'Awaken the medicine within, and restore the natural
Hello my Journey to Wellness friends. Here we are, with our feet firmly planted in 2016, and the world as we know it marches on. Winter will soon be winding down, and spring flowers will be poking their heads through the soil and coming into bloom . . . YEAH!! I hope you all had a lovely Holiday Season.
I hope you will enjoy this issue, and of course find some of the information helpful and applicable to your own journey to wellness. This newsletter contains a lot of information.
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As I look back over the approximately 24 years since MS became a factor in my life (21 years since diagnosis), I can put it into perspective in terms of its importance in comparison to other challenges I face or have faced.
I find the physical challenges of aging much more daunting. After all, there is no successful "healing" for age-related challenges. But we can mitigate those challenges by living a healthy lifestyle at an early age.
It is human nature when we are young to think old age happens to others, if we ever even think of it at all. We don't REALLY think it will happen to us. Then one day we look in the mirror and find an old person. It is truly a revealing moment.
Today I want to share with you a little bit about how we age on the inside. An oxidization process takes place in our cells, and that process is primarily responsible for aging. The question is, of course, what if anything can we do to mitigate that process.
Just as all health has a foundation in our lifestyle, so it is with aging. When we cut into an apple or an avocado and let them sit exposed to the air (oxygen) for a short period of time they turn dark. That is what the oxidization process looks like, and also what happens inside our cells. That process creates inflammation, and ultimately the death of our cells.
Antioxidants, conversely, help to slow down if not prevent this process. Today we hear a lot about antioxidant foods. Many of the physical aspects of aging like rheumatoid arthritis respond to a diet rich in antioxidants.
When I was about 30 years old I had the 3-day measles, which brought on a severe episode of inflammatory arthritis that affected all my extremities. I spent one long, painful year recovering. Rheumatologists at that time told me it probably would come back to haunt me as I aged; and that has proven to be the case. This year it has raised its ugly head again, probably triggered by my severe injury and resulting surgery earlier this year. Interestingly no one ever mentioned that diet might have anything to do with that.
So now after much study I have learned that I must be very careful to maintain a diet rich in antioxidants. Here are the primary foods known to be rich in antioxidants:
Fish. berries, greens like spinach, broccoli and kale, nuts and seeds, beans of all kinds,
olive oil, onions and garlic, the cruciferous vegetables, oatmeal, and lots of fiber
Foods to avoid:
ALL processed foods, red meats (grass fed beef in moderation), reduce salt intake, alcohol in moderation, avoid processed sugars and white flour (and anything made from them)
It seems that some foods seem to fall into a somewhat "neutral" category; that is they neither seem to be an antioxidant nor contribute significantly to oxidation.
I am only giving you the bare bones basics as I understand how antioxidants work. And I of course am not a nutritionist. If you wish to learn more about antioxidants you may wish to do a Google search. However, In talking to my physician about this subject as it relates to my own R.A., I discovered she doesn't know nearly as much about this as I do. Talking with her reminds me of how little neurologists really know about MS.
Most neurologists believe MS is an inflammatory process, although that is far from being proven. If that turns out to be true, then the recommended food plan for MS should be to restrict inflammatory foods and build our diets around antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods. Interestingly the food plan I have recommended for years for MS emphasizes antioxidant foods. I realize now that an anti-inflammatory diet is also anti-aging, and more simply just a very healthy way to live.
I am reminded of something Shirley MacLaine said about aging, "Age is a reality that we create for ourselves."
I just discovered the most amazing video by a truly brilliant and phenomenal young scientist/visionary, called
Everything is Connected: Here's How by Tom Chi
Tom was one of the early developers of Google X, and he built the early Google Glass prototype. The very interesting thing about Tom, however, is that he is also grounded in rational spirituality. That is, he explores ideas of the spiritual, while remaining grounded in science.
I promise you will be mesmerized by his TED talk. Please don't miss it.
A VERY SPECIAL "THANK YOU" To all of you who have sent a "new year" contribution to help with the expenses of this newsletter and the website, thanks so very much. Your contributions mean more than you will ever know. I just had to renew the URL for Betty's House, and pay for web hosting fees, both of which have increased significantly. Your help is so much appreciated. If you find value in this free on-line newsletter, please consider helping to keep it thriving by making a contribution of $25. You may use a credit card or Pay Pal at my online shopping cart HERE.
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Here’s a simple and easy, delightful and healthy snack from the Martha Stewart kitchens. Enjoy.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 c. Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/4 c. shredded Parmesan (2 1/4 ounces)
1-1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 large egg whites
2 large zucchini (1 1/4 pounds total), halved crosswise and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
If you are like me and you get tired of eating the same things, try these Mini Turkey Meatloaves. I got the recipe from Whole Foods and found it quite good. I didn't have any maple syrup on hand, so I used honey on the green beans, and they were yummy. (I just warmed the honey in my microwave before adding it.)
