Probably one of the biggest challenges I originally had before gaining the knowledge I have now, which I often hear from those I work with, is trusting our symptoms and the process our body is naturally going through to help us…the body’s natural healing intelligence.
We’ve been conditioned and programmed into believing something is wrong with us when symptoms show up…that it’s somehow our fault when we are ‘ill’ ‘unwell’ ‘sick’. That we are in some way broken and we need fixing in some way.
The truth is, it has nothing to do with any of that. It’s about biology. Your body is the seat of consciousness. Your body, your biology, your organ tissues are all a reflection of who you are in all your greatness…and your body is also lovingly, intelligently talking to you, giving you messages of where aspects simply require rebalancing, adjusting and realigning, to return you to health once more.
This may include removing blockages with tools like EFT, which no longer support the natural healing process. It may also include adding in aspects such as foods to strengthen you, physical activity to enliven you and also looking at the social environment factors which you engage in e.g. at work, at home, out socially. These will all help to increase vitality in mind, body and spirit when aligned with your true nature.
We already know about auto-regulation and homeostasis in general medicine. However, we’ve perhaps not been clearly shown what that actually looks like in lay terms and how to realistically apply it for ourselves to achieve our health goals.
Our body is striving to achieve this for us naturally though and symptoms are messages relating to where there is an imbalance, which requires our more focused attention. This happens very easily and effortlessly in nature. It’s constantly adapting to maintain balance, even with all the pressure humans put on it. The human body is doing the same. Climate change is a symptom of imbalance on the planet, which many are listening and responding to, to help restore a healthy planet. Symptoms in our body are exactly the same…a call to action, a call to make positive changes.
Therefore, the more we can trust our body, our symptoms and the messages being given to us…as well as understanding what phase in the autonomic nervous system, symptoms are in, coupled with knowing their root causes (see previous posts), which, combined is the natural response from the logic of our biology at its finest…the more we are able to support an easier restoration and rebalancing process within the body system overall.
So I invite and encourage you to begin to see and experience your symptoms from a biological intelligence perspective…and begin the inquiry as to what’s triggered these responses in your body, rather than seeing yourself as broken…because that is simply not true.
Nothing is random. Your body is showing you, telling you, speaking to you. Your biology is incredibly smart…and not just your mechanical biology…there is a direct link between your emotions, thoughts and brain with our social environment. Therefore, notice how beautiful and intelligent your body is and what it’s communicating to you to help restore balance and harmony for you again. What better gift to give yourself in this new year as we ease towards spring and embrace this new decade of 2020 than to listen to what you truly need and be present with yourself.
If you would like to find out more and how the tools I use can help and support you with your health goals, get in touch.
Chronic health symptoms, as I mentioned at the end of my last post, are a different ball game…albeit similar. This kind of pattern sees the body-mind-social system cycling back and forth between the sympathetic and parasympathetic i.e. from stress to restoration to stress to restoration to stress etc.
Let’s think about this for a moment…🤔
If we’re experiencing some symptoms and then they disappear or change for a few days, weeks or months and then reappear…why is that? What has happened to create this looping pattern?
Well, it’s the exact same process I’ve described in the last few posts, in the nine points and phases of the biological healing process (as shown in above graphic)…except with chronic recurring symptoms, we’re never fully resolving the original stress trigger (the traumatic event, also known as a UDIN – because it’s usually Unexpected, Dramatic, you feel Isolated and have No strategy) and therefore, in every way, we oscillate between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic, each time that button, that still open unresolved emotional hurt, is re-pushed, is re-wounded, as shown in the graphic below.
There are usually two or more aspects which are contributing to this pattern repeatedly occurring e.g. the original stress trigger (which will be how you emotionally and cognitively responded in that moment of unexpected stress), plus it could be an environmental aspect, such as pollen being present when you were triggered (so you may have recurring hayfever); or it may be a social aspect, such as a specific food was there at the time of the trigger (so you may have a food allergy); or it could be another social-environmental aspect, such as a specific place, like work, where you are always put down by your manager (so you always get lower back pain).
In the past, these recurring cycles were left with the ‘cause unknown’ question mark over them ❓by medics and medical manuals. We didn’t fully realise what was happening in the body-mind-social space. We didn’t really fully acknowledge that these elements were all connected.
