Tag Archives: joint pain

Your friend said WHAT?

Gentle Reader,

I don’t know about you, but the talk around me is about the latest aches and pain and what to do about it.  We’ve had foggy weather and below freezing temperatures out here in the Northwest.  One friend declared she couldn’t possibly so out because she might slip and fall.  Another friend wants to lose some weight but complains that she’s heard a lot of bad things about soy and can’t get into any soy smoothies.  Another friend’s husband is putting off getting his knees done by getting synovial fluid injections into his achy knees. Keep that arthritis at bay.  And still another friend’s husband ignored a bad cough for days until finally going to the doctor and ending up in the ICU for over a week with serious pneumonia.  One more friend who has player geezer

basket ball but is suffering from serious sciatica, shakes he head a 

head and says, “This cane will keep me going while the physical therapist fixes me up.”

I could go on and on.  You have similar stories.  We’re all trying our best to keep our bodies going for a few more months or years.

Where do you go for advice when you’ve got something that’s not working right?  Do you just stay indoors out of fear and trepidation?  We’re all over the web doing our research to see how other people are coping with our deal.  Who do you trust?  How do you judge the best solution?

When I first got introduced to the stuff I take 26 years ago, my problem was that I was running on nervous energy and every time I sat still for a few minutes, I fell asleep.  The product changed that.  So my body gave me a testimony.  Not content with physical data alone, I researched the company, ordered a couple of its peer-reviewed, published research articles and did a library search for back ground information.  (This was back in the days before the internet.)  All my due diligence confirmed my own experience.  I developed brand loyalty over the next couple years, the way people line up for the next Apple product.

I have never left my brain in the closet.  Company ownership changed several times and I researched each new team as if I were a complete outsider, you know, not going to other convinced sales people for their opinion.

Am I still influenced by my friends and family when they talk about their latest ache, their latest gadget, their latest restaurant?  Of course.  But I don’t leave my brain someplace else when deciding to follow their deal.  I hope you don’t either.

Before you go, my readers would enjoy hearing your discernment process.  Everyone evaluates with their own criteria.  What are yours?  Let us know.

If you’ve enjoyed this, pass it on.  Come on over to my face book page and hit the ‘like’ button.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077


Facebook Twitter Email

Where’s the Nyquil?

Gentle Readers, 

From the couch, handkerchiefs everywhere, head propped up I write to tell you the story of a person who used to get every cold bug that came along.  In the old days, I grabbed the Coricidin and then the Nyquil P.M. and then went whimpering to my doctor.  He gladly swabbed my throat and pronounced strep or bronchitis and prescribed an anti-biotic.  It happened roughly three times every year.  That’s a lot of antibiotics for a body to handle. 

Down in Mexico where I spent New Year’s (came home on the 10th of January), I felt a little sore throat coming on and that lethargy that seems to precede an illness.  For the past twenty six years I haven’t used the standard over-the-counter meds to ward off or treat a cold.  Starting on a food supplement program in 1985 moved me in a different direction.  My friend suggested heaps of vitamin C frequently, and garlic and a supplement called lecithin (less-i-thin).  They use it in salad dressings to keep the oil and water mixed together, emulsified.  It works the same way in the body, keeping gunk liquefied so it can leave in the waste stream.  Very helpful when you have buggers forming so fast you can’t cough them all up at once. 

What I figured out was the cold medicines suppress everything, drive the battle between my immune system’s response fighters and the germs, down, down, down into my chest.  The mass gets all sticky and gelatinous and won’t move.  Nyquil suppresses coughing (which can keep you awake).   The raging war between the good guys and the bad guys in your body gets all confined in a small space and the germs multiply and get all bacterial.  Then you’ve got something the doctor knows how to treat, so he writes a prescription. 

Is this familiar to anyone?

By the time I got home, I developed a full blown cold or maybe even the beginnings of the flu.  I certainly had achy joints and swollen lymph glands.  I got out the big guns.  Please bear with me and try not to freak out at the quantity of supplements I take when this situation develops.

4 – 6 Sustained Release C

3       Lecithin

3—4 Garlic

1       Immunity Formula I (a supplement blend of C, A, E and 3 of the B vitamins, plus zinc, copper and selenium suspended in rosemary oil so the water soluble (C and B) and the fat soluble (A and E) vitamins don’t degrade each other)

I took this handful of supplements every 2 – 3 hours I was awake, swallowing them down with a little drink of protein smoothie so my stomach could handle them.

I also drank Traditional Medicinals herbal teas Throat Coat and Breath Easy, usually stirring in a throat lozenge made of Echinacea, zinc, larch tree extract, elderberry and stevia, 3 at once.  Every time a coughing fit started, I popped a lozenge in my mouth.  When I awoke in the night coughing or to pee, I went to the kitchen and took the whole Marianne all over again. 

Happily the carcass of the Thanksgiving turkey was languishing in the freezer and there were carrots and celery and onion still in the frig.  The broth worked magic and I drank a couple quarts with a little cous cous boiled up in it. 

Results:  In one day the achy joints and lymph were normal.  In two more days, I was not coughing in the night.  By day four I was able to enjoy some regular food and was not needing the Bomb as we call it every 2 – 3 hours, just every 4 – 5 hours. 

Today I am healthy though a little puny from lack of exercise.

No antibiotics.  No OTC drugs. 

This is the same philosophy and process I use for dealing with other physical challenges like joint pain and arthritis.  Even though the x-ray shows severe osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, gentle abs strengthening exercises, daily walking, eating lots of greens, and low sugar fruits and vegetables plus excellent protein, plus supplements keeps pain at bay. 

Is it easier to take the medications advertized on TV and recommended at the pharmacy?  Is it cheaper to take them?  Is the relief immediate?  YES to all these.  But what of the long term effects of drugs vs. high quality pure supplements?  Drugs have side effects.  Supplements made with extreme care for additives, purity of ingredients, and tested to make sure they actually get into the blood stream have side-benefits, not side-effects. 

