Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Allergies and Intolerances – Part One – The difference between them by Sally Cronin


Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.

I know that many of you who follow the blog will have seen the following post before but for those new to Smorgasbord, I hope you find useful.

 Allergies and Intolerances – Part One – The difference between them

In this post I am going to take a look at the terms Allergy and Intolerance and explain the differences between the two. Many people will say that they have an allergy to certain foods for example but in fact they have an intolerance.

There are many symptoms and common ailments that are linked to food allergies and finding out what might be causing these is step one in resolving the problem naturally.

Anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, ME. Hayfever, Celiac disease, diabetes, headaches and eczema are just some of the diseases that could be linked to certain foods. Certainly long term intolerance or allergy to foods can contribute to more serious conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer.

The first reaction that most people have is to totally discard the food responsible and never touch it again. Some people develop such a totally restricted diet that they do themselves harm by denying their bodies the nutrients that are essential to their health and well-being.

Some practitioners will also advise their clients to stop consuming certain foods and it is important that a client always ask when they can begin introducing these restricted foods again. If a reaction is very severe then yes of course it would be absolutely essential not to touch that food. Peanuts are a prime example. Nut allergies however are just that an allergy, which is very different from an intolerance and the two should not be confused.

What is an allergy? And what is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance

An allergic reaction is immediate. It is a fast response. An intolerance is by contrast a slow reaction. The speed with which an individual will react to certain stimulants is governed by two antibodies called IgE and IgG.

An allergy is an immediate reaction to a toxic substance either in food or in the environment that causes established and well-documented side effects. Our body is protected by anti-bodies one of which is called IgE. The role of this antibody is to forcibly reject toxins and in doing so the body undergoes some severe reactions in its effort to clean and heal its systems. Because IgE antibodies are intelligent, each fresh attack is worse than the last because it learns to produce a more effective and violent response. This is why what begins as a mild sneezing and coughing reaction may develop over repeated exposure to a more dangerous and life threatening reaction. Some of the intense reactions likely to be experienced are:

  • Intense itching on specific parts of all over the skin.
  • Hives (swollen red nodules just under the skin)
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue and throat.
  • Severe headache,
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhoea

In severe cases this can lead to Anaphylactic shock which takes all of the above and leads to drop in blood pressure, extreme breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness and shock – all of which can be fatal.

What is an Intolerance?

An intolerance on the other hand is a build-up over time of the poisons in culprit foods, which cause the above symptoms in a mild or moderate form. In some cases it might only be intermittent and because it involves a build-up over a period of time it is very difficult to determine which food is the one causing the problem.

You might experience one or all of the above symptoms with differing severity and put it down to hay fever, or eating something that did not agree with you. You take an anti-histamine or a diarrhoea pill and the symptoms go away. A few weeks later you might suffer the same thing again but it is happening in isolation you do not connect to a common cause.

There is a different anti-body that seems to be involved in this type of delayed reaction and it is called IgG.

This antibody is more concerned with toxins that you have produced yourself rather than those that you have just ingested into your body. Its job is to rid the blood stream of toxins that have found their way into your system from the intestines. Because food in our digestive systems can take 24 hours to digest, the time taken for bacteria to get into the blood stream means a reaction might not take place for two to three days. Therefore difficult to pinpoint the problem food.

Apart from peanuts are there any other foods that might cause a severe reaction?

Everyone is individual and no one person reacts in the same way to any allergens but the most likely culprits for severe allergic reactions apart from nuts are peanuts (not a true nut) milk, eggs, soy, wheat and shellfish. All foods that most of us consider safe and extremely healthy. But if your chemical systems react to the chemicals in a food negatively, then these so called healthy foods can cause a severe reaction. Twenty percent of anaphylactic reactions appear to have no reason at all.

This type of allergy is likely to show up pretty quickly in childhood. There are some instances where a person’s chemical makeup has been changed through either drugs or treatments such as chemotherapy and they then begin to react to foods that they have eaten safely for years.

How do you treat an allergy of this severity?

In the first place avoidance of the food is essential. For example nut allergies are extremely difficult as many prepared products or meals eaten out may have some form of nut in them, which is not evident in the packaging or the menu description.

I have had a garden salad and found walnuts mixed in with it. Restaurants put other nuts on salads as a garnish. Despite new laws on labelling and food safety regulations, many menu items do not mention that it contains nuts and if you are not very careful you could inadvertently eat a piece without knowing.

Even more difficult is the use of crushed nuts in desserts – they are not even visible. It is much better than it used to be with food establishments and manufacturers legally obliged to label products and menu items carefully, however, if you are buying street food or even eating in a friend’s house you have to make sure to ask if it contains nuts or even nut oil.

What should you do immediately if someone goes into anaphylactic shock.

If someone is suffering from anaphylactic shock and you are on hand, you need to work very quickly. Usually the first signs may be reddened and swollen eyelids and wheezing. The person will look flushed and their ears will begin to swell.

Check to see if they are carrying adrenaline (Epi pen). It will usually be in the form of an injection kit. Most severe allergy sufferers, particularly those who have suffered anaphylaxis before will be carrying an injection on them and will also be wearing an ID bracelet. If they are unable to give themselves an injection, then you must do so. Straight into the muscle at the side of the thigh. That is the only place that a non-medical person should inject, as anywhere else could be dangerous. Adrenaline or epinephrine as it is also known, counters the intense reaction to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It constricts the blood vessels, relaxes the muscles in the lungs to improve breathing, reverses the swelling and stimulates the heartbeat.

If they are not carrying adrenaline you must get them medical attention urgently. Try and keep them calm. If the emergency service say that they cannot get to you within minutes then put the person in a car and get them to the nearest medical emergency room as fast as possible. As soon as you get there one person rush in and tell them you have an anaphylactic shock patient coming in so that they can come out to the car with you.

Knowing how to react is vital, as I found out when I suffered two cases of anaphylactic shock. Once as a reaction to penicillin and once when I was attacked by fire ants in Texas. I was in full anaphylactic shock in minutes and luckily a neighbour drove us straight to the emergency room which was one block away. We arrived in bathing costumes and the driver dashed in and called for assistance. They were fast but it was still touch and go for about 20 minutes.

If you think that someone is going into this severe allergic reaction then act first and think later. Don’t wait to see if it develops, if breathing is beginning to be compromised then get help immediately.

Apart from food are there any other common causes fro this extreme reaction?

Quite a few people are allergic to latex which of course is found in rubber gloves and condoms. It mainly affects people who are in constant contact with latex products during medical procedures, like nurses and doctors. Patients who are in hospital for extended stays or have a lot of hands on medical treatment can develop an allergy.

There is a link to latex and food. It would seem that a person who reacts to latex might also react strongly to consuming bananas, avocados, kiwi, figs, peanuts, potatoes and tomatoes.

Other non-food allergens are bees, wasps and any other stinging insect such as the fire ants.

Are there less severe allergic reaction and what causes them?

Most of us at one time or another has suffered from a streaming nose, itchy eyes and some wheezing. It is an immediate reaction to contact with the allergen.

The top triggers are:

Inhalents (breathed in.)

Tree and plant pollens -Animal mites – House Dust mites – Mould spores -Tobacco smoke (contains over 4000 chemicals including banned pesticides and arsenic) -Car exhaust -Chemical products such as paint, dry cleaning solutions, perfumes and cosmetics)

Ingestants (taken by mouth)

Foods (dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat, Soya, chocolate, tomatoes, corn, fish and shellfish) – Medications (antibiotics – tetanus) -Pesticides in food – Heavy metals in tap water

Contactants (by touch)

Plants (poison ivy, oak) – Jewellery (nickel, copper) – Latex – Beauty products (hair dye, cosmetics)

Should people take anti-histamines and diarrhea pills to deal with the less severe symptoms?

To be honest as a nutritional therapist, I understand that the body is simply trying to rid itself of toxins but I am as guilty as anyone of reaching for the packet of pills to relieve the symptoms of colds, hay fever and stomach upsets.

Being realistic, once you have those types of symptoms, particularly streaming nose and eyes and a stomach upset, it is virtually impossible to get on with your daily life. Working, caring for young children even walking the dog have to be done, so of course you need help to get through that.

But, there is a cause for your allergic reactions. We have already established that a full-blown allergy is likely to be a fast reaction and you will be able to identify the problem food or product immediately.

Far more challenging is finding the culprit for intermittent but consistently mild to moderate reactions, that happen days or weeks apart. Or there may be only one symptom such as sneezing or wind, bloating or a rash.

What sort of symptoms might be present with sort of intolerance?

Apart from skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, which tends to be chronic and long term, there could be hives that come and go in a week. Wind problems, bloating, indigestion, fluttering stomach, stomach upsets or constipation.

Next week I will be looking at a specific food allergy/intolerance to Milk and other dairy products.. and also one of the reasons that someone might be suffering from a food intolerance and it is to do with the gut.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – April 25th – May 1st 2021 – Chart Hits 1968, Empaths, Irish Tales, Poetry, Reviews, Health and Humour


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I hope that everyone is doing well. From Monday we will have a few restrictions lifted and we can buy clothing again in the supermarkets and other non-essential items which is useful. Not that I buy many clothes these days as I have more than I could possibly wear in a lifetime along with bags and shoes… and some of them even fit!  But, I do like their t-shirts and everyday clothes and it will be pleasant to be able to browse through them again. Of course I will be looking for just the perfect bikini for the summer lol.. I have no ideas what it would do the breeding cycle of the common garden sparrow if I wore that in the back garden!!

On another note.. Tales from the Irish Garden comes to an end next weekend and because I am currently spending weekends knee deep in the sequel for later in the year, I will be sharing another of my books. You can help me out please… Let me know which of these books you would liked shared again.. I know that regulars to the blog over the years might have read them before but hopefully newcomers might enjoy reading.

