Tag Archives: Inflammation

Eating Clean: How to Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body

NoriWrapsLaurenVoloMy journey to eating clean started ten years ago when I was suffering from numerous health issues and throughout the last ten years I have learned how to heal my body from a range of symptoms and diagnoses from Lyme disease to Hypothyroidism and C.Diff colitis. I started my website, TheHealthyApple.com to help people suffering from everyday minor symptoms such as a headache to ailments and chronic illness; my hope is that my new book helps change lives and gives people hope that they can get to the root cause of their illness and find the light at the end of the tunnel. Something I learned, that no doctor ever told me (and I’ve been to over 500 doctors) is the fact is that nothing changed until I started to clean up my food and my environment (personal care products, cleaning products and beauty products) because our skin is our biggest organ- so it’s important to look not just at what we are putting in our bodies but also what we are putting on our bodies, as well. I also realized that I had to put my health in my own hands and be my own doctor to navigate through the world from illness to wellness and vitality!

In my new cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, I talk about how to start cleaning up your food and your life from chemicals and toxins that are in our everyday lifestyles from our food to our cleaning products. Detox is not what you think. In this book I outline what you need to do to detox your body on a daily basis and how to eat clean to support your overall health. I want to show you that eating clean feels amazing- not because you should, but because once you see life this way, you’ll never go back. There’s not a processed piece of candy I’d eat to give up for how incredible I feel. If more people realized what an important role they plan in their own health, they could change the quality of their life forever.

This cookbook is filled with over 200 plant-based recipes that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, eggs, white flours and processed ingredients. No xantan gum, no binders, no fake ingredients- all pure, whole foods. And you’re going to love every single recipe! Continue reading

5 Natural Ways to Boost Total Body Wellness

GingerSoothingBath

There’s a reason we often refer to “wellness” instead of “health,” though both words in essence refer to the same thing. The difference is that the former connotes a whole-self vitality that brings mind, body, and spirit into alignment for optimal health. And in most cases, the path to wellness is paved with natural products and practices, making the individual the expert on his or her own well-being.

If you struggle with any health concerns, or if you just want to boost overall wellness, increase your energy, and get that “glow” people are always talking about, then you may benefit from introducing some new practices into your daily routine.

Here are 5 natural tools to boost overall wellness:

1. Introduce spices and herbs into your diet.

Many common seasonings pack antioxidants and polyphenols, which can curb inflammation in the body, relieve pain, lower blood pressure, and more. In addition to that, spices and herbs add so much flavor to recipes that you’ll find yourself reaching less and less for the salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives. A win-win all around!

Our tip: Ginger is the perfect spice to start with. With its spicy kick and subtle sweetness, ginger adds delicious flavor to savory and sweet dishes, alike! We love Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger powder, which is 100% pure ginger naturally sourced from the beautiful island of Wakaya.

2. Start a mindfulness practice.

“Mindfulness” can mean different things to different people, but the intention is always the same. Be aware of your thoughts and biases, practice listening, practice gratitude, and challenge yourself to speak, think, and act mindfully throughout the day. Mindfulness techniques, which can include meditation, focused awareness, and yoga, have been shown to help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety (along with other conventional treatments.)

Our tip: Find a time of the day that works for you to sit, be still, and just breathe. Maybe it’s right when you get up in the morning and are still sitting in bed; or perhaps it’s a few quiet moments after the kids have gone to sleep and the computer is turned off. Return to this inner space every day, and feel the effects the practice has on your life.

3. Try natural remedies for common ailments before turning to chemical-based drugs.

There is certainly a time and place for conventional medicine, don’t get us wrong! But many common, daily ailments – like headaches, nausea, sore muscles, and morning sickness – can be more easily (and effectively!) remedied by natural products. If there is a specific chronic condition you struggle with, do a bit of research to see what herbs, spices, and practices might help alleviate discomfort.

Our tip: Ginger has been proven to be an extremely effective product for easing nausea and related ailments. Try Ginger-Eze, a natural ginger remedy, as your go-to for alleviating motion sickness, cold symptoms, sore muscles and more.

