Smorgasbord Round Weekly Round Up – Sir Tom Jones, King Arthur, Brussel Sprouts and Author Media Training


Welcome to the weekly round up where I share my posts from the week and also those of my guests. Those guests are providing a much valued different perspective on topics that I might not cover normally and I thank them so much for their work and time that they spend creating their posts.

Also news of some new ways to promote your books and blog this week and tomorrow the start of the new Sunday Interview show… The Ultimate Bucket List and to show you how it will look… our foodie guest writer Carol Taylor volunteered to be the first victim guest……going out just after midnight.

Resident musical director – William Price King is back with a new music series… the every youthful and dynamic Sir Tom Jones, and this week in the early years, William shares some of his early influences and hits.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/william-price-king-meets-some-legends-sir-tom-jones-the-early-years/

Paul Andruss tackles the legend of King Arthur this week which is not an easy thing to do. As you will read, Arthur has been a pawn in other Kings and Emperor’s claims to their position and there might have been a few pretenders along the way too.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/writer-in-residence-arthur-king-or-pawn-by-paul-andruss/

Julie Lawford has been with us over the summer with some excellent posts on lifestyle and weight loss and I hope that in the future she will find time to donate some of her archived posts again. This week Julie shares some useful links to healthy living sites and some videos that are worth watching.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/smorgasbord-health-2017-guest-writer-julie-lawford-dietary-heresy-or-new-wisdom-functional-medicine-sugar-fat-carbs-cholesterol/

Carol Taylor has been adding her special blend of spices and love of fresh produce to the foods that I have showcased in the past as being particularly healthy.. Sally and Carol’s Cook from Scratch is going from strength to strength and we are grateful for you likes, shares and comments. This week the little powerhouse of nutrition… Brussel sprouts.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/smorgasbord-health-2017-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-taylor-brussel-sprouts/

 

 

And in the new series of Posts from your Archives, Pete Johnson from Beetley Pete starts a four week series on posts from his stash. In this post you will also find out how you can participate by giving posts that you would like to share with a new audience a showcase. Look forward to hearing from you.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/new-series-posts-from-your-archives-guest-pete-johnson-with-going-to-the-pictures/

Milestones along the Way by Geoff Cronin

Last weekend we came to the end of my late father-in-law Geoff’s books with the love story of how Geoff and Joan, his wife of 50 years met.  All his stories are in the directory for you to revisit. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/books-by-geoff-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/milestones-along-the-way-how-i-met-her-by-geoff-cronin/

Odd Jobs and Characters – Public House Landlady my host Chris the Story Reading Ape.

This week some challenges in my role as landlady of a pub in Cowes on the Isle of Wight with rather over the top customers courtesy of the ‘booze cruises’ on Saturday nights – Read all about it: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/09/11/reserved-for-sally-cronin/

New Series – Media Training for Authors.

I have been an Indie author for 20 years and without a massive budget behind me to get noticed, I had to push open a few doors myself. For most of it is very hard to self-promote, even for someone like myself, who have a background in public speaking at conferences and major events.

We have a tendency to think global with our marketing because we have access to the world via the Internet. But I have always sold more books, especially print books by creating a market in my local environment. When I first began marketing my books there was no Amazon, worldwide web or global readership to the same extent and we relied on local media picking up the story. This sometimes led to nationals then taking an interest. That is how it worked with my first book Size Matters and I enjoyed both local and national coverage. The same applied to my family health book – Just Food for Health that sold well at book fairs, health events and summer fetes.

Most authors that I speak to are seeking international recognition for their work and to become a bestseller. But, there is no harm in getting some much needed experience locally first, before stepping onto the worldwide stage. One reason being, that most national radio stations and media, will be looking to interview authors who have had some experience of being behind a microphone or in front of a camera.  I have adapted my media training course to focus on authors and book marketing.

Here are the first two posts with more tomorrow and next weekend.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/media-training-for-authors-introduction-dont-be-shy/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/media-training-for-authors-getting-a-foot-in-the-door-press-releases-and-door-knocking-2/

Book Promotions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-sue-coletta-j-e-spina-and-c-s-boyack/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-dan-alatorre-and-various-authors-john-nicholl-and-lucinda-e-clarke/

Air Your Reviews – share your most recent rave review with everyone..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-jena-c-henry-chuck-jackson-and-deborah-jay/

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-paul-andruss-d-wallace-peach-and-christina-steinner/

Blog Promotions – The Blogger Daily now on hold for next week (writing break)

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-monday-11th-september-2017-patrick-dykie-terri-webster-schrandt-van-by-the-river-annette-rochelle-aben-robbie-cheadle-and-traci-kenworth/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-12th-september-2017-d-g-kaye-sue-vincents-c-skillman-alethea-kehas-and-gary-loggins/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-september-13th-2017-madelyn-griffith-haynie-janice-spina-and-the-non-smoking-lady-bug/

Smorgasbord Health 2017

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/smorgasbord-health-2017-a-z-of-common-conditions-chicken-pox-and-shingles-a-double-act/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/smorgasbord-health-2017-the-soda-stream-worth-125-billion-dollars-a-year-at-the-cost-of-your-health-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/smorgasbord-health-2017-rewind-food-safety-toxoplasma-gondii-cats-and-other-carriers/

Smorgasbord Pet Health

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/smorgasbord-pet-health-allergies-fleas-and-benefits-of-raw-food-diest-for-dogs-and-cats/

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-lifes-great-truths-and-some-snippets/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/the-afternoon-video-rewind-the-most-graceful-dog-dancing-i-have-seen/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/afternoon-video-rewind-you-can-lead-a-dog-to-water-bath-time/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/afternoon-video-rewind-cats-vs-flip-flops-shared-by-n-a-granger/

Personal Stuff

I underwent a procedure this week that was long overdue.. the process prompted a poem!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/smorgasbord-poetry-farewell-to-colourful-friends-by-sally-cronin-2/

Thank you very much for dropping in this week and as always very grateful to see you and get your feedback. Enjoy the rest of the weekend… thanks Sally.

Advertisements

Smorgasbord health 2017 – A -Z of Common Conditions – Chicken Pox and Shingles – A Double Act.


I am picking up the A – Z of Common Complaints and Top to Toe Health posts again after the summer.  You may have read some of the posts in the last three years, but I am updating again with any new treatment protocols.

Chicken pox

As children begin school for the first time or return after the long summer break, there is likely to be an outbreak of one of the common childhood infections including chicken pox.

 

Image – MediaIndia.net

Chicken pox is one of the most common childhood illnesses with an estimated 9 out of 10 children contracting the virus. In itself it is usually mild and whilst uncomfortable because of the itching and general feeling of being unwell, it passes within two weeks.

There has been a great deal of research into childhood illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, German measles and mumps and their effect on the immune system. It is generally believed that provided the diseases do not cause complications that it will boost the immune system into adulthood.

There is a proviso with this assumption. It may not be the case if a child is treated with antibiotics previously for bacterial infections which may have already weakened the immune system. Some parents deliberately put their children in the path of others with chicken pox, but it can be a double-edged sword as there is a link between the disease and the onset of auto immune conditions such as asthma and the possibility of shingles in later life.

The symptoms of Chicken pox.

This is a very contagious disease and it is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and can be transmitted by touch or by breathing in the virus particles from a persons breath or sneezing. Symptoms to be aware of in a child is persistent itching in the stomach area, unusual tiredness and a slight fever. Check the stomach for a rash and also see if it has spread to the back or face. It can spread to cover the body with between 250 and 500 blisters. It often forms blisters in the mouth too which can make drinking and eating very uncomfortable.

Catching it an early stage is important to prevent your child returning to school and infecting any more classmates. Consult with your doctor, who will hopefully come to your house to confirm the diagnosis, as they probably will not want you taking your child to the surgery! You should inform your child’s school so that they can check to see if there are any other potential cases. I would hope that if they had already been notified of a case of chicken pox, that they would have notified all other parents anyway.

