Exciting News For This Blog! Please Read

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Hi everyone!

This blog has been my heart and soul for years. I love it because it helps me to deal with my lupus while helping others on their journey as well. I have tried to incorporate lots of information about lupus so it can help those who are newly diagnosed as well as those in their journey for a long time. I share my own experiences with lupus from the good to the bad, the drug trial I was in, and how I have come off of most of my meds and started using food as medicine.

You may have noticed that the name of the blog has changed. I have changed it to “My Old Kentucky Homestead”, which is my domain name. While this blog is a work in progress,  trust me, it is still the same blog, it is just a name change.

I will still be posting about lupus and all that comes with that. The same posts are here for you. The only difference is that I am upgrading the blog and making it much easier to navigate. I am also making it more professional. I finally made the decision to upgrade so I can receive passive revenue from all my hard work. This decision has been a long time in the making but I finally am pulling the trigger so to speak.

I also plan on going through the existing lupus posts to update them as many of them have changed through the years. For example, many medications are now not being used or the use has changed. I plan on bringing those posts up to date with current information on the subject.

I hope you will remain with me. I am going to be posting lupus related content as well as my homesteading journey, recipes, herbal remedies, and much more now. You will still have the lupus content as before, but you may find a new recipe you want to try, or learn a bit about the herbal medicines I use. It is going to be a true labor of love for me to combine the two things near and dear to my heart.

I originally started this way and then made a new blog just for my homesteading. This was too difficult to keep up with two blogs so instead, I used my domain name on this one and am combining the two back again. As I said, you will still have the same lupus articles but with added content now.

I know most of you may not be interested in homesteading, but I hope you will welcome the new direction and stick with me here. I really am so excited about this whole big change and I hope you are too.

I want to personally thank each and every one of you for being a follower and for enjoying my passion of sharing our lupus journeys together. Stay with me and we can continue to grow together.

I have plans for merchandise as well. I will be working hard to make this site much more easy to navigate, and new graphics and more personal content too. This is going to be a great change for our family and I hope you enjoy it. Please send me feedback as it grows on what topics you would like to see. I am also going to be working on a few instructional courses to help those interested in a variety of subjects.

Again, thank each and every one of you for being on this ride with me. I hope I do not disappoint you.

Rosemary, Not Just For Flavor

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Most of us have heard of or used rosemary in various dishes we prepare. You can grow it in your garden easily to have it on hand at all times. However, did you know the rosemary actually has been studied and found to have many medicinal qualities as well? This post is going to focus on these medicinal qualities and how you can harness them for better health.

To begin with, rosemary is a woody evergreen herb that is native to the Mediterranean areas. It is a perennial plant that grows with needle like leaves.

It has a bitter, astringent, warm taste that produces a flavor well suited for soups, stews, sauces, stuffing and roasts.

Rosemary is loaded with vitamins when it is used fresh. The vitamins it contains are :

  1. Vitamin A
  2. Vitamin B6
  3. Thiamine
  4. Folate

It also has these minerals in it:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Calcium
  3. Iron

Rosemary also has lots of antioxidants in its phenolic compounds such as diterpene,  carnosol and rosemaranic acid. The essential oils it contains are cineol, camphene, a-terpineol, a-pinene, borneol and bornyl acetate.

It is high in dietary fiber as well and low in cholesterol and sodium but high in saturated fats.

Here are a few of the health benefits you can derive from using rosemary:

