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Seems like there was a lot of support for this, so here 'tis, a thread on alternative medicine. I know that there is a lot of talk about this stuff in bits and pieces on other threads, but it seems like such a popular topic these days that it really deserved its own. Anything about herbs, naturopathy, accupuncture, nutrition, etc., bring it on!

I'll start: has anyone ever used slippery elm root for digestive problems? I bought some, but I'm scared to try it, and don't know anyone who has! It's supposed to help heal irritated digestive systems...
Oooo, wonderful idea for a thread! Earlier today when I was looking through another forum, I read that Red Raspberry Leaf tea is good for cramps. I've never tried it myself, but I thought it was pretty interesting.
yes midge. it is a great colon cleanser and is supposed to be good for allergies as well. it provides mucilage for your colon. I take two at night.
nereid--i totally drink raspberry leaf tea for that! i think it helps a little, but only if i start drinking it a couple days before i expect my period. i wouldn't say it cures them, but just takes the edge off.

cloverbee--it helps with allergies??? i have bad allergies (food and pollens), i hadn't heard that. wow! i bought loose powder, so i think i just hae to sprinkle it on/in something to eat it, or i read you can make tea of it too. you must have capsules or something. cool, thanks!
yeah, I recommend Nature's Sunshine herbs. they have been tested and have the best quality. they grow and harvest their own and are the purest. I've used them for 20 years. you can get them at In order for the SE to work for allergies you have to take it continuosly for six months. If you really want to get your stomach lined out though, I would also recommend eating a new yogurt called Activia. I think Dannon makes it. It is supposed to get you lined out in two weeks. I've been taking it and it works wonders for my stomach. It has lots of probiotics in it. anyway, w/ herbs you have to be careful of the quality b/c they are not regulated.
Yup, raspberry leaf tea is indeed good for cramps...I'm not that fond of the flavor - its not bad, but I wouldn't make a cuppa unless MRG demanded it.

midge - I use a digestive herb supplement that has slippery elm, marshmallow root and some other stuff I can't remember at the moment (and am too comfy to get off the couch to go look)...its a chinese acupuncture concoction to help the small intestine meridiens. It does indeed help when I take it before meals.

If you are having some digestive issues, I would recommend doing a cleanse for a week, and get a couple of colonics throughout the week. I use a medical food product called BioCleanse that I blend into a smoothie with some fruit and unsweetened juice - I have smoothies for breakfast and dinner, and a lunch of fresh veggies and fruit....its really not bad at all, and not worrying about cooking gives me plenty of time in the week to pamper myself with baths and meditation....

If you're interested in more significant dietary changes, let me know...I made a huge change 5 years ago - eliminating dairy, wheat, eggs, sugar and beef from my diet, and I am happier, much healthier and my intestines are happy happy happy....
turbo, how do you make those smoothies?
holy crossposting batman!

midge - I made my dietary changes because of environmental allergies and constant was hell....and food sensitivites were at the root of it all. Now, I don't take a single pill except my multivitamin, and have no allergies...I'd definitely start by cutting wheat and dairy from your diet - those are the two biggest food allergy culprits out there...
For the smoothies, I use about 6oz of unsweetened apple juice, 2oz of almond milk (optional, I just like it), 1 cup of frozen fruit - or a banana, and a scoop of the BioCleanse powder - blend it up, and enjoy. The BioCleanse is pretty innocuous tasting as far as these things go - I've had to drink some pretty foul stuff in my journey to wellness.
cool. I was thinking of buying a juicer a while back but I don't know if it would be worth it since fruit is so expensive and apparantly you have to use a lot of it. what do you think? I really need to cut the sugar. so far I have cut partially hydrogenated oils and a lot of fake stuff.
Don't go for the juicer....I use mine when I do a cleanse, but not do need a ton of fruit to get a cup of juice...say 4 carrots, a couple handfuls of spinach and an apple, and you get about 5oz....wonderfully healthy stuff, but crazy expensive to make. And cleaning a fun.