Just a side note about Ester-C.  Apparently this little package which you dissolve in water and swallow, will boost the white cell production thus helping the immune system.  The study designed to verify this was done with 15 healthy men some of whom were smokers.  Each took the Ester-C product for a week and had an increase in the white cell count.  To read the study yourself, click here.  I just had to look this up because what I know about vitamin C is that it is water soluble and degrades immediately when exposed to light and air and water.  The tablets probably work better.  I found an online source for 1000 mg. sustained release Ester-C for $21 plus tax and shipping.  But I still have lots of questions.  Is their C ascorbic acid only?  What about the white stuff in the orange which turns out to be just as important?  What is used to slow down the release of C into the blood stream?  You want guar gum and nothing artificial separating the dosage delivery.  And the Sustained Release Vitamin C I take is 180 tablets for $21.00.  It’s made by Shaklee, a company I trust for its scientific research and the careful testing every step of the way from raw material, through processing to the finished product.

One more thought.  Not every stomach can handle that amount of supplements.  You noticed I do not take supplements on an empty stomach if I can help it.  If you want to follow this regimen, I’d be glad to guide you along the way.  By all means pay attention to your own body and pull back on the volume if you have a reaction to that much Vitamin C.  I am just happy I have this resource to use to ease the discomfort of a bad cold and to get over it quickly with no medications at all and so no side effects with their residual problems. 

I did not take a flu shot this season or any season.  Am I recommending against flu shots?  I’d be a fool to do that.  Use your own judgment. 

Before you go, leave a comment.  If you liked what you read, pass it on.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077




Facebook Twitter Email

Help! Gotta have chocolate now!

Gentle reader,

How are you doing with those plans to take a few inches off?  Are you starving yet?  Are cravings getting the better of your will power?  What’s this got to do with arthritis and joint pain, anyway?

The research has been done and is conclusive beyond a doubt that losing even 15 pounds (you may have 50 to 100 to lose) in any body will make a difference in the joints.  Even people with severe osteoarthritis will experience relief from joint pain with the loss of 15 pounds.  You may have lost that much and noticed.  You may have put it back on again, and noticed an increase in arthritis pain.

A recent article in our Seattle based natural market, Puget Consumer Coop gives us a good understanding of cravings and why they are so difficult to eliminate.  We are hard-wired as humans from the beginning of time to go for high-calorie food for our survival.  When a bee hive was discovered in a high tree, no attempt was made to save it for tomorrow.  The whole tribe ate all the honey they could harvest until it was gone.  Just like that plate of cookies sitting on the counter.  Or that pint of Ben and Jerry’s we were going to split into at least 5 servings spaced out over the next two and a half weeks.  Gone in one sitting.

Then we beat ourselves up for lack of self control.  Blame it on our chemistry.  Salt, fat and sugar were scarce.  We love eating them because they increase the feel good chemicals in our brain.  For example, dopamine is neurotransmitter that high-fat foods increase regulating our reward and pleasure centers and making us happy.  Who wouldn’t want that? Bring on the ice cream and the French fries.

Or maybe it’s the theobromine (found in chocolate) that gives us a pick me up when our brain and tail drag around 3 in the afternoon.  That mocha latte is just the thing delivering caffeine, sugar and chocolate all in one gulp—feel good and get energized.  I used to advise clients to eat a magnesium supplement to supply what chocolate cravings demand.  The scientific thinking a few years ago was that cravings indicated a nutritional or emotional deficiency and something less unhealthy could be substituted for the same results.

You’re in luck, and so am I.  Turns out it is wiser not to deprive yourself completely of these craved for foods.  The more you deprive yourself, the more you crave.  Once you give in to the craving, you can’t stop until the plate is empty. You may even head for the store to get a refill, more cookie dough that you might not even bother baking, or, let’s just pick up a gallon of that Rocky Road ice cream.  I know a guy who holds back with great effort from eating peanut butter and then gives up with a great sign and is face down in the Adams jar with two cereal spoons.  OMG I’ve been there and done that.

They even found that people who practice severe and rigid dietary restraint are more likely to be obese.  That’s a yo-yo from deprivation to over-consumption.

<———————————–The Hunger Scale——————————->
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Empty Ravenous Over hungry Hunger pangs Hunger Awakens Neutral Just Satisfied Completely satisfied Full Stuffed Sick

Thanks to Kelly Morrow, MS, RD, registered dietitian and Associate Professor in the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University for much of this information and the Hunger Chart.  and 2 equate to excess hunger and 9 and 10 are excess fullness.  Start eating around 3 or 4 and stop when at a 7-8.

Two strategies can make a big difference in how these cravings get handled.

1. Ease up.  Have a taste.  Savor it.  Before the cravings are so great they can’t be handled without an all-out binge.  Be gentle with yourself and eat small portions of your comfort food.

2.  Keep a food diary so you can really understand how moods, physical location, memories influence the desperate need for comfort foods.  Once you have a clearer understanding of your body’s response to certain trigger situations, you can plan ways to disarm your craving, like take a walk.

My sugar craving was severe and the results caused me so much misery.  I could not stay awake in an important lecture or concert any time of the day or evening after eating sweet rolls, cookies, muffins, toast and jelly.  I would get up during a talk and walk around the back of the room to stay alert after a couple Costco bran muffins put me sound asleep.  To this day when I go to an all day meeting or conference and they serve sweet bread-y things with juice and coffee, I don’t touch any of it.  Instead I mix a protein smoothie in my room and drink it before showing up for the pre-event sugary snacks.  They still tempt me.  They look so good.  But I’m not hungry because I have taken in a high protein drink and it’s easier to resist what I know will keep me from being alert to the content I want so much to hear.

