Pineapple to the rescue! Surviving amoebic dysentery and reducing eye floaters.

Once upon a time, pineapple saved my life.

I was touring in Kenya and staying at a lodge near Lake Nakuru. I sat down to dinner and the first course was served—a cup of beef bullion. I held the spoon to my mouth, but couldn’t swallow. The thought of swallowing filled me with nausea.

I excused myself and went into the night, where I stood in a state of confusion. As I made my way toward the cabin, I stumbled down a series of steps. But the steps began to move. One side of the stair widened, while the other narrowed. As I passed rooms along the way, I pressed my hand into walls and doors for stability.

At the foot of the decline, my head started to spin. It was difficult to discern which cabin was mine. I made a guess and fumbled with the key. The lock turned.

I spent the next several days in bed, nursed by my mother, who had come on the trip with me. I maintained a fever of 104 (40˚C), and was unconscious much of the time. I only awoke to bouts of simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea.

A doctor visited the room and diagnosed amoebic dysentery. Half the tour group had the same illness! He gave me some pills to reduce the vomiting and said it was critical that I eat and drink, even though I wanted nothing.

Drinking the water was out of the question, since it glubbed from the tap in green clumps. Instead, I forced down orange soda (bottled water wasn’t available). There were only two foods I could keep down—ice cream and pineapple.

I credit the fat in the ice cream for preserving my weight, although I still lost ten pounds in three days.

I credit my mother’s care and the readily available pineapple—high in vitamins and filled with water—for pulling me through.

Since that time, I’ve been a pineapple fan. Yet, for much of my life, I rarely ate it. It looked so formidable that I didn’t think I could cut it. And the idea of hollowing the core sounded daunting.

However, I’ve recently been plagued with eye floaters due to a vitreous detachment in my right eye. A vitreous detachment is a normal aging event that occurs anytime after age 50, and happens when the vitreous gel that supports the eye pulls away from its attachment point.

A 2019 study*, which I first learned of through the Doctor Eye Health channel, suggests that consuming pineapples may cause floaters to dissolve. With this information, I had a new incentive to consume pineapple. I went to the store and bought two, hoping that something would be left of the fruit after my chopping and hacking.

I quickly found that pineapple is easy to cut. Although the skin looks quite hard, it offers resistance similar to that of an apple. A sharp blade helps, but isn’t essential.

First I remove the top of the pineapple, and then the base.

I then set the pineapple upright, and cut through the middle. I do this by placing the point of the blade in the center of the cylinder and pressing down. I then repeat the process on the opposite side.

This leaves me with two pineapple halves. I find the halves fit into plastic containers easily, more so if I cut away their curving sides. Cutting away the curving ends also makes the slices easier to eat.

I do not core the pineapple, since most of the nutrients are in the core! Admittedly, it is tougher than the remaining flesh, but is easily eaten if the fruit is sliced thin. I find five thin slices make a single serving.

I store my pineapple loaves in storage containers, and cut away one serving per day. I usually work on one loaf at a time, cutting slices from both ends to prevent color changes from oxidation. One pineapple lasts six or seven days.

After five months, my right eye is nearly free of floaters. Unfortunately, I am now experiencing a vitreous detachment in my left eye. Pesky floaters drift through the center of my vision, and I am again forced to eat my favorite fruit. Dr. Google’s orders!


REFERENCES

Photo of pineapple pile by Matthias Boeckel of Pixabay.

*Horng, Chi-Ting, Chen, Fu-An, Kuo, Daih-Huang, et al., Pharmacologic vitreolysis of the vitreous floaters by 3-month pineapple supplement in Taiwan: A pilot study. Journal of American Science 2019;15(4).

Beating the Summer Heat With Cooling Towels

Now that summer has arrived, the challenge has become staying cool. I recently tried the YQXCC Cooling Towels offered on Amazon.

The towels are actually like long scarves, measuring 47” x 12″ (119 cm x 30 cm). The fabric is thin and soft, but seems durable.

To activate the towel, one soaks it in water until thoroughly saturated. Then the towel is lightly wrung out, given a few shakes in the air, and wrapped about the neck or shoulders.