I stock up on peaches, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries at the farmers market all summer, and fill my freezer with gallon ziplock bags full....I've made smoothies all winter and I've got 2 bags left, and the fruit season is starting again - yay!
that's it! I'm going to the grocery store!!!
be sure to get unsweetened fruit!
clover, if you're trying to cut down on sugar fruit juice is definately out. i love my juicer for veggie juice, not a lot of carrot ('cause that's very high in sugar too) but celery, cucumber, kale, etc with a bit of carrot, beet, apple or pear thrown in. awesome, amazing for digestions, lots of easily absorbed vitamins and minerals.
i do like smoothies but, again, that's a lot of sugar. green drinks are the way to go for me.
have you tried e3 live? it's amazing stuff.
midge, local honey and bee pollen can help with allergies. you do need to take it well in advance of allergy season but it's a nice gentle treatment.
Unsweetened fruit? They make sweetened fruit?? I'm confused.
what a great idea for a thread! i am an alternative medicine newbie. i'm hesitant to take too many supplements that are not proven, but i also think it would be ridiculous to go on medications for problems like headaches and stomach issues that are definately caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. man, most people in this country must feel so crappy all of the time! for now i am half-heartedly trying to cut back on sugar some more. i was a major sugar addict in college, and i still eat too much.

pepper - I love e3 live - that stuff rocks...I should thaw some out and do some shots this week. My old standby is progreens probiotic powder, but I tell you, that stuff is g r o s s. I have to really want to be good to myself to get it down.

raskel, if you read labels on frozen fruit, they do add sugar to alot of it out there.

I cut out all sugar and fruits for 2 years while I was doing my big lifestyle change, and while that was really good for me, I really wasn't very happy, as I adore fruits, and they never really gave me any trouble. So I have my smoothies in the morning, and with the BioCleanse its a fine start to the day, and serves me fine. Its all about what makes you feel good, right? And that is remarkably different for everyone.

I wish I could get behind my juicer more....but it gets expensive fast, and damn, I just hate cleaning that sucker out. I love to toss a chunk of ginger in my juicer too - zing!

laurenann....when I was starting to cut things out of my diet, I kept a food journal for a long time...I started just with writing down everything I put in my mouth....knowing I had to hold myself accountable by writing it down, I would think twice before putting something bad in my body. And then I wrote down how different foods made me feel an hour after eating them - that was enlightening!
Ohh...frozen fruit, okay. I freeze fruit in ziplock bags, so I guess when I read that I just assumed that's what you were all talking about. I eat a strictly organic diet, so I don't have to worry so much about the additives.

I think I may have a wheat allergy. I just can't fathom how to cut that out of my diet. I notice that after I eat pasta, or a sandwich, or anything like that, I feel like I'm going to pass out. I get so tired I can barely keep my eyes open and just generally feel like crap. But it's soooo good.
raskel first double post.
cloverbee--interesting regarding regulation, good to note. i have a really bad dairy protein allergy, so i can't eat any of that, but i do eat soy yogurt, and on occasion take probiotics if i'm really feeling outta whack. but i've heard a lot of other people like the activia, so it might be good for other peeps!

turbojenn--yeah, thanks for all the input! i actually have IBS, and food allergies... i'm not able to do cleanses because having an empty digestive system with my IBS is pretty much worse than eating a bucket of fried chicken. but i have already made a lot of dietary changes, done food journaling, and done a lot of work with an allergist, so that's pretty much taken care of.