Getting to this place was an arduous process for me.  I had to eliminate all sugars, even fruit, for a while.  Grapes still set me off as though I were eating Sugar Pops or M & M’s.  Once I thoroughly re-programmed my craving buttons, I just don’t think about those trigger foods.  I was just in Mexico for a couple weeks.  One of the great pleasures all those years visiting at my parents’ lovely beach house in Manzanillo was the morning “pan dulce” delivery.  Mother would buy several little cakes for each person.  They were heavy with lard, flour and sugar, almonds and icing.  This Christmas holiday spent in Puerto Vallarta, someone in our party bought a half dozen for the group. I had one small mouthful and remembered the pleasure of the past family gatherings AND the sluggish, heavy feeling those cakes produce.  One bite was enough.

Another strategy I try to follow is eat by the clock and not by my hunger.  Eating with cravings as the signal for meals can be difficult for a person devoid of normal hunger pangs.  I can go for hours after breakfast and suddenly realize my brain is not functioning.  I’m getting crabby.  I must have something to eat RIGHT NOW.  Keeping a nutritional protein bar in my purse or planning lunch as I finish breakfast is the best way I know to stay comfortably on the path of good eating.

Was the chocolate cake and flan in the Botanical Garden restaurant ever good!  Sharing one serving with my sister-in-law was all I wanted.  We ate steak fajitas before the desert.

I know many of you readers will have your own stories about how you have managed a healthy balance of sugar, fatty, salty foods in your life without becoming fanatic or over powered.  Tell us your strategies.  I have shared mine.  They are not universal.  We’d like to hear yours.  The comment place is just below.

If this has been useful, feel free to share.

BTW I am having a brunch at my house in West Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 19th at 10:30-12n. and would be happy to have you join us.  We’ll be presenting the 180 Turnaround weight management program.  Better yet, we’ll be tasting the Smoothies, the bars, the tea and describing all the support material available to help you end the  grip cravings have on your brain and consequently your health.  A program that helps you feel satiety while your are changing your food habits can make a world of different in whether or not you are successful.  I’d be glad to do the brunch vitually.  Call me and we’ll set it up.  Thanks in advance for your comments.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077



Facebook Twitter Email

Resolutions, hell-o-lutions. How to keep them.

Gentle Reader,

Here we are again at the first of the New Year.  2013 is going to be IT.  That last doctor visit convinced me once and for all that I must do something about my weight/exercise program or I will die sooner than later.

How many people do you know who begin again to take control of their health?  A tiny voice elbows its way to the front ridiculing this resolve with a stream of

“You can’t change, so don’t even try.”

“You tried every diet know to man and woman already and look where it got you.”

“You have no will power and that’s what it’s all about:  WILL POWER.”

“You are sure you will starve if you eat the way you have to when you’re on a diet.”

“It’s no fun and you won’t be able to stay with it anyway, so why bother.”

“It’s too expensive and you don’t get results, so save your money.”

There are so many reasons, excuses to keep on the way we are.  But we really want to feel better, live longer, move more easily.

What if there were a program that addresses all the issues, offers products that are tasty, filling and keep the fat off?

What if there were a support system and lessons on how to fix those vegetables you know you should be eating instead of Stouffers frozen dinners?

What if you actually save money when you enroll in this program?

What if the snacks are tasty?

What if it is easy to monitor your exercise progress?

I am here with you for not one month, or two, but 6 months, 180 days to help you turnaround your diet and exercise patterns into life sustaining, never-look-back healthy habits.  Follow this program and you will never yo-yo again.  Your taste buds will crave beets and kale, water and tea. Your nose will turn up at fries and burgers, cookies and sandwiches, thick gooey dressings.  Don’t believe me?  Hundreds have discovered this program to work.  The side benefits nourish your body to better health while the extra pounds of fat disappear.

Give me 180 days and I’ll give you a healthy body.

Call for a consultation or go on line to sign up.  www.betsybellfatloss.com

Guess what?  If you suffer from arthritis either from trauma or the chronic osteoarthritis, if you struggle with joint pain, knee pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, this program will help reduce inflammation and give you relief.  Will all these promises work for every person who signs up?  I can’t guarantee anything.  We are all different.  But what if it does work for you the way it has for others, countless others?  Isn’t it worth a try?

Know someone who struggles with weight and has tried everything?  Pass this post along to them.  They’ll appreciate you for how much you care.

Found your own tools for getting your exercise and weight where you want it?  Please share them here.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077




Facebook Twitter Email

What can help the pain after an accident?

Help for pain after an accident?

Gentle Reader,

A woman I know suffered another bike accident on her commute.  She is in her late 40s and this is not her first tumble.  It is taking a long time to heal and she is suffering miserably, no fun any time and least of all at the holidays when there is no work to distract her.  Most of us can push through pain when we have professional obligations, right?

Stories like hers happen so frequently.  I don’t know what her doctor is suggesting.  There are no broken bones this time.  Typical treatment is ice packs alternating with heat to reduce the swelling plus anti-inflammatories.  The swelling seems to be gone, but the deep pain remains.

In my experience the deep healing of joint pain and muscle pain caused by accidents (as well as in arthritic joints) requires extra nutrition, more than it is possible to get from food alone.  Here is a list of vitamins that help:

Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory and builds strong cartilage which has been ripped and bruised in the fall.  Vitamin C combats the chemical reactions of stress in the body.  Vitamin C helps the body absorb minerals which are necessary in joint healing.  As much as 6000 to 10,000 mg. of a highly absorbable sustained release Vitamin C would not be too much.  Take it as long as necessary.  Your body will tell you if you have too much as your stool will get loose.

Alfalfa, found in tablet form, made from organic alfalfa leaves, reduces the acid build-up in the body after accidental injury; this helps with stiffness and increases comfortable mobility.  People have found that as many as 30-50 Alfalfa tablets a day or more can make a huge difference in joint pain.

The full spectrum of B vitamins helps deal with the stress of traumatic pain.

