Tag Archives: loss

Brown Eyed Girls Gotta Blog! :D

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206208_402553983137972_2018772436_n   Click here for my streaming playlist – listen while you read!

    or  just “Pop Out” my below player.  Great music from the 60’s through today! :)

      (right-click and open in new tab or window.)

Standalone player

HEY and welcome to this little blog of mine!  Ok, this is your last chance.  Are you *sure* you want to venture on in? hehee  Just kidding.  It’s safe.  Mostly. *rubs hands together with glee* LOL!!  :)  There is ALL KINDS of stuff in here… from recipes to poetry, fun stuff to animal activism… whatever I’m in the mood to post, pretty much! 

So… that was your last chance.  Now you’re hooked ;)  you HAVE to look around. :D

 ALSO… I love to write poetry… if that’s an interest of yours,  please feel free to give my poetry a read. I have a lot :) and also a few e-books that I have written, on Scribd, which you can access at this link: http://www.scribd.com/AmyMeridethSwanson   The first one is a collection of my various poetry… about love, loss, life, and all the in-between.  The name of it is “Soul Expressions… Poetry for Thought.” The artwork on the cover is an original design, done by me.  The second one, and the one closest to my heart, is “Reflections of Nature… A Selection of Peaceful Poetry for Tranquil Moments” and it’s chock full of haiku, tanka, choka and free verse poetry.

OK… let’s get started!!  I hope you enjoy my blog!  Grab a cup of coffee (__)D or tea… or milk… whatever your choice… and come on in!!  :)

*hugs*

Amy

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WHO declares 1st 21st century pandemic, news from RSOE

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WHO declares first 21st century flu pandemic 2009.06.11 15:41:39 Worldwide The World Health Organization declared the first flu pandemic of the 21st century on Thursday, Sweden’s health ministry said. The health ministry said the United Nations agency was raising its pandemic flu alert to the top phase 6 on a six-point scale, indicating the first influenza pandemic since 1968 is under way. “Today… the Minister for Elderly Care and Public Health Maria Larsson has called a press conference following a decision by the WHO to raise the pandemic level to six for the influenza A H1N1 virus,” the ministry said in a statement. WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan was due to give a news conference on the influenza (A) H1N1 pandemic at 1600 GMT, following a meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee of flu experts, and WHO spokesmen declined to comment before that. The move will trigger heightened health measures in the WHO’s 193 member states as authorities brace for the worldwide spread of the virus that has so far caused mainly mild illness. The move to phase 6 reflects the fact that the disease, widely known as swine flu, was spreading geographically, but not necessarily indicate how virulent it is. “Phase 6, if we call a phase 6, doesn’t mean anything concerning severity, it is concerning geographic spread … Pandemic means global, but it doesn’t have any connotation of severity or mildness,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said. “In fact, what we are seeing with this virus so far is overwhelmingly to date mild disease. So we would think that this event is really a moderate event for the time being, because the numbers are high but the disease is overwhelmingly mild,” he told Reuters Television before the committee meeting. David Heymann, a former top WHO official now chairing Britain’s Health Protection Agency, said that countries had tried to contain the virus through measures including school closures during the previous phase 5. This has extended the precious time needed to prepare for a full-blown pandemic. “During phase 5, the government and people in the U.K. have had the time to prepare for a pandemic — this has hopefully decreased any surprise and concern that might be associated with a WHO announcement of phase 6, if one is made,” he told Reuters. As it spreads in humans, science cannot predict what course the virus will take, the disease it causes and the age groups infected, Heymann said. “The severity of that disease, the effectiveness of antiviral drugs and the stability of the virus must all be watched closely,” he added. A pandemic could cause enormous disruption to business as workers stay home because they are sick or to look after family members and authorities restrict gatherings of large numbers of people or movement of people or goods. World markets shrugged off the possibility of a pandemic, as investors focused on possible global economic recovery.

Swine Flu pales compared to other viruses, say experts

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Found this optimistic, from the RSOE monitoring system:

Swine flu pales compared to other viruses: experts
2009.05.06 14:02:13 Worldwide

The A(H1N1) virus behind the swine flu outbreak pales in comparison with fearsome pathogens that kill millions of people worldwide each year, experts said. Seasonal flu strikes 57,000 to 96,000 people a week in the world, leaving in its wake 4,800 to 9,600 dead, according to the World Health Organization. In comparison, the A(H1N1) virus has infected 1,085 people and killed 26 worldwide in the past 10 days, the WHO said.