  1. Hair growth- use rosemary oil to promote hair growth, prevent baldness, slow graying of hair and to treat dandruff and dry scalp.
  2. Enhances brain function- rosemary is a cognitive stimulant that boosts memory performance and quality and also aids in alertness, intelligence and focus. Rosemary extract enhances synthesis of nerve growth factor which is necessary for nerve tissue.
  3. Prevents Alzheimer’s- it prevents the beta-amyloid plaques and suppresses their activity.
  4. Neurological protection- rosemary reduces oxidative stress and overstimulation in nerve cells, and thus protects the nervous system. It has been shown to also protect the brain from tissue damage.
  5. Reduces liver damage- extracts of rosemary and olive leaves can reduce liver cirrhosis.
  6. Reduces stress- rosemary improves symptoms of depression and has a calming effect on those who suffer chronic anxiety and depression. It also reduces salivary cortisol which helps to ease tension in the body.
  7. Balances hormones- the carnasol in it decreases androgen receptor expression and disrupts estrogen receptors in cancer cells. It also lowers DHT hormones and thus improves prostate health and enhances hair growth.
  8. Anti cancer potential- carnasol, rosemaranic acid, carnosic acid and others have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and anticancer properties. They selectively kill cancer cells. The studies showing this are very promising int he treatment of colon, blood, breast, prostate, ovarian, cervical, liver, lung, bladder and pancreatic cancer.
  9. Skin care-rosemary improves the quality of skin and has potent anti-aging effect on the skin. It heals blemishes, increases natural shine and protects against UV damage.
  10. Reduces cough- the leaves have substances which can help to remove phlegm and mucus.
  11. Limits weight gain- rosemary exerts anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperglycemic effects which help to promote weight loss. The extract of rosemary has shown significant weight loss and increased fecal excretion of lipids.
  12. Antibacterial and antimicrobial- rosemary is powerful against bacterial and staph infections.
  13. Prevents blood clots- the extract exerts an antithrombotic effect thus not allowing clots to form.
  14. Antiulcer- it can prevent the growth of h. pylori bacteria
  15. Boosts immunity- the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic qualities help attack against diseases that can threaten the immune system.

As you can see, this lovely little herb packs a powerhouse of medicinal qualities that have been shown in studies to help us in so many ways. I grow rosemary and dehydrate for use in my home made medicines. I also use it in cooking. It has this versatility and ease of use that you can incorporate into most anything. I hope you enjoyed this post!

 

What Is Sage?

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What is sage? Many have heard of it but what is it and does it have medicinal qualities? Let’s find out.

Sage is a perennial herb that grows like an evergreen shrub, similar to rosemary (which will be in another post soon). Many of it’s health benefits are found in the acid, called rosmarinic acid, which is the same acid found in rosemary that makes it so powerful. The two herbs together are considered to be sister herbs because of the similarity. Sage has been used for thousands of years actually.

Some of sage’s health benefits include the following:

  1. It Boosts Cognition– If you inhale the scent of the sage or consume it, it can relieve symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s and can increase recall and memory retention.
  2. Treats Inflammation– When you chew the leaves it is not so tasty but it is the most effective way to get sage into your system. A tincture or tea relieves respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. It helps arthritis and gout and also inflammation of the cardiovascular system.
  3. It is an Antioxidant– Along with the rosmarinic acid, it also contains luteolin and apigenin that neutralizes free radicals and also prevents them from producing oxidative stress in the heart, organs systems, skin, joints, muscles and the brain.
  4. Strengthens Immunity– You can make a topical salve or a tincture and it can prevent bacterial and viral infections that attack through the skin.
  5. Improves Bone Health– Sage has lots of Vitamin K which is an essential vitamin not normally found in foods. Vitamin K is essential for bone density and keeping bones healthy as we age.
  6. Skin Care– A salve or tincture using sage leaves can improve conditions like eczema, psoriasis and even acne.
  7. Manage Diabetes– Sage has extracts and chemicals that are useful in mimicking the normal drugs prescribed for diabetes, such as metformin.
  8. Aids Digestion– Roamarinic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory for the stomach and reduces the occurrence of diarrhea and gastritis. It helps to heal the gut.

While most have heard of sage, many today do not know the benefits of using it in foods and as a medicinal tincture or tea to help in all of the above areas. Try it, you might be surprised. I grow it every year myself.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? It is a depression that results from shorter sunlight during seasonal changes. It is actually pretty common. It begins and ends at about the same times each year. Most of the time it will begin in autumn and go through winter and end in spring.

SAD symptoms can include having no energy, feeling depressed and moody. This will typically occur each year at the same time of year each time.