4. Incorporate fitness into your daily routine.

For some people, having an allotted hour at the gym or in a fitness class is what they need to make sure exercise makes it into their schedule. But for many of us this strategy can be daunting, and we either skip it altogether or over-work ourselves when we do make the time to exercise. Staying active can be surprisingly easy, though, when we incorporate fitness into our lives by walking and biking for transportation, doing exercises that promote practical strength, and enjoying fun weekend activities that get us moving!

Our tip: Opt for “functional fitness” workouts, either on your own or at a gym that specializes in this kind of exercise. Functional fitness focuses on whole-body strength, balance, and stamina for daily life.

5. Use natural products for beauty and skin care.

Many commercial beauty and skin care products are terrible for your health. Some products have even tested positive for mercury, lead, bacteria, and other toxins. Yikes! Thankfully some of the most effective, powerful, and beautifying products come right out of the earth and don’t carry the same side-effects at the drugstore variety.

Our tip: To nourish and moisturize your skin, as well as treat rashes and minor burns, try Dilo Cream, made with oil from the super-plant Calophyllum inophyllum. This tree has so many amazing properties, and its oil has been used as a skin treatment throughout the Pacific and tropical regions of Africa for years.

We hope these tips give you some creative and empowering ideas for boosting your own wellness practice. What are your favorite tools for overall health? Let us know in the comments below!

* * *

mailing_dilo1

Wakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and many more!

To experience the benefits of natural wellness practices, stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic Dilo Cream and Ginger powder! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to order your Dilo Cream, Ginger powder, and Ginger-Eze, too, with accompanying recipes like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops!

Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

How to Let Go Instead of Giving Up

Sunset Party Dancing Girl SilhouetteThe greatest stress in life is the stress we cannot control. Perhaps, it is no coincidence that at some point so many of us experience a painful, debilitating back pain which is actually the corresponding physical symptom of feeling like we have lost control of a situation or relationship. In other words: We want to be “back in power.”

Consequently at night, we cannot control our thoughts and have trouble letting go of what we should have said or done during the day. This is evidenced by our difficulty to stay asleep once we fall asleep. And when we don’t sleep, we are even more stressed and achy the next day. Basically, we are stuck.

The good news is that the body sends us signals regarding those stuck mindsets. The inability to let go of anger, negative thinking and that sense of failure tends to create inflammation in a specific body part, usually our weakest link. When you have a specific pain which the doctor has difficulty addressing, consider the emotional counterpart. Awareness of what your pain is trying to tell you  makes it go away as soon as you figure out the message. For example, when you are angry with another, you are most angry with the self for letting this person hurt you or take advantage. Ultimately you give up on the special relationship or quit the dream job instead of letting go of the hurt/anger. Isn’t it time to stop the self-sabotage?

You don’t have to give up on a relationship, quit a generally solid job, or give up a professional educational track because you feel powerless or diminished. A proven remedy is to let go of your self-criticism, your “perceived” hurt and humiliation, while you work through the uncomfortable situation or relationship with a kinder interpretation.

Consider these two questions:

* How much time and energy have you spent absorbed in all this negativity?
* What have you given up due to these negative emotions?

Know how to let go of self-blame while at the same time working on self-correction to do better. When you know how to let go of anger and shame, you can speak to yourself and to others like a compassionate coach or mentor with words of encouragement to transform a failure into a success. The ultimate question always is: Can you have compassion for yourself? When you are kind to yourself, you will be kind to others. Transform criticism into correction.

To let go instead of give up:

  • Have a heart to heart dialogue with yourself: “What am I not seeing about this situation?”
  • Be aware of your habitual reactions, breathe deeply, reconsider, and respond.
  • Stop putting yourself down. It’s time to lift yourself up and you will act from this higher vantage point instead of low down stressed out emotions.
  • Use humor to reinterpret the negativity. Seeing the inherent humor or the ultimate absurdity will most likely help you to find a solution.
  • Benjamin Franklin said that there was never a good war or a bad peace. Aim for peace in your own life and the lives of others.