I recently used this on a hike, when the temperatures were in the mid-80s (29˚C), with a “feels like” temperature of 90 (32˚C). The towel didn’t change the temperature, of course, and I was glad to finish my walk as the day became hotter. However, the cooling towel allowed me to extend my hiking time, kept me from getting dizzy or sick from the heat, and made finishing the trail tolerable.

I knew the day would be warming up, so I put one of the towels in a gallon freezer-bag and added water, until the bag was half full. I then sealed and folded the bag, tucked it into the side-pocket of my backpack, and carried it with me until needed. When I removed the towel, I wrung it out over the mouth of the bag, to preserve water for resoaking.

I discovered that it is easiest and most effective to wear the cooling towel pirate-style. I push the center of the towel into my forehead, and then cinch it behind my head. It stays in place, and there is no need to make a knot. I then pull the ends around my neck and tuck them into my shirt. I also separate the forehead band and pull a flap of fabric over the top of my head. The flap dries out very quickly unless it is covered by a hat. Even then, the single layer of fabric dries more quickly than the bunched ends.

Wearing the towel made a huge difference in my comfort level, so I bought a package of towels for my husband. He uses one when mowing the lawn, and says it makes the heat bearable.

I now consider the YQXCC Cooling Towel standard hiking equipment.

(YQXCC three-pack, $11.99. The link is provided for convenience. This review was not requested and the reviewer was not compensated.)

Restaurants in the St. Augustine Historic District

I recently visited the St. Augustine historic district, and ate at a restaurant—the first time in over a year.

But eating in the historic district is a little tricky. Many restaurants don’t post their hours, and some aren’t open on Mondays.

I planned to eat at Delish Kebabs Brazilian Street Food (12 Cathedral Pl). A few weeks previously, I’d placed a take-out order of the Veggie Kabab Salad Combo. The veggies were nicely grilled and the serving was plentiful. The kebab was laid over a bed of salad. The meal came with a small container of balsamic dressing and two small containers of homemade cilantro sauce. The cilantro sauce could be jarred and marketed separately—it was so good that I’d have bought a jar to take home.

However, I forgot that Delish Kebabs doesn’t open until 11:30 AM, and I was hungry. I decided to start walking, and eat at the first place that looked open and had a relatively healthy menu.

Columbia Restaurant, St. Augustine, FL

From Cathedral Basilica (corner of Cathedral Place and St. George Street), I walked north on St. George Street. I passed the Columbia Restaurant (corner of Hypolita Street and St. George), hands-down the best restaurant in the district—and it opens at 11:00 AM! The food is of the highest quality and is typically cooked to perfection. I can personally recommend the Grilled Grouper and Scallops Casimiro. I also enjoyed the flavorful yellow rice. (Desserts are the restaurant’s weak point.)

I’ve been to the Columbia several times and the service is typically exceptional (only once average). Natural light floods the restaurant’s interior, and a fountain in the middle of the dining room makes it feel as though one is eating outside.

However, the Columbia is also one of the most expensive restaurants, and today I was seeking something more budget-friendly.

I continued walking and passed MiMi’s Famous Crepes. Although it was after 11:00 AM, it still wasn’t open—counterintuitive for a place selling breakfast fare.

Auggie’s Mini Donuts is across the street from the City Gate in St. Augustine, FL

I finally reached the end of St. George Street, and now I was starving. I decided to have a snack to satisfy my stomach until I could fill it properly. Across the street form the Old City Gate, I saw a sign that said Auggie’s Mini Donuts (2 St George Street). I cringed just a bit, since I normally avoid sweets. But just this once…

Just inside the door of Auggie’s is a counter, and behind the counter a river of hot oil, which is clear to light-amber in color. A machine flips little donuts into the oil, which then float downstream. The treats are then flipped again onto a tray.

The donuts are then prepared to the customer’s preference. There are a number of toppings one can choose, some of which require a surcharge. I ordered the cinnamon sugar, which was included in the price.

OMG! They were indescribably good, and the warm dough melted in my mouth. Auggie’s Mini Donuts have become my new secret indulgence!

Six mini donuts run $4.00. It looks like a small serving, but it left me feeling satisfied.

I walked back up St. George Street to a restaurant that always looks intriguing, and yet I usually skip. I usually skip it because I often can’t tell whether it’s open, but today two young women were sitting near the door, rolling silverware into napkins.

The St. Augustine Seafood Company (33 St. George Street) has an outdoor eating area, which looks small from the street. But the patio wraps around the back of the restaurant, and there are a number of tables. Some of the tables can handle larger groups.

