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Medical Emergency

So, I know this blog is supposed to be about my kreative koncoctions that I like to try at home but I want to veer from that for this post to just talk about life. Sometimes we can cling to the idea of being our own “doctor” by coming up with and using our own home remedies but sometimes, in a real pinch, those don’t always work. Sometimes, we need an actual intervention with the good ol’ western doctors…which leads me to today’s post…

In the past few weeks, the BF (if you wonder why I don’t disclose his name, he’s VERY private – isn’t on social media or anything, so I respect his wishes and just refer to him as BF) has had some health issues that were really scary and needed some medical attention.

One day a few weeks ago, he started to feel a little “under the weather” , as if he might be coming down with the flu, except he didn’t really exhibit any flu-like symptoms other than feeling really weak and tired. So, he took a few days off work hoping some extra rest would get him back to normal but he just kept getting worse. One night, I tried to talk him into going to urgent care but he refused and said he’d call his doctor the next morning to schedule an appointment. We make it through the night only to find that his doctor didn’t have any availability that day and so I INSISTED on taking him to urgent care. BF is unbelievably stubborn and nearly refused to go but I think he realized things were NOT normal and he needed to see a professional.

By this point, he can barely stand, walk or get dressed on his own; his energy levels were too low and I’ve never seen him like this before so I’m staying strong and composed but secretly FREAKING out! He refuses to leave the house without a shower so he hops in only to realize that he can barely lift his arms to pick up his sponge and soap up, so I literally had to bathe him, help him get dressed and practically carry him to the car. Now, BF played football in HS and is really built like he belongs on a field; very strong and muscular but you wouldn’t have guessed it that morning; on a lite day he’s 225.

Anyways, I cart him over to our nearest urgent care, where we sit for an eternity in the waiting room (it wasn’t really that long of a wait, but in his state, it felt like forever!). He seems like he’s fading in and out of reality and can barely hold his head up. Finally they call us back, they take his vitals, we see a doc and he orders his sugar to be checked. The meter that they have only counts sugar levels up to 500; anything higher than that they get an “error” reading. Well, he got an error on his readings, which means he was waaaayyy above the normal range of between 70-110. The doctor briefly educated him on his new diagnosis of being a Type 2 Diabetic, gave him some pills and told me to make sure he drinks plenty of water because “he’s really dehydrated”. Looking back, (and other medical professionals have agreed) he should have sent us STRAIGHT to the ER…over 500 is a medical emergency and when we found out his actual numbers, he could have died!

Well, there was no keeping him hydrated that afternoon. When we got home, I tried to get him to drink some water, diet soda, suck on ice chips or anything to get fluid in his body but he couldn’t keep it down. I called urgent care back and the doctor told me, “Get him to an emergency room immediately. They are going to have to admit him for fluids. Tell me which hospital you’re going to and I’ll call ahead to make sure they’re ready for him.” YIKES! That was super scary! When a doctor is that persistent, you know it’s a serious situation.

So, I followed the doctors orders even though BF insisted “I’ll be fine…this is all a coincidence”. At this point, he’s barely lucid and I’m terrified he’s going to slip into a diabetic coma or something.  As soon as we got to the ER, they put in a room almost immediately, got him hooked up to fluids and an insulin drip and started him on the process to getting his sugar lowered. After taking some more precise tests, they found his sugar level to be 950!! As I said earlier, that is a serious situation and he could have died! Many have reminded him (us) that it’s a miracle he doesn’t have any permanent damage (he could have lost his vision, gone into a coma, had other organs shut down, etc.) Thank goodness he’s ok!

So, after the initial visit to the ER, they ended up moving him to ICU for 2-3 nights so his insulin drip could get monitored regularly. Then, he stayed in another room for 2 additional nights. By the time he left, his sugars were down under 250 (still high but not as worrisome as what they were initially). He’s been on some diabetic meds (no insulin at home for now, but we’ll see how much lower his numbers get on the pills; he may need to use insulin to regulate it a little more) as well as blood pressure and cholesterol pills. Slowly, by changing his diet, he’s gotten his numbers to around 150 or so. Hopefully, as he cuts back more and more on his carbs and sugars, he’ll get back to normal.