5 Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips That Will Leave Your Body Feeling Brand New

Strawberry #2

As herbalist Kathy Abascal pointed out in a recent article with Spirituality & Health magazine, most weight-loss diets out there tend to focus on one thing (be it gluten, dairy, glycemic rating, etc) and are therefore ineffective. Weight does not exist in a vacuum, which is why isolating certain aspects of the diet for the purpose of losing weight simply doesn’t work. Achieving overall health through lifestyle changes is the only way to see the kind of results you want. And, according to Abascal, there is one extremely effective way of doing that.

It’s called the TQI Diet, which stands for “To Quiet Inflammation.” From her expertise in biochemistry and herbalism, Abascal discovered that inflammation was one of the most common symptoms associated with poor health and extra weight. Having struggled with her own weight issues and eager to make a change, she developed an anti-inflammatory diet plan that is responsible for remarkable results among its followers.

Here are 5 of the 10 tips Abascal shares with Spirituality & Health on how to reduce inflammation and start losing weight:

  1. Eliminate inflammatory foods, like those high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as alcohol.
  2. Eat healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and seeds.
  3. Eat breakfast soon after rising.
  4. Eat consistent meals without grazing throughout the day.
  5. Eliminate bedtime snacking.

For the rest of Abascal’s tips, as well as her description of how she developed the diet and why it’s so effective, check out the interview in the July/August issue of Spirituality & Health magazine.

Have you struggled with inflammation in the past? What have you done to reduce it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

* * *

SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrgSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire conversation with Christine Northrup in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

Dilute the Toxicity of 10 Common Stressful Situations

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 11.58.08 AMStress trespasses into our lives no matter where we live and work. Since living a stress-free existence is virtually impossible, the next best thing is to know how to dilute the toxicity of the stress-inflammation response. The next time you have an inexplicable headache, a churning stomach, a backache, a pain in the neck, or experience quick shallow breaths and walk around distracted, try these stress-busting strategies.

How to dilute the toxicity of 10 common stressful conditions

  1. Angry at a family member, friend, colleague, or salesperson? Instead of sitting on a hotbed of anger, try doing an exercise to squeeze the anger out of your body. Put your palms together in prayer position and press. Then go do something creative with all that tumultuous energy.
  2. Irritable and frustrated? Don’t stand with your hands on your hips ready to lash out. Instead place your hands behind you on your lower back and stretch gently backward. This will help you consider what you are not seeing about the other side, signaling you to re-frame your irritation into a kinder state of being and let it go.
  3. Fatigued at work? Get up periodically and move around, to avoid compression of the spine and achy joints. Stretch your eyes by looking out a window. Take a coffee break with a co-worker for energy synergy – coffee plus being social will elevate your mood and make you feel alive and alert.
  4. Feel anxious every time the phone rings – place a post it on the phone to remind you to breathe deeply before you speak. Breathing deeply oxygenates your brain to think clearly and your voice will sound natural without the quaver.
  5. Feel like an impostor because you have lost your self-confidence? Rotate your shoulders back and down to achieve good posture for an immediate confidence boost. The body signals the brain to feel empowered with this postural shift from a slump to attention.
  6. Headache due to over-analysis? Close your eyes; place your forefingers on each temple and rotate your thumb gently over your eyebrows and under your eyes – like windshield wipers.
  7. Has your life turned into a soap opera? Dilute the drama by embracing the ordinary; simplify and keep your expectations reasonable.
  8. Feel that you are outside the inner circle of the queen bee? Aim to be a soul climber instead of a social climber. Volunteer and think about what’s right with your life and be very grateful for all that you do have. Realize that you can have it all, just not all the time.
  9. Are you overwhelmed with info which is causing you to be distracted and depleted? Tune out daily to restore your natural rhythm. Do what meditators do – they narrow their focus.
  10. Are you spinning out of control, whether a project at work, or in a relationship? Know when to stop what you are doing – often as important as knowing when to begin.

7 Steps to Living an Anti-inflammatory Life

Could something as simple as a quick and easy blood test save your life?

Absolutely.

