Lent Begins – Let the Dominoes Fall

One interesting tidbit I did realize in the service tonight is how great it is to have this time as a part of our religion – to specifically make time for God – not just 45 minutes here and there or even every morning, but really make a concerted effort to change your ways, devote more of yourself to your Lord and see where it takes you. Again, it can only be good. 

Have you ever found that when you change one thing in your life, it has a ripple effect – that it tends to make an impact on other areas of your life? It can happen in a good or bad way. Luckily, I’m focusing on the good, and the dominoes are about to fall.

Lent has begun – the time in the Catholic religion where we repent (change our ways), fast (quit doing something, or maybe add something else), pray, and give of our time, treasure and talent. It’s a time of relinquishing what keeps us from God – his competition.

What competes for His time with me – watching television. I know, it’s a terribly boring subject, but it’s a time suck, and lends to a boring life, one that is less productive than it can be, is deceptive of actually relaxing you, and is both an energy and a time waster. What’s good about it? Well, there are some things – but those things we could also do  through the internet or our phones. I like t.v., but I also know it competes for God’s time and makes my life less productive than it can be because of the energy and time I give to it. I’m quitting sugar too.

So, t.v. is out, for 40 days, and, there’s so much that can be done in 40 days!

I am not sure what I will do in addition to getting closer to God and praying more – another cause for another ripple domino effect, but only good will come from this, for sure. How many things can you say about that?

I think I have only ever been to two church services on Lent, maybe this is my first? I am not sure. I have still practiced Lent, however, in terms of fasting. 13 years ago, today, I gave up all of my remaining vices, and thanks to the Grace of God, I am off of everything to this day! Amen to that! Lent is a good starter for a life change!

One interesting tidbit I did realize in the service tonight is how great it is to have this time as a part of our religion – to specifically make time for God – not just 45 minutes here and there or even every morning, but really make a concerted effort to change your ways, devote more of yourself to your Lord and see where it takes you. Again, it can only be good.

I am interested in finding out!

I am reading these books, now, too called Draw the Circle, and The Circle Maker, and they’re all about these bold prayers and how they come true.

Now, I have my own wonderful stories about God and answered prayers you can listen to on http://www.hollycobrien.com as podcasts, if you want to hear of some amazing ways God works, and some are on this website, but I haven’t prayed any “crazy” prayers like I was reading about in this book last night, in a long time.

My life has been good and steady and need of “bold” prayers hasn’t presented itself, but I still pray about the time about everything. Although I will say, there is one thing I have prayed about, and when it comes through, there will be every belief it is God’s hand which has allowed it, for sure! I’ll hold that one tight for awhile, but will let you know. Still waiting, still praying. The bible says, “knock, and keep on knocking.” Okay:)

Anyway, I am excited for this Lenten period where I will talk to the Lord more, pray more, listen for the Lord more, and hear more internally. Like when I went to find a picture for this particular blog. I selected one and then heard one simple word, “more.” So, I looked more and found a perfectly matched picture for my title opposed to what I did have!

And, during the external, more secular aspect of Lent I will exercise more regularly, eat less, produce more personally and professionally, consider my future more and play more. I am going to have a good life! I will eagerly wait and wonder what will come as I pursue my life more fully each day considering all of my ways 🙂

One thing about me, I do well with discipline, and I am embracing this.

I will say when I left church tonight, I so craved a Boston creme donut, but as I began to wish, I found myself thinking, “Don’t give the devil a foothold.” So, I left it go, and drove on.

Sword

Weapons of warfare was discussed briefly, too, in the sermon, tonight. I was wondering tonight what my sword might look like. The sword, in the bible, in describing the armor of God, is the word of God. That, I love. That I will learn more of, too. I’ve already begun to put more verses on index cards to remember. “My people perish for lack of knowledge,” Jesus tells us, and our “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” So, we must “gird up our loins,” and fight with the whole armor of God. See Ephesians 6:11 – 18 about the weapons of warfare. We need them, for sure to stand against the “wiles of the devil” Just like my little donut episode. Know how to fight – seems simple, but it’s important not to give the devil a foothold.

I wish you fellow “Lenters” fasting and praying worthy of all good things.

When the woman began to put the ashes on my head, she said, “Repent, and believe the gospel,” I found myself welling up. I don’t know why, but I believe that was the presence of God on me or maybe just my real desire flowing forth.

I find that interesting that everyone is able to participate in Lent, and receive the ashes, but not everyone is able to receive holy communion. 

All’s I know is that when she said those words, “Repent and believe the gospel,” I believed it.

This Lent season is really an answer to an unspoken prayer of desiring more of God, my main goal this year, and to draw closer to Him, so I am grateful for this time where it is part of a practice to make God more of an intentional part of my repentance regime. I will need His grace, too. That is something else mentioned tonight, also biblical, not to take his grace in vain. There is nothing possible without it.

This will be new for me too, to practice Lent, observing it more religiously, instead of using it as a crutch to help me “repent” because I needed a boost. In the past I may have repented, but I don’t know that I made prayer and focus more on God more of a practiced habit in my life, as well.

I will use my sword, say more prayers of both petitions and gratitude, positively engage in each day, and be grateful for the Grace that is Jesus Christ on my life, and exhibited in me.