Chicken pox can be very dangerous for babies in the family and you should make sure that they do not have any contact with their brother or sister. You also need to take some basic but important hygiene precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Personally I suggest disposable gloves, keep all towels separate and move other children to another room if they share.

The elderly generation is also at risk and should avoid all contact with any members of the family who have been infected. The incubation period from infection to the first spot is 1- 2 days and then they are contagious until scabs have formed on the blisters which is usually between 5 – 7 days.

The chicken pox vaccine

Over the years since babies and toddlers have been vaccinated there have been opposing arguments laid out by both the medical profession and parents. And I suggest that if you are a parent that you do take a look at both sides of the issue. There are a number of government sites that lay out the medical position and then there are alternative therapist and parent sites with their views.. I suggest you search for Chicken pox Vaccination pros and cons.

The old school approach, and certainly when I was a child, was to let a child catch the infection and that it would strengthen the growing immune system.

I had a small pox vaccination very young and yellow fever as we lived in the tropics where the diseases were still endemic. I got measles at three and do remember being in a dark room (measles and sunlight can cause eye damage) and I had chicken pox when I was 11 years old. But, I was one of those who went on to develop shingles in adulthood so on reflection I think I might have preferred to have the vaccination.

Anyway – what is the course of action if your child does have chickenpox.

Apart from taking the hygiene measures to protect yourself and the rest of the family it is recommended that your child has bed rest, is kept hydrated (water not fizzy drinks), pureed (warm not hot) foods that are soft and easy to eat if there are blisters in the mouth.

Paracetamol appropriate for the age of the child and check with your pharmacy. Also calamine lotion for the spots and blisters and if they are particularly itchy talk to the pharmacist for some chlorpheniramine anti-histamine medicine which can help alleviate some of the itching.

Do not give a child or adult with chicken pox ibuprofen as it can make them very ill.

Keep your finger nails and your childs trimmed short to prevent breaking open the skin and it is a good idea to pop some cotton gloves on your child at night or some socks that are tied at the wrist.

If you are going to bathe the child, then use lukewarm water and dab a damp soft cloth over the body and then pat dry with another. Wash cloth after use in hot temperatures.

Dress the child in loose cotton clothing rather than their normal pajamas.

Keep an eye on the progress of the infection and take your child’s temperature twice a day and if it continues to rise despite paracetamol or goes over 39 C.. it is less for babies under 3 months old at 38 C.

Now for the bonus that you can find chickenpox has gifted you.

Certainly there is a higher risk of contracting shingles later in life if you have contracted chickenpox as a child, especially in those over 70 years old whose immune system has naturally declined in function and as a result of lifestyle, diet and prescribed medication.

What is shingles?

Also known as herpes zoster, shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin that surrounds it and is caused by the same varicella-zoster virus which causes chickenpox.

It results in a painful rash which develops into blisters containing particles of the virus and they are extremely itchy. This itch element is guaranteed to get the host scratching, breaking the blister and dispersing the virus. The person unlucky enough to come into contact that virus will not catch shingles but can develop chicken pox if they have not already had the disease previously.

The other interesting factor associated with shingles is that it usually only affects one area on one side of the body and rarely crosses over your centre line through the body.

For example I had chicken pox when I was 11 years old and had 10 days off school. Apart from the fact that I managed to read War and Peace during that time, I also retained the virus which lay dormant in my body. When I was 24 years old, I developed shingles around one eye but not the other. It was one of the most painful things I have experienced and it was also potentially dangerous as it could have potentially affected the sight of that eye.

At that time I was under a great deal of stress and my immune system was naturally under-performing. Apart from stress and being over 70 years old you are also at risk if you have been on long-term medication or have an underlying chronic infection.

An episode of shingles will usually last between two to three weeks although some people will continue to experience nerve pain in the form of postherpetic neuralgia long-term.

Thankfully it is rare for more than one attack of shingles in your lifetime.

You do need to visit your GP if you begin to suffer from pain in a specific area of the body that develops into a rash. This is particularly important if you are pregnant or already have a diagnosed auto immune disease or weakened immune system.

I mentioned earlier that you will not catch shingles from someone, but could get chickenpox instead, so it is important to visit your GP if this is the case. There is a vaccine available, and as those over 70 are in the high risk category, in the UK a vaccination programme is in place for anyone over that age. Only one dose is usually necessary but a booster is administered at 78 or 79 years old. Most countries also offer this to that age group.

Apart from a preventative vaccination that reduces your risk of developing shingles, there is no cure. It is recommended to keep the area that is affected covered with a non-stick dressing to prevent others from being infected with chickenpox. Painkillers can be taken and if it is a severe outbreak antiviral medication can stop the virus spreading.

There are some commonsense actions you can take that might reduce the length of the infection and pain of shingles.

Wear lightweight cotton gloves at night which is when you will be more prone to automatically scratch the blisters. Also wear when you are watching television or any other activity where you might be tempted to scratch.

You can place a cool compress over the affected area and then use calamine lotion to ease the itching. I have used colloidal silver and tea tree cream on rashes that have helped but ask expert advice in your Health store or pharmacy.

If you go online you will find various sites that will recommend other alternative remedies and I have no doubt that some will indeed shorten the infection or ease the symptoms but my advice is not to buy online, but to speak with a qualified advisor in person. It is important to remember that you might be left with long term nerve pain and that anything you use should be considered carefully. To be honest this goes for prescribed medication too.

Dietary

If you are suffering from an outbreak of shingles then your immune system needs boosting. If you have a diet high in processed foods and sugars you will not be providing your body with the nutrients it needs to sustain this vital health system.

Do not drink alcohol and follow a very simple diet of fresh vegetables, wholegrains fruit, and  of lean protein with plenty of fluids.

Nutrients that can help you limit the extent of the shingles outbreak.

Viruses thrive in a body that is nutrient deficient. There is a particular link to an imbalance of amino acids in a person whose immune system is not functioning efficiently.

This is particularly relevant to the herpes family of viruses that prefer a system high in the amino acid L-Arginine in relation to L-Lysine. Arginine enables the virus to replicate in the nucleus of your cells, which spreads the virus through your body. Lysine however has an antiviral action that blocks the arginine and therefore helps limit the extent of the outbreak.

At the onset of an attack of shingles switch to a high lysine diet including foods such as poultry, fish, beef, chickpeas and up your dairy intake and eggs.You want to build your immune system to include plenty of green vegetables that are particularly high in Lysine such as green beans, Brussel Sprouts, asparagus, avocados, apricots, pineapple, pears and apples.

Drop the high arginine foods such as tomatoes, grapes and the darker berries. The same applies to most nuts, oats, chocolate (sorry) and caffeine (sorry again).

Other ways to boost your immune system

If you have shingles on an exposed area of your skin you do not want to expose to direct sunlight; despite the fact that it will help dry out the blisters. However, Vitamin D is vital to a strong immune system, and if you can get 45 minutes a day in the morning or late afternoon with sunlight onto your bare forearms you will receive a boost of the vitamin.

 

 

Your fresh fruit and vegetables will be providing you with Vitamin C, and your eggs with Vitamin E. However, there is one supplement that I do take especially now I am into my 60s, and that is Vitamin B12. This can be difficult to obtain from food and I take sublingually, under the tongue daily for a few weeks at a time and I find that this helps prevent me from developing infections.

I hope this has been helpful and would be grateful if you could spread the message in any way that you can.

If you have any questions that might be useful for other readers please use the comments section but you can always email via sally(dot)cronin (at) moyhill.com if you wish to have a private word. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health – Top to Toe – The Digestive System – Candida Albicans an opportunistic pathogen.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

It is not possible to do a series on the digestive system without spending time covering our intestines and the delicate balance of bacteria that populate it. More and more research is showing that an imbalance has a profound effect on our overall physical and mental health. There are many diseases that have their root cause in the gut brain of our body.

It is not my intention to lay the blame for all diseases at the feet of Candida Albicans but it is I belief important to understand how an overgrowth of this pathogen can result in a lifetime of health issues. I will share how this impacted me later in the post.