It is called a C-reactive protein test, and it measures the degree of HIDDEN inflammation in your body.  Finding out whether or not you are suffering from hidden inflammation is critical, because almost every modern disease is caused or affected by it.  If your immune system and its ability to quell inflammation in your body are impaired, watch out. You are headed toward illness and premature aging. Fortunately, addressing the causes of inflammation and learning how to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can dramatically improve your health. Today, I am going to review what the primary causes of inflammation are and give you a simple, 7-step approach that will help you cool the fires raging out of control in your body. Cooling off Inflammation is Key #3 to UltraWellness and in this blog — the third in this 7-part series on the 7 Keys to UltraWellness – I am going to teach you how to do just that. The first step is to understand what inflammation is and why it can become so dangerous.

Inflammation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Everyone who has had a sore throat, rash, hives, or a sprained ankle knows about inflammation. These are normal and appropriate responses of the immune — your body’s defense system — to infection and trauma. This kind of inflammation is good. We need it to survive — to help us determine friend from foe. The trouble occurs when that defense system runs out of control, like a rebel army bent on destroying its own country. Many of us are familiar with an overactive immune response and too much inflammation. It results in common conditions like allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease, and asthma. This is bad inflammation, and if it is left unchecked it can become downright ugly. What few people understand is that hidden inflammation run amok is at the root of all chronic illness we experience—conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, depression, cancer, and even autism. A study of a generally “healthy” elderly population found that those with the highest levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin 6 (two markers of systemic inflammation) were 260% more likely to die during the next 4 years. The increase in deaths was due to cardiovascular and other causes. We may feel healthy, but if this inflammation is raging inside of us, then we are in trouble. The real concern is not our response to immediate injury, infection, or insult. It is the chronic, smoldering inflammation that slowly destroys our organs and our ability to function optimally and leads to rapid aging. Common treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen or aspirin) and steroids like prednisone—though often useful for acute problems—interfere with the body’s own immune response and can lead to serious and deadly side effects. In fact, as many people die from taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen every year as die from asthma or leukemia. Stopping these drugs would be equivalent to finding the cure for asthma or leukemia – that’s a bold statement, but the data is there to back it up. Meanwhile, the real effects of statin drugs like Lipitor in reducing heart disease may have nothing to do with lowering cholesterol, but with their unintended side effect of reducing inflammation. But is taking medication the right approach to addressing the problem of inflammation? No. It is DOWNSTREAM medicine. Here’s how UPSTREAM medicine thinks about inflammation …

How to Locate the Causes of Hidden Inflammation

So if inflammation and immune imbalances are at the root of most of modern disease, how do we find the causes and get the body back in balance? First, we need to identify the triggers and causes of inflammation. Then we need to help reset the body’s natural immune balance by providing the right conditions for it to thrive. As a doctor, my job is to find those inflammatory factors unique to each person and to see how various lifestyle, environmental, or infectious factors spin the immune system out of control, leading to a host of chronic illnesses.

Thankfully, the list of things that cause inflammation is relatively short:

* Poor diet—mostly sugar, refined flours, processed foods, and inflammatory fats such as trans and saturated fats
* Lack of exercise
* Stress
* Hidden or chronic infections with viruses, bacteria, yeasts, or parasites
* Hidden allergens from food or the environment
* Toxins such as mercury and pesticides
* Mold toxins and allergens

By listening carefully to a person’s story and performing a few specific tests , I can discover the causes of inflammation most people.

It’s important to understand that this concept of inflammation is not specific to any one organ or medical specialty. In fact, if you read a medical journal from any field of medicine, you will find endless articles about how inflammation is at the root of problems with the particular organ or area they focus on.

So what’s the problem?

There is almost no communication between specialties. Everyone is treating the downstream effects of inflammation, but addressing the causes of inflammation that are upstream could help people who have multiple problems that are really linked together by this common root cause. Take, for example, a man who came to see me recently. He wanted to climb a mountain and asked for my help to get healthy. He was 57 years old and took about 15 medications for six different inflammatory conditions: high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, colitis, reflux, asthma, and an autoimmune disease of his hair follicles called alopecia. Yet when I asked him how he felt, he said “great”. I told him I was surprised because he was on so many medications. Yes, he said, but everything was very well controlled with the latest medications prescribed by the top specialists he saw in every field—the lung doctor for his asthma, the gastroenterologist for his colitis and reflux, the cardiologist for his high blood pressure, the endocrinologist for his pre-diabetes, the dermatologist for his hair loss. But did any of those specialists ask him why he had six different inflammatory diseases and why his immune system was so pissed off? Was it just bad luck that he “got” all these diseases—or was there something connecting all these problems? He looked puzzled and said “no”. I then searched for and uncovered the cause of his problems: gluten. He had celiac disease, an autoimmune disease related to eating gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and oats. Six months later he came back to see me. He had lost 25 pounds, had no more high blood pressure, asthma, reflux, or colitis, and said he had normal bowel movements for the first time in his life. His hair was even growing back. And he was off nearly all his medications.

