The Way: Be Free

This is a blog I am writing to document my learning on the ways of fighting free radical damage specifically in the area of the mind. Having no formal medical training I am simply using information available to us all. In so doing I hope to further the advancement in the ways of prevention for free radical diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

A bit of my story. Memory science has always peaked my interest. Back in the eighties when very little was known about Alzheimer’s type dementia it was fascinating to me what Joan Minnenger had to say about the disease in her 1984 book Total Recall (one of the most popular books on memory of the time). She identified a loss of the substance choline from the brain in AD patients, many years before it was known for certain that the real effect of AD is to erode the very acetylcholine that is essential for neuron functioning.

In 2002 my father died with an acute form of AD, brought on by trauma to his brain.  The last time I saw him was 2001 at his care facility in San Bernadino, a long trip from my home in Northern Sonoma County. At this time my interest again was active in studying AD. Particularly because this acute form my dad suffered from is yet another realm of unknown within the AD spectrum. Still today there isn’t a clear understanding of how trauma affects the brain differently than non-trauma AD cases.

Now my mother is suffering from the Late Onset form of AD (LOAD) and I am her caretaker. My interest is reinvigorated to the max – so much so I need a place to write down what I’m learning – that’s where this blog comes in. With the hope that others may appreciate my task.

My mission is akin to many others certainly- although I do believe my task is limited by a force greater than Nature. Many people who encounter AD do so when their intellect has failed to the extent of eliminating their rational for understanding it. Perhaps this is by subconscious choice in some cases. My mom is a farm girl born and bred with a stubbornness that belongs in Ireland; though she’s not Irish she’s the most strong willed person I know.

What this means for her, taking pills, is so unreliable a way to medicate that it has to be basically ruled out. There’s no way to convince her that a daily regiment is necessary, nor will she take them on anybodies (including doctors) say so. She takes what she wants to take of normal good vitamins and supplements, I might get in one or two of what she really needs beyond that, but no more. Those are the parameters I have to work within. The ironic thing is that my mother has always had the ability to eat: anything. Raising five kids will do that to you apparently. So you will see on this blog how I have crafted food as her medication. It isn’t the most complete – but it is The Way – that makes it the best and it is effective.

I am a believer in Natural plant based medications only for this disease, all the best remedies for AD come from Nature. More than just a metaphor, on this blog you will find that flower power has a keen healing role against AD.

The pharmaceutical industry is so corrupt it cannot help many really. But in this case specifically you will see example of example of cases where drugs are being debunked (after billions in sales). Generic forms coming out at ten times the original strength to a massive protest from many consumer groups (because the side-effects from even the original dosage have not been completely identified). So if you feel like me that BigPharma can go take a flying leap and you want a totally alternative way to care for a person with AD, read on.

Most of you reading this know my mother Linda, you may know that her story has been fraught with loss, loss she’d just assume forget. There’s plenty of reasons in that loss, along with the technical reasons, for AD. She is not reading this beyond what I might show her of it.

I truly encourage people to add comments, if you do leave me a comment with a message to give to her I will, or if you want to make contact with her I will email you and try to arrange that as she doesn’t drive. I am a big believer in the concept in Zen Buddhism known as The Way, every post I put up here has some spiritual significances. You will get many opinions, many heartfelt pleas and a lot of Natural Medicine.

Please note as of March 2013 Linda’s phone has been disconnected. The number is now mine which is listed, otherwise just leave a comment below and I will email it to you.  Let me know ahead of time and I can likely make it happen.

The Way: Breads in pics

Breakfast! Has to be your favorite meal of the day — nothing less will do — for you need the most fuel first! For most of you a high carb breakfast is fine, so I’ll refer back to my Steel Cut Oats post for the makings. Here’s the breads in a finished form, if you’re not worried about carbs — which I wasn’t until it came to my attention — you start with the oats and then pack them with a grain like corn meal which makes a really nice finish:

veggiebreads0a

 