Peace.

 

Exercising the Spirit of Self Control

I prayed to be forgiven for putting food before God, and the gluttonous individual I’d become still, at times. I’ve knowingly done it, too, because I wanted to and figured, “tomorrow” I will be better. I have come to know, however, that the “tomorrow” mentality permits a low life, poorly allowing one to live for a time that often never comes, and a well-lived life becomes elusive because the lie we tell ourselves to give us what we want for the moment persists, and then tomorrow remains elusive forever.

​​The Lord is My Portion
Last night found myself eating more than I needed to as I considered I would not be eating much of anything I wanted to next month because I will be doing a cleanse.
One of the things I like about my body is that it is resilient. Also, as much as I scrutinize my body every day, I don’t need to. I look great. I found that this morning. I have a pretty body. Sure, I have many flaws – my bottom is not as high and tight as I’d like it to be, I have some spider veins on my legs and a bit of loose skin on there too, and polka dots, and a bit of cellulite there too, but for the most part, I look really good! LOL. Seriously, it doesn’t sound that good, but it is, I can assure you. Well, maybe it’s just not bad:)
I regularly eat what I want for the most part, and with the exception of over a year ago, I keep things pretty much in moderation. But when I do buy goodies, I pretty much go all at them until they are gone. I recall one time, however, within this past year when I had ice cream in my freezer for a long time, and I didn’t consume it just because I had it, I ate it when I wanted it, which I found was not daily. This is in severe contrast to last week where I ate my two pints of BOGO free Ben & Gerry’s from Friday to Sunday, and have done the same with a whole half gallon in the matter of a weekend before. I’m a big fan of ice cream. It would be my dessert island food!
What I am getting at, is that recently I am finding I am sick of the power I am giving to my food. It’s almost like I pride, which I do, myself of being able to eat anything I want without gaining weight – with the exception of over a year ago when I gained a good six pounds because I ate everything that came my way, and more, from October to sometime in January or February. I just went all at it and didn’t care. Maybe because I realized this about my body.
When I was in my early teens, 13, I began my long and sad career as a binge eater and bulimic. It is not that I was overweight or anything of the sort. I saw something on the television where girls were bulimic, and for some reason I got the perverted notion that I could do that. It’s almost like I had some need to have something I could do, and that was it. I was lost in those days – living with my best friend and her parents. Though they were very good to me, and I loved them, I was a misdirected youth with no one helping to guide my future.
I do not remember much from 13 until I was in 11th grade in terms of “being” bulimic, but in 11th grade I know it was bad, and remember it clearly. I won’t go into the gross details of it now, but it was bad enough to where I was hospitalized at 16, and not because I was so skinny they thought I would die, but more so because they were worried I may have a heart attack or suffocate trying to puke up my food. Or, maybe they just knew I was lost and treatment was necessary to help me from that way of poor living. Those days, I do remember, and I remember clearly eating my feelings all the time, how miserable I was, and puking them all up at the same time, but I was always, “fine.” My mom and grandmother clearly knew better.
That was really my life. I would eat and puke for hours after school, or work, later after I had relapsed, and moved away from my support group into a toxic environment and relationship with people in my family. It was a mess. I found it my only real friend too, because I didn’t have friends, really. It was my way to fill my time and curb the loneliness and sadness I felt.
Years later, it ended. My dad, “uncle” and boyfriend, David, did an intervention on me. That was the beginning of the end. I really guess I needed people to love me and support me and because I was getting it, and having more of a life with friends and college and a support network, I was free from it for the most part.
Years later, I would find myself binging and purging in times of very high stress and it was clearly a time reflection – a compass to alarm me as to what was going on with me emotionally. I would figure it out, get back on track and often be fine for years at a time.
It was only when I was in my 30’s that I met a woman who told me she committed to herself that she would never purge again despite how much she ate. I admired that because bulimia is such an irresponsible, cheaters disease. It completely disregards accountability and skirts the rules preventing a life of integrity. I committed then, myself. I have never puked again since then, despite feeling like I would literally explode on a couple of occasions – that my stomach might in fact rupture, but it didn’t.
So, I’ve been free from puking for over 10 years, but one of the things I’ve been coming to recently is the relationship I have with food, and I am not keen on what I find.
Because I can eat what I want and it rarely effect my weight, it always effects my being, my soul.
This is what I have found.
When I moved back to the States in December 2010, I was fortunate enough to get what I considered a dream job working teaching nutrition education to little people I call them – young students in pre-K – 2nd grade. It was awesome, but only for a year until I got bored.