7 Steps to Living an Anti-inflammatory Life

So once you have figured out the causes of inflammation in your life, gotten rid of them, the next step is to keep living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. But how do you do that?

Here is what I recommend. It’s a disarmingly simple but extraordinarily effective way to achieve UltraWellness:

1. Whole Foods – Eat a whole foods, high-fiber, plant-based diet, which is inherently anti-inflammatory. That means choosing unprocessed, unrefined, whole, fresh, real foods, not those full of sugar and trans fats and low in powerful anti-inflammatory plant chemicals called phytonutrients.

2. Healthy Fats – Give yourself an oil change by eating healthy monounsaturated fats in olive oil, nuts and avocadoes, and getting more omega-3 fats from small fish like sardines, herring, sable, and wild salmon.

3. Regular Exercise – Mounting evidence tells us that regular exercise reduces inflammation. It also improves immune function, strengthens your cardiovascular systems, corrects and prevents insulin resistance, and is key for improving your mood and erasing the effects of stress. In fact, regular exercise is one among a small handful of lifestyle changes that correlates with improved health in virtually ALL of the scientific literature. So get moving already!

4. Relax – Learn how to engage your vagus nerve by actively relaxing. This powerful nerve relaxes your whole body and lowers inflammation when you practice yoga or meditation, breathe deeply, or even take a hot bath.

5. Avoid Allergens – If you have food allergies, find out what you’re allergic to and get stop eating those foods—gluten and dairy are two common culprits.

6. Heal Your Gut – Take probiotics to help your digestion and improve the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, which reduces inflammation.

7. Supplement – Take a multivitamin/multimineral supplement, fish oil, and vitamin D, all of which help reduce inflammation.

Taking this comprehensive approach to inflammation and balancing your immune system addresses one of the most important core systems of the body.

In the future, medicine may no longer have specialties like cardiology or neurology or gastroenterology, but new specialists like “inflammologists”.

But by understanding these concepts and core systems that are the basis of healthy living now, you don’t have to wait.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Have you had your C-reactive protein tested?

Do you think inflammation may be at the core of your health condition?

Why do you think so many doctors practice downstream medicine instead of catching problems early with upstream medicine?

Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

To your good health, Mark Hyman, MD

Originally published in 2009

photo by: Alex E. Proimos

Deepak Chopra on Your Health and the Nocebo Effect (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2

One key to an entirely new kind of medicine is suggested by the placebo effect. But for this promise to come true, we need to see placebos as part of a holistic system. The placebo effect has already existed for a long time, baffling medical researchers. The fact that a percentage of subjects will always get better when given a dummy drug is real, but the effect is difficult to harness, since it involves deception on the doctor’s part. In earlier posts we’ve covered how the reverse of the placebo effect, known as the nocebo effect, indicates that some subjects also get worse when given a dummy drug.

Put the two effects together, and what you get is a feedback loop that sends positive and negative signals throughout the body. In other words, placebo and nocebo aren’t odd, isolated phenomena. They are the tip of an invisible iceberg. To see the whole thing, you must start to reenvision the body itself.

The first step is to see the body as a dynamic process that is fully alive, organic, and intelligent. Outcomes depend on choices, beliefs, expectations, and other events that stream directly from the mind to every cell. Thus placebo-nocebo is happening all the time. The reason we don’t observe them is that the feedback loop that connects mind and body is hugely complex. Hundreds of signals, crisscrossing and often conflicting with one another, create more than one influence.  You are the source of every influence; therefore, your body’s response to experience is as complex as you are.