2 t. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
1 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onion
1 c. grated sweet potato
1/4 c. prepared barbecue sauce, divided
1 3/4 t. fine sea salt, divided
1/2 t. ground black pepper, divided
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 T maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a large sheet tray. In a bowl, mix turkey, onion, sweet potato, 3 tablespoons barbeque sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form into four loaves, brush with remaining 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce and bake on sheet tray for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss green beans with maple syrup, oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange on sheet tray next to meatloaves and roast until tender and meatloaves are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes more.
My former husband, who was Welsh and German, was raised by German speaking grandparents. So as a young newly wed I had to learn to prepare his favorite German foods. Here is one of his grandmother's recipes which he loved. (I believe it is also a staple in Greek and Russian cuisine.) Enjoy.
4 slices bacon, diced
1 lb sauerkraut, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 T all-purpose flour
8 c. hot beef or chicken stock
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1 T caraway seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. white wine (optional)
Fry the bacon in a large heavy pot over moderate heat until cooked but not crisp. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sauerkraut and stir in the flour. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.
Gems From the Internet
Whatever you're thinking about is literally like planning a future event.
When you're worrying, you are planning.
When you're appreciating you are planning...
What are you planning?
Remember you become what you think about.
Why think of yourself in any way that leads to less-than-perfect health?
What’s the point in looking at your body in its current condition of disrepair
and taking on a set of beliefs guaranteed to make matters worse?”
In these days of seemingly unending political rhetoric the following wise words take on even greater meaning:
One of my greatest teachers when I first began my spiritual quest, quite a few years before MS came into my life, was Zig Ziglar, who passed away several years ago. You can find many of his videos on YouTube. Ziggy, as he was affectionately called, was one of the most interesting people I have ever met. He always reminded me of a perpetual motion machine, in constant motion as he paced from place to place on the stage, while he talked to huge crowds, for many years.
One of his best known quotes is:
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action,
which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”
It also underscores the importance of a consistent daily program to promote natural healing. Thank you Zig for all I learned from you. I can just see you teaching the masters in the great beyond.
Remember your body is designed to move. We cannot be healthy without moving our body. Have you tried the Morning Qi Gong by Qi Gong Master Lee Holden? It is excellent and such a deal because it is FREE on YouTube at:
This 10-minute routine is an excellent way to start your day with high energy. There is also an excellent more extensive 20-minute morning routine that you'll find on YouTube.
I will soon not be stocking the following CD exercise videos when my present stock is gone:
Yoga for MS and Related
Conditions by Shoosh Crotzer
Yoga for MS is great for retaining and rebuilding the psoas muscles (core) and therefore the function of the lower body, especially the foot drop so many with MS must deal with.
Mark's Tai Chi (based on Qi Gong) for Seniors is all about supporting the body's natural healing abilities. It is a great introduction to Qi Gong.
These are the two videos I worked with, first Yoga for MS, and later Mark's Tai Chi (Qi Gong) for Seniors when I was recovering. I only have a very limited few copies available. So now is the time to get one HERE. I highly recommend both these programs.From My Mailbox
Hi Betty. Thank you for recommending SubSines. The free brain entrainment meditation they offer is amazing. You called it a tune-up for your brain . . . I don't know about that, but like you I am sleeping better than I have in years, after only a few days of listening to this 15 minute audio recording every day. I see they recommend playing the recording every three days after the first week or so. Thank you again. /s/ John J.
Thanks for your note John. Based on the very latest brain research, the SubSines audios are amazing. In case you missed the previous recommendations, check out the free SubSines audio at LINK. SubSines brainwave MP3 recordings are the best I have heard. Check out the free Inception recording and see what it might do for you. You may either listen at the website, or download it to your computer or notebook.
Hello Betty. Thank you for all that you do. I have been a subscriber for about five years, and your story initially motivated me to make significant changes in my lifestyle as I learned to follow your suggestions. Diet. Qi Gong. Appropriate supplements. And perhaps most importantly, daily meditation. I do not have words to tell you how grateful I am. Thank you so much. /s/ Carolyn B.
Hi Carolyn. I remember those early e-mails you and I exchanged. You were afraid of what your MS diagnosis might mean for you and your family. I am so glad to have played a small role in your healing journey. Continued blessings to you.
Thank you for adding me to your mailing list. I sent you a message on Facebook earlier today and I hope you find the time to answer me. My son was recently diagnosed with MS and all of this is overwhelming. We both agree that we don't want him to go on medication because they have many side effects and so far from what I have read they don't do much for the patient. He rather follow your diet and God willing he will over come it like you did. Thank you for sharing your story and for helping so many people. /s/ Magui V.
