Posts tagged: natural remedies

Make a Fruit Fly Trap!

By , August 11, 2012

Is your kitchen full of fruit flies?

Try this handy little trap:

1. ) Roll a piece of paper into a cone shape, and secure with tape. The opening should only be large enough for a fruit fly to fit through.

2.) Place a piece of fruit into a tall jar.

3.) Set the paper cone into the jar. Tape the paper to the jar so the flies can’t escape around the edges.

4.) The flies will fly in, but can’t get back out. Release them outside, or dream up your own creative way of getting rid of them.

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Nettles!!

By , May 1, 2012

As I mentioned in this post, I found nettles! This was really very exciting because now I can collect my own instead of continuing to purchase my usual dried nettles for tea. And for the very first time, I had freshly cooked nettles and they’re amazing! A mild and pleasing taste. I cooked them in some salted water, and ended up drinking every last drop of the broth too — it was thick and delicious — almost meaty. They’re so good for you, too. High in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Cooked nettles

Nettles & white beans

And I love nettles tea because it works better than an antihistamine pill for me. This was an accidental discovery; I’m allergic to bee stings, and I get honeybee and ‘mixed vespids’ venom immunotherapy shots every 6 weeks so that my body gets desensitized to the venom. Normally I get a big, itchy 3″ wide welt on each arm where I get the shot, and I take a Claritin pill the morning of the shots to help counteract that. However one day I had some strong nettles tea before my shots, along with the pill. No welt! No redness! No itchy! At first I didn’t realize it was the nettles, until another time when I’d forgotten to take the antihistamine pill and only had nettles tea, and same thing! No welt. Finally I realized it was the nettles tea, and the pill wasn’t even really necessary. So now I make sure to have nettles tea before my shot, and every day for at least about a week afterward. It’s quite magical. If you have seasonal allergies (mercifully, I don’t), you might try nettles tea!

My favorite nettles tea:

2-3 Tbsp dried nettles

~1/2 Tbsp dried mint

~1/2 Tbsp dried lemongrass

In a mug, pour 8-12 ounces boiling water over herbs, cover, and steep about 15 minutes.

So anyway, back to the fresh nettles. I couldn’t believe my luck with finding patch after patch of them, and while I often travel with an empty plastic bag (you never know what you’ll need it for!), I didn’t have one with me on the walk. However my mom had packed snacks in a bag, and thank goodness she had! Precious, precious bag. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to collect any. Disappointing!

I had an empty little sandwich baggie which I used as a glove to pick them, though still got plenty of stings on my wrists. (The stinging compounds are easily neutralized once the nettles are either boiled or dried to a crisp.) I stuffed the bag full, and also took some plants with roots and have planted those in pots outside, hoping they’ll decide it’s a satisfactory location to grow. I’ve read that nettles are particular about where they grow; you might think you have the ideal location for them — but they have the last word.

Do you cultivate your own nettles? Have any growing tips?

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As you can see, the living room was full of nettles for a while. I ended up getting about 3 gallons, dried.

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Indian Summer Watermelon Slushie

By , October 3, 2011

There are still watermelons at the farmer’s market, and the weather is still hot enough to crave them!

My Hubby’s sweet sister created this awesome recipe and sent it to me a couple weeks ago. We love it and have been making batch after batch of it! You don’t even have to be a watermelon lover to enjoy this. I’m not; they’re usually too sweet for my liking. But this…this is just right. It’s so refreshing.

I should add, too, that this is a really good drink for someone who’s sick; it’s very light and hydrating, which is important when you don’t feel well enough to drink or eat much of anything. It’s like a popsicle only better for you! Right now, this slushie is sometimes the only thing that my incredibly delicate tummy will tolerate. I’ve been so grateful for it!

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Watermelon Slushie

3 cups of watermelon chunks, seeds removed

2 large (or 4 small) strawberries, fresh or frozen

7 raspberries, fresh or frozen

6 ice cubes

1 cup water (or less for a slushier consistency)

squeeze of fresh lime juice (optional)

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Remove the seeds from your watermelon. (Don’t worry, this is a quick task if you cut the melon into smaller chunks first. I like to save the seeds & dry them on a plate to snack on later). One time, I didn’t remove the seeds before making the slushie. It makes for a richer, thicker (and even more nutritious) slushie, though the seeds definitely reduced the sweetness. I do like the slushie better without seeds. 🙂

Blend everything till smooth. If you’d like a slushier consistency, reduce the water, or add more ice. Also, it’s easy for the strawberry flavor to overpower, so if that happens, just add more watermelon.

