My Favorite Cold Remedy

My daily cup of astragalus and ginger tea wasn’t enough to ward off the sore throat I had the other day. I hate getting a cold because for me it’s usually accompanied by a cough that lasts for a few months. Since I’d only just gotten rid of the cough from my last cold, I knew it was time to break out the big guns–garlic tea. You heard me right.

I’m the master of tea and garlic tea is a sure fire way to kick that cold right out of your system. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 12 cloves garlic minced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • honey to taste

Put your garlic and water in a pot. Bring to boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and honey. Strain into a cup and sip it throughout the day like a boss.

Pros of drinking garlic tea:

Get rid of colds fast.
Torture your significant other with your garlic breath.

Cons of drinking garlic tea:

It’s garlic tea.

The Average Temperature of Worry

I know there are a lot of women in this world who obsess over their weight. They weigh themselves all the time and carefully track weight loss or gain. We have a scale in our bathroom. It’s a fancy one too, but it doesn’t interest me nearly as much as the thermometer.

Every time I go into the bathroom I secretly take my temperature. It’s one of those electronic thermometers so it beeps when it’s ready. I don’t even think they make the mercury ones anymore. Anyway, if I think someone is anywhere near the bathroom door, I’ll run water in the sink so they won’t hear it beep.

Sometimes my temperature is a bit too low and sometimes it’s too high, but sometimes it’s like Baby Bear’s porridge was to Goldie Locks–just right. On those occasions I’ll walk out of the bathroom and make an announcement. “My temperature is bang on 98.6,” I’ll say excepting some sort of positive response possibly even a high five.

Nothing o_0

How is it that no one else seems to realize how important my temperature is? Don’t they know that body temperature is serious business? If your body temperature is consistently too low you could have low thyroid function. If it is consistently too high you could have a tiny alien blacksmith in your head pounding out horseshoes. Either way it’s not good.

If I feel like my temperature is running a wee bit high, I trick the thermometer by taking it out of my mouth as soon as it hits 98.6. Yes, I know that wasn’t my real temperature, but there’s something deeply satisfying about those numbers on the little gray screen.

When I decided to write this post this morning I decided to take my temperature and then take a picture of the thermometer to post. The only problem was my temperature was a troubling 97.9 which is not the magic number I’m looking for. After fretting about it for a while I realized that it probably has something to do with the ice cold cucumber salad I ate only minutes before sticking the thermometer in my mouth.

SONY DSC

Oiling Up

I used to think that I hated the beach until I actually started going and realized I like it a lot. Besides the sand getting sand in my bathing suit and the possibility of getting eaten alive by sharks, the beach is a rip roaring good time. That’s why when my husband asked what I wanted to do this weekend I told him that we should go to the beach.

“We can’t do that,” he said, “I need at least three days to prepare.”

My husband is English. I mean really, really English. The lack of sunshine on the British Isles means that the people have to be quite pale in order to absorb enough vitamin D from the sun’s rays. My husband has nicknames like Powder and Casper because of his pasty complexion. Exposing his sensitive English skin to the powerful Florida sunshine could have disastrous results.

But what about sunscreen? Here’s the thing. You know those annoying people who read the ingredients of everything and refuse to use things that are full of tons of chemicals? Yeah, that’s us.

We use extra virgin coconut oil as our sunscreen. Using oil as sunscreen probably sounds like a bunch of crazy talk to you, but it works. My husband has only gotten sunburned once since we’ve come back to Florida and that was because he went out without any oil on.

He feels that his current farmer’s tan situation is not appropriate for the beach, and he’s not convinced that coconut oil will have enough staying power for the beach. He wants to get a bit of color on his torso first.

After laying out for twenty minutes on each side covered with coconut oil, he still had no visible tan lines. I guess that coconut oil really does work.

If you want another good natural solution for sunscreen try using a St. John’s Wort oil infusion. Here’s a video that talks all about it.

If you’re interested in learning how to make your own herbal remedies, you should check out Learning Herbs. Yes, that is an affilitate link. Their herbal medicine making starter’s kit rocks the house. I got it for my mother for her birthday.