Borage oil or GLA reduces joint tenderness, swelling and stiffness and is an excellent anti-inflammatory working deep inside the body.

Zinc promotes tissue repair.

Calcium Magnesium strengthens cartilage and alleviates pain.

After workout smoothies have ingredients in them that repair tears in the muscles. (I know personally of only one brand that for sure works like this, but perhaps there are others)  It is the process of repairing torn muscle that recommends these sports nutrition products for building bigger, stronger muscles.  The same repair work happens after an accident.  I know a woman who in her late 70s fell from the back end of a moving van onto her back.  She used a workout smoothie several times over the next hours and had very little pain from the trauma of the fall.  Even a long time after the accident, the smoothie can help.

At the Sunnyside Chiropractic Clinic observations were made charting an elderly population whose muscle mass had atrophied and weakened.  Over a 3 to 6 month period, men and women 65 – 84 years in age added the after workout smoothie on a daily basis and experienced increased mobility, strength and reduced joint and muscle pain.    http://www.healthsachoice.com/supplements/building-muscle-mass-in-the-elderly/  I have not been able to access the actual study from Dr. Brouse and the Health Education Corporation.  I know some of you want to see the science before believing.

Whether you are dealing with the pain of traumatic injury or the chronic pain of osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, these supplements are worth a try.  The body does its best to repair. We need to help it along with additional nutrients we just can’t get from our food.  Medication alleviates pain but does not heal, repair or build new healthy tissue.

I recommend the supplements made by the Shaklee Corporation as these are the only ones with which I have personal experience.  They have helped me endure acute traumatic pain and avoid debilitating chronic pain from the severe osteoarthritis in many of my joints and spinal stenosis in my spine.  If you want to research the Shaklee version of these supplements, go to my shopping page and browse the Product Guide.  You can call me for a consultation about your particular situation and I’ll be glad to share resources.

Before you go, share our comments on supplements and vitamins that have worked for you after an accident that has put you in a world of hurt.

If this post has been helpful, feel free to share it on your Facebook page.


Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077



Facebook Twitter Email

Blue Christmas

Gentle Reader,

Does the over whelming need to be cheerful this season get you down?  Perhaps you are like me and Christmas brings memories, and some of them are not go wonderful.  It feels like an emergency.  I have to figure something out or I will go down in a wash of self pity.

The first session with my personal trainer, daughter Priscilla Bell was a positive step and the floor exercises for strengthening the abs feel as though they are making my back less vulnerable.  Arthritis pain is less and less.  There were some tweaks as the exercises took their measure of my joints.

Christmas still felt blue.  I am digging through old papers and came across the Christmas letter from 1993, the first communication to my friends since my first husband, Don Bell died the previous November.  The letter begins “Who’s going to dry my tears?  Who’s going to listen to my day?  Who’s going to plot the future with me now that Don Bell is dead?”  What misery!

The letter ends with gratitude for you, my friends who are there for me to dry my tears and hear about my day.

Five years later, I married our good friend Chuck Finney, widowed the same time I was.  Now it is five years since our last Christmas together.  He died Epiphany 2008.  Hard to realize I’ve been alone this long.  Most of the time it is good.  I have you, my family and my community at Saint Mark’s to sustain me.   But.  Christmas feels blue.

I went back to Priscilla for more training.  Action, in my world, leads to mental health as well as physical health.  This week she gave me weight bearing exercises with 5 pound weights.  OMG.  Much harder than the ones I was already doing on my own.  She noticed, rightly, that my shoulders are getting rounded from sitting too much and not standing tall.  This happens with age and if we want to keep going into our 90’s, we have to work on building those larger upper back muscles.  When strengthened they will open the chest and hold us tall.  The added benefit for the person with osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, or any joint pain, is that a stronger upper back relieves the stress on the lower back.  She told me I was working my lower back way too much.

Two close and dear friends are suffering from terrible arthritis pain these days.  One visited her naturopath who recommended the Paleo Diet:  all vegetables and protein.  No grains or dairy (including cheese.  Yep, you got that right.)  You can read my post http://nowheelchair.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/it-comes-down-to-what-we-eat/ and watch the TED talk there by the amazing woman who was in a wheelchair when she changed her diet to this Paleo thing and is now healthy.

Does that plunge you into another low Blue Christmas?  Thinking about that kind of diet when you just went out and bought those beautiful cheeses and crackers, cream and butter for the feasts you are preparing?  Yes.

Be of good cheer.  January 2nd is coming.  Make a resolution to try the diet thing to rid yourself of pain.  If you want help with extra pounds, I’m your girl: the expert Turnaround Specialist.  Give yourself 90 days to get the new regimen into your system, watching the inches melt away and the joints behave themselves.  Then keep it up for another 90 days to cement the new eating and exercise habits.  This is the 180 turnaround we want for 2013.  Shaklee has a new program called 180 Turnaround.  Join me. I’m going to do it and will be glad to lead the way.


For now, be of good cheer without denying that this season can be tough.  Put on your rain gear and go outdoors.  The low lying hills are calling and the roads are clear.


Merry Christmas!  And keep moving.

Before you go, post a comment about your Blue Christmas.  Ask for kindness back to you.


Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077





Facebook Twitter Email

Guess what the liver of an inorganic turkey looks like.

Gentle Reader,

Thanksgiving Day and 17 of the children and grandchildren are coming. The alarm went off at 5:15 so I could put the turkey in for a dinner time of 2 p.m.  When I chopped up the giblets, I thought, yes, it is worth it to pay for the organic free range bird.  The organs are deep purple-red, the tissue tight and resilient.  These are signs of health. Here’s an organic turkey’s innards.

One year I panicked when I realized 29 people were coming and one turkey wouldn’t feed the whole crowd.  I ran to the local Safeway to pick one up.  When I laid the two sets of innards on the counter, the poor cadged bird’s organs were full of lesions, had a grey tone and the liver dissolved into granules when I put my forefinger into it.  I wish I had a picture so you could see the comparison.  I wonder what my liver looks like.

