Our recent loss of Pink (youngest of the Panache Cats) to renal lymphoma focused me on paying more attention to my lifestyle and how unhealthy it has become.  This is some of what I have been doing….  

Part 1

Late September 2012

In honor of Chi making it through 120 days with no hard alcohol (he still drinks beer and wine and smokes dope though), we decided to do a little detox cleanse thing since supposedly by this point all of his red blood cells and some other types of cells of his and mine too for that matter (that subject is way beyond the scope of this post!), have completely regenerated.  The target start date for the detox op is October 3rd.

Anyhoo, I decided to get a little ahead of the game and begin prepping by trying drinking apple cider vinegar (the raw organic unfiltered kind) every day to start bringing down my systemic acidity level.  I don’t remember what random internet search triggered this, but I do remember that I’d been hearing about this for years but have never tried it, and just happened to have a new, unopened bottle of Bragg’s ACV on hand that I’d bought for a recipe for homemade chorizo sausage I’ve been thinking of making since we recently bought a meat grinder to make food for the Panache Cats.  (And yes, it’s a funny thing how a rather strong acid ends up leaving an alkaline residue upon being metabolized and again, the explanation is well beyond the scope of this post.)

At any rate, I mixed the ACV with an approximately equal volume of honey to hopefully improve the taste as well as receive the numerous health benefits of the honey (raw, unfiltered, local – see a pattern here?) and downed a shot….

The works

The works

OMG!!!  VOMIT!!!!  The taste was still hair-singeingly atrocious even when cut 50% with honey!  Upon further research, when consuming this stuff for general health maintenance purposes apparently most people dilute it in a glass of water and take a little less of it at one time (i.e., 2 tsp ACV in 8 oz of water w/ or w/o sweetener) and sip it slowly, but I couldn’t see prolonging the disgust so have been doing it straight up and then rinsing my mouth out with water + baking soda afterward as recommended to stop the acid from eating my teeth enamel and burning up my throat.

I’ve been on this kick for nearly a week now and have noticed that my sinuses are noticeably a little clearer, so I’ll see if I can stick with this revolting new regimen for a little longer.  I may try diluting it though.  It’s also supposed to make your skin look better.  There may have been some improvement to that end, and I’ll bet the effect would be more pronounced if I were to quit or greatly reduce drinking alcohol and could find a way to get a reasonable amount of sleep every night.

Perhaps it does live up to its alleged benefit in relieving GI upsets too.  I’d been feeling out of sorts all afternoon/evening one day — like I’d eaten something that didn’t agree with me — and after choking down another vile vinegar/honey shot before dinner, by the time I went to bed that night I felt much better.  As for other benefits, it’s also supposed to help you lose weight, and I could stand to drop 15 lbs or so of superfluous avoirdupois, so with any luck that will prove true also.

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UPDATE  (early October 2012)

I restarted the vinegar thing as scheduled on Tuesday, October 9 after taking one week off as recommended.  On the second dose of the day, I remembered that I was going to add about ¼ tsp. of cinnamon to the ACV/honey due to its medicinal/anti-inflammatory properties and to hopefully improve the taste.  It was still disgusting but about 30% less offensive than doing it “neat” (i.e., sans cinnamon).

So any detectable results after completing one full cycle of this regimen?  I believe so!  The most noticeable thing is that (without straying too far into “TMI” territory) my G.I. tract seems to be working considerably better than it used to even though my eating habits haven’t changed significantly.  If anything, they’ve been a little worse while I’ve been running this experiment due to Chi’s yo-yo schedule (i.e., 0530 a.m. call one day, 1100 a.m. the next day, 0730 a.m. the following day, etc.  Rather like being semi-permanently jet-lagged.)

My skin also looks distinctly better, and my allergies are better too, which is surprising since it’s fall now and I usually have the worst allergies in fall.  I have avoided getting sick (despite seriously inadequate sleep) so far during what seems to be a particularly bad cold/flu season in which people were dropping like flies at my day job, and I also seem to have a little more energy than expected despite the sleep deprivation.

One more thing that might be a result of this: On October 10 I did a very strenuous workout after the day job, and since it’s been decades since the last time I did anything anywhere near this intense, I fully expected to be immobilized in pain the next day, but apart from feeling slightly stiff, was otherwise right as rain!  I wonder if the alkalizing effect of taking the vinegar plus the anti-inflammatory properties of the newly-added cinnamon helped offset the muscle trauma??  I was more sore the following day, but it still wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had expected.

Another update:

In April 2013 I upgraded our cinnamon to genuine cinnamon (cinnamomum verum) from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), as apparently the stuff commonly marketed as “cinnamon” is actually cassia, which is botanically related, but different.  More about this here.  The difference was remarkable in taste and texture, but the most dramatic example was how my skin reacted to it.  I have recently begun using a bath scrub I make from brown sugar and cinnamon with a couple organic oils (jojoba & apricot kernel) and a little vitamin E, and after using it a few times I got a horrible reaction in which my skin would itch unbearably for several hours afterward.