Prolactin Oh No

I know I said the other day that we were as organized as tadpoles, but that’s not really the case. We did have plans originally. We were going to make a million dollars and move back to the States for a while. I bought the special paper and loaded up on colored ink for the making a million dollars part. I figure if governments can randomly print currency, so can I. The moving to the States part of the plan just isn’t happening for now though.

A couple of months ago when we were making our final moving plans we found out that I have a prolactinoma. A prolactin-what? Don’t worry, I thought the same thing when the endocrinologist told me. A prolactinoma is a benign tumor on your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is the orange thing in this picture.

Tumors on the pituitary gland are usually not such a big deal considering that roughly 25 percent of the population has small growths on their pituitary glands that cause no problems at all. Most don’t even know that they have them. Occasionally, these tumors will secrete hormones and that’s not a good thing.

My tumor secretes prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone associated with pregnancy that causes lactation. The good news is that I may have a future as a wet nurse. I wonder how much they get paid.

Though I can be quite obsessed with the idea of being ill, when I actually find out I have something wrong with me my first instinct is to do nothing. Ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away is my philosophy. With this that kind of isn’t an option. If left untreated increased amounts of prolactin cause early menopause and osteoporosis. There is also the minor issue of the tumor possibly continuing to grow and causing blindness to consider too.

These tumors can usually be treated with medication. Sometimes surgery is necessary to remove them though. Right now I’m taking a medication called cabergoline to shrink my tumor. It made me feel lousy for the first few weeks of taking it, but I read somewhere that if you take it before going to bed at night the side effects are less severe. That seems to be working so that’s great.

This affects our move to the States because of health insurance. I now have a pre-existing condition that needs monitoring. There’s nothing health insurance companies hate more than pre-existing conditions and monitoring. Drats!! Those health insurance companies are a real pain in the backside.

Anyway, that’s where things stand at the moment. I’m largely unfazed. It’s kind of a waiting game for now.

You Make Me Feel So Young…

People often ask me about the secret to my youthful appearance. Good genes definitely contribute to my agelessness, but if you weren’t fortunate enough to be born a Hunter there is still hope for you. Here are my secrets to looking and feeling young:

Sit on the sofa for extended periods of time with a laptop in your lap. The heat generated by the laptop penatrates your muscles keeping them lose and supple.

Go for long walks. Walking is great exercise and one of the best ways to go some place when you don’t have a car or a driver’s license or a bike or a bus pass or enough money to pay for a taxi.

Run as fast as you can. When is the last time you ran as fast as you could? Go out and try it and see how it feels. You don’t have to be pursured by fercious dog or a crazy criminal to run as fast as you can–I’m sure it helps, but it’s not necessary.

Practice making youthful faces in the mirror. What can I say? Practice really does make perfect.

Marry a Bettison. Those Bettisons never grow up. If you don’t have any Bettison blood in your veins consider marrying a Bettison. You’ll be young by association.

Getting More Exercise

I like to exercise. What I should say is that I exercise because I should, not because I like to. I like to eat curry while watching crime dramas on the sofa. If that counts as exercise then I like to exercise. Unfortunately, I’m all too aware that that doesn’t count as exercise.

I do yoga most mornings. That counts as exercise and I like that, but I always feel like I should be doing something else too. When it’s nice outside I sprint, but this is England and it’s not nice outside very often. I do my apartment running on a pretty regular basis, but my running has been pretty slack. It’s more like apartment walking in place and then stopping and sitting down because its hard to read the subtitles on the Danish crime drama I’ve been watching whilst moving all around.

The other day I decided to start doing some more intense exercise. I make this decision every couple of months and usually end up exercising so hard that I ache for a week afterwards and then never repeat the workout again. This time I decided I needed some guidance for my workout so I searched for home strength training online and eventually found this site. I’ve been following their workout schedule and its hard fun.