Over the next few posts I will be repeating the Candida series and I hope that those who have already read two years ago will still find something of interest.

Recently I was asked about the difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics and will explain that now before we get into the issue of this rogue gut inhabitant.

Probiotics are the bacteria and yeasts that are classified as ‘friendly’. They inhabit our digestive tract and are a vital part of the process of digesting food and turning it into something that the rest of the body into a form it can utilise. Without a healthy balance of these probiotics systems such as the immune functionn can be compromised as well as the health of other operating systems and the major organs.  If you eat live dairy products including Kefir or fermented foods such as sauerkraut it will encourage the essential bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to flourish.

Prebiotics are processed from insoluble carbohydrates in most fruit and vegetables including Apples (skin on) bananas, beans, artichokes etc (which is why we need to eat several portions of vegetables and fruit daily) This survives the stomach acid and digestive process that some foods such as yogurts might not do, and reaches the gut where it acts like a fertiliser for the existing probiotics and maintains a healthy balance.

As far as Candida Albicans is concerned this balance in the intestinal flora is crucial and I will explain that as we mover through the upcoming posts.

Scan221

I am 42, 330lbs/150kilo and with severe health problems in 1994

My acquaintance with Candida Albicans was back in the mid 90’s. I was determined to lose my additional 10 or 11 stone and so began studying nutrition and in the process I decided to create a timeline to identify events and activities in my life from childhood that might have triggered weight gain.

At age 10 I suffered a number of bouts of tonsillitis and was given penicillin at least five times before the tonsils were removed. Before these infections I was a normal size child – three months after the operation I was three stone overweight. Something had changed.

It took me a while once I began to study nutrition, but slowly over a period of about five years I began to join the dots and came to the conclusion that this first trigger and subsequent thrush and cystitis infections, crash dieting, sugar and bread cravings were linked in some way. Candida Albicans began to get more publicity and I compared my symptoms with those described and I experienced at least 80% of them.

My first book that I originally wrote as a journal,was published in 2001.Size Matters  was the story of my journey of my weight loss from 330lbs to 180lbs, and how this most common human fungal pathogen was largely responsible for my weight and health problems.

Before I cover the scary bit – because it is overwhelming to think that there is this predatory pathogen inside the majority of us (mainly living the western world and our high sugar diet!) There are steps we can all take to ensure that our diet and lifestyle support our immune system by keeping the intestines in balance with plenty of beneficial bacteria to maintain Candida in its proper proportions.

We are all familiar with the concerns about the rain forests and their devastation and long lasting consequences for our planet. Well our gut is an eco-system too – teeming with life that is as varied and as exotic as in any rain forest. And, like the many species that are at risk in the wider world, our bacteria that populate our gut and keep us alive are under threat too.

70% of humans contain Candida Albicans in small amounts in our gut and urinary tract. In those amounts it is harmless – however – advances in medical treatment and our modern diet have given this opportunistic pathogen all it needs to develop from harmless colonies to massive overgrowths. It is also referred to as Monilia, Thrush, Candidiasis and Yeast Infection. The most at risk are those with an already compromised immune system, but because of our high sugar, white carbohydrate and processed foods in our diets, most of us are now at risk. We also have been treated with broad spectrum antibiotics for the last 65 years as well as newer drugs that we take long term, that manipulate our hormonal balances. We as yet do not know the long term impact on our bodies of the modern drugs we take and it may be generations before we do. Which is why there is now great concern that the pathogens are becoming more and more resistant to drugs such as antibiotics.

The eco-system which is our gut.

Our intestinal tract, like our hearts, brains, livers, kidneys etc is a major organ. Some refer to it as the gut brain – How many times do you mention your gut feelings? Without it there would be no way to process the raw ingredients we eat to keep our immune system healthy enough to protect us from pathogens. The good bacteria or flora in the gut, two of which are, Bifidobacteria bifidum and Lactobaccillus acidophilus normally keep the Candida in balance.

In most cases antibiotics are broad spectrum, not specific, because, without a lab test it is difficult to tell the specific strain of bacteria responsible for an infection. The use of broad spectrum drugs usually guarantees that the bacteria in question will be killed off. Unfortunately, not only the bad bacteria are killed off but also the good bacteria in your gut. Candida remains unaffected because it is not bacteria it is a yeast and this is where it takes full advantage.

What happens to Candida to allow it to take over?

If Candida yeast is allowed to grow unchecked, it changes from its normal yeast fungal form to a mycelial fungal form that produces rhizoids. These long, root-like components are capable of piercing the walls of the digestive tract and breaking down the protective barriers between the intestines and the blood. This breakthrough allows many allergens to enter the blood stream causing allergic reactions. Mucus is also formed around major organs and in the lining of the stomach. This prevents your digestive system from functioning efficiently. The result is poorly digested food and wasted nutrients. Your body begins to suffer a deficiency of these nutrients and it leads to chronic fatigue, an impaired immune system and disease.

There would appear to be a strong link between this overgrowth of Candida Albicans to a huge list of symptoms and illness. Here is a snapshot.

  • People who are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME usually test positive for Candida although there are also other issues involved in this complex condition.
  • Numbness, burning or tingling in fingers or hands.
  • Insomnia,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea,
  • Bloating,
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Thrush and Cystitis,
  • Sexual dysfunction and loss of sexual drive.
  • Endometriosis or infertility
  • PMS and heavy and painful periods.
  • Depression and panic attacks
  • Irritablity when hungry.
  • Unexplained muscle or joint pains often diagnosed with arthritis.
  • Headaches and mood swings.
  • Chronic rashes or hives
  • Food intolerance.
  • Liver function due to build up of toxins leading to  chronic fatigue, discomfort and depression.

The list is virtually endless – which just adds to the confusion at the time of diagnosis.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then you may have a varying degree of overgrowth.

©sallycronin 1998 – 2017

Next time I will be looking at ways to feed the body but starve the fungus…

You will find other posts in the Top to Toe series in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

Please feel free to share.

 

 

Smorgasbord Short Stories – The Flying Officer by Sally Cronin

Status


The first time Patrick Walsh saw her, was as he wended his way slowly down the hill between the slow moving trucks on his motorbike. The road was lined with women and old men who were handing out hastily cut sandwiches and mugs of tea to the men in the trucks, whose outstretched hands gratefully received these simple acts of kindness. It was clear from the their faces that they found the peaceful summer skies overhead, and clamour of women’s voices, a much needed reminder of home and safety.

He knew where they had come from, as for the last six days he had been flying over them as they had scrambled into small boats to be ferried out to the larger naval vessels waiting to take them to safety. He and his squadron were a part of the massive air defence operaton. Thousands of soldiers were pouring off the beaches having gathered over the last few days from the surrounding countryside; exposed and being attacked by superior German forces. On the last run today his spitfire had received a direct hit to the cockpit from a persistent Messerschmitt Me 109; luckily missing his head by inches apart from a cut over his eye, earning him a few hours respite. His plane would be ready to fly first thing in the morning. The ground crews at all fighter squadrons were working around the clock to get pilots back in the air until the evacuation from the French coast was complete.

As he carefully maneuvered between the trucks he responded to the shouts from the men above him with a small wave. He knew that their good natured jibes were aimed at his uniform and the wings that it displayed, and that their friendly ribbing was their way of showing gratitude. He decided that it would be easier to wait until the convoy had passed to continue into the village square. He dismounted, standing by the hedge to watch the villagers as they persisted in their need to comfort these dispirited men with tea and offerings of food.

She stood out from the crowd of women. Tall with long red hair tied back with an emerald green ribbon, she was dressed in overalls and wore heavy boots. She had a natural elegance as she darted between an older woman, holding a tea tray piled with jam sandwiches, and the trucks. Despite the men’s exhaustion, eager hands grasped the food, winking and flirting with the prettiest thing they had seen for a long while.