I share all of this with you guys because I know how some of us that prefer using “natural” remedies can be towards western medicine. I hate taking drugs and would rather make my own creams and ointments than purchase something in a tube that is filled with god-knows-what. But, there are times when a medical emergency arises and we are completely powerless. Nothing I could have done would have made the BF better in his hyperglycemic state; he needed insulin injections to get his sugar levels stabilized. He needed medical professionals to monitor his sugar, take blood samples, etc. to see exactly what was happening to him to make sure there wasn’t something more serious going on. Luckily for us, there wasn’t.

I also want to remind us to listen to our intuition. I mentioned that I wanted BF to go to urgent care the night before all of this happened but he was being stubborn. I wish I wouldn’t have listened. My gut was telling me something wasn’t right with him and that he needed  medical attention immediately. I don’t know what I would have done if he fell asleep that night and never woke (it happens!). We all have a god-given gut instinct that tells us when something isn’t right and I should have listened to mine. Thank goodness nothing worse happened to my sweetie pie. Next time, I will insist he goes to the ER or call an ambulance against his will, whether he agrees or not!

Thanks for listening. I hope that no one has to go through such a nightmare but I’m so glad BF is back home and trying to return to his healthy state. Now, we’re coping with a new diet and trying new recipes. I can’t honestly say that I’m excited about going low carb but hey, maybe it prevent me from becoming diabetic myself! Any recipes you guys swear by for new diabetics?

xoxo

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A Fix to No ‘Poo

If you’ve read any of my blogs, you have probably heard me talk about my no ‘poo experiment, which is basically stepping away from all the chemicals in modern shampoos and finding healthy substitutes. (You can find my blogs about it here.) I was using baking soda and water with a few drops of tea tree oil to “wash” my hair, followed by an apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water solution to “condition” my hair. Well, after about a month or so of this, I found that my hair just became too greasy. I couldn’t find the appropriate combination of water to baking soda and my water is super hard, making it even rougher on my hair. I just couldn’t handle it feeling so dirty, so I found an alternative. If you don’t follow Crunchy Betty, you NEED to. And I’m serious. Go over to her page now and follow her on Facebook or pinterest or whatever method you have to in order to find some really kreative koncoctions. Her blog is where I first heard of no ‘poo and where I also found a solution to my overly oily no ‘poo nightmare.

So, needless to say, my hair was oily. I mean, couldn’t run my fingers through it oily. And when I did try to run my fingers through it, my hands felt filmy, as if I was wiping away some of the oil that had accumulated. I had gotten in the routine of no ‘pooing probably every 3 days or so, whenever my scalp started to feel itchy or dirty. I wore it mostly in a pony tail, except for the few days when my hair didn’t look disgusting. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was looking through old photos and saw how long, shiny and pretty my hair was and felt envious. Why was I putting myself through this for the sake of being natural and not really reaping any benefit from it? Well, I still want to be somewhat natural and use organic and healthy things on my skin and hair but I also am somewhat girly and want to look nice. So, something had to give.

That’s when I stumbled upon “sorta ‘poo” as Crunchy Betty calls it, which is a mixture of coconut milk and castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s lavender because I love the smell, but there are a few different makers of castile soap out there). There is the recommendation to make your own coconut milk from pressed coconut and water (you can find the recipe here) but I just used organic coconut milk from Whole Foods and it worked wonderfully. And by wonderfully, I mean, OH MY GOODNESS!! There was so much lather, I didn’t know what to do with  myself. Having gone a month with no suds whatsoever, I felt I was in heaven.

So here’s what I did: I mixed 1 teaspoon organic coconut milk per 1 Tablespoon of castile soap. Some say you shouldn’t mix too much up at a time because it will go bad, but I’m going to keep mine in the refrigerator and hope I can get a week or so out of it. I probably mixed about 10 tsp/tbsp of each because I won’t be the only one in my house to use it. Then, you just sorta swish it around so the two mix together (not too much or it will get super sudsy) and then lather up. I probably used a little too much on my hair this morning just because it felt so gross from the bs/acv mess but you probably only need about a quarter-sized up to a tablespoon.

