Heartburn or Reflux Cure


Smeato Shed Mate showed me how to cure Reflux, often called Heartburn.

Late in 2009 I began to get some painful reflux, some mornings, at around 5am. I tried taking Mylanta and Gaviscon for a few weeks but the relief was very temporary. I had a Gastroscopy and there were no ulcers or anything serious, the doctor gave me a script for some XXX  tablets to take daily.

I’m reluctant to take pills on a daily basis unless absolutely necessary and when I mentioned my reflux to Smeato, he had a very simple answer, a Classic Home Remedy, which works. It can be taken as a preventative or for relief. Dissolve one teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda in a small amount of water- say two mouthfuls – and swallow it.


It tastes revolting. I have a glass of water handy, hold my breath, swallow the mixture and some fresh water, then breathe again. If taken to ease reflux, within 5 minutes a burp or two will signify that the acid in the stomach is being neutralized.

What I like best about taking Bicard of Soda is that it treats the symptoms and I only take it when I need to.

Of everything I’ve tried, this works the best and also the longest. I’ve never needed to repeat the dose. I take it the moment I notice that reflux may be starting. For me that is usually around 4:30-5am. It can also be taken as a preventative – for instance after a gastronomic feast, too much of everything, this settle the stomach and prevents any reflux.

I had been taking 2ooomgs of vitamin C at bedtime for several months before getting severe heartburn and I believe the acid had eaten away at the stomach lining and was the cause of the heartburn/reflux. I stopped taking the Vitamin C tablets late at night and my reflux is reducing, currently (OCT 2010) to about once in 8 weeks. UPDATE: April 2011- no reflux in over 4 months – YAY!

Before I tried this amazing cure, I wondered if taking Bicarb of Soda would be harmful. I found a wealth of info on the net, saying that there were many benefits from taking it. I’ll document them here, but first lets make sure some idiot doesn’t try to sue me for writing about something that is working FOR ME.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical person. I am writing here what works for me and I accept no responsibility for others.

Warning: Baking soda should be tried with your doctor’s approval since this could have many side effects including high blood pressure, headaches, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and others. Baking soda is high in sodium, so cut down your salt intake as much as possible if taking it. People with heart, kidney, and liver disease, and appendicitis should not try it, without their doctor’s agreement. It is contraindicated with some prescription medicines. Take too much for too long and you could get alkalosis. So speak to your doctor first.

Health Benefits of Bicarbonate of Soda

A Classic Home Remedy: Keen runners have sworn that taking a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda helps them to keep going for longer. From Gout to Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease, from Foot Odor to Flatulence, this magical compound can take care of it all.

Most of the medicinal benefits of bicarbonate of soda come from its natural antacid properties. Let us now discuss the immense health benefits of bicarbonate of soda and why you should always have it handy.

For age spots: A paste of bicarbonate of soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide in equal proportions can lighten age spots when used as a pack on affected areas.

For itching, hives, bites and stings: Apply a paste of sodium bicarbonate mixed with water to ease pain and itching.

For foot and body odor: Bicarbonate of soda can neutralize bacteria that cause foot and body odor. A paste of the compound with water can help clear athlete’s foot.

For foot pain and splinters: A foot soak made of 150gms of bicarbonate of soda with equal quantities of Epsom salts can reduce soreness and minimize nerve pain.

For oral problems: Oral bacteria produce acids that can corrode the teeth enamel. A bicarb rinse several times a day or before going to bed can protect the teeth from untimely decay.

For heartburn: Heartburn is caused when digestive acids make their way up to the tract. A tablet or teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate along with the few drops of lemon juice acts as an antacid and provides instant relief. The same works for dispelling painful wind in case of indigestion and flatulence.

For household cleaning: 4 tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate in a liter of water makes a eco-friendly and non-toxic multipurpose cleaner for the house.

For nappy rash: Bicarbonate of soda added to a baby’s bathwater soothes the irritated skin and promotes faster healing.

For sore throats and mouth ulcers: Acid producing bacteria can cause lot of pain and agony. Add a teaspoonful of sodium bicarbonate in a glass of water and gargle every four hours to neutralize the acids.

For sunburn and heat rash: Bicarb can ‘soften’ bath water which makes for a comforting soak for agitated skin.