At any rate, what I learned then, was we have a relationship with food and we can always tell where we are emotionally, based on how we eat. At least this is what I found for myself. I find that true, still, to this day.
One of the character traits I have found with myself of which I am not a fan is this pride issue which I’ve already mentioned – this fact that I can eat what I want without it really effecting my weight. The problem with that is that I tend to pork out a lot. Food affects us. It affects our energy, mainly, and for me, also my emotional well-being. I am affected by how I eat. What I eat. If I eat too much or too little. Trying to feel like I don’t always have to be full to stop eating – this one just came to me last year as I realized how much I’d been eating at dinner time on a regular basis.
One of the feelings I have recognized within myself when I do this is a flagrant disregard for honoring my body. It’s the attitude of, “I’m going to do it because I can.” I don’t like that attitude finding is disrespectful and ugly. It’s like, though I don’t purge anymore, there is still somewhat of that not having to be accountable for what I eat because it doesn’t “seem” to affect me, but, it does, still. It represents a powerlessness, still, too, of not having or exhibiting any self-control.
I have thought this past week that maybe I should begin attending some support groups because though I am not overweight or bulimic, I am exhibiting a powerlessness over my food. I am making it all-powerful and I don’t like that. I make the comment regularly how food is my favorite thing in life. That is sad. But, there is some truth to it too. I love to eat. I love good food. I love to enjoy it. I am grateful for it. But, I have given it a place of respect without properly honoring it or my body to the level it should be.
Let me explain – years ago, not sure how long ago but 15 or more years when I started getting interested in nutrition, I’d done a 9 day fast – I had to quit because it wasn’t good for me and my head aches were tremendous, but I remember when I came off of that fast, I was praying over my food before I ate it, and felt awe and reverence – like I had put food in its place by fasting. I was no longer cramming it in my mouth and devouring it. I was respecting it and grateful for it. I almost cried and have done that still a couple of times this past year, and prior to this year, when I am just very grateful and pray before eating, considerately. There’s a reverence and humility which accompanies it that puts me to tears or at least wells me up😊.
At any rate, my realization this morning as I sat in prayer and considered where I am and where did this awesome feeling I had last week go, I figured it might have to do with my food because that is the only thing I can think of that has put me off – that creates this sense of separation I feel from the Lord created by putting something else “more powerful” in the place of Him.
When I prayed, I confessed my feelings toward my food and how much emphasis I’ve put on it, still. I prayed to be forgiven for putting food before God, and the gluttonous individual I’d become still, at times. I’ve knowingly done it, too, because I wanted to and figured, “tomorrow” I will be better. I have come to know, however, that the “tomorrow” mentality permits a low-living life, poorly allowing one to live for a time that often never comes, and a well-lived life becomes elusive because the lie we tell ourselves to give us what we want for the moment persists, and then tomorrow remains elusive forever.
The thing about gluttony, is even know I am not killing anybody or having an affair with a married man, it’s all the same to God. It is a deadly sin. ”A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It not only creates a wedge between me and the Lord, but it hampers my soul. Therefore, I lose the power-cord connection I have from God when walking uprightly before the Lord because I put something else in His place, and I also lose personal power because of the physical impairment bad- and overeating has on a body. Many “food-hangovers” have I had! I know it’s wrong yet keep doing it, secretly acting like it’s okay, maybe not consistently, but I allow for it whenever I want. Forgiveness is ours from the Lord when we repent. I am on a new path with this now, hoping to really honor my body and my Lord with my food more, especially when I don’t want to – those are the most important times when we need to push in and use what tools we have, and, as a fruit of the spirit, self-control is mine to experience!!
The Spirit of self-control is what I will exhibit more of in my life. Discipline! Yes! I do it when I want it, but because there is not any seeming outward effect of this behavior on my life, I’ve let it slide, but it affects me any day I let myself get away with it, and had continued to affect me because it has remained unconfessed until this morning.  I thank you, Father, for bringing this to the forefront and removing it from me. It is time to walk in self-control.
As I prayed this morning over my delicious garlic, honey-butter and cinnamon toast, ½ banana, and coffee, from my mouth came thanks to the Lord for my meal, but also as I considered more what I was giving thanks for, out of my mouth came that, “For You, God, are my portion.” That prayer gave me new insight and purpose! Yes, God is my portion for every day and everything on this Earth. His is my sufficiency and only need. Yes! Yes! Thank you, God.
I believe that was prompted by the Holy Spirit because I have never used that prayer. Looking it up later, I found it to be in Lamentations 3, and am including many of the verses before and after. One of my favorite verses to contemplate is that the Lord’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. I love that thought!
21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