We do know now though and I can’t imagine working without this knowledge in my practice…and those I have the privilege to work with express similar sentiments when they understand what’s truly happening within them. It’s empowering and gives you back your power and control over outcomes, rather than feeling helpless and at the mercy of your symptoms. It gives you options.
This is what you will learn when you embrace this knowledge. And embrace it or not, it’s biological science. It’s real. It’s happening in all of us. So we can take it and be informed. Or we can choose to ignore it.
Day one. Or one day. We can all choose when to begin.
You will learn what phase your symptoms are in; which of the six root causes require rebalancing and what steps you can take, which are workable and sustainable for you, towards your health and wellness goals.
We learn to appreciate that our symptoms aren’t random anymore. We can spot cycles and patterns…and with this knowledge, we can utilise appropriate methods to support where we’re at in this time and space and to ultimately help us reach our health and wellness goals, living a life we love and thrive in.
When would now be a good time for you to begin your own journey to health and wellness again?
Get in touch now, if you would like to know more and how you can begin to help yourself.
Continuing on from yesterday’s blog post…in Meta-Health, we go several steps further with looking at, exploring and getting to the root cause of symptoms…because the research has shown us symptoms aren’t random. No one randomly gets a diagnosis of cancer or heart disease or MS or lymphoma or diabetes or whatever the diagnosis by pure chance. There will be a pattern which can be explored, analysed and understood, which has led to this diagnostic outcome.
There is absolute biological intelligence in our symptoms, which has direct connections to our emotions, thoughts/beliefs, stresses, lifestyle choices and the social environment we’re in.
There are very definitive themes which correlate to organ tissue symptoms and the presenting emotional stressors, beliefs, lifestyle and social situations.
So I’m inviting you to consider the paradigm shift from our current thinking of how symptoms occur and instead understand that there isn’t any randomness happening in our bodies when symptoms occur. They aren’t happening by accident…such as eczema, back pain, hearing loss, carcinoma in situ, chronic digestive issues, weight-gain…or fill in the_______.
Organ tissue (e.g. your digestion has many parts like stomach mucosa, oesophagus; the liver has parenchyma and gallbladder ducts etc) all respond in us in different ways, affected by different processes. So I encourage you to be open to the fact the stressors we have in our lives impact very specific parts of the body…specific organ tissue, according to how we perceive the world we live in.
Emotions we may feel, thoughts or beliefs we may have, affect, energetically speaking, very specific parts of our physiology e.g. repeatedly thinking and feeling “I’m not good enough…I’m not strong enough” will show up somewhere in the muscular-skeletal system…and often this is all happening in the sub-conscious mind, not our day-to-day conscious mind.
The same applies to our social environment which we live, work and play in and experiences we may have in these spaces. They again affect very specific parts of our body according to how we, as individuals perceive the situation, which translates as a conflict for us, according to our world view, how we see and interpret things in life.
Our lifestyle also plays a part…vitality, diet, fitness, sleep patterns all affect us. Not just for healthy living but also comfortable longevity, which has a good quality to it…physically, mentally and emotionally.
I’ll be exploring the biological process and phases our bodies go through in my next posts. So stay tuned to find out more soon.
And in the meantime, if you have symptoms and a diagnosis, which you would like to understand more, get in touch or book a call to get the ball rolling for your health and wellness now.
Research has shown there are six key areas where symptoms stem from.
Meta-Health looks at the big picture perspective…meta meaning big picture.
Many folks work in physiotherapy or the organ/biochemistry/physical level. Some work within the field of lifestyle approaches, looking at nutrition, diet, exercise etc. Further still, some folks focus in on the emotional aspects of health.
The reality is…we need to look at the whole person-big picture perspective when managing and healing symptoms…and there are 6 key areas, which all contribute to and affect the symptoms we experience. These key areas influence our health and the balance/imbalance of this, with the onset of symptoms, be they acute or chronic.
1. Organ tissue – obvious contributors…accidents, environmental toxins, food and drink over-indulgences. But what about those who eat well, exercise and are supposedly healthy? What are the other areas?
