Friday, February 27, 2009

help. my insides are leaking.

You might not think it to look at me, but apparently I have a leaky gut. Here I have been thinking I had high blood pressure (you would not think that to look at me either), but it appears not. Instead I have increased intestinal permeability. Actually that's not entirely true either. I do have high blood pressure, but it might not be the problem so much as a symptom of another problem.

The ongoing saga of my blood pressure came to yet another head when I started feeling awful a couple of weeks ago. The world began spinning in a most disconcerting manner, my skull seemed to have doubled in size and weight, the pressure in my head was immense, my pulse bounded strongly in my abdomen and I just wanted to sleep, sleep, sleep. The sleep thing is nothing new - I always want to sleep, but generally save it up for after 10pm. At work I felt seedy and asked someone to check my BP. Yup. High. 148/100. This sent me into my usual 'oh my goodness, I'm sick, how come I have a chronic disease' tail spin, not helped by the nearby doctor suggesting I gulp down a few beta blockers - not the kind of drugs one really wants to be mucking around with. I spent the next two days feeling stressed and scared as I stared down the barrell of an inevitably shortened life expectancy and no possible way to prevent it.

OK. Stop right there!
Shortened life expectancy and no way to prevent it?

What melodramatic drivel with no basis in reality! Hypertension can be managed, prevented, controlled! So I took a deep breath, started looking at the situation with fresh eyes, found a natropath and made an appointment.

Today was the big day. I dutifully refrained from drinking alcohol in the evening (why is it that when you are instructed to refrain from something you automatically want to do it - I rarely drink alcohol but it was all I could do to hold myself back from imbibing a glass last night), ate my high protein beef burger for tea and this morning captured my second void of the day for a urinary indican test.

I felt kind of strange going to a natropath... aren't they, like, of the devil or something? Quacks? A little dodgy and soft around the edges? As it turns out, this natropath was very nice, listened to my concerns, tested my urine, administered a zinc tally test, and came up with a plausible hypothesis for my problems - leaky gut.

It sounds kinds of strange, this leaky gut - is my abdomen full of oozing, dripping, seeping mush? Is free fluid floating between the folds of my bowell? Are my ovaries bathed in juice? Apparently not. Leaky gut has to do with what moves from the gut into the blood. Normally only small digested particles cross the lining of the bowell. In leaky gut syndrome, 'bad bugs', parasites, stress and other triggers cause the gut to become more permeable. Large particles, or toxins, that would normally be prevented from moving into the blood sneak their way through the bigger holes and mosey on down to the liver. The poor old liver does its best to deal with these imposters but soon finds its cleansing resources overwhelmed by the sheer volume of nastiness. It ships the toxins off around the body, fully intending to retrieve them later and sort them out when everything has calmed down a little. Only it never really does calm down. Toxins just keep on rolling in, building up around the body, potentially causing immune responses or (at best) just getting in the way of the body's normal functioning. And so one begins to feel headaches, dizziness, fatigue, stress, PMT, anxiety and so on. The list of related problems is fairly lengthy.

It sounds reasonable to me, but the jury is out on whether this is all fact or fiction. For now, I'll try it. The natropath took my blood pressure and it was high, although not dangerously so. Then she had me close my eyes and imagine myself in a relaxing place. I was transported to the beach, face turned into the wind, breathing in the freshness. Bingo. My blood pressure dropped down to normal! I was impressed, but still felt dizzy and had a headache, indicating hypertension is not the cause of all my symptoms. So why not give this alternative therapy a try? If it brings my blood pressure back to normal and saves me living on medications for ever it will have been worth it.

The question is, what must I do to restore my leaky gut to its usual semi-permeable state? Detox, zinc supplement and a couple of interesting looking herbal remedies that kill any bad bugs and parasites dead. In three weeks I go back for another urine test to see if there is any improvement before restocking my gut with probiotics. The natropath anticipates I will rapidly begin to feel better.

So tomorrow I begin the cleansing process. I was hoping detox wouldn't be part of the deal - I've always seen it as a bit extreme - but it doesn't look like being too arduous. Cutting out most of the chemicals from our diet means I'm more than half way there already. I don't drink caffeine, rarely have alcohol, and have been reducing my sugar intake for some time. Now I just need to cut out dairy and wheat for a few weeks.

I might not end up looking any different, but I'm hoping that with all this effort (and expense!) I'll be feeling on top of the world in a very short period of time. Fingers crossed! I'll keep you posted.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009


Sometimes I get all enthusiastic in the kitchen before I've even had breakfast. Not that that means I get going early... this morning breakfast was after nine! This was what we ate, with blackberries fresh off those wild bushes down the side of the house and walnuts instead of pecans. Yum.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

she's just asking for a fall

Pride is bad. Very bad. Or so I was led to believe by my parents, who constantly quoted 'pride goes before a fall' at me and even went so far as to give me an anti-pride postcard when I was yay high.

It was one of my favourite postcards (I had a few), but not even its great charm was strong enough to sink its message sufficiently deep within my psyche that I forever put self pride to death. I say this because I am about to praise myself. Boast. Glory in my success. Call it what you will, this post is one big orgy of pride.