Exercising the Spirit of Self Control

 

February – Focusing on the Musculoskeletal System, and My Skin Still, Too – Paying for Better Looks!

I’m glad I’ve got money to spend to see if I can fix my skin, both internally and externally. It seems a little extravagant, but I’m worth it, and I’m interested to see if these things really work. If they work, I’ll be psyched, and will be happy for my investment in my skin’s health and beauty, and to understand more the science behind it all. 🙂 

Mexico is where I found myself at the end of January on a spontaneous trip to Mexico. What I returned with besides some life-long banked memories were some OTC facial products which would normally have required a prescription.  I bought in. $150 dollars later (mucho pesos), I’ve secured some collagen, Retinol-A and Vitamin C cream. I have only used them for a few days, but I believe after day 1 of the Retinol-A, I saw improvements to my facial age spots, but now, I’m not so sure. I will see! I’d show you some picts, but my phone is still in Mexico! ☹

I will continue to focus on my skin because it is my largest area of concern and will require more than 1 month to address its problems which have occurred over these many years since being in Florida. Namely, the idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis and the age spots!

Since the skin generally turns over about every 5 weeks, I will continue to use my newly bought products I purchased in Mexico for addressing my facial “blemishes” and I will hope to see improvements there. I’ll still need to work on the skin on my legs with what I am eating, among treatments of other kinds which I will perhaps address at a later date, but the skin will remain my area of main focus. I will also have to get off sugar again. My 3 months off sugar ended the day after I arrived in Mexico, when I took well advantage of the all-inclusive food sweets during breakfast, lunch and dinner!

For now, I will begin to focus this month, also, on the musculoskeletal system. My focus on this system is due to problems I’ve had with my knees for over 20 years. I’ve felt that beneath my patella there is a hollowness. Also, about 10 years ago I blew out my left knee running and subsequently had a surgery to fix my meniscal tear which was never fixed well, and which still gives me issues to this day.  Yoga helps. Biking too.

So, I will focus on building up my skeletal system to strengthen my bones, tendons and ligaments, and I will do so at the gym with weight-bearing exercises. I had a doctor tell me this past summer no more running, but that didn’t sit well with me.

Tomorrow will take me back to the gym. I will start with some yoga and, perhaps some squats and biking. We’ll see how that flows. I will build up my muscles in my legs a little more too. I saw a lot of skin in Mexico this past week, and I find muscular legs attractive!

In terms of food and supplements, my focus will be on doubling up on collagen. I will do so primarily with supplemental powders, and also some bone broth too. Both will help my skeletal system and the collagen will serve my skin well, too. I wish I had a doctor to work with pronto, so I could actually measure whether or not I am actually making progress!!

I’m glad I’ve got money to spend to see if I can fix my skin, both internally and externally. It seems a little extravagant, but I’m worth it, and I’m interested to see if these things really work. Maybe I will not know which product works best because I am using so many in conjunction with the others, but it seems there are always a combination of factors anyway that contribute to health and beauty, and I am doing what I can in this arena to tap into what I know will help me be better physically, both externally and internally.

Beauty counts!

I have paid the price for now! 😊 The last products I bought tonight for over $300 have offered a money-back guarantee. More on this upon after they arrive.  If they work, I’ll be psyched, and will be happy for my investment in my skin’s health and beauty, and to understand more the science behind it all. 🙂

To My Health & Beauty, and…all the best to you and your health and beauty!

Holly

 

Melanin Production – Do I Simply Need More Copper in My Diet? (My Skin and Its Health, Part 2)

So, being that I have already been supplementing with A, it’s now time to focus on eating foods with high amounts of copper and/or supplementing with it, as well, because without it, my body cannot make that enzyme, tyrosinase, which is responsible for producing my melanin!

Having just come off one of the busiest seasons of my life, I have been in a place of reassessment and transition in this new year. Being overwhelmed, and physically and mentally exhausted, failure to keep on top a blog to produce yet more, I was not willing to do so. Physically, I have found myself sick for over a week, and I am not one to get sick. However, despite my physical and mental states which has led to me failing to research and write on a regular basis, and which has led me to accept I will write only when it suits, I have maintained my cause toward healing my skin based on what I already know.

“Stay the course. Do what you can, and be consistently purposeful.”  

I have continued to consistently and purposefully eat for my skin’s health. Almost every day, I have eaten strawberries & walnuts, I have had collagen in my smoothies, and maintained abstinence from sugar. I have since bought some Vitamin D and E supplements and have been taking them regularly, and I have “lucked” onto a book called “Plant-Based Beauty” (#plantbasedbeautybook) which I have read much of, and which also happens to focus primarily on the SKIN!

Plant Based BeautyI have made one of the recipes from it, too, Homemade Cashew Milk. One of the modifications left me not being able to get enough – adding pineapples and cottage cheese. Oh my gosh, it was almost soupy, but I could not get enough!  It was literally one of the best tastes I’ve ever had!

After doing a bit of research tonight, I considered maybe one of the reasons that cashew concoction was so delicious to me was because my body needed what was in it so much. Copper! Maybe not, but I have since found out a couple of things. Firstly,  Vitamin A is necessary to produce an enzyme called tyrosinase, an enzyme which plays a major role in producing melanin, the pigment in our skin and hair, and what is responsible for our tanning. My pigment production is flawed. Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis is what I’ve been diagnosed with, and I am searching to cure it with my diet because I believe that is why my body is failing to produce it anymore – there is some nutrient or nutrients in which I am deficient preventing my body from doing its job, in this case, making melanin.

Our bodies are made to heal themselves if they have what they need. Hipoocrates said it first and most succinctly –

 “Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food.”

I think my condition is beyond the sun’s fault – the sun normally stimulates melanin production, and my body has failed to make it the more I go into the sun!

What I found, secondly, and upon which I will begin to focus, is that copper is also a necessary component to produce tyrosinase. So, being that I have already been supplementing with A, it’s now time to focus on eating foods with high amounts of copper and/or supplementing with it, as well, because without it, my body cannot make that enzyme, tyrosinase, which is responsible for producing my melanin! And, guess what’s in cashews? Copper! My new milk!

Cashew Milk

Tyrosine is an amino acid – one of the 20 building blocks of protein. It is considered a non-essential amino acid because it can be made by another amino acid, which is essential, phenylalanine. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be consumed in our diet’s.

