Thursday, October 16, 2008

All Bound UP.... no more!

This week I wanted to share with you my journey through some natural remedies, what worked and why I began searching for something in the first place. On with my story...

Ever since I was born it seems I've been constipated. Whoops can I blog about this??? Anyway, I used to use all the common and OTC remedies like laxatives, psyllium husks, fiber, prunes, citrate of magnesia, etc. Think I tried them all. Fiber bound me up even more, most laxatives were way to harsh and I never understood the fascination with prunes. Didn't work at all. So I'd go once a week, if lucky, and usually felt miserable. The picture is the little wee me at 3. Awe! Was I ever that young?

In 1986 went to the doctor, he poked and prodded around my abdomen. Couldn't find anything. Suggested some tests. Through ultrasound they found I had gall stones. I was completely asymptomatic but they wanted to take out my gall bladder. Was told that 'I was a ticking time bomb and if I didn't have surgery one day I'd have an attack and may die as a result'. Oh my GAWD!I asked my doctor if there was an alternative to surgery. He said not that he knew of and if I found one he wanted to know. I began searching and found a natural gall stone flush which I did several times. Saw the little green stones in my stool... it worked!Told my doctor about it. He was amazed and said, " I still think you need surgery." Hummm. My conclusion... he was fixated on surgery, rather then the cause of my constipation. Seemed there was nothing else he could offer. So I opted to keep my gall bladder and went on my own personal search to end my constipation. Looked to natural remedies, various colon cleansers and herbal laxatives like Cascara Sagrada. They worked about as well as the OTC I tried, but didn't fix the cause. healingcenterAZ

In May 1989 I traveled to Sedona, AZ for a week long healing retreat at the Healing Center of Arizona. I wanted clarification that a decision I made was on target. I wasn't really looking to be healed, rather wanted to experience everything I could. The week was filled with all sorts of treatments, crystal healing, 'Life Healing', massage, veggie diet, acupressure, past life regression, daily walks on the land and nightly dancing. It was a veritable feast of alternative treatments, joy and fun. I met lots of folks who felt like family and felt truly at home. It became clear that my decision was on target. I felt full of energy and purpose. cassia-angustifolia

Fast forward... January 1992 started a 3 year spiritual journey  traveling and camping all over the country without a stationary home. Well you can imagine the effect traveling and camping in the backwoods had... hummm, no private bathroom to sit and cogitate. In early 1993 made a brief stop in Sedona where I met a chiropractor. Told him about my constipation and he suggested a product he sold called ChiroCleanse. I bought a box and tried it... was a miracle! It moisturized the stool, was gentle and effective. The main ingredient was Cassia Angustifolia. But I couldn't find it anywhere else so was still in a bind... so to speak. Blush, ahem.

LaciLaBeau On another trip (1994) through Sedona I met a man who had the same difficulty. He used Laci Le Beau Super Dieter's Tea and enemas. I opted for the tea, thank you. It was widely available at health food stores and contained Cassia Angustifolia which I already knew worked for me. Everything was good in my life. I drank a cup of poop tea, as I affectionately began calling it, every night before bed.

Back in Sedona again (early 1995) rented a room for a couple of months from a woman who talked about the value of coffee enemas and green juice fasting. You guessed it! I did a week long fast with daily coffee enemas and poop tea too. Even opted to do another gall stone flush in the process. I felt squeaky clean as a result... but, afterward was still bound up. The only thing I didn't try during all of this was a colonic. oatmeal

Fast forward again... in 2004 a friend suggested I read Outlander  by Diana Gabaldon. Are you thinking, "What that heck does Outlander have to do with any of this?" Well it was one of the steps that lead me to a solution. In the 'Outlander series', Jamie and his Scottish comrades protest the lack of oatmeal in their diets because they swore it kept flaxseed them regular. When I read this a bell went off. I added oatmeal a couple of times a week which made a difference. Then another friend suggested I add ground flaxseed too and sent me some to try. It also made a visible difference.

