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Monday, August 2, 2010

Are You Lacking Vitamin "S"?

Two evenings ago after writing about my remarkable experience in Asbury Park, NJ... I settled in next to Franks and a couple of dogs for a long summer's nap. The fan blew... the curtains waved, the dogs snored... and
I stared at a windchime dance on the ceiling, feeling the pollywog swim about in my growing belly. It was all very pleasant until the cramps kicked in - and I mean cramps. They came on like a wave, and settled in like they were staying for a while. I snuck to the refrigerator for a gulp of Pedialyte, thinking perhaps it was just a dehydration issue, to no avail. I curled up on the couch and took deep breaths and surmised after analyzing the aches that it was...alas...intestinal pain. Not pleasant, but more welcome than an unhappy pollywog issue. Ugggh. I wasn't aware at that point that this "episode" of extreme unpleasantness would lead to 24 hours of complete exhaustion; dry heaves coupled with a sore throat/headache and a cough that required major kegels and/or an adult diaper. I had officially caught a tenacious, gratefully fast-slithering bug; a germ-infested intestinal millipede of sorts.

So here is where the Vitamin "S," comes in; the kind respite in my otherwise ill-fated evening. Before the diabolical storm set in and I was mearly awake with stomach cramps, settled slightly with some San Pellegrino, I decided to raid the cabinet for something sweet, thinking that is the only thing that I hadn't ingested as of late. The pollywog kept waving a chocolate flag in my mind and EUREKA! I found the mother load; hidden between a loaf of bread and a bag of tostado chips was a half-eaten package of Oreo Double Stuff... a VERY rare find in my household. While other children brought Devil Dogs and Twinkies to school for snack time as a child, my exotic sweet treat consisted of carrots with peanut butter and a handful of raisins. Catch my drift?

So in the darkness of the kitchen, the pollywog and I sat down with a monstrous glass of cold milk and half a package of Oreos and had a midnight, achy stomach suoiree; it was heaven. And the most remarkable part, within minutes my belly was sated, the cramps were gone, and the pollywog and I climbed comfortably into bed and slept soundly... until the intestinal storm set in, a few hours later. But in the interim, it was blissful and I can only attribute it to one thing; I must have been deficient in Vitamin "S," (sugar).

Post intestinal mayhem, I decided to research the medical benefits of sugar, to justify my theory that the half a package of Oreos really DID help my stomach cramps. As you have guessed, there are no medical journals to speak of that claim that my theory is beneficial to your health. Boo hiss. I thought I was on to something. But in my reading,
I did find some interesting facts about Vitamin S that may interest you, and assist you. The combination of Ginger and Honey or Raw, unprocessed sugar (never the white stuff or artificial sweeteners -bad bad bad for you) is remarkably good for an upset tummy, caused by indigestion, pregnancy, stress, anxiety, etc.

An article written by Jennifer Brett, N.D. for Discovery Health outlines the benefits of Ginger as follows:

Ginger is high in volatile oils, also known as essential oils. Volatile oils are the aromatic part of the plants that lend the flavor and aroma we associate with most culinary herbs. They are called "volatile" because as unstable molecules, they are given off freely into the atmosphere. But ginger isn't just a tasty meal addition. Its root is a popular herbal remedy for easing upset stomachs, bloating and more.

Uses for Ginger

Ginger root is effective in reducing nausea and also may be useful in reducing the pain, stiffness, and immobility of arthritis. Dosages of approximately 3 or 4 grams of ginger powder daily appear most effective for long-standing arthritis. But powder may not be the only effective form of ginger root: One study demonstrated a response from the ingestion of lightly cooked ginger.

Ginger has also has a long history of use as an antinausea herb recommended for morning sickness, motion sickness, and nausea that accompanies gastroenteritis (more commonly called stomach flu). As a stomach-calming agent, ginger also reduces gas, bloating, and indigestion, and aids in the body's use and absorption of other nutrients and medicines. It is also a valuable deterrent to intestinal worms, particularly roundworms.

Ginger may even improve some cases of constant severe dizziness and vertigo. It may also be useful for some migraine headaches. Ginger also prevents platelets from clumping together in the bloodstream. This serves to thin the blood and reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots.

A warming herb, ginger can promote perspiration when ingested in large amounts. It stimulates circulation, particularly in the abdominal and pelvic regions, and occasionally can promote menstrual flow. If you are often cold, you can use warm ginger to help raise your body temperature. When used topically, ginger stimulates circulation in the skin, and the volatile oils travel into underlying tissues.

Try ginger root poultices on the chest for lung congestion or on the abdomen for gas and nausea. Powdered ginger and essential oils are the strongest form of ginger for topical use.

As with anything else, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION (even Oreos... I guess).

I will leave you with a delicious recipe that I have been sipping on as of late, which includes Vitamin S... if you are deficient.I got the resipe from a terrific website that you should check out!

Ginger tea recipe
1-2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
2 cups water
Herbal tea leaves (chamomile and peppermint combine well with ginger)

Put the ginger and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Add herbal tea (if desired).
Cover with a lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Sweeten with honey and/or raw, unprocessed sugar (if desired.)
Strain and drink, cold or hot.

( As with everything...) Cautions -
It is possible to have an allergic reaction to ginger, so increase your servings or dosages gradually.
Use only in low doses during pregnancy and check with your medical practitioner before using ginger.
If you are taking anti-coagulant (anti-clotting) medications, do not take ginger without your doctor’s permission.

Sip 'till Your Heart's Content -
Amanda xo

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