You can find reviews for the books if you are interested along with my other books:
My books and reviews 2019 – 2021

 Book One – What’s in a Name? Volumes one and two  – 36 short stories

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these 36 short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Book Two – Just an Odd Job Girl

Imogen was fifty! Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.

For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.

Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.

Book Three – Tales from the Garden

Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden, forever. Set in my garden in the mountains of central Spain, the statues tell their stories and we meet Queen Filigree and her court for the first time before they have to seek sanctuary in the Irish Garden.

With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin,reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees.

You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

All you have to do is write Book One, Two or Three in the comments section.. otherwise I will pick one out of a hat!!  (you will get them all eventually over coming months)

Time to get on with the posts from the week… thanks to William Price King and Debby Gies who are the main contributors this week.. and you will be delighted to know that Debby will be back with us on May 10th with her new relationshiop post that will touch your heart.

Thank you for all your comments of encouragement and interest over the week and have a wonderful weekend.. Sally

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1968 – Part One 

Rewind – Empaths and Spiritual Communication through Energy 

Chapter Seventeen -Autumn: All Hallows Eve 

chapter Eighteen – All Hallow’s Eve Part Two – Freakish Village prepares for the Zombies 

#Photoprompt – #Double Etheree – #The Future? by Sally Cronin 

 Advance review – Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (An Amanda Travels Adventure Book 8) by Darlene foster

Smorgasbord #Children’s Reading Room – Book #Review – Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam H. Hurdle

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Historical #Mystery #Chicago – A Child Lost by Michelle Cox 

– Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Mystery #Humour – In Search of McDoogal by Mae Clair 

What’s In a Name? And How Do You Choose One? by Marcia Meara 

#Music Monday: So Many Genres by Leon Stevens 

new profile

#Publishing – What about Books in 2030 by Jemima Pett 

New Book on the Shelves – My Twin Sister and Me: A scout always does her best! by Emiliya Ahmadova

New books on the shelves #Paranormal Ghosts in Trouble and #Mystery Felix Finds Out by Elizabeth Merry 

Dead Dry Heart: A psychological thriller by [Toni Pike]

Dead Dry Heart: A #psychological thriller by Toni Pike 

#Medical #Thriller – Type and Cross (Cathedral Lake Book 1) by Staci Troilo 

#BiographicalFiction – Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes Posted on April 28, 2021 by Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life.  

– New Author on the Shelves – #Psychological – House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira by Joan Hall 

New Book on the Shelves – #Horror #Occult Delilah Astral Investigator Infinity Series: Episode 2, The Boy Who Would Be King by Deborah A. Bowman 

#Poetry Balroop Singh, #Fantasy Vashti Quiroz Vega, #Poetry Sue Vincent, #Mystery James J. Cudney 

Monday 26th April 2021 – #Writing K.M. Allan, #Animals #Stories D.L. Finn, #Chutney Sowmya’s Spicy Corner 

Tuesday April 27th 2021 – #Family Antoinette Truglio Martin, #Story Beetley Pete and Jim Webster, #LemonCake Dorothy New Vintage Kitchen.

Thursday April 29th 2021 – #Guest Post Robbie Cheadle and Jane Risdon, #Environment Carol Taylor, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape. 

Family Health A-Z – Acidity in the digestive system – Acid Reflux – Triggers and Diet by Sally Cronin

April 27th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – #Domestic and #Court Humour 

April 29th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – #Inflight Entertainment and #Life’s Laws

May be an image of text that says "They say we learn from our mistakes... That's why I'm making as many as possible. I'll soon be a genius!"

April 30th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Onions and other Favourite Things 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Acidity in the digestive system – Acid Reflux – Triggers and Diet by Sally Cronin


Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.

I know that many of you who follow the blog will have seen the following post before but for those new to Smorgasbord, I hope you find useful.

Acidity in the digestive system – Acid Reflux – Stomach Acid, Hiatus Hernia Triggers and Diet

If you suffer from Acid Reflux it is usually not easy to pinpoint the source as it can be the result of issues along the upper digestive tract and also the way we eat our food… For example if you normally bolt your food without chewing sufficiently and coating the food in saliva, the digestive process is not begun until it gets to the stomach.. which is too far along the tract to be effective.

If you suffer from acid reflux regularly and are downing antacids to reduce the effects you are throwing gas on the fire..

The Body is pretty impressive when it comes to processing food but even in struggles with our modern diet.

You usually do not get acid reflux from eating freshly cooked meat, poultry, chicken and vegetables even with a bit of fat on them.

The problem is the amount of processed foods we douse our foods in before putting in our mouths and then not leaving long enough for sweet desserts or even fresh fruit.

Sugars don’t mix well with meats, especially late at night as the body struggles to digest a Vindaloo curry and a couple of glasses of red wine or beer. If you lie down to try and sleep following this combination, the body won’t be able to cope and acid reflux is likely from a mild belch to a very uncomfortable and painful sensation at the top of the stomach or a burning sensation in our oesophogus.

If you suffer from acid relux often then I suggest reading about the process and making sure that you are eating with your body in mind and taking your time.

The digestion of our food starts before it even enters our mouths.

Actually the digestive process starts in the nasal passages – remember how it feels to smell fresh baked bread, the BBQ or a curry. The saliva starts to build up in your mouth – which is why we call it ‘mouth-watering’. As soon as that process begins – we are ready to eat and digest the food. Interestingly enough, people who have a reduced or non-existent ability to smell rarely become obese!

Food has to be chewed before it is presented to the rest of the digestive tract. The tongue will roll the food around the mouth so that the teeth can begin the process of breaking it down into manageable pieces.

One of the key elements of efficient digestion is how we chew our food. Most of us eat far too quickly, not allowing the teeth to produce small enough pieces of food or our saliva and enzymes to carry out their part in the process.

Chewing slowly has the added benefit of allowing a message to get through from the stomach to the brain to tell it that you are full and to stop eating. This not only helps us maintain a healthy weight but it also reduces the stress and pressure on the digestive system.

N.B If you have elderly relatives it is important to make sure that they have regular dental care and if they have dentures they fit properly. The inability to chew food means that they will tend to drop certain foods from their diet and begin to suffer from nutrient deficiencies, particular B vitamins that are in whole grains and meats.

The salivary glands

The salivary glands at the base of the tongue produce an enzyme called ptyalin that digests starch and a chemical called Lysozyme that sanitises the food to prevent infection both in the mouth and the digestive tract. It is hard to believe but the human adult will produce in the region of 1½ litres of saliva per day consisting of mucous and fluid. It is important that the mouth is kept very moist not only for comfort but to enable us to deal with dry foods allowing it to be chewed more easily. It is also essential once food has been chewed, to ease the next stage of the digestive process when food is swallowed.

There are a number of salivary glands positioned in the mouth the largest being the parotids, in the neck, just in front of the ears. The glands that excrete the most saliva are under the jaw. These are the submandibular glands. And finally, under the tongue in the floor of the mouth are the sublinguals. The amylase enzyme produced by these glands converts the carbohydrate we eat into disaccharide sugars for further processing later in the stomach and intestines. (If you want to witness this in action, wave a cooked sausage in front of a dog’s nose and place their jaw over a basin!)

The oesophagus

The oesophagus takes the food down into the stomach by a series of rhythmic contractions of its extremely effective muscles called peristalsis. At the other end of the oesophagus is a sphincter, which opens and closes the opening into the stomach and prevents food from returning upward to the mouth.

The stomach

The stomach forms a balloon or sac and is the widest part of the digestive tract. The oesophagus enters through the oesophageal sphincter and exits through the pyloric sphincter at the entrance to the duodenum.

Like most of our organs the stomach is made up of specific layers that play a role either in its physical functionality or its chemical contribution to the digestive process.

The external layer of the stomach consists of layers of muscles lying in longitudinal and circular directions to ensure maximum flexibility and strength. This muscle layer is lined with a membrane called the epithelium housing the gastric glands that will produce gastric juice. This juice is a mixture of acid and enzymes without which we would be unable to process food at all or extract the vital nutrients we require to survive. Normally we would produce in the region of 3 litres of gastric juice a day which is perfect for a normal diet but inadequate for the majority of people who eat in excess of their daily requirements on a regular basis. If food is not processed thoroughly it can lead to complications as it enters the intestines causing constipation and in some cases blockages.

Acid reflux and chronic heartburn

Most of us have experienced heartburn at some point in our lives, usually following a really good night out but for many people this digestive problem is a daily occurrence.

The most common cause of heartburn, is acid backing up into the oesophagus from the stomach. Normally this would be prevented by a flap, the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter (LES), at the bottom of the digestive tract that allows food into the stomach but prevents partly digested contents from returning back up into the tube.

If it happens occasionally after a particularly heavy meal or too much alcohol then it is not a major problem but if it is happening frequently then you should go to your doctor and ask him to check for any physical reason for the problem.

The most common symptoms are a feeling that food is caught in the throat producing a choking or gagging reflex. The throat might feel tight and there is a burning in the chest, which could be accompanied by difficulty in swallowing and breathing difficulties.

Apart from a faulty oesophageal sphincter there is a possibility of a hiatus hernia. Hiatal or hiatus hernias are also known as diaphragmatic hernias. They occur when the upper part of the stomach is above the diaphragm, the muscle wall that separates the stomach from the chest. When the muscle tissue around the hiatus becomes weak, the upper part of your stomach may bulge through the diaphragm into your chest cavity. The diaphragm helps the LES keep acid from coming up into the oesophagus. So when a hernia is present, it is easier for the acid to come up.

In this way, a hiatus hernia can cause reflux or heartburn.