After I washed, I rinsed with my same koncoction of vinegar: 1 Tablespoon of ACV to 1 Cup of water. I let the ACV sit on my hair while I wash and hang out in the shower and right before I get out, I rinse it off. I promise, you don’t end up wreaking of ACV−the scent dissipates as your hair dries, but if you must, you can add some essential oils to make it smell all girly. I’m trying to be as simple as possible, so for now, I’m just going to use the basic rinse.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I found this solution to going natural. Castile soap is amazing. I’ve been using it for a while now as a body wash, but when it’s mixed with the coconut milk, it creates a creamy lather that you will die for! It’s supposedly great for shaving too. I have only done this today, so it will obviously take some time to see if it works on my hair long-term but I really hope the results are better than the no ‘poo. I’d been reading about the no ‘poo method and maybe I gave up too soon because some folks say it can take 8 weeks before your hair finally evens out and stops being so oily but I wanted my soft mane back again and so far so good. I can actually run my fingers through my hair. Today, I left the house with my hair slightly damp and it dried naturally on my way to work. It still looks great! I still have this natural wave that appeared when I gave up regular shampoo awhile back, which I really like. My hair used to be so straight, like I flat-ironed it straight, so it’s nice to have some volume and body now. I’m convinced that somehow I’ll find the perfect homemade substitution for shampoo. I hope this is it. I’ll keep you posted!!

Tea tree oil and no ‘poo

Well, I’m well on my way to detoxing my scalp and hair of chemicals and the vicious cycle of over-washing. Today, for the first time, I wore my hair down with confidence that it didn’t look gross and actually looked pretty. Again, I’ve gotten this wave in my locks that I’ve never had before, which I hear is common when going no ‘poo. I have no complaints about it. It’s better than straight, stringy hair that I normally have. I’ve gone a good THREE days with no baking soda/ACV rinse and certain that I’m on the path to recovery–I can feel it!

But, this weekend I felt a hiccup in my routine. I was going to go all weekend without rinsing but on Saturday, my scalp got really itchy. And I mean ITCHY! I have had dry scalp in the past but usually this happens when the air is cold and dry–neither or which happens often in Southeastern Louisiana. So, my only conclusion for the itchies was detoxing from the chemicals my body was used to. I did some research online and after a hunch, I already knew that tea tree oil may be just the thing to cure my itch. Tea tree oil is great for scalp conditions and because it’s a natural anti-fungal, it can be great if you have dandruff or other fungus-related stuff like that going on. (My boyfriend uses it mixed with coconut oil to get rid of athletes foot from time to time and it works great!)

Anyways, I decided to add a few drops of tea tree oil to my baking soda mixture to see if that would do the trick and immediately I felt relief. I can’t tell you why, but the tea tree oil is fantastic and I plan on making it part of my routine from now. It’s a nice, clean scent and feels like it opens my pores up and just feels good! Rather than reinvent the wheel, I found a couple of great sites that list some of the many uses of tea tree oil. It’s pretty amazing how one oil can be used in so many ways! Here’s a list of sites I found with lots of helpful information:

So there you have it…if you are struggling with the no ‘poo method and maybe have itchy, irritated scalp, try a little tea tree oil  and see if that helps. But remember, a little goes a long way–some folks have sensitive skin and the TTO has an adverse affect. Always try it on a small area of skin and see how your body reacts. Good luck!! 🙂

Worms in My Tomatoes

I have been so ecstatic this year with my garden. It’s my very first attempt at gardening on my own. I got a plot with my community garden and found out I had fantastic soil for growing–good rich, dark soil and topped it off with some fresh compost. Up until this weekend, everything was going great! All my plants have vegetables growing on them and from what I could tell, looked full and healthy. This weekend, when I went to clean things up (weed, water, etc.) I noticed that my Roma tomato plant was looking a little “under the weather”. I was kind of in a hurry, so I didn’t pay much attention to it and figured maybe I’d gone too long in between watering with the warmer temperatures, that maybe those yellow leaves were just from it being too dry. WRONG!