Patrick leaned back against the saddle of his bike and let himself enjoy this brief moment of humanity that was so rare today. He had been flying since the first weeks of the war and his squadron had suffered huge losses; particularly in the last few weeks as they had provided air cover for the retreating British forces. They had been warned that far worse was to come as the enemy amassed both fighters and bombers for an all-out offensive on the country. Having already lost many friends, Patrick knew that it was only a matter of time before he became a statistic.

Some of his fellow pilots and aircrew decided that they would live as hard as they fought. There were plenty of pretty girls around the station that were delighted to dance the night away and bring some laughter and sometimes love into the young men’s lives. He had seen the results of these whirlwind romances at the Saturday night dance in the village hall. As the airmen arrived in an ever changing group of young men, expectant faces would be watching the door and it was not unusual to see a girl being led away in tears by her friends.

Patrick loved to dance but gently refused the invitations to take to the floor and over the last few months he had become regarded as something of a misery. His friends gave up on their attempts to persuade him that he should live for the moment, and with a wry smile he listened to the chat up lines that were guaranteed to pull the heartstrings of a pretty girl.

But now as he watched the red head flying back and forth and smiling up at the men in the trucks, he felt an overwhelming urge to hold her in his arms and waltz around a dance floor. He shook his head and reminded himself that it would only lead to heartbreak for her, and he couldn’t bear the thought of those beautiful green eyes filling with tears.

An hour later the last truck in the convoy disappeared through the village square and out of sight. There would be more coming through from the coast, and Patrick watched as the crowd of villagers gathered up their cups and trays and disappeared back into their homes. They would prepare more from their meagre rations for the next wave of returning soldiers and be waiting for them by the roadside. He remained by the hedge until the red headed girl had linked arms with her mother and entered her house before riding down to the square.

‘Patrick, are you awake my friend?’ The voice of his Polish friend Jakub intruded into his daydream about dancing with his stunning red head.

‘Just about, do you want to go to the Black Swan for a beer? He sat up and rested his head in his hands and tried to bring his mind back to reality.

He looked around the Nissen hut that was their home, taking in the four empty cots that waited for the new arrivals. They would be mostly teenagers with only a few hours flying solo, and none of them in combat. He was only twenty-four, but he felt like an old man compared to the fresh faced and eager boys that would come through that door tomorrow.

It was now August and the skies were filled with formations of enemy bombers most nights. His plane was grounded again having the undercarriage repaired after a problem on his last landing. His mechanic said he had the ‘luck of the Irish’. Patrick was well aware that he was now one of only a handful of pilots remaining from the original group a year ago; he knew that his luck was bound to run out sooner or later. There was just one thing that he needed tonight, and that was the sight of Red, and she would be helping out her dad behind the bar at the Black Swan.

Two hours later he and Jakub sat quietly at a corner table with their glasses of beer. One beer was the limit as both of them would be back in the skies tomorrow; a cockpit was no place for lack of concentration. Jakub was married and expecting his first child and was happy to sit quietly in the warm and welcoming atmosphere thinking about his next leave in a week’s time. Patrick however spent his time watching Red as she served customers and laughed with the regulars. That laugh was in his head and was added to all the other pieces of her that he carried with him as he flew missions. The thought of those green eyes helped dispel the voice of the other constant companion that was by his side each time he buckled himself into the cockpit. Her presence in his heart and mind had helped him control his fear; bringing the realisation that he was in love for the first time in his life.

Over the weeks since that first day on the hill, there had been moments in the pub, when he would catch her eye and they would both smile then look away. By sitting at the bar when he popped in alone, he had gathered more information about her. She wasn’t called Red of course, but Georgina and Georgie to her friends. She didn’t seem to have a boyfriend amongst the regulars who frequented the pub, and one day he overheard that she had been engaged to a soldier who had been killed within weeks of the war starting.

He would watch as she gently refused all attempts by eager young warriors to take her on a date, realising that her heart had already been broken. This reinforced his resolve not to give in to the growing need to tell Georgie of his feelings; convinced it would only bring her further sorrow.

Through the rest of the summer months missions intensified, with both daylight and night bombing raids on the docks and major cities; almost bringing the country to its knees. In the October the tide began to turn, but not without the loss of thousands of fighter pilots and bomber air crews. It was then that Patrick’s luck ran out as he limped home with a badly damaged plane and shrapnel injuries in his chest and arm.

Patrick fought to stay conscious as the plane shuddered and bucked as he flew using his one good hand. Blood from a head wound almost blinded him, but as he saw the runway rushing up to meet him, he managed to bring the nose around and head for the grass to the side. The last thing that he thought about as the world went black was Georgie’s face and laugh.

A month later Patrick got one of the pilots to drop him off at the Black Swan and he walked into the early evening quiet of the bar. He had just received his new orders on his return from the hospital. From Monday he would be moving into an intelligence role where his experience in combat could be put to use. He was making a good recovery, but the extensive injuries to his arm meant the end of his flying career; now he would be ensuring that he kept others safe in the skies. In one way he felt that he was abandoning those that he regarded as family in their close knit squadron, but he also knew that it offered him the opportunity to fulfil a dream that was equally important.

Georgie was polishing glasses and looked up to greet the new customer with her usual smile but instead she took a deep breath. As he moved closer Patrick could see that there were tears in her glorious green eyes. Georgie stepped out from behind the bar and walked towards him, glancing at his arm in its sling and the scar that was etched into his forehead. She stood in front of him and neither spoke for a moment until he reached out his good arm to take her hand.

‘Is there any chance that you might let me take you to the dance tomorrow night?’

She smiled through her tears. ‘How are you going to be able to dance with only one free arm?’

He pulled her into him and looked down at the lips that he had imagined kissing so many times in the last few months.

‘Don’t worry Red… I’ll manage just fine.’

 

©sallycronin 2017

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoyed the story. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health A – Z of Common Conditions – Dehydration – At 75% water our bodies do need a top up from time to time!


Recently I noticed that there were a few articles by the experts in the field of nutrition on the subject of hydration. What worried me in particular was that they were touting the belief that you don’t need to drink anymore than your usual cups of tea and coffee as you will obtain sufficient from the food that you eat.

It is true that eating fresh vegetables and fruit will provide you with some fluids but it is still not enough to supply your body with life giving fluids.

We can live for around 6 minutes without air, 6 days without fluids and 6 weeks without food. The very young and the elderly however have a much shorter window than 6 days before dehydration begins to cause severe health issues. In my experience of elderly care most are suffering from borderline dehydration resulting in urinary tract infections, increased symptoms of dementia and if not reversed can become life-threatening very quickly.

Why do we need fluids?

We are as humans made of protein with the few other bits and pieces thrown in. Protein has an extremely high water content and if we were wrung out to dry we would lose approximately 75% of our body weight. It would be a great way to lose weight if we could just plug in a hose and siphon off a couple of gallons from time to time but unfortunately that would be another failed fad diet.

We need oxygen, fluid and food in that order and we can live for about 6 minutes without air, 6 days without water (in a cool and wet environment) and 6 weeks without food.

There are a number of people who will tell you that drinking water is not necessary as we can absorb enough fluid from the food that we eat (also water containing) and from drinking tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks.

It actually goes back again to the quality of the fluids that you then are taking in. If you are eating a highly processed diet the fluid in the food will be contaminated with artificial flavourings, colourants and hydrogenated fats in many cases. Coffee is caffeine, which acts as a diuretic, and alcohol is a toxin that not only dehydrates but also impairs your kidney and liver function preventing them for removing those toxins from your body.

There is no substitute for water full stop. Here are the symptoms of dehydration that reinforce that concept.

Fatigue and sluggishness.

Our bodies are about balance and they work very hard to maintain the equilibrium whether it is between calcium and magnesium, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, acidity and alkalinity. Even the smallest changes in fluid balance can affect all the other functions within the body including heart function as the organ has to work harder in order to supply the body with the oxygen and nutrients it requires.