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Philosophy Friday: Doing Our Best In a Complex Situation

By , September 17, 2011

Hope you’ve all had a good week… I can’t believe how quickly it went! For me this week has been full of emotion, some very low points, and a fair bit of hand-wringing. I haven’t been feeling well…I’ve been definitely-not-right for a year and a half, but especially sick for the past 5 months with fevers almost every day, painful lymph nodes in every corner of my body, and running at only 25% (or sometimes 5%) of my usual energy — plus so much other stuff too. Sometimes I’m so incredibly sick I can hardly open my eyes, and ‘whatever it is’ has slowly been progressing, affecting new parts of my body in creative & alarming ways. Watching my previously excellent health pretty much fall apart has been (and is) a scary, unsettling experience. And even after lots of tests done on (so far) 26 vials of blood, it’s still a mystery because it’s unclear whether there are two separate things going on, or if it’s all part of the same issue.

My head has been over and under and around ‘this thing’ so many times…churning on it, studying it, considering what to do about it, weighing western approach against eastern approach…and ultimately feeling paralyzed and unable to see how best to address it. We each have our values, don’t we… the values we create during times of wellness & happiness. I value alternative medicine…and prefer & feel most comfortable in that arena. Though, I pick and choose carefully in that area…having observed that there are indeed diamonds out there, but there’s also a lot of rubbish.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’ve had to compromise my preference for natural-only. Or…is it a compromise? Maybe it’s just a value adjustment, based upon the new information I’m gathering as I’m navigating this new territory — because I’ve never been this sick before. And I find myself glad to have the technology of western medicine to (hopefully) find out what’s up (or at least rule out what’s not up) — and at the same time, repeatedly hoping that I’m doing the right thing by following this particular route at this particular time.

It’s a complex situation. And I’ve finally decided that in this case, what I feel best with is a combination of western & eastern. Western, because I feel like that’s what’s called for in this extenuating circumstance. And eastern as a supplement — to support my body in the best way I can while it’s trying its hardest under these less-than-ideal conditions. (Excellent nutrition is a big part of this!)

And so today I had a full-body CT scan — from mid-head to pelvis. It’s the next step in trying to suss out what’s causing all this. I’ve been having trouble settling it in my mind…knowing it’s a lot of radiation on my sensitive body. But also knowing full well that it’s a risk-benefit thing — and the benefit outweighs the risk right now. Part of the CT experience was drinking 32 ounces of barium, as well as receiving two separate doses of contrast dye through an IV during the scan. And a week prior, I had an MRI with gadolinium contrast through an IV. Gadolinium is on the Periodic Table… and is not something I want in my body for any longer than necessary!

Readi-Cat, drinkable barium. Cute name & I actually liked the taste! But it made me nauseous.

The assortment of heavy metals and dyes also make me feel quite ill for the rest of the day after receiving them, so the best thing I can do for my body is help it get that stuff flushed right out. So today, I came home and started chugging water with fresh lemon juice…and 8 hours later now I’m finally starting to feel less yucky. I also juiced a ton of cilantro (and have been eating heaps of cilantro lately anyway) along with parsley and garden celery, since it’s been found that fresh cilantro binds really well to heavy metals in your body and carries them safely out. I’ve also been drinking my beet kvass tonight, since that’s a great blood purifier…in addition to eating my everyday fare of lots of fresh, organic fruits & veggies, which is pretty much all my body wants & can tolerate right now. (Oh and some chocolate too, ya know…for medicinal purposes only, of course!)

Cilantro, parsley, & celery juice

And for the radiation, I’m thankful to have my kit of Australian Bush Flower Essences because I mixed up the Electro essence blend right when I got home. Interestingly, this blend was used in a clinical trial of bodily radiation levels in children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Radiation levels were measured before and after 2 weeks in a control group, plus a group that received spirulina, and in a group that received the Electro flower essence blend. After 2 weeks, the radiation level in the control group decreased 3.5% and the spirulina group decreased 25.3%, while the radiation level in the Electro group decreased 43%!

