Tag Archives: knee pain

Knee pain

Gentle Reader,


My knee complains. Knee pain from the old injury is caused by arthritis.  In the forest searching for chanterelles, my companions and I climb steeply to the plateau, second growth northwest forest of red cedar, western hemlock, Douglas fir, alder and vine maple. The understory is mossy in places, the green blanket providing the perfect platform for the golden mushroom; in other places, it is thick with salal, sword fern and Oregon grape.  Chanterelles hide there, too.  This hunting ground is well known to local pothunters, the name we give people who hunt mushrooms for food, delicious sautéed-in-butter food.  We did not have hope for finding many.


Glorious!  On a super steep incline, there they were, pockets of gold, enough for all three of us.  On the way down, my knee—the left one—complained bitterly.  I traveled without my hiking sticks.  They get in the way when hunting mushrooms.  A couple times, I feared the knee pain would cause my leg to fail me completely.


In 1992, I avoided a long trek to get back to my car by climbing a chain link fence and jumping to the ground on the opposite side.  My left leg suffered nerve damage when I herniated a disc—L5—in 1989, so it did not give or bounce when I landed.  I heard the pop and knew I was in trouble. I managed to walk to my car, drove home, had a hearty snack and headed for the emergency room of the University hospital. Fast forward to the consultation after 3 months of non-weight bearing healing:


Mrs. Bell; Expect arthritis, probably severe, within the next couple of years and we’ll see you here for a knee replacement ten years from now.


That was twenty-two years ago.  I have managed the arthritis with exercise and supplements and, until now, have had only a few twinges of knee pain and the sensation of the knee giving way very occasionally.


What to do?  I have increased the stair climbing exercises, but not straight up and down.  I suspect that the knee pain is the result of neglecting the best exercise for

Do the grape vine step up and down stairs to strengthen the knees
Do the grape vine step up and down stairs to strengthen the knees

knees that I know about:  the grape vine step up and down the stairs.  I wish I had a video to show you.  Point your shoulder to the top of the stairs. Facing the bottom step sideways, begin climbing by putting the outside foot upon the next step behind the inside foot; lift with the upper foot; step up with the inside food; swing the outside foot in front of the inside foot in front and lift the body; repeat.  The second 20 steps face the top with the opposite side of the body.  I repeated this five times today and will do 200 steps up and down several more times this week.  I can tell the difference right away.


Why does this work?  Women have broad hips and a wide pelvis.  Most of us women have slightly knocked knees as the result of the wide pelvis.  The strain on the kneecap, muscles and tendons above and below the knee is great.  When you strengthen the sides of the knee, this strain is mitigated.  I learned this from a guy I met climbing the monster staircase from Blaine St. to Lakeview on Capitol Hill—300 risers.  He was on the stairs going up with the grape vine step to increase his balance so he would be able to navigate backpacking in the high mountains with a heavy pack without as much danger of falling.  I was training to climb Mt. Shasta, a 14,000 ft peak in northern California and immediately adopted his training method.  I am back at it.


The confirmation of this training method came from an article in Seattle Women, “Training Like a Girl,” featuring Dr. Stan Herring, sports medicine doctor who works with University of Washington athletes and, was my doctor after my herniated disc incident.  Dr. Herring stresses that “female athletes will obtain strength gains and aeroic gains in the same proportion as male athletes, if you train them appropriately.”


One major issue female athletes [all women who are active] face is their increased risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.  “Females should spend more time with upper body strengthening and they should certainly spend more time with lower body conditioning for core and lower extremity strength, balance and motor control because it does have a direct effect on the ACL” says Dr. Herring.  Let me share the information about the ACL which I found helped me understand why we women have more trouble with our knees.


