Life Hack: Relief for Gout and Arthritis

The_gout_james_gillrayAll of the male members of my family have been riddled with the gout since I can remember. My grandfather used to get it in his knee and my dad would get it in his big toe on his right foot. As for me, my flare ups come in three toes on my left foot and in my ankle on the spot where I broke it many years ago. If you have never had experienced the gout or don’t know what it is; the gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis and the attacks typically pop up within a twelve hour period. The gout is caused by an elevated level of uric acid in the blood which causes the uric acid to crystalize inside of joints, tendons and surrounding tissue. This pain is literally as bad as it sounds and 1-2% of the Western population has had or will experience the gout during their life. Medicines (anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine, and steroids) have been used to lower uric acid levels in recent years and even a change in your diet can help reduce uric acid levels; but food only accounts for 60% of the outbreaks that will happen to a person suffering from gout.

Regretfully the gout medications are expensive and I had to give up my prescription to Uloric (a prescription gout medication) because even with my deductible, the price had risen to well over $150 per month. I could of course order the pills from Canada at a lower price but I would still be spending around $65 a month for 30 pills. So I looked into the world of natural cures and with help from The Vitamin Shoppe, I found a life hack that is quite literally improving my quality of life. In my research, I found that coffee, vitamin C and low fat dairy products help reduce the risk of a gout outbreak while the consumption of alcohol, soft drinks, red meat and seafood increases the risk. Some key ingredients that work to reduce uric acid levels and help with inflammation are Cherry juice, turmeric and ginger. Along with drinking Pineapple Juice (pineapples are a great source of vitamin C and have anti-inflammatory properties), I created a concoction that isn’t the greatest tasting thing in the world…but I can guarantee you that it works for us. The Dynamic Health company actually has created a Tart Cherry, Turmeric, and Ginger Tonic that is available at The Vitamin Shoppe. I simply take the suggested dose of tonic and add in my preferred level of Pineapple Juice and there you have it: The Deflator (get it…cause gout and arthritis form inflammation…anyways).

tonic and juiceI woke up the first morning after taking it and my pain had subsided overnight. It was still tender but I was at least 90% better. I am still taking the mixture days later and am actually feeling better. My wife heard me talking about how good I felt and how that I was able to move the joints in my big toe like I had not been able to in years; and she was curious if it would work for her arthritis in her back. Well she took it and the next morning she woke up for the first time in years without pain.  Daniel, my son plays full contact football and his back was strained the other day…we gave him some of the tonic and he woke up feeling great. I can’t guarantee that this will work for you because I am not a doctor…but I can guarantee that it has worked/is working for my family. I want to tell everyone that I can about what appears to be a miracle cure for us.

braggsI will also be reintroducing Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar into my every day routine. It is very good for the treatment of gout because the apple cider vinegar moves the pH scale towards alkalinity and therefore, reduced the gout symptoms. I just take it straight like a shot of whiskey but you can dilute it in a cup of warm water or mix 2 tbsp of it with honey.

These suggestions are completely up to you but I could not urge you any harder to please at least try these remedies if you suffer from the gout or arthritis.

 


Images:

The Gout by James Gillray. Published May 14th 1799. Via copy at [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3796712

Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, Fair Use.

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Structures of Fengshui

Golden Dragon

Most Americans and the select inhabitants of larger cities from around the world have seen the quintessential ‘Chinese takeout/buffet’. Most of us have one or two in our towns or in our neighborhoods. If you live in a larger city, you probably can smell the soy sauce laced smoke bellowing from exhaust pipes because it is more than likely within walking distance of your apartment. We walk in and order the chicken wings or that shrimp fried rice that you’ve been craving. You grab the soy sauce packets that end up littering your counter at your house and relish at the sound of the crack as you pull your chop sticks apart. But what about the facade? What about the mass-produced mock-Asian architecture that adorns the walls of our local Chinese restaurant? Do we notice the 6 foot high foo dog statue that wards off evil spirits from the Imperial Chinese Buffet? What about the elegant golden dragon that slinks his way up the colossal columns that adorn the entrance way?

Is our stomach so harmonized to the MSG laced food that an an invisible fengshui-esque force metaphorically draws us auspiciously to the food sitting in the pans that sit just above the water boiling beneath the buffet; or is it the seasoned wok being tolled back and forth over the flowering flame that is stir frying seasoned meats and vegetables that draws us in? Are we so caught up with our lives that even the architectural structure that was meticulously nominated by many a worried owner is now inconsequential to busy bystanders? Sadly it’s not just the adorned Chinese buffets that we miss. We truly are a generation that has forgotten to stop and smell the roses; or elevate our eyes to find the most minute bit of beauty in the Asian architecture outside of the local Chinese buffet.