Now we’re onto low carb breakfasts all the time, using a lot more eggs, a lot less grains and potatoes, this is the ultimate method because I’ve figured out how to use primarily vegetables to sub for the grain ingredients and decrease the carbs by nearly whole measure. This also great because there’s no danger in pan frying them crispy! In the breakfast breads go beets, beet greens, kohlrabi, zucchini, carrots, chard or kale sometimes. Fruit is great, I use orange and carrot pulp, otherwise an apple cut up, and a few flame raisins are a must. These have the addition of prunes. If you are one of the lucky ones to have nuts, as we were given 50lbs of almonds, nut flour is incredible in these breads:BakedBreakfastBread

 

Onto the dinner hour. Cabbage veggie breads are the latest fad for me. Kohlrabi is good, beet greens, kale, chard basically any veggie that can be shredded or minced including leaves like spinach that can be added as well as onions which get added after. All the healing spices with the addition of fresh turmeric now:

CabbageVegBread

 

And here they are baked:
BakedVeggieBreads

 

In between times there’s one great frittata after another! Anytime meal, du jour! This one features the salmon I recently posted and some local goat cheese. These range from lasting between one and three days depending on how much I beef them up with veggies. The prettiest ones get scarfed down quite quickly:

FrittataSalmon

The Way: Salmon

I have finally figured out how to make lox! Only even better, with a whole fish. Smoked inside the woodstove. Brined thoroughly in sea and Himalyan salt, and the staple pomegranate vinegar. Now the woodstove smoking is amazing. I cooked a chicken in there and the meat was preserved in a soup in the fridge for over a month. More than that it’s clearly making more protein bio-available in this form. In two meals of about 2 cups of salmon total I am stuffed, no other method has given near that much protein. Those of you with good grills with a thick iron hood can do what I’m doing here. The salmon goes up on a V rack. I grilled the tail this morning in the stove, a quick brine and then grilled medium hot. Linda had a portion of egg and salmon minced kale frittata for breakfast and another for lunch. For dinner we had more minced kale sauttéd in the pomegranate vinegar with salmon of course. Ummhmmm good! SalmonWoodstoveSmoked

The Way: braised hot salad

Contrary to my experience all my life with raw salads I’m aware that there are people who won’t eat much of anything raw. Here where the greens are plentiful it’s most common to just see a big salad cold. Before I’ve detailed how Linda won’t each much fresh greens cold. Of late though I’ve been doing a little sardines with some tomatoes in the pan with my homemade mayo. Tonight a great addition became apple which Linda similarly is much more inclined to eat. I braised a little more shallots and arugula in with mine. Coconut oil added and topped with pomegranate vinegar, heated hot, tossed over a bowl of fresh greens. BraisedSalad

The Way: less carbs

If you take the title of this post as “the way less carbs… method” that’s the salient notion. After two days of an aggressively hyper-delusional state it was time to pull out all the stops to get Linda back to a happy norm. It really is incredible to even say that is the norm, as formerly that hyper-delusional unhappiness was a common part of daily life, I wrote about the “tough afternoons.” Fortunately that has been mitigated by majority. Similarly, the less that goes on the less I will tolerate of it, and thus seek more and more remedies, endlessly. Life is the proverbial bitch when she’s in that state.

That said there are times when all my remedies won’t work. There isn’t enough CBD oil at the price of the stuff ($60 for 15ml) to use it solely. So I’ve really focussed on cutting out carbs as this is one way that’s known to help with AD. Both my dinner and breakfast breads are down to very little carbs and mostly veggies. For instance the breakfast bread I made this morning uses zucchini, beet and greens, carrot, egg and coconut oil, thickened with a cup of cornmeal and xanthan gum, and it is delicious. One advantage of taking out the carbs is that I can get them crispy in the coconut oil pan baking on the woodstove.

Sum total the combination of methods worked fairly well. Noting that less carbs doesn’t mean no carbs, a banana and peanut butter – my childhood “candy bar” – is still on the table. Peanut butter is a relatively low carb food however.

To get into the science just a bit the salient point with carbs is that we can turn them into glucose and/or sugars to run the body basically. The brain needs more specific carbs to do this however, ketones, as they are known. Alternatively the brain can extract ketones from fats when carbs aren’t available. Enter coconut oil – with it’s ketone properties – a medium chain triglyceride that can substitute for the glucose the brain would otherwise use. For the healthy body’s use of carbs here’s a good explanation.