pepper--i have read that about the honey, and eat a lot of local honey, but i don't know if it really makes a dent in my allergies or not, they are pretty strong (i think partly because i didn't grow up on the west coast, ever since i moved out here i've developed problems)

raskel--that's awesome that you eat so much organic stuff, i think i'm about 3/4 organic or so... re: the wheat allergy, some food allergies really can have that effect, it would be worthwile checking out! i've been on a gluten-free diet for the past 6 months (just starting to reincorporate it as we speak), and it's really not that bad. i can give you some pointers if you like!
Yea, any tips on how to cut wheat out of my diet would be awesome. Is it even healthy to cut that out? I know a lot of about food, but that I don't know..
now I want to get a juicer but I don't think I can afford it. I've been eating a lot of lentil soup lately and fresh and dried fruit. dried fruit has a LOT of added sugar, though. I usually eat three van's organic blueberry waffles w/ two morningstar veggie sausage patties for breakfast but I pour a ton of syrup on it and then I need a nap. blah! It's what I live for, though. I would like to cut out all the bread in my diet for once. I'm a huge bread fan. I ate a half of a large pizza last night (I know). anyway, I'm starting a new multivitamin in a couple of days and I'm also doing a yeast cleanse. has anyone done one of these? the ingredients are all natural. my mom says she thinks I have candidae since I crave carbs and bread. who knows. okay, end of rant.
oh, BTW, midge, I also have IBS (the kind w/ constipation). it sucks.
cloverbee--i used to be ibs-d, but now that i've cut out so many foods, it's usually just cramping and urgency. an improvement? i can't really say! it does suck, it's a constant struggle, but hey, what can you do but make the changes you can and deal with it?

i am on a yeast free diet as well (no yeast or fermented foods) because i have some kind of an allergy/intolerance to yeast. any little bit, and my body can't fight it--i cheat a lot eating vinegar, cause it's in everything, but i can definately feel it when i eat too much!

raskel--it's not unhealthy per se to cut out wheat, as long as you replace it with other stuff to keep your diet as balanced as possible. but unless you have an allergy/intolerance there isn't really any reason to cut it out. for some reason, some people get thinking that gluten is bad for you, but that's only true for people with gluten intolerance. cutting out refined flour and sugar on the other hand can be really beneficial whether or not you have an intolerance.

if you really think you have an allergy, i would suggest getting tested by an allergist, because cutting out wheat is a big sacrifice, and i'd want to make sure it was necessary! on the other hand, if you don't want to see an allergist, you can just try not eating (but you have to be strict!) it for a few months and see if it makes a difference, then slowly start eating it again, and see if you get sick.

if you just want to stop eating wheat, there are other breads you can have--spelt, rye, kamut, oat, rice, etc. and just read labels a lot, you will find (especially at health food stores) that there are plenty options for cookies, crackers, cereals, waffles, etc. that are wheat-free. if you are really craving something like pasta, you can try rice pasta, some brands are actually quite good once you get used to them. and you can make your own stuff by buying spelt, kamut, rice, potato, etc. flours and baking with them. plus, quinoa is an awesome multi-purpose food, you can use it in place of pasta, in casseroles, in cold salads (like tabouli)... i could go on, but if you have any specific questions on what brands of certain foods are the tastiest, or anything feel free to ask!
ps. cloverbee-- are you looking to cut out bread because of the yeast? there are a lot of great yeast-free/sourdough breads available!
midge - sounds like we are on very similar diets - yahoo! Its always nice to find others who eat like we do! I will say that eating a whole foods diet has gotten tremendously easier in the last couple of years, as there are tons of new products on the market for us. And I've even got a bakery nearby that has gluten-free tuesdays, where they make lots of yummy wheat free and yeast free breads and sweets. I'm not allergic to the yeasties though, just the wheat.