“This infection is behaving like what we call a seasonal flu, like a more typical, conventional influenza outbreak,” said James Nataro, an epidemiologist at the University of Maryland. “It’s not behaving like the influenza pandemic of 1918.” The 1918-19 pandemic of “Spanish flu,” described as the biggest plague of the 20th century, killed between 20 and 50 million people. The number of cases and deaths attributed to A(H1N1) remains low compared to those registered every year as a result of seasonal flu, the physician said, noting the moderate virulence of the virus. “So right now, we are trying to maintain some cautious optimism in the face of a frenzy of activity,” Nataro told AFP.

WHO declares Pandemic Alert Level to 5, changes virus name

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This being said… I would like to point out that one reason they did this was because of the death of the toddler in Texas, saying deaths have now occurred in two countries… however… the toddler, from what I have just read, was already living in Mexico and traveled here to visit relatives in Texas. He later died in a Houston hospital.  That is not the same as someone who is living here and just suddenly acquires it… he was already living in Mexico where the outbreak was hardest hit.

Yes, the whole situation is scary enough, but this makes it sound even scarier, the way it is being reported.  So far in all the other cases/countries, it is behaving like a “normal” flu pretty much, and the symptoms have been mild.  I don’t know why it hit Mexico so hard, unless it is because, bless their hearts, of the sanitation problems there.  I have read of this problem in the country and that it severely weakens people’s immunities… many there die from other diseases quite a bit, such as TB, and even leprosy occurs in some areas there.  They may have been poorly prepared for sickness even before this hard-hitting virus came along.  And when it did, it hit them incredibly hard.  This is just my opinion.

It also occurs to me… some are saying they are expecting a second wave.  If so many have been exposed to it, in a non-lethal way, have gotten sick only mildly with it… then doesn’t that mean that if a second wave comes along… their bodies would have some natural immunity to it built up?

Relevant podcast from infowars… click here to play in your Windows Media, WinAmp, Real Player, I-Tunes, etc.  http://xml.nfowars.net/Alex.rss

Below is the headline about the WHO, and remember to click here http://www.idemc.org/read/index.php?pageid=news_index for the very latest updates on the swine flu spread.

UPDATE*** WHO have just changed the name of the virus to Influenza A (H1N1) – post follows

WHO boosts pandemic alert level to 5
2009.04.30 03:38:49 Global

The World Health Organization on Wednesday raised its global pandemic alert level to five — its second highest level — meaning a pandemic is imminent and countries must finalize preparations to deal with the outbreak of swine flu.


WHO changes flu virus strain name from swine flu
2009.04.30 19:12:48 Worldwide

The World Health Organisation (WHO), bowing to pressure from meat industry producers and concerned governments, said on Thursday it would refer to a deadly new virus strain as influenza A (H1N1) not swine flu. “From today, WHO will refer to the new influenza virus as ‘influenza A (H1N1)’,” it said in a brief announcement posted on its www.who.int/en/ website.

The new strain has infected 257 people, of whom 8 have died. It derives from a swine influenza virus but the new strain has been found only in people. No pigs have been confirmed to be sick with it. WHO has consistently said the disease cannot be caught from eating pork if it is prepared properly. “There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products,” it said on its website on Thursday. The name of the flu led several countries to slap bans on imports of pork from Mexico and the United States, where the outbreak first appeared, and authorities in Egypt have ordered a cull of pigs. U.S. and European food industries and governments had been calling for a change in name to remove the link in people’s minds between the disease and pigs.

Gluten Free for Me

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I have recently discovered that I have a gluten intolerance/allergy. I believe that this is probably something I have had all my life. A little background for those of you who may not know what gluten is:  Gluten is that protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  It makes our dough stick together better, makes our cakes and breads all light and fluffy and yummy.  But it also makes the body work very hard to digest it.  For someone who does not have a problem with digesting gluten, this is okay and even beneficial.  But for those of us (and there are a lot of us, more than was previously thought) that *do* have a problem with gluten… the results in our bodies can be terrible… leading to sickness of all sorts… even premature death, eventually, because of the effect it ultimately has on our systems.

I started gaining weight when I was little, about 3 or 4, and when I was younger, the only way I have ever been able to keep it off is by drastic dieting measures, extreme exercise, etc.  It used to work, but as I have aged, it’s gotten harder and harder.  Now when I undertake a  major exercising plan, it ADDS INCHES to my middle.  I recently began a vigorous daily plan of 1-2 hours day.  I  lost a few pounds… gained them back… lost them… gained them back.  Every few days I would lose a couple pounds and get so excited… and a few days later, despite the fact that I was dieting and eating healthily… those pounds would come right back.  And then, I thought, well maybe I at least got some lean muscle!  Sure… right around my middle, on top of the fat that was already there.  I felt discouraged… depressed… hopeless.  For those of you that look at overweight people and think “well they just don’t exercise” or “they must eat twinkies all day,” this is wrong.  I’m sure there are people who do… but get to know the person before making a snap judgment.