For UTIs: Drinking a solution of bicarb can ease the burning sensation while urinating by balancing the acids in the bladder.

For Gout: If you get baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) into your gout diet you add a well known alkalizing agent to it. It’s the classic home remedy for gout and the good news is that it gets many rave reviews from gout sufferers. It may well raise your pH level and alleviate or even end your gout attack. For many people for whom this works it usually begins to happen quickly – sometimes virtually immediately, often within 24 hours, and at least within a week.

It’s even been reported to reduce tophi, but you should note that even beneficiaries get different results.

Dosage Bicarbonate of soda is cheap and the remedy is an-easy-to-prepare part of a gout diet. Use half a teaspoon filled to the top of the spoon’s ridge, not above, (you don’t want a “mountain” of it in the spoon) with eight fluid ounces of water. (Or use measuring spoons). Make sure it dissolves completely in the water. Take, normally, four times a day, which includes one dose before bedtime. The body is said to be more acidic at night. Is it just a coincidence that many gout attacks happen after midnight and before daylight?

Some people find that even a 1/4 teaspoon serving four times a day can deal with their gout attack, and if you can, so much the better, because of the high amount of sodium.

Warning! Baking soda may not be your natural gout cure. It MUST ONLY BE TRIED with your doctor’s approval since this could have many side effects including high blood pressure, headaches, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and others. Baking soda is high in sodium, so cut down your salt intake as much as possible if taking it. Gout attacks raise blood pressure, and so does excess sodium.

Moreover people with heart, kidney, and liver disease, and appendicitis should not try it, without their doctor’s agreement. It is contraindicated with some prescription medicines. Take too much for too long and you could get alkalosis.So speak to your doctor first. It should not be taken when the stomach is too full. An empty stomach is better.


Sir Alfred Garrod, the Britishman who discovered that an excess of uric acid in the blood is the cause of gout in the mid 19th century, was a practicing gout doctor who ended his career as a physician to Queen Victoria. He also wrote The Nature and Treatment of Gout and Rheumatic Gout.

In this book he explained he believed in alkalising (alkalizing) the blood, or as we would put it today, raising blood pH. This is his key statement about it:

“Any diminution in the alkaline state of the blood lessens its power of holding urate of soda (uric acid) in solution and hence promotes its deposition, especially in tissues in which the reaction is naturally less alkaline than in the blood.”

And another:

“The causes exciting a gouty fit (i.e. flare) are those which induce a less alkaline condition of the blood, or which greatly augment for the time, the formation of uric acid, or such as temporarily check the eliminating power of the kidneys.”

Sodium bicarbonate alkalises (alkalizes) the blood (by removing hydrogen ions), and this is the key. The blood is able to hold more uric acid without crystallising (crystallizing). And when this happens crystal deposition ceases, or better said, usually ceases, because baking soda doesn’t always halt gout attacks. Moreover, in some mysterious way, deposited crystals often begin to dissolve.

Or, if you take bicarbonate of soda in water before an impending gout attack, your blood is further alkalised (alkalized) – remember blood is always maintained by the body as slightly alkaline – and crystallisation (crystallization) is halted in the manner described by Garrod. Morever, higher blood alkalinity makes uric acid more soluble, as does drinking plenty of water.

Although Sir Alfred used bicarbonate of soda in some gout cases, you’ll be surprised to learn that generally he did not. And it wasn’t because of the sodium. The reason was – he thought he had stronger alkalising (alkalizing) agents than baking soda – ones that today have been forgotten in gout treatment.

Note the cautions above about using it, and discuss with your doctor before using it.

Kidney Disease: Daily dose of sodium bicarbonate-baking soda, already used for baking, cleaning, acid indigestion, sunburn, and more-slows the decline of kidney function in some patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), reports an upcoming study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). “This cheap and simple strategy also improves patients’ nutritional status, and has the potential of translating into significant economic, quality of life, and clinical outcome benefits,” comments Magdi Yaqoob, MD (Royal London Hospital).

The study included 134 patients with advanced CKD and low bicarbonate levels, also called metabolic acidosis. One group received a small daily dose of sodium bicarbonate in tablet form, in addition to their usual care. For this group, the rate of decline in kidney function was greatly reduced-about two-thirds slower than in patients. “In fact, in patients taking sodium bicarbonate, the rate of decline in kidney function was similar to the normal age-related decline,” says Yaqoob.