Image

This malformation can occur in people of any age and most people over 50 have a small one but it is a more common problem in women and anyone who is overweight.

The typical symptoms are a chest pain just below the breast bone that develops over the period of a few minutes. Some say that it mimics what might be a heart attack, usually it will pass in a few minutes but it can last for 15 minutes or longer. It is very painful and if you have been experiencing this regularly then you should go to your doctor to have it checked.

It is more likely to happen after eating a large meal, topped off with a sugar dessert that has increased the acid in your stomach. Lying down is not a good idea as this makes it easier for the acid to build up and push the top of the stomach through the sphincter as the bottom of the oesophogus.

Try pushing down firmly just below the breast bone and if that eases the symptoms it might well be a hiatus hernia.

There are some foods that have been identified as possible triggers for frequent acid reflux and heartburn attacks and these are:

  • Citrus fruits (not lemons)
  • Caffeine based drinks – such as coffee, tea and soft drinks
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Onions
  • Spicy food
  • High sugar intake such as a rich dessert after a heavy meal

If you are a long term sufferer of heartburn and acid reflux, then it is a good idea to eliminate all of the above for two to three weeks and see if there is an improvement by monitoring your symptoms carefully and writing them down each day. That way it is easier to identify if there is a particular food outside of these that is causing you a problem.

Eat little and often to prevent overfilling your stomach at any one time and do not drink excessive fluids immediately before or during a meal.

Take a gentle walk after eating and don’t lie down for two to three hours after eating.

This means eating earlier and it might be helpful to lie slightly propped up in bed when sleeping.

Peptic ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a sore or hole in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Look away if you are squeamish.

Image

People of any age can get an ulcer and women are affected just as often as men. The major cause of a peptic ulcer is a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H.Pylori) and it is estimated that over 60% of us over the age of 60 have it, in varying strengths, in our stomachs.

The bacteria weaken the protective mucous coating on the walls of the stomach and the duodenum or small intestine. Acid from the stomach is then allowed to reach the delicate lining underneath the mucous where it irritates the tissue causing a sore or ulcer.

H.Pylori secretes an enzyme that neutralises the stomach acid allowing it to survive and reach the lining and its spiral shaped cells are perfect for burrowing through the mucous and tissues.

The most obvious symptom of an ulcer is a dull ache that is usually intermittent and is most noticeable three or four hours after eating a meal. It can occur when the stomach is also empty which is why many sufferers experience an attack in the middle of the night. Often the act of eating will relieve the symptoms particularly if the food is alkaline forming, rather than acidic, and I have put together a list of foods that are either alkaline or alkaline forming in this chapter.

If the problem is not diagnosed and treated then the symptoms can become very much worse with weight loss, bloating, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

It is important that if the pain becomes very sharp and persistent and there is blood in either stool or vomit that you seek emergency treatment immediately as it could indicate that the ulcer has perforated.

Normally if you have H.Pylori it is treated with antibiotics but you can help reduce the efficiency of the bacteria by including anti-bacterial foods and herbs on a daily basis. One of the alternative therapies that I recommend for Candida is grapefruit seed extract and this taken three times a day before food can be effective. Onions, garlic, shitake mushrooms, Aloe Vera and green tea are also excellent.

Raw Cabbage Juice

If you are in for a culinary treat! Raw cabbage juice has quite the reputation for sealing peptic ulcers. I have experimented when I have had acid on a regular basis some time ago, and I have to say worked well. However, because of the potential dangers of a peptic ulcer, if you have severe pains in the stomach, do not hesitate – go straight to the Doctor.

As an alternative to antacids which I will cover later in the post, cabbage juice for me is the preferable option.

Recipe.

If you do not have a juicer, Wash three large cabbage leaves and chop finely, added to half a litre of cold water in a blender – blend well – strain the juice off and keep in fridge. Drink about 6 oz., 30 minutes before eating lunch and dinner. It takes about 3 days for the acid to subside.

The pulp actually is quite tasty with a little seasoning and a bit of butter to go with your dinner….Plenty on the web about cabbage juice so I suggest you explore.

Antacids.

Whilst we all reach for these when we have had a heavy night of eating and drinking, or in some cases before, they should never be taken long term. Even the FDA who can be slow to react to potential hazards issued warnings. There is an increased risk of bone fractures and dementia – antacids are typically made from the following ingredients – Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), calcium carbonate, aluminium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate and/or magnesium hydroxide – some of which can affect bone density and you should be careful if you already have kidney and liver problems.

There are also concerns for over use of antacids in the digestive process. If you reduce your gastric acid below an optimum level, you are going to reduce its digestive efficiency and this means that food is entering the intestines in the wrong consistency – apart from causing intestinal health problems the nutrients will not be extracted at this stage of the process either. This leads to nutritional deficiency and the diseases associated with that.

  • For the occasional heartburn, keep some bicarbonate of soda on hand – one teaspoon in warm water.
  • I find that drinking peppermint tea between meals helps me but everyone is individual and you will have to experiment with both diet and lifestyle.

Milk is sometimes recommended to line and reduce the acid in the stomach, but after a couple of hours the milk will turn rancid and add to the acid burden.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – April 18th – 24th 2021- Hits 1967, Podcasts, Online presence, reviews, new books, health and humour


Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord you may have missed this week.

It would be comforting to see the numbers of new Covid infections coming down as the vaccinations are rolled out, but nearly 900,000 people worldwide were reported in just one day on Friday.. taking the total to over 146 million so far and over 3 million deaths. Personally it will be a long time before I am tempted to travel despite many European countries opening up for tourists this summer, some like Spain with no requirement for masks on crammed beaches. Of course those vaccinated are not immune to catching the virus in whatever variant it is hiding in at the time, and whilst Spain and other countries may not see the fallout from these trips abroad, their home countries will.

We have restrictions still in place for non-essential travel in Ireland but public demand is likely to loosen that necessary mandate for the summer months. We personally are more than happy to remain where we are and I am afraid we do not want any visitors however much we love them, staying with us. Vaccinations are definitely part of the solution but continued safety precautions are also going to be essential for far longer than we anticipated. I hope that others will consider staying at home and enjoying what is on the doorstep and leaving more time before leaping into someone else’s backyard.

On a brighter note.. this week the sun has been shining and I have spent time in the garden catching up on my reading which was long overdue.

Podcasts – Marketing and Pleasure.

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Rebecca Budd for her Tea, Toast and Trivia Podcast –

The reason I am including this in the round up is to encourage more authors and bloggers to add podcasts to their marketing options and reach a new audience for their writing.. and to enjoy as it is great fun too.

About Rebecca Budd who has a other wonderful blogs including Clanmother –  Lady Budd – And On The Road Book Club

I was given the title, Clanmother, September 2008, when I was travelling the Scottish Highlands with an audacious collection of young people who came from all over the world to join an expedition to the misty Isle of Skye. I was the oldest woman on the tour so the title was appropriate. What was more surprising was that I liked the label – it was catchy, spirited and encompassed the next stage in my life. It was my turn to grow old. I stood at Glencoe, breathing the chilled air, memorizing, for future recall, the rugged terrain covered with proverbial heather. There was certainty in my thoughts. This was going to be my most profound and daring adventure.

I want to share this journey with other, like-minded individuals – young, old, or in-between. It is an exploration that will take many turns as life advances. Many say that wisdom comes from the aging process. I am not ready to accept that premise as I have learned from children. What I do know, is that connection is the greatest gift of all. Clanmother is about a backward look forward!

We talked about book marketing, obesity and life in general and the time flew by.. A wonderful experience and I am looking forward to sharing the interview with you in coming weeks.

I have also been catching up with previous podcasts over the week on Rebecca Soundcloud with more to enjoy, including from some of your favourites from the Cafe and Bookstore: Liz Gauffreau, Paul Andruss, Teagan Geneviene, Robbie Cheadle, Darlene Foster, Shehanne Moore and D. Wallace Peach.

You can sign up to Soundcloud with your email or by linking to Facebook etc, and it means you can share the interview and comment to your own social media.

Because of the care taking with editing the interview before broadcast (thanks to sound engineer and editor, Rebeccas’s husband Don) the resulting broadcast is top notch.

I love radio as a medium and it was wonderful to get back on the air. I know from passed conversations that many of you are reluctant to take the plunge. But you are in safe hands with Rebecca, and it is not live so you don’t have to worry if you fluff your lines. It is very relaxed and enjoyable. I do recommend that if you are an author who would like your books to reach a wider audience that you get in touch at the link above.

Meet the Authors

Over the last few weeks I have been sharing the bios and books of authors who have joined the Cafe and Bookstore over the last six months. In May I will be revisiting all the other authors in both the Cafe and the Children’s Reading Room and updating their bios for promotional posts going forward, social media links, covers and most recent reviews to share in posts throughout the summer.

I am in and out of Amazon UK and US in particular and Goodreads to check on reviews for the authors in the cafe and to check for new books. There are quite a few new books that I have to search for because they are not on the author page. So in preparation for the new series here is a checklist you might find useful in updating your online platforms.

  1. Make sure your up to date bio is on your country of origin and also Amazon US and UK as the main English speaking sites.
  2. Check that you claim any new books you have released in the last few weeks or months through Author central so that potential readers are not chasing all over the place to find them.. and they can see your complete portfolio in one place.
  3. If you have a Goodread Author page please do the same.
  4. If you don’t have a Goodreads Author page then I highly recommend that you do. This is the one place that you can showcase all your reviews from any country and worth offering this link to readers to place their reviews as well as their regional Amazon. This is also the place readers who have borrowed the book, been gifted or have read an advance copy can post their reviews by-passing Amazon’s buy to review policy. (Despite the fact Amazon owns Goodreads!)
  5. If you have changed the cover for a book make sure that it is changed on Amazon and Goodreads.
  6. Just a reminder that you need to update your bios on Facebook pages, Twitter and other social media platforms when you have a new book. Don’t forget to pin a tweet about your new releases.. and thanks to Hugh Roberts  who recently reminded me that you need to change your pinned tweet every week or so and anyone wishing to share it can only do so once.  If someone retweets a post of mine I will reciprocate by tweeting their pinned tweet… it is a marketing tool that is underrated and sometimes I see pinned tweets going back several years.. if it cannot be retweeted by your most supportive followers then it is being wasted.

