How I Cured My Mouth Ulcers

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with consistent, painful mouth ulcers/canker sores. They were frequent, sore, large (often bigger than a five pence piece!), and they lasted for weeks. It seemed like nothing that I did made any difference. I bought gels and liquids from the pharmacy which were incredibly painful to apply, overpriced mouthwashes from the dentists, and on a few occasions doctors would give me prescriptions for Corticosteroid tablets (steroids).

Whilst the steroids helped marginally in reducing the size of my ulcers, they were time consuming to apply (they had to slowly dissolve on the sore), and I had to take four per day. Plus, I never feel comfortable taking medication unless it’s absolutely necessary, so I was always reluctant to use them.

I know it sounds like a silly thing to stress about, but mouth ulcers really did ruin the quality of my life. When I had them, it hurt to speak, drink and eat. Sometimes they were at the back of my mouth and it would feel like my entire throat had closed up. I would only be able to eat soft foods, like soup, and it took all the enjoyment out of eating. When I didn’t have any ulcers, I would eat a wide variety of foods without considering my diet whatsoever.

Sometimes the ulcers would bleed without warning, which was scary as Google told me that shouldn’t happen! Being the hypochondriac that I was, I would sometimes visit doctors for check-ups. I had blood tests to check every vitamin and mineral in my body, especially b12 and iron (all fine), I went through vigorous questioning about whether or not I was sexually active or under stress, and of course, the end response was always ‘there’s nothing we can do’. One nurse claimed that I was just eating too much junk food, when at the time I was genuinely eating really healthily. Nobody really had any answers for me.

Before I get in to how I cured my mouth ulcers, I’m going to list all of the (failed) changes I made in an attempt to get rid of them.

  1. I reduced spicy foods.
  2. I took an iron supplement (unnecessary).
  3. I bought an expensive, SLS free, natural toothpaste. (I still use it, but it didn’t make any difference to my ulcers!)
  4. I took up running.
  5. I went to the gym.
  6. I reduced my stress. After finishing my A-levels, I had nothing to worry about and spent half a year travelling in Canada. My mouth ulcers only seemed to get worse.
  7. I reduced my coffee intake.
  8. I tried echinacea tablets. (No difference whatsoever).
  9. I made a conscious effort to drink more water.
  10. I washed my mouth around with salt water. (Painful and gross, but apparently it works for some).

Sometimes I kidded myself into believing that some of these methods had actually worked, but then a few days later I’d just get another ulcer and I’d be back at square one again.

So, if you find yourself empathising with my past situation, feel free to take my advice. I can’t promise it will have the exact same effect on you, but it definitely worked for me, and now I can understand why.

Ditch the meat, dairy, and eggs.

DITCH THE MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGGS.

DITCH THE MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGGS!

If you’ve never considered a plant-based diet before, I can understand that this probably seems like quite a radical suggestion. But not only did changing the way I ate have a huge impact on my mood, skin, and health, but it also finally cured those agonising sores that had been troubling me for most of my life.

There was an adjustment period – going plant-based is not something that you should ‘try’ for two weeks and then give up when nothing happens. I was still getting ulcers for about a month and a half into my new lifestyle, but once my body had flushed away all of the toxicity of dairy and egg (I was already vegetarian), I felt infinitely better. It’s been a year now, and in that time I have had around three ulcers, one of which was triggered by a week of eating excess tomatoes with oil and vinegar (yes, I seem to have a sensitive mouth). However, all of these went away quicker, were a lot smaller, and even seemed less painful!

I became vegan for ethical reasons (I am 100% against the exploitation of animals), but I have also concluded that the food side of veganism is the healthiest way to live, too. I used to eat a lot of dairy products, especially cheese, which I now believe was a major contributor to my mouth ulcers. Cheese is so processed, so unhealthy, and so acidic. Meat is also very acidic, so that could be a contributing factor to many people’s mouth ulcers.

Sometimes mouth ulcers can be triggered by life changes and have nothing to do with what you put inside your body, but for me, it was definitely about what I ate. Stop eating a diet full of acidic forming foods, and if you’re like me, you’ll see a change. Just remember to be patient and trust the process – give it time.

Eat plenty of green vegetables – aim for over five different types of veg a day, if possible – experiment with legumes, as they provide additional nutrients, drink lots of water, and just try to keep your diet as varied and healthy as possible. Also, it’s really important to make sure your B12 levels are not dipping, by drinking fortified plant milks or taking a supplement.

I’m not going to guarantee this will give you success, after all I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but if you do feel like trying a plant-based lifestyle, I’d be happy to answer any further questions you have. Just leave me a message, or contact me here and I will help out as much as I can.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how a plant-based diet can significantly improve your health, I recommend checking out the Forks Over Knives website and film.

Did going vegan help you with any kind of illness or health issue? Feel free to share your story in the comments! Don’t forget to share this page and subscribe to the website for new content. You can also find me on FacebookYoutubeTwitter,Instagram, Google + and Tumblr for even more!

How To Be Happy

Many people often find themselves to be miserable and stressed, for no apparent reason. In fact, nowadays this seems to be quite common. As a university student I see many of my peers breaking down and getting upset over essays, deadlines and heavy workloads. But, what if I told you that something as simple as a tiny dietary change could impact on the way you feel? You’d probably think I was crazy, but something as simple as this worked for me. Anyway, these changes that I’m suggesting here are so small, anybody could implement them.

