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I couldn’t think of anything except some of the odder things related to health maintenance that have come to my attention over the years.  I do realize that allergies are a serious consideration for many people, but here goes ….

I used to be on lots of peculiar mailing lists.  I got newsletters for years about lots of different things, including a few that addressed health matters.  There are only a couple of items I remember from them, actually.

I remember one suggestion because I have a mild case of gastric reflux and I use it.  When I feel heartburn coming on, I eat a small raw potato (1 inch to 1-1/2 inch diameter).  I do not know why, but it gets rid of the heartburn pretty quickly.  I recommend Yukon Golds – they are pretty easy to find in a suitable size and they taste as good raw as cooked.  A piece of a larger potato would also work.  I’m told it has something to do with the enzymes in potatoes – I wouldn’t know about that, but it works very well indeed for me.

I also remember a recommendation for people with restless leg syndrome to put a bar of soap under the sheets at the foot of the bed.  I don’t think the article said anything about wrapped or unwrapped, and I’ve never tried it – I don’t actually have restless leg syndrome.  I only remember this tip because my legs do jerk me awake every six to eight months or so.

Something recent (at least in coming to my attention) that I am using for myself is that cinnamon is good for optimizing blood sugar levels.  In doing research on the subject, I discovered that both true cinnamon (Ceylon) and cassia cinnamon are close relatives and are both good for the same things.  However, it is recommended that if you use cassia (which is more common and therefore cheaper), adults should use no more than 1/2 teaspoon a day.  It seems that Coumadin is a component of cinnamon, and there is a lot more of it in cassia than in Ceylon.  Natural blood thinners can be a good thing for a great many people, but not in massive amounts.  I recommend buying from Penzey’s Spices – their prices are pretty good and their quality is excellent.

And then there’s apple cider vinegar.  I have no idea how accurate the health benefit claims for it are, but I like Bragg’s.  I found out several years back that I actually enjoy adding it to water.  I have a 20-ounce cup that I drink water from at home, and in summer I like to put an ounce of apple cider vinegar in it and fill it with cold water (no ice).  It makes the water taste a little sour and a bit fizzy.  I like it that way, but honey or maple syrup to taste would also be good if sour doesn’t work for you.  Either way, it’s very refreshing on a hot summer day.

My chiropractor (after doing this herself - she says she's no longer wandering around in a fog) recommended I start using coconut oil to cook with – or just eat some – and that I should try to get up to 3 tablespoons a day.  I have no problem with coconut, but oily is something else again.  I discovered that I (who have never been able to stand butter sauces) like frozen mixed vegetables fried up in about a tablespoon of coconut oil.  I eat this fairly often for breakfast, and sometimes for dinner.  When I want to get fancy, I toss in some beaten egg and seasonings, bake it for about 25 or 30 minutes, and call it a frittata.  It's done wonders for my skin.  My niece, who has MS, has started using coconut oil for cooking - all I know about it is a comment on Facebook that her family didn't even notice the change.  I suspect one of the medical team dealing with her suggested it, and probably because it's got fatty acids that are good for nerve function - which it does, if I was reading what I found correctly.

For cooking, I use olive oil and coconut oil.  Translating recipes is easy enough – if you want to use an oil in place of a solid fat, use 3/4 the amount of oil as the recipe calls for in shortening. About the only thing that isn't pretty much perfect that way is standard pie crust.

And one final thing.  I ran across a diet book in the library years back (no I don't remember the title) that, aside from the basics, recommended something to cut snacking to a minimum.  At least an hour after one meal and at least an hour before the next, drink a glass of water with one tablespoon of sugar dissolved in it, all of it within about 20 minutes.  The claim was that, if no other flavor is involved at the time, the brain processes sweet differently.  For obvious reasons, this probably won't be useful for everybody - and I use a lot more water than the book called for since I'm not much for sweet.  But it killed my chocolate doughnut habit dead. (Yes, I do make the frequent exception for chocolate.)  I still do it occasionally - three sugar cubes in 20 ounces of water works really well to kill my appetite for a few hours, and helps keep me hydrated as well.

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