Probably time to get on with the posts from the week… otherwise you will be needing a packed lunch and a bottle of wine to get through the rest…. okay perhaps you do anyway.. here you go..

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog each week William Price King and Debby Gies …. also to you for dropping in and so kindly commenting and sharing.. .

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1967 – Part Two 

Forming Healthy Relationships – Rewind – What’s Inside the Box? 

Chapter Chapter Fifteen – Summer – The Piglet Races 

The Kindness of Mice

#Fantasy #Adventure #Humour – H.M.S Lanternfish (The Lanternfish Series Book 2) by C.S. Boyack

Past Book Reviews 2020 -#Fantasy – Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1) by D. Wallace Peach 

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Thriller – Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1) by Suzanne Burke 

Double Reversed #Nonet – Ageism 

Family Health A-Z – Arthritis (osteo and gout) by Sally Cronin 

Monday 19th April 2021 – #Smoking Arthur Rosch, #Romance Linda Lee Greene, #Reviews James J. Cudney, #Award Grammy’s Grid, #offer J.Q. Rose 

Tuesday 20th April 2021 – #Community Jennie Fitzkee, #Wellbeing Toni Pike, #Guestpost offer Beetley Pete

Wednesday April 21st 2021 – #Treasure Mary Smith, #Finance Sharon Marchisello, #Kindness Jane Sturgeon 

Thursday 22nd April 2021 – #Torrevieja #Salt Joy Lennick, #NewBlog Patty Fletcher, #Bookoffer Bette A. Stevens 

New Book on the Shelves – Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam Hurdle 

#Psychic #Thriller – Anasazi Medium (Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Book 4) by G G Collins 

#Fantasy Savagery (War of Nytefall Book 6) 

Pre-Order – #Romance #Humour Shh… It’s Our Secret by Lizzie Chantree 

#Suspense #Mystery – The Vanished Boy by Harmony Kent

-#Genetics – My Father and Other Liars by Geoff Le Pard 

#Family – An Uncommon Family by Christa Polkinhorn 

#YA #Fantasy A.J. Alexander, #Scifi Richard Dee, #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway by Miriam Hurdle 

A tale of many cities by Joy Lennick 

#Cricket- Don’t Stop the Carnival by Barbara Spencer 

#YAFamily Sian Turner, #Fantasy P.L. Stuart, #Scottish #Historical Ailish Sinclair 

April 20th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Genius and Maths Lesson 

April 22nd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Stress Test and Cheap Cow 

Open Mic Night – 23rd April 2021 – Guest Malcolm Allen – Physics and Collies 

 

Thanks very much for dropping in and all your support during the week.. it keeps me motivated.. have a good weekend.. Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Arthritis (osteo and gout) by Sally Cronin


Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.

I know that many of you who follow the blog will have seen the arthritis posts before but for those new to Smorgasbord, I hope you find useful.

Last week I covered rheumatoid arthritis and today a look at two more of the over 200 forms of the disease.

Osteoarthritis and Gout.

Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is one of the oldest types of arthritis. It is basically wear and tear. It is the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. Cartilage is the cushion in the joint that prevents the two ends of the bones from rubbing together. When this pad of cushioning is worn away and the fluid that normally lubricates the joint has gone – the two ends grind together causing pain and inflammation.

The actual physical process is an increase in water content of the cartilage and a reduction of protein in the tissue as we age. It mainly affects the weight bearing joints such as the ankles, lower back, knees and hips but can also affect the hands. Those most likely to suffer from the condition are middle aged or elderly. In some cases however if a younger person has had a very physically demanding lifestyle the symptoms can set in earlier.

A wearing down of the cushion in the joint where the two bones meet. – Pixabay.com

What are the most common causes of this type of arthritis?

You can be affected by being overweight most of your life as I was, or leading a particularly energetic sporting life – football, rugby or athletics. It is most common as we get into our 40’s and 50’s when a lifetime of activity can catch up with us. People you have suffered accidents in the past with broken bones may find that the damage is worsened as they get older.

There is a school of thought that believes there is a genetic pre-disposition to Osteoarthritis particularly when it develops in the hands. It could be caused by defective cartilage or defects in the way the bones join together.

What are some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

It is purely a disease of the joints. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis it does not affect the organs of the body. The most common symptom is pain in the joint particularly after a lot of activity. It is usually worse later in the day obviously. Also you may find that your back and hips and knees are painful after sitting for long periods of time and that getting up in the morning is painful and takes some time for you to regain mobility. Some of the joints will swell, especially if you have twisted the joint during activity. Knees are particularly vulnerable to stairs and explains why the sale of stair lifts is on the increase. It is not uncommon for the symptoms to come and go depending on a number of factors: Weight, heat and activity levels.

What happens if the condition is not treated?

If the pain and the immobility becomes too severe there are now some surgical options. There are new techniques available that are less extreme than joint replacement but that needs to be assessed on an individual basis. Depending on the type of joint replacement, they will last around the 15 to 17 years. This means that if you have surgery in your 50’s you are probably facing another in your 70’s and 80’s.

The problem is that the friction between the bone ends causes mobility problems which often lead to more weight gain which is one of the leading causes of the condition in the first place.

Also inflammation of the cartilage can sometimes stimulate new bone outgrowths called spurs around the joint, which cause even more discomfort and lack of mobility.

The bottom line is that it is a very painful condition and most sufferers are forced into taking very strong painkillers such as cortisone.

What about nutrition and osteoarthritis

Collagen needs to be maintained both between the joints and as connective tissue such tendons and ligaments. Normally when we damage connective tissue the body will produce collagen to repair them. However, if you look at connective tissue that is attached to proteins that you are preparing to cook; you will see that they tend to be very pale in colour… This is because there is a poor blood supply to them. This means that the components necessary to heal them completely are unable to reach them effectively.

Collagen is also a component of our skin so as our face begins to wrinkle and loose formation the process is mirrored internally.

To assist the body in producing new collagen for a more youthful looking skin and healthier joint padding, ligaments and tendons that hold that joint in place; you need a diet rich in the following elements.

fruit-and-veg-bannerVitamin C rich foods are essential. Part of the issue with age related connective tissue damage is that we tend to eat less food as we age. This is not just related to a lack of appetite but the condition of our teeth. How many of you have noticed that you avoid certain fruits such as apples and pears because they are now tough to eat and chew? If this is the case then you need to substitute other softer but high vitamin C vegetables and fruit. You also need to explore options with your dentist to improve your ability to chew all foods as this is a fundamental part of the digestive process.

If you do not have rheumatoid arthritis you can enjoy the nightshade family such as red peppers, tomatoes and potatoes but also berries, watermelon, broccoli and papaya. Citrus fruits such as mandarins which are less acidic are also excellent.

salmonProtein is also a very important component and you should be including sufficient daily including lean meats, oily fish, poultry, eggs, as well as beans and vegetables such as squash.

Vitamins A, B-Complex, C and E are very important anti-oxidants but also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body which reduces swelling. These can be found in whole grains, oily fish, brightly coloured vegetables and fruit

Most people understand that keeping hydrated is very important for the suppleness of our skin and this applies to our internal collagen health as well. Please do not listen to the aqua sceptics! Although you do take in good amounts of fluids from most of the foods that we eat, it is not sufficient to counteract central heating, air conditioning, exercise and the high levels of sugar and salt in our diets.

However….. do not drink fizzy chemical concoctions as they are loaded with additives and sugars that are not naturally found in any of our connective tissues and will only compound the damage.

Aim for eight cups of tea, coffee, herbal teas and pure water per day… The occasional glass of juice is okay as long as it is freshly made and diluted with water. I drink diluted cranberry juice once a day.

Supplementation

Glucosamine in supplements is often used to treat joint pain along with another ingredient, Chondroitin; both naturally occurring in connective tissue. There is research into the effectiveness of taking in supplementary form but do make sure that your research the brands carefully and cheap is not necessarily the best option. Sometimes the added fillers in the tablets can cause side effects.

Some people take Aloe Vera gel daily as it is very nutritional and great for a number of health issues, but it does also contain glucosamine and I find more effective taken in this type of carrier than in tablet form. Aloe Vera also has other minerals that help promote enzyme reactions in the joints which may help them heal faster. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps relieve the pain.

Is there any specific health advice for someone who is suffering from this form of the disease?

Hard though it may seem for someone who suffers from Osteoarthritis- exercise is one of the ways to help improve flexibility and increase muscle strength to support the effected joints. Obviously sports that require flexing of the joints such as tennis or squash are not a good idea, golf could also be a struggle as you are using your lower back, hips and knees. Walking and swimming are usually very helpful although you will need to adjust your leg movements for certain swimming styles. Do remember that you need to rest as well as exercise and if you have a very active daily routine, even brisk walking, you are putting strain on your joints. Add a form of exercise, such as swimming that reduces the amount of stress on the joints.

Gout can effect just the big toe or the whole foot which becomes inflamed and painful – Pixabay.com

What is gout?

Gout, contrary to popular belief, does not just affect old men who drink too much port. The actual condition is caused by crystals of uric acid depositing themselves into the tissues of the body.