Anyway, I guess it’s all a big learning experience (like everything else!), resulting in a constant stream of adjustments being made to our inner selves along the way…forcing us to re-evaluate ourselves and our values and the things we previously thought we had “all figured out.”  And ultimately we gain compassion and perspective and first-hand experience, along with plenty of opportunities to practice surrender and acceptance. And we find out, again, that things are never really black-and-white once you’ve actually experienced them and put your previously-perceived values to the test.

This is an intense one…and I have to wonder what the ultimate purpose of it will be. My fear is that I’ll feel like this forevermore. I probably won’t, but at least I hope there’s a higher purpose to it all!

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Chicken-Foot Bone Broth

By , August 23, 2011

 

Chicken feet! In this post, I mentioned that I’d found pastured chicken feet at the farmer’s market, and how excited I was about that! (I bought them from the good folks at Cottonwood Creek Farms — their pastured chickens are awesome…if you’re in Colorado, definitely support these local farmers!) I made chicken-foot bone broth from them, and WOW. It’s incredible stuff. I was amazed at the amount of gelatin that ended up in the stock…three or four times the gelatinousness of Jello! A delicious, rich broth…rich without being fatty.

Calcium-rich bone broth (stock) is a staple in my kitchen; I make sure it’s always in my freezer. It adds so much nutrition to a dish, and the taste is incredible. It’s the cook’s secret weapon! Lentils made with homemade bone broth instead of water is an entirely different experience (and one of my all-time favorites!). I like to simmer down my bone broth till it’s really concentrated and delicious; it’s both easier to store — taking up less space in the freezer — and adds a deeper flavor to whatever I use it in. I could dilute the concentrate once I thaw it out, but usually I just use it straight.

And so, Why bone broth? Well I will tell you. Well actually I’ll let Sally Fallon tell you. She’s the author of one of my favorite cookbooks that I sometimes mention here, Nourishing Traditions.

“Meat and fish stocks are used almost universally in traditional cuisines — French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian; but the use of homemade meat broths to produce nourishing and flavorful soups and sauces has almost completely disappeared from the American culinary tradition.

Properly prepared meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth.

It was Dr. Pottenger who pointed out that stock is also of great value because it supplies hydrophilic colloids to the diet. Raw food compounds are colloidal and tend to be hydrophilic, meaning they attract liquids. Thus, when we eat a salad or some other raw food, the hydrophilic colloids attract digestive juices for rapid and effective digestion. Colloids that have been heated are generally hydrophobic — they repel liquids, making cooked foods harder to digest. However, the proteinaceous gelatin in meat broths has the unusual property of attracting liquids — it’s hydrophilic — even after it has been heated. The same property by which gelatin attracts water to form desserts, like Jello, allows it to attract digestive juices to the surface of cooked food particles.”

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Below is the Chicken Stock recipe straight from Nourishing Traditions. Nowadays I stray from the recipe — no longer bothering to weigh or measure — and often leave the veggies out to achieve a truer chicken flavor. Sometimes I’ll add the veggies too, but never the carrots since I dislike the sweetness they impart.

Anyway, I simply dump some bones (usually chicken backs, feet, or the carcass from a whole chicken) into my crock pot, fill with cold water according to how many bones I have (this is all very unscientific — you’ll get a feel for it quickly). I tend to add less water than is called for in the original recipe because I like a very concentrated stock with lots of flavor. To the water, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar. Turn on your crock pot and let it simmer away for about 24 hours. I’ve also done this on the stove many times, but I definitely prefer the crock pot.

When it’s done, I pour everything through a strainer, reserving the bones and picking off any meat for another use. I like to munch on the ends of the bones (which will be very soft by then) — a great calcium & mineral supplement. Pour into jars (leaving at least an inch of head space if you’ll be freezing them), and place in the fridge so the fat can harden on the surface; if there’s lots of fat I’ll skim some off, but I do like to leave at least some. Use, or transfer to the freezer. (As a side note, I’ve noticed a big difference with stock made from pastured chickens — much less fat, much more gelatin!)