When they say we are what we eat, I think they are referring to the health of our liver, our kidneys, our heart, and our lungs perhaps more than our joints.  It’s the joints that hurt because these organs are the means by which the joints are nourished. They cleanse the blood, absorb the nutrients into the blood and send health or harm to those creaky arthritic painful joints.

My house mate passed on a lot of frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s.  I know it is sacrilege to cast aspersions on Trader Joe’s, but the chicken patty I grilled, tasty thought it was, had a lot of stuff in it besides chicken.  Does the body know what to do with that extra stuff?  One rice concoction was so crowded with strange ingredients, I just didn’t want to eat it.  Guess what, the chickens wouldn’t eat it either and they are my bell weather.  They will eat anything.  Tasty, convenient?  Yes.  Recognizable by the liver, kidneys and cells as food?  I’m not so sure.

Some people dread the feast because it is so hard to resist over indulgence.  Relax, I say.  Eat something of everything. Enjoy the tastes.  Then take a walk.  The more you eat the longer you walk.

Hauling that 20 # turkey around yesterday made me wake up with a sore back. That old osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis kicked in big time this morning.  To be pain free by the time they come, I’m on the floor stretching.  I’ll take a walk before they get here.  I’ll let them move the furniture.  And I am fortified with plenty of the herbal pain relief pills I rely on.

There will be pie.  I’ll enjoy all three flavors.  I hope you are going to enjoy your day as well.  I’d love to hear how it went and what your anxieties are around the holidays and eating.  How does your body do when you change your diet for a few days?  Is it hard to get back to healthy normal the next morning?

We can support each other in our pain and agony!  J .  I am thankful for you and for all people in my life.

Fondly, Betsy

P.S.  What a fantastic day.  The 20# turkey was demolished.  Here’s the afters:

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077


Facebook Twitter Email

Can we eat pie this Thanksgiving?

Gentle Reader,

Are you shopping for Thanksgiving yet?  Tell me about your resolve to eat so your joints don’t hurt, the achy knees don’t creak, the back doesn’t twinge when you go from sitting to standing?  Have you been eating a dinner plate big on greens with a small portion of meat or fish and the starch in the form of a boiled new potato or rutabaga? I thought I’d better show you one in case you never bought or cooked it.  Really tasty, better than turnips.

Most especially, have you tried gluten-free?  And I don’t mean picking up those prepared foods that say gluten-free on them.  I believe, because I have tried it consistently over time, that a gluten-free diet helps with arthritis.  You’ll also lose weight which will help with arthritis pain.  At this time of year with your favorite recipes coming out of the box for your traditional offerings, you buy a big sack of white refined flour, white refined sugar and pounds of butter and plan your day of baking.  Unless you have greater resolve than I do, you’ll be eating some of those goodies and not just giving them to friends and family.  There will be more than one kind of pie on the table and it will be challenging.  Right?

Today I am passing on a web site I came across this week.  This gal, Christie Bessinger, has a serious celiac problem and has taken the time to research ways to identify hidden gluten.  Celiac is a hard condition.  Your body reacts with bloating and sometimes even more severe nutrient absorption shut down when you get yeasty things in your stomach.  Breads, pasta, lots of canned soups, other prepared foods.  Most of us who struggle with achy, congested joints are not severely impacted by gluten grains, at least not in the digestive area.  However, getting gluten-free for a few months would tell you a lot about how your body functions in a gluten-free atmosphere.  Two things will happen for you:

1.  You will lose weight

2.  You probably will have less joint pain, even if you have severe osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis.  Any of the problems affecting the joints will most probably improve with a gluten-free diet.

Enjoy Christie’s blog.  Here’s a nice place to start with her delicious cupcakes made from a company she trusts.  http://celiac-scoop.blogspot.com/2011/11/gluten-free-cake-bites.html  You can even order their mixes from her web site.  How sweet is that?  Christie has suggestions for eating out gluten-free in New York City, too.

Live in Seattle? We are lucky.  Here’s a web site for people who want to avoid gluten when they eat out.  http://www.urbanspoon.com/t/1/1/Seattle/Gluten-Free-Friendly-restaurants   and here is a retail store for delicious foods in Seattle http://www.wheatlessinseattle.net/ .

Before I go, dear Reader, a day or two of lovely indulgence never sent us to surgery for a knee replacement.  You know that, don’t you?  It’s the change we make over the long haul in diet and exercise that makes the difference long-term and keeps us moving.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077




Facebook Twitter Email

The Nutritional Management of Chronic Pain

Gentle Reader
Are you like me, suffering from chronic pain?  Do you wake up every morning and check to see which joints are hurting?  A friend of mine describes sitting on the edge of the bed wondering if she can actually stand and walk to the bathroom.  I’m better off than that, but the first ½ hour each day is loud, you know the groaning and moaning.  Too bad there’s no one around here but the cats to sympathize.

I when it was announced that Dr. Frank Painter would give a seminar on Chronic Pain management.  This post contains careful notes from that seminar.

Dr. Painter is a major research and practicing chiropractor and maintains the research pages for the Chiro.org online resource for his profession.  It gets thousands of hits a month and is the most go-to site for alternative health care regarding chiropractic treatment.  You can look him up here.

He began with shocking statistics (sometimes I glaze over with too many statistics, but I know professionals quantify results so bear with me.) Chronic pain causes UNBELIEVABLE suffering, disrupts careers and lifestyle, and brings about unimaginable financial drains on our society. It’s now estimated that 24 percent of Americans (or approx. 48 million people) suffer from chronic pain. More than one-third of them regularly take pain medicine to manage their suffering. Those statistics are very frightening.