The Attack of Red Beard

Circassian_princeEven though beards have been a staple in many cultures and have been a fashion statement for thousands of years…beards are in baby! They are literally everywhere and are more socially acceptable now than they ever have been. Beards are for men what mascara is for women. It is the lipstick for that weak chin, scrawny neck, and/or mask for that baby face. An internal study done by a group of psychologists have found that women found men with stubble the most attractive and preferred a man with facial hair as both short and long-term Clint_Eastwood_-_1960srelationships. Though women might find stubble the most attractive over full baby faced or a full beard; women perceived men with full beards as ‘the most masculine, aggressive, and socially mature’. The only downfall to this is that women found these men to look older than they actually were. If you can grow a beautiful beard; there could be another potential downfall to your beard: the dreaded red beard.

Kristofer_Hivju_(Cropped,_2015)I have been a strawberry blonde my entire life; and despite the fact that the famous warm reddish blonde hue being a trendy hair color, I haven’t always been truly fond of my hair color. Statistically speaking, 1 in every 4 children will be a red-head so I don’t feel completely out of place but red heads, just like blondes and brunettes, have many varying shades and tones that can vary from person to person. The strawberry blonde shade may share similar genetic make-up with its ‘ginger’ brethren but it is different. (Much like a ‘dirty blonde’ is different from a ‘platinum blonde’.) When I decided to grow out my beard, Daniel pointed out one day that the bristles descending from my cheeks and chin were bright red and my hair was a completely different color. I of course grew self-conscious of this and thought about cutting it off; but as the beard grew on me (both literally and figuratively), I started noticing that I was not the only man that was sporting a red beard without being  ginger up top. So what’s up with that?!?

To explain it, we have to remember that from a genetics point-of-view, that just like everything else that has to do with the human DNA code…the color of your hair is extremely complex. Most of us know about the X and Y chromosomes that are passed down from parents to their children but genetically, hair color is known as a ‘incomplete dominant hereditary trait’. This means that one specific hereditary gene will not be dominant over the other. Hair color (as well as other hereditary traits) is not just inherited from your parents but from grandparents or ancestors from even earlier. For someone to have red hair, biological studies indicate that the hair color is caused by the mc1rMC1R (Melanocortin 1 Receptor). The hair color is caused by the melanin and produces cells known as melanocytes. The melanocytes produce either eumelanin (darker hair) or pheomelanin (a reddish pigment). The combonation of these two melanins gives us the different tones that we have in our hair. Since genes aren’t complicated enough, if you have two of these MC1R genes in your DNA, then your red hair is going to pop up in a really unexpected place. If you are a man, this mostly occurs in your facial hair. So basically that means that even if your gene code signals that your family’s dominant brown hair to show up on your head; the gene for red hair may still pop up in your genetic code in the hairs of your chinny chin chin. That’s a really complex way of saying that even if you are a brunette you could possibly have a red beard. It basically says that at some point in your family’s lineage, someone had red hair. So don’t be upset with your mom if you have a red beard; blame your dad’s great-great-great-great-grandpa Benedict from Ireland.

But don’t let the fear of having a red-hued whiskers scare you; everyone loves the ginger beard. I do suggest that if you plan on growing out your beard that you make sure that you use the proper beard care products (beard shampoo, beard butter, or beard oil) and making sure that you check your beard for food after you eat is far more important than the hue of the whiskers. Having a beard is a big responsibility and the thing that is growing doesn’t mean that you can just ostentatiously grow hair. You still need to shave your neck, trim your beard and make sure that you check for other unsightly facial hair (unibrow, nose, and ear hair). As I said, a beard is the best that you can do to accessorize your face. Unless you want to get a tribal tattoo like Mike Tyson…but let’s hope you never get drunk enough to think that that is a good idea. 🙂

Mike_Tyson


 

Research Information: 
  1. “What the hair is” – thehistoryofthehairsworld.com/what_the_hair_is.html
  2. “Why do so many men have red beards but not red hair?” by  Adriaan Schiphorst – https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-do-so-many-men-have-red-beards-but-not-red-hair
Images:
  1. Portrait of Seferbiy Zanoko (Circassian aristocrat, diplomat, and military leader) image by and attributed to Miner Kilbourne Kellogg – 1845 periodical, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50949064
  2. Clint Eastwood image by and attributed to movie studio – eBay, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25888150
  3. Kristofer Hivju image by and attributed to Patrik Nygren – https://www.flickr.com/photos/lattefarsan/15752636034/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38684458
  4. MC1R hair image attributed to thehistoryofthehairsworld.com – thehistoryofthehairsworld.com/mc1r.jpg
  5. Michael C. Hall on the Red Carpet image attributed to dexterdaily.com – http://www.dexterdaily.com/2011/01/more-photos-dexter-crew-on-red-carpet.html
  6. Michael Fassbender at San Diego Comic Con image by and attributed to Gage Skidmore – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/19572158998/in/photolist, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41700275
  7. Mike Tyson in the ring in Las Vegas (circa 2006) image by and attributed to Octal@Flickr – http://www.flickr.com, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1836907