Not that I'm beating myself up about this because 1) in view of my propensity for self flagellation, 2009 is my year to refrain from all beatings, personal or otherwise and 2) in my adult wisdom I have come to the conclusion a little pride in one's achievements is not such a bad thing. Allowed to grow, of course pride might become a monstrous blight on any person's character, but basking in the glow of a job well done seems to me to mirror God's satisfied observation that his creative efforts were incredibly good.

So here it is: today I cycled 26 kilometres (16.1 miles) around the city. I thought it was 40km (24.9 miles), but google maps reliably informs me it was only 26. First I cycled to the primary school I work in. That involves riding up a dirty great hill which in truth I walked up, and even that nearly killed me.

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All those oohs and aahs from some suitably impressed colleagues did wonders for my self esteem before I sallied forth to my old bible college stomping grounds to present a back care lecture.

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Thankfully the students had all been slogging it out in the garden and were just as hot and sweaty as I was. Although to be honest a large part of the ride was spent gliding down the other side of the dirty great hill.

After offering my favourite back care tips (it's all in the pelvis power I say) I jumped back in the saddle and trecked home. I present two maps here, because there are a couple of dirty great hills between the bible college and my house and google maps offers the shortest route which includes said hills. I myself prefer a flatter journey, so I rode quite some extra distance in order to spare my legs.

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This is all amazing enough, but my greatest source of pride is the way I rode. In the past I've been all timid and cautious and keeping out of cars way, which is pretty sensible when you think about it. Riding through town today however, I had to do some tricky lane changing in order to navigate our crazy one way streets and get to where I wanted. So I put on my aggressive self, which isn't so different from my usual self, and sat out in the middle of the lane preventing any cars from passing. I had to ride like the dickens so they didn't become too irate but I did it! I mastered riding through peak hour traffic and busy streets. (Ah huh. That was totally pride you heard there.)

When I thought about my cycling plans this morning I doubted I could last the distance. I'm really not that fit. So it is wonderfully satisfying to look back on all that riding and realise I can do it and not only did I make it but I found it exhilarating, and I want to do it again. And the icing on the cake? I managed to stay on the bike the whole way up the hill leading up to our house!

Am I good or what? Ha. You don't have to answer that - it's a rhetorical question... I already know.

I suppose the question is, will I fall off my bike now? Because as they say, pride goes before...

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

where's cecily?

I'm still here. I haven't forgotten my password or been languishing ill. Just busy enjoying the fruits of summer. The kitchen has lured me into its warm arms a fair bit lately. Apricot jam, blueberry jam, strawberry and rhubarb, blackberry and apple... our neighbour just gave us a huge bag of greengages so it looks like they'll be the next batch!

Then there was an experimental batch of blueberry muffins using barley malt instead of sugar - a little less than outstanding, but I'll keep working on it!

And the piece de resistance:

Blueberry tart.

Then there's my favourite hang out, the vegie patch, walking and cycling the streets to get fit (that makes me sound far more energetic and motivated than I really am), and work. I have a few blog posts simmering in the back of my mind, but in the mean time I'm going to live in the moment and release myself from the stress of keeping up a blog all the time! (Seriously, the things I beat myself up about!)

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Friday, February 06, 2009

your wish is my command...

Purple King (Magic beans) by request!

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

a stitch in time... saves walking down the street barefoot

Walking barefoot in a public street is dangerous and lacking in decorum. Of course, context is everything. If it's a seaside resort - by all means, walk barefoot wherever you like. That's what the beach and summer and holidays are for. But if you are down town, cover your feet, wear your shoes, protect your toes and act responsibly. Please.


I wonder if life the universe and everything have conspired to disprove as many of my silly rules as possible before I die? Or if I'm just doing it to myself? Today was a case in point!

One of my favourite pairs of summer slides came from Manila, Philippines. They cost me something like $18, which was outrageously extravagant by Philippino standards, but pretty cheap according to the Aussie measure of things. The $2 thongs (flip-flops) I also bought were even better value! I wear my favourite slides a lot, so much so that last year the sole separated from the shoe and had to be repaired .

I noticed the sole starting to separate from the shoe again recently, but since they're my favourite and I love them and couldn't find time to take them to the shoe repair man, I just kept wearing them. What could really happen anyway?

Not so smart am I... the whole damn sole was slowly working its way off the shoe until today, just as I was crossing the road it started flapping wildly with each step. Right there, in front of all the traffic I immediately converted from walking to a strange hop-step in an effort to keep what was left of the sole on the shoe. I tried gripping the shoe with my toes to hold the sole in place better. I almost slid my foot across the ground without lifting it in the hope of preventing a disastrous face plant of tripping over the whole thing.

There's only so many such steps you can take before you feel like a total goon and realise everyone must surely be looking at you with some degree of mirth. So as soon as I could, I removed the shoes and headed for the nearest shoe repair man - as it turned out, only ten shops down the street, which I practically ran past in an effort to prevent the soles of my feet melting to the sizzling pavement. Interestingly, all previous opinion of barefoot walking aside, no one cast a glance in my barefoot direction. At least no more than had puzzled over my strange gait at the pedestrian crossing! (And thus my shoe opinions are totally scuppered!)

The repair man glued my slides back together in a jiffy, and even undertook some preventative measures on the other shoe before I set off home, happy once more with my beautiful shoes.

And next time they fall apart? I'll take them to get glued at the first sign of separation! A stitch in time...

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