So with AD we know the brain loses the ability to use that glucose, thus the alternative method of converting fats into ketones is the only way to survive. In the last few days I’ve seen just why carbs can be so harmful if they are abundantly unprocessed in the body. Basically the brain’s inability to extract the glucose seems to send the body on an endless quest to do so, ultimately causing the body to attack it’s own tissues.

What I’ve seen with Linda is that when she has a very simple breakfast with almost no carbs, the ease at which she moves after is indicative of the lack of struggle within the body, and it’s that struggle that I know is primarily responsible for the delusions. Alternatively if there’s a lot of carbs in the meal she has more trouble in her movements, and in general, it leads to frustration, which leads to delusions.

Breakfast being close to midday this is the critical meal, as it is for everyone, but in Linda’s case it means a good dose of coconut oil, which there is in all my breads, and a low carb meal.

The Way: CBD

The top is popped, literally, on an 18:1 CBD/THC spray, and the results are nothing short of miraculous. To better understand the host of medical conditions this non-psychoactive part of Marijuana can remedy take a look at this SC labs chart. I am here to testify of the power against delusions. Delusions which ran so rampant and intense nothing else I tried could really offer any relief to the obvious pain and frustration Linda was feeling — and expressing — in whatever way her imagination divined to blame.

Consistently over the last four months — particularly for the first two — I administered doses of the CBD spray tincture, on various pieces of food such as inside a prune or on an apple. While the results weren’t always immediate, eventually the remedy took hold and the delusions calmed. Furthermore the repetition of delusions lessened, which is the whole key to stopping them in the first place.

CBD seems to break the chain reaction in the mind that spawns the delusions and diverts the mind — permanently in evidence — to a different course. I believe this is true to such an extent that this pattern of divergence, being a relief from that pain and frustration, is a learned function in the brain of even Linda with AD. In other words where once the mind finds a break, the body will lead back to that point again and again, infinitely perhaps.

Going back to the SC Labs chart you can see that THC is mainly good for pain remedy, and there’s no question it is. That said THC also produces an endorphin reaction otherwise known as getting high. Getting high inevitably means coming back down. Noteworthy that’s not the case with CBD, there’s no change in the mind from using it, only the body, indeed it actually sharpens mental focus by lessening the pain in the body, that includes pain in the mind. Now whether the high from THC is worth the come down, remains an open question in my mind. It is exactly that Aricept does, simply temporarily blocking the destruction of choline in the brain that cause a person to “be happy.” But the side-effects can be akin to coming off a high and feeling worse until the next dose. That would be my concern with THC as well, at least in strong dosages. That said there’s undoubtedly a way to similarly use a limited amount of THC as CBD to get the pain relief from it. This article makes that claim.

What I can say about Linda, is that her sixth sense is still functioning just fine, especially now that her whole rational existence is being processed by her subconscious. What that means in terms of using a remedy like this is that she’s able to recall it, and similarly anticipate, the calming reaction, even without the actual dosage. Enough that I have not had to use the tincture outside of once or twice in the last month.

So ask yourself, what is better, a drug like Aricept that only temporarily slows the destruction of the brain or one that teaches the brain to seek an alternative. The answer, with all pun intended, is a no brainer!  Meanwhile other avenues of interest pop up such as music, listening to all those 40’s hits, and getting a good dose of my drumming and strumming at night, music is a constant source of alternative entertainment. Also the animals, dog, cats, chickens, are a consistent source of interest for Linda. All of these interests she finds instead of the delusions which formerly were like clockwork, rampant in the afternoons, every day.

The Way: Proof

They say progress never comes without a great price, even writing this line a week ago has ushered more price, than the few serious injuries I had to heal to get to writing this. Another flu bug, ear infection, beaten, for both Linda and I, quite something to get through it over the course of 5 days. This time I had the addition of juniper berries to battle the flu, added to my veggie bread, post coming soon. Along with the staple pomegranate vinegar, star anise, thyme, asafoetida, garlic, onions. It is truly amazing how effective these spices can be. I drink the pomegranate vinegar daily with water and lemon, in a very small concentration, increased in times when there’s crud around. Also adding a star anise pod to that mix makes a very potent medicine. I would bet that a straight marinade of star anise and pomegranate vinegar is more powerful than any commercial flu remedy. Go further with a little thyme, juniper berries, garlic, onions, in the vinegar to make a great flu preventive, and a delicious salad dressing.

