Category Archives: Health

Summer Survival

Hall of Elders June 21, 2014
Hall of Elders June 21, 2014

(This blog is dedicated to Keven)

It’s sum-sum-sum-sum-summertime, the perfect season for outdoor music festivals and fun in the sun.  But if you want to party hearty and still hang all day and night, the Old Lady has a little advice for you:

  1. DRINK WATER.  Seems obvious, so why isn’t everybody swigging H2O?  Because beer is better, of course.  But here’s the deal, kids: if you’ll chug a full bottle of water between every two or three beers you can stay upright longer and feel better the next day.
  2. EAT FOOD.  Another obvious tip, but easy to neglect.  Carry some high protein snacks in your pockets, like nuts; they’re cheap and salty and will make you want to drink more water.  Chunks of raw cucumber and watermelon will actually help you tolerate the heat better (this is Chinese medicine, proven over the centuries).  Chips… well, if you just won’t eat anything else, okay at least it’s something, but make it corn chips or something multigrain.  Here’s the bottom line, kids: if you keep some food in your tummy, you can actually drink more beer before you pass out or throw up.  The Old Lady should know.  But…
  3. DON’T EAT BEFORE YOU PERFORM.  Eat earlier in the day, but nothing during the hour before your band goes on.  The Old Lady never eats right before she performs (you say you didn’t know the Old Lady performs?  “There’s a lot you don’t know,” snapped the Old Lady peevishly, “whaddya think, I spill ALL of my secrets here on this dadgum blog?”).  Food in the stomach weighs down your mind, your vocal cords, and your body.  Save that burger until later, to celebrate your stellar performance.
  4. WEAR SUNSCREEN.  At the recent Elderfest the Old Lady photographed some tattoos that were more faded than they should have been.  Protect your investment in ink with sunscreen.  Sunscreen on the rest of you will prevent sunburn (it will NOT keep you from tanning, chickies!); sunburn dehydrates you and keeps you from partying on into the night.
  5. IF THERE IS A LAKE JUMP IN IT.  Immersing your body in the nearest body of water helps cool you and invigorate you.  Take advantage of it!

The Old Lady wants everybody to have as much fun as humanly possible, so think about these tips and take care of your body so you can mosh like a mo-fo.  LISTEN TO THE OLD LADY!


And the Beet Goes On… and On… and On…

BEET it!
BEET it!

Beets are sneaky.

Oh, sure, they’re really good for you.  Beets are not only high in vitamins and minerals they are also a natural aphrodisiac.  Beets are high in boron, which is a mineral directly related to the production of sex hormones in your body.  In other words, beets turn you ON!  If you don’t believe the Old Lady, google it yourself (here’s a good start: )

Betalin, which gives beets their deep purple color, is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits.

But that rich color can come back to haunt you.

The Old Lady was horrified when she realized her pee was PINK!  Since a friend of hers had recently suffered a painful episode of kidney stones which involved a lot of blood, the Old Lady was quite taken aback by her pink pee.

But it was the beets.

The phenomenon is called beeturia, and can be an indicator of low stomach acid.  You may also see pink, or even red, feces after eating beets.

The Old Lady is not advising you to avoid these sneaky beets.  Quite the contrary; she is telling you to enjoy this healthy veggie roasted with coconut oil or chopped raw into salads.  Don’t forget the greens; they are high in iron.

Just be aware that you may see their brightly colored traces later.

Eat beets!  Listen to the Old Lady!



Getting Well

Help your body heal itself.
Help your body heal itself.

The Old Lady has been sick, really sick.
A lot of people around here have had this illness. It’s more than a cold, but a little different than the flu. It does involve a sore throat and sinus congestion, but not the trademark achiness of the flu. Some people have told the Old Lady that their doctors have prescribed round after round of antibiotics and prednisone… some people have taken four different antibiotics!… to no avail.
Now, different antibiotics do target different organisms. But isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over, expecting to see different results?
So the Old Lady took a radically different tack.
On the advice of a holistic health practitioner she turned to the health food store. Here is the list recommended by the wisdom healer:
Chlorella: a green single-celled microalgae that is rich in chlorophyll, beta-carotene, mixed carotenoids, vitamin C, iron, and protein.
Fenu-thyme: a combination of fenugreek seed and thyme. It thins nasal mucous so that the congestion can drain away more easily.
Olive leaf, colostrum, and astragalus: all immune-system boosters.
All of these substances were taken according to label directions, in the highest maximum dosages.
As mentioned before, some people have suffered this illness literally for months without much relief.
Forty-eight hours after the Old Lady started her regimen of naturally-derived, plant-based substances, she is remarkably better.
Listen to the Old Lady!