The ACL is one of a pair of ligaments in the center of the knee joint that stabilizes the knee from front to back during normal and athletic activities. Increased estrogen production during puberty causes the pelvis to widen, which can cause the knees to turn inward. These hormonal and anatomical facts lead to female athletes sustaining noncontact ACL injuries between two and 10 times more often than male athletes.   To avoid this risk, build up the secondary muscles that support the hips, knees and ankles.  The stair climbing sideways with the grapevine step helps this.  The author

walk sideways with band around your legs above the knee
walk sideways with band around your legs above the knee


described strengthening the knees by tying an elastic band around you thighs or ankles—your feet are about 4 inches apart when you are setting this up—and then walking around the house in a squat position, moving sideways and another set moving forward.  This strengthens both knees and legs.  Do about 40 to 60 steps sideways in one direction and then reverse, leading with the opposite foot for 40 to 60 steps.  Maintain the squat position throughout.


Above all, when confronted with joint pain, do not sit down and avoid using those joints.  Find something you can still do.  Joints have low blood flow.  They need movement to stay functional.  Of course, if you have a major inflammation, you need to reduce that with medication, ice and rest, but test yourself for the best way to get movement back into that joint.  When I was non-weight bearing for so many weeks, I sat on the floor and isometric exercises 2lifted the affected leg, traced the alphabet with my foot, isometrically tensed and relaxed the muscles up and down the leg, did side lifts with the affected leg.  When the cast came off, I walked without a limp.  The muscles had not atrophied.  I know people whose knee replacement surgery or other foot and leg surgeries have not healed well.  More movement to stimulate blood flood would surly help healing.isometric exercises


I am going to avoid knee surgery as long as I possibly can.  Using sticks to climb and descend helps relieve pressure on the knees.  I’ll keep you posted.  Let me and my readers know what your techniques are to lessen knee pain and keep moving.


Be well, Do well and Keep Moving.


206 933 1889

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resveratrol for joints

Gentle Reader,

There is so much I could share about this past weekend at my alma mater, Bryn Mawr College, just outside Philadelphia on the MainLine.  In keeping with the goal of this blog, I will single out arthritic joint issues and focus on possible remedies for joint pain.

Twenty-nine of my classmates came to celebrate our 55th reunion.  Everyone looked great:  not too many wrinkles, lovely hair, sparkling eyes.  But when it came time to walk up a few stairs, joints fail and pain ensues.  The cart is called to drive people where they need to go.  I’m wondering if the anti-aging product I’ve been taking for ten years has helped my joints so the same is not true for me.

Have you heard about Resveratrol?  It is the anti-oxidant found in red wine.  Shaklee started working on producing a pure tonic that combines the resveratrol and polyphenols found in the muscadine grade about ten years ago.  I have been taking my daily dose of this delicious liquid called Vivix since they made it available for sale.

There is no question that my body, like my class mates, suffers from the aging deterioration of cells that is normal for a 77 year old.  It appears we do not all age in the same way or at the same rate.  I have had severe osteo arthritis and spinal stenosis for years, probably brought about by factors such as stress, poor diet, and environmental toxins. I’ve worked hard on the diet part, but you cannot always eat perfectly, now can you.  These factors can weaken cells’ natural defenses, lower cell energy, damage DNA, and decrease cell performance. All of these can contribute to cellular aging.

Clinical Studies show Vivix® ingredients positively impact four key mechanisms of aging at the cellular level.

Shaklee scientists conducted a study to see if Vivix could defend against cell damage.

Cell Defense


Blunts Biological Stress
A clinical study published in The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that key ingredients in Vivix blocked a key marker of biological stress response after the consumption of a high-fat fast food breakfast totaling 930 calories.

The results were exciting, while the study had nothing to do with joints, it showed that Vivix protected cells from damage.  My joints were damaged long before Vivix came along.  Perhaps protection is less important than repair.  Let’s see what happened with repair.

 Cell Repair

DNA Protection & Repair
Laboratory studies show that key Vivix ingredients help protect against DNA damage, supporting DNA replication for healthy cell function.

Shown in laboratory studies, Vivix protects and repairs DNA, which is assaulted millions of times every day. These assaults can damage the cell’s DNA, creating a “typo” that may compromise cell function and longevity.

A recent visit with my sports medicine doctor revealed a smaller than average spinal passageway for the cord to pass through.  Like my father before me, my spinal cord has little wiggle room.  That is the result of inherited DNA.  The data suggest that DNA can be repaired by resveratrol.  I am convinced that my joint health has improved instead of worsened over the last ten years.  The recent MRI indicated improvement.

