5.09.2009

Elderberry Juice

So many things have been conspiring this year to keep me out of the garden. The weather has been very cool and wet, or hot and wet. It has rained (or snowed) at least once every single weekend since early March. Wet clay soil, such as we have here, is Not Fun to dig in. Then there has been the health matter. When I got that nasty flu at the beginning of March, not only did it take a couple of weeks to start recovering, but I think it re-activated the Epstein-Barre virus that I contracted about 20 years ago. So for the past month, I have been having low-grade fever, body aches, headaches and a lot of fatigue. It also gave me a lot of mental fuzziness. Whatever energy I did have was getting depleted by work. So I haven't been able to do much of anything.

Last weekend I went to my local Whole Foods to re-stock my supply of vitamins and other supplements and while I was there, a man who has a small company that produces elderberry concentrate was there giving out samples. I am always game to try something new. It sort of tastes like strong, unsweetened cranberry juice, so I wasn't impressed. That is until I found out that native Americans have used elderberries for hundreds of years because they have so many health benefits. One of those benefits happens to be strong anti-viral properties. Hmmmm, since the epstein-Barre wasn't getting any better with my usual regimen, why not try it?

So I did and after 3 days of taking a tablespoon in a glass of pomegranate juice, twice daily, I woke up in the morning alert and full of energy. I'm almost back to feeling like myself again. You can read more about the healing properties of elderberries
here.

I also have had elevated blood pressure on and off for the past year or more (hereditary as well as since I started taking hormones for perimenopause). I've been monitoring it daily, and the numbers have dropped by 10 points (systolic) and 3-4 points disystolic. When I saw my doctor yesterday, she wasn't convinced that this was good enough and really wanted me to start taking Bp meds. Since my sister is going through the same stuff right now, and has had a bad reaction to 3 different bp drugs, I am opposed to going this route without trying a natural approach first.

I already eat a pretty healthy diet, low in fat and sodium, so I can't change much there. But there are some supplements I can start taking and there is one big difference I think I can make, and that is excersise. I used to work out 3 times/week regularly, then about 5 years ago, I had a bulging disk in my lower back that caused me to have foot drop as well as lots of pain. I was determined to avoid surgery, so had aggressive physical therapy and was healed in about 3 months. But at that point, I didn't go back to working out, mostly because we had started builing our house about that time and starting a private practice and literally didn't have a spare minute in the day. When the house was finished, and the practice up and running, I had taken up knitting. And honestly, for me, working out doesn't even have a chance when it comes to how I spend my free time! I did try to figure out a way last year to knit while using the treadmill, but the normally knitting-supportive Mr. C put his foot down.

So this means that, with the exception of taking the dogs on a 1 mile walk about once a week, the most excersis I was getting came from either gardening or walking through a parking lot. Therefore, I think that if I start working out again, keep my sodium intake under 2000 g/day and keep drinking the elderberry concoction that I can get my bp into a healthier range. My doctor has given me 3 months. Once she said that, it turned this into a challenge - she doesn't think I can do it...and I am determined to show her I can.

I started researching my options. We have a workout room in our house, with a treadmill, 2 other evil pieces of equipment that I am not coordinated enough to use, free weights and an exersise ball. It's a nice room, filled with light and there are no current foster babies taking up any space in there. No Excuses. However, I do bet
ter working out with people, but I won't go anyplace if it's not convenient, so I am checking out Jazzercise (which I have done in the past), Pilates and yoga classes. Until then, I'm going to walk on the trail near our house or use the treadmill. And since this is the first weekend without the threat of rain, I'll be gardening like a maniac.

1 comment:

Channon said...

Sounds like a plan! I'm trying to walk for 15 minutes every other day - without my chiropractor's blessings, but I HAVE to do something. I also need sleep, but between the Knight's late hours and Gretchen's determination to get ME up before 7am.