 

The Juiced Hypochondriac

1200px-a_hypochondriac_surrounded_by_doleful_spectres-_coloured_etc_wellcome_v0011981I know that I can’t be the only one who is a closet hypochondriac. I know that I can’t be the only one who has swam through page after page of diagnoses on WebMD. I know that I can’t be the only one who has diagnosed themselves with some life altering or life ending disease based on a few similar symptoms even though a medical diagnosis has proved that you do not have said disease or disorder. Okay; so, maybe I don’t take it that far (all of the time), but you get the picture. You can spend an hour on WebMD and end up thinking that you have a rare form of cancer because you initially searched for reasons your hands are itching.

640px-orange_frucht_fruit_cyprus_pict8063I understand that not everyone has the urge to think the worst of any medical problems that they may be having, but almost everyone has wondered what that rash is or what could help them get more Vitamin D into their diet. My curiosity occurred after I had been craving oranges. Not a glass of orange juice but the fruit itself. A craving that worsened after I got done at the gym. So of course, the little hypochondriac demon on my shoulder kept screaming that there could be some medical explanation as to why my body was craving that citrus goodness after lifting all of those heavy weights. So I just had to find out. So…why am I craving an orange after deadlifting?

A quick Google search later led to 30 minutes of scrolling and clicking. From Vitamin C deficiencies  to the reason behind post-exercise cravings, I guess I got my explanation. Did it make me feel better? A little. Did it give me a reason why my body craved oranges after 640px-deadlift_gripthe euphoric release of adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin caused by rigorous workouts? Yep. Your body over time has an increased level of cortisol cause by the intense workouts and in the long run can do damage to your body. So to combat that, our body utilizes Vitamin C supplementation to minimize the damaging effects of excess cortisol. I guess you can say that our bodies are speaking to you…so we need to learn to listen.

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“The Hypochondriac” photo accredited to http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/4b/2c/d135edfd93521a4825f6b50193ac.jpg, Gallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0011981.html, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36465481

“Orange Frucht Fruit Cyprus” photo accredited to and by JanRehschuh – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14696583

“Deadlift Grip” photo accredited to and by U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Lenhardt – http://www.incirlik.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/2012/11/121114-F-BS505-541.JPG, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26447681

 

Life Hack: Car Headlight Restoration

If you’re like me and your finances force you to keep a vehicle for long enough that you have to do more than the normal amounts of maintenance and repairs, then this life hack is for you. Sometimes, cosmetically, your aging car needs some TLC. This was literally shown to me before my very eyes the other night when I was driving my 2006 Honda Ridgeline. I was driving back home the other night when my wife asked if I had my headlights on, to which I honestly had to check and make sure. My lights were on but my headlights were so dim that it appeared that they were not.

I walked outside the next morning and found the reason that my headlights were so dim. img_1627The headlight was old and dull. It looked like someone had taken sandpaper and scratched up the whole thing. Over the years of being a car guy, I knew that they made headlight restoration kits and while I was in O’Reilly Auto Parts buying parts, I decided to check out the ‘kit’. The kit that they were selling, need I say ‘minimal’ and definitely not worth the $9.99 price tag. (Besides the negative reviews that I read about the product online.) So I decided to do a little DIY investigation. Turns out the more expensive kits have an abrasive compound and something to apply it with. My wife and I pretty much simultaneously thought, ‘abrasive material = toothpaste’ and what better applicator than an abrasive dish towel and elbow grease.

So I went to the dollar store and purchased a $1 tube of Crest toothpaste and a $1 pack of dish cloths. I brought a galloon of water to help rinse everything off. to make a long story short, after a minute and a half of scrubbing the headlights with the toothpaste, the headlights look good as new. So save your  money and use a little bit of elbow grease and $2’s worth of items and you’ll improve the appearance of your ride by 1000%.

