with sterile gauze pads. This has been a saving grace. What a silly and painful mistake that was for my poor ankles! I don't think using the mustard paste was a mistake, just neglecting to wipe it off my ankles was the mistake. Anyway, back to the visit with the ND. She is wonderful. I told her all the stuff I've been doing. She said, "You are such a good healer! What are you doing here? You are taking such good care of yourself." This was definitely a boost as I'm sure you can imagine, 3 weeks with a cold that came back and a burned ankle doesn't necessarily FEEL like I'm caring for myself really well. She said she could write out a prescription for antibiotics for me but feels like that does way more harm than good and with my good care plus a few other things, I'll seem some good results very soon. She wanted me to continue my good regime and she wanted to really focus attention to these sinuses and ear congestion. Do the mullein garlic oil drops more (meaning more than just in the night). She made a sinus tincture for me that has 5 herbs in it that I'm to take 1/2 tsp of mixed with water, gargle and then swallow the herbs to help with the post nasal stuff going on in my throat 3 x per day. She gave me a super bio veg cap to take every 2-3 hours for 3 days and then 1 3 x per day after that. I took the zinc lozenges for a week until they tasted terrible (which is the sign that you don't need them anymore) and week 2 didn't take them. She wanted to reintroduce that again plus a WHOLE bunch more vitamin C and other things to really kick up things a notch in my body. I'm picking up this stuff called X-lear that i'm supposed to use. I'm not yet sure what that's for other than the obvious sinus stuff. She said to steam with eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil or thyme oil 1-2 x per day. And I'm to continue with the neti pot but now to add a tiny bit of goldenseal in the pot. That's cool to me because I was just using the salt. I can tell you that using the goldenseal REALLY kicks up the neti pot action up a notch! I got home yesterday and started her little program and have already been feeling a lot more clarity in my sinuses. I don't yet have the X-lear but I'll let you know how that works. I guess the only other thing that I wanted to acknowledge was the heavy duty emotional work I've been doing. I started this post by saying that some stressors came in which I think put a drain on me. I've been taking to a counselor again, doing a lot of writing, flower essences, processing, releasing. I acknowledge the powerful connection between mind/emotions/body and I don't doubt that a big part of my why my cold processing has been so lengthy is because I'm also processing a lot of old junk. So this is a spring cleaning in the truest form! I plan on doing some colonics to continue with this spring cleaning mode. Perhaps if I had done them sooner, I would have felt relief sooner but we do the best we can. Our only colon hydrotherapist is an hour away and when you run 2 houses, 2 businesses, have 2 kids and all the other stuff going on, it's really a matter of taking things one step at a time, one moment at a time. I'm grateful to have a lot of tools in my toolbelt to be able to help myself and I'm also super grateful for the community of support that I have built around me and continue to build on. With great counselors & NDs to call on, great friends to run to the store to get things for me, I truly feel like I am living a great life... even with a stuffy nose and burned ankles! LOL. Thank you for reading. I'll keep you posted as to how this moves forward.
The kids are in bed and it's quiet now so I thought it would be a good time to write a little bit. So I wanted to write about the wonderful weekend that we had Natasha here. Wow! Can't believe it was a week ago now! Natasha Kyssa is a glowing and healthy woman I met about 4 years ago at a class we both attended. I remember when I first met her, I thought she was so radiant that I totally wanted to know what she was doing because whatever it was, it had to be good! We've kept in touch a little here and there over the years. I was going to attend her SimplyRaw Festival a year ago but it just didn't work out for me at that time. I was totally bummed because I know it was great fun and I'm looking forward to when she has one again. I'm hoping to have my act together more so I'm fully prepared for doing these shows. (But probably I'll be winging it!) :-) Natasha bought several of our hemp nut milk bags to have at the festival and I'm super grateful for her support of what we're doing here at VT Fiddle Heads. She didn't do a festival this past spring/summer because she was putting out a BOOK! OMG! How freakin cool is that?! I was so excited to see it! It's absolutely beautiful - done so well with the 2 color printing inside and the full cover glossy cover (can you tell I've been into the whole corporate marketing thing? I was/am the marcom girl... LOL) You can totally check out the book via her facebook page.The name of her book is The SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox Manual and I'm so ordering some for my store and website! It's such a good book - user-friendly is the term we're all using here! So she said that she wanted to come to VT as a part of her book tour and would I mind helping her by doing a casual potluck and/or meet at a book store or health food store that might want to have her book. She wanted to be in Burlington so the natural place that I thought might be eager to carry her book was Healthy Living. I contacted them and they asked for a copy so I sent them one. (I bought a few copies just to have after Natasha graciously gave me one. I just wanted to have them around, ya know?) Turns out they dug the book and wanted to carry it! YIPPEEEE! So they made a date to have her there and told me it was all set. The book signing at Healthy Living was scheduled for a Saturday and then there was her request for a potluck. I haven't done a potluck since about February or March and yet I knew of this wonderful couple named Joshua and Carrie-Anne who have been putting them on for a few months right in Burlington! They've sort of teamed up with another woman named Geniel who also does raw food and who *also* is in Burlington! (Can't believe VT is getting more raw-conscious!) :-) I had been hoping to get to one of Joshua's potlucks since he started them and we'd been in contact here and there for a few months. I wrote to him one day saying that Natasha was coming and would he mind doing a potluck for her since she was going to be in Burlington. He asked Geniel about it and she said YES! This was so wonderful that the dates worked out and the timing worked out. Natasha sent us some posters and I posted them up around various towns with my kids - it made for a fun few hours. We felt like we were a in a band or something... :-) We also posted up the Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes posters up that same day. Saturday came and I arrived at Healthy Living to see where this book signing was going to happen. I thought they were going to put her in the middle of the store, kinda where the books are. NOPE! They put her right by the front door! Not what I was expecting but so totally awesome! Here's a photo from Natasha's FB page (I hope she doesn't mind! FULL Photo props to her husband for taking these pictures. They were just too nice.) There was raw food woman in the middle of barbeque stuff for sale! I loved that endorsement of health right there, smack dab in the middle! Joyce was there too and we all chatted for quite a while. (Thanks for the patience of Healthy Living, our husbands and my kids for the 2+ hour chat at the front of the store!) Natasha had little samples of raw carrot cake (which was a recipe from her book) and you know it's good because my kids were asking for seconds! So if that wasn't cool enough, the next day was Sunday and the day for the potluck! I brought some of my RAWsome chili with the sour "creme" and brought it with me. The potluck at Geniel's house was absolutely wonderful. It was a great, relaxing setting to meet and chat with people about anything. The food looked incredible too and I was gifted by Fern and her hubbie some of their delicious fennel pesto! Joyce also made a gorgeous raspberry lemon pie (you can totally see it right there on her blog.) Everyone's food was gorgeous looking and I'm sure delicious tasting. I so wish I was hungry that day! Anyway, I got caught up a little bit with Natasha on the past 4 years and we totally agreed it would be hella fun to take a little road trip together (with PATTI -- another woman we met at our class.) It was a lovely social occasion for sure, all the way around. GREAT to meet Geniel finally - great to see Joshua and Carrie-Anne - great to see everyone faces there at the potluck!