When the condition is chronic hard lumps of uric acid are deposited in and around the joints – these lumps can also lodge in the kidneys leading to decreased kidney function and kidney stones.

It can be hereditary – an inherited abnormality in the body’s ability to process uric acid. We all produce Uric acid, which is a by-product of purines, which are present in most of the foods that we eat.

Which part of the body does gout normally affect?

The kidney problems are separate – it becomes gout when one of the joints is affected. It is usually in the foot and particularly the big toe. But other joints can be affected too.

Unlike the other forms of arthritis – this is a more sudden onset of the problem and is usually linked to immediate causes rather than a systemic problem. The reason the joint at the base of the big toe is most affected is that as the uric acid crystals are carried through the system they collect at the lowest point of the body – i.e. the big toe. Some people will also suffer a fever with the outbreak and the attack can last anything from a few hours to weeks or months. It is recurring depending on how acute the condition and largely down to your lifestyle.

It really is prevention rather than cure with this one. And particularly keeping the correct fluid balance. This is essential for your kidneys anyway to ensure that all the toxins that you are taking in are flushed out. If you are dehydrated uric acid will build up and crystallise so that is why taking in sufficient fluid rich foods and liquids each day is important.

It is also important to maintain a healthy weight with less sugar in your diet. Sugar is acidic and disrupts our natural alkaline/acid balance in the blood which is of course flowing around the body including the joint areas.

What about nutrition and Gout?

For this type of arthritis, Purine rich foods can increase the production of uric acid so some of the foods to avoid are shellfish, liver and kidneys. Funnily enough, dairy intake has been shown to be beneficial in some research.

Protein from vegetable sources such as broccoli does not seem to have the same effect as Purine from animal protein so lots of fresh fruit and vegetables are essential.

Alcohol however does cause increased risk of uric acid output particularly beer and spirits. Wine did not seem to be as much of a problem. Again I think that gout attacks in the past have been more associated with the dehydrating effects of alcohol rather than drinking too much Port. Plus the fact that the usual sufferers tended to be wealthy males who consumed large amounts of meats at every meal.

What else can we do to ease the symptoms of arthritis?

All three of the arthritis strains will benefit from some physical support such as Acupuncture – I had that for a time and it certainly was beneficial in the healing process. Yoga, which involves gentle stretching, is excellent provided you have a good teacher and also the same with Tai Chi.

A warm bath using mineral salts to relax and ease muscles can be helpful.

Exercise is essential both for weight management and to build a strong muscle structure to compensate for the joint weakness. Also endorphins are released during exercise which acts as a natural painkiller. Remember to rest and to take care of your structural health.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 11th April -17th April 2021 – Mystery, 1960s Hits, Relationships, Green Cooking, Reviews, Stories and Humour


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Weather wise it has been a lovely week so much so that after the last frost (hopefully) I stripped out all the pots in the front and back of the house two days ago. This morning I went to a cash and carry supplier locally who also happens to have a garden centre at the rear of the store. I got some potting compost and 20 geraniums and dahlias as well as three hanging baskets of pansies. This is phase one as I would like to get some of the bigger plants such as two more hydrangeas and an Irish magnolia tree. I will share some pictures when finished.

I do have a love story to share. It all began with the mystery of how this happened to my car at the beginning of the week.

We were trying to work out who was messing with my car and we surmised it was not being used as bombing practice by crows, as the design was too delicate. However, when I was emptying the flower pots along the wall of the house, I looked up and could see through the passenger window and across the car to the drivers side.

There was the culprit, a blue tit hovering in front of the wing mirror, singing and kissing the glass then retiring to perch ass outwards on the window ledge, having a poop and then back to more romancing.

I sat on my garden stool and watched as the performance repeated over and over and then he flew off to sit on the fence. At this point another tit flew up to sit beside him, clearly with love on its mind, but it was sent packing and my pooper flew back to kiss and flirt with his image in the mirror who seemed to be as excited as he was by the way this romance was going.

He had decorated both sides of the car and besmirched the two mirrors with his kisses and clearly was not going to be looking anywhere else for a mate . To save my paintwork and his sanity, we have now retracted the mirrors when parked in the drive. Unrequited love or narcissism, we hope that he will now accept that he must find love in the real world.  I am sure that this charmer will find true love soon if he does not find someone elses car mirrors!

On another note…I am sure that like the other blue tits in the garden he has been availing himself of the plentiful bird feed I leave out each day…judging by the amount of poop he should cut back a little!

Image Oldiefan Pixabay.com

My thanks to William Price King, Carol Taylor, Debby Gies and Daniel Kemp for their usual amazing contributions. The blog would not be the same without them.

Also thank you for dropping and all the ongoing support during the week.. it keeps me motivated…

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1967 – Part One 

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Rewind – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided 

-April 2021 – #Pretzel Bread, #Onions, #TomatoKetchup, #Japanese Wood Production. 

Summer: Chapter Thirteen – Trouble in the Rose Garden 

Chapter Fourteen – Summer – The Rescue Mission 

#Shortstories – Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth: Eva and Other Stories by Mandy Haynes 

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Mystery #Paranormal A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2) by Marcia Meara 

– Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Historical – The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger. 

Tanka Tuesday Challenge – Double #Etheree – Hope by Sally Cronin 

Family Health A-Z – Arthritis (Rheumatoid) by Sally Cronin 

#Thriller Ted Myers, #Mystery Nola Nash, #YA #Magic Doug Parker 

#YA #Adventure – Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind Book 6 by Darelene Foster 

#Fantasy – The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach 

Demoniac Dance (Goblin series Book 2) by [Jaq D. Hawkins]

#Fantasy – Demoniac Dance (Goblin series Book 2) by Jaq D. Hawkins 

#Memoir – P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D. G. Kaye 

New Book on the Shelves – Pre-Order -#Crime – I Am Mayhem: The Mayhem Series: #4 by Sue Coletta 

#Poetry Annette Rochelle Aben, #autobiography Lucinda E. Clarke, #Poetry Anita Dawes, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello 

#Bookreview – The First Actress: A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt by C. W. Gortner – Abbie Johnson Taylor 

– Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Start of Construction of Mount Rushmore in 1927 by John. W. Howell

#Interview – TV Scriptwriter tells all – Lisa Holdsworth with Leslie Tate 

#Anniversary Jessica Norrie, #Wisdom Staci Troilo, #Bookoffer Doug Parker, K.Lewis Adair 

#Gardening Greta Burroughs, #Review – Roberta Eaton Cheadle with Charles #Update Mary Smith 

#Guestpost C.S. Boyack, Joan Hall, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape, #Blogging Hugh Roberts, #Offer Leon Stevens 

April 13th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Selective Hearing and Writing Humour 

May be an image of cat and text that says "WHEN YOUR CHILD INHERITS YOUR CHARACTER, AND NOW YOU HAVE A MINI TOXIC VERSION OF YOURSELF."

April 15th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Genetics and Groaners 

Mid-week boost – Minimum Wage and Amazon Reviews…

April 16th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Treasure and Donkeys! 

 

Thanks very much for dropping by and I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Arthritis (Rheumatoid) by Sally Cronin


Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.

I know that many of you who follow the blog will have seen the arthritis posts before but for those new to Smorgasbord, I hope you find useful.

There is no doubt that for most people once they are into their 50’s they might experience pain associated with movement. We tend to think only in terms of two types of arthritis. Rheumatoid and Osteo- Arthritis but as you will see that is not the case.

To be specific there are nearly 200 different forms of arthritis but the most common that we suffer from, particularly as we get older are Rheumatoid, Osteo and gout. I will cover Osteo- Arthritis and Gout next week. Although my main focus is on the foods to avoid and those to include in your diet, I will in the next posts talk about some of the alternative therapies that may help this condition. You will find links to my post on contributory factors to autoimmune diseases and other relevant information.

First let’s talk about the most common of the arthritis conditions.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto immune disease in which the joints, usually those of the hands and feet are inflamed. (Arthritis comes from the Greek word ‘arthron’ which means joints). This results in swelling, pain and often the eventual destruction of the joints interior.

I am sure most of you have heard of James Coburn the actor. It was obvious; as he appeared in films as he got older, that he was suffering from the disease. His hands became very deformed and he suffered from the problem in most of the joints in his body.In fact in his case it was hereditary as his father suffered from the same condition.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common inflammatory disease and is suffered world-wide and affects approximately 1% of adults. It is usually accompanied by extreme fatigue, weight loss and in many cases depression. People can suffer from it in a mild form for many years and never reach the crippling stage as in James Coburn’s case; but millions do have to put up with symptoms that can be anything from discomfort to extreme and constant pain.

This is where our normally healthy immune system seems to go into overdrive. For some reason it attacks the tissue that lines and cushions the joints (the technical term for this tissue is glycosaminoglycans)

Internal damage from rheumatoid arthritis

With this form of arthritis it is not just the bone structure and joints that can be affected. Internally our major organs also affected by the inflammatory properties of the disease.

The Heart. Fluid collects around the heart (pericardial effusion) in some cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms are mild usually but can become severe over time leading to various heart related conditions. The heart muscle, valves and blood vessels can be affected and heart attacks are more common in people suffering from this form of arthritis. To help prevent this, a diet that maintains a healthy LDL/HDL cholesterol balance and regular check-ups is recommended. There are a number of myths surrounding Cholesterol and it is in fact and essential element in our body with some very vital roles in our health.. you can find out more Cholesterol.. Vitamin K2 and Healthy Fats

Kidneys and Liver. These organs are more likely to be affected by the medication that is prescribed for the condition and along with the digestive system, need to be monitored.