Manic Monday and Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Top 10 Most Common Annoyances/Pet Peeves

So the other day I was reading the incredibly popular and inspiring information website Huffington Post and found an article that they had published on a topic that hits close to home for me: Pet Peeves. We all know that I have an affinity for writing about them: Here, here, and here are some examples. The article from Huffington Post showcases a chosen 76 Incredibly Accurate Pet Peeves That Will Drive. You. Nuts. After reading this article, I realized that not only do I feel good about the particular Pet Peeves that I have; but I’m pretty sure that 75% of the population is walking around with a vein popping out of their forehead due to the stress that is being inflicted by our pet peeves. So to make the people afflicted by these pet peeves feel less alone (and the fact that I guess I’m addicted to making Top Ten lists), I’m reviewing this article and integrating two of my blog types. So here are my Top Ten Pet Peeves that are Guaranteed to Drive You Nuts! 

10. When you let a car cut in front of you and they DON’T WAVE TO THANK YOU!!!! Same goes to you ‘Ms. I stopped at the cross walk even though I didn’t have to so you could walk across the road at the mall/Walmart’.

9. People who talk over you when you’re clearly still in the middle of a sentence.

8. Slow drivers who stay in the ‘fast lane’ and don’t allow you to go past them. This also goes for groups of people or people in general who walk slowly or stop suddenly in the middle of a sidewalk or aisle. MOVE!

7. People who constantly say ‘no offense’ as if it takes away from the extremely mean thing that you just said!

6. Strangers who listen to their music through the phone’s speaker, instead of headphones.

5. People who purposely use bad grammar and do not correct their spelling.

4. People who don’t cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.

3. People who smoke cigarettes or use electronic cigarettes around non-smoking. And your e-cigarette or ‘vape’ is still smoking. Smoking is smoking.

2. People who scuff their feet as they walk down the street, especially if they’re wearing flip flops, boots or UGGs. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

  1. Loud chewing, or people chewing with their mouths open. This also covers people who chew gum loudly and attempt to blow bubbles in confined quarters.

*Maybe this list will make you and your quirks feel a little bit ‘less weird’. Don’t feel ostracized by your pet peeves. You can’t help that you want to smack your friend in the face when she’s chewing her gum with her mouth open. 😉

Top Cat’s Top Ten: 10 Ways Men can Help Make their Wife/Girlfriend Happier

equalsSo I recently watched the movie Equals starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse, Warm Bodies). The movie takes place in a dystopian, Orwellian like future in which all emotions are not only outlawed but are medically sought to be bred out. Emotions are viewed as a disease in this futuristic society. The illegal love (which was WAY too reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984) made me think about the way that some people are emotionally and sometimes quite literally out of it in a relationship. Since I do love making Top Ten lists, I figured that today’s list would be the Top Ten ways in which Men can Help to make their wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, or whatever you have happier in your relationship.

Just listen: It’s not always easy to listen to someone else’s problems but it is viable to us all to have someone that we think cares about the things that we have going on in our lives. If we don’t make our significant others feel as if they can communicate with us then they will be something important that is lacking that in your relationship. And chances are they will seek that attachment from someone else.

Know and respect that Women are Different: It’s good to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that a woman is not only physically but emotionally different than their male counterparts. Most women are more emotional and more ‘touchy-feely’ than you are. And just like our section on listening, women usually tell stories that will be longer than your stories. Women explain things differently than men. That’s a fact. If she is out shoe shopping, she’s thinking about 8,000 different scenarios…so don’t give her a hard time. You should relish in the fact that she actually wants to spend time with you. Know her differences and the nuances that make up YOUR partner. Just by remembering the specific things that she looks for in your relationship will keep her happy. And by God isn’t a good thing?

Pay Attention to Your Partner: A good relationship is built on getting along. You have to get along with one another. So it helps to also be your partner’s best friend. I often see meme’s around the time that football, basketball, or hunting season is going to start that say “We interrupt this marriage to bring you Hunting Season.” or “I’m so happy its hunting season!” Said no wife with young children, ever.” These are said in jest but I can imagine that no woman wants to feel like they are a second choice: TO ANYTHING. With that being said, a partner should allow their partner to do things that make them happy with moderation. If you’re happiness comes at making everyone else around you miserable, then your happiness comes with too large of a cost. This time of paying attention is not just in regards to the sexual realm. While the physical aspects of a relationship are important, the emotional aspects of a relationship also lie deeply important to your partner. When they talk to you, they might not be looking for you to solve the problems that they bring to you. They just want to know that you care. Sometimes just spending that moment with them is worth a lot.