Could it be that resveratrol reduces joint pain?  This is certainly my experience.

To learn more about Vivix and the ingredients, studies and results, click here.

Vivix is expensive.  It may be worth it if you want to slow down aging at the cellular level.  It certainly seems to help with joint pain and there are only side benefits from drinking a swig from the bottle every day.   I would give the body 90 to 180 days before deciding Vivix has made no difference in your joint function.  It is possible you will feel a positive difference much sooner.  Your blood is all new in 90 days and the joints, because of lower blood flow, will take double that to show results.

There are other resveratrol products on the market, but none have the muscadine grape’s extra anti-oxidants which seems to enhance the punch provided by resveratrol.  In addition, purity of product makes a difference and Shaklee scientists have been able to produce a 95% pure tonic.  Less purity may result in loose bowels.  Get some and see what your results are.

Good luck and keep moving, as moving is always the best single antidote to painful joints.

Be well, Do well and Keep moving,


206 406 5940

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Gifts for arthritis

Gentle Reader,

Who do you know who suffers from sore, painful knees, hips, fingers or shoulders?  You love this person who has arthritis and you are going to go shopping to buy them something for Christmas.  Why not combine a cozy lap blanket with an herbal pain reliever and a deep-tissue cream that could bring comfort as well as warmth?

I’m not a shopper so I was stunned Wed. night when a friend and I went to a movie in Seattle’s endless mall area with a big AMC.  We were thinking the parking would be easier.  Whoa! People are out shopping already—in droves and into the night.  In this blog, I’m inviting you to shop.  ‘Tis the season, right?

You might appreciate choosing gifts that bring better health to those you care about.  This is an invitation to shop for health.  Bring meaning to every purchase.

Have you watched Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff?  Take a minute to watch before piling up a mound and consider the necessity of each purchase and how it got to the store and what the received is going to do with that gift later.

I make an argument for buying a Shaklee product over something else because I believe in the company’s philosophy of living in harmony with nature in every aspect of their corporate life.  In the end, stuff is stuff, and all the great suggestions I have for you about things you can add to a Shaklee product to make a sweet, health enhancing gift still accumulates stuff.  It is tricky being a fierce environmentalist and a sales person of goods I love and buy myself.

So, having suggested you buy nothing this Christmas here goes my suggestions for what to buy for someone who has been complaining of arthritis.  After all, I know you and I are going to buy some stuff anyway.

Joint & Muscle Pain Relief Cream with a microwaveable comfort pillow.

Pain Relief Complex and Physique After Workout Recovery Drink with Peggy Cappy’s DVD “Easy Yoga for the Rest of Us” especially for arthritis.  Add a yoga mat to make this gift special.

Joint Health Complex and Peggy Cappy’s CD meditation for back health.   I listen to this CD nearly every night and I’m convinced her quiet words have helped heal the arthritis in my lower back.  You can add an orthopedic pillow.  This is the one I have used for the last 15 years and I love it.

I have a lo-o-o-ng list of healthy living gifts on my resource page www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com.

If you decide to do any of these suggestions, I’d love to hear about the results.  You can shop for the Shaklee part of the gift at www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com/shop.  Or you can click on the links above.

Have a great Thanksgiving, pain free and full of love.

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving,


206 933 1889

Enjoy the list.  I hope you get some great ideas.  Let me know if you have questions.

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Speaking of feet: blisters

Dear Gentle Reader,

In my last post, I talked about the pain of plantars faciitis along with some suggestions as to how to alleviate that debilitating pain. Today, I want to address the care of your feet, i.e. blisters and how to heal and prevent them.

Last Wed. Betty and I hiked 11 miles along Rattlesnake Ridge, overlooking North Bend, WA., a trail 45 minutes from Seattle. It is a through-hike requiring two cars.  We chose the long uphill route dropping to the Ledge and thence to the lake below.  Rattlesnake

People fall to their death from the Rattlesnake Ridge ledge
People fall to their death from the Rattlesnake Ridge ledge

ledge is infamous because so many unprepared people can easily get up there–it is only 1 1/2 miles, and every year one or two fall off to their death below.