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Nourishing Traditions Chicken Stock

1 whole free-range chicken or 2-3 lbs of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones, and wings

gizzards from one chicken (optional)

feet from the chicken (optional)

4 quarts cold filtered water

2 Tbsp vinegar

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

1 bunch parsley

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them — they are full of gelatin. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.) Even better, use a whole chicken, with the head on. These may be found in Oriental markets. Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

Cut chicken parts into several pieces. Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or chicken pieces with a slotted spoon. Remove meat and reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches, or curries. (The skin and smaller bones, which will be very soft, may be given to your dog or cat.) Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

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How to Make Beet Kvass

By , May 21, 2011

Beet kvass is a favorite at our house! It’s so easy to make and so good for your body, and we love the taste — salty, sour, very refreshing.

Beets are extremely nutrient rich and have long been valued as a blood tonic (and their doctrine of signatures would suggest this — they make everything look bloody after you’ve cut into them!). They are rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, carotene, B complex, copper, and vitamin C. Beets and their greens contain special substances that protect the liver and stimulate the flow of bile (Nourishing Traditions, p. 373). And drinking beet kvass is especially beneficial to digestion because it’s lacto-fermented and therefore contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria for your digestive tract. It’s an all-around health tonic, and according to p. 610 of Nourishing Traditions, beet kvass promotes regular elimination, aids digestion, alkalinizes the blood, cleanses the liver, and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.

Well, all I know is that it tastes good!

The recipe in Nourishing Traditions describes letting your beet kvass ferment for 2 days on the counter and then refrigerating it. However, I find it usually needs to ferment a lot longer than that. I let mine go a week or two on the counter, until the kvass is completely opaque — a deep, thick red that you can’t see through. I give it a taste, and if it’s sour with no hint of sweetness left, I know it’s done (though some may like to have that hint of sweetness). As with all fermentations, let it go until it tastes good to you, regardless of what the directions say.

Here’s my recipe:

Beet Kvass

8 – 10 ounces organic beets, scrubbed & coarsely chopped (I don’t bother to peel them)

1/4 cup whey* (optional)

1 Tbsp sea salt (I like unrefined sea salt because the minerals haven’t been taken out)

water

Place the salt into a 2-quart glass jar. Pour in a little warm water to dissolve the salt, and then add the beets and whey (if using). Fill the jar to the top with water. Stir and cover. Let sit at room temperature until the kvass tastes good to you — several days to a couple weeks, depending on your kitchen temperature and your tastes. Transfer to the fridge. If the kvass isn’t delicious, it may need a few weeks to “do its thing” in the fridge. I always find that my ferments taste even better when they’ve been shoved to the back of the fridge for a few weeks (or…er…months!).

And I have found that the whey is an optional ingredient, even though it isn’t listed as such in Nourishing Traditions. Feel free to leave it out; your kvass will take a little longer to ferment, but will be just as delicious!

When the liquid is nearly gone from your jar, you can fill it halfway again with water (no extra salt) and let it re-ferment if you want. Or you can save some kvass to add to your new batch as an innoculant, or you can juice your spent beet chunks! Or all of the above.

Starting a new batch of beet kvass

Beet kvass, finished and ready to drink

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*Whey: a clear yellowish liquid that can be drained off a fermented milk product like yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir. Whey will actually last for a couple months in your fridge. There are several ways to collect it:

– Easiest way: make kefir and let it over-ferment until curds and whey have separated. Spoon off the curds, and strain the whey through a fine mesh seive.

– Another way: Place a colander or seive over a bowl. Line the colander with a clean, damp tea towel, and pour yogurt into that. Leave for a day or two in your fridge to drain. You’ll then be left with whey in the bowl and “Greek yogurt” (or “yogurt cheese” if it’s really thick) in the colander. Both are great for making dips.

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Troubleshooting:

My ferments, including my kvass, sometimes get a white film (kahm yeast) on top during fermentation. It looks like this:

Kahm yeast is harmless, but you’ll want to try to keep it scraped off so it doesn’t affect the flavor of the kvass too much. I do find that my kvass gains a depth of flavor when it’s had this film on it, but if you let it go uncontrolled, it can make your kvass taste weird. Try to scrape as much of it off each day as you can.