Rapid progression of kidney disease occurred in just nine percent of patients taking sodium bicarbonate, compared to 45 percent of the other group. Patients taking sodium bicarbonate were also less likely to develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis.

Patients taking sodium bicarbonate also had improvement in several measures of nutrition. Although their sodium levels went up, this didn’t lead to any problems with increased blood pressure.

Low bicarbonate levels are common in patients with CKD and can lead to a wide range of other problems. “This is the first randomised controlled study of its kind,” says Yaqoob. “A simple remedy like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), when used appropriately, can be very effective.”

But how does something so seemingly innocuous have such a dramatic effect? During prolonged or intense exercise muscles produce large amounts of waste products, such as lactic acid, that lead to soreness, stiffness and fatigue. Because sodium bicarbonate naturally reduces acids, it acts as a buffer against these performance-limiting by-products.

Sport: For years, keen runners have sworn that taking a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) helps them to keep going for longer. For years, experts doubted that there was anything other than a placebo effect to these claims until they subjected the substance to rigorous examination. Most exercise scientists investigating the trend for “soda-doping” among athletes and gym-goers have shown that it offers significant benefits for endurance and speed.

At Loughborough University, for instance, physiologists reporting in the June issue of the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that swimmers who took baking soda about one hour before a 200m event were able to shave a significant time off their usual performances. Dr Jonathan Folland, who led the study, says that it is not uncommon for top swimmers to take sodium bicarbonate (another name for the substance) before a competition to give them an edge. Indeed, he showed that of nine swimmers tested, eight recorded their fastest times after ingesting a supplement of the common baking ingredient.

Another small study by Dr Ronald Deitrick,of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), showed that competitive runners also benefited. Dr Deitrick, who presented his findings at the ACSM annual conference, gave 800m runners either a placebo or a sodium bicarbonate capsule, which they took with water. Although a few of the runners had minor gastrointestinal problems after swallowing the capsules, a greater number benefited significantly

For optimum effects it should be taken with water, ideally before exercise, on an empty stomach. Most people take about 20g, although it can cause problems.

“It is not dangerous, but it tastes appalling and can make you want to retch,” Dr Folland says. “It can make some people nauseous when it hits their stomach and a few suffer an upset stomach or diarrhoea when they take it.”

Research Links:





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Towards Curry Nirvana


My search for Curry Nirvana continues. The plan is to cook a ‘restaurant grade’  Indian Curry.

“O Crikey Me !’

I’ve progressed a long way this year, thanks to excellent curry kits from SpiceZ and Saucy Spice Co. I’ve had some successes that made me think I was knocking on Nirvana’s door and then lately the frozen portions re heated have been disappointing. Most unusual because until lately a frozen curry has always been an improvement over a freshly cooked one. Everyone knows a curry is better the next day, so what is happening??

As a control, I re-heat a frozen Marinades Restaurant Curry once a week and they are always superb. When the Marinades curry is re heating in the oven, the aroma is always much stronger. So what is in those, that is missing in the other curries? Is it an ingredient or could it be the quantity of spices used?

When I solve that puzzle I will be well on the way to achieving my goal.

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Damaged Nuts


What they don’t tell you when you have a HERNIA operation is that your family jewels get bruised!!!

It makes you sit down VEEERY CAREFULLY!!

Meanwhile, people make fun of you, especially if you have a birthday during the recovery period –


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BBQ not hot enough


Our new Jackeroo 4 burner barbeque would not get hot enough.  The previous one worked extremely well, as you can see-

The ‘Dance of the Flaming Lamb Chops’ – courtesy of shed mate Steve

Our old 4 burner Jackeroo Barbecue was rusting away after many years of service. We replaced it with a new one in 2008, of the same brand. Barbies with timber stands were rare and nearly all were built into metal cabinets.

Putting what seemed like 400 parts together took a few hours but eventually we had a red and black gleaming monster ready for action.

Unfortunately the entire design, not just the cabinet, had been changed and the new BBQ would not get hot enough. The old BBQ had plenty of power and was rarely run with the taps on full. The new one wouldn’t get hot enough to make the sausages sizzle and cooking on the grill took far too long.

For several months I tried to get used to it, but when I checked the gas bottle which normally would have been almost empty, and found it was 2/3rd full I realized something was badly wrong.