In 2006 still doing nightly poop tea and oatmeal with ground flax... I began wondering about long term deleterious effects of the tea on my body. I didn't notice any, but hey 13 years of doing any herb nightly seemed excessive to me. Enter my x-husband, his fiancee, son and great aunt. While they were concentraceminerals staying with me for a couple of days he let me try some ionic minerals which he took daily and swore by. He mentioned that too much gives one loose stool, so gave me a smaller dose. Wow such an effect. I stopped drinking nightly poop tea. I bought some of the same product he suggested online, used it up and started looking for a local source. Ended up buying ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops and taking 1/2 teaspoon in orange juice daily. I thought the minerals would be a replacement for the nightly tea and most likely I'd be taking them for the rest of my life. Wrong! After 8 months of taking a daily dose, my body started having reactions after I took it. This was an indication the body had enough so I stopped altogether. I thought I'd have to go back to poop tea again. Joyous surprise... I haven't taken any more tea since.

I continue to eat a bowl of oatmeal with ground flax regularly. I haven't been constipated at all. Thank God for small miracles!

Here's a couple of oatmeal/flaxseed recipes I created:

Bonnee's Yummy Breakfast Oats (microwave or stovetop) for 1 serving

1/2 cup regular organic oatmeal, 1 cup filtered water, pinch of sea salt, handful nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.), handful pumpkin seed (shelled), handful sunflower seeds (shelled), handful chopped or whole dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, apricots, dates, etc.), 1/4 to 1/3 cup ground flax seeds.

Microwave: Put all ingredients except flax into large microwave safe bowl. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add flax, stir and serve with real maple syrup or vanilla almond milk.

Stovetop: In a small stainless steel pot bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in oats cook till soft about 3 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl stir in flax meal, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Serve with real maple syrup, vanilla almond milk or whatever you like.

Bonnee's WoW Soft Oatmeal Cookies

Bake 350° 11 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen 2" cookies.

1 cup organic whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup ground flax, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 lb. (1 stick) organic sweet butter, softened, 3/4 cup packed brown cane sugar, 1 large organic egg, 1/8 cup organic unbleached sugar, 3/4 tsp real vanilla extract,   1-3/4 cup organic oatmeal, 1/2 cup mixed raisins, gogi berries and dried cranberries (softened in hot water and drained) and a handful of each pumpkin seed (shelled), sunflower seed (shelled) and chopped walnuts.

Sift together flour, salt, spices, baking powder and soda. Stir in ground flax seed, set aside. In another bowl cream butter, add sugars and beat until smooth and creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beat until well incorporated. Slowly add sifted flour. Dump in oatmeal, nuts, raisins, and seeds mix to incorporate well. Drop by tablespoon onto Silpat, parchment or greased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool 2 minutes on sheet and transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Conclusion: My chronic constipation seemed at least in part to be the result of a mineral deficiency. When the minerals were balanced my chronic constipation was gone. Hope my discoveries and journey were interesting and helpful.

Caveat: Always use discernment with everything in life. Never ingest something to which you are allergic and ask your doctor's advice before trying something new.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Exciting New Environmental Technologies

I've been reading up on some innovative new products and technologies. It's so exciting I just had to blog about what I found.

Effective Environmental Services - Organic EM

Discovered by Dr. Teruo Higa, EM or Effective Micro-organisms are Probiotic, non-harmful, and non-genetically modified. They are the same cultures found in yogurt, cheese and beer. Some uses of EM include: agriculture - organic fertilizer increases crop yield by 30%, 90% decrease of antibiotic usage in livestock, sewage treatment - 50% increased efficiency, 90% reduction of toxic gas, organic mold handling, home - extends shelf life of produce, reduces laundry detergent use by 2/3 and more. A list of EM products are available here.

Petro Algae - Oil from Algae

PetroAlgae Melbourne, FL owned by XL Tech Group is growing a renewable, sustainable, essentially carbon neutral source of oil. High yield - can produce 200x more oil per acre than traditional biofuel crops like soy. PetroAlgae systems do not need arable land for production, so are not in competition with traditional food crops. Algae oil can be used for transportation and home heating fuels, bioplastics, nutraceuticals, pigments and cosmetics. In addition the byproducts can be utilized for livestock feed, fertilizer and biomass for electricity generation.