One thing I am thankful for with all of my allergies, is that it forces me to be a healthy person. When I misbehave, my body talks back...and really, I count that as a benefit, as it keeps me honest with my eating. I lost a lot of weight when I made the diet shift, and I've been able to keep most of it off 5yrs later, because I'm eating well and taking care of myself.

midge - what alt pasta products do you like? I've *just* started adding some alt grain pastas back into my diet, and I've found that I really like the spelt pastas from Vita-Spelt, but I haven't found any rice pastas that I like - they get a little gummy and stick in my teeth so bad!
one more thing about juicing. you can juice nearly all the parts of the fruit and veg that you cut out to throw away and you can so easily compost the pulp making for a NO garbage kitchen in a lot of ways. seriously, even in the city, take that pulp out in a little baggie and feed it to some poor hurtin' city bushes and trees when no one's looking.
broccoli stalks and apple cores (no seeds), veggies that are gonna turn if you don't use them right away, they are all great in juice. it doesn't take a lot and it doesn't have to be expensive. you can improve the flavour of anything with cucumber and apple mixed in too. and ginger ~ZING!~

my mom fed us tofu and buckwheat growing up so i'm naturally inclined to a healther diet. i abused my digestion though with irregular eating, chronic dehydration and lack of regular exercise and i have recurring bouts of ibs too. it really does suck, but it makes me pay attention to what i'm consuming and that's not all bad.
Ok, pepper, you've got me....I'll give juicing another shot....but seriously, cleaning that thing is a pain in the ass....good idea on the feeding the leftovers to bushes and plants...we've got a nice little community garden that could use it!
I've been reading a lot in another forum about natural treatments for depression and other stuff. Like, magnesium and tryptophan, and other nutrients and minerals. A lot of people are saying that depression can be cured by figuring out which vitamins to take.

What do people know about this? It makes some sense to me, but I just don't know enough, and the people on that forum that are into vitamins and stuff are kinda I need a better opinion.
Hee, maddy29, I always feel like crazy Tom Cruise when I talk about that topic :-)

I take a lot of B-complex and Vitamin D. My naturopath administers a vitamin D injection during the winter, like once or twice over 6 months. I also take fish oil and St.John's Wort and the amino acid L-Tyrosine, as well as calcium and magnesium in icky fizzy drink form. I have several food sensitivities that contributed, too. When I manage to go without eating wheat, egg whites, or dairy for any length of time, I do notice a difference in my mood. And then there's just the whole exercise like crazy thing.

Which isn't currently working for me, because I'm not doing it, because I slacked and got depressed again and I'm unmotivated. But based on last summer, when I was consistent with my diet, exercise, and supplements - I was not depressed for the first time since I was four. I had been on Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Celexa, and Zoloft from the time I was 12 until I stopped at 21.

I think if you can afford a wholistic-type doctor (my naturopath is also an internist, but she doesn't take insurance...) it can be worth it to explore food problems and vitamin deficiencies. I had almost no Vitamin D in my system the first time I had that tested.

Sorry for the ramble...time for lunch!
This is why I think I might have a problem with wheat...I woke up at 11:50 (hey, it's my day off) and ate 4 slices of whole grain wheat toast, and 40 minutes later, my eyes are watering and I'm so tired I'm considering a nap an hour after I woke up!!

I'm too lazy to get up to even take my plethora of vitamins. But yes, vitamins DO help with all sorts of things. You should always take 50% more than the recommended amounts of vitamins. I take all my vitamins, which are 100% daily dosage, and then I drink one of those Vitamin Water drinks with lunch. I drink the ones that have 50% of everything in them.

A really good multi vitamin, and a multi mineral are a good base. And if you don't know much about vitamins the waters help. You can just read the label and choose which one you feel like you need. They make them with vitamins specific to certain issues. There's one that's got all sorts of pre-natal vitamins in it, another for healthy skin, one for energy, etc. They have like 12-15 flavors. It's a good place to get your additional vitamins. The ingredients are just vitamins and water and they taste really good. I drink revive and focus all the time. I have a stock pile of vitamin water; 2 cupboards full.
hee, raskel, mr.luci is addicted to the vitamin c's like crack or something
yup, raskel, sounds like you have a wheat sensitivity...anything that makes you feel really heavy, sloth-like or affects your mucus production should really be examined. Do you generally wake up sort of puffy looking if you've eaten wheat/dairy the night before?