The Cane Grinding

The Old Lady shops for local products whenever possible, but not just to keep the money in her community. She believes that consuming food produced in your local environment actually helps strengthen your body’s spiritual connection to that environment.
So imagine her delight at being invited to a cane grinding!
Living in the far southern end of Georgia, the Old Lady has developed a taste for cane syrup in her coffee. Only the pure stuff will do, not the chain store version which is cut with high fructose corn syrup.
The Zipperers are an old Lowndes County family who have grown their own sugar cane for generations. Every year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the entire family gathers at the ancestral farm on the dirt road that bears their name. Like an agricultural liturgy, they perform the ritual of the cane grinding.
The stalks of freshly cut sugar cane come in on a trailer, beautiful shiny green stalks striped with purple. These stalks have been cut by hand, with machetes.
They are then fed by hand into the cane grinder, which is powered by a tractor. All the men working the machine kept reminiscing about the old mule which used to power the grinder, and how they used to take a break in the middle of the day for the mule to eat.
Pure cane juice pours from the grinder. This is powerful stuff, cool and sweet and slightly pulpy with green cane bits. It streams into a barrel through a cloth to filter out the bits, but one old man was filling jugs of the unfiltered liquid and claimed that it had miraculous health benefits. “Pretty much cures everything but death,” he joked as he toted another jug to his pickup truck. The Old Lady just thought it tasted mighty good, better than the canned soda offered to wash down the deer sausage on the grill tended by one young camouflage-clad cousin.
The filtered cane juice is poured into a large shallow cast-iron kettle, where it boils down for hours until just the right thickness for bottling. The Old Lady stood in the sweet steam, breathing in its earthy fragrance as she watched four generations of Zipperers laugh and talk and work together.
A newborn baby sat in its mother’s lap in the open hatch of an SUV and was greeted with appropriate oohs and aahs. The older ladies passed the child around, each claiming her moment with the brand new Zipperer.
A cup of coffee sits on the Old Lady’s desk right now, rich with the Zipperers’ syrup and with the love of a family that reconnects with its ancestral heritage every year in the ritual of the cane grinding.

Eat Better for Less

Pre Frittata

The Old Lady cooked today, and ended up with four days worth of food for less than $10.
Here is how she did it:
A trip to our local farmer’s market, which puts about-to-go-bad produce in bags which sell for a dollar, resulted in: one bag with apples and red potatoes, one bag with a HUGE rutabaga and yellow onions, and a third bag with a yellow straight-neck squash, a green bell pepper, and some tomatoes. Total bill at the farmer’s market: $3. The key to buying produce from the dollar bin is to use it right away.
First job: brunch. Chopped onion, tomato, and bell pepper were sautéed in coconut oil. Scramble in some eggs, and voila! A colorful, healthy frittata to kickstart the Old Lady’s engine (see photo, taken just before adding the eggs).
Yesterday, after cooking some chicken with fresh lemon and garlic, the casserole dish with the leftover garlic and lemon juice and olive oil had gone into the fridge to be reused. Why waste it? A second use of the sauce means this time it’s free, and the dish will only have to be washed once.
The Old Lady watches for BOGO free deals, which recently netted two 16-ounce packages of frozen tilapia filets. The bill was $8.99 for 32 ounces of fish, which comes to about 75 cents per filet. Four filets = about $3.
Thawed the fish, put it in the dish with the leftover sauce, and chopped onion and tomato on the top. Cooked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cut the rest of the onion, red potatoes, and squash, coated with olive oil, and roasted in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Cut up the rutabaga and apples, layered with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon, and cooked in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
This chopfest resulted in lunch, dinner, and two meals packed in containers to take to work in the little cooler.
It takes some effort… but you can EAT BETTER FOR LESS.

Drink to Drown the Flu

I have just one word for you: WATER.

I know you were hoping for something more, well, adult in nature.  We’ll get to that later.  But the most important thing you can ingest to prevent and/or treat colds and flu is water.

Six to eight glasses a day is sufficient.  You don’t have to overdo it.  Juice can help, but plain water is what your body needs whether it is sick or not.

Now for the more adult stuff: one reason people turn to OTC medicines is for the alcohol, which tends to dull the agony and encourage sleep.  Listen to The Old Lady: if you want alcohol, make yourself a hot toddy.  Add honey and lemon for maximum soothing effects.  If you still need help sleeping try chamomile tea with valerian and passionflower.

I have had good results with Arrow Blackberry Brandy. The times when I have really felt that I was catching something, I did my cleansing routine (see previous post: ‘Tis the Season), slathered my feet and chest with Vicks Vaporub, covered up with socks and a sweatsuit, downed a shot of Arrow Blackberry Brandy, and went to bed.  Most times, I woke up feeling much better although perhaps a bit sweaty and greasy.  No other blackberry brandy is as efficacious; Arrow brand it must be.

Listen to The Old Lady!


‘Tis the Season…

…for colds and flu.  I work in a drugstore and have face to face encounters with sick people all day long, so I have worked out what works for me… and what doesn’t.

What doesn’t work is most prescription and OTC (Over The Counter) medicines.

Since colds and flu are viruses, no antibiotic has any effect on them.  OTC medicines treat symptoms, but symptoms are part of the body’s healing process.  By suppressing the symptoms you may be prolonging your suffering.

I start by being proactive in PREVENTING infection.  My technique is to physically remove the virus from my body as soon as possible after I detect its invasion.

The first key, as with all disease, is early detection.

Whenever I sneeze several times in a certain way, or feel a foreboding chill, or have that unpleasant “unwell” sensation in my sinuses and throat, I know that it means viruses may have invaded my body.

The second key is quick action.

I begin my cleansing by washing my face and eyes with hot water and soap.  I use Ocusoft Plus eyelid scrubs for my eyes, as they are very soothing.

Then, I mix salt with hot water in a small cup (a neti pot would work, but I have never used one). Holding one nostril closed I then gently draw up the hot salt water through the other nostril.  Then I lean down over the bathroom sink and forcibly expel the water both through the nostril and through the mouth.  I repeat the process with the other nostril.

Then I gargle hot salt water, coughing deeply and forcibly as I spit it out to clear the upper respiratory area.

Next I floss, rinse with hydrogen peroxide, and brush my teeth and tongue.

I finish by washing my face again.

Lastly – and this is an important step – I scrub the entire sink area with bleach or other disinfectant.

Next time, I’ll tell you how drinking can help drown the flu.

STAY Healthy!