The Lungs Fluid collecting (pleural effusion) around one or both the lungs restricts breathing, not only uncomfortable but also can restrict the uptake of oxygen and the removal of waste products. Chest infections are more common in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and again a regular check-up is important. Deep breathing exercises just for five minutes a day can help keep the lungs flexible and improve breathing but if you find yourself becoming breathless after mild exertion then do go and see your doctor as it could mean that there is fluid around either the heart or the lungs. Oxygen and Breathing Exercises

What are the main causes of rheumatoid arthritis – Is it always hereditary?

It is not always hereditary. About three times as many women suffer from rheumatoid arthritis as men and whilst there is a school of thought that considers that there may be a link to food intolerances my experience has been that there is a link between Candida Albicans and this form of arthritis. I have covered Candida in more detail in other posts but here is part one of the last series: Candida Albicans

Apart from antibiotics that obviously both men and women take, there are other drugs and hormonal changes that only a woman would be exposed to. HRT and the Pill have been suggested as a link to the onset of Candida. If you look at a woman’s reproductive cycle and if she starts her periods at 12 – goes on the pill for a few years until she is ready to have children – has 4 babies in 10 years and then at age 50 goes on HRT for 10 years then you will see that hormonally she has been very active as well as exposed to artificial hormone replacement. To my mind this may be one of the reasons why women are more prone to Rheumatoid Arthritis.

This is an autoimmune disease where the immune system has lost its ability to tell the difference between friend and enemy hence it is attacking healthy cells in the body. These cells are the carbohydrate molecules in the tissue in the joints. If the patient already has a Candida overgrowth the immune system will be working overtime to protect the body from this parasitic invasion. It makes sense to me that any cells that might resemble this parasite in any form might also get included in the immune systems clean-up operation.

I do know that there has been a marked improvement in some of my clients’ arthritis symptoms when they have been treated for Candida. Another area that is not proven, but I have seen some examples of, are where people living outside of their genetic environment and eating a very different diet to their ancestral one, are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis; showing improvement when they revert back to their cultural diet.

I worked with two South American clients who had moved to Ireland in their 20’s. Once in their late 30’s, both of them developed arthritis. One of the sisters became so bad that she was on steroids and could barely walk down the road. I worked with her and established what sort of diet she would have had if she had been still living in her own country. After reverting back to the food that she ate until she reached the age of 24, in six weeks she was able to walk and eventually come off her medication. With the agreement of course of her doctor.

You have to remember that if you live in a particular environment and your ancestry is based in the environment for thousands of years your body will have adapted to a certain dietary and nutrient requirement based on what is available. If you were to take an Eskimo from his environment 20 years ago before fast food reached his home, and introduced him to a western diet he would have become malnourished and probably ill. His system would have been used to processing fat for most of his requirements – no sugar – no vegetables or fruit but he would have been supremely healthy. Give him what we consider to be a healthy diet and he would fall ill. So environment – changes in diet and stress could cause problems such as arthritis.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

You might start to notice some stiffness in your finger and toe joints – perhaps just in one. It is common for small nodules to appear under the skin close to an affected joint and this might be one of the first indications of the disease externally. You will find that it is a symmetrical disease that affects the same joint on either side of the body.

You might also feel very tired – have skin rashes and some breathing problems as tissue internally becomes affected. As you will have read there are some dangers to your general health if the condition is not corrected. We tend to see the external joint disfiguration but not the internal damage to things like our lungs and heart. Do not regard as a normal sign of aging and dismiss. Go and get it checked out.

What are the steps we can take to improve the condition?

Obviously if you are under medication from the doctor for arthritis you must not take yourself off these without consulting them first. Also if you decide that you are going to take some of the alternative treatments available then you must also check with them first to make sure that there will not be an adverse reaction. Most of the remedies that I have used personally have not had any side effects but everyone is different.

Firstrest is important. Do not try and overdo things, as you will feel tired. Having said that there is some benefit in doing gentle exercise, particularly walking and swimming as the stronger your muscles are the less strain on your joints. Moderate exercise will also help your breathing by keeping your lungs flexible and also your heart by exercising the muscle. Again, do check with your doctor before beginning any exercise programme if you are suffering from any disease.

Nutritional link to Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are a number of foods that may cause a problem although research has not confirmed the link – Particularly the alkaloids present in the nightshade family such as raw tomatoes and peppers, aubergines and potatoes. However, I think it is important at this point to return to the Candida link and by association the consumption of refined sugars. I am convinced that this is one of the major causes of this disease and so following the anti-Candida regime is probably as healthy a diet you can have. Avoiding sugars including Alcohol on a consistent basis will make a difference. I am not suggesting that you give anything up for life but certainly for at least 6 weeks to two months while you are effectively detoxing your body, you need to remove processed foods and sugars from your diet. You can find the foods that will help maintain a healthy gut bacteria balance:
Healthy Gut eating programme

Your body needs as much help as possible so this is where eating a diet comprising all fresh ingredients cooked from scratch is very important. The less industrially produced foods the better.

vegetablesAnti-oxidants. Lots of fresh vegetables – Plenty of fluids particularly water to make sure that you are properly hydrated. A healthy fat diet rich in fish for the Omega 3 is excellent (you can also take high quality Cod Liver oil capsules). Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and make sure that your diet is rich in vitamin C.

Lean protein and wholegrains provide you with the B-vitamins including B5 – Pantothenic Acid and if vegetarian then do make sure that you are including mushrooms which are an excellent source of most of them.

NB. Many therapists will take you off all mushrooms but recent research has identified that despite being a fungus it is not the food of choice for the fungal Candida.. It prefers sugar! Eating mushrooms should have no effect on your Candida levels and I eat them very regularly.

In the link to the Candida posts I have shared you will find a  shopping list which is useful. It does contain potatoes and tomatoes which may have an effect on arthritis but it is only likely if you are eating every day.. I suggest that you remove potatoes, raw tomatoes (I have found less of a problem with cooked tomatoes), red peppers and aubergines for the first six weeks and then re-introduce one at a time over the next four weeks and monitor your symptoms. They are also a wonderful source of nutrients and I am very reluctant to lose them from a diet completely. Eaten once or twice a week, should not cause a problem.

Next week I will be covering Osteoarthritis and Gout.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Acne – Teenage and Adults by Sally Cronin


Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.

Family Health A-Z – Acne – Teenage and Adults

Acne is the curse of the teen years and also as we go through hormonal changes later in life.. There is also a strong link to diet, especially the the over indulgence in sugars.

Some organs play a major role in our survival and others can be removed without impacting our general health in any significant way. As we have evolved, so an organ’s function may have changed to accommodate our modern environment, especially if their role is protective as in the case of the liver and the elimination of toxins. In this polluted world our body is under increasing stress and keeping the individual organs healthy ensures the general well-being of the entire body.

The skin

The skin in in fact our largest organ and weighs 12% to 15% of our body weight and has three vital roles to play. It protects us from external contaminants, acts as a temperature and moisture controller and is essential in the elimination of waste products.

There is a complex structure to our skin that is invisible to the naked eye and apart from slapping a bit of moisturiser on last thing at night; most of us are unaware of the crucial role that it plays in our general health.

Because of the skin’s role in the elimination of waste products and as a barrier to external contaminants it comes under increasing stress as we get older. Free radicals attack it from the outside from chemicals in household cleaners, cigarette smoke, pollution and ultra-violet light. From the inside it is the victim of a poor diet low in essential fatty acids, processed foods, food intolerances and toxins produced from an inefficient and under nourished operating system.

Some of the signs of skin under stress are acne, cold sores, eczema, psoriasis, hives, impetigo, shingles, warts and of course wrinkles. Today I am going to be covering acne, a bane for teenagers but can also come back to haunt us in our middle years as we go through another hormonal change.

Acne

I remember as a teenager getting a few spots at certain times of the month but was thankfully clear of major acne outbreaks. I did have a friend at school that was devastatingly affected by the condition and when you are a 16 year old girl or boy it can have a detrimental impact on not just your physical appearance but also your mental and emotional health.

Let’s face it, spots that are on your back and covered up on your arms are unsightly and irritating but if your face is covered in blackheads, whiteheads and scarring then it can result in lack of self-esteem that can last for years afterwards. In severe cases acne can lead to severe depression, withdrawal from both school and social activities and suicide.
Unfortunately even when the acne has departed in can leave scarring which varies in severity and often because it is deep and pitted it remains for a lifetime. The reason that it is so deep is because of the inflammation in the dermal layer of the skin which heals abnormally leaving the pitted surface.

The numbers across the western world when added together make acne the 8th common disease in the world. It is estimated that it affects over 80% of teenagers adding up to a huge 600 million people worldwide.

There are a number of suspected causes and I will take a brief look at these.

Hormonal

Most of us will associate spots that appeared during our teen years with hormonal changes after puberty. Sex hormones called androgens result in several changes within the body but also in the skin. The trillions of pores on the surface of our skin are really minute openings into canals called follicles. In each follicle you will find a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. This helps keep our skin supple and hydrated and also assists in the disposal of old skin cells that we are shedding continuously.

At puberty and for girls each month the surge of hormones results in a change in the follicle causing them to grow larger and produce more oil. Whilst this affects both sexes in the teen years it also affects women who become pregnant at any age or who suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). PCOS is caused by a woman producing too many of the male androgens affecting her menstrual cycle and ability to become pregnant.

With teenagers it is not just the increase in androgens such as testosterone which can cause acne. At that age there is a growth spurt particularly in boys that can take place between the ages of 16 and 24 and the hormone responsible for this is GH or HGH.

Additionally IGF-1 is a hormone that is similar in structure to Insulin and plays a role in growth in both teenagers and later with a different affect in adults can result in a similar response.

It is unusual for acne to develop after the body has completed its growth cycle in the early to mid-twenties.