View from Rattlesnake ledge
View from Rattlesnake ledge

In spite of arthritis, chronic pain, aching joints–hips, knees, ankles–, you still want to go walking.  Your feet must have the best possible support.  For me, this has been a huge challenge because I have bunions which require double wide men’s shoes.  At one point I developed a metatarsal neuroma or  Morton’s neuroma .  I mentioned Dr. Huppin’s Foot and Ankle clinic last week.  He knew exactly what modifications to make to the orthotic inserts to take the pressure off the 2nd toe and spread weight over all the toes.

He and his partner, Dr. Hale, publish a guide to shoes that helps a person choose the most stable shoe.  They even consider and recommend a flip flop!  Here’s the link where you can sign up for their recommended shoe list and guide lines on how to choose a shoe that will keep your foot stable.

On the Rattlesnake Ridge hike, I make a huge mistake.  I ignore a hot spot between my big toe and the 2nd toe, a place where I have rubbed countless blisters.  By the time I get home late that night, after another event, I can hardly walk.

I’d like to share what to do to avoid that suffering.  Blisters are serious business.  I knew a woman who ignored a blister her ski boot rubbed.  It developed septicemia and she died before they could airlift her to a hospital.

Women on Wed.hike to Red Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail
Women on Wed.hike to Red Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail

In my pack I carry a tape made by a German company.  The product is called Hansaplast and is not available in the US, only Canada and Mexico in North America.  But of course anywhere in Europe you can purchase rolls of this magical thin, easy-to-tear-with-your-fingers tape.  If I’m not going to Europe, I ask a traveling friend to buy it for me.  Usually I put a piece of this tape on the areas of my feet most likely to blister in my hiking boots before I begin the hike.  Usually, if I feel a hot spot, the way I did when we hiked out of Commonwealth Basin up the Pacific Crest Trail toward Red Pass, I stop on the trail and take off my boots and sox and put the tape on, thus preventing a blister.  But on Rattlesnake Ridge, I ignored everything I usually do.

The blister kept me awake all night. In the morning I punctured it, cleaned it carefully and put Second Skin on it.  This is the second thing to tell you about blisters.  Second Skin is a must for your pack first aide kit.  Don’t leave home without it.  You leave the second skin on for 5 days and by that time the blister is completely healed.  I hiked again yesterday, 8 miles on Tiger Mt. with quite an elevation gain.  Before going, I used the Hansaplast and a pair of liner sock.No blisters or sore feet.

One more suggestion for protecting your feet and legs: walk with hiking sticks and use them to lift your body up and lower it down on the steep bits of trail.  Your upper body gets a work out and your legs and feet have less stress.  We spent much of our time on Tiger a little bit lost.  I was glad we were 5 and that my smart phone GPS could locate us, but nothing helped poor signage.  We are determined to master the maze of wilderness trails on this complicated mountain, a foot hill of the Cascade Range, blessedly protected by forward looking environmentalists.  Known as the Issaquah Alps, Tiger and Cougar and Squak mountains form a corridor of wilderness in an otherwise densely developed exurban Seattle.

More than anything, keep moving, Gentle Reader, keep moving.

Before you go, what is your foot sore story and how have you kept sore feet from keeping you in your chair? Let us hear from you.

Be well, Do well and keep moving





e may



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Vitamin D may prevent Diabetes II

Gentle Reader,

Vitamin D, seems to be the miracle supplement as research turns up more benefits. In my recent travels, along the Inside Passage in Alaska, I worried about the many “round” people from the cruise ships.  They may not have gotten a diagnosis of diabetes from their doctor.  But they may, like many of us, walk around leading what seems like normal lives with pre-diabetes.

Dr. Steve Chaney describes the condition in his recent newsletter.  [To read the whole letter, go to Resources: Diabetes is a deadly scourge.]  He says that when we become overweight our tissues become insulin resistant. Initially our pancreas responds by pumping out more insulin to keep our blood sugar levels near normal. It also starts releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream.

At this stage our blood sugar levels are pretty well under control, but our blood levels of insulin and fatty acids are higher than normal. We are asymptomatic for the most part, so many of us never realize that we have a problem.

And lots of us are pre-diabetic!