I always thought that maybe it was a thyroid condition and so I recently made plans to visit an endocrinologist, as some doctors seem to ‘pooh pooh’ the idea that anyone could have a real thyroid condition (even though it does affect so many people.)  I know… I should have already had that checked out long ago… but that kind of thing costs money that I just didn’t have.  I recently tried the “morning temperature reading” test for thyroid problems and my temperature was just a slight tad under normal … so what in the world was wrong with me?  I went vegetarian for three months… and GAINED WEIGHT.  Two of those months I even followed an 85% raw diet.  What gives?!  Now I know what it was. **(Update:  since identifying my gluten problem, I have lost one dress size and working toward my next! YAY!!)

I have been interested in healthy eating for a long time now, as well as taking vitamins, etc.   Recently though I became aware just *how* bad white floured items were (turns to sugar after 5 minutes in the body!) for us… if you eat a piece of white bread for example, as I have read, it turns to sugar super quickly in the body, within minutes of eating it! And if those carbs are not used up… guess what… excess fat.  I was horrified when I thought of how much white bread in just one day we used.  So I began studying more about whole grains and decided from that point on, we would be a whole wheat, whole grain family.  And we’d like it! :P

So we switched to whole wheat *everything*.   If it was a bread or cereal or cracker item, etc… it was whole wheat.

But… after a couple of weeks of whole wheat in different forms, several times a day, I suddenly broke out in hives.  Terrible, itchy, miserable hives.  I couldn’t figure out what triggered them… where they came from.  I thought maybe a detox reaction… clothes detergent… I just didn’t know.  I have never had allergies of that nature, just like sinus, hayfever-type stuff… nothing involving welts or hives!  I had read a while back about people who were gluten intolerant (or that had celiac disease) but I never thought much about it.  I really can’t say what it was that made me put 2 + 2 together… I personally think it was God.  I was thinking about this one morning, feeling extremely sorry for myself and wondering what the heck was wrong and should I see a doctor or a dermatologist… when it was like this thought jumped into my mind: “Gluten Sensitivity.”  I know it sounds weird… but it was like that thought was “inserted” there… I hadn’t read about that in a looooong time and never would have thought I might have that.

So I hopped on the internet and started researching everything I could find about gluten intolerance and celiac disease.  I read a book by Dr. Shari Lieberman titled “The Gluten Connection – How Gluten Sensitivity May Be Sabotaging Your Health” and it was like she was reading my mail, as the saying goes.  All my life I had just felt… bad.  Not much energy… acid reflux constantly… gall stones… headaches all the time… often depressed, even when I was “happy” … just blah blah blah.  I took my vitamins and ate as healthily as I knew how… it would help somewhat but nothing ever major. Sometimes I would tell my husband, “I just don’t feel good. I don’t feel good at all.” I would sleep and not even felt like it when I woke up.  While these symptoms can be attributed to other things too… they are also symptomatic of people with gluten intolerance/allergies or the more advanced form, celiac disease.  And long ago it was thought that extreme weight loss was possibly a symptom of celiac disease… but now they are finding weight gain and inability to lose it can be a symptom as well… weight that people could not get rid of,  disappears on a gluten free diet… not overnight… but it does go away.  Some people have lost it rather quickly, others a bit slower.  It seems to affect people in a way that normalizes their bodies… those that were underweight, gain up to a normal weight… those that were overweight, lose down to a normal weight.   I felt I had stumbled onto my lifelong problem.   I highly recommend this book if anyone has had problems like that.

And if you think these symptoms might sound like you, my suggestion is just to try a few weeks with no wheat, barley, or rye items… just see how you feel.  If you notice a change for the better, then do what you feel is best.  Have your dr. check you out… whatever… but remember that even drs can make mistakes.  You know your body best.  I read of people who had *asked* their doctors to test them for gluten problems, and they were laughed at.  This is very poor professional judgment on those doctor’s parts and I know not all doctors are that way.  In those situations, the people took care of the situation themselves… went gluten free… and today are enjoying happy, healthy lives, free from the problems that had once plagued them day in and day out.  I’m not against doctors… I am very thankful for them.  I’m just saying that God gave us a brain and common sense.  We need to use it.