Genetic

It is believed that around 75% of acne could be genetic which is supported by studies with twins and also with immediate family members. Polygenic inheritance pattern controls our height, skin colour, eye colour and also it is believed our weight. Rather than just one gene being involved it requires a combination of two or more genes to affect these characteristics. Certain genes have now been identified that could be related to acne and that is an ongoing study.

This genetic link is reinforced by the incidences of severe acne associated with a dysfunctional immune system. This is not lifestyle related but an inherent over sensitivity to bacteria that results in an unusually aggressive immune system response. When bacteria are detected by the body the immune system produces large amounts of inflammatory cytokines. These induce white blood cells to unleash destructive enzymes and free radicals into the site of infection. Because this response is unusually aggressive it can cause damage to the surrounding tissue. This in turn results in another release of cytokines and it becomes a perpetual cycle resulting in long term inflammation and of course the associated acne. In this type of environment bacteria thrive rather than be killed off.

With the other form of genetic dysfunctional immune response the white cells themselves are under powered and do not have the ability to deal with any harmful bacteria that they encounter. Usually white blood cells work on the principal of divide and conquer, they are designed to ingest any bacteria they come across, isolating the bacteria in a special casing called a phagosome and then pumping toxic enzymes inside to kill it. It is then broken up into small particles that are absorbed back into the immune system. The system then takes these particles and designs anti-bodies that will be able to fight future infections of this bacteria.

In a faulty immune system the white cell takes in the bacteria but is not equipped to kill them adequately. They keep trying however, exhausting themselves in the process and dying. This releases the bacteria still alive and allows it to thrive. It also means that the immune system does not get the chance to develop anti-bodies to fight that particular strain of bacteria leading to long term infections.

The most common of the bacterial infections associated with acne is Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a bacteria that grows deep inside of pores where it obtains its energy from the oil in the follicle canal. It is anaerobic which means that unlike most bacteria it is tolerant to oxygen so the low oxygen, oil rich environment of the follicle is perfect for its growth. Because it forms clumps of bacteria it can block and protect itself within the canal leading to persistent infections into the 20s and beyond. Unfortunately the bacteria have become resistant to a number of the anti-biotics used to treat acne including Penicillin.

Lifestyle.

There have been many assumptions made over the years about acne and its causes. Including the fact that some teenagers do not have a close relationship with cleanliness, that poor diet full of fats and sugars is to blame and the habit of the young today to spend more time indoors rather than out in the fresh air. In reality I believe there is an element of all of these factors involved. And in particular the increase in the use of both male and female facial and body beauty products.

Today we are spoiled for choice when we buy skin products in the pharmacies, supermarkets and online. The prices also vary from very cheap to extremely expensive but unfortunately whilst simple is better, cheap may not be so. Many cheap skin products have ingredients that could irritate skin further. This also applies for make-up that teenage girls are going to use to cover up spots and scars.

Most acne prescribed medication is designed to dry up the oil that feed the bacteria and may be causing the outbreak in the first place. This can result in dry and flaky skin and irritated patches.

The temptation is to buy moisturisers that are heavy and greasy to counteract the dryness but it is better when suffering from acne to use a light weight moisturiser with ingredients such as glycerine that will not clog your pores with more grease. Avoid those that have ingredients such as cocoa butter for example.

Use clean towels every day and dab your face rather than rub to dry.

Change your pillow case every two days.. turning it over in the night between so that it is fresh.

The one lifestyle activity which is definitely implicated in causing skin irritation and increasing the chances of acne is smoking.

You might find the following daily cleansing ritual helpful.

A mild cleanser for the face (ask advice on your skin type) Using your fingers gently massage the skin for a few minutes. Wipe off the excess with a clean cotton wool wipe. Then rinse your face in lukewarm warm water to remove all the lotion. Pat the skin dry and then apply the light moisturiser. You can use a mild exfoliant (and I mean mild) once or twice a week which can be helpful in cleaning the skin slightly more thoroughly.

These days there are a lot of products on the market but do be careful about just buying off the shelf. Ask advice from a pharmacist and check for side effects.

Medication

There are a number of prescribed medications available now to treat acne including topical creams. Antibiotics are also prescribed but there is a danger that this will then create a resistance to future antibiotics if over used. For girls sometimes being prescribed birth control pills can regulate hormone levels reducing the surge of hormones each month. I do advice however that you do not self-medicate by buying products online. Get professional guidance and if you add to your acne scarring by using the wrong product it will stay with you for life.

Alternative therapies.

My go to essential oil for skincare across all ages is Frankincense and earlier in the year I covered its benefits..Frankincense

You must be extremely careful with your skin as whilst it does a very tough job it is also very delicate. I have found that taking Echinacea for six weeks at a time may help boost immune system function Echinacea

Also you may find taking Grapefruit seed extract to help control an overgrowth of Candida Albicans which as a fungal infection of the intestines, does impact the efficiency of the immune system.

Topically, apart from the cleansing regime I have already mentioned, you may find that a couple of drops of tea tree oil mixed with your morning and night time moisturiser may also help kill off the bacteria. Do monitor and if it causes any irritation or redness of the skin stop using.

In addition to echinacea other herbal remedies can be useful for skin complaints including Saw Palmetto and Agnus Castus to help normalise hormonal levels. If you are considering taking any herbal remedy I do suggest that you talk to a qualified assistant in your local health food shop.. They should have received training in the uses for any of their products but do ask first.

Diet

The fact that the incidences of acne is certain cultures that are not exposed to the less healthy aspects of our western diet is virtually non-existent, leads to the assumption that sugars, trans fats and other additives in our food are contributing to acne. It also confirms of course the genetic link to the disease especially when those populations have remained isolated.

As you will have seen there is a genetic link to a dysfunctional immune system that results in persistent acne but there are also dietary and lifestyle related immune system issues that need to be addressed with a balanced diet and exercise.

It is tough when you are a teenager to stick to a really healthy diet when your friends are enjoying burgers, pizzas and other great tasting food. Nobody wants to be the odd person out but tough as it is, it is so important to eat a mainly fresh unprocessed diet with lots of vegetables and fruits with the antioxidants needed for a healthy immune system and of course skin health. Also lean protein and good fats and most importantly plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated.

It is more likely to be sugars rather than healthy fat that is causing food related outbreaks.

Foods that might be helpful in cleansing the body of toxins and therefore reducing the triggers for acne include the following: beetroot, artichoke, hot water and lemon juice first thing in the morning, beans such as chickpeas which helps moderate hormone excretion, fresh vegetables of any kind and fruits such as oranges which are high in Vitamin C. Dried apricots are a good snack as well as nuts and seeds containing zinc which is good for skin healing. Vitamin E is also essential for skin health and having half an avocado on a salad or on its own daily will provide you with that vitamin and healthy fat.

avocadoOne of the key factors of ridding the body of toxins is drinking water and this also helps prevent the skin from becoming dry and even more irritated

I hope you have found useful and if you have any questions I am happy to answer here or by email. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column Revisited – What causes your cravings? – Part Four – Coal, Dirt and other strange stuff by Sally Cronin


In this post I am exploring a sensation that has been blamed for our consumption or over consumption of certain foods since we were old enough to make excuses! How often do we tell ourselves or others that ‘we crave’ chocolate, crisps, cheese, soda, fried food or even something non-food related… such as dirt or coal?

We tend to assume that our craving is a form of addiction that only one food or drink can satisfy, but in fact it is more likely that it is our body reacting to a lack of an essential nutrient absent from our regular diet. Or that we are under stress and that has resulted in a imbalance in our hormone production.

I am going to be looking at some of the causes of a craving, whether it is a need for an essential nutrient or is down to a habit that has formed or because we are stressed. I will also give you the food fix that will supply that nutrient or suggest some strategies to cope with an unreasonable expectation for a food by your body and your mind.

Last week a craving for: Salt and minerals

Cravings – Part Four – Coal, Dirt and other strange stuff

This week a look at non-food cravings which tend to be very during pregnancy when the body is working for two. It usually indicates a lack of iron or minerals in the diet and whilst it is obvious that in pregnancy, a craving for coal or cardboard might be expected, it can also happen to all of us at some point in our lives. Usually after intense dieting over a prolonged period of time, or after an illness which has resulted in a depletion of the bodies stores.

Some cravings may be associated with a change in the way a person smells or tastes and may have no direct link to a specific nutrient, but generally there are two that should be considered. Especially if someone is a vegetarian or vegan. That would be iron and Vitamin B12.

The condition is called ‘Pica’ and whilst it many only be a temporary condition in pregnancy, for some it is a compulsive behaviour that is long term.

Also the foods that are craved are unlikely to contain the deficient nutrient, but the brain becomes confused when trying to point you in the right direction…For example there could be a combination of dehydration and iron and other mineral deficiencies if someone craves ice. Water depending on source, is rich in these minerals and your body is trying to solve two problems at the same time.

It is also not restricted to humans, as animals too will seek out substances to satisfy a nutrient need instinctively. Chewing the skirting board may not always be about boredom or mischief, it could be that a dog is missing trace minerals in their diet.

Sam started doing this at about six months old and having researched it I spoke to the vet who recommended a mineral supplement to add to his food during the growth phase. After about a week, he stopped chewing the skirting board.

I am not a fan of dry dog food especially cheap brands, but even in a natural food diet, it is still important to include foods that contain all the nutrients a dog needs, especially in the growth phase.

You might like to read this post on dog nutrition which will give you something to think about: Dog Food Ten Scary Truths

Here is an extract from an article on animals eating soilCraving Minerals, Eating Rocks: Why do animals and humans eat rock dust?