Sexual Healing: Country singer Brad Paisley knows that sometimes a back rub means only a back rub. And men especially need to remember that affection does not always mean sex. Foreplay doesn’t always take place in the bed. Foreplay is sometime that starts in the morning and lasts throughout the day. How do you talk and or treat your wife? Do you treat her as if she’s the most beautiful woman in the world even when her hair is up in curlers and she hasn’t brushed her teeth yet? Do you come home in the afternoon and speak rudely to your wife just because you’re still fuming over what your boss said to you at work? Sometimes you never know what your actions can do to someone’s feelings. We all get complacent in our relationship. We get comfortable and this comfort can come between us. Don’t take that person for granted. Treat them like a princess or King. The Bible says that “Love is patient, love is kind.” If you’ve been to a Christian’s wedding, you’ve more than likely heard the section from 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4-8. Even non-Christians can find truth in this section of text. And just a side note: your happiness for the week may be a foot massage away. It is the little things.

Spend some time with them: To go along with what I said about paying attention to your partner, it is equally important to spend time with them. Depending on what your partner is interested in, take them somewhere that you know will matter to them. If you really hate the ballet but she loves ballet…TAKE HER! Suck it up and take her to the ballet without complaining. Be involved in your partner’s life. Even the boring, mundane parts that you think are so inconsequential. Taking time to be involved and care about the things that your partner loves makes the difference in a happy relationship. Now this goes both ways. Your wife may hate football, but it wouldn’t hurt her to sit down and watch a game with you every now and then. With that being said, if she’s in her craft room don’t crack that third beer. Go sit with her for a while and do something with her. FYI: Being in the same room, even sitting on the same couch, IS NOT SPENDING TIME WITH THEM. Do something. Go out if she’s social. Do something at home if she’s a home body.

Just KNOW Her!: As my dad’s favorite musician Percy Sledge says in one of his most famous songs, “Take time to know her. Its not an over night thing.” There is a reason that people had such a long courting ritual long ago….its because it allowed the two to respectively get to know one another. Now I know that some of them used that time to settle dowries and arrangements but it was mostly intended for the potential bride and groom to get to know one another. In a world of Facebook and instant potatoes, we are used to getting things as soon as we can and I think that we rush relationships. We need to take time to realize the nuances and things that make your potential love….them. Some women want balloons, flowers, chocolates, and jewelry for Valentines but my wife doesn’t see the point in spending all that money for something like that. My wife would rather me take that money and make an extra car payment. The key to this scenario is to know her. Take the time to know what makes her happy.

A Woman’s Work is Never Done: Ever sat back and realized how hard that a working mother or woman actually does work? Most of the time we expect food to be on the table, the kids to be washed, and for our wife to be smiling at the door awaiting a kiss. But that’s not realistic. The working mother ((as the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated in their yearly survey) over 60% of married mother’s work outside of the home) usually is the ‘soccer mom’ that hauls kids to soccer practice, karate, or t-ball. To expect the house to be spotless and food prepared on time after the woman of the house has also worked an 8 hour work day is preposterous. So not only should you appreciate what your woman (or partner) does, but you should be willing to help. Like my wife says, there is nothing sexier than a man washing dishes.

Make her Laugh: Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” This is especially true in relationships. Ever heard that a woman loves a guy with a good sense of humor? If you make your wife or partner laugh then they will enjoy spending time with you and wanting to spend time with you is pretty important. Being light-hearted and allowing yourself to get closer to one another is such a vital part of any relationship.

Tell Her that she’s Beautiful: Everyone wants to be wanted. Every man and woman wants to feel not only appreciated but they want to feel as if they are attractive. They want to not only feel it but to hear that you find them that way. So….tell her that she’s beautiful. Notice her new haircut and compliment her on it. Be observant! Take her to get a manicure and pedicure and tell her how beautiful she looks. Walk by her as she’s sitting in her chair, kiss her forehead and tell her that she’s beautiful. Do these things….but mean them when you say them or do them. There are a lot of people that are not affectionate and your spouse understands that but you can find a way to do it…in your own special way.

Take Care of Her: Respecting your wife or partner is key. If you she has a headache and you know that she’s trying to relax on the couch, go to the fridge and get a cold rag to place on her forehead. Know that she has a long trip to take the next day? Make sure that she has gas in her car. Know that she has had a tough day at work? Take her out to eat or prepare something for her at home. Just taking the weight off someone’s shoulders is such an important thing to keep them happy. Keeping someone from being too stressed will allow them to keep a sane mind. Taking care of her is not just financially.

(((—)))

Note that I am not a perfect husband. I’m not a perfect man. I’m not a trained sociologist that has training with relationships. What I do have are these suggestions. Take them with a grain of salt but more than anything show love, have respect and now true affection.

God Bless.