Science has proven that stress (2), our emotions (3) and our beliefs (4) also play a significant part in our overall health. Plus our social (5) relationships and the environment we’re in, also play a contributing role (at home, at work and out socially).
And of course, by no means least, our lifestyle (6) also plays a major role in our health. What we eat, drink and consume (including how much and how balanced); what physical activity we do; and our sleep patterns all have an impact, if they’re not regularly balanced. Furthermore, the personal care and household products we also use regularly, can and will also have an impact on your health and wellbeing, if they’re full of chemicals and ingredients, which are known disruptors of our natural biological system.
It’s difficult to argue with these factors any more…because they’re proven contributors to us feeling healthy and vital or not. So what’s my point…?
Well, there is more to this…another deeper layer which is only beginning to be properly talked about. So I’ll share this in my next post and get even more specific.
If you would like to know more and discuss your own health and wellbeing, then do get in touch now.
To continue the conversation on from yesterday’s post…if we look at ourselves as just physical beings, it’s rather finite e.g. our genes determine our destiny…our body is what it is and isn’t able to recover or reverse what’s happening to it with acute or chronic symptoms.
However, when we turn this on its head and look at ourselves for everything which we truly are at that quantum level…we are energy which is changing all the time.
When we recognise this aspect of who we actually are and realise we can influence this energy moving through us in any way we wish, we’re more empowered and able to shift and change the way we look at our body and the symptoms it’s presenting.
We are information and energy being passed through neuro-pathways in our organs, tissues & cells…
It’s all communicating together and offering us bio-feedback with that ache, pain, lump, bump or rash, to name but a few symptoms which show up.
At any given time, our body is working really hard to keep us safe and to survive, according to its perception of the world it’s in. The body is constantly adjusting to everything we throw at it each day with our thoughts, emotions, stresses at work/home/socially, with diet and movement, plus environmental toxins and pollutants as well, which includes all the personal care and household products you use. We are the masters of our own health and wellbeing…it is truly in our hands if we choose it.
As referenced in the mind-body-social post…every part of us is interconnected. Our body is talking to us…
The question is, how well are we listening?
…because every symptom will have a very bio-logical root cause. It’s basically the logic of your biology.
Everything which shows up in your body, every symptom and its related diagnosis (if you get your doctor’s medical opinion, which I highly recommend) does not happen by chance, bad luck or by what is often labelled as genetic. In fact, genetics account for less than 5% of any symptoms and dis-ease which occurs in the body – yes, you read that right.
Over 95% of all symptoms and their related illness labels are nothing to do with genes per se. This has been proven time and time again now, with particular kudos to Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist, who’s proven this scientific fact over and over again in his scientific research.
In future posts, we’ll explore even more closely what does happen and why, to help us all understand that we are in fact the masters of our health and its destiny…and we do in fact have the power to change outcomes, when we understand exactly what is happening in our body and why.
Let’s look at the first aspect mentioned yesterday. The WHY. The mind-body-social connection. We know it exists. Its relevance and importance in understanding our overall health and wellness is still a bit vague, however. We know the mind impacts the body and vice-versa. Is there more to it though?
In meta-health, what we’ve found through empirical research and science is there’s a very specific connection between the organ, the mind and our social environment, with the brain.
It’s important to emphasise the social aspect because we’re embedded in it and can’t be separated from our social environment, be it at home, at work or out socially.
Another way to look at this is from a quantum neurobiology perspective.
Neuro – the networks, connecting everything in our body & mind, right down to our cell receptors.
Biology – the physical body: cells, tissues, organs etc.
We are energetic beings. Everything is energy…Einstein taught us this. When we look at it this way, it’s more supportive and empowering, because energy is changing and evolving all the time…therefore, we can change and evolve with this energy too. On the other hand, just looking at our health from the finite physical-only perspective e.g. it is what it is and I can’t recover…this isn’t empowering, encouraging or inspiring at all.
Knowing our whole being is interconnected and can be shifted and changed for the better is a far more positive perspective and gives us all a new and optimistic paradigm to work with and focus on for our health and wellbeing.
In my next few posts, we’ll be looking at and exploring this in more detail. To find out more for your own symptoms or diagnosis now though, do get in touch to discuss how I may be able to help you.