Aside from wild monkeys, domestic animals are also known to involuntarily engage in geophagy during the consumption of grass and roots. Research in New Zealand found that sheep ingest more than 75 kg of soils, and dairy cows ingest more than 650 kg of soils in a year. The research contended that soil can be a large source of iodine and cobalt, the latter of which is used to make Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential to the creation of red blood cells and DNA, as well as to the support of normal neurological function

Source: “Vitamin B12.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 11 Feb. 2016. Web.

And here is another piece that might shed some light on the human need for rocks, clay etc: Wikipedia

A mineral lick (also known as a salt lick) is a place where animals can go to lick essential mineral nutrients from a deposit of salts and other minerals. Mineral licks can be naturally occurring or artificial (such as blocks of salt that farmers place in pastures for livestock to lick). Natural licks are common, and they provide essential elements such as phosphorus and the biometals (sodium, calcium, iron, zinc, and trace elements) required in the springtime for bone, muscle and other growth in deer and other wildlife, such as moose, elephants, tapirs, cattle, woodchucks, domestic sheep, fox squirrels, mountain goats and porcupines. Such licks are especially important in ecosystems with poor general availability of nutrients. Harsh weather exposes salty mineral deposits that draw animals from miles away for a taste of needed nutrients. It is thought that certain fauna can detect calcium in salt licks

Here are the sources of Iron and Vitamin B12, two of the likely deficiencies that could cause a craving for non food items… and the trace minerals that your body is encouraging you to forage for!

Dietary iron is found in two forms, haem iron and non-haem iron. (Heme in US). Haem iron, which is the most absorbable, is found only in animal flesh as it is taken from the haemoglobin and myoglobin in animal tissue. Non-haem iron is found in plant foods.

Although there are iron rich plant foods they come with an additional element called phytates which bind to the iron and inhibit its absorption by the body. This means that vegetarians in particular need to consume Vitamin C rich foods at the same time as it disrupts the action of the phytates, releasing more iron into the body.

Iron (non-haem) rich plant food sources include whole grains and fortifed cereals, watercress, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, legumes, Sweet Potatoes tofu, pumpkin seeds, and tofu. Strawberries, tomatoes,watermelon, prunes and dried apricots.

Iron (Haem)rich protein sources include:

mussels Cockles, Mussels, Clams, Liver, Kidneys, Poultry, Halibut, Salmon, Haddock, Tuna, Canned sardines, Home cooked ham.

tunaPrunes and other dried fruit especially Apricots, Whole grain rice, Spinach, Nuts, Tofu, Beans, Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds, Wheat germ, Cocoa

seedsDrinking and eating high Vitamin C content foods at the same time may help your body absorb iron more efficiently especially if you are vegetarian or if you have a low animal protein diet.

Vitamin B12 – beef, offal like liver, eggs and dairy.. also mackerel, shellfish such as clams and crabs, fortified cereals and tofu, Marmite and cottage, feta and mozzarella cheese.

It is better to drink a cold glass of milk than to eat yoghurt as the fermentation process destroys most of the B12 as does boiling milk.

There are very few sources, if any of B12 in plants, although some people do believe that eating fermented Soya products, sea weeds and algae will provide the vitamin. However analysis of these products shows that whilst some of them do contain B12 it is in the form of B12 analogues which are unable to be absorbed by the human body.

On a personal note: In the last couple of years I have been eating less red meat and eating fish and poultry. However, despite not eating for years… I suddenly had an urge for Marmite! I bought a jar and began eating on my breakfast toast… upping my daily intake of the Vitamin Bs, including B12 along with a host of other nutrients in this low calorie spread or drink. And a much tastier than chewing on a lump of coal!

If you are eating a varied diet with foods from the list, you should be getting sufficient without supplementation. If you are over 50 you may find that you do need additional support in the form of a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. However, first make sure you are getting from the best possible source which is fresh food.

Go through the list of the other minerals you might be deficient in and make a note of any you may not be getting sufficient off based on the food groups that contain them. Any questions please ask.

  • Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.
  • Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork
  • Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.
  • Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.
  • Magnesium –dairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.
  • Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.
  • Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.
  • Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.
  • Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.
  • Sodium – the best source of natural sodium is fish and shellfish, plainly cooked without batter.
  • Zinc seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu

I hope you have found useful and please don’t hesitate to ask a question about the post. Thanks Sally.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for joining me for this post and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column Revisited – What causes your cravings? – Part Three – Salt and Trace Minerals by Sally Cronin


In this post I am exploring a sensation that has been blamed for our consumption or over consumption of certain foods since we were old enough to make excuses! How often do we tell ourselves or others that ‘we crave’ chocolate, crisps, cheese, soda, fried food or even something non-food related… such as dirt or coal?

We tend to assume that our craving is a form of addiction that only one food or drink can satisfy, but in fact it is more likely that it is our body reacting to a lack of an essential nutrient absent from our regular diet. Or that we are under stress and that has resulted in a imbalance in our hormone production.

I am going to be looking at some of the causes of a craving, whether it is a need for an essential nutrient or is down to a habit that has formed or because we are stressed. I will also give you the food fix that will supply that nutrient or suggest some strategies to cope with an unreasonable expectation for a food by your body and your mind.

Last week a craving for Chocolate

Salt cravings and trace minerals.

Women in particular can be hit by a salt craving as they experience more hormone fluctuations than men.

We sometimes forget that certainly during ovulation, your body is preparing for pregnancy. It requires the optimum environment for egg fertilisation, and then safe implantation in the womb. If you are deficient in essential nutrients, even those that have a less major role in our body’s health, there will be a nudge to ingest what is required.

Trouble is there are mixed messages. Our brain signals what it needs but it gets lost in translation, so when we get a craving for salt, diving into a bag of chips smothered in table salt is not exactly what the message contained.

This also happens when you have a chemical imbalance that has disrupted your healthy PH balance in the body and this can happen during stress events, after a crash diet, or following an illness where eating has been irregular.

It can also result from dehydration which I covered in the first of this series.

Recently I wrote about some of the myths surrounding salt which has been demonised to the extent that some people are actually deficient in sodium. Here is a reminder of that post and then a look at the trace minerals that your body is asking you to find to restore its balance.

I originally shared this post three years ago and I wanted to update it with any new reports to support this surprising perspective on the salt we consume in our diet.

One of the first points that I want to make is that I am not suggesting that you consume industrialised foods that contain not only high levels of sodium but also many other additives that do not do your health any good at all. I am very much in favour of a ‘Cook from Scratch’ philosophy when it comes to our food, especially when cooking for young children, in which case you are the person who controls how much salt is consumed through cooking and supervising what is added to meals.

I have been a nutritional therapist for over 20 years, and one of the essential elements of my work has been to remain informed of new research as it becomes available. This has sometimes turned previously held beliefs on their head, and a number of experts and research studies do make us reassess our position on salt in the diet.

I have always watched my salt intake as high blood pressure has been a family health concern. I have also been obese for a great many years of my life and certainly have always struggled to maintain a healthy weight. I do not take any medication of any kind and I have worked to keep my blood pressure at normal levels.

However, if this research is to be believed, I may well have been going about this the wrong way by reducing my salt levels too far. I have read several articles written by Dr. DiNicolatonio and I am sharing excerpts from two that I suggest you read and consider.

I am not suggesting that you suddenly dive into the salt pot and certainly not to stop taking any medication. I am however excited to discover more about this line of research and will be keeping an eye on other studies.

Top scientist says all you’ve been told about salt is WRONG: It won’t give you a heart attack – while having too little will make you fat and ruin your sex life

You can read the rest of the post especially if you have a sugar craving!: Not enough salt in your diet can lead to being overweight with with sugar cravings

Apart from drinking plenty of fluids to ensure that you are not dehydrated, you do need to include foods in your diet, that are not industrially manufactured with additives, including an imbalance of nutrients.

What are Trace Minerals.

You will see a great deal of information on the need to take in sufficient calcium for healthy bones and nails, and magnesium to prevent cramps and to improve energy, but there are other trace minerals that are equally important, even though we do not need in huge amounts… these include chromium copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.

If you do not include sufficient trace minerals in your diet then this could be the reason that you reach for a bag of chips plastered in salt! Or even that bar of chocolate!

Here is a list of the minerals the body needs and the foods where you can find them.

If you are eating a varied diet with foods from the list, you should be getting sufficient without supplementation. If you are over 50 you may find that you do need additional support in the form of a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. However, first make sure you are getting from the best possible source which is fresh food.

Go through the list and make a note of any of the minerals that you may not be getting sufficient off based on the food groups that contain them. Any questions please ask.

  • Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.
  • Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork
  • Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.
  • Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.
  • Iron– shellfish, prunes, spinach, meats, cocoa.
  • Magnesium –dairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.
  • Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.
  • Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.
  • Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.
  • Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.
  • Sodium – the best source of natural sodium is fish and shellfish, plainly cooked without batter.
  • Zinc seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu.

If you are looking for an alternative salt that has a balance of trace minerals and is more beneficial than table salt… Himalayan Pink Sea Salt... and here is an extract from an article that you might find interesting. It is more expensive than table salt but you don’t require as much and it provides a package of minerals as a bonus.

As scientific research has pointed out, “US Dietary Guidelines recommend a daily sodium intake 2300 mg, but evidence linking sodium intake to mortality outcomes is scant and inconsistent.” (1) The right salt in the right amount is actually very good for your health. Pink Himalayan sea salt contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, so it does more than just make your food taste better. Let’s look at why you may want to make the switch to pink Himalayan salt for the its impressive health benefits. Instead of skipping salt all together, why not give it an upgrade?

Read the complete article:Pink Himalayan Salt

I hope you have found useful and please don’t hesitate to ask a question about the post. Thanks Sally.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for joining me for this post and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.