Pain is caused by tissue injury, surgical procedures, and a variety of illnesses. The common pain we experience from a cut or bruise is very well understood.  It is referred to as acute pain, and is accompanied by the inflammatory response, which involves local swelling, increased temperature, redness, and loss of function.

Damage to cell membranes during an injury releases two substances that initiate the inflammatory response. They are called prostaglandins and bradykinins.  These molecules cause nearby nerve cells to transmit pain information to the brain.  Following the formation of a stable clot, fibroblasts migrate to the site of injury to repair the damaged tissues. That is when acute pain is normally extinguished.  This explains how the acute pain and swelling when I hurt my wrist hiking gradually stopped hurting.  The body rushed repair mechanisms to the place where it was most damaged and in a few hours the acute pain was gone; in a few days all pain was gone.

Chronic pain is differentbecause chronic pain persists.

Dr. Painter focuses on safe supplementation as an alternative to pain medication.  He also talks about our diet and why chronic pain is so much more common today than in the past.

He reports on a recent study involving hundreds of patients who underwent surgery on their ankle or knee.  The patients who took 1000 mg. of vitamin C for 46 days after their surgery reported 80% reduction in what is called complex regional pain, compared to patients who did not take vitamin C.  If you are planning surgery, especially in a limb (knee or hip replacement for example) begin taking 1000 mg of Sustained Release Vita C before surgery and continue for at least 46 days to prophylactically avoid pain.

Can you believe that more than a 3rd of all people with pain take medication?  When we suffer acute pain from surgery or an injury, the inflammatory response, loss of function, redness and damage to the membrane is alleviated by medication.  And then you stop taking it.  With chronic pain, the wound never heals.  Chronic pain keeps on going.  Any pain that lasts more than 6 months and has no end in sight, like  arthritis, cancer is chronic.

A chiropractor once explained to me that injury sustained in a car wreck creates a pain path in the nervous and muscular system.  The next fender bender is nowhere near as traumatic, but the pain is worse.  This pain path is reactivated, familiar and more challenging to cure.  Believe me, I had a series of car accidents each one less violent than the previous one.  Funny how the pain increased with each one.

How does our diet contribute to chronic pain?

Because of radical changes in the American Diet since the 1950’s, our diet is now pro inflammatory and contributes to both chronic pain and autoimmune system diseases.  I’ll remind you what these changes were:  milling of wheat and other grain to make a ‘whiter’ end product, ie. refining our food; manufacturing foods with high amounts of hydrogenated oils.

Let’s see what’s going on here.  In a plain food diet (no processing), the oils—omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are in equal balance.  Dr Painter points out that there are 49 known essential nutrients—nutrients our body cannot make but must get from food.  These two oils are among them.  They work in concert in the body regulating thousands of functions through the prostaglandin pathways.  I created a link here in case you, like me, are curious about these babies, prostaglandins, which I’ve been hearing about for all these years of studying nutrition’s effect on our body.  Check it out.  Fascinating.

Omega 3 (we eat salmon and buy fish oil for this one) helps the prostaglandins with inflammation, cardio health, allergies, immune response, mylin sheath protection, hormone modulation, and behavior.  Omega 6, found in borage oil, evening primrose oil, initiates the chemical cascade in the inflammatory response to any injury or infection.

Here’s the problem with this duet.  We used to eat a balance of the omegas 3 and 6, short and longer chain fatty acids:  one to one.  Now, with all these refined foods the balance has changed to twenty to one, omega 6 over omega 3.  Think of the Omega 6 as the gas pedal on your car i.e. body, and omega 3 as the breaks.  Omega 6 turns on the inflammatory response.  Omega 3 (fish) turns it off.

The car is headed for the cliff, folks and the brake pedal is too weak to stop us from hurtling into a world of pain.

We need both Omega 3 and Omega 6.  We need them in the correct ratio.  Omega 6 comes from hydrogenated oils which are found in virtually all processed foods.  Removal of the grain coatings (brown rice, wheat), increased sugar consumption (sugar interferes with synthesis of these fatty acids) and the increase in consumption of deep fried foods and margarine prevent with the healthy marriage of the two fatty acids.  The 1:1 synthesis isn’t happening.

What’s the ratio in your life between corn, sunflower and sesame oils (which appear is most processed foods as hydrogenated oils) and cold water fish, sardines, salmon and anchovies?  Too many Omega 6’s = chronic pain.

Impact of chronic pain

 People hurt too much to get up and go to work.  We lose $3 billion in income each year because of pain. Stuff doesn’t get done because we hurt too much to do it.  $60 billion a year in lost productivity.  Sixty million of us have arthritis, 1 in 3.  Family members living with someone in chronic pain have to deal with the frustration, anxiety and misery of the suffering person.  How disruptive to family life it is to have all this depression and a sense of helplessness caused by pain!

How do we manage this pain?

 Standard medical management:  pain meds, the most popular, aspirin, NSAIDS.  We spend $2.6 billion a year on prescription NSAIDS and another $6 billion on over the counter pain meds.  Most of us are unaware of the lethal side effects of these pain killers. Stanford University reviewed Inflammatory rheumatoid  Arthritis (IRA) drug use in 15,000 patients. Projecting the findings from this well controlled study to the entire US population, they found that 107,000 rheumatoid Arthritis patients were hospitalized for complications from these drugs,  a large number of whom never left the hospital alive.  They bleed out before anyone can help them.  16,500 a year die this way.  That’s only the IRA sufferers.  What about everyone else who takes these meds?

You get no warning signs for the stomach trouble that results from taking these medications.  You just bleed to death.

People with osteoarthritis and IRA are more likely than the regular population to be hospitalized because of GI bleeds.  The risk of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS is constant but increases over time with continued use.  The longer you take these drugs, the higher the risk becomes.  Drugs used to coat the stomach do not lower this probability.  The only way to prevent this stomach damage is to stop taking the non steroidal pain medication.  Dying from bleeding to death because of taking too many NSAIDS is the 15th cause of death in America.