It’s taken me some time to write a post like this. I feared ridicule and judgement from people who I considered to be more of an authority in one way or another. I lacked the confidence to share what I know from my own learning experience because I don’t have a medical degree and I’m not a scientist.
However, I am a woman. I have a brain. I have intuition. And I know when I know. You just have that feeling. And nothing, nothing can deny the power of this feeling when it surges through you. I’ve also learnt a lot in my time on this planet. I’ve studied hard and continue to do so, I’ve read and continue to read a lot and I know from experience what I know now.
We all have mental health.
That chatter in my head has stopped me speaking out before now. The impostor syndrome. The lack of confidence because of past negative experiences. The lack of support from supposed loved ones who say “hi, how are you?” but behind your back chatter about what you’re doing as if you’ve gone nuts because you don’t fit into their paradigm of what is apparently normal. People who take the mickey out of what you do…making jokes about it, making fun of it like you’re some sort of clown in the circus.
I’m not a clown in a circus. I’m a human being just like you. I have feelings…I have thoughts…I have emotions and these all have an impact on my physiology and how my biology responds, in any given moment, just like they do with all of us. This mind-body response is what creates symptoms. And it’s real…even if you can’t see the symptoms.
That’s your world view
Just because I practice meditation and use tools like EFT and yoga, spend a lot of time in nature and eat what many have judged me for and said is a rabbit’s diet, doesn’t mean I’m some sort of freak. I don’t drink alcohol either and was once told I’m not a member of my own family because of this.
The thing is, and what most people are missing in this is, I live the life I lead because I started life with a whole flipping string of symptoms. And these symptoms have fuelled me on to get to the root cause of why I started life this way and why many symptoms plagued me for many years…and some still do.
What people see or choose to see in me is someone who is happy and smiles a lot…who bounces around like Tigger and is always here, there and everywhere, apparently living a carefree life without a ‘normal’ 9-5 job. What you don’t know is I’ve struggled with a low sense of self-worth for a long time. I struggled with some symptoms that left me feeling so dark, I wouldn’t go out for days and days at a time because of how I felt and looked and the fact my skin was cracked and bleeding. I’ve been in so much pain at times that I’ve been reduced to using crutches and wheelchairs. You don’t see this though because most of us hide away when challenged like this. And woe-betide if we complain about something which can’t be seen or isn’t visible like #endometriosis for example.
Endometriosis is said to be one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility in women according to endometriosis.org – the global forum for news and information. In the news section of their website, they state that “Scientists are now closer to understanding pain mechanisms in endometriosis. Scientists at the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh in the UK have shown that immune cells called macrophages could play a key role in the generation of pain in endometriosis”.
Looking at the dis-ease process of endometriosis from a meta-perspective
It’s great that research is being done at this micro-level in an attempt to get to the root cause of what’s underlying these debilitating symptoms in what is estimated to be affecting “176 million women worldwide regardless of their ethnic and social background”. However, has anyone stopped to look at, explore and research the bigger picture of what’s going on for these millions of women prior to the onset of their symptoms? For example, what stresses may have been happening for them? What emotions and thoughts may be present and on-going? How do they perceive their home, work and/or social lives? And what’s their lifestyle like, including diet, exercise and vitality?
These aspects all play a key role in understanding what is happening in anyone with the onset of symptoms, be it endometriosis or any number of other diagnoses. So let’s look at this more closely for endometriosis.
The biology – the development and function of the ovaries
As we know, the ovaries are positioned on the right and left side of the uterus, which they attach to via cord-like ligaments. During the monthly menses, an egg, formed from primordial germ cells, grows into a tiny follicle. At the time of ovulation, the follicle bursts open, so the ovum can be released and travel from an ovary through the fallopian tube to potentially meet a sperm for fertilisation. If this stage was successful, approximately six days later, the fertilised egg or blastocyst implants in the uterine cavity. The corpus luteum, a progesterone-producing cell cluster in the ovaries, facilitates pregnancy. The ovarian tissue contains interstitial cells, which produce estrogen and small quantities of testosterone. Estrogen plays a significant role in a woman’s sex drive and readiness to mate. In embryology terms, the ovaries originate from the new mesoderm and are therefore controlled from the cerebral medulla, which is part of the new brain in brain development.
