Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gabby's health journal - Part 2 - Meditation

DAY 8 - 10 March 2013

Woke up in a deep meditative state, so stayed in bed till around 10am.  Blood pressure up after meditation, but pulse rate down.  Strange.

In meditation, it feels like I'm travelling through a wormhole to another dimension.  There is clutter and obstruction along the way.  Sometimes it identifies itself; sometimes it doesn't.  That doesn't matter.  It's just obstruction.

I simply relax, breathe and watch.  The obstruction melts away and I continue to move towards my centre.  Sometimes it feels as though I'm watching lava flowing slowly from a volcano.  At other times, there is a release of putrefaction from my mind that I can taste and smell.  It is death and disease.

Yesterday, my aunt spoke of the ferry she used to catch when she was a child, down the Brisbane River to Redcliffe - the S.S. Koopa.  My uncle then said: "Yes, it continued on to Bribie Island from Redcliffe."

I then realised that this was the same ferry on which I had my first meditative experience when I was three years old.  Ferries are so iconic in terms of meditation and spirituality, aren't they?  Siddartha, in the novel by Herman Hesse, met a ferryman who learnt so much from watching the river; and he, too, became a ferryman.  In my case, I had the overwhelming feeling that watching the ocean would reconnect me with the universe.

My mind is an ocean full of flotsam and jetsam that doesn't belong there.

The journey continues.


First off:  warm water with squeeze of lemon.
Late breakfast:  Juice (apple, carrot, pear, peach, ginger)
Late lunch:  Eggplant bake on seed bread; leftover breakfast juice
Dinner:  Ricotta/avocado/tahini mashed with lemon juice, basil and pepper. Handful of cashews and pinenuts. Green tea.

B: 10am (N)
K: 6:30pm

DAY 9 - 11 March 2013

Meditative again this morning.  And blood pressure was up, but pulse rate was down, just like yesterday (146/76; 47 and 158/75; 45).  I thought meditation would reduce blood pressure, but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case with me at the moment.  My blood pressure and pulse rate returned to normal (127/66; 62) by the afternoon.

First thing:  warm water with squeeze of lemon.
Breakfast:  Juice (apple, pineapple, pear)
Lunch:  Seed bread sandwich (leftover ricotta/avocado mix & Vegemite); grapes; green tea.
Mid-afternoon:  Piece of fruit and nut bar
Dinner:  Minestrone and ricotta; fruit and nut bar; grapes

B: 9:45am (N)
K: 10pm

DAY 10 - 12 March 2013

Woke early. BP is up and PR down again. Took two readings:  151/79; 49 and 137/76; 46.  Strange how BP goes up while pulse rate goes down.

First thing:  warm water with squeeze of lemon
Breakfast:  Juice (apple, carrot, celery, cucumber) and chia seeds
Morning tea at craft: white tea, two crackers and cheese, bikkie.
Lunch: (takeaway) cauliflower and cheese pie (awful!); iced lemon tea
Mid-afternoon: few grapes, bit of frozen banana
Dinner:  Brown rice salad with ricotta (large serving)

Walked to and from craft at Greenslopes today.  9km round trip.

B:  10:50am (N)
K:  None

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gabby's health journal - Part 1 - my first juice fast

As well as the food listed, I drink as much water as possible.

I've found walking to be the best thing for bringing down my blood pressure.  So I shall show when I walk each day as: WALK - YES

Blood pressure readings are taken in the morning before breakfast.

As this is my first juice fast, I am also recording my bowel movements (Bs).  Well, I find them very interesting!  Normally I have them twice a day.

I am fresh juicing with my old Breville juice fountain each day.  However, I've discovered that a centrifugal type juicer is not the best sort to use.  Cold press juicers extract more juice and nutrients, plus cause less oxidation (see Choice review online).

BP = blood pressure
PR = pulse rate
B = bowel movement
N = normal
R = runny
S = small
K = Kineret injection

DAY 1 - Sunday 3 March 2013
Weight: 93kg          Blood pressure:  165/88      Pulse rate:  56

Today I am preparing for a juice fast - not a long one - but I can't remember fasting (intentionally) for even half a day before.  So this is a new challenge for me.

Breakfast: Juice (apple, pear, carrot, celery, ginger)
Lunch: Home-made vegetarian minestrone, grapes, water
Mid-afternoon: Juice (kale, spinach, celery, carrot, kumara, parsnip, zucchini, rocket and nasturtium)
Dinner:  Minestrone, grapes, water

B - None.
K: 11pm

DAY 2 - Monday 4 March 2013
Breakfast: Peach and a few grapes. Water.
Lunch: Home-made vegetarian minestrone, water, juice (pear, apple, celery, carrot and cinnamon juice - YUM!)
Mid-afternoon: Peppermint and ginger tea
Dinner: My first mean, green juice a la Joe Cross - pleasantly surprised.  His recipe for mean green juice is: 6 kale leaves, 4 stalks celery, 1 cucumber, 2 green apples, half lemon (including skin), thumb-sized piece of ginger.

Found large bunch of very fresh organic kale at Flannery's - $6.50.  Fresh GREEN vegetable juice is a very important part of juice fasting.

B: 8:30am (N); 9:45am (R); 2:30pm (N)
K: None

DAY 3 - Tuesday 5 March 2013
First day of juice fast proper.

Breakfast: Mean green juice with pear and extra apple added
Mid-morning: Small portion of today's breakfast juice
Lunch: Normal portion of today's breakfast juice
Dinner: Juice (fennel, pineapple, carrot, apple, radish, spinach, celery, ginger - YUM!); half glass pineapple and peach juice - also YUM but the pineapple does give me mouth ulcers unfortunately; peppermint tea.