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Use Caution With Bee Pollen Supplements

By , July 5, 2010

Bee Pollen

Unfortunately, this post is the result of quite an interesting week — I had 3 anaphylactic reactions in 48 hours, due to some bee pollen I ate! Bee pollen is considered to be a super food because it contains high-quality protein (meaning it has all the essential amino acids plus quite a few more), plus it’s rich in minerals and Vitamins A, C, E, as well as most of the B vitamins including folic acid, and it contains over 5,000 enzymes and thousands of phytonutrients. Bee pollen also contains plant nectar and bee saliva. It’s been used as a health food supplement in China for hundreds of years. But if you have – or even suspect you have – an allergy to bee stings, honey, royal jelly, or any other bee products, I want to pass on a word of caution about bee pollen supplements. While bee products are obviously not the same as a bee sting, they are related enough to cause cross reactions (Allergy. 1992 Feb;47(1):41-9). Also, if you have a severe allergy to pollen, I would also steer clear of bee pollen (Annals of Allergy. 1981 Sep;47(3):154-6).

This article states that “Bee pollen may actually set off allergies in those who are particularly sensitive, especially those allergic to bee venom and ragweed.”

Now, I’ve had quite a few bee stings in my life, with no evidence of an allergy until my most recent sting 3 years ago: Immediately after being stung, I almost passed out, and then got quite sick for about 24 hours. That wasn’t a normal reaction for me, and a coworker suggested that I may have developed a bee sting allergy. I later learned that a bee sting allergy can develop at any time, and the more times you’ve been stung, the higher your chance of becoming allergic.

But back to the bee pollen. Having read how nourishing it is, I recently bought some from the health food store. The label recommended eating just a few grains at first, in case of an allergic reaction, but mentioned nothing about avoiding the product if you have allergies to bee venom, other bee products, or to pollen. Perhaps the label could have been more specific…perhaps it was daft of me not to make the bee-sting/bee-pollen connection in my head. In any case, I ate a few grains with no problem. The next day I ate more of the pollen – probably between 1 and 2 Tbsp, and was fine. But the next day, within about 10 minutes of eating between 1 and 2 Tbsp of pollen, my entire face began to swell up — especially around my mouth — and I developed a burning red rash that quickly spread from my face to my neck, back, arms, and legs. I got lightheaded and my heart was racing and pounding. This was certainly something I’d never experienced before. Hubby and I decided I needed to get the pollen out of my body, so I did a…uhh…”barf induction.” Yuk. The reaction subsided, though I definitely didn’t feel very well.

The next morning I still felt weak, shaky, unwell, and strangely ‘out of it.’ Right as we were about to walk out the door for a bike ride, I started feeling really sick and lightheaded, like I was going to throw up and pass out. The rash immediately returned, starting on my face and spreading to the rest of my body. Evidently, anaphylaxis can be biphasic, meaning it can occur again within 72 hours, without any further exposure to the allergen. And then again the next day, I had a third reaction with the same quickly-spreading red rash, sick feeling, pounding heart, and lightheadedness as before; however, that time my throat swelled up, which was really scary, and I ended up in the ER. It was not a fun night.

A few days later, I then accidentally confirmed my bee pollen allergy by eating granola bars that I had made with Really Raw brand of honey, which contains small amounts of bee pollen. Before my three anaphylactic reactions, I had eaten the granola bars with no problem. But ever since the anaphylaxis, I’m no longer able to eat even the minute amounts of pollen contained in my granola bars without having a reaction.

The doctor said it sounds like I’m allergic to bee stings in addition to the bee pollen, so I now carry an Epi-Pen, prednisone, and benadryl with me at all times.

And so the moral of my story is: Bee pollen has been used as a natural, nourishing super food for centuries. However, if you have an allergy to bee stings or are highly sensitive to pollens, do approach bee pollen with caution. If you do decide to take it, I would highly recommend starting out with just a few grains at first and then increasing your dosage slowly!

Healing From Surgery, Part 4: Nourishing Foods

By , February 21, 2010

Welcome to another installment in my Healing From Surgery series!

For an introduction to the series, and the pre-/post-surgery homeopathic regimen I created, visit Part 1: Homeopathy.