Every organ and organ tissue in the body is biologically connected to one of the brain layers…and each of these brain layers has an overall biological conflict theme, as discovered by Dr Hamer, who first developed what is now known as Meta-Health (also known as Meta-Consciousness or Lifestyle Prescriptions).
The biological conflict related to the ovaries is a loss conflict which is connected to the loss of a loved one. A perceived fear of losing a loved one can also trigger the conflict. This same stress can also be related to the loss of a beloved pet. Ruminating self-blame after a relationship break-down or the death of someone close can keep the conflict active. Women also experience loss conflicts after miscarriages or the unwanted termination of a pregnancy. A loss conflict can also be set in motion because of an argument, disloyalty, or unfaithfulness of a partner or friend.
This sense of loss can also be passed down the ancestral line as well, due to cellular memory e.g. the egg which became you was inside your mother, when she was in utero. Therefore, if your grandmother experienced a loss while pregnant with your Mum, this memory can pass on into your cells too. This is what is commonly thought to be hereditary or genetic type symptoms. Only about 1% of symptoms fall under this umbrella however, as proven by cell biologist, Bruce Lipton. The rest are down to the passing on of ancestral trauma, beliefs and patterns, all of which have the potential for healing.
The stress phase of the biological process in the ovaries
When we experience something, which to us as an individual feels unexpected, dramatic, isolating and we don’t have a strategy to deal with it at that moment, we are pushed into stress…also known as the sympathetic phase in biological terms. Biologically, therefore, the ovarian organ tissue of a woman who perceives a situation as stressful and feels this sense of loss will respond by necrosis (cell loss) in the ovary. As a result, because of the reduction of estrogen-producing cells the estrogen level decreases. Furthermore, depending on how intense the conflict is felt and lasts for, (i.e. how long the woman remains in the stress phase, impacted by this trauma) can result in irregular periods, absence of menstruation altogether, or infertility until the stress is released and the conflict is resolved for the individual. If this stress is felt before menstruation has started, (e.g. in a younger girl), it can delay the start of the menstrual cycle. The felt loss of an unconceived child can also lead to long-term infertility.
The restoration phase of the biological process in the ovaries – part 1
Following the full resolution of something which we perceived as stressfulI, biologically, we move into the para-sympathetic phase of the healing process. Therefore, in the ovaries, if and when the stress has been fully resolved, the tissue loss which happened in the sympathetic phase is restored with new cells, assisted by bacteria such as streptococcus in an ideal scenario. Though counter-intuitive to our conditioned minds of what constitutes healing, symptoms experienced are pain caused by the swelling. This is usually diagnosed as inflammation or an infection of the ovaries and called adnexitis (the same term is used for inflammation in the fallopian tubes).
Again, counter-intuitive to our western conditioned medical understanding of what is normal, a special characteristic regarding the healing of the ovaries is the development of an ovarian cyst. Now, this is where it’s important to understand the biological process – provided there aren’t any relapses i.e. reminders of the original stress, which push us back into the sympathetic phase and interrupt the parasympathetic restorative healing phase, the process takes – like a pregnancy – nine months to complete. The cyst formation occurs in several steps.
In the first half of the parasympathetic phase, a fluid-filled capsule or cyst forms at the site of the original cell-loss (necrosis). Coupled with water retention, (which can be exacerbated by a separate, yet related stress conflict associated with feelings such as isolation, abandonment and existence and activates in the kidney collecting tubules), an ovarian cyst can become quite sizable because the water retention is especially stored in the healing area. Large cyst(s) cause considerable pain, particularly during menstruation, and heavy menstrual bleeding. What is termed polycystic ovaries (PCO) actually relates to multiple loss conflicts resulting in many cysts forming over time.
With regards the continued parasympathetic phase of the biological process with the now-formed cyst, (provided this process isn’t interrupted by retriggers into stress again), in order to restore the cell loss that occurred during the stress/sympathetic phase, ovarian cells start to increase rapidly in number inside the cyst. During this stage, the cyst attaches itself to neighboring tissue for blood supply. NB: attaching to tissue nearby also stabilizes the cyst. Detected during this period, the growth can be diagnosed, in modern medical terms, as an invasive or infiltrating ovarian cancer and wrongly assumed to metastasize to nearby organs. Based on the basic laws of biology however, the new ovarian cells cannot be regarded as cancer cells because the cell increase is actually in truth, a restorative, rebuilding process.