I went back yesterday to check on it, and now my plant was looking very limp and I noticed that several of my tomatoes had WORMS in them!! Lots of yellow leaves, rotten stems and well, worm-filled-tomatoes. Needless to say I was livid. Here I am working my tail off—watering, feeding, nurturing—my precious seedlings in hopes of a wonderful harvest and BAM! A little, bitty inch worm comes along and nearly devours an entire plant in a DAY! All I could think of when I saw them was my childhood. LOL…I Remember watching “Winnie the Pooh” as a kid and how upset Rabbit got one morning when he found his plants devoured by the same pesky insect? Yeah…that was me in my garden yesterday. And now I understood his frustrations.

(I love me some “Winnie the Pooh” and hope you do too🙂 !)

Needless to say, I plucked off the rotten stuff and made sure my other plants didn’t have any visible signs of worms and then I went and did some research. What I found was that these little boogers are nasty! They can literally kill an entire plant in a day! They eat and eat and eat until it’s all gone and then they move on to the next plant. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Online provides some great detail about the insect and how to watch out for it:

“Tomato hornworms can be up to 5 inches long—which can be quite a shock when you first come across one! They do the most damage in the caterpillar, or larvae, stage. They are pale green with white and black markings, plus a horn-like protrusion. (They are not capable of stinging.) The life cycle is as follows:

  • In late spring, large adult moths lay eggs on the undersides of foliage, which will hatch within a week.
  • Caterpillar larvae will feed from 4–6 weeks before creating a cocoon for overwintering in the soil. If the weather is warm enough, larvae may only burrow for as little as 2–3 weeks.
  • Moths will emerge in the spring, and can be identified by their orange markings. They will then lay eggs once again. More than one generation a year may be possible in warmer climates.”

Now, my community garden, as I’ve mentioned before, is all organic, so I can’t go out and get some lethal sprays to get rid of the pests (nor do I want to ingest that stuff), so I have to find a healthy alternative. Again, I took to the web and found that regular old dish soap mixed with warm water will work. Because we’re all natural, I used some Dr. Bronners Castile Soap in place of dish soap. I also got kreative and mixed in some lemon juice and crushed garlic, because I’ve read that things with strong scents keep the bugs away. I’m gonna spray the plant every couple of days or so and see what happens and I’ll let y’all know if anything helps.

If you have any input or have found anything that works well for you, PLEASE let me know. I really wanna eat some fantastic tomatoes this year and hope the pests don’t enjoy them before I do! Happy gardening!

Oil Pulling

What the heck is oil pulling!? Well, it’s an ancient Ayurvedic technique in which one simply rinses their mouth will oil by methodically swishing it around, like you would with mouthwash. Supposedly, it can relieve your body of numerous ailments including: gingivitis, periodontal diseases, dry mouth and throat, bad breath, sinusitis, migraines and numerous other diseases listed here. I want to preface this post by saying I’m somewhat skeptical and can’t really see how swishing some oil around my mouth could heal any of these issues, but I want to give it a try personally.

That being said, I figured that such a simple technique thousands of years old can’t hurt, can it? I decided I’d give it a try as part of my Kreative Koncoctions experimentation and see what happens. I’ve been reading a lot about it and hope it helps keep my mouth a little cleaner. Now, according to Sharath Asokan, who wrote “Oil Pulling Therapy”, oil pulling should be done as follows:

…A tablespoon (teaspoon for young children) of sesame oil is taken in the mouth, sipped, sucked, and pulled between the teeth for 10-15 min. The viscous oil turns thin and milky white. It is claimed that the swishing activates enzymes and draws toxins out of the blood. The oil should not be swallowed as it contains bacteria and toxins. Oil pulling therapy should be followed by tooth brushing and rinsing of the mouth. It is preferably done on an empty stomach in the morning.1

Asokan says to use sesame oil, but I’ve also heard you can use olive, coconut or various other kinds of oil (just not frying oil). Do your own research and see what different oils do for different ailments and find what may work best for you.