Beating Jet Lag Mooch Style

I’m in Florida visiting family and friends now. My least favorite thing about flying is jet lag. Let me tell you, jet lag can really put something on you. When I was working in Korea I remember my jet lag being crazy whenever I flew back and forth between Korea and the States. I’d take deep dark confusing naps in the middle of the day and wake up not knowing where I was.

Now that I’m older and wiser I’ve gotten this whole jet lag thing under control. I’m going to let you in on the secret. Don’t eat during your trip. That’s it. Easy, right? Fasting isn’t that hard when you’re traveling because airplane food is a complete nightmare. Every time the flight attendants come down the aisle with the food cart I feel like I’m going to retch from the smell anyway.

Stay hydrated during the trip. Every time the flight attendants come down the aisle with that drink cart get some water. Ask for water even when you’re not offered it. Being dehydrated will make jet lag worst. If you’re traveling alone get an aisle seat. You don’t want to disturb the other passengers in your row. You’ll have to pee every a million times during the flight because you’re fasting and drinking tons of water.

On your flight keep the sleep wake schedule of your destination. If you’ll be arriving in the early morning sleep on the flight. If you’re arriving in the evening stay awake on the flight.

Once you get to your destination eat at the next meal time. When you do your brain will reset so you’ll be on the schedule of your destination. If you do get tired during the day, don’t nap any longer than 30 minutes. Spending lots of time out in the sunlight will also help. That’s easy for me do in Florida, but not so easy in the UK. That country is not exactly famous for its sunshine.

Follow this simple advice and your jet lag will be minimal next time you travel.

Run for Your Life – Sprinting for Health

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of apartment running. My apartment running days are far from over, but now I’ve added a little something extra to my exercise routine–sprinting. Sprinting is fun, wildly exciting, and very good for you. Here’s the deal.

We have two types of muscle fibers in our bodies. There are slow twitch muscle fibers and fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscles can further be divided into two categories: fast and superfast.

The average person stops using their superfast muscles once they enter adulthood. You stop using your superfast muscles because you stop doing super fast exercise. Children run all over the place as fast as they can all the time. When was the last time you ran as fast as you could? When you were chased by a dog? If you’re not afraid of dogs, you probably haven’t run as fast as you could since you  were twelve. That’s okay. You’re not alone.

The average person’s muscle breakdown is about 50% slow, 40% fast and 10% superfast. An average sprinter has this muscle percentage breakdown: 40% slow, 20% fast, and 40% superfast. The average person who does aerobic exercise has 55% slow, 40% fast, and 5% superfast. That’s right aerobic exercise actually depletes the amount of superfast muscle fibers you have.

Why should you care? I’ll tell you why. Superfast muscles cause your body to produce Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH stimulates cell production and cell regeneration. In other words, it helps keep you looking and feeling young.

The problem is the only way to develop your superfast muscles is to participate in superfast activities. No, speed reading doesn’t count.

We’ve started sprinting three days a week in a field near our house. If you decide to do this, make sure you warm up well before you start. The first day we tried sprinting my husband ran two steps and pulled a muscle in his thigh. Luckily, he’s married to a massage therapist.

We do a little jogging before we start to warm up. Then we run as fast as we can for 30 to 60 seconds 3 to 4 times. You should take a 4 minute break in between every 30 to 60 second burst. By the end of it we’re exhausted, but I have to say that it’s great fun. Give it a try. You might like it.

The Candida Post

My husband was told by the doctor not too long ago that he has a Candida problem. He keeps getting yeasty ear infections. Candida treatment isn’t covered under the NHS. He would need to see a private medical professional to take care of the problem. So in true Bettison fashion we’ve decided to take care of this problem ourselves.

We’ve been on a torturous anti-Candida cleansing diet for a week. Basically we couldn’t eat anything. Really, that’s a gross exaggeration. We didn’t eat any starches for a week. It was all veggies and protein and I hated it. We’ve also had to cut out two of my favorite cooking ingredients, soy sauce and fish sauce. Normally, we practically live on Thai curries. I’m also a huge fried rice fan. We’ve also had to stop eating sugars which isn’t a problem because we rarely eat anything sweet. I do tend to eat piles of raisins during the day though. Apparently, that counts as sweet.