Foods high in tyrosine are chicken, turkey, fish, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy products and lima beans, but also in avocados and bananas. And, foods high in phenylalanine are milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, soybeans, chicken, beef, pork, beans and fish. So, if you’re not eating the foods which contain tyrosine, as long as you’re consuming the foods containing phenylalanine, you’re covered. Your body can work toward making tyrosinase, but you’re body needs more than the tyrosine and Vitamin A to make it.

Funnily, I have been eating Shitake mushrooms lately and LOVING them! They, turns out, are high in copper! Maybe that’s why I’m loving them – my body needs their copper! Shitake’s, have 650 micrograms of copper (0.65 milligrams) in a serving size of ½ cup cooked, making them 5th on the list, below, which did not include them!

I’m feeling this copper bit might be the ticket. Maybe I just need the copper and Vitamin A combination to make my melanin production normal again.

I hope my DNA hasn’t mutated which is why I am polka-dots. I’m gonna stick faithfully to the vision I had months ago that these polka-dots flew off my thighs! Let’s go with that, shall we!? They’ll be gone at some point, for sure, and not because I’ve purchased a product that gives the appearance of them being gone, but they’ll really be gone because my body is producing melanin again!

I purchased a product I saw on the t.v., a body coverage perfecter, but my legs are not looking perfect. Can you even tell which parts of my legs have on the corrector? I can still see my dots, but they are slightly better.

One bit of contradictory research I’ve found, now that I am being more specific in my searching for the source of my pigment failing to produce, is that Vitamin E, though good for the skin, is shown to inhibit melanin production, at least in this study. Comparison of the inhibitory effects of vitamin E analogues on melanogenesis in mouse B16 melanoma cells. As a result, I will only use it topically on my face and on my other sunspot area to lighten them, as that is what study indicates it does. It has the reverse effect of what I am trying to achieve!

So, FYI, copper needs for adults: 900 mcg or .9 mg. Here are some sources for how we can supplement: copper gluconate, copper sulfate and copper chloride, but normally, I’d always go with food first!

Time to eat some copper: purposely eating for my health!

Holly

Table 2. Some Food Sources of Copper
Food Serving Copper (μg)
Liver (beef), cooked, pan-fried 1 ounce 4,128
Mollusks, oysters, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat 6 medium oysters 2,397
Crab meat, Alaskan king, cooked 3 ounces 1,005
Crab meat, blue, cooked, moist heat 3 ounces 692
Mollusks, clams, mixed species, cooked, moist heat 3 ounces 585
Cashews nuts, raw 1 ounce 622
Sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted 1 ounce 519
Hazelnuts, dry roasted 1 ounce 496
Almonds 1 ounce 292
Peanut butter, chunk style, without salt 2 tablespoons 185
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 1 cup 497
Mushrooms, white, raw 1 cup (sliced) 223
Shredded wheat cereal 2 biscuits 167
Chocolate (semisweet) 1 ounce 198

Eating for Health, Eating with Purpose

I like this idea of eating with purpose and “getting to know my food” a little better and how it can aid in me looking better, or at least not looking bad. Eating has always been one of my favorite things to do, but now that I am more familiar with what I am eating and why, it gives me that added bonus and spark of excitement when I eat. I’m looking forward to my results.

I’ve finally bought several of the food items that will supply the needed nutrients for my skin to support its health.

Food for my Skin

I realized as I was making my breakfast, that I am eating with purpose. There is something about having a goal, a mission, a purpose, that is energizing. I am good with this type of thing.

Sproty Me Day 1 49
49, Day 1

There have been many a thing I have quit, but it is my intention now to add to my diet instead of subtract from my diet. The purposefulness in this is exhilarating because I feel it gives me inspiration. I am not just going through the motions and letting my body decide what it wants. I always eat based on my cravings. I am now eating with intention!

My breakfast contained all good foods for my skin in one way or another. Now, I did not realize that the brown rice was so good for my skin, but apparently is has a multitude of benefits, one of which is antiaging due to its antioxidants! Also, garlic was not on my list, but I was feeling for some garlic, and, if I had acne, it would remove it – it’s a serious anti-everything, if you didn’t know, – it kills bacteria, fungus, stops viruses and is an overall antiseptic! Alright! So, breakfast included:

Brown rice, eggs, green peppers, fresh garlic, coconut oil and shrimp. Yum. Shrimp with brown rice. Now, I know!! Eggs and brown rice is great together, too, btw.

 

Most of these foods have high antioxidants properties which help prevent the aging of skin whether by preventing free-radical damage or UV ray damage. Pores will be tightened by eggs, excess oil removed, and the eggs will also lend more moisture. An egg a day will be on my menu. I have already put them in my strawberry smoothie – raw – you barely taste it, if at all really, depending on what else you put in there.

Strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C which is a super anti-oxidant. Vitamin C is also a necessary component in making collagen – the protein that contributes to our skin’s elasticity and integrity.

In addition to shrimp’s other benefits of being a good antioxidant and protector from the sun’s UV rays, it is also a high source of selenium, and with vitamin E, helps to protect our cell’s membranes – their protective coating.