Now, onto the proof of symptom reversal. There’s one unanimous craving I’ve seen and read about with AD: sugar. It’s entirely logical that the missing ability to process glucose would make the body crave sugar, like the addict to the drug, it’s almost instinctual to know, to want that response from sugar. However, we also know that sugar does nothing but more damage as it just increases the addiction. I use the example of seeing my dad – fully debilitated – by the disease, when we brought him a birthday cake. Having never been one to like sugary foods, he devoured half of it just sitting there. If we had asked him what it was he wanted in that cake he wouldn’t have been able to even fathom the sugar.

Linda however has much more reticence of sugar, and we have a minuscule amount of sucrose sugar in our diet. If I give her something like a sweet date, or juice, she very much recognizes the sugar and will remark that it’s “very sweet.” That in itself is not remarkable, she’s not now and may never not be as bad as my dad was with his MTBI brain trauma, accelerated AD.

So the proof that her sugar craving is not absolute, in this case, is in the peanut butter. The price for peanut butter has limited my buying it for one thing, when I do it’s unsalted, only significant in that salt can be a craving as well obviously. So I did get the conventional TJ’s peanut butter again of late because it really does make a nice addition to things like yams, peanut butter and yam can be a meal. Now with this peanut butter in the fridge Linda was absolutely smitten with it. Extolling it with the highest praises, pulling it out herself to just eat it by the spoonful. Ironically PB is not bad at all in terms of carbs and sugars, the main problems with AD, obviously there’s reason to limit that intake somewhat for fats, so I do. The desire for this PB is so intense that she’s gone to the lengths of taking it out of the fridge and burying it elsewhere, where neither of us can find it (such is the case now but the PB was one a quite old one I found unopened). Before this jar I bought a tub of fresh grind mixed nut butter from Andy’s. Unlabeled on that tub was the presence of honey, in honey roasted peanuts. I noticed that extra sweetness right off, and as we went through the tub it became more obvious. To my taste it was delicious, I actually found it quite addicting, for the honey sweetness. I helped myself to it as I thought that Linda would find this mix so addicting as to crave it for the sugar.

What I found was quite the opposite, she liked the sweet mixed butter, but clearly not nearly as much as the unsweetened, unsalted. Clearly not as much as even I felt the craving. She wasn’t willing to pull it out of the fridge, didn’t covet it, didn’t laud it with nearly as many compliments. I was truly flabbergasted by this, tasting something addictively sweet to me, just about every example of such in cookies and candy that Linda has had, she’s been the same, but not this. She wants the raw protein rich peanut butter more. Noteworthy that although Linda does love these cookies, she won’t go so far as hunting them down and coveting them, so she doesn’t have the pure addiction.

Now the why, my theory on the coconut oil replacement, detailed previously on the blog, has been that if it supplants the glucose in the brain, then it should decrease the sugar, glucose craving, potentially in favor of the healthy protein want. Make no mistake that sugar craving is one of the worst facets of dealing with AD, it leads to mood instability, depression, lust, confusion, a lot of issues. The fact that Linda doesn’t have this craving for sugar over protein – now proven – is a huge piece of progress for us. It’s so palpable I would venture to say there was a time in the past where the sweeter nut butter mix would’ve been the preferred choice, now it’s not, because of the coconut oil.

One might even confer from this, that the craving for sugar, over protein, could be a major decline in the overall health and well being of the typical AD sufferer. If the person literally forgets about the need for protein in favor of the lust for sugar, it’s logical that could lead to major problems. Linda on the other hand eats very well, balanced meals, even getting a good amount of veggies in the bread, and that is where we leave off here, to be continued soon!

The Way: Rad Discovery

I am a fruit junkie, self confessed, through and through. I can eat myself way over what’s a good fructose limit of around 25g in a heartbeat if I don’t watch it. But here’s a very interesting factoid: coffee detoxes the liver of fructose, which is where the actual problem occurs, in the liver.