Restoration phase – part 2
At the mid-point of this restorative parasympathetic phase, we reach what is called a healing peak, which temporairly pushes the body back into a state of stress, which may include symtoms such as restlessness, nausea, heightened blood pressure, raised pulse, cold sweats, shivers. The biological purpose of this temporary sympathetic surge is to quickly eliminate the edema which developed both on the organ and in the correlating brain relay in the first part of the restorative phase. After this healing peak, we experience a urinary phase, where the body expels the excess fluid. NB: The excess fluid cannot be completly expelled if there is still an active stress conflict related to feeling isolated/abandoned OR if there are still retriggers (often unconscious) of the loss conflict. This remaining water retention will stay present until all conflicts have been fully resolved.
Following the hopefully successful release of most fluid from the cyst, in part two of the restorative phase, the cyst then becomes hard, separates from the tissue it had attached to and, supplied with blood vessels, integrates itself completely into the hormone-producing function of the ovaries. This is completly natural and part of the biological process and purpose. To explain further, the boost of estrogen provided by the cyst makes the woman who’s felt this loss more attractive again, while at the same time, enhancing her readiness to mate, which biologically, elevates her into an ideal position to make up for the loss and become pregnant again. It’s the nature-nurture process.
Interruptions to the biological process
Sometimes the internal pressure, if a cyst is rather liquid, can become too intense, causing the cyst to burst. There could be a few causes for this to happen, such as the extra water retention due to the other active conflict related to feelings of isolation; a punch to the stomach; an accident; an investigative puncture, or premature surgery can cause the cyst to burst.
Following the burst, the fluid moves into the abdominal cavity, and the now loose ovarian cells attach themselves to the abdominal wall or an organ such as the bladder or rectum (in these circumstances, the cyst development takes place outside the ovary). This is what is termed endometriosis. According to modern medicine, endometriosis is a growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus.
However, through the scienific research which was carried out by Dr. Hamer, who examined brain CT scans of women with these symptoms, every scan highlighted that each woman with endometriosis showed the moment of conflict stress wasn’t in the brainstem layer of the brain, which controls the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) but instead it was in the cerebral medulla, i.e. the area of the brain which controls the ovaries. Furthermore, this also clarifies why endometriosis increases a woman’s estrogen level – an aspect which has apparently been unexplainable before now.
So to conclude, without going into further biological explainations and rabbit holes, this post is not about blaming or shaming anyone into anything. It’s to explain a simple natural biological process, which women go through when we experience what to us feels like a loss – it’s stressful, feels unexpected, dramatic, isolating and we don’t have a strategy to deal with the shock in that moment.
It’s to explain the side of endometriosis which may not have been explained to you before now. It’s to give you some sense of power and strength that something can be done to support you to complete your natural healing cycle in all aspects of your life related to your endo-experience and find an end to your debilitating symtoms. It’s to offer you a sense of understanding that your body is not working against you for one second – on the contrary, in any given moment your magnificent body is always working to keep you safe and survive, constantly adapting to the changing environment it finds itself in and adjusting to this, to support you to keep going.
We have been fed this inaccurate paradigm in modern medicine that pain, swelling, inflammation etc equals something going wrong in our body…whereas it’s often present in an attempt to help protect us from something which has been stressful for us…and the symptoms women experience in endometriosis are actually a natural part of a biological healing cycle…which is doing its best to complete.
If you have any questions about this related to your own endo-journey and how a meta-health analysis could suport you, do get in touch, where I will do my best to support you.
So much is in the media nowadays about a healthy lifestyle and the benefits of this phrase for our overall wellness, vitality and longevity. However, what’s not talked about enough, is the importance of balance and moderation and what a healthy lifestyle actually means.