Heart Food

I like this idea of eating with purpose and “getting to know my food” a little better and how it can aid in me looking better, or at least not looking bad. Eating has always been one of my favorite things to do, but now that I am more familiar with what I am eating and why, it gives me that added bonus and spark of excitement when I eat. I’m looking forward to my results. I realize change takes times, and especially health as measured by dietary changes, but I’ve got a whole year!

Me 49 Night 1

 

 

 

 

 

Holly

Healing My Skin – Month 1 of the 12 Months of Healing

I’ve posted a quick intro vlog here introducing my 12 month plan to focus on my health, but specifically focusing this month on my skin – part of the integument system – and, the largest organ in our body, and what gives us our first line of protection against disease.

My skin’s condition is what is prompting me to do this. Also, my bones need help too. So, these two parts of my body have given me the desire to just go all in. Plus, I’d desired to do this anyway last year, and now I have the time. So, here’s the pic of my sad leg with idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis, a condition with unknown origins but is known to be exacerbated by the sun, and supposedly incurable. I, however, believe, given the right nutrients, I will be able to cure it, and have pretty, normal skin again without these blotchy white spots. So, here goes!

Skin

I’ve gotten some good, healthy foods today, but did not do my research prior to going to the store. Tomorrow I will hit the health food store and get some of the other foods and supplements I need to help my beautiful 49 year-old (in 3 days) skin. I am projecting what I desire here!!

My intention is to provide the foods needed to help each of the different body systems, among other fun facts and ways to improve each system. Tomorrow I will get some collagen and vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements. Yes, I am a proponent for eating for health, but I am also keen on supplementing with certain nutrients, as well, especially the aforementioned ones.

So, I hope you join me on this journey. I am excited to clear out my bod of toxins and provides the nutrients it needs to heal and to glow.

Happy New Year.

To our Health!

Holly

 

My 12 Months of Healing

The medical professionals say it is not treatable, and that is what research supports, but I am hopeful that with certain changes, I may have beautiful, spot-free skin, and I will love it! I will try! It will take time, I’m sure, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

This coming year I am planning to focus on healing my body. My main impetus was due to something I have been embarrassed to admit I thought I had. I first noticed an issue on my calves one morning while talking on the phone 9 years ago.

I was outside sitting in the sun with my legs up on my back porch bench. I noticed a few white spots on my calves. I made note of them to my friend, Tara, figuring they must have been my body’s response to living in the Florida sun, again, after some 20 + years. My friend told me it might be a fungus, but I had no desire to accept her possible diagnosis, and dismissed it, attending to, and preferring, instead, my own.

Years later, my 3 little spots had spreading majorly. I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with Tinea versicolor, a fungus. Creep! A freakin’ fungus!

She was right! I was told to stay out of the sun too, that this was common in people in sub-tropical and tropical environments.

I’m a fan of polka-dots, a big fan, but just not on my legs!! The doctor I consulted did not give me much help or hope. I can’t remember what he said other than stay out of the sun, and it will likely clear itself up in a few months or it will never go away. Something like that. I felt defeated already. A fungus! He may have offered me some remedy, but I took nothing other than maybe a topical which I bought on my own which did nada.

I internalized on some level I would not win against a fungus so did not seriously pursue remedies after my initial fail. But, if I were to try and was to win it, I would require a whole lot of discipline and commitment to what ever remedy(s) might be necessary. I was not up for it. Fungi are rough!

The same year I noticed the white spots, I’d also gotten ringworm for the first time, also a fungus, and a respiratory infection from…another fungus, black mold, spewing from my A/C unit. That lasted for almost a month until I cleaned out my A/C. My respiratory infection subsequently cleared up tout suite.

I have since wondered if that is what caused this infection, though they are not even the same genus.

Well, nine years later, I’m legs fulla polka dots. My brother even commented to me this year at the beach, “What are those white spots on your legs?” Greaaat! They’re visibly noticeable from a distance! Poop!

Skin
When I took this picture, I literally cried when I saw the up close shot of it. It made me so sad to see what bad shape my skin was in.

The Fight Is On

So, many years later, my initial fail and interest in terms of persisting on getting rid of this fungus had gone by the wayside. I have been fighting back! This MUST go!

I have been fighting back with: Selson Blue (fungal fighter) to wash my body. I bought Epsom salts to bath in, I take garlic pills to help kill the fungus from the inside-out, drink Pau d’ Arco tea for the same reason, and use cinnamon bark extract all over my lower extremities too. I smell spicy! Finally, I’ve been ingesting coconut oil, but I think I bought that initially because I’d been having brain fog – an potential result of yet another fungus, candida, but I don’t have that one! Oh yeah, and I’ve also taken billions of probiotics recently too!

What I’ve read is this Tinea is actually a commensal fungus – it is found naturally on our skin, but when the immune system is compromised and the populations of bacteria on our skin are reduced, they can take over – just like when women get a yeast infection from taking an antibiotic. That is what actually happens in the vagina – bacteria and fungus are present most everywhere – the bacteria get killed off due to the antibiotic, and the yeast, the candida, take over as a result, until the good bacterial population is restored. Balance is important! Population Ecology 101.