Ah, so it’s a little later in the evening, I’m still craving that sweet fruit, usually an apple. Tonight there was some spiced coffee (see the last post) left over. So I had my apple with the coffee and it was fantastic. Basically I drank the coffee first and then eat the apple.

Normally I never have caffeine with food as it does degrade the value you get from it but I had the thought in this case that the fructose detox might actually add to the flavor of the apple and indeed it did. For that much flavor increase I can’t believe there’s harm in it.

The Way: Spiced Coffee

Just a quick note to say a ton has happened including perfecting the veggie breads… wait for it! But have been trying cardamom in my coffee and it’s amazing, like an orange liqueur. So this gets me thinking, Linda’s biggest problem with coffee these days is the lack of sugar, it’s just defeatist to put sugar in it, though chocolate I will. But with spices, I could grind fennel seeds, one of the best for AD, and they are a delicious sweetener, so tomorrow she’ll have cardamom, fennel, coconut oil coffee! Back soon with more on the veggie breads.

The Way: Drum Good Vibrations

There is breaking news today that a certain type of ultra sound device is capable of breaking up the amyloid beta plaques in the brain. This could be a huge breakthrough in technology as INH has reported. I for one am inclined to believe it based on the evidence of how therapeutic music is for a person with AD. I can now go further in that statement to say the reaction to good music live is even more palpable.

At the show I produced in Santa Rosa there was a very poignant moment when I clasped a hand with Linda, my mother, and we felt the power of the young lady who was singing on the stage. We hadn’t exchanged that much camaraderie simply for the love, music in this case, in some time.

So as my style is constantly evolving with instruments I’ve come to realize I can wield my dumbek drum and the tenor banjo and play them both at the same time, quite something, that will be a lot more focus on my playing this way in the next show. Perhaps the reason can be seen tonight as I decided to test the ultra sound theory by playing in the dining room with the drum and banjo, much louder than the attic studio.

A remarkable thing happened as she started into the wall banging (with a plastic mop handle) and delusional talking. At one point I came to her room and asked her if she wanted me to go up to the attic. Instead she wanted me to come closer into her room and play, to spook the demons as it were. My hands are pretty skilled at manipulating the drum heads for analgesic purpose, I am currently remedying a very sore back from riding my bike too hard and straining the muscle. Playing this way is amazingly rehabilitating and quite lovely musically too. I am able to keep a melody and the drums at the same time which puts music out into the etherial dimension where a lot of things can happen at the same time.

So for a good many minutes I played the drums while she lay in bed until there was a calm brought about – that is my skill with the drum – until the tension level came back, all the way down from her delusions and pretty soon she was up and talking about happy memories. I first learned the humility in drumming it takes to issue a calm while working with a young man, severely disabled, mentally and physically, Jon was his name.

At 18 it was my fortune to be commissioned to work with this young man at his home near mine, in his garage. I had a real Djembe from the King’s carvers in Ghana, bought from my teacher, Kwaku Daddy, I brought a conga drum on a stand. It would become Jon’s quest to stand on a little stool, pound on the skin of the drum without hurting his hands, and make the sound, bass and open. During the first sessions Jon would get so frustrated he’d run back and slam his body full force into the house door from the garage, it was then I learned how to play in a super calm tone. As we progressed Jon progressed as a drummer. The exuberance in the moment he first learned to make true tones, enlightenment, for him, without question. For me it was a lesson in hubris, humility, and issuing calm with drum strokes, that means each finger. Each finger carries a weight with a drum and every stroke can change a person’s mind. I’m proud and so happy to say Jon is still alive and drumming today. This is now my quest with Linda, it is akin.

It’s no surprise to me how powerful the deep resonance of my dumbek drum is, near deaf people have told me they can feel the vibrations from that drum and hear it that way. It’s a similar process with Linda, it’s like getting through the obstacle of the surface conscious perception into the deeper area that hears and appreciates the music, calming the brain, this is proven. I will continue this playing for awhile into the future and observe how these night terror delusions might be tamed this way.

The Way: Rev-a-fucking-lation

Sorry for the complete loss of all pretense, typing this offline helps with such, but the coolest fucking thing ever happened tonight that must be shared. Someone, brought a retched sickness, flu likely, into our house. Having the go-to pomegranate vinegar ready to spring into action it was immediately in my drinking glass straight, probably more than a quarter cup down the hatch. The vinegar also helps to ascertain whether it’s head sickness or below, the pomegranate aids with the flu, the vinegar with the head colds, it stops head colds, period. As there was no nasal congestion I ascertained this was flu.