For instructions on how to make your own Antiseptic Herbal Wash and Herbal Wound-Healing Oil, visit Part 2: Herbal Wound Remedies.

For my recommended skin-healing remedies, visit Part 3: Topical Skin-Healing Remedies.

Part 4: Nourishing Foods

Today for Part 4, I will be talking about foods that are especially nourishing for both before and after surgery. My second surgery is the day after tomorrow, so I have been trying to eat an extra-nourishing diet with emphasis on calcium-rich foods since the surgery involves lots of bone trauma (cutting down one part of a bone in my foot, breaking the bone in another spot, putting in a bone graft, installing a metal plate and 4 screws, and then cutting some muscles through another incision).

Last time, I had prepared lots of lovely, nourishing foods for myself to eat after the surgery. However, I was so nauseated from the anesthesia and pain medication that all I felt like eating was stuff made with sugar or white flour — ginger ale, popsicles, seltzer water, pretzels, saltine crackers. Anything with fats or whole grains was totally unappetizing to me. This was a little distressing because I knew that my body needed nourishing foods more than ever, but I couldn’t even think about eating them. So for this surgery, I am really focusing on nourishing foods beforehand. Plus, since I’m not allowed any vitamins, herbs, or other supplements for 14 days before surgery, it’s a great time to focus on eating nutrient-dense foods (which I feel are better than supplements anyway).

Here’s what I’ve been eating and why:

  • Kefir & Yogurt – rich in calcium & a wonderful probiotic (especially good after the course of antibiotics given during surgery)
  • Dark leafy greens like kale – rich in calcium & other goodies (cooked with bacon because the fat facilitates nutrient absorption)
  • Soups made with Bone Broth – rich in calcium and other minerals (recipe forthcoming)
  • Cooked bones – after making bone broth, the ends of many bones are soft enough to eat! An excellent source of calcium.
  • Coconut water (a.k.a. coconut juice) – for these 3 days before surgery, I’m drinking coconut water (different from coconut milk) to keep myself nice and hydrated. Coconut water is like nature’s Gatorade. In tropical areas, it’s used for dehydration, and for young children and the elderly who are convalescing.
  • Liver pate – extremely rich in nutrients like Vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, protein, trace minerals, etc. Liver is so good for you!
  • Eggs – all-around good nutrient-dense food
  • Canned fish w/ bones, like sardines or smoked herring – rich in calcium and just all-around good for you. Fish bones turn very soft in the can, and are eaten right along with the fish. Sounds gross, but I love the crunchy vertebrae in canned salmon!
  • Lots of fresh fruits & vegetables. My current favorites are mandarin oranges (clementines) and lunch salads made with lettuce, tomato, fresh parsley, fresh dill, diced avocado, bits of chopped ham, and a buttermilk ranch dressing (OMG yum!).
  • Sunshine! Vitamin D is very important for bones. During the winter it’s hard to get enough Vitamin D from the sun, so I like to supplement with Fermented Cod Liver Oil & Butter Oil.

Knowing what I do now, I bought myself the foods that I know I’ll feel like eating (photo below). Even though they’re not ideal foods, I feel that my diet is good enough that it can “forgive” a couple weeks of not-so-nourishing stuff. And when I feel up to it, I’ll be drinking lots of water with fresh lemon or lime juice added; lemon & lime are very nice for flushing out the liver…and I’d like to get as much of the anesthesia out of my body as I can. An even better post-surgery tonic would be coconut water with fresh lime juice added.

Nausea-friendly, post-surgery food: Ginger Ale, Coconut Water, Applesauce, Trader Joe's Fruit Jelly Candy, Animal Crackers, Oyster Crackers, Seltzer Water, Candied Ginger, Pretzels

Since I craved lime popsicles last time, I decided to make my own this time, with better ingredients than the store-bought ones.

I dissolved some raw honey into warm water, then added freshly-squeezed lime juice and some lime zest. Since I don’t have any reusable popsicle molds, I just poured the sweetened lime water into my handy Mickey Mouse Ice Cube Tray (a Disney World souvenir! :-)). They’re the perfect size to pop into my mouth. If you don’t happen to have your own Mickey Mouse Ice Cube Tray, you could use a regular ice cube tray and only fill the cells half way (so that the cubes are small enough to fit into your mouth).