Misdiagnosed

So, the other night I go to Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Judy’s house where I get to see one of my cousins I haven’t seen in years. He’s a top Mohs surgeon and dermatologist. I planned on hitting him up for some serious treatments for the fungus. I figured he could, and would, be able to help me. I felt hopeful. I was glad, too, because I felt that was the perfect time. I’d already begun my fight, and figured he’d back me up with some extra ammo to accompany my many treatments. I’d hoped some serious prescribed meds and topicals would kick this thing out! BTW, I’d also quit sugar sometime back, as well, but not because I wanted to ban my fungus from the yumminess of it as well. That would just prove to be another way to benefit the health of my skin.

I held off my fungal informative and med request until well after dinner, not wanting to gross anyone out. I just came out with it to my cousin: “I need your help.” I was serious. He inquired as to what. “I need the strongest anti-fungal medication you can prescribe for me, and I’d like three different kinds of it to cover all my bases, and a topical lotion, to boot. I’d also like a year’s supply of it all.” LOL. Like he’d just take my orders 🙂 How funny is that? I really was serious though. I needed serious treatment for this funky fungi.

My family seemed puzzled as I spoke. “What’s going on?” he asked. “I have Tinea.”  “Let me see.” I walked over to him, pulled up my pant leg, exposed my leg, and balanced myself with my hand on his head while he looked at my creepy little spots. He responded quite quickly, “You don’t have Tinea,” was his prompt diagnosis. You have Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis. Stop doing what you’re doing. You don’t need to be doing all that stuff.” He was adamantly soft.

The Skeptical Observer

He asked me if I wanted him to write it down. “No, I’m aware of it.” I’d previously found this online as well, but believed it was still Tinea or some other fungus because of how it behaved and looked. I wasn’t buying the sunspot bit from the internet anymore than I was internalizing it from my cousin.

Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis is a condition whereby the skin stops producing melanin, creating little white spots, but docs don’t know why, the Iiyopathic bit, and it is exacerbated by the sun, supposedly, too, which I got a heck of a lot this summer perhaps increasing these babes to the point of where they are now. Ike!

The problem I have with ths IGH diagnosis is many fold. First, I’m supposed to stay out of the sun because it contributes to it, yet the sun actually creates more melanin when we are exposed to it, so that’s anomalous but dermatologists insist the sun is what causes this hyopmelanosis. So, I’m a little confused at this contradiction. Although, maybe my DNA has mutated somehow and created this condition or there is some weird autoimmune thing going on associated with this. At any rate…I appreciated the diagnosis because it made me feel less the leper and more just a result of my sub-tropical environment.

Even know Will, is a dermatologist, and the first doc I went to was a doc in a walk-in clinic with no specialization, especially in the area of the skin, I was reluctant to believe what I have isn’t a fungus because of the fungal nature of what I’ve observed over the years, and what it looks like. But I also want to believe it is in fact IGH because it gives me hope I can beat it! My thought, since it is NOT a fungus, I can heal myself more easily. There is hope for me to restore my body, somehow, according to me:).

My Belief in Healing through Nutrition

My belief is that if the body has what it needs to heal, it will. My belief is that what causes diseases are often related to nutrient deficiencies, but that association is not honored publicly. It seems highly logical to me. Give the body what it needs, it will heal, unless the genes are mutated that control what mechanisms or pathways regulate a system. The body should be able to be in perfect health, as we are designed, given adequate nutrition. I love this marvelous machine that is our bodies! We are miraculous.

Beliefs in tact, here I am. I am ready to fight for my skin. I believe that what ever this condition is, I can treat it with a better diet. Maybe I need to stay out of the sun so much, and use sunscreen even when I’m not at the beach, which I will, but there is still more to this, maybe. It’s only gotten worse over the years, not better. There is still something missing, I think. I am going to try and find out what that is!

I know Will and the medical profession say it is not treatable, and that is what research supports, but I am hopeful that with certain changes, I may have beautiful, spot-free skin, and I will love it! I will try! It will take time, I’m sure, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

I’ve had this progressive, chronic condition for 9 years. I had a vision recently, this past month, where the spots were flying off my thighs. I’m going to faithfully believe what I saw!

Focus Forward

So, my plan, I am merging it with something I thought to do last year, but last year wasn’t specifically focused. My more focused plan, this year: to focus on the health of my 12 body systems, 1 each month, and with a specific focus on my skin’s health.

I’ve already started cleansing this month, and the following 12 months will lead me in a much more interesting field of learning and exploration, as I delve deeper into my health in new ways.

I will chart what I am doing to get rid of this “untreatable” condition.

I will focus on how to promote the health of each of the 12 body systems, what exercise I might do to benefit them, healthy supplements that promote their health, scientific evidence that supports their best functioning, mental and spiritual relationships to food, and…my favorite, food itself, that will enrich my body’s systems. I will throw in some healthy tidbits, and mindsets that will help facilitate healthy ways of living. I will aim to hit every one of the 12 systems in one capacity or another over the next 12 months while I heal!!

Healing to Come

So, come, join me in my journey as I aim to cleanse, this month, and heal the rest.

My goal is to heal my body from this this funky condition. My goal will cause me to heal. I will achieve healing when I seek it passionately. More will come from it though. New heights will allow new visions. The domino effect will take effect while one good thing will lead to another. Throughout this year, I will be excited to see what happens as I learn more about the relationships which exist among my body systems, partake of new foods, exercises, and experiments. As I explore the many facets of my new health regime, I will be led to what health means to me and looks like for me. I will look forward to all this coming year has to offer me.