Couple these following suggestions with positive thoughts and you’re on your way to a lifetime of happiness!

[I’m not a medical expert, I’m not suggesting that these ideas will cure depression or mental illness, always seek medical help if it’s something serious. I’m just sharing what worked for me with regard to being more optimistic and less stressed.]

I also made a video on the topic if you’d rather watch me talk at a camera…it’s worth it just for the fail at the end.

So, the most important tip – which is also the most difficult – is to accept where you’re at. Accepting your place in the world can be challenging, but it’s important to realise what you can change about yourself, and what you can’t. As I mention in my video, it is very difficult for someone working in a 9-5 job to stand up and on impulse move to Hawaii. It may be many people’s fantasy, but it’s just not realistic. However, what is realistic is understanding and accepting your position, accepting that you don’t want to be where you are forever, and taking reasonable steps to adapt and change. The only real example that I can provide is my own situation, as this process is a very unique, individual journey.

Turning an overpriced, tiny, apartment, into a home

Turning an overpriced, tiny, apartment, into a home

So let’s take my situation. I’m a poor, university student who used to have a part-time job whilst studying but now doesn’t work at all. The only income I have is from student loan. Whilst I loved living independently in Oxford with my boyfriend, in our tiny one-room apartment, I also knew I really wanted to travel. My passion for seeing the world beyond the British Isles pushed me to apply to study on exchange abroad at the University of Iceland. For all you students out there, these kinds of schemes (ERASMUS or International), are available at most universities. And then once summer rolled around and it became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to afford to stay in Iceland, I used the remainder of my student loan to move to Spain. Here, I’m using my free time to live simply, enjoy the new culture, and work on my activism (through this blog, YouTube, and social media).

Who knows what the future will hold for me post-degree? I’m not worried, though, because I know that by accepting my place in the world, I will be happy in any direction that life takes me.

Okay, phew, tough stuff over. The next few things that I do which keep me staying happy and optimistic most of the time are small lifestyle changes that make a big difference.

Making sure you’re drinking enough water is really important. Most people aren’t hydrated enough, even though they are aware of this fact. You’ve heard it all before, you don’t need me to lecture you on how you should drink water. But just do it. It clears your mind, it helps you think, it gives you energy, it’s good for your skin … all of these things contribute to your overall happiness. It might sound superficial, but if you feel good on the inside, then you’ll feel good on the outside, too.

I am not going to make statements about how much water you should drink as enough water will vary from person-to-person. And as you get used to drinking more, it gets easier for your body to hold more. I like to drink two big glasses when I get up in the morning, and then I’ll often have fruit for breakfast which often have a high water content. I also drink a glass of water with each meal, and then throughout the day I’ll just make sure I have a bottle nearby.

Alongside your increased hydration, an increasingly carbohydrate-based diet will do your mood wonders (at least, it worked for me!). Namely, potatoes. If you want to get even more specific, sweet potatoes are the best thing you can possibly eat. These foods are full of energy, good sugars, full of a variety of nutrients, are healthy AND they taste delicious. It’s even possible to live off just eating potatoes, although I don’t personally recommend this. I don’t know the science behind this – perhaps there isn’t any – but I can say from personal experience that nothing increases my mood more than a plate full of homemade baked potato wedges. It’s the best kind of comfort food.

POTATOES

POTATOES

You can get similar positive mood effects from foods like rice and pasta (depending on your preferences), but in my opinion sweet potatoes and white potatoes are nutritionally superior. Basically adopting a high carb vegan diet will do wonders to the animals, the planet, your health AND your mood.

So another thing I like to do when I’m feeling sad is to get outside. Staying indoors sometimes can just feel suffocating and overbearing. That’s why I like to go for a walk in the sunshine every day. Even if it’s just to the grocery shop, I’m getting myself outdoors, I’m using my legs, I’m breathing in the fresh air. When I lived in Iceland, I would often go for a walk down by the sea. There’s just something about being alone with your thoughts, breathing in the fresh air, that’s simply freeing. I like to listen to music whilst I’m walking. If it’s sunny, that’s even better because you’re getting your daily dose of vitamin D that way. Sunshine naturally boosts your mood, anyway.

Wintery afternoon strolls were enjoyed along the harbour and coast of Reykjavik

Wintery afternoon strolls were enjoyed along the harbour and coast of Reykjavik

If you prefer to cycle, or jog, this works just as well but it’s not necessary to push yourself at excercise to feel good outdoors. Simply being outside can do wonders on your happiness. If you live in the countryside, nature is your oyster! If you’re like me, living in a city, the next best thing to do is walk to a park, so you can at least be surrounded by trees and grass rather than traffic and buildings.

So, there you have it! I said it was simple, didn’t I? Of course, these are positivity boosters, but the real long-term change has to come from your reactions to the world. That is why the first point about accepting your place is by far the most important. But, for a temporary shift in happiness, staying hydrated, eating plenty of high-carb foods such as potatoes, and going for daily walks outside will definitely do the trick. It worked for me, chances are it will work for you guys too.

What are some of your habits that you like to do to keep positivity and happiness flowing? Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to share this page and subscribe to the website for new content. You can also find me on YoutubeTwitter,Instagram, Google + and Tumblr for even more!