Monday, April 08, 2013

Back to basics, continued

Here's the original.

But maybe you should start here.

I've been having severe thigh cramps at night for years.  They're even worse than good old-fashioned so-called "Charley-horse" cramps, because a "charley-horse," as painful as it is, can usually be cured within a few minutes simply by bending over and stretching the leg muscles.  These are different--absolutely nothing cures them.  I used to get out of bed and walk around when I had one of these cramps, but I stopped doing that because no amount of walking or stretching made any difference.  The last time I had a severe thigh cramp, I decided to time it, just out of curiosity (not to mention to distract myself from the pain).  I didn't even start at the beginning of the cramp, but I can tell you this--I got bored and stopped counting after around seven minutes, and the cramp didn't dissipate for probably at least a minute more.

So I decided to try to see whether there was any pattern to the cramps.  The first thing I noticed was that, particularly in recent months, they always seemed to take place on Friday nights.  Following my previous hunch to check my diet (see the second linked post), I asked myself whether anything that I was eating on Friday nights might be problematic.  Hmm.  Well, since I try to behave myself on weekdays, I tend to pig out on Erev Shabbat.  Could sugar be the culprit?


The minute I threw out my jelly beans and cut back to no more than two or three cookies, the cramps magically disappeared.  I haven't had a severe night-time thigh cramp in months.

Years ago, I went to a doctor looking for a cure, and he put me on some stupid prescription medication that didn't do a thing.  More recently, a friend who's a health-care professional recommended tonic water for the quinine therein, but all that did was speed up my heartbeat and scare me half to death.  What I'd like to know is this:  Why don't medical professionals try the basics first?  Why don't they start by looking at diet and/or other environmental factors, rather than going straight to the pharmacological approach?

I cured my chest pains by reducing my consumption of nuts, my skin problem by switching to all-natural, 100%-vegetarian-ingredients glycerine-based soaps, and my leg cramps by cutting back on sugar.  Would that all my ailments were that easy to cure.  I'll bring on the big pharmaceutical guns when I need them, but not before.  In the meantime, I'm sticking to the basics, thank you.


Blogger Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Ain't it amazing how many problems you can solve with a high fibre, low sugar, low fat diet combined with regular vigorous exercise?

Tue Apr 09, 08:13:00 AM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Garnel, I haven't quite managed such healthy living yet, but I am working on eating more alkaline foods and less acidic foods because that's the only osteoporosis "treatment" I've heard of that doesn't require either drugs (which have dangerous side effects) or expensive nutritional supplements. I'm trying to eat more seeds (especially sunflower seeds and pepitas/pumpkin seeds) and fewer nuts (except almonds), more fruit (since almost all fruits are alkaline), lots of broccoli, and, for calcium, some yogurt almost every day. Still workin' on the "regular vigorous excercise" part.

Tue Apr 09, 01:31:00 PM 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for a 10 minute walk after lunch and after dinner. You'll find huge benefits for little effort/commitment. You can pick up the pack from there.

Easy alkaline food: lemon juice. Cut up a lemon and drink it water through the day, you'll feel much better (lemon/lime juice are acidic, but they are alkalyzing in the body).

Tropical fruits are also really good for this, but a but less common in New York than Miami this time of year.

But it's amazing how some simple changes can make a huge difference in the health of your diet.

Tue Apr 09, 01:44:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I will admit that I don't do enough walking, but I have recent taken to climbing stairs at work whenever possible.

Gotta watch the citrus--bad for my acid reflux. But as for the tropical fruit, I buy kiwis whenever they're available and of decent quality--they're a good source of vitamin C. Cantaloupe is another tropical fruit that's good for C, and we buy it often.

Tue Apr 09, 05:00:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Some health information for my readers: When noshing nuts, I try to eat mostly almonds, because they're both alkaline and high in general health benefits. Walnuts, though acidic, are also a healthy choice.

Tue Apr 09, 05:09:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Those whose, like me, find almonds too dry might want to try that old favorite, rozinkes mit mandlin, raisins and almonds. Dried apricots and almonds are my personal favorite, especially since dried apricots are also good for potassium. If your tolerance is really low, I recommend almond butter. Use it as you would use peanut butter. Note that we've found kosher for Passover almond butter for several years, so you can spread on matzah, too, if you can figure out how to keep that "kosher cardboard" from breaking. :)

Tue Apr 09, 05:16:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Sorry, didn't mean to deprive you of a link: "Rozhinkes mit Mandlen"

Tue Apr 09, 05:22:00 PM 2013  

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