Still feeling fine.  Only occasional moments of desire for solid food, but they don't last long. No headaches. Don't know how long I will fast.  I'm taking it day by day. Blood pressure down to normal range.

B: 8:30pm (S)
K: 3:30am

DAY 4 - Wednesday 6 March 2013
BP: 126/73     PR: 64

First thing: warm water and squeeze of lemon
Breakfast:  Juice (orange, apple, peach, grape, rockmelon, pineapple, carrot, celery)
Mid-morning:  Breakfast juice with spinach and beetroot added
Mid-afternoon:  Juice (mango and watermelon)
6pm: Broke fast with a few grapes, bits of frozen banana and breakfast juice
Dinner:  Half an avocado; multigrain sandwich half vegemite/half peanut paste

Walked to the city - 6km round trip.  One hour after walk, BP down to 108/67.

B: 9:10am (R)
K: 6.45am

Well, that was interesting.  I survived my first juice fast better than I expected.
Now I know that I can do it, I will do it again.

DAY 5 - Thursday 7 March 2013
Weight:  91kg     BP:  127/77     PR:  51

Slowly returning to normal food.  Weight has started to come down and BP has returned to normal.  LOVELY.

First thing:  warm water and squeeze of lemon
Breakfast:  Grated frozen fruit residue pulp (peach and pineapple) and grated frozen banana
Mid-morning: Chewed a few organic wheat sprouts
Lunch:  Mashed avocado, lemon juice, ground kaffir lime leaves, tahini, pepper with crackers; grapes; peppermint tea
Mid-afternoon: Yummy fruit platter: mango, grapes, rockmelon, peach
4:40pm: Avocado and vegemite multigrain sandwich
7:30pm: 6 cashews
9:30pm: Wheat sprout porridge with honey and coconut milk

B: None
K:  9:30am

DAY 6 - Friday 8 March 2013
BP:  126/72     PR:  56

Officially the last day of juice fast (winding down)

First thing:  warm water and squeeze of lemon
Breakfast:  Slice of mango
Mid-morning:  Wheat sprout porridge with honey and coconut milk
Lunch (at Edna's):  Edna's lentil and vegie bake on white toast; bikkie and white tea
Mid-afternoon: Crackers and white tea
Dinner:  Tried to eat raw carrots, parsnip and celery, but couldn't chew them properly and they didn't taste good.  Had a cracker and a small piece of Allan's birthday cake instead.

B: noon (N)
K:  12:30pm

DAY 7 - Saturday 9 March 2013
BP:  120/69 (PERFECT!)     PR:  59

Still at Edna's this morning to see Jen off on her New Zealand cruise.  Went on Jen's "shaker" machine for 10 minutes and played Wii bowling with Edna.

Breakfast:  Juice (made by Jen with Edna's non-centrifugal juicer - a Kuvings Silent.  She cuts the food quite small and leaves it to soak in water for 10 minutes before juicing, which gives her time to go on her walking machine.) of apple, carrot, fennel, pear, kale, celery, silverbeet, parsnip with chia seeds added later.  CHIA seeds were great!  They were left long enough to swell.
Morning tea:  Fruit cake, crackers, white tea
Lunch:  1 piece seed bread with ricotta and tomato; 1 piece seed bread with strawberry jam; leftover breakfast juice, white tea
Mid-afternoon:  half a frozen banana
Dinner:  Home-made vegetarian minestrone; fruit platter (mango, peach, grapes); bikkie; chai latte

I have come to the conclusion that I need a cold-press juicer.  After hours of research on the internet, tonight I ordered an OSCAR NEO COLD-PRESS JUICER - $449 with free delivery.  This one does far more than just juice.  It has a very good reputation so I think it will be well worth the extra cost.  I'm excited.

I've been injecting Kineret every 27 hours for nearly a week with no ill effect.  Encouraging.

B:  9:30am (N)
K:  3:15pm

Gabby's health journal - Introduction

I have a rare auto-inflammatory disease called Schnitzler Syndrome for which I have to inject daily with Kineret (Anakinra).  This was on the Government's PBS list, so I only had to pay peanuts for it.  But a couple of years ago, it was taken off the PBS list, which meant that I was without it for about 6 months because I couldn't afford to buy it.  It costs around $12000+ per year.  And no other medication gives me any relief - except for long term, high dose steroids - which was out of the question. I was very, very ill.

Then the Mater Hospital, Brisbane, came to my rescue and agreed to pay this huge sum for me. I can't say how grateful I am to them because without Kineret my life is a living hell.

While I was without any medication, I lost 25kg and lots of my hair fell out because I found eating very difficult and I wasn't getting enough nutrition.  Once I started injecting again, however, my appetite returned ... with a vengeance ... and I ballooned up to 93kg.  My blood pressure also went up, of course. Coincidentally, around the same time, I came across the movie/documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which gave me the much needed boost to change things.

My rheumatologist had suggested I try to cut down on my dosage and I think this is a good idea.  I wouldn't be such an economic burden on the hospital and it would just be great to be less dependent on medication.  Ideally, I'd love to take zero meds, but if I could get it down to once every two days, that is probably more realistic.  However, at the moment even that is not possible.  I got very ill after just 30 hours without an injection.

But I'm hoping that healthy living may help me to change that situation and now I'm cutting down on my injections VERY SLOWLY - every 26 hours for a week; then every 27 hours, and so on.

So, I've started a juice fast and a health journal (see forthcoming posts).


As I walk by the river or sit in my tiny garden, not thinking of anything in particular, thoughts sometimes seep into my brain. If you'd like to read my seepage, here it is ...