Mainstream medicine doesn’t yet acknowledge these things. One of the most damaging byproducts of the scientific approach to the human body has been a false sense of determinism. In a machine the moving parts are interlinked. A series of cause-and-effect is set up, and as the machine operates, each part determines how output follows input. This is true of the simplest machines (push a wheel and it starts spinning) and the most complex (the information you get from a computer depends on the information you put into it). On the same principle, medicine keeps searching for causes that determine effects, whether it is microbes, genes, chemical imbalances, or some other fixed determinant.

The problem is that the body, although is partially resembles a machine, is much more prone to influence than to fixed determination. A few disorders are caused by specific genetic mutations, such as sickle cell anemia, but now we know that genes interact in complex ways that change their output, just as the body interacts in a complex way with germs, sometimes resisting them and sometimes becoming infected. The picture is more confusing than simple cause and effect, but on the other hand it is more hopeful, for the simple reason than influences can be altered.

For the promise of preventive medicine to be fulfilled, you have to take responsibility for influencing the dynamic feedback loop that is your body. Even the worst influence, such as smoking, is not determinative. Even the best influence, such as daily exercise, isn’t a guarantee. But if you create a matrix of positive influences, the total effect is a state of well-being. Popping a vitamin pill is a tiny event that may or may not benefit you. Well-being is a constant state that creates a benefit every minute of the day. Putting well-being first is the most significant change that everyone can make.

Yet few of us do.  We pursue health and happiness in a haphazard fitful way, for which we pay a high price when negative influences gain the upper hand over time. What are we doing in the meantime? Where is our main focus if not on well-being? The answer isn’t a mystery. People spend vast amounts of time focusing on work, relationships, distractions, escapism, and repressing stress, toxic memories, psychological blocks, and warning signals from their bodies.  Well-being doesn’t deny work and relationships. Prevention has gotten a bad name for being no fun. The emphasis on risk factors has made health seem like a gamble, with the body as a potential enemy.

To make your body an ally should be your goal, which means including it in your pursuit of well-being.  Begin by looking at the menu of good and bad influences, and then decide how to maximize the good and minimize the bad ones. The list of positive influences is very long but worth examining, because it extends so much further than the seeming drudgery of “doing what’s good for you.”

Good influences:

Social closeness, love, bonding

Healthy balanced diet

Lack of toxins in the diet

Good sleep every night

Moderate exercise

Not smoking

Using alcohol in moderation

Satisfying work

Play time

Self-aware activities like meditation and self-reflection

Stress reduction

Healing old psychological wounds

Forgiveness and compassion

Inspiration from poetry, scriptures, and other sources of wisdom

Learning new things

Making peace with yourself

Devotion to a selfless cause

Higher vision of life

Letting go of excessive control

Self-reliance and high self-esteem

Tuning in to your body

Not forcing or straining

Empathy, taking other people’s feelings seriously

Contact with Nature

Feeling safe

Learning to give and receive

Gratitude, expressing appreciation

Music, dance, the visual arts

Being with children

Innocence, openness, a lack of cynicism

Not being judgmental

Seeing the future with hope

Optimism

Taking quiet time every day

Giving up perfectionism

Practicing non-violence

Dealing with sources of anxiety and depression

Developing resilient emotions, the ability to bounce back

Personal growth

Service

Learning simply to be

No one is asking you to be a saint or even to tick off as many boxes as you can. The point is to expand your sense of well-being, showing you all the dimensions of life that send signals to your body. One could easily call all of these positive influences a kind of placebo, because you expect to be pleased. As for the menu of bad influences, rather than compile a separate list, it’s enough simply to reverse everything on the positive list.  All forms of toxicity, including toxic emotions, along with inertia, habit, lack of self-awareness, denial, avoidance, and close-mindedness would head the list.

Well-being will be taken more seriously when it becomes synonymous with fulfillment. A fulfilled life requires conscious attention. It includes many goals: developing a mature self, facing your demons, learning to value higher experiences, pursuing personal growth, and more.  Whatever your full-time job is, the full-time purpose of your life is to find fulfillment.  If you do, there is no better way to have a healthy body.