By the way, when’s the last time you picked up a bottle of aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen and stopped by to chat with your pharmacist about possible interactions with any other drugs you are taking? No?  You are not alone.  Of all the readers of Consumer Report magazine who answered their survey, only 38% who picked up these drugs when prescribed by their doctor talked to the pharmacist about dangers or interactions.  Only 29% who bought the OTC versions checked with their pharmacist.  We used to be more cautious, before usage became so common.  Eight years ago, Consumer Report did the same survey and over 50% of the people purchasing these medications checked for side effects, dangers and interactions with other medications.  Our pharmacists are trained in drug, supplement and food interactions (not our doctor) and should be used for their expertise.  Avoid risk.

Two neurosurgeons at U of Pittsburg Medical Center decided to explore natural substances to use as a substitute for NSAIDS.  They gave their IRA patients fish oil and after 75 days, 60% of the people had been able to completely discontinue their NSAID usage and were also able to drop off their other pain meds.  88% were extremely satisfied with their pain reduction from taking fish oil.  They would continue to buy fish oil even though it costs more than the medication.

Natural relief

 I am going to shamelessly talk about Shaklee’s pain management products.  Dr. Painter is specific about Shaklee as the manufacturer in his presentation.  This company’s large staff of medical scientists studied the problem of prostaglandins and pain, created biochemical models and searched until they found herbs and safe substances that would interrupt the pain path.  I was blown away by the slide presentation Dr. Les Wong made at the annual conference the year Pain Relief Complex was introduced.

Pain Relief Complex.  A compliment of medicinal herbs designed to treat pain. The primary ingredient Boswellia extract has been used in India for a long time for joint and arthritic pain as it contains very powerful analgesic properties.  In a study people with severe osteoarthritis knee pain where able to get more flexibility and much less pain with Boswellia extract, and thereby increase their walking distance dramatically.  The frequency of swelling in the knee joint decreased.  Boswellia has also been used to heal the stomach from ulcerative colitis.  In other words, it helps heal a stomach damaged by Celebrex or other NSAIDS.

Jt. Health Complex.  When in pain we develop pain avoidance behaviors like limping.  Other daily activities are avoided because you know its going to hurt too much to do it.  I know I leave stuff lying on the floor and put off raking leaves because I know I’m going to hurt when I bend over too often.

When we stop moving to avoid pain, we actually increase the likelihood of increased pain.  Why is that? Joint tissue—ligaments, bone, have no blood supply of their own.  They eliminate their waste products through a pumping motion when the joint moves.  Nutrition to the joint also depends on pumping, or moving.  Waste products out, nutrition in, through motion.  Without motion, waste products build up around the joint which inhibits the nutrition from being absorbed.  Nutrients move from the high concentration in the blood to diffuse themselves into the joint. This process requires movement.  If your joint is smothered in waste products, the nutrients don’t go there—too crowded—and the cells start to die because there are no nutrients to feed them.  The cartilage begins to degrade and then the bones start to get closer and closer together.  The body tries to stabilize that joint by importing minerals like calcium and magnesium to build extra protection around that joint.  If you took an x-ray of the joint, you’d see little growths where they should not be.  The objective is to reduce the pain so you get more motion in the joint and clear the waste and allow nutrients to enter.  Joint Health Complex provides dramatic and speedy pain relief to get you moving again.

NSAIDS actually accelerate the deterioration of cartilage.  36% of liver failure is being cause by acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity.  One out of three liver transplants is because of the use of acetaminophen.  This research and the death of children from Tylenol drove the search for anti-inflammatories with no side effects.

 Jt Health Complex leads the way.  Boswellia seratta has a long use as an herbal anti-inflammatory.  It works.  It can be used to treat osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, RA and asthma.  Boswellia was first introduced in Shaklee Pain Relief complex in 2003.  It is so powerful they decided to add it to the Jt. Health Complex.  Joint Health Complex includes as a major ingredient glucosamine.  It has been shown in clinic studies that combining chondroitin with glucosamine reduced the body’s ability to absorb the glucosamine.  In redesigning the Jt. Health Complex, Shaklee scientists made sure there was no chondroitin mixed in with it.



Once they had the new formulation completed, they tested it head to head with the leading pharmacist recommended product, Walgreen’s Osteobyflex.  In a clinical trial they found that Jt. Health Complex was 28% faster acting than byflex for providing pain relief.  If you were beginning for the first time to take the product, it took only 5 days to get relief with Jt. Health Complex as opposed to 7 days with Osteobyflex.  With the addition of boswellia,  Jt. Health complex gave 45% better pain relief than the Walgreen product.  Shaklee found a vegetarian source for glucosamine.  Most glucosamine on the market is sourced from shell-fish.  They also made use of a carrier molecule that does not have salt (some products on the market are as much as 30% salt!) which, if you had high blood pressure could be bad—1 third of a tablespoon of salt? I don’t think so. Jt. Health Complex uses hydrochloric acid instead of sulfate to deliver glucosamine.  It also contains zinc, manganese, copper and Vita C to nourish the developing cartilage.  Glucosamine has been researched extensively since 1970’s and has been found to be at least as effective in relieving pain and NSAIDs without any dangerous side effects.  In one study it was shown that there was an actual increase in the cartilage with glucosamine.


Joint and muscle pain cream.  Helps with pain from over use during exercise.  Active ingredient is menthol. Shaklee improved on the healing characteristics by improving on the delivery of the menthol with a liposome delivery system.  This liposome delivery provides prolonged release and deeper penetration.  If you’ve used Flexall 454, Icy Hot and JointFlex, your may get temporary distraction from pain, but you are probably throwing your money away.  Topical local anesthetics, topical capsaicin are basically aspirin in creamy form and could affect your stomach the way taking aspirin does.


I strongly recommend this trio of pain relief products for chronic pain.  I use them to great advantage.  Dr. Painter provides the scientific back drop to prove the effect is no placebo.