As you become more dehydrated your body will begin to make some executive decisions in order to ensure its survival if fluid intake ceases altogether. It redirects blood to the muscles and away from skin areas resulting in a malfunction in our cooling and heating system. We heat up internally resulting in muscle cramps, light-headedness and fatigue.

Because most of us take in at least some liquid our bodies are left in a state of readiness, not quite dehydrated but not receiving the essential fluids it needs to perform efficiently. This means that we are in a constant state of near exhaustion and with inefficient processing power.

Headaches

As in any part of the body, the brain relies heavily on fats and fluid in the correct balance to function. Loss of fluids thickens the blood, causing the heart to work harder to pump oxygen and nutrients around the system. The brain function is dependent on both oxygen and nutrients and if you are dehydrated it will be affected to varying degrees. Headaches will also vary in severity to mild, just behind the eyes to full blown migraines.

The other consequence can be a feeling of disorientation similar to mild forgetfulness with a touch of dizziness and vertigo.

Skin problems.

There are two issues regarding our skin health and dehydration. One is the inability to flush out toxins from the body, which accumulate in the tissues and in the kidneys and liver. This can result in dry, scaly skin and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Additionally water is nature’s moisturiser not only keeping our tissues moist and flexible but also keeping the nutrient rich blood flowing to the tiny capillaries near the skin. Water is actually one of the most effective anti-ageing agents you can use and it is very cheap.

Painful joints and muscles.

Cartilage has a very high water content and dehydration will affect its ability to cushion joints preventing friction, pain and swelling.

I have already established that with sufficient water you can dilute toxins and help flush them from the body but if you are hydrated the immune system controls are unable to function and bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, poisons accumulate. If you combine lack of exercise to stimulate the circulatory system and dehydration you will suffer both joint and muscle pain.

Poor digestive function.

The digestive process requires fluid. If you drink a pint of water half an hour before a meal (you should not drink excessive amounts with a meal as it dilutes the stomach acid needed to process food) it will pass through the stomach into the intestine and back into the mucous barrier of the stomach. This barrier retains sodium carbonate, which is needed to neutralise acid as it passes through the mucous. If you are dehydrated too much acid passes through and causes cramps.

Food intolerances and immune system malfunction.

When the body is dehydrated and toxins have accumulated the body’s defence mechanism is activated and histamine is released causing a reaction to anything else that you then put into the system such as food. There are certain foods that have a profile that is allergenic, for example, wheat, tomatoes, spinach, strawberries, seafood, aubergines and peppers. If your body is on the defensive the whole time it will react negatively within a very short space of time. This immune system overload obviously leads to an inability to fight infections, resulting usually in antibiotic intervention and a vicious circle develops.

Thirst and hunger.

There are two issues here. One is the lack of nutrients that are getting around the body in a timely fashion and the other is the hunger/thirst triggers for the body.

Lack of fluids kills the body within about 6 days and over our evolution the body has set up a communication system that will flash messages from the brain to your mouth which will then get dry and uncomfortable until you drink water. Unfortunately we override this messaging system by drinking anything we can lay our hands on in the form of sugar-laden soft drinks, coffee, tea and alcohol. As these really do not satisfy the body’s requirement for pure water to work with you end up being thirsty again in a very short space of time. We develop cravings in an effort to satisfy the demand, which usually includes salty or sweet foods.

Hunger pangs are other signals that your body requires nourishment but if the body is dehydrated it can get confused with the thirst messages. After two or three days of drinking sufficient fluid in a day you will notice a marked reduction in both cravings and hunger pangs.

How to drink fluids.

I have a large glass first thing in the morning – in the winter I have hot water with the juice of a lemon. This not only gives me a shot of Vitamin C but has an alkalising action on the body. Viruses and bacteria thrive in an acidic environment.

I drink a normal tea and a coffee in the morning and three peppermint or green teas in the afternoon.

I have a litre bottle of water on the go all day that I sip from when I am working.

During the summer months with warmer temperatures I will add an extra litre per day.

If I am on the treadmill for 30 minutes I also have an extra glass (of water)

And I might have a glass of wine… but more than that and it begins to have a dehyrating effect.

I hope you have found helpful. As the warmer weather begins make sure you have a bottle of water in the car, out for a walk and make sure small children are kept hydrated with small drinks regularly throughout the day. This also applies to pets who can only pant to cool down and should always have fresh water available. Many of them will also enjoy an icecube as a treat.

Please feel free to share – Thanks Sally

You will find the other posts in the A-Z of Common Conditions in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-a-z-of-common-condition/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Promised Soul by Sandra J. Jackson


I am delighted to welcome Sandra J. Jackson to the shelves of the bookstore today with her fantasy/romance novel Promised Soul.

About the book

Just as Krista’s summer plans are finalized, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu. Feeling as though she’s losing her mind, she visits a psychic medium, only to feel more confused. When Krista arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic; she needs clarity. Finally, the words she was afraid to say out loud, are spoken. Now Krista has to figure out what it all means. Promised Soul is the story of the past, the present, and the future of two souls that have been bound together by eternal and transcending love.

A selection of reviews for the book.

Thoughtful and stays with you By EJ Scott on October 8, 2016

Sandra J. Jackson’s Promised Soul takes a theme close to many of our hearts—the idea that we have loved the same person in a previous life but things didn’t work out that time around—and weaves a compelling, well-crafted and gripping tale around it. The author skilfully uses dreams and deja vue as the devices by which the protagonist, Krista and the reader share this emotional journey of discovery and love. The characters are well developed and plausible: I liked Krista from the start; of course, tour guide Aaron too, and was always rooting for them. This debut novel is a great page-turner with a most satisfying denouement. It’s also well-paced and elegantly written.I was delighted that London was chosen for the setting—because what better city is there? It was well researched, realistically delivered and helped to bring the story to life for me. For non-Londoners, the international flavour should add appeal.Promised Soul passes the test of time because I know it will stay with me for years. I think it would lend itself beautifully for adaptation to the big screen. 5 well-deserved stars!

A Very Human Fantasy  By S. M. Hart on November 28, 2016

Promised Soul by Sandra J. Jackson is the story of an ordinary person going through an extraordinary adventure. Krista, a Canadian, discovers she has a connection with a young woman named Mary, who lived in the early 1900’s in England. What I liked about this novel is that the characters face unusual situations and events like normal people. Jackson has tapped into the behavior of functional human beings. It is refreshing that she did not give her heroine supernatural powers to deal with supernatural occurrences; instead, she evokes empathy with her characters by her precise and accurate depiction of real people. Krista has doubts and questions, just like most people would in her situation. Another thing I appreciated about Promised Soul is the how the characters care for the welfare of others. Although Promised Soul is technically a romantic fantasy, Sandra Jackson makes it real.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B00UY0PVSC

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Only three weeks into college and Abby has found the guy of her dreams, but sometimes dreams just aren’t meant to be.

Buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

About Sandra Jackson

A graduate of a 3-year Graphic Design program, Sandra J. Jackson has always been creative, from drawing and painting to telling stories to her children when they were young. Her wild imagination lends itself to new and exciting ideas. Sandra’s debut novel, Promised Soul, was released in 2015 by Fountain Blue Publishing. A short story, Not Worth Saving, appeared in New Zenith Magazine’s 2016 fall issue. She also has had several sports articles published in a local newspaper. She holds a professional membership with the Canadian Author Association and is a member of Writers’ Ink.

Sandra lives with her husband and two young adult children in a rural setting in Eastern, Ontario. She is currently working on the third book of her first series.

Connect to Sandra.

Blog: https://sandrajjackson.wordpress.com/
Website: www.sandrajjackson.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sandrajjackson.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sjjacksonauthor
Google+: http://google.com/+Sandrajjacksonauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Thank you for dropping in today and please help spread the word of Sandra’s work far and wide.