Anyway… I began going gluten free… and where before the hives had been continuing… the *next day* after I stopped my gluten intake, I noticed a difference.  They started to go away.  Then we went to a restaurant & I decided to eat just a salad… but they served light ranch dressing.  I would never have thought wheat would be in light dressing… but low and behold, it was.  I ate half of it before I realized it, after reading the packet (I was new to reading labels that closely and just figured the dressing would be okay… never assume anything about gluten.  They hide it in places you would never dream.  If it contains wheat… barley… or rye… it contains gluten).  And guess what… by the time I got home, a couple small patches of hives had newly popped up.  That cinched it for me.  (Please note that corn and rice glutens are not the same and are considered safe for celiacs.  Corn and rice lack the “gliadin fractions” that are found in the other grains mentioned above.)

At this writing in April, I have been gluten free for about two weeks now… the hives have nearly disappeared (and would probably have been gone sooner had I not scratched them so badly) and I have a new energy.  My headaches, which I had always thought were just sinus problems… have disappeared.  I have not had a headache since going GF (gluten free).  My problems with feeling depressed have greatly improved, even after just a couple weeks!  I have felt cheerful, happy, and even my husband has noticed the difference.  They say it takes time for all the gluten to be flushed from your system, it can take as much as a month, to three months even… but I am already seeing positive changes. I have slowly, steadily, and surely started taking the weight off.  Some people say it takes as much as a month to start losing the excess weight and to notice the other beneficial changes… but if you think gluten sensitivity is a problem… and you swear off everything (it must be everything!) that has gluten in it… and if you notice yourself feeling better, looking better, even feeling GREAT … you may have found your answer.  You can’t go halfway though and expect to see great changes.  I have read of people who bloat up several pounds after a spaghetti dinner (it has happened to me too) just overnight!  And while it sounds strange… it is TRUE, I promise you.  If you really care about your health and you even suspect that gluten is the culprit… start finding better ways to eat.  One thing that has helped me is my friendly neighborhood health food store.  I buy quinoa (a wonderful grain, as old as the hills, the native americans used to grow it) “pasta” and I cannot tell the difference between it and reg. pasta.  I cook a small amount of quinoa pasta for me and my family still wants the reglar pasta, so I cook it for them… and we all have our dinner together as usual.  There are lots of little things you can do. (Incidentally… if you are currently dealing with hives and rashes, as I was, and after reading this you suspect it may be gluten related… I suggest putting tea tree oil on them. It helps greatly with the itching, I wish I would have had some on hand sooner, maybe I could have slept better! haha  Be careful with tea tree though, as it is very strong.  It would be best to mix it in a base with some olive oil, in a separate jar.  Like, 1/4 cup olive oil and about 5 or 6 drops of tea tree.  Remember this is NOT medical advice, just my suggestion for things that have worked for me!  I love aromatherapy so this was easy for me to implement.)

I wanted to share this with you out there, anyone who may be suffering from this and just never thought to check it out… now is the time.  Research it.  YES you can live without bread. At first I was like, “Oh no… now what will I eat?” But there are so many good healthy foods out there… after a few weeks, you truly will not miss it.  If you crave something bread like, there are lots of good recipes that use flours such as white rice flour, soy flour, tapioca, corn, etc… get on the trusty internet and google your way to good eating with all the great GF recipes that you can find.  I have found though that I feel better not eating of the breads, cakes, etc., even the GF ones.  But they are great to help you with the transition, or to break up the routine.

This is not intended to be medical advice.  As I have said in my last post… I am not a doctor.  But I have a desire to help people and when I come across something that will possibly be of help… I want to share it.  I am simply sharing what I have read, and what I have found to be true in my own life.  Take what I have said and do what you will.  I am a firm believer in doing my own research!  It’s not hard with today’s technology… just hop on the internet highway and get surfing! Search engines are great vehicles to take us where we want to explore.  Do your own research… and see what you come up with.   You just might find yourself on the best ride of your life, the ride to good health!  You can have all the money in the world… but if your health suffers… you will never be able to enjoy it.  The good health of you and your family is more important than anything else physical this world can offer.

Here are some good links that helped me, I hope they help you too, towards the road to good health!

Allergy MedSites.com

Celiac Disease, Gluten and Wheat Allergies


Celiac Disease & Obesity – There is a Connection

Gluten Sensitivity, Celiac Disease, and Weight Gain


There are lots of gluten free recipes on the net, here is one site:

Gluten Free Recipes


Tortillas are naturally gluten free, this recipe tells how to make y our own at home!

Book of Yum, Gluten Free Recipes


All kinds of gluten free foods you can get, even mail order:

The Gluten Free Mall

Hopefully this info and these links will get your road trip started out to success.  I hope this is helpful to you.  :)