I’ve been doing the oil pulling for about two weeks now, although I did miss a day or two during the first week. I have been using coconut oil, just because I’ve heard so many great things about the stuff and had it around the house. I do as the directions above say: first thing in the morning, before I eat or drink anything. I usually do it while I’m washing my face and getting ready and then once I discard the oil, I follow it with flossing and a good old-fashioned toothbrush. I do feel like my mouth is cleaner than when I just floss and brush and maybe my teeth are getting a little whiter?

I have  also noticed that my breath isn’t a dragonly as it normally is upon waking in the morning and it seems like right after I spit the oil out, I have a surge of mucous that needs to be spit out as well. (I know it’s kinda gross but, hey you want the nitty-gritty details, don’t you?) I’m not sure if this coincides with the oil pulling but my sinuses have been draining like crazy lately. I did read that sometimes your symptoms can get worse before they get better, so I’m going to keep persevering and hope that some of my allergy/sinus issues get cured or at least calm down a bit. The only other thing that has really ever helped with my seasonal issues is acupuncture and using the neti pot (and I hate the neti pot, even though it’s like a miraculous tool for me).

So, that’s been my experience so far. The oil pulling is like a detox for your mouth/body and I don’t want to give up too early on it. So far, no negative side effects, other than what I mentioned above. I really like the idea of going natural and finding healing remedies that are older than ‘modern medicine’ which has only been around a couple hundred years. (At some point, I’ll do a post on my opinions on Western Medicine and how it’s primarily driven by corporate America. That will be another rant:).)

One last thing I must confess…I’m finding it’s much easier to give up my old products for my hair, skin, beauty, etc., but I’m having a hard time going natural with what my body takes in. I’ve gotten better at eating healthier–trying to bring in more fruits, veggies and whole grains, but I have a long way to go. I know I’m at least on the right track and that’s what matters. Baby steps.

Watch out for my next post on my no ‘poo progress!

1 Cited: Asokan S. Oil pulling therapy. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2008 [cited 2012 Apr 20];19:169. Available from: http://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2008/19/2/169/40476

For more information on an Oil Pulling study, see also: http://www.oilpullingsecrets.com/OilPullingStudy1.pdf

no ‘poo…no doubt

It’s been a few days since my last post and I promised a follow up to my no ‘poo experience. (You can view my previous post here, which discusses the what, why and how of no ‘poo.) After a brief setback due to a hot oil hair treatment gone wrong, I am back on track and looking forward to the expected results of no longer using harsh chemicals on my locks.

It’s been five days for me now on the no ‘poo treatment. I last washed my hair Thursday morning (4/12/12) with regular shampoo. On Saturday, I “washed” with my baking soda and water/ACV conditioner. My hair was, of course, a little oily after nearly two days of no shampoo, but that’s to be expected. I can’t wait for my head to get out of this routine of over-producing oil!!

Last night, I did my baking soda and ACV wash again after three days of no washing. (In between my days off, I usually just wet my hair in the shower and call it a day.) My hair is still feeling a little filmy but I know on the road to recovery and it’s not that bad.  I wish I had taken a before picture so that I could compare my hair then and now but I don’t think pictures would even do it justice. It’s more about the texture that I’m experiencing. My hair feels so thick!–and it’s crazy for me to say that considering my hair doesn’t normally even hold a curl or any kind of volume whatsoever!

I tried something new last night as well. I decided  I needed a little extra wave, so I tried to braid my hair and sleep on it in hopes of creating something fantabulous, but, that was a no go. When I took the braids out this morning, my hair took me back to 4th grade, when crimping your hair was cool. Yeah, I have no desire to return to my pre-adolescent style, so I had to bring out my straightening iron to the rescue. I didn’t want to use any heating products on my hair, just because I know that stuff dries my hair out and since I’m “detoxing” from shampoo, I figured I’d just go for the gold and opt out of all styling/warming products. Either way, I straightened it and it looks fuller than my hair ever looked when I straightened it in my “shampooing” days. It’s amazing! Now, I think because I just cleaned my hair last night and then used the straightening iron on it, it looks a little frizzy but I’m also in desperate need of a trim, so that could be part of it as well.