Before this sickness has manifested itself in Linda as a strongly negative delusion with the focus of her derision on me. As in tonight, “you stole…” Recognizing the bug as the culprit this time, the trap was sprung. Linda did her customary catatonic plunge, as she most often does to defeat sickness, quite successfully in fact, similarly if she’s bent on a delusion against me.

It had been a very warm day so the fire was down to just coals, this is a good way to uninvite the pestilent virus, allowing the heat to diminish in the house to the point where it seems it will get cold. With Linda in bed I got it going again, before it was even in flames there was strong smelling, Palo Santo wood, and Sage with Juniper burning, Juniper being a flu fighter. Smudging with that smoke is truly cleansing. I also use a golden seal and myrrh salve around the mouth nose and eyes.

Then I began to think about the flu fighting food that might be made up, here’s where things get a bit cosmic. See there was an ancient (best by 2008) bottle of horseradish mustard in the fridge, horseradish another flu fighter, organic, nothing but good ingredients including turmeric, in the days before things with just good ingredients that have nothing to do with grain would even think to print a “gluten free” label on it. Of course it was fine, stirred up and the liquid mixed back in without separation, indicating it was okay, separation would mean a new liquid had formed with bacteria and that would not be okay.

Part of the revelations of today involve the food I made for breakfast, finally hitting on an idea to mince veggies in a processor and then work them into food that way. So this morning it was a massive minced kale, onion, and carrot, chopped spinach and tomato, sort of an egg frittata/quiche, the latter being more my goal as it was thickened with corn meal. With smoked salmon, and some cheese, turmeric, fennel, coriander, black cumin, and pepper. It baked on the woodstove quite well, I would’ve needed a lot more eggs to get it to set like quiche, but it’s a much heartier veggie dish and quite tasty. I will flesh this idea out in future meals and try to get a set quiche.

Fast forward to dinner hour tonight a little later 7 O’clock, a very light, sometimes nonexistent, meal for us. For Linda it had already been two meals of the breakfast, a better amount of green veggies overall than most days now.  But I needed some food quick as she bolted up from the bed – to my surprise completely oppositely pleasant in her demeanor toward me – seemingly hungry and I immediately got her juice (apple juice and water with Natures Answer resveratrol on the supplements list) and added pomegranate vinegar, as much as she’ll drink, which is a low concentration, but ever little bit helps. Reenter the horseradish mustard, plus fresh pomegranate seeds, the big time flu fighter star anise, added an egg and, magic! A flu fighting, healing dinner was served, she eat a good portion and drank the same.

My meal was different, a new idea, lentils in a sauce made with minced beat greens and chard, chopped tomato, prunes a lot of spinach… to which the same flu fighters were added, delicious is that dish, by the way, lentils floating in the sauce. Tonight I added a little mango. An entirely separate issue which everyone should be aware of is a fructose limit (scroll to the bottom of the page for a chart of common fruit sugar totals) on the day, this will get a separate blog post as counting sugars this way has become a daily observation for me for sometime now.

What I’ve figured out is that I can tell when my fruit eating is close to the ~25g limit, most days I get at least six servings, but it’s hard to get more that is very true. Dried prunes are ideal and very necessary, they have 1.2g of fructose each, about 8 makes a half cup, which doubled for the dry equals 2 servings of fruit. Any fruit that can give you 1 cup, 2 servings in 10g of sugar is worth it basically. Anyway, in the course of my meal tonight I came to the end and had a few pieces of cut up mango and two prunes left. I knew only one of those three fruit pieces could be eaten without going over my limit, so just one prune went down the hatch!

Now the fire’s a purring, and if Linda doesn’t get up until 2 O’clock tomorrow afternoon it’s okay. If she has an incontinent incident, it’s okay again, she needs a shower anyway and this is enough reason to make it happen, so c’est la vie. This is, The Way, I speak of in every one of these posts, it truly is as we are intended to be, living lives with the hands shaping the way we encounter what is given within our lives.

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