May you be inspired as you team up with me to learn, engage, and put your body to healing and wholeness. I know I will.

Here’s to my health! Here’s to our health.

Holly 

P.S. My other health needs include:

Knee, tendon, cartilage restoration from arthritis and torn meniscus (connective tissue focus:)), and a spinal curvature issue from who knows what – running too much on a bum, post-surgical knee??

🙂

Intercession Prayer

This is a lengthy recount of how God miraculously prayed through me for a person I’d never met before to “provide everything I needed.” I’d later meet her that day. This story is about earnest prayer, seeking God through His word, being obedient to Him, and having Him answer prayers so specific and measured you know it is Him. This is one of the many ways God has used my “poor circumstances” to make himself known and real to me. He is marvelous and wonderful. For the rest of the story, my video ran out, you may listen to an audio podcast on http://www.hollycobrien.com. May you be blessed and grow closer as you listen. John 17:20 Jesus Prays for All Believers: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”

May you believe and know God as your Heavenly Father and Christ as your brother and the Holy Spirit as your friend and helper. Amen.

Holly

Changing My Diet to Save My Brain

I have decided that this month, to start, I am going to dedicate to my brain’s health. I have over the past month or more noticed my memory has been shot. I am having a hard time remembering my students names, I am slow to recall random memories, and I feel foggy. I also feel confused a lot. I will say, I have been under a lot of stress with work working many 10 – 12 hour days. Maybe that is contributing to it too, and I am going to buy some adaptogens to help manage my stress levels with work which will persist for the next two weeks.

I went to the health food store yesterday and dropped almost $200 and nothing was for my brain.

I’m not being funny, but I do not remember why exactly my decision to do this for my brain started this afternoon.

(I remembered after finishing writing this blog that I worried about my brain after coming home from the beach tonight and walking up the stairs, and I felt, I’m not sure, but not right, again. An odd, and frequent occurrence these days!) My intention was to begin October as the first of the next 12 months attributing my changes in diet and exercise to my true desire for sustainable health.

I eat, overall, pretty healthily, but I do binge occasionally or overeat once in awhile, and when I do, like tonight, over-eating on sugar, I feel badly for my body. I never got full tonight, but the amount of sugar I ate was way too much to the point where I have an awful sugar headache, still, hours later. It was my dinner, plus a decaf latte b/c I knew this would be a last for awhile, but it’s awful for my body. I feel like this is a bit of a pattern as I write and really need to quell my desires more or maybe be more consistent and less drastic, my goal.

I have found I am much more disciplined, and it is no problem for me to be such, but I need reigns, I feel, or I have nights like tonight where I eat so much sugar I am in pain.

So, my worry about my brain feels legit. Too much sugar is awful for our bodies and brains, and, specifically, has been shown to cause brain shrinkage. I actually read tonight that Alzheimer’s is called Diabetes 3. Yikes. It’s not surprising. I believe most diseases are genetically triggered by diet. I do not have Alzeiheimer’s or dementia in my family, but I need to help my brain because I am too young to be so foggy! I began exercising again today too which will help for sure. When I was in my teens and early 20’s I was bulimic and ate a ton of sugar on a regular basis. In my late teens and until late 30’s, I alcoholically drank off and on. I have been “healthy” for over 10 years, but am still attracted to sugar, a lot, and it is just not healthy. I know and exhibit moderation mostly in my life, but because of my past and how I eat still at times, so much sugar, I worry about my brain – only because I am exhibiting these worrisome symptoms.

Normal brain, top. Alzheimer’s brian, middle. Alcoholic brain, bottom.

So, this month, I am going to begin with a cleanse of sorts, eating cleanly, and looking into foods that cleanse the blood and cleanse the skin because all disease begins in the blood and my skin’s melanin is no longer being produced in my legs. What’s up. But, I need to get my brain working better!

Also, I will focus on a high protein and high fat diet with low carbs, and no processed carbs which should help my brain fog clear. Lots of cholesterol, too. Brain fat needed! Pulling my book, Grain Brain, off my shelf tonight, I read about how low cholesterol levels doesn’t allow the brain to work well, and those individuals with low cholesterol are at a much greater risk for dementia. Bring on the eggs! I did just remember I bought MCT oil at the health food store which will help my brain hopefully!

Eat me. I’m good for your brain health!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I need more discipline in my life and operate much better with it, on a regular basis.

Because our brain exhibits plasticity and can regenerate, I am clear on what I need to do. So, here’s to my brain’s health and the overall health of my body for the next month, starting with the following:

  1. Elimination diet
  2. Movement
  3. Good fats
  4. Herbs and good veggies
  5. Lots of water

Thank you for reading. Here’s to all of our health!

Holly

Giving out of My Poverty

This vlog includes a time when I was living in England when God blessed me moments after I gave all I could, 5 measly pounds. 5 pounds in the tithing bag showed up to me in a 150 return over the next 3 months! He always has shown up in my need. Thank you. Faithful God. https://youtu.be/dh2CHsohvgw