 

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

photo by: wolfpix

A Little Dirt Might Be Good For You

Are we too clean?  Consider this hypothesis: Asthma, autism, cancer, arthritis, obesity and MS could be on the rise not only because of improved diagnosis, but also these illnesses seem to correlate with the rise of anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial living. Apparently, dirt is part of the delicate balance of healthy living.

While this shift in disease occurs on the physical plane, what about “dis-ease” on the emotional plane? Are depression, anxiety and stress more prevalent nowadays because we drive ourselves crazy with too pure idealizations and perfectionism?

Dirtier Lives May Be Just The Medicine We Need by Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal gives the reader an overview of the shift in diseases from grandma’s day to the present. He alerts us to the vast evidence presented by Moises Velasquez-Manoff in An Epidemic of Absence which draws on hundreds of studies to explain the rise of inflammatory and auto-immune diseases. The author claims that they are caused by an “unbalanced immune system because of an impoverished microbial ecosystem.”

When we are not exposed to enough parasites, bacteria and viruses as children, the immune system instead of drawing its attention to do battle inward, draws its sword outward to fight Don Quixote windmills like allergens from nature and other environmental triggers. Also, a Finnish study as published in the July 9 online issue of Pediatrics asserts that babies who grow up with pets – especially dogs – are less likely to develop colds and other respiratory infections by the time they’re toddlers. You might be interested to learn the protective benefit is proportional to how much time the dog spends outside –particularly what the dog tracks in offers the greatest benefit!

If this is happening to the body, the mind inevitably follows.  Stress unleashes an inflammatory process to the mind as well as to the body.  The effects of stress lodge longest in the brain. Unhappy and dissatisfied with our ordinary lives, we turn to celebrities and fairytale marriages. The media fuels the imagination for unrealistic body images and so, eating disorders. We wonder if we are living with our soul mate, especially after an argument or unexpected financial problem. We keep busy, busy, busy to avoid processing our dirty little unhappiness.

How to embrace the common dirt:

  • Get out in nature and be more natural. According to studies children on farms have fewer cases of asthma and allergies.
  • Consider probiotics, particularly if you have digestion problems. Many of us have an imbalance concerning the good bacteria.
  • While you should wash your hands to avoid viruses and bacteria, don’t be too clinical.
  • Avoid using antibacterial cleansers for everything. Plain soap and water are effective.
  • Don’t always tell the realist in your group to shut up, labeling this person a pessimist. Listen and improve as needed.
  • Couples should argue to clear the air. It’s how you argue not that you argue or how often. No name calling or dirt from the past, please!
  • Forgive people who hurt you even if they did not apologize. Then move on and feel better.

 

Deepak Chopra: I Will Not Be Pleased” – Your Health and the Nocebo Effect (Part 2)

Part 1 here

Mainstream medicine has uncovered the placebo effect and discounted it at the same time.  But more and more it appears that a patient’s expectations, beliefs, and personality are important in the outcome of an illness. By extension, they are also important is preserving health. In the first post devoted to this topic, I cited new research on the opposite of the placebo effect, known as the nocebo effect, in which negative expectations produce bad results. In drug trials, patients who are given dummy pills can have either positive or negative outcomes despite the fact that the fake drug is chemically inert.

If you’re a researcher running such a trial, you’d simply discount the placebo-nocebo effect as “statistical margin of error.” Nothing counts except the real drug and how it affects your subjects. But in real life, outside controlled experimental conditions, the implications spread much wider.

The body operates as a vast feedback loop, with each of 50 trillion cells sending and receiving messages all the time. To be understood, a message must be written in chemical form. The vast majority of messages are coded as brain chemicals that enter the bloodstream, along with minute electrical impulses generated in brain, heart, and muscles. When you delve into the structure of brain cells, the source of these electrochemical impulses, you find that genes must be activated to produce them. The picture becomes incredibly complicated – imagine the body as a biological internet with trillions of computers and just in the brain alone up to a quadrillion connections – but the upshot is clear cut. What you think, do, and say influences your body.

Two obvious correlates follow. The first is that holistic medicine is the only approach that attempts to consider the entire feedback loop, since conventional medical training is all about bits and pieces. The second is that the input that runs the body’s feedback loop matches the output. Since the body is not a thing but a dynamic process of information exchange, the familiar cliché from the computer world, “Garbage in, garbage out,” applies.