That reaction got worse and worse with each successive use, but when I switched to making it with real cinnamon and more expensive organic muscovedo sugar that was less sticky and had a finer texture than the generic (organic) brown sugar from Trader Joe’s that I had used in my original few batches, I hardly reacted at all.  My skin got even softer and silkier than before and just felt slightly prickly/tingly for a short time after bathing, instead of itching unbearably for hours and all red and blotchy as if I were breaking out in hives.  The molasses in brown sugar supposedly contains an acid that can eat dead skin cells, but the stuff I was using before apparently was doing something more nefarious than that.

It should be noted that I did NOT control this experiment by making a batch with the “new improved” real cinnamon and the Trader Joe’s brown sugar I had been using before to find out which thing was actually the culprit in the wretched itchy reaction because I didn’t care enough to waste expensive oils in order to make the control batch.  If my skin reacted that violently to either of those things, I don’t want to think about what they may have been doing to my insides since I had been using the brown sugar regularly when baking and was putting a fair bit of cinnamon in the vinegar concoction, of which the taste improved further with the “real” cinnamon, and while I still find it sub-palatable, at least the smell alone no longer gives me a frisson of horror.  The texture of the new “real” cinnamon is much finer and velvety and it seems more absorbent, mixing into other things much more easily than the very gritty stuff I had heretofore been using, which was still quite expensive and certified organic.

Looks like this programme is a keeper to the extent that I can stand it.

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Part 2

Early October 2012

Liver Cleanse

WAIT!  STOP THE BUS!  We’re not doing this after all….

Pink’s illness and death from renal lymphoma prompted me to do a lot of research on alternative therapies for cancer, and something that has long been pushed hard in the health and wellness world is doing regular liver cleansing.  That would certainly make sense for us to explore, given the extreme beating our livers take from our off-the-charts daily alcohol excess (at least by MY standards!).  After extensively researching the subject, I decided to try what appeared to be a widely-followed approach to this, and acquired the necessary stuff: two gallons of organic unfiltered apple juice, several grapefruits and container of epsom salts.  We regularly keep high quality organic olive oil on hand, so I didn’t need to buy any more.

October 3rd, the date we had expected to begin the 5-day liver flush was upon us, and I was doing my final “clearance for take-off” (one more pass at researching what I am about to do prior to actually starting it), I happened to find this post (read it – it’s great!).

More about this: http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/June06/anti-cancer.htm

And more: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/flushes.html

Never mind!

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(Part 3)

October 4, 2012

Oil Pulling.  I know…WTF?!  It sounded so bizarre to me upon first encountering that odd term that I naturally felt compelled to research it extensively.  Well, I even decided to try it!  Why not, I mean, other than the extra time I have to allow in the morning prior to the vomit-y vinegar ritual.  Besides, it will be a great way to use up the sesame and peanut oils I had bought prior to my decision to stick with olive oil only for salad dressings for the time being due to its alkalizing properties.  This is definitely one of the quackier-sounding things I’ve come across recently and it doesn’t seem to have any downside, so I’m looking forward to the result.

Well, I tried it for the first time on October 4.  I thought about starting on the 3rd (the intended start date for the aborted liver cleanse operation, but wimped out.  Anyway, it wasn’t as gross as I’d feared.  It was just a little weird taking a whole mouthful of oil (I used organic unrefined cold-pressed sesame oil) — about 2 teaspoons’ worth that I’d poured into a medicine spoon.  It was a little awkward keeping something in my mouth for that long and my lips got a bit tired as I swished it around in my mouth for 10 minutes while I did my makeup and wrote our rent check, before spitting it out in the toilet.  You’re not supposed to get it by your throat since it should not be swallowed.  It’s supposed to be “pulling” toxic bacteria and microbes and junk out of your mouth.

We’ll see if this produces any useful result.  I’m taking a break from the (oral) vinegar douche for one week, as I read a recommendation to do two weeks on, one week off, and also to start the oil thing slowly in order to avoid a potentially traumatic detox reaction.

Update?  Well, two weeks later I haven’t managed to do this consistently enough to produce any detectable results, but I’ll keep going with it for awhile and see what if anything happens.  Also, the consensus seems to be that you’re supposed to do it for 20 minutes, so that makes it take even longer.

I’ve been at this for a few months now, but since I started so many new things at once, it’s impossible to determine which result to attribute to which new thing…..Overall results are positive, though!  The vinegar thing did produce a detectable positive result sufficient to justify enduring the grossness, so that’s a keeper, however unpleasant.

- To Be Continued -