Hang in there through the rough days when it feels like you can’t stand it anymore. After getting used to the idea of not having to wash my hair the “traditional” way, I’m enjoying the extra time I have in the shower to just relax and let my day wash away! And, there have been a lot of days when I just said, “To heck with it” and just tossed my hair in a bun or ponytail because the oil is overwhelming. I’m getting past that stage now and today is the first day I’ve worn my hair down since I started no ‘poo. I know it will all be worth it, when I can save boat loads of cash on hair products and just visit my local grocery for all my hair care needs. Until then, I have no doubt this no ‘poo thing is doing something great for my head, hair, scalp, etc. I’ll let you know how it all turns out!

The Beginning of Kreative Koncoctions

Over the last few weeks, I’ve discovered Pinterest and I feel that it has awakened within me a desire I’ve had for years–to be naturally healthy–and sometimes lose sight of. It is sometimes so much easier to stop at a fast food joint or buy detergent from the grocery store instead of making my own. I hope that starting this blog will hold me accountable to how I really want to live my life. I also hope that at some point I can go further than this blog with my quest for naturally made products and make and sell enough to be self-supporting. Alas, I have big dreams!

But, that’s all in the distant future. For now, I want to take baby steps in the right direction and find my own recipes. It’s easy to Google a recipe for “homemade body butter” but it’s another to create one on your own. I may find stuff online (and will give credit where credit is due) but I also want to create my own recipes and concoctions using different scents and oils and oy…just thinking about it makes me want to go home and start experimenting! Regrettably, I must earn a living, so I blog at work when things are slow. (I’m very grateful for a wonderful work environment!)

These hours I’ve spent on Pinterest over the last few weeks have led me to discover some really cool natural remedies and creations. The first thing I have really started experimenting with was this “no ‘poo” concept—where you sustain from using harsh chemical laden shampoos and conditioners on your hair and realize that those chemicals are creating a vicious cycle of your sebaceous glands over-producing oil that the shampoos strip it of. After only one day, I would have to wash my hair because these glands would try to overcompensate for my daily washes, thus overproducing oil. The result leaves the ends of my hair so dry and the roots, well, clean for about 24 hours and then gross all over again. I’m tired of it! So, I felt like this was the answer I was looking for. I would just have to suffer through a few weeks of leaving my hair in a pony tail while I get my head back to “normal”.

I went a week with no ‘poo and instead “washed” with a baking soda and water concoction and “conditioned” with an apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water mixture. I mix 2 tbsp of baking soda to 2 cups of hot water for the wash. I generally like to massage my scalp with it a little and kinda work it around. It doesn’t get soapy or anything–just helps me feel like my head’s getting cleaned. Then I rinse with about 2-4 tbsp of ACV in about 2 cups of water. This I usally just keep on the ends of my hair because I’ve heard that ACV can cause the scalp to generate more oil, thus defeating the purpose of my no ‘poo experiment.

This has been a PHENOMENAL experience!! I have always had very straight, fine hair with very little body or movement. But, after just a few days of no ‘pooing, my locks looked healthier than ever!! I got incredible compliments about how great my hair looked. I’m NOW a believer in the no ‘poo method.

However, yesterday, I found another recipe for a homemade hot oil treatment that I just had to try because it sounded so divine and luxurious! Unfortunately, it left my hair too oily for my baking soda and ACV tonics, so I have to start my no ‘poo routine over again. My next post will talk about my first few days of my no ‘poo detox. I look forward to sharing this journey with whoever stumbles across this blog and finds it somewhat interesting! Here’s to a natural health and beauty endeavor that will make us much happier and less chemically inclined!