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WHAT HAPPENED WAS…… my last newsletter, I shared that I was starting an intermittent fast from June 1 until July 31, my birthday month. There is still a month and a half left, but I had hoped to share my journey via Chef Nezaa’s Wellness group on FB and our weekly newsletter. But anyone who read John Steinbeck in high school will understand that plans are sometimes “like Mice and Men Can Go Awry”. So, “what happened was”, I have been having a health crisis and the timing couldn't have sucked more. Well, that was my first thought as I nursed a severe dental infection, with pain that had me in the fetal position. But then I reminded myself that wellness is a journey and sometimes the road is not just bumby, but you can trip unexpectedly and fall off a cliff, barely hanging on to an outcropping of the mountain, while you pray for help.

So, this is not a story of how I messed up my intermittent fast, but how it turned into a fast because I couldn't eat. But I digress. Let me tell you how it all started. About two decades ago, I had a tooth pulled. As the dentist gave me probably more injections of pain medication than either of us expected, he asked me a curious question or observation. “You aren't from here are you?” he asked. I immediately asked him “Why are you asking?” He informed me that the root of my tooth (a molar) was so deep in my gum that he guessed I was from the Caribbean or Africa. Apparently, in the U.S, people have much shallower roots. Yes I am from Jamaica, but this is something I didn't expect. My early years were spent eating almost all organic plant based, and any animal food was grass fed and free from pesticides or hormones. This was in the 60’s before all that became ‘on trend’ dietary practices.

Anyway, fast forward, because of that difficult extraction, the dentist unknowingly left some of the root of my molar which became embedded as my gum healed and closed up. Over the years, I have had several bouts of inflammation, which I quickly resolved using turmeric, oregano oil, myrrh and clove oil. But twenty years later, that embedded bone has decided to wreak havoc with my life, and compromised several other teeth. So here I am a Community Health Educator and natural food chef, coming to confess that after an epic fail of my trusty herbs, I had to resort to drugs. Which brings me to the cautionary tale, and how it relates to wellness.

My first line of any illness is to go to the herbal world. I am the embodiment of my great grandparents and my grandfather, who was my first teacher on herbal medicine. But my mother was a health care practitioner, so I’ve always known that although herbal medicine is best, allopathic (so called traditional) medicine is my go to for acute incidents which can be an emergency or threat to life. Herbs work, but sometimes not fast enough. Hence, the drugs. I’m not stupid. Plus the pain was boss and unbearable.

I'm on a two week course of antibiotics and pain meds so I can get through it. Then, I will need to have surgery for the embedded bone as well as two root canals to address the other molars. My other choice is to have them extracted, but then I would have to chew with my front teeth and well… humans are not made that way. But here is my protocol for mitigating the antibiotics which will no doubt get rid of the raging infection, but also all my gut microbiome. Yeah. Antibiotics take no prisoners.

A healthy gut and our brain are close associates. It communicates with our brain thru our nervous system and hormones, and contains bacteria and immune cells that keeps us healthy. As soon as I decided to take the allopathic path, I realized that I would have to also start a course of prebiotic treatment so I could help out my immune system. It takes about two months to regain healthy gut health after taking these drugs. And as I am able to eat again, I will continue my intermittent fasting for 16 hours a day and during the 8 hours of eating, I will be including plenty of fermented foods, blood purifiers in the form of green veggies, and also a capsuled prebiotic from the health food store. I need all the help I can get. Lucky for me the growing season is in full swing, and my backyard garden has plenty of green things for teas, smoothies, and salads.

Healing in progress…..stay tuned. And oh, thanks for reading this far, I know that was a lot.

-Chef Nezaa

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