For a diagnosis of SAD, you must meet the full criteria of major depression, with the difference being that it begins and ends at the same times each year.

Major depression symptoms include the following:

  1. Feeling hopeless or worthless
  2. Low energy
  3. Being depressed nearly every day
  4. Problems with sleep
  5. Feeling sluggish or agitated
  6. Having no interest in activities you enjoy
  7. Changes in appetite or weight
  8. Frequent thoughts of suicide or dying
  9. Difficulty concentrating

Symptoms of winter pattern SAD include:

  1. Low energy
  2. Socially withdrawing
  3. Weight gain
  4. Hypersomnia
  5. Overeating
  6. Craving Carbohydrates

Risk factors for developing SAD:

  1. Females are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than men
  2. Younger aged person is more likely to be diagnosed than older people
  3. A family history of SAD
  4. Depression or bipolar diagnosis
  5. Living further away form the equator

Treatments available for SAD:

  1. Medications
  2. Light therapy
  3. Psychotherapy
  4. Vitamin D supplement

These therapies can be used alone or in combination to treat the disorder.

Do not suffer if you feel you have this. Talk to your doctor, get treatment and learn what you can about it so you can overcome it. Remember that this is just a brief overview so learn more. This is treatable.

 

Lemon Crackle Cookies Recipe

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Lemon Crackle Cookies

This is super easy and delicious! It is one of our family favorites and I am sure it will be one of yours too. When I make these cookies they are gone quickly. Let me know how you like it in the comments below.

Lemon Crackle Cookies

Betty Crocker super moist lemon cake mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup oil

zest of one lemon

juice of one lemon

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Mix all the ingredients except the powdered sugar in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Roll tablespoon sized balls of dough into the powdered sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.

Moringa? What is it? What Does It Do?

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moringa1Let’s start with the question, “What is moringa?”. Moringa oleifera (in this post will be called moringa) is called the “tree of life”, the “miracle tree”, the “ben oil tree”, the “horseradish tree” and the “drumstick tree”. This tree is a deciduous tree from India. Today you will find it in many subtropical and tropical areas of the world from India, South America, Africa, Asia and even in Hawaii. As people migrated, they took this highly regarded tree of life with them.

What are the parts used from this miracle tree? All parts can be used but the most commonly used parts are the leaves, either fresh or dried and ground into powder, and the pods.
moringa2.jpgLet’s share just a few of the health benefits of this wonderful tree. Here are several:

  1. It lowers cholesterol- In studies, moringa has been shown to work like other foods in lowering cholesterol, like flaxseeds, oats and almonds. When you lower your cholesterol, it reduces your risk of heart disease.
  2. Inflammation- When you experience inflammation, it is usually your body responding to an infection or injury. That is normal inflammation. However, prolonged or sustained inflammation, which is present in many chronic health issues like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, causes major issues for the body. Moringa contains isothiocyanates, a proven anti-inflammatory compound and is found in the leaves, seeds and pods of the tree.
  3. Nutritive value- Moringa is commonly used in areas of the world where a diet rich in nutrients is not available or lacking. Starving people benefit from this plant because of the high nutritive values it carries. The leaves and pods are eaten. It helps to fight the effects of starvation because of all the vital nutrients it contains. Here are a few of those nutrients found in one cup of fresh leaves:                                 A. Protein- 2 grams  B. Vitamin B6- 19% of RDA  C. Vitamin C- 12% of RDA  D. Iron- 11% of RDA  E. Riboflavin (B2)- 11% of RDA  F. Vitamin A- 9% of RDA  G. Magnesium- 8% of RDA.
  4. Rich in Antioxidants- We need antioxidants to fight the free radicals in our body. When levels of free radicals are high, it can become, over time, heart disease and diabetes (type 2). The antioxidants in moringa include Vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin and chlorogenic acid.
  5. May lower blood sugar levels- There has been evidence in studies that shows moringa helps to lower your blood sugar levels. Why is lower blood sugar levels important? If you consistently have high blood sugar levels you increase your risk of heart disease.
  6. Moringa protects against arsenic toxins and toxicity- I know, arsenic is not prevalent in a lot of areas of the world.  However, arsenic has been found in the food and water, causing contamination in many parts of the world. There is a high level of contamination in certain kinds of rice. Studies on animals has shown the leaves and seeds protect against arsenic toxins some, but as of 2018, no human studies have been done.