This note from Magui is like many I receive, and like the first I have received from many of my readers. Since that first note Magui and I have exchanged many e-mails as her young son begins his journey with RR MS. Sometimes it is almost more difficult for family members who feel helpless to help their young family member. Hopefully I will hear more positive results to share in future newsletters. Good luck Magui to you and your son.
Thanks Betty for the Blue Cheese Stuffed dates recipe in the last newsletter. My holiday guests loved them. /s/ Robin K.
Glad you liked them . . . I do too!!Research News - from Karen
Karen calls the following video a medical "Wow!" I found it very interesting and informative. Having been the recipient a few months ago of a medical miracle reconstruction, I was fascinated watching this.
TECFIDERA ADVERTISING: In the United States we are being inundated by advertising for the newly-FDA approved Tecfidera oral medication for RR MS. The pharmaceutical house must be spending millions of dollars on these ads. It seems that it doesn't matter which channel your TV is tuned to, the Tecfidera ads are everywhere.
Have you listened, really listened to the ads? They are very scary. I hope you will not be tempted to take Tecfidera without a thorough search of the data on PML. Take a look at the following:
Safety information to consider before starting treatment
Your doctor should do a blood test before you start treatment with TECFIDERA and while on therapy.
Pasted from <http://www.tecfidera.com/about/side-effects>
Here's another report on the dug Tysabri and its dangerous side effects:
Natalizumab Ups JCV Seroconversion, Antibody Index in MS
Information that sheds some light on the mechanism by which the multiple sclerosis drug natalizumab (Tysabri, Biogen) increases the risk for potentially fatal progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) has been reported in a new study, which may help with risk stratification of patients taking this medication.
Researchers have found that the rate of seroconversion to JC virus (JCV) positivity is much higher — about 10-fold higher — in patients receiving natalizumab than in the general population and that the index value of antibody levels at the time of seroconversion is generally high.
The study, published in the January 27 online issue of Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation, was led by Nicholas Schwab, PhD, University of Münster, Germany.
"PML risk with natalizumab is a very complex issue," he explained to Medscape Medical News. "We know that natalizumab is associated with PML and we know this is related to the John Cunningham virus (JCV) and that patients have to be JCV antibody positive to develop PML. But we haven't before had detailed information about how natalizumab influences JCV seroconversion and antibody index levels. So our results are providing key new data on this."
Dr Schwab elaborated: "Biogen has previously suggested that PML develops in patients on natalizumab who are already JCV positive, so that if a patient is JCV negative they are not at risk. Additionally it has been thought that if patients seroconvert on natalizumab they generally will have low levels of JCV antibodies to start with and be at low risk of developing PML. But our data suggest that is not the case — that patients on natalizumab are at increased risk of seroconversion and that they often seroconvert to high antibody index value signaling increased PML risk."
"At least this appears to be the case in Germany and France — it may not be the
same everywhere. Other smaller studies in other populations have shown lower
risks so host genetics and environmental factors probably also play a role."
Dr Schwab said the new findings underlined the importance of regular JCV tests for patients taking natalizumab.
"We need to monitor JCV serology more closely. At present many patients just
have the occasional test for JCV antibodies. But because the seroconversion rate
appears to be much higher than we thought when taking natalizumab, more frequent
tests are advisable."
"Because we have shown that the levels of antibody titers, which are related to PML risk, can vary over time, patients with relatively low antibody levels may still be at risk. It is not all right to get a positive antibody index in the low range — 0.5 or 0.6 — and think there is no reason for worry. This antibody level can rise and with it the risk of PML. So regular tests are necessary — at least twice a year. Current recommendations do advise this, but they are not always followed in clinical practice, especially in nonspecialist centers."
CCSVI: It has been a while since we have had a new report on CCSVI. Now comes a new and very informative report. Thanks for sharing this, Karen. Please read the following:
Until next time . . . As always, if you have questions or concerns about anything in this issue of the newsletter, or if you just want to say hello, please send me a note HERE.
Until next time . . .
Happy Trails and lots of smiles and hugs.
In love and light,
PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT A MEDICALLY TRAINED PERSON, AND I DO NOT GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. BUT I HAVE BEEN A VERY SERIOUS STUDENT OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS FOR MANY YEARS, AND I HAVE DEVELOPED A PROGRAM THAT HAS KEPT ME SYMPTOM FREE FOR A LOT OF YEARS NOW SINCE PRIMARY PROGRESSIVE MS FIRST MADE ITS APPEARANCE IN MY LIFE.