When the normal range goes to pre-diabetic and beyond.

My grandfather on my mother’s side was diabetic.  He was a Swede-Finn, emigrating to New York City in around 1900 and joining the dock builders union.  He worked hard, driving piles, helping construct the Brooklyn Bridge and the piers along New York’s maritime harbor.  Then he sat down.  His knees hurt.  His hands hurt. His back hurt.  He had arthritis and moving his body hurt.  Then he developed diabetes.

My mother was never diagnosed with diabetes.  I suspected her of being very close to slipping from pre-diabetic to diabetes in the last 10 years of her life.  Her shoulders hurt.  Her hands hurt.  She had old age arthritis at 55 and began taking Motrin.  I remember her and my father both taking drugs for their aches and pains when I was in high school. They both slowed down, walking less and less.  She was never diagnosed with diabetes.  She died of pancreatic cancer.

This family history is a major driver for me to stay slim and active in spite of major arthritis.

Dr. Chaney points out that there are several published clinical studies showing that lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet supplying all of the essential nutrients) can significantly reduce the progression of
pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.


Supplement with Vitamin D3 by Shaklee

This is a blog about managing arthritis.  See how stiff joints, slowing down, mild and more severe osteo-arthritis, the kind that comes with aging, can be part of the pre-diabetic cluster of conditions?  The primary focus of Dr. Chaney’s article is the research about the benefit of Vitamin D on keeping the pancreas healthy.  Make no mistake, however, Vitamin D by itself will not prevent diabetes.  

Do not let your aches and pains keep you from moving.  Keep those joints active to the maximum extent of their flexibility.

Take Vitamin D if you are over weight and suspect you are pre-diabetic.  But there is no magic bullet.

I was talking with a young woman today who says she doesn’t want to take pills.  I’m all for avoiding medicines if possible.  It was a major challenge for me to understand vitamins are food supplements, foodlets, if you will.  Yes, they are in pill form.  I seldom refer to my vitamins as pills.  They are my supplements.  I take them to fill in the gaps and to compensate for the sluggish utilization of nutrients that comes with age.  We do not make Vitamin D from the sun the way we did when we were 10.

We are going into the winter months when those of us in the north will get less and less sun exposure.  Why not supplement with Vitamin D3?  Especially if you are little round in the middle.  Then, by all means, consider the 180 Turnaround program for losing those extra pounds.  You’ll be thrilled with how much easier it is to move with even 10 pounds less to carry around.

To your good health,

Be well, Do well and Keep moving,


206 933 1889

PS If you would like to comment or ask a question, please email me at betsy@hihohealth.com.  I’ve had too many spammy comments and have limited access to the comment section, but I would still love to hear from you.




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Who is Peggy Cappy?

Gentle Reader,

Whether it is the new exercise classes or the intense gardening, I cannot say for sure.backcaremed (1)  What I am sure about is increased pain and then the magical release from it.  Here is the unexplainable magic.  I have mentioned it to you several times in the past.  It is a 20 minute meditation tape by Peggy Cappy about Rejuvenating the Back.   She talks in a soothing voice about how every cell in your body is capable of reproducing into a fresh, new creation, whole and healthy.



I come in from the garden hurting in every lower back, hip and knee joint, shoulders and hands, as well.  I turn on the Ipod to her voice and prop my knees over the Back2Life machine (I have described this contraption several times in previous posts) and when the tape is over, I stand and walk without pain.

BAck2Life machine






The third thing I do is take an herbal tablet that inhibits the pain path.  The Pain Relief Complex is helpful but does not bring such complete results by itself.


I urge you, if you suffer pain, to invest in Peggy Cappy’s cd.  You might want the Back2Life machine, too, but it probably is less important than her relaxation/rejunvenation message.


I’d be interested in hearing your techniques for curbing acute pain.  So let us hear from you.  If you investigate these techniques and like what I have shared, please pass the message along to your friends. While you are at it, like my facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/BetsyBellsHealth4U.


Be Well, Do Well, Keep Moving


Injured at 52. Diagnosed and sentenced to a wheel chair at 55.  Hiking, skiing, dancing and walking at 75.  Read my story

206 933 1889  betsy@HiHoHealth.com   www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

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World champion at 86: How did he do it?