Mini Lime "Popsicles"

Healing From Surgery, Part 3: Topical Skin-Healing Remedies

By , November 9, 2009
Natural Skin-Healing Remedies

From left: Tea Tree Oil, Goldenseal extract, Homeopathic Bone Strengthener, Homeopathic Arnica Gel, Homemade Herbal Wound-Healing Oil, & Virgin Coconut Oil

Time for another installment in the series!

For an introduction to the series, and the pre-/post-surgery homeopathic regimen I created, visit Part 1: Homeopathy.

For instructions on how to make your own Antiseptic Herbal Wash and Herbal Wound-Healing Oil, visit Part 2: Herbal Wound Remedies.

Part 3: Topical Skin-Healing Remedies

After the bandage was removed, I didn’t really put anything onto the actual incision sites (except my Antiseptic Herbal Wash) until they were more healed (therefore, less risk of sealing in any infection).

I kept my incisions clean by washing them with gentle (castile) soap and water; the nurse I talked to urged me not to use either hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean or “sterilize” my wounds; they’re too caustic and harsh on the new tissue that’s forming.

If a wound looks like it’s getting infected (pain, heat, swelling, oozing/draining, and/or bright red color around incision), the essential oils of Tea Tree, Manuka, and/or Lavender can be used neat (full strength) right on the wound (or diluted, if you prefer). I used them a few times on my wounds just to help prevent infection. You can also use a thin layer of regular ol’ triple antibiotic ointment; in my experience, that stuff really does work. However, you don’t want to totally slather it on, because it might trap moisture inside the wound.

As a side note, I also exposed my wounds to direct sunshine when I could; MRSA (drug-resistant Staph) is killed by sunlight. You can read an article with similar implications here: CBS News: Blue Light Kills MRSA. (Though, the sunlight method isn’t totally foolproof since MRSA bacteria can cluster together and form a protective cover over itself called a biofilm, sheltering it from its environment.)

(Obviously, when in doubt, have your incision looked at by your doctor, since infections aren’t to be taken lightly.)

Goldenseal extract is another good topical remedy for infections. It has broad-spectrum antibacterial properties, but keep in mind that Goldenseal is not a systemic antibiotic. In other words, Goldenseal does not course its way through your blood, killing bacteria in its path. Rather, it acts as a contact disinfectant — killing bacteria, fungi, parasites, and protozoa that it comes into direct contact with in the mouth, GI tract, urinary tract, and on the skin.

Also, Goldenseal is one of the most over-harvested and endangered wild medicinal plants in North America. Even so, many (most!) of the Goldenseal that is sold is “wild harvested” or “wildcrafted.” While these terms sound enticing, do avoid them! Instead, only purchase Goldenseal that is “certified organic” or “cultivated.” Herb Pharm puts out a nice, certified organic Goldenseal extract that does not contribute to the demise of this precious healing plant.

Fortunately, Oregon Grape is a more abundant plant, with very similar properties. Oregon Grape root is a great replacement for Goldenseal root!

Anyway. Twice a day for a month or more after the bandage was removed, I put homeopathic arnica gel and virgin coconut oil (which is great for skin) all over my foot, avoiding the incision sites. The arnica gel definitely reduced the bruising discoloration, although my foot still felt bruised to the touch. The coconut oil was great for moisturizing. I noticed that since my foot was swollen, it would get very dry and itchy (like, scratch-it-with-a-steak-knife itchy) unless I was careful to keep it moisturized twice a day.

Once the incisions healed more, I began spraying my Homeopathic Bone Strengthener spray directly onto the skin over the bones that were healing. I also continued to take the spray under my tongue.

And lastly, I began using my homemade Herbal Wound-Healing Oil on the incision sites, and continue to use it daily. I also massage Vitamin E oil (from a punctured capsule) onto the scars.

All in all, my foot looks great! It’s not swelling too much, it’s not visibly bruised at all (though as I said above, it does still feel bruised to the touch…for me, arnica takes away the ugly color, but not the pain), and the scars are healing quite well. Of course, I’m not sure what my foot would have looked like without all these remedies. But since the incisions are healing so well, I definitely feel that they’ve helped.

Do you have a favorite natural skin-healing remedy? I’d love to know!

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