If you are not in my Cafe and Bookstore then here is how you can join 160 other authors and enjoy frequent updates for your work.  Thanks Sally

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

 

 

Smorgasbord Health – A -Z of Common Conditions- Nothing more common than a cold!


smorgasbord health

In recent years we have had a number of scares as high infectious and contagious diseases that swept through populations. For example the Ebola outbreak in 2014 which actually got very scary for a time.  Whilst there is some debate on how the disease is passed, there is no doubt, that it is the vulnerable with either immature or compromised immune systems that are at the greatest risk.  As with any virus, Ebola is opportunistic and wants a host that provides all that it needs.

This is post is not about Ebola but a very much more common viral diseae that does already impact billions around the world every year. Although it does not have the devastating effect of Ebola, constant and repeated cold infections does weaken the immune system and make you vulnerable to more dangerous pathogens.

The common cold.
This time of year many immune systems are compromised by the short days and variable if non-existent sunshine. Vitamin D has been in short supply since October for many of us, and unless we have taken steps to keep our immune system up to scratch with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit as well as plenty of fluids and moderate exercise… we are at risk of catching a cold and being its host for a week or more.

Colds are spread by contact with another person suffering from one and we need to take some basic hygienic precautions to help prevent contagion but we also need to build up our own defences so that we shake off any unwanted bugs that fly in our direction.

What What exactly is the common cold?

  • A common cold is an illness caused by a virus infection located in the nose but which can also affect the sinuses, ears and the bronchial tubes.
  • There are very few people who do not suffer at least one cold a year and some individuals can suffer 7 to 10 infections.
  • As we mature and we are exposed to more and more viruses our body learns to deal more effectively with them by producing more antibodies.
  • Babies and the elderly are the most vulnerable and likely to develop chest infections. Also at risk are patients on immune suppressing medications or whose lifestyle and diet have suppressed their ability to fight off infections.
  • Remember too, that, in this modern age, viruses are jet setters and can move swiftly from continent to continent on aeroplanes.
  • The symptoms include sneezing and sore throat for the first 24 to 36 hours followed by blocked nose, scratchy throat with possibly headaches, feverishness, chilliness and coughs.
  • A cold is milder than influenza but a light case of influenza will share the same symptoms.

There is an old saying that “if you treat a cold it will last a week and if you let it run its course it will only last 7 days”. A mild dose may only last a couple of days, particularly if you have a strong immune system or you react quickly with lots of vitamin C in foods and drink. For someone who has a compromised immune system, the symptoms could hang around for up to 2 weeks or longer if it develops into a bronchial infection.

The common cold is not just one virus.
There is not just one cold virus there are over 200 and this makes finding the ultimate cure very difficult. Rhino viruses are the most prevalent and cause over half of the colds we catch.

Cold viruses can only thrive in a living cell, which means your nose. If someone sneezes or coughs on you the first response is to wipe your body off with your hands. The hands are now contaminated and you then touch your mouth and nose passing the virus on. The virus is also passed hand to hand or by touching contaminated surfaces such as door handles.

A cold develops between two and three days after infection.
Cold viruses only live in our human nose and that of our relatives the chimps and other higher primates. Other mammals are lucky and when your cat sneezes it might be down to too much catnip!

Travelling on trains, buses and aircraft are great collecting points for cold and influenza germs with aircraft being the biggest Petri dish of them all.

What causes the symptoms of a cold?
It is not actually the virus that causes all the unpleasant symptoms of a cold. The virus attaches itself to a small proportion of the cells in the lining of the nose. It is in fact the body’s response to the invasion that causes all the problems. The immune system is activated and also some of the nervous system reflexes.

A number of white cells from our defence system, including killer cells, are released into the bloodstream. These include histamines, kinins, interleukins and prostaglandins. When activated, these mediators cause a dilation and leakage of blood vessels and mucus gland secretion. They also activate sneezing and cough reflexes to expel infection from the nose and the lungs.

It is these reactions, caused by our own killer cells, that is treated by the “over the counter” medications, not the actual virus itself. By suppressing our bodies own reactions to the virus we can drive it further into the system causing more harmful infections, particularly if we have already got a weakened immune system.

After the killer cells have dealt with the initial infection antibodies are released that help prevent re-infection by the same virus. This is why as we get older we should suffer from fewer cold infections. Unfortunately, with so many cold viruses available to us we may not have produced enough different antibodies to give us total immunity.

What precautions can we take to prevent catching the cold virus?
There are two main ways to protect yourself from catching a cold virus. One is to minimise the risk of infection through contact and the other is to build up your immune system to enable you to deal with viruses if they do attach themselves to you.

It is almost impossible to avoid contact with people. Some of those people are going to have a cold or influenza and short of doing a ‘Howard Hughes’ and retreating into a sealed room with decontaminants you will have to make do with the main simple but effective precautions.

  • Wash your hands frequently to avoid passing the virus into your nose.
  • Use a natural anti-viral hand barrier cream. (I use Grapefruit Seed Extract)

There are some interesting areas of contamination – apart from door handles – for those of us who shop, trolley handles have usually passed through many hands…apparently in public toilets the least contaminated surface is the toilet seat but the most concentrated bacterial and viral load is on the tap handles and loo roll holder!

Also, you should exercise regularly in the fresh air and avoid over-heated, unventilated living spaces. If your nasal passages dry out they are more likely to become infected and this applies to those of us who live in air-conditioned and centrally heated environments most of the year.

oranges

Boosting the immune system
The second way to protect yourself is to boost your immune system and both Vitamin C and Zinc have been found to help boost the immune system and help with the symptoms for centuries. If you are not able to get out into the winter sunshine at least three times a week with some skin exposure then I do suggest you are eating the few foods that contain vitamin D.. or that you consider taking a supplement during the winter months.

You will find full details of these three vital nutrients in the directory below that gives a breakdown of all the essential nutrients. In the food pharmacy section you find onions and garlic, two very useful ‘over the kitchen counter’ remedies for colds.

pumpkin seeds

A handful of pumpkin seeds as a snack each day will help you boost your Zinc intake.

From a dietary perspective, your diet needs to include all the necessary nutrients for our general health. If you are consciously working on boosting your immune system then certainly you need a high proportion of fresh vegetables and fruit in your diet which contain high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients essential for the immune system.

lemons

Drink the juice of a lemon in hot water every morning when you get up and leave 10 minutes before eating your breakfast – a quick shot of Vitamin C before you start the day and also great for getting the body up and running.

Stress plays a large part in the health of our immune system. If you work or live in a stressful environment then you need to find some way of relaxing on a regular basis. Whilst exercise is very good for this, lying on the sofa listening to your favourite music is also very effective.

What do we do when we have been infected?

Cold symptoms are miserable and I realise that to function in this modern world of ours we are sometimes forced into the situation of taking something to suppress those symptoms.

If you work or have a young family, you cannot suddenly take to your bed for three days until the symptoms subside. However, if possible it is better for you and your cold to work with your body and not against it.

It is important, especially within your own family to limit the amount of contagion and the easiest way to do this is to all wash your hands very frequently. Do not share towels, toothbrushes or flannels and do not share drinks from the same cup or glass. When you use a tissue, use once and then discard safely into a plastic bag that you can dispose of later.

Fluids are very important especially as your appetite is likely to be suppressed. High content vitamin C drinks such as hot lemon with ginger, green tea with a slice of lemon and fresh squeezed juice drinks are the best. Other teas that you may find palatable are mint and elderflower or cinnamon with some lemon and a spoonful of honey. These tend to help sore and itchy throats and warm the chest.

A bowl of hot vegetable soup with carrots, spinach, onions and garlic will help warm you and as you will see from the post on onions and garlic they may help you fight off the infection faster.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/the-medicine-womans-larder-beware-vampires-onions-and-garlic/

onions

For centuries eucalyptus and menthol have been used to alleviate the symptoms of congestion and you can buy the essential oils in any health food shop. You can put a few drops of eucalyptus onto a hankie and inhale the aroma or dilute in massage oil and rub on your forehead, chest and upper back. Over the centuries the herb  Echinacea has been used to both boost the immune system and also alleviate the symptoms of a cold.