Gentle Reader,

Every so often I hear about a person who just won’t sit down and quit.  This guy ruined his knees running and went in search of a new sport which didn’t require so much stress on his knees. Here’s his story. Enjoy.  And thanks to Bob Ferguson for passing it along.

Dean Smith Rows to new World and American Record

 Dean Smith set new US and World records at the World Indoor Rowing Championship, hosted by the CRASH-B Sprints that took place on February 17, 2013 at the Agganis Arena in Boston. Over 2,200 athletes raced from more than a dozen countries, with competitors ranging in age from 14 to 95. Dean’s world record time in the 2000 meter row was 8:10.5. Just Google Dean Smith Rowing to see how he has been keeping active.

Dean, a former world- class runner is used to being on the winner’s podium. Previously in Masters Track & Field he won World championship gold medals in Hanover, Germany and Gothenburg, Sweden for the 800 meter run, as well as several national championships.  Bad knees brought an end to Dean’s running a few years ago, so he was delighted to find a new sport in which to compete. He joined the Rocky Mountain Rowing Club when he moved to Lone Tree, Colorado seven years ago. Since then he has won NINE World Championships in sculls on the water in Zagreb, Croatia, Vienna, Austria, Birmingham, England and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Dean is a young 86.

He attributes his edge for success to using Shaklee Sports Products.  Dean Smith

Email deansmith3@msn for more information & complete sports history

My wish for everyone of my readers is a long active life.  We may not all win medals, but we can all keep moving.  Pass this along as an inspiration to your friends and family.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,


Betsy Bells Health4u

206 933 1889



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Watch out for the metal detectors!

Gentle Reader,

His long legs and narrow hips will soon carry him back to the gym.  He will be back on the machines and lose the ‘love handles’ that have crept on from lack of exercise. The long process of identifying what caused the sciatica, the sharp pinching pain radiating down the leg, making his once strong stride impossible is over.  It took months to identify a worn out hip as the culprit.  He has a new one now.hip replacement

No more arthritis pain from that degenerated joint.  His bones were healthy enough at 70+ to give the surgeon something to work with.  Other joints–knee, shoulders, ankles–still hold.  No advanced osteoarthritis everywhere.

Rehabilitation takes time.  His spirit is good.  He hates hurting or talking about hurting, so he will use the special chair lifters, the raised toilet seat, and take the procautions he must take to avoid damage to the new joint as the supportive muscles and tissue and tendons readjust to the trauma of surgery.

This world traveler will soon set off the alarms in the airport again.  What joy.  What thanksgiving.

Here are some tricks to rapid healing that his doctor may not tell him.

1.  Lecithin is an oil that helps emulsify, make more liquid, substances that are sticky.  After an incision or any wound to the body, our own mechanisms for repair rush to the task of healing.  This healing process causes lots of swelling, too many repair cells for the space.  To help bring this swelling down quickly, an emulsifier makes the spent repair cells easy to slough off through the normal waste stream.  Several lecithin capsules a day, not just one or two.

Caution: not all lecithin is the same.  Granuals or huge jars of capsules can go rancid quickly like any oil exposed to the air and light.  I prefer a small jar with 180 capsules.  There should be no smell of rancidity.  A rancid fat causes more damage than you can imagine, so take care what you buy.

2.  Alfalfa.  This food for horses and cows is King of Vegetables and helps all systems in the body with its nutrients.  In this case when the hip joint and surrounding tissue need held, it is there to do the job. Here are a few of Alfalfa’s contributions to our body:

  • a great aid in digestion, aids in peptic ulcers, great diuretic and bowel regulator,
  • effective barrier against bacterial invasion, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine.
  • Natural body deodorizer, helps support the natural ph of the blood .   
  • High in protein: 18.9% protein as compared to beef 16.5%; milk 3.3% and eggs 13.1%.
  •  Remember, muscles are composed of protein and the lack of it causes them to break down resulting in fatigue and weakness. 
  • After surgery, naturally replenishes joints and tissues with its healing properties.