I spoke to people and searched the internet. I heard similar tales many times, so it was possibly not just a faulty BBQ and anyway I wasn’t prepared to disassemble those 400 parts to take it back for a refund ! I heard that these BBQ’s are now made in China and that the Chinese use BBQ’s to cook slowly.

I found out that Jackeroo is managed by Arlec and I rang the head office in Sydney. I was put through to the BBQ department and spoke to 2 very helpful blokes. They suggested the regulator was faulty and sent me another one. I videoed the flame on the burner before and after- no difference, and when I next cooked, the result was the same, the plate was not getting hot enough.

The burners seemed about 50mm further away from the plates than the old barbie, but the main clue was that the gas had still not run out after 6 months of cooking.

The Arlec guys told me the jets were 1mm, which I verified with a 1mm drill which was a tight fit. On the internet I read that people had drilled out the gas jets with a number 56 or 57 drill. I checked that I could get replacement jets then bought a number 56 drill.

I removed one jet, drilled a hole in some timber and screwed the thread end of the jet tightly into timber to hold it. Ideally I would have liked to drill out the jet with a drill press or better yet a lathe, but as these were unavailable I used a hand drill. The #56 drill went through the brass easily, using the existing 1mm hole as a pilot.

I replaced the jet and immediately could see much stronger flames coming out of the burner bar. Info on the net said that if the holes are too big the flame will turn yellow which is bad, probably because it would make soot and also waste gas. This flame was still blue so no problems. I removed the other 3 jets and drilled them also.

The result is that I now have enough heat- still not as powerful as the old Jackeroo, but enough to do the job. I use less gas than the old Barbie but more than before I drilled the holes. I cook steaks for 2 minutes on each side- these are normal supermarket steaks, not ultra thick ones. I can make sausages sizzle!!

Here’s the new Barbie –


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Change order of email account WLM


If you want to move an account up or down the order in Windows Live Mail, this is what you do –

If the account is expanded, click the tiny arrow beside the account name to un-expand it, then right click on the account name and choose ‘move up or down’ – simple!!


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Water Powered invention burns steel, powers car


This video is almost 4 years old now- how come we’ve heard no more about this amazing invention, burning steel with water based flame – if this video is true this is AWESOME

This is a machine that can cut through steel, using water and electricity. The inventor, Denny Kleine, has also got a car engine running and it uses just a four ounces of water per 160 kms WOW – I hope this is not a fake!!!


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Capt’n Curry Cooks Beef Vindaloo


Capt’n Curry, in his long search for Curry Nirvanah, cooks a Beef Vindaloo from a SpiceZ Curry Kit


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Australia’s National Broadband Network NBN.


Les Cavanagh, a Technician for 30 years, gives us some facts –


The Bottom Line: When you are laying cables in conduit in the ground commercially, the cost of the cable is very small compared to the cost of the hole.

Once you have the conduit network in the ground, replacing faulty sections of cable or upgrading cable is a very easy and relatively cheap operation.

If the conduit system is properly designed, there will be extra conduits laid for pulling other cables through while the existing ones are still working (for a minimum interruption cut-over)


So if the cable needs to be upgraded every 25 years or so, that is not a huge problem – if the network is designed properly, then there should be a continual maintenance/repair/upgrade program underway – jobs for the maintainers and the manufacturers.


Fibre has advantages over copper:

– not susceptible to lightning strike (ask anyone from Kuranda to Mareeba how often their phone lines are taken out by lightning)

– not susceptible to electromagnetic interference

– not susceptible to corrosion (why are Navy electricians called “Greenies”?)


As to the carrying capacity of optic fibre, the last time I checked, there was not a gadget invented that can saturate a fibre with data.


The idea that setting up all homes to get 100Mb/s is going to be a problem due to the capacity of the internet presupposes that the internet will remain at it’s current capacity forever.

Quoting the promised speed and using that to discredit the program is a Furphy – they are also talking about the fibre replacing the copper loop for landline telephony – with all the advantages of fibre referred to above (with the disadvantage that your fibre phone will not work in a blackout unless you have some way of supplying power to the fibre termination box).

The scheme is about making a paradigm shift from the 100+ year old copper technology to a fibre network and about having the network (Wholesale) owned by a company that is not involved in Retail.