In conclusion, moringa is really a great addition to your diet, whether in leaves, pods or seeds, or in a supplement form. There are many other claims of this tree of life, but I only highlighted a few of them. I personally take this daily and it has improved my joint inflammation and thus my pain levels. My blood sugars are pretty normal and I find I feel more invigorated.

Have you tried moringa? Share your experience below!

What is APS?

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aps4What is APS? APS stands for antiphospholipid syndrome or antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. It is also known as Hughes Syndrome after the doctor who discovered it. It will be called APS in this post to make it simpler. Aps is one of the auotimmune diseases characterized by hypercoagulation or clotting abnormally. The clotting is caused by antiphospholipid antibodies. These clots can cause death if they occur in the lungs, heart, liver or brain.

I am particularly interested in this as I am seeing a hematologist next week to determine if I have this. My daughter has this, but not lupus. It is fairly common for lupus patients to develop this though. Since my surgery in May, I have had two blood clots. One was a PVT or portal vein thrombosis, which was pretty big. It was caught, thank goodness, or I might not be here today to discuss this subject. However, because of having these blood clots, my doctor finds it prudent to send me to a specialist to determine if I need to be on blood thinners for life. I will update when I know more. Now, back to APS…

Young women who develop this usually are not aware until a miscarriage occurs. My daughter has this and had five miscarriages before they figured it out why. She successfully carried her three children after she began treatment with heparin injections.

APS can strike relatively healthy people as well as those with an underlying disease, specifically lupus. APS is discovered in up to 40% of people with lupus, making it an overlapping autoimmune disease. APS has a genetic component as well.

As stated previously, the cause of APS is an abnormal amount of antiphospholipids in the blood causing the blood to clot easily.

Diagnosing is done by testing the blood for the presence of antiphospholipid autoantibodies (aPL). There are three tests and each test cannot detect all the possible autoantibodies, so most of the time doctors will combine all three tests. At least one of them should be positive and also it needs to be confirmed no less than three months apart.

APS is treated usually after a clotting event has happened. The goal of treatment is to prevent any reoccurrences. A clotting event is treated with blood thinners, usually after IV blood thinners or subcutaneous injections and is followed by oral blood thinners to prevent it reoccurring. Sometimes treatment is needed for years, especially in a venous blood clot scenario. I had a portal vein thrombosis following my surgery in May and have been on blood thinners ever since for just this reason.

For arterial clots, treatment includes drugs that inhibit platelets, such as aspirin and Plavix. Of course, pregnant women will be using subcutaneous injections and aspirin to prevent miscarriage.

When you are using long term oral blood thinners, it requires regular monitoring of blood tests. The goal is to correct the risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking. This can aid in the prevention of future events. Treatment of pregnant women has been proven quite effective. Knowing the need for long term therapy and following treatment guidelines is vital to prevent these reoccurrences.

If you are on blood thinners long term, you should be aware of risks of bruising and of excessive bleeding from injuries. It is good to carry something or wear something stating you are on them in case you cannot speak for yourself. Being safe is always best.

Cabbage Soup

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I love cabbage in any shape, form or recipe. This recipe is for a rich and hardy soup that is perfect for those cold winter nights. You can make up this lovely soup and eat it for several days if you like. It is a family favorite around here for sure. Here is the recipe for this filling soup:

Cabbage Soup

2 t olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound of ground beef

1 onion finely diced

2 t minced garlic

4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage

2 carrots, peeled, and sliced

4 cups beef broth

3- 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

1/2 cup uncooked rice

1 bay leaf

3 T brown sugar

2 T parsley

Heat oil in a large pot. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.m Cook meat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage, carrots beef broth, tomato sauce, rice, bay leaf and brown sugar to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove the bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

**Can substitute ground turkey for the beef if desired**