Rear dining patio, St. Augustine Seafood Company, St. Augustine, FL

I ordered the Fresh Catch fish sandwich, blackened. The sandwich itself is topped with tortilla chips (sounds odd, but it works), cilantro coleslaw, and a creamy cilantro sauce ($15). For the side, I chose the watermelon and cucumber salad. The watermelon and cucumbers were mixed with a bit of onion, lime juice, and a smattering of blueberries. The lime juice gave the salad a pleasant tang. The entire meal was delicious, and the server was cheerful.

From previous visits to the historic district, I can also recommend these restaurants:

The Floridian (closed on Tuesdays; 72 Spanish Street)

This restaurant offers some vegan and vegetarian options. I can personally recommend the Dixie Burger (choice of beef or a black-been and sweet-potato patty). I’ve had the black-bean/sweet-potato burger and it was large and full of flavor.

I’ve also had one of their salads, but it looks as though this particular salad is no longer offered (I suspect the drizzled honey was attracting too many yellow jackets).

At the Floridian, one can eat outdoors or indoors. The service has always been good at this restaurant, and prices are moderate.

The Kookaburra (24 Cathedral Place)

This is a good place for a quick cup of coffee in cooler months. The service is quick, and the coffee price is reasonable. I had one of the savory veggie pies, but it wasn’t very good.

The Café Hidalgo (35 Hypolita Street)

This restaurant is very small, and the service was a bit slow. But the prices were reasonable and the Greek salad I had was fresh and delicious. I’d definitely visit again.

Be Inspired to Eat Healthy

Roughly seven years ago, two movies inspired me to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

I first watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, a documentary about a man in declining health who decides to make a change. The film follows Joe Cross as he alters his diet, quickly sheds pounds, and rediscovers his own energy and abilities.

A short time later, I watched Forks Over Knives, which dispels myths about foods most of us have consumed since childhood. In this documentary, scientists help us to understand why building a habit like Joe’s can be life-altering.

Although I never juiced my food the way Joe does, these films inspired me to consume primarily whole fruits, grains, and vegetables. In less than eight weeks, my energy level skyrocketed. The pounds quickly dissolved from my 142-lb body, and stabilized at a healthy 120.  My blood pressure and heart rate were going up, but dropped to normal levels. Antiphospholipid Syndrome, a “genetic” hyperclotting factor, put me at risk of a stroke; but with a change in diet it disappeared—along with constipation, various allergies, hypothyroidism, and osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis). Now in my 60’s, I routinely hike 5-9 miles carrying a backpack and ride for miles on a kick-scooter.

I believe everyone should be able to see these films, and now they are available to watch for free. Check them out and, if they inspire you to move forward and take control of your own dietary habits, let me know.

You can also watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead for free on Joe’s web site (in exchange for an e-mail address).

To watch Forks Over Knives, click the link below (an e-mail address is required to view the film).

https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-film/


Photo of smoothies by silviarita of Pixabay.

A Special Thankyou

Thank you to my followers for reading TenPaths Blog and
expressing your likes. You inspire me to continue posting and
make blogging a joyful experience.

I also want to thank all of the photographers and artists who share
their work with bloggers like myself. When I show readers what
an animal or plant looks like, I want the photo to be clear and helpful.
Sometimes I can capture the moment myself, but sometimes
I miss the shot. The shared photos allow me to post stories
in a timely manner. They also make browsing the site
a more interesting experience. I sincerely appreciate
your help and generosity.


Photo by John Hain with Pixabay

Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park

Part Four: Apocalyptic Bees

Part One: A Holiday Without Motors|
Part Two: Wild Oranges
Part Three: Taste it kids. It’s blackberry!


I continue my garbage collection. I see another can. And now a bottle.

I find a horseshoe crab, so am rewarded a bit. It might be dead, though. It’s not moving.

These cans and bottles may have come from boats. I’m closer to the water now. There’s a bottle that contained motor oil, a Pepsi can, and unopened bottles of Aquafina.

And now I’m thinking the old-lady lecture. When I was a kid…

We never saw trash like this anywhere. But we didn’t have all of this disposable stuff. Things were sold in glass jars, and the jars were returned or used for something else. Soft drinks were sold in glass bottles, which were returned for recycling. And there wasn’t trash all over the place.