The biggest mistake in the Telstra sell-off was that the exchanges and infrastructure should have been retained by the government and only the retail section of the business sold off.

Having a company that owns the network, is retailing serviced from the network and wholesaling access to the network to other retailers creates the apprehension of a conflict of interest.


As to wireless being a viable alternative, there are the Laws of Physics to be contended with.

The carrier frequencies of wireless systems are somewhat lower than fibre systems – red light 400 THz, 4G wireless 8GHz max.

It looks to me that fibre runs at about 50,000 times the frequency of 4G – all things being equal, 50,000 times more data can be modulated onto a red light carrier in a fibre than can be modulated onto a 4G wireless carrier.

But all things are not equal – it is common for two light signals polarised at 90 degrees to each other are sent down the same fibre and it is also common for multiple signals of different colours (wavelengths) to share the same fibre.


The other problem with wireless is that the total bandwidth available from a transmission tower is shared among all the users of that cell – to increase the available bandwidth per user requires smaller cells (so there are less users per cell) – that equals more of those towers which introduces more problems with interference, overlapping coverage etc…

And I think we are already bathing in enough man-made electromagnetic radiation as it is.

Think about this – the current heavy use of mobile phones and all this wireless signal everywhere has been going on for less than one generation of humans – we won’t be sure of the effects until late this century…


“Executives from seven of Australia’s telcos have united to lobby against the NBN, claiming Australia’s broadband future is best left to the market, and best served by ubiquitous wireless coverage.” From http://discuss.itwire.com/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=21908


These seven Telco’s are all wireless providers, so it’s no surprise they would bag the Fibre NBN.


What is often (conveniently) forgotten by people who live in Sydney/Canberra/Melbourne is that Australia is very large and has very few people living in it – therefore long distances between a lot of the people and high costs of providing infrastructure and services to rural areas.


PMG/Telecom/Telstra before being sold off worked well with people in remote areas who had phones that cost $20,000 or more each to install still paying the normal $300 connection fee and the vastly more expensive ongoing maintenance at the same cost as town services with the difference being made up by the profits made in metro areas.


Without this sort of cross-subsidisation, rural areas will always get shafted…


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Saucy Spice Persian Kit


WOW!  This Persian Beef spice kit from the Saucy Spice Co –http://saucyspice.com.au/  was brilliant. Great taste, good chili bite and easy to cook. 

Persian Kit134136

The spices come in the usual bright packaging with instructions on the back for what extra ingredients are needed. That’s very handy

This Persian Beef kit required the usual Oil, Onion, Garlic, tin of Tomatoes, Salt, Vinegar and Ikg of Beef and also 1/4 cup of Ground Almonds and 1 cup of dried Apricots or 1/2 cup of dates.

The spices supplied included Cumin, Cloves, Paprika, Chili, Black pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Mustard Seeds and Ginger.


Persian Spices

The cooking process was extremely easy – not requiring any browning of the Beef, and the flavour went right through the Beef during the slow simmering period.  The recipe instructions were clear –

Persian Recipe 134142


 First 2 medium Onions finely sliced were sauteed until clear. Towards the end of that process 3 cloves of crushed garlic were added, then the spice mix was mixed in for 30 seconds until the aroma was released. Then one can of pureed Tomatoes plus the ground Almonds and Vinegar were added.  After about a minute of stirring, the Beef was added and all was thoroughly mixed together.


After a few minutes I added some stock and then simmered slowly with the lid on the cooking pot. 30 minutes before serving I added the pitted dates.


RESULT: An absolutely full flavoured, gorgeous meal. I was totally impressed. Most curries improve with age, but this one was great, right out of the box onto the plate. I have frozen two portions for next week – I can’t wait!!!!


NOTE: I am not a fan of fruit in a curry, it reminds me of  homemade ‘curries’  I had when I was a kid, made from Clive of India powder, with diced apples and Sultana’s- Yuk.

I’m sure the dates served a purpose in adding to the flavour and authenticity of this curry. I ate one date and then left the rest on the side of the plate -it was the sort of thing  Jeremy Clarkson would do haha!

Another step up the ladder in my search for curry Nirvana-  http://shed.robhealey.com.au/cooking/curry-nirvana/


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Amazing Armless Pianist


This video goes on for a while before hearing him play, but what he is doing is truly incredible – thanks Janet for sending me this.

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