PetroSun Rio Hondo, TX algae bio-diesel plant started production April 2008. First Algae Biodiesel Plant Goes Online: April 1, 2008 (29, March 2008) 4.4 million gallons of algal oil and 110 million lbs. of biomass per year off a series of saltwater ponds spanning 1,100 acres. Twenty of those acres will be reserved for the experimental production of a renewable JP8 jet-fuel.

GreenFuel Technologies high yield algae farms recycle carbon dioxide from flue gases to produce biofuels and feed, reducing net carbon dioxide production as waste becomes profit. Harvesting algae for biofuels enhances domestic fuel production while mitigating CO2.

Green Tech Media Life on Mars: The Secret Ingredient for Bio-fuel (27, May 2008) writes about algae bio-diesel applications and companies.

ABsalutecology - new filtering system cuts CO2 by 99.95%

ABsalutecology Karaganda
Kazakhstan has developed a new filtering technology which removes Sulphur dioxide, CO2, Nitrogen and particulates from factory smoke emissions. This new filter removes 99.95% of harmful particulates and toxic gas.

Amazing! A great interim step to help clean the atmosphere while other environmentally friendly manufacturing processes are developed.

6 ways Mushrooms can save the world

Paul Staments, Mycologist talks about fungi. He says partnering with mycelium can save the world and illustrates its' beneficial effects. Some of these include: medicinal -fungi has strong antibiotic action against Pox and flu viruses, natural pest / bug control - testing shows desporated fungi kills most insects, petrochemical spills  - mycelium cleaned up a diesel spill and regenerated the soil restoring life, ethanol production - fungi is fast growing and can be converted into ethanol, nerve gas breakdown, and agricultural applications. Staments holds 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies.

Ethos Environmental, Inc. - Ethos FR reduces emissions by up to 63% and increases fuel efficiency as much as 10%

Ethos FR is a fuel additive which helps engines burn liquid fuel more efficiently. It is non-toxic, non-hazardous and works with any fuel or oil. Ethos is free of carcinogens and is not derived from petroleum. It utilizes three specific cleaning and lubricating esters suspended in a 100% pure mineral oil base. One cleaning ester group penetrates the metal and dissolves carbon buildup, as well as cleaning and removing gum and soot buildup. The other two esters are lubricating esters. One is a surface lubricant the other a penetrating lubricant. Ethos FR, a great interim product to help lessen environmental impact now.

Some links you may enjoy:

Aarcher Institute of Environmental Training - courses address developing environmental management and regulatory challenges, while remaining centered on core environmental concepts and standards.

Bainbridge Graduate Institute - BGI's pioneering MBA and Certificate programs prepare diverse leaders to build enterprises that are financially successful, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.

World Resources Institute - is an environmental think tank that goes beyond research to find practical ways to protect the earth and improve people’s lives.

Earth Policy Institute - dedicated to building a sustainable future as well as providing a plan of how to get from here to there.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Green ecology, Green finance, Green consciousness

This week I've been talking to people and reading a lot about the condition of the economy. But from the most gut wrenching levels... the effect financial mis-management has had on the people and the world at large.

tentcityDid you know there are increasing numbers of people who are jobless and homeless too? Some people are living in their cars or in tents. I lived in a tent and a car for 3 years so I know what it's like, but mine was by choice, not necessity a very different thing.

The foreclosure rates are soaring in the USA. 102,000 in August alone. Year-to-date, 1,450,000 US homeowners (19.6 of every 1,000 households) faced pre-foreclosure. That is mind boggling.

Credit-card debt is on the brink of imploding and will be the next storm to hit. Innovest StrategicValue Advisors, a consulting firm, forecasts that banks will charge off $18.6 billion worth of credit card receivables in the first quarter of 2009 and $96 billion in 2009 -- that would be 261% more than in 2007 and 131% higher than the level it expects by the end of 2008.