How much Alfalfa?  Lots and lots.  It is like eating peas.  Take a big spoonful and wash the tablets down with your favorite smoothie.  Or make a hot tea.  Or chew them up.

Caution:  Not all Alfalfa is the same.  Often genetically modified, the brand I use exclusively is grown by a very picky company’s organic farmers in Antalope Valley.  The leaves are picked at sun-rise.  No stems are included in the tablets.  Open the bottle and take a whiff of the farm land where it grew.

If I had to pick only one supplement to take, it would be Alfalfa by Shaklee.  Dr. Shaklee felt the same way.

Happy healing to my friend, the best travel leader I have ever known. And Happy Travels.



Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com    206-933-1889


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Oh, my aching hamstrings

Gentle Reader,

What a ski season it is here in the Northwest.  The snow conditions surprise us every Wednesday as my band of 16-24 friends head up to the pass on a big bus (potty included).  It’s a good thing to use this bus company for January and February when the road conditions are dicey and icy.  The bus drivers have gotten stuck twice!  The ladies who ski are mostly over 65.  Yesterday I learned that one companion, a tall, slim brunette with impeccable make up and style is 80.  We are still climbing logging roads and snow plowing down, but we have become partial to the groomed Nordic tracks, of which there are a few.  One of oldest members skis with the blind across the US and Canada.  We do have a special club here with a pair of set tracks for the blind skier and her companion guide.  We often see dog teams, although mid-week is a quiet time to ski.  People-watching happens on Saturday and Sunday.  Yesterday the only viable skiing was on the reclaimed rail road track which snakes its way up from Seattle, through the pass and on East.  Long ago this track was pulled up and remaining bed has become a favorite mountain bike and Nordic ski trail.John Wayne track

Pushing and gliding for 3 hours and 8 miles along this relatively flat track awakened muscles I had not used so strenuously.  This morning I have been on the floor getting the creaks and groans out of my joints-back and hip and knee pain are no fun, nor are arthritis flare-ups.  Several techniques work well.


1.  tie a strong flexible tubing around your thighs, squat and walk to the left 20 steps and then to the right. In the picture, the tubing is around the ankles.  I find the tubing stays put better at the thigh.squat walking with tube







2.  Lying on your side with your knees pulls up part way, lift one knee up and then back down in a clam-shell move.  Several reps on each side.Clam shell exercise








3.  Put one end of the flexible tubing in the door jam and loop the other around your foot.  Stand side ways to the door and take the outside foot, lifting straight legged 10 reps.  Turn and draw the foot away from the door across the body.  This is a classic standing Pilates move.  Change legs and repeat.  Years ago I bought a heavy steel foot stool off Ebay to use for this exercise as it works better if you are standing a few inches off the floor.  Gyms have portable durable plastic steps that can be used.  Personally, my little upholstered foot stool would never be taken for an exercise prop as it sits by the front door.  This is the best picture I could find.  Imagine the end of the theraband as a knotted tube in the door jab, the bottom around your shoe.Hip-abd-with-TB-finish

4.  face the door and, with the foot in the loop of the tubing, push it away from the door while standing erect, in perfect posture, on the other foot.  Several reps on both legs will help.



I am glad I climb stairs every week (200), going up and down sideways with the grape vine step.  I found yesterday that straight way skiing tired the knees.  Most women have slightly knock-knees and prolonged straight walking, hiking or skiing stressed them.  Whenever you have the opportunity to go up or down stairs side-ways, one foot behind, then in front, do it.  Your knees will not stress on the straight-away as much. I am going to get someone to film me doing this.  There are no pictures on the web that I can find.

Avoiding arthritis pain in the knees, back and hips can be challenging, and fun.  Get out there and enjoy the winter weather if you are lucky enough to have snow.  Don’t let the diagnosis of osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis keep you from moving.  Browse the techniques I have offered in my blog postings and try some of them.  Better still, leave a comment about the techniques you have found work well.


Be Well, Do Well, Keep Moving


Injured at 52. Diagnosed and sentenced to a wheelchair at 55.  Hiking, skiing, dancing and walking at 75.  Read my story

206 933 1889  betsy@HiHoHealth.com   www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com


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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


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