About Candida

Candida albicans is the name of a yeast that lives in your gut. Your digestive tract is full of lovely micro-organisms having a big party. They all live peacefully together, but sometimes things horribly go wrong. The friendly bacteria in your gut gets killed off by illness, medication or maybe even injury. Without anyone to keep them in check the Candida get out of control like teenagers left alone by their vactioning parents.

The Candida start having a big keg party and inviting all their yeasty friends to completely trash your body. That’s when you start noticing symptoms like diahrrea, bloating, and gas. The systems aren’t limited to the digestive tract though. You may also experience headaches, fatigue, joint and muscle pain and cloudy thinking. My thinking has been cloudy ever since I can remember, maybe I have a permanent Candida infection. The Candida party will eventually start to spill out of you causing yeast infections, thrush, jock itch and rectal itching. (Isn’t that lovely)

You know the party is getting really wild when the Candida starts to do damage to your intestinal walls causing an illness known as leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the walls of your intestines become permeable allowing toxins and food partials to spill into your blood stream.

Because your gut and immune system are tightly linked Candida overgrowth has also been linked to some autoimmune diseases.

If you’re looking to start a Candida diet here are some foods you need to cut out.

Sugar

Yeast loves sugar. That means cutting out all the sweet yummy foods in your life, like cake. Her are some other foods to avoid.

  • sugar
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • agave nectar
  • high fructose corn syrup (you really shouldn’t be eating that anyway)
  • dried fruits
  • super sweet fruits (bananas, oranges…)

Simple Starches

Simple starches turn right to sugar once they hit your system. That’s not good. You don’t want to give those yeasties more of what they want. Avoid white rice, pasta, white bread and other pasteries.

Yeast

The last thing you want to do is invite any more yeast to this party. That’s why foods that contain yeast are not a good idea. So no store bought fermented foods. I really wish I knew how to make soy sauce at home. Here’s a list:

  • soy sauce
  • vinegar
  • most condiments
  • pickles
  • sauerkraut
  • olives
  • bread (again)
  • alcohol

Now that you’ve cut all the joy and pleasure out of life the Candida party will die down a bit. Once the party winds down and they start to tire out it’s time to hit them were it hurts.

Bring in the Anti-Fungals

Now that they’re weak it’s time to hit them with some anti-fungals. You can get your doctor to prescribe you an anti-fungal medication, but if your cheap like me you might want to go for an all natural one. Here are a few:

  • grapefruit seed extract
  • oil of oregano
  • coconut oil
  • garlic
  • clove oil
  • olive leaf extract
  • aloe vera

We’re using grapefruit seed extract along with a bit of coconut oil. We use coconut oil all the time anyway.

Probiotics

Once you’ve killed off the yeast you need to repopulate the space with some healthy bacteria. Take a good quality probiotic supplement. If you leave that space unpopulate Candida riffraff might move right back in. Getting good bacteria in there as soon as possible is necessary to make sure your Candida problem doesn’t return.

We’re in week two of our Candida diet and I can say that even though I hate having a restricted diet it’s going okay. I mean I’m not alive and well enough to write this post.

I used to think Candida sounded kind of pretty. It could be my first child’s name…Candida Marie Bettison. I’ve changed my mind now. Our first child will definitely be named Lactobacillus Bettison instead.

Chin Up

Recently in my quest for fitness, I’ve started doing chin-ups with my husband in the park. In this context chin-up means hanging from a bar and trying desperately to pull myself up, but not succeeding at all. I always thought I was strong, but it seems that I’m not strong enough. I need to start doing more strength building exercises. Maybe I could get the keys on my computer keyboard adjusted to provide me with some resistance while typing. That would make me stronger, wouldn’t it?

Despite the absolute failure my chin-up attempts are, I’m working some muscles. Who would’ve thought that just hanging from a bar would make you so sore?

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