There have been rumours for many years that a cure for the common cold is imminent but in the meantime we may have to resort to some old fashioned remedies to ease the symptoms and help our body do the job it is designed to do, which is protect us.  The cynic in me does wonder at times if a cure for the common cold is ever on the cards since worldwide we spend billions each year on medications that are supposed to ease the symptoms!

You will find more information on Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D in this directory along with the foods that supply our body with them.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/nutrient-directory-a-brief-overview-of-the-nutrients-we-need-and-the-foods-that-supply-them/

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health – A – Z of Common Conditions – Cancer – Lungs


smorgasbord health

Some of you will have read the original of this post last year.. I have updated and hope that you will agree that it is an important message to get out.. Especially as there are still young people taking up smoking because it is cool!

The latest statistics indicate that there 1.1 billion smokers in the world with approximately 800,000 being men. There has been a decline in smoking in countries who have banned smoking in public places and made advertising and access to them more difficult. However, every time I go shopping in my local Tesco there are two or three people in the queue at customer services buying three or four packs of cigarettes that are dispensed from a hidden compartment. I am always staggered at the amount they are handing over which is currently 11 euro a packet.

As you will see I am an ex-smoker and I do understand the addiction to smoking.. I just know that the rewards of giving up are more than financial.  My addiction, like many of my age group began when we started passive smoking at a very early age.

Where my addiction began.

My father smoked from age 12 he told me. In his time in the Royal Navy he smoked unfiltered duty frees and he continued to smoke until his diagnosis with prostate cancer at 76 years old. He didn’t die of that but the radiation treatment he received caused a fatal blood disorder. It was over 21 years ago and treatment was a lot less refined back then.

I started smoking at 14. My father would smoke around 15 to 16 cigarettes a day and he would then throw the packet with the remaining cigarettes into the top drawer of his dresser and at the end of the week he would consolidate all the extra ones into a packet to start the week. I assumed that he lost count of how many were in the seven packets and working on that assumption; I liberated one cigarette a day for my own consumption. (I never got caught, and sometimes I wish I had been as it might have ended my addiction before it really started)

I finally gave up smoking at age 39 as I was heading for an operation of my own. I was smoking around 20 to 30 a day and apart from anything else at £1.50 a packet I could not really afford the habit. I know that at the current cost of nearly £8.50 per packet, £4,600 per year I certainly could not afford to smoke.  Of course of that £4,600 approximately £3,500 is going into governmental coffers!

Bearing in mind that it is estimated that 10 million adults smoke in the UK, and if everyone of them smoked a packet a day, the resulting money going straight into the Government pocket is around £3billion pounds a year.  Although they claim that this is to pay for health care of those that smoke I am cynical. Whilst the public message is give up smoking I wonder if they are really keen to lose those billions of revenue per year!

100,000 people die from smoking related disease each year.  That is too high a price to pay for a pleasure that simply goes up in smoke.

After 25 years I do not know if I have dodged the bullet but I do believe that I gave myself a fighting chance by giving up when I did. Addiction to anything is tough to beat. But there are plenty of options to help someone these days and they can be effective if you meet them halfway.

It is important to remember that it is not just the lungs that are at risk from smoking but all your major organs including the heart and brain. Yes, there are some lucky individuals who smoke until 100 and get away with it – but they are in the minority and usually have extraordinary immune systems that have kept them healthy.

Some of the people around them however, may not have been so lucky and here is a short but sobering extract from an article that should make any smoker think about the impact they are making on those they love and consider friends.

Breathing in other people’s smoke, also called second-hand smoke, can cause cancer. Passive smoking can increase a non-smoker’s risk of getting lung cancer by a quarter, and may also increase the risk of cancers of the larynx (voice box) and pharynx (upper throat).

Second-hand smoke can cause other health problems too. Every year, second-hand smoke kills thousands of people in the UK from lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and the lung disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/passive-smoking

LUNG CANCER.

Just the words lung cancer are enough to terrify most people but it still does not seem to deter a large number of smokers who continue to inhale carcinogenic fumes every time they light up.

Although there are work-related contaminants that can result in lung cancer such as asbestos and coal tar, they only represent around 15% of all cases of lung cancer. Smoking or inhaling second hand smoke causes the remaining 85%.

The best preventative is not to smoke at all but even giving up right now will reduce the risk from developing cancer in the future.

Cancer is a disease of abnormal cells. Normal cells reproduce through their lifetime in a controlled manner replacing old tissue and repairing damage. Abnormal cells are rogues that are out of control increasing rapidly either in a localised spot in the body (benign tumour) or by spreading throughout the body developing tumours as they go (malignant tumour). The blood and the lymphatic system provide the perfect transport for these rogue cells and when they form a new growth it is called a secondary tumour or metastasis.

There are a number of different types of cancer cell that can affect the lung but they are all opportunists and if the lung tissues are already damaged by smoking it will be vulnerable to them all.

Cilia in respiratory system

Smoke inhalation damages the normal cleansing process of the lungs so that debris and toxins can accumulate. Hair like cilia on the cells within the bronchial tubes usually beat rhythmically to move mucous continuously upward and out of the lungs but smoke that is inhaled cause these fine hairs to disappear and the lining of the bronchial tubes thickens and narrows in an effort to protect the tissues from further damage.

Perhaps seeing a pair of healthy lungs beside an image of a smokers lungs might convince you to give up smoking more than my words.  If you know people who smoke around you then you might like to share this with them.

Healthy lungssmokers-lungs

Sources

http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_93.pdf

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me either in the comments section or privately on sallygcronin@gmail.com.

I will be covering other lung related diseases later in the A – Z series.

 

Smorgasbord Health – A -Z of Common Conditions – Cancer – Prostate


A-Z

Some of you may have read this during Men’s Health Week last year but I do believe that it is a post worth repeating so that there is an awareness to act sooner rather than later if there is even the slightest change in the way our body behaves.

My father was diagnosed at age 77 with prostate cancer and it was at least stage three. This was twenty-five years ago and the treatment is radiation and lots of it. It gave him time but the last year was very hard on him. The radiation had caused a blood disorder that required him to have a regular blood-transfusions and good naturedly he would present himself at the hospital on the designated Friday.. My father loved his food and the day is significant… they served fish ‘n’ chips.  Eventually he required these transfusions weekly and after a short period of time he passed away aged 80.

Today there have been huge advancements in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer and the prognosis is much improved. But it is dependent on a very important factor and that is early detection.

I explored some very frightening figures after an image was posted on facebook from Just Eat Real Food that claimed that from 1900 the risk of developing cancer had increased dramatically from 1 in 30 to 1 in 2.  Many people thought that this could not be true.  Well it appears that it well might be.

In the UK, Cancer Research UK states that for those born after 1960 there is a 1 in 2 chance of developing a cancer of one type or another… This will be reflected in other countries who have adopted a highly industrialised food chain which includes mass farming methods and chemical and hormonal  ‘enhancements’ at each phase of the production process.

We all have rogue cells that are pre-cancerous but if we have a strong immune system these cells either self-distruct or are contained by our own defences.

However, if those defences are weakened by a nutritionally deficient diet, those actions will not occur and in a sugar rich and oxygen deprived environment, cancer cells will reproduce rapidly.

We are now living longer and as we age so do our cells. As our diet and lifestyle changes in later years, our immune system weakens and the defences are down. It is therefore absolutely possible that 1 in 2 of us will develop some form of cancer in our lifetime. The difference being that cancers that develop in our bodies in our 80s and 90s are likely to grow slowly and outlive us.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/lifetime-risk#heading-Zero

Male reproductive health issues

As women face problems with their uterus, and possible hysterectomies, so men are faced with problems with their prostates. The good news is that in the majority of cases the conditions are benign, and are not going to lead to cancer, but symptoms should always be checked out.

male_internal_side

What is the prostate?