It is up to you to keep the messages that course through your body positive instead of negative.  No other duty in life is as important or vital to your health and well-being.

The proof lies in some new assumptions that are promising to overturn our conventional approach to illness and wellness:

– Positive lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, and stress management actually cause your genes to alter their output. They are activated in life-enhancing ways.

– Meditation seems to affect the production of the enzyme telomerase, which in turn builds telomeres, the end points of each chromosome. The fraying of telomeres is associated with aging; keeping telomeres intact is associated with the health and youthfulness of your genes.

–  It appears that fat isn’t as neutral, chemically speaking, as was always assumed. Fat cells send out hormonal signals that appear to have deleterious effects, particularly in triggering inflammation.

– Inflammation is being associated more and more with illness on every front, including cancer and heart disease. Inflammation is an imbalanced state, the opposite of homeostasis, the body’s normal state of dynamic balance.

– Diseases don’t begin when symptoms first appear. In almost every chronic illness that sets in after childhood, there are precursors in cellular structure or genes that extend back to childhood, infancy, and even the womb. In other words, the feedback loop is processing input and output every second of your life, with long-term consequences.

– Genes are rarely the determinative cause of disease. Far more often they make you susceptible to illness. What determines whether this susceptibility turns into full-blown illness is complex.  But it’s worth expanding on.

In the next post I’ll cover how susceptibility works and what you can do to minimize its effects. What we’ve seen in this post is that holistic prevention isn’t an alternative to something else. You are either preventing or not preventing illness all the time. There is no such thing as benign neglect. The feedback loop is inescapable. Rather than considering that a threat, we can create a new model of well-being that gives you much more control over your health for life. Ultimately, the feedback loop that embraces mind and body is the basis for a quantum leap in health for everyone.

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

photo by: bryanrmason

Your Brain On Stress

Another reason to stress about getting stressed: Chronic stress triggers the formation of insoluble tau protein aggregates in the brain cells of mice. New research from the lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Rissman, the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, sees this as an explanation for the high correlation between chronic stress and an aging population whose brains are not plastic enough to cope with the inflammation of stress the way a younger brain can – this means Alzheimer’s Disease. Note that Alzheimer’s disease process begins decades earlier, so it is important for any adult to nip stress in the bud.

In exposing mice to comparable emotional chronic stress experienced by humans, Rissman found an altered solubility in tau proteins in neurons, which is a precursor to Alzheimer’s.  In addition, this disease pathology was first observed in the hippocampus where memories are organized and stored. When patients are evaluated for Alzheimer’s, “the hippocampus is typically the first region of the brain affected by tau pathology and the hardest-hit, with substantial cell death and shrinkage.”

The study clarifies the difference between acute and chronic stress. Acute stress does not do any lasting damage to brain cells and may actually keep cells “on their toes” and more flexible. However,  chronic stress because of its duration, day in day out, unleashes an inflammatory response which triggers brain cell pathology. Chronic stress erodes happiness and depletes energy.  I have personally experienced and observed chronic stress in caregivers, especially Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Don’t let this research stress you out. Instead, see it as a call to action. Along with exercise, a balanced meal plan and intellectual stimulation, stress management coping strategies should be part of a healthy living program – especially relevant in light of this new research in Alzheimer’s prevention: Always easier to prevent than to treat.

Here are 5 coping tips:

  • Move stress out of your body and the mind will follow. Put on your sneakers and walk out the door; turn on the music and dance; housework counts as long as you do it with alacrity.  Strength train your brain.
  •  Watch comedies which lower blood pressure, and make the carotid artery more flexible according to heart healthy medical studies. Also, comedies help you reframe your life into a sit-com helping you take your problems more lightly.
  •  Make sure to take some time for yourself every day which means shedding a task or two from the endless to-do list. You are not last on the list!
  •  Meditate or visualize while you breathe deeply according to your own natural rhythm. Meditation relaxes the mind and creates greater neuro-plasticity – and you can give yourself a positive message which you need to hear. Think it,  do it and become it!
  •  Find a creative outlet where you lose track of time and space – this is where you find joy and passion.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
photo by: indi.ca