I find old flip-flops, beer cans, and beer bottles. As I return to the trail, I find a pair of socks. Someone decided they didn’t like them and, instead of carrying them out, just tossed them to the side.

I smell my hands again. Even though the orange still smells good, something about it makes my stomach feel a bit queasy. I wonder if these wild oranges have some type of natural toxin which discourages pests.

But are we the pests? Destroying our hosts?

I’m nearing the end of the trail and am confronted by a new sound. An apocalyptic swarm of bees?

When I first hear the swarm, I’m afraid to pass beneath the trees. And then I realize… You can hear the exasperation in my voice.

A drone. As if the boats, planes, and trains aren’t enough.

It’s the last straw! As the drone approaches, I find myself giving it the finger, while waving, and smiling maniacally.

At the trailhead, I deposit my ten-pound, thirteen-gallon trash bag in the can.

I leave the trail discouraged by noise and trash. And I’m disappointed in myself for becoming angry enough to flip off the drone. I don’t like myself when I feel that way or act that way.

At home, I Google drone use at the park. Is this going to be an ongoing issue? I discover that this particular drone is part of a new educational program for children. Argh!

My husband says don’t worry. The kids were probably rolling with laughter.

But now I’m disappointed to think that, rather than experiencing nature directly, field trips consist of watching more clips—in this case of a sweaty woman carrying a 10-pound sack of garbage and waving the finger.

Some hikes aren’t a walk in the park.


Drone photo by Account 9718552 with Pixabay

Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park

Part Three: Taste it kids. It’s blackberry!

Part One: A Holiday Without Motors|
Part Two: Wild Oranges
Part Four: Apocalyptic Bees


Spotted Sandpiper

There are two Spotted Sandpipers foraging along the water. They bob their tails as they walk.

In the river, a yacht passes by. It sends tumultuous waves ashore, and the birds give up their search.

The wake from a passing yacht.

A record heat wave is approaching. Though it’s early in the day, the “feels like” temperature is approaching 90˚F (32˚C).

I walk into a shady alcove and see trash on the ground. I see one can and, a few feet away, another. And here’s another one. As I walk toward the water, I see one, two, three more.

I have a plastic bag with me, and I’m getting near the end of the trail. It’s maybe only a mile or so back to the trailhead. I think I’ll take these with me, because it saddens me to see them strewn across this beautiful place.

I’m high enough on the land that I know someone brought these into the park. They didn’t float up; didn’t come ashore with the water.

They’re all the same kind of beverage. I read the label. White Clam Hard Seltzer. Spiked sparkling water with a hint of blackberry. No offense, White Clam. I know that your company doesn’t encourage people to dump their litter at the shore.

Eastern Black Swallowtail

I smile as a Black Swallowtail lands on the hand carrying the trash bag.

A Black Racer whips past, just a few feet away. I jump a bit, startled by the sudden movement. This snake is big—and fast!

Black Racer

The cans that I pick up raise a question. If you know what you’re selling is harmful or fraudulent, is it morally wrong to sell it? I once participated in a study that asked the same question. At least a third of the participants said, “Sure. Too bad for the person who buys it.” In their mind, selling anything made one a successful businessman.

Another third was silent, possibly because the self-proclaimed businessmen were loud and aggressive in demeanor.

The final third argued against duping others into purchasing harmful products, but were eventually worn down by the businessmen who badgered and belittled them. I was the only one that would not back down, which surprised me. I don’t consider myself particularly assertive.

But no. It’s not all right. If someone is purposefully selling something known to be fraudulent or hurtful, it’s wrong—no matter the rationalization.

For instance, the alcohol in this particular beverage is flavored in a way that appeals to children and very young adults. An older person is not going to drink blackberry (and strawberry) flavored alcohol. So yes, it is harmful. And they know it’s harmful. And they’re still selling it.

And now, not only is it detrimental to their young customers, but it’s also detrimental to the environment. Because once inhibitions are lowered, imbibers toss their trash to the ground.

Of course, that’s just the opinion of an everyday person. Nobody special. But I know that I want the best for other people, as well as myself. Our goal is to bring out the best in one another. Not to encourage, provoke, or instill bad behavior. And by bad, I don’t mean following every rule to the letter, but to have common courtesy and consideration for other people and other living things.