As for vitamins, I always make sure that the ones I take are directly derived from real food sources, nothing synthetic. I take MegaFoods Women's.

Turboman also enjoys the vitamin water...its way better than soda, that's for sure!
what is "vitamin water"? does it have a brand name? or IS that the brand name.... "Vitamin Water"
I have been lactose intolerant since I was a baby, so I don't think that I have an allergy to dairy. I consume organic dairy in small amounts every day to try to keep my body from reacting strongly if I eat pizza or something. I have a half a cup of milk every day, or a half a cup of cottage cheese, or yogurt. This seems to work pretty well for me.

I guess I have never paid attention to whether or not I wake up puffy. Plus any breads or pasta I tend to eat before 4pm. I think it's definitely something I should start paying more attention to. Would it work if I gave it up for a week or 2, then tried eating it again?
Voodoo, It's called Vitamin Water.

Sorry for the double post....

sure raskel, I'm sure you could cut the wheat out for a week or two, and see you feel, and then see how you feel when you eat it again. Things like thai rice noodles and spelt pastas are a good substitute, and if you bought some spelt or kamut bread as midge suggested, I bet you'd do just fine.

I think this time of year its much easier to notice your sensitivities because the weather is so wacky and mold and pollen counts are so high.

Oh, and I have to say, that a good soy cheese on pizza is really good, and I don't even notice the difference. In fact, I'm making pizza tonight - with a spelt, rice flour dough, and sauteed mushrooms, onions and asparagus. I can't wait!
WOW!Great idea for a thread.I think I might hang out here too.I love talking about alternative medicine!
okay busties, you all have just reminded me of my other problemo. I need to get off the Effexor. I've been on it for three years and it's time. But, I'm taking the capsules that you cannot cut in half so what to do? I need to start on a natural anti-anxiety medication. I know of one company that makes GABA (the neurotransmitter) and I was thinking of trying that or maybe just some nerve control which is another one that they make. anyway, first I need to get off the damned Effexor. It's time.
I luuuuurve this thread! My husbands great aunt is one of these old fashioned farmer type women who has a remedy for everything! I'll have to get her to start writing things down before she kicks the bucket! Hmmm how can I broach that subject!

It's really great if you go there and ask for tea she just pops out into the garden grabs some leaves and hey presto! And each time it's a slightly different flavour.

My husband is a coeliac, and I think it's a great idea to get tested if you have re-curring stomach problems. His doctor did tell us that it's not a good idea just to cut something out of your diet unless you really need to. My husband has to take special supplements now. There are sooo many other great grains out there like midgemcrath said. Manufacturers stuff everything with wheat flour, even some ketchup and mayo. One thing that made a huge difference for me was cutting out white bread. There's absolutely no goodness in it at all and much too much yeast. It can even make your feet smell if you eat too much of it. Now I eat the darkest bread I can find with 5 or 7 whole grains hmmm!
clover, is that a perscription? if it is could you ask your doc to lower the dosage or switch you to something milder?
yeah, I can't lower the dosage b/c I'm taking the capsules but I know it's going to be bad b/c even if I'm an hour late taking it I get the wierd head-lightening thing. if you've ever come off antidepressants you will know what I mean. I can't switch b/c it's a SSNRI and it affects norepinephrine. it's a different kind of antidepressant. I think I'm just going to skip a day here and there and see what happens. it could be bad.
thanks for the vitamin info! i'm in a rush now just wanted to say thanks. i feel like a crazy scientologist too:-)

clover-i've heard detoxing from effexor can be very very difficult, my dr. wanted to put me on it and i did a little web research and got scared. not to freak you out, but you might want to check beforeyou come off of it, like how the dr. thinks you should go off of it.
whoa, so much action on this thread!

turbojenn--my fave rice pasta is tinkyada brand brown rice pasta. i think it might be made in canada though, so i don't know if you'll be able to get it!