Makes one wonder why? Since 2004 the interest rates on credit cards have climbed from 4% to more then 24.99%. This is for those with good credit scores who maintain a balance and pay their bills on time. The credit lenders promoted card usage by upping available credit limits, issuing checks and offering 0% rates on some new cards. Some credit card companies even issued cards to those who had just filed bankruptcy. Would this be considered questionable credit lending practices? Some people abused the system, over spent and were irresponsible. But many, perhaps unwisely, used credit cards to supplement income; to buy food and pay bills, insurance premiums and medical expenses. Thinking they'd be able to payoff the balance at the current interest rate. But the rates kept getting higher and higher which can be devastating financially. 

As well subprime and prime mortgages were written with questionable financing. I have a disabled friend that refinanced his home in 2007. Said he couldn't afford the principle and interest payments, so opted for interest only for 5 years. Another woman I know purchased a home 3 years ago and her payments ($4,600/mo.) are more then 75% of her income. Why would any responsible lender do this? Why didn't they deny the loans? Have we put our trust in a faulty system?

Even if the lending practices were responsible life circumstances can change. Another woman I met over coffee last week said she lost her primary income source and is doing everything she can to keep her home. She has it up for sale, but the slow markets keep her house poor. What little income she's able to generate goes to the house payment. She applied for food stamps but was ridiculed and investigated because she owned a home. She opted instead to visit the local food bank to survive. Do we sometimes judge others to harshly? Or come to sweeping conclusions which are erroneous?

These 3 good, honest people are on the brink of financial collapse. If anything else is added to their plates they may all end up homeless. And these are only a few of folks I know. Imagine what it must be like nationwide or perhaps worldwide?

And we've got the opposite end of the spectrum. WAMU's CEO Alan Fishman worked 3 weeks, now is headed out the door with $19 million in his pocket. There are too many other stories like that I won't write about. I'm certainly not against people getting bonuses, but when the CEO gets $19 million and the stock holders get zip... that's convoluted.

When there is so much disparity, one may ask, 'What's wrong with this picture'?

Global Financial Crisis?

U.S. turmoil churns up an ill wind worldwide (1 October 2008) Park Yung-Chul, a Korea University economist, who also has taught at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says of the USA, "On finance, you're becoming a second-class economy. How could you do so badly managing your economy and managing international affairs? And now you've created this global financial crisis for which everyone is going to suffer!"

Put pollutionClimate Change Solutions on hold?

In Australia there is talk about a 60% or even 90% reduction  in green- house emissions by 2050. (30 Sept 2008) Rudd's expert wants tougher carbon goals. Top climate change adviser Ross Garnaut has warmed to the idea of a deep cut to greenhouse emissions - but he thinks it probably won't happen. The Business lobby group, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said tackling climate change must be approached cautiously because of global financial instability.

Let's rethink this...

Global financial instability is a reality. Global warming is also a reality.

Green ecology...

Massive change is needed in the world financial markets for survival of the global economy. Just like massive change is needed in the current pollution of the environment for survival of life. While the financial world is being restructured it is an excellent opportunity to consider greener ways of doing business, living life, interacting with each other and our environment.

This is Green ecology -  the interrelation of people, the environment and the economy. It considers the big picture.

Green finance...

Green finance specifically considers money and how it is managed. The creation and distribution of money with consideration given to how it impacts not only the economy but society as a whole, the earth, and all life. How we can wisely manage money to benefit all... not just a few.

With wise restructuring of money also comes the wise use of resources and the impact on society and the environment. Green finance as I see it is a holistic approach. It is no longer possible to live on our small planet without rethinking... implementing and living in harmony with consideration given for all life.

Green consciousness...

Green consciousness considers our interactions with one another. It addresses the issues of our peaceful co-existence and the creation of a worldwide balanced, equal, loving, supportive, helpful environment.

The way things have been done in the past no longer work. Rethinking, devising a plan and implementing changes on all fronts is necessary for our survival financially, economically, socially and environmentally. The alternative... we have economic chaos, social disorder and an inhabitable planet. 

It is a critical time. An exciting time. It's not too late to turn this mess around if we all jump on board and come from a place of  compassion and love for all life. It's time for action...