Digestion: Something is just not right down there!

imagesMore than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates stated that “All disease begins in the gut.”  Knowing the digestive tract at the beginning place where our nourishment is transformed into our energy and our body itself, I think that Hippocrates must have been correct.

Food should leave us feeling nourished and energized.  Eating  should not be something we dread, not knowing how our body may react to a meal.  Like all normal body processes, digestion should be something we do not have to think about.  Sure, we can reasonably expect to have some changes in how things are working if we at times do not drink enough water or eat enough vegetables, or if we eat too many marshmallow Peeps.

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Things I know for sure, for the moment.

Skepticism is sometimes absent when one embarks on a journey towards health (or enlightenment, or financial freedom, marital bliss, etc). Exploring the subject of health one is bound run into the New Thing time and time again. The newness of the New Thing causes an revolution in thought which is so exciting. And this excitement gives the New Thing automatic and often unearned credibility. This happened to me when I began my process of health education and discovery, still happens sometimes. I get turned on by some bit of wisdom, a new nutrition plan, a book, a film, a supplement, and later realize it isn’t right for me. The process of becoming healthier, a process I continue, is a learning process. Here are some of the things I have come to believe and wish I had known earlier:

1) When you get sick it is not necessarily because something is wrong.  Fevers, fatigue, and vomiting are certainly signs of illness, but not signs that something is wrong.  Illness is often a sign of your body doing something right, like cleaning up a mess.  So, the next time you are getting a fever say “Good job, body!”

2) Just because a physical complaint or symptom is typical does not mean it is normal.

3) Hours and hours of cardio will not make you healthy, strong or skinny.  If you like to run or bike or swim, do it.  Or don’t do it.  But DO be active.  And lift weights.

4) Aspartame is bad for everyone’s health (really, I did not know!).

5) Gluten is bad for many, many people’s health.

6) If you clean up your lifestyle and diet radically it is possible to experience a physical change in 7 days that will change your life forever, truly.

7) In the triad of health (structural, chemical/nutritional, and emotional) do not underestimate the power of negative emotional stress to cause your health to start circling the drain.

8 ) Touching the hot stove and moving the hand away is pain, touching the hot stove over and over is suffering. When something makes you feel bad physically or emotionally (margaritas, playing small, that certain brand of frozen pizza, staying up too late, the list goes on . . . ) to continue to indulge or allow it to be a part of your life is the definition of insanity.

9) On the other hand, making “Never again will I…” proclamations is easy. Following them is hard. Make your goals small enough to accomplish so you can achieve some successes, then turn up the ambition. And do not indulge in self-criticism. Reflection, honesty and loving kindness are enough.

10) Cast iron cookware is great. I know this does not really keep pace with the other things on the list, but I have owned many cheap and expensive pans over the years, and nothing beats a seasoned cast iron pan. Eggs doesn’t stick, they clean up easily, they’re inexpensive, and you can bake in them too. And they don’t have that toxic non-stick stuff on them. So glad I noticed my friends Rachel and Ray, arbiters of smart, using their cast iron last Spring, I may not have realized.


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Diagnosis: Not-Sick-but-Not-Well

What is the ultimate measure of health?  Some folks like to rely on certain numbers;  resting heart rate, cholesterol level, blood pressure, weight.  Others look at health more holistically, feeling that the measure of health is how well a person can function and enjoy life.  This second view makes more sense to me as a holistic health practitioner.  After all, the body is a dynamic system that cannot easily be defined by a single number or parameter.

Many people I help in my practice are not technically “sick.”  They are not in a disease state that can be measured by abnormal vital signs or laboratory findings.  However, despite being “not sick,” they are certainly not healthy and well – and they know it.  Many of my patients, from children to adults, suffer with difficult digestive function.  Many experience fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, and anxiety.  Some have body pain in their joints, back or neck.  What these situations have in common is that they are not diseases.  In most cases the vital signs and standard laboratory tests will be normal.  But the patient knows that something is not right.

Being not-sick-but-not-well can be frustrating.  You may be told that everything appears normal by your doctor and dismissed, or perhaps given recommendations for symptom care.  To the person who is not-sick-but-not-well I say “Great!  You are not (yet) in a disease state so your health challenge may be easier to resolve.”

At The Healing Center I do not attempt to put every patient in a box neatly label with a specific disease or diagnosis.  My goal is to find structural, nutritional and energetic sources of stress and apply a remedy or give a recommendation to address that stress.  The body will naturally self-heal and self-regulate when the stress levels are managed.  Removing and reducing stresses on the body will allow the body to get itself in balance, symptoms will resolve and health is enjoyed once again.

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Our new UltraSimple Detoxification group is on their way!

Our newest UltraSimple detoxification group got going last night with our first meeting at Cheryl’s Herbs.  I am feeling very excited about this current group of health explorers, they were very attentive with great questions and insights.  Some of our detox group members seemed totally comfortable with the information, and some seemed a little unsure.  This is, of course, the benefit of a group program; we can all help each other achieve success.   I encouraged everyone to take time to set their intention for this program.  What is my intention for this UltraSimple detoxification session?  My goal is to regain better discipline with regard to snacking.  Emotional eating, unconscious eating, these are struggles for me at times. 
I have planned to begin my UltraSimple cleanse TODAY so I can get a solid week of  following the program before I head to The Loomis Institute of Enzyme Nutrition’s Annual Conference, so I began my day with my green tea and a smoothie.  So far, so good!

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