If you suffer from chronic pain that does not seem to associated with a joint, Omega guard is the #1 nutrient solution.  Shaklee’s OmegaGuard, DHA, EPA and 5 other naturally found omega 3 fatty acids provides the missing link for halting diet induced inflammation.  Get the balance back between omega 6 and omega 3, supplement with Omerga 3 so the ratio is 1:1 and you will have less pain.  OmegaGuard naturally balances the prostyglandins that prolong the inflammatory response to pain stimulus.  Rather than using drugs to suppress the inflammation, re-balance the body’s own ability to handle pain by changing your diet to eliminate hydrogenated fats and excess sugars plus taking enough OmegaGuard to change the Omega3:Omega6 dance back to 1:1.

That’s it.  Thanks for reading all the way to the end.  May you be well, pain free and able to keep moving.

What’s next?

Tell us

Do you check your meds and OTC drugs with the pharmacist?

What pain relief rubs have your tried?  Results?

Have you given up hope or are you willing to try another way to get relief?


If you decide you want to try these products, go to my blog page, http://www.grandmabetsybell.com/shop-shaklee-products/ and browse the product guide.

Get in touch via the comment section.

If you have found value here, feel free to share on your FB page or with your friends and colleagues suffering from chronic pain.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077



Facebook Twitter Email

One more injury hiking the Engadin

Gentle Reader,

The 3rd and most dramatic day of my hiking-in-the-Alps adventure this past Sept. occurred on day 5.  Pedie Jolly and I left the other two hikers at the Via Engadina junction above Grevasalvas where they would pass the “Heidi” house. We trudged on up beyond the tree line to a high lake just below a dramatic escarpment, at 8261 ft.  The trail was far more exposed than anticipated with shear drops to the left of us and uneven boulders to climb over. We were both dangling our hiking sticks from the left hand while clinging to rocky outcroppings with the right.  There was no looking down.  It reminded me of climbing Mt. Shasta in 2006 when my right foot crampons had only the inside 5 spikes engaged with the icy ground and I steadied myself with a well planted ice axe.  Even a thin line of grass along the outside edge of the trail made me feel as though I would arrive safely at the lake.  It was an opportunity to study my mind and how just a bit of green changes fear to a sense of security.  Pedie and I were thrilled to arrive at this lake, hike in a moonscape, where two or three others were already having their lunch. 

The lake at the Lunghin Pass, above Maloja, is part of the most notable triple watershed in western Europe, from where the Inn (Engadin Valley where we hiked) flows via the Danube to the Black Sea, the Maira via the Po to the Mediterranean Sea, and the Julia via the Rhine to the North Sea.  Depending on which direction we emptied our water bottles, those droplets may have run north, south or east, something too grand to envision.

Finding the way over a knoll and down was tricky and the path was slick with thick frost anywhere the sun had not reached.  It was already 2:30 in the afternoon and we still had the entire descent to accomplish.  The view was breathtaking, and for one moment, I lost my focus on my feet.  The trail was steeply downhill, wet and covered with schist, extremely slippery. Down I went, putting my right hand out to catch myself.  Instantly I knew I had hurt my wrist.  The fingers and thumb still functioned but pain shot up my arm when I put any pressure on my hiking stick.  I collapsed it and stuck it in my pack.  Pedie, walking behind me, and I had a 1000 ft drop in 2 miles.  It was slow going.

We caught a bus to our hotel in Sils Maria whereupon a driver took me immediately to St. Moritz, the glitzy place we’d been avoiding. It was 5:30 on a Friday.  No problem for this emergency clinic used to mountain injuries.  After several x-rays, an examination and lengthy discussion of two young doctors, they decided to cast my arm.  Neither the x-ray tech nor I thought I had broken anything, but I was glad to have protection for the last day of hiking and all the hauling of luggage on and off trains over the next 5 days.  Here I am with my bright red cast riding the train to Pontresina at the end of our hike.

The final day of hiking was in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland along a contour trail with many slippery, water soaked ups and downs assisted by chains or hand rails.  I couldn’t use them as they were all positioned for the right arm.  My right arm was cradled in a sling.  I was relieved to climb over the last of the tree roots, climb the last rocky stretch and walk into the most beautiful, remote high mountain village we’d been in yet: Soglio.  A long soak in the hot bath revived me.  Cold beer and good food gave a sense of triumph.  We had made it, a 50 mile walk in 6 days from the lower Engadine River to its headwaters and then down the other side.

Our bus ride back to the starting point took a couple hours. We could spot the ending and beginning points of each day’s hike as we retraced our steps to Pontresina.

What does one do when injured hiking?  Keep moving.  Get the injured limb as comfortable as possible.  Find a skilled clinic.  The x-ray tech in St. Moritz told me she does 6-8 of these castings a day in the ski season.  She knew what she was doing.  I had travel insurance and have filed my claim.  The clinic visit was $1000.  I took plenty of my herbal pain relieve and really didn’t suffer much.  By the time I got to the Villa Lina north of Rome 5 days later, I took off the cast and participated fully in the writers’ workshop for the week.

Will I have arthritis in this wrist?  Possibly.  Just like any joint injury, trauma creates structural stress and one is likely to pay the price with increased arthritis in the future.  I am using this right hand, wrist and arm fully, noting any twinges and backing off when necessary.  The osteoarthritis I deal with doesn’t seem any worse. In fact it is only on the days that I don’t get out and walk that I have pain.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the hike stories and will share yours with my readers.  Have old injuries come up to haunt you?  What are you doing to stay limber and keep moving?  Take a minute to leave a comment.  Come on over to Face Book and friend me, www.facebook.com/betsyjbell.  Sign up to get the next posts.  I have some great new research from Johns Hopkins about knee replacement to share with you next week.  You won’t want to miss it.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077



Facebook Twitter Email