re: vitamins--while it is important to get enough, especially if you're on b.c. (you need extra B complex vitamins), it really isn't healthy to exceed the daily recommended doses. some of them will just get peed out if there's excess, but some can be really hard on your liver and kidneys to the point of causing kidney stones! not to scare people off of them, but just remember everything in moderation!

raskel--just cause you were lactose intolerant when you were younger doesn't mean you can't be allergic to dairy. i was lactose intolerant when i was younger, but developed an allergy to dairy that got worse and worse until about five years ago when it got so bad that my allergist told me i would just have to stop eating any dairy indefinately. it sounds like you probably have some various food intolerances and allergies, and it might be a lot easier and more effective if you got the help of an allergist or naturopath. it can be difficult when you have multiple allerties/intolerances to figure it out on your own!

cloverbee-you should absolutely consult your doctor about tapering off the effexor. it can be really horrible and even dangerous messing with stuff like that on your own. by all means, i support your desire to get off of it, but please do it safely so you don't have a really bad withdrawal and end up feeling even worse! btw. if you go to your doc, there is a good chance that they can prescribe a lower dose pill!
cloverbee--another caution on being very very very careful when going off the effexor. i had a lot of trouble going off of it until i did it incredibly gradually. i would open the capsule and just let a little bit into the trash, going in tiny increments everyday, or every couple of days. if you're not very careful about going off of it, the experience can be hell. i was talking to my doc but he didn't really have much useful to say about it so i did my own thing, much more gradually than he advised.
clover, so the doc can't lower the dosage? that seems weird, i mean how do they expect you to ever get off of it?
well, you can buy empty gelatin caps from the health food store. you could gently ease the two sides of your meds apart and reseal each end with the opposite end of an empty gel cap. voila and presto, custom made half doses! (or 2/3's in one cap, 1/3 in the other to help gradually ease off of them.) better than cold turkey for a day or two here and there. i think it might end up sending you into a total spin, i wouldn't do that myself.
i gave my bipolar dad an awsome book called depression free for life by dr gabriel cousens. it's all about how to seriously affect your mood through diet. i have heard great things about that, though not from my pops. he's addicted to cheese, meat, bread, and all manner of bad food stuffs.
annelise, can you really take the capsule apart and empty some out? i have asked my pharmacist and my doc and they both said that won't work. I will do it if it works but I've heard it doesn't. I'm so confused!!
clover - you can totally take capsules apart, you can even get a little pill cutter at the drug store if you can't get them apart on your own....the one thing to consider is whether the capsules you're taking is a time release capsule...if it is, you might want to talk to a pharmacist about coming off on your own. You might also consider getting some support with a good acupuncturist/herbalist. And pick up a bottle of Rescue Remedy too...I love that stuff - for me, and my pupper!

midge...I shall do my best to find that pasta - somewhere. We've got some great natural food shops here, so my chances are good.

Hey girls! Don't know if this applies, but I love gaba calm. It's a natural anti-anxiety lozenge that you can get from Whole Foods, or some such equvilent. I had speech class last semester and these things saved my ass. It's kinda like "I think I'm getting a little nervous, but I'm way too relaxed to bother with it." I've never been a big fan of meds, so it's nice to have an alternative. But, they can still be addictive like any anti-anxitey anything. Still nice for the occasional "I'm having a finals panic-attack" day.
wow cool, thaid. I need to get me some of that!
I haven't read this thread very thoroughly, but I strongly recommend Better Health through Natural Healing to anyone remotely interested in naturopathy and all that good stuff. It's seriously changed how I take care of myself. Example! Rather than treating a yeast infection with over-the-counter crap, just completely cut out sugar and carbs for a few days. What happens with a yeast infection is that naturally-occuring bacteria, candidas albicans I think it's called, go haywire. They survive off of sugar, so if you cut down your sugar intake, the yeast infection goes away. But yeah, the book's great.
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