The prostate gland is a very small walnut shaped structure that sits at the base of the bladder and surrounds the ejaculatory ducts at the base of the urethra. Its role is to produce an alkaline fluid that mixes with the semen from the vesicles before it is passed into the penis to be ejaculated. This probably acts as a booster for the sperm keeping them active and therefore more likely to fertilise an egg should the opportunity arise.

In a young man the prostate is about the size of a walnut and it slowly gets larger as a man matures. If it gets too large, however, it can begin to cause problems with the urinary tract resulting in frequent urination and in some cases discomfort. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is very common in men over 60 years old.

If problems with urination occur especially at night then a doctor should be consulted. Usually a rectal examination or scans will detect the enlarged prostate and appropriate treatment prescribed. If the enlargement of the prostate and the urination problems are relatively mild then it is usually left for a period of time to see if the normal reduction in testosterone will result in a decrease in the size of the prostate.

If the enlargement of the prostate or the symptoms warrant medical intervention it is usual to prescribe either alpha-blockers (can have some nasty side effects) or a testosterone lowering drug. As the testosterone levels decrease the prostate shrinks and the urination problems are solved. However there can be side effects such as loss of sex drive and possible erectile problems.

In extreme cases surgery may be advised if the urination problem does not improve. It can however result in other problems and should be considered carefully beforehand.

Prostate cancer

Women dread the words breast, ovary or uterine cancer and for men it is prostate cancer. As with most cancers if it is found early then the chances of recovery are very good. Unfortunately the early signs of cancer can be confused with BPH which is why it is an excellent idea to consult a doctor the moment you feel there is a change to your urination in any way. This is especially true if you develop a burning sensation or pain during urination or there is blood present in the urine. Sometimes there could also be blood in semen, pain in the back, hips or pelvis and painful ejaculation. There can also be an innocent and harmless cause of some of these symptoms but it is important to clarify the situation immediately with your doctor.

Apart from a physical examination a doctor will also conduct a blood test to determine the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). These may be higher in men with either an enlarged prostate or cancer and it is backed up by an ultrasound to establish any abnormalities in the gland.

Usually a biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis and is commonly done by the doctor under local anaesthetic.

Treatment

These days if the cancer is in the early stages and slow growing it will be monitored regularly to determine if the next stage in the treatment is necessary. Treatments are being refined and reviewed continually and your doctor will have the latest information at hand.

The most common type of surgery is a radical prostatectomy where the whole prostate and some surrounding tissue is removed. This may result in loss of sexual function or urinary problems that may not correct themselves. There is a modified operation that reduces the risk of nerve damage and therefore impotence that some men will be offered if appropriate.

Radiation treatment is used in some cases prior to surgery to kill cancerous cells and shrink the tumour and following surgery to ensure that all harmful cells have been eliminated. There are two kinds of radiation, externally beamed into the prostate and internally where radioactive “seeds” are placed in the prostate itself, into or near the actual tumour. There can be some side effects with this treatment including impotence and incontinence, which will have to be managed in the long term.

Following radiation, patients may be offered hormonal treatment to prevent the cancer from reoccurring or if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This will usually result in menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes as well as a loss of sexual desire.

Now to a different perspective on prostate cancer treatment.

This in no way negates the need to get checked, as a physical examination is key to determining if there is a problem with the prostate. Whilst unpleasant (and trust me we women have equally invasive examinations) a few minutes of embarrassment or discomfort is better than years of treatment and doubt about the outcome.

Today treatments are targeted very specifically in the area affected and as you will read a different approach to beginning treatment is usually followed if the cancer is in the very early stages. A ‘watch carefully and wait and see’ strategy is particularly relevant if the patient is in their late 70s and 80s as certain cancers have a less aggressive growth pattern as we age.

Do read the article so that should you face a diagnosis of prostate cancer you can ask all the right questions to ensure that you explore all the options available. Be aware that different consultants have their own approach to specific cancers and whilst the ‘wait and see’ strategy is widely adopted in the UK it may be very different where you live.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/06/survive-prostate-cancer-without-surgery.aspx?e_cid=20150906Z2_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20150906Z2&et_cid=DM85074&et_rid=1105579098

This series is not intended to be used as a diagnostic tool..It is however a recommendation to find out about areas of the body which are at risk and to ensure that you notice changes that occur.. Nobody else can do that except perhaps someone close to you. This is why it is so important for partners to also keep an eye out for changes in habits that might indicate that there is a problem.

The sooner that prostate cancer is diagnosed the better the outcome. Get Checked.

You will find other posts in the A – Z of Common Conditions in the directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-a-z-of-common-condition/

 

Smorgasbord Health – A-Z of common conditions – Bruising.


smorgasbord A - Z

There will not be many of us who have not knocked some part of our body and seen a bruise appear the next hour or so.  When we bang into something harder than the skin’s surface we damage the very small blood vessels. This causes a discolouration of the skin in varying shades of blue and green and sometimes purple along with a tenderness to the touch. Usually both the pain and the bruise disappear after a few days as the blood vessels repair beneath the skin. As they heal the colour will change to red.. green and yellow as the blood is absorbed back into the body.

14a02121a969b1dc3e67b651181d35eb

For these occasional bangs and wallops that result in bruises there is little reason for concern and the discomfort can be eased with the application of something that is always in my medicine cabinet.

Arnica also known as Leopard’s Bane and Sneezwort is a herb that has been used for centuries as a treatment for bruises, inflammation such as sprains and acne. To be honest their is as usual very little scientific research into arnica and its properties but I have used it on bruises for many years and I do believe that it speeds up the healing process and reduces some of the discomfort.

It is used in the form of a tincture which is the concentrated herb diluted with fluid which is alcohol (acidic herbs) or if a resin such as balsam you would use a water and alcohol mix.. You would then leave the concoction for about three weeks before using..Thankfully, you can buy the tincture ready prepared in most health food shops.

N.B  There are few interactions reported but I do suggest that if you are pregnant that you do not use any herbal remedies, even topical ones without a qualified herbalist.. Also if you notice a reaction or rash after use, wash off immediately.

One very simply if chilly method to decrease inflammation and pain is to apply ice immediately.  If possible keep the bruised area elevated to decrease blood flow to the damaged site and inflammation.

Lavender oil has also been used on the continent. Make a soft compress with a pad for the lavender. Gently bandage in place and leave on for 24 hours.

The other medicine cupboard staple is Witch Hazel.. again available in pharmacies and health food shops. Rub into the bruised area three or four times a day.

Other reasons for bruising.

If you find that you bruise easily and particularly in areas that you feel you have not damaged then you should visit a doctor.  It could be as simple as a Vitamin C deficiency but it could be an indication of a more serious condition. Including leukemia and other blood disorders, diabetes and certain medications that have a blood thinning property such as aspirin or wafarin. It can also be the result of taking cortisone medicaion.

As our skin becomes thinner as we age, bruising becomes more common.. The bruises tend to be purple in colour and take far longer to dissipate if at all.

Diet to develop a thicker skin!!

It is important to have a balanced diet but Vitamin C plays a vital role in many organs of the body including our skin which is the largest waste organ of the body.

VITAMIN C: ASCORBIC ACID; An antioxidant that protects LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) from oxidative damage, leading to hardening of the arteries. May also protect against heart disease reducing the hardening of arteries and the tendency of platelets to clump together blocking them. Vitamin C is necessary to form collagen, which acts like glue strengthening parts of the body such as muscles and blood vessels. It aids with healing and is a natural anti-histamine.

fruit-and-veg-banner

It is essential for the action of the Immune system and plays a part in the actions of the white blood cells and anti-bodies. It protects other antioxidants A and E from free radical damage and is involved in the production of some adrenal hormones. It is water soluble and found in all fruit and vegetables with best sources being Blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cherries, grapefruits, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, parsley, peppers, rosehips, potatoes, tomatoes and watercress.

Image Pinterest

©smorgasbordhealth 2017

You will find the other common conditions in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-a-z-of-common-condition/

Thank you for dropping by and please feel free to share.. thanks Sally