One of many beer cans and bottles removed from a nature park.

PHOTO CREDITS
Photo of Spotted Sandpiper by Becky Matsubara with Flickr.
Photo of Black Racer by Peter Paplanus with Flickr.
Photo of beer can and Eastern Black Swallowtail by Carol Fullerton-Samsel 2021.

Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park

Part Two: Wild Oranges

Part One: A Holiday Without Motors
Part Three: Taste it kids. It’s blackberry!
Part Four: Apocalyptic Bees


A fiddler crab disguises itself as tree bark.

I see a fiddler crab sitting on an oak tree, disguising itself as bark.

And above me, I see wild oranges growing. Some have fallen to the ground. I wonder if they’re safe to eat.

I pick one up. It smells tart. The odor is sour. Should I open one and taste it? Just give it a lick?

I peel away the skin. It’s more fibrous than the oranges we buy at the grocery store. And more tart. It doesn’t get my fingers sticky, which means there’s less sugar.

This orange wasn’t rotten or anything. I picked it off the ground, but it was ripe enough to fall from the tree, and the skin was in good condition and bright orange. But this wild orange is much more sour than the commercial produce.

I wonder if these trees were commercial at one time. Are these the residuals from an orange grove that used to be out here? Did they grow from seed transported by birds?

I think I will leave this. An offering to my fiddler crab.

It does leave a wonderful scent on my hand! But it smells more like vanilla than orange.

As I walk, I smell my hands again and again. It smells so good! As though someone took a stick of butter, whipped it, added a teaspoon of vanilla, and a splash of orange juice.

I stop to listen.

The Tufted Titmouse has many calls. This is just one of them.

The White-eyed Vireo seems to say, “How are you, Buddy?” or “Hello buddy.”

PHOTO CREDITS
Photographs of fiddler crab and oranges by Carol Fullerton-Samsel.
Cropped photo of Tufted Titmouse by Rick from Alabama with Flickr.
Cropped and exposure-adjusted photo of White-eyed Vireo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren with Flickr.

Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park

Part One:  A Holiday Without Motors

Part Two: Wild Oranges
Part Three: Taste it kids! It’s blackberry!
Part Four: Apocalyptic Bees


I arrive at my destination before 7 AM, and decide to do the longest trail. Early on, things seem promising. I see one doe and then another, round in the belly and possibly pregnant.

As I walk, spider webs cling to my arms, lips, and eyelashes; remnants of the night’s inhabitants.

Hogs have routed the center of the trail, leaving disturbed soil and rounded hoofprints.

Squirrels scurry about. A group of three alerts on me. Each jumps strait up into the air. A visual alarm call?

Barking squirrels

I decide to record them (above), but must wait for a passing jet. As I wait, I see an Ovenbird. It struts on the ground with its tail raised.

Ovenbird

It’s approaching 9 AM, and people begin to stir. I hear a train.

What do you hear in this 13-second clip? I hear a Tufted Titmouse, a plane, a train, cicadas, barking squirrels, and a Northern Parula.

I’ve looked forward to reaching the trail-bend. There’s a picnic table there and, as one steps from the tree-line, a scenic view of the water.

Except the view today is blocked. Two round-bellied men with tight T-shirts have parked their boat across the opening.

And it’s noisy out here!

It’s noisy out here!

No respite. I continue walking.

I imagine a national holiday in which everyone is asked to run no motors. No cars would drive the roads (except to go to the hospital). No planes would fly. Cities might need to run some motors to generate electricity but, on an individual basis, what if we did without—just for a day.

A day-without-motors meditation?

So what do you think? Some questions to ponder:

  • Would you enjoy the quiet?
  • How would you spend the day?
  • Could you be happy with a day in which nothing was expected?

I know we have holidays, like Christmas. But there are so many expectations with that.

  • Will I buy the right present?
  • Can I afford a present?
  • Can I get off work?
  • How will I arrange travel when the planes are booked?
  • When do the kids get off from school?
  • How will I keep them entertained?

Of course, you’ll still have that last question during a day of peace, but maybe it would be an opportunity to teach children that it’s okay to be calm and quiet; that you needn’t fill every moment rushing about; doing something; doing anything.

Continued…

Exposure-adjusted photo by Bettina Arrigoni with Flickr