The fact of the matter is, being healthy isn’t a goal or target to reach before you then you focus on the next task at hand. Being healthy is a lifestyle, a way of living and being, which ebbs and flows just like the tide, and so is sometimes gentle, easy and smooth and at other times, tumultuous, stormy and a real challenge to navigate. Overall though, the idea is, the combination of choices you regularly make are actually supporting your overall happiness, vitality and life in a mostly positive, nurturing and sustainable way so that you can live a healthy life according to who you are as an individual.
As I’ve mentioned before in musings about myself on my website, I grew up with a few health challenges, which meant I learnt from a very young age what was going to support me and what was going to hinder my overall happiness and enjoyment in life. I needed to be mindful about the foods and drinks I chose, because if there was any kind of emotional stress trigger going on for me as a child, young person and even into adulthood, then food just exacerbated my physical symptoms, one of which was rather irritating (and to me, ugly), eczema.
What used to annoy me a lot and still does a bit now too, and it’s something we need to talk about and stop doing to one another, is calling people out when they do reach for a piece of cake, packet of crisps, chocolate bar or similar, when their usual choices are what’s considered healthier. I’ve experienced this a lot in my life, due to having to eat a rather plant-based natural diet, where avoiding refined foods like white bread, cakes, cookies, fizzy drinks and sweets was the norm for me, to support my health and wellness. And yet, I’d often then be teased by other children or judged and ridiculed by adults (including family in these groups) if I did then indulge in a rich dessert or pizza with cheese on top for example.
Let’s make one thing clear here folks…it’s about balance and moderation.
A lot of research has been done around the subject of lifestyle and what constitutes a healthy one. Basically though, positive changes in physical activity, dietary choices, nutrition and supportive lifestyle patterns such as including regular meditation or prayer-type activities into your daily routine have all been proven to contribute to profound and effective differences in the health and wellbeing of people. We’ve got to begin gently though if this is something new to us. And if you know someone who’s doing their best to improve their health and wellness, support them rather than judging them, especially if they make some indulgent choices. It’s about balance remember.
Leading research in what constitutes a healthy lifestyle include the likes of The Blue Zones Team and Dr Dean Ornish. Along with living and working in a supportive environment (which I wrote about in my last article), they all highlight the following as key components to help sustain a healthy lifestyle:
a plant-based diet – this does not mean being vegan before anyone gets angry and starts shouting at their screen or messaging me…it just means what it says, consuming a plant-based diet i.e. mostly vegetables and fruits, legumes and natural grains. It can include aspects like fish, meat and dairy. What is advised, however, is these additions are not the mainstay of any meal you consume. They are additions. Therefore, most of your plate should be plants…not meat, dairy, fish and potatoes or chips, white bread rice or pasta, with the odd carrot and pea as a garnish. To find out more, a good place to start is here and the graphic below from Blue Zones.
regular daily movement supports our sustained health and longevity – this will vary from person to person, depending on age, ability and where you are. It’s vital for us all though, that we include suitable daily physical activity into our lifestyles.
As I also mentioned in my last article, healthy relationships in our social life, at home, at work, including people of faith, all help sustain our health and wellness. Now, to clarify, when I say people of faith, this does not mean we all need to join a church, though for some this will be their preference. People of faith includes those who follow religious doctrine, as well as those who may take time to pray in their own way, be it in a formal building or at the beach, or in the mountains…it can also include people who meditate as well. The scope is huge. It’s about faith in something bigger than ourselves though, a trust in this life we’ve all been blessed with and the positive path it will take for us all. When we surround ourselves with positive like-minded people, who share in our faith, which is rich in love, joy and happiness, it helps us all to thrive. It’s about that community spirit as well.
Lastly, which I will focus on more in my next article, having a purpose in life is also vital for our sustained health and wellness.
To be able to sustain this kind of lifestyle, we need to have a ‘why’ which is intrinsically ours and motivates us to take positive action regularly. I’ve been exploring this very concept myself in a lot more depth lately, across many areas of my life. The King of knowing your ‘why’ is Simon Sinek, whose work really has helped inform some of my thinking, motivation and actions. Though he focuses on leadership, the principles can be applied to any area of life. So I’d encourage you to watch his TED talk to get your creative juices flowing. Once you know your ‘why’ for taking positive action about your health and wellness, we can then look at what actions you can take. See if you can list 20 ‘whys‘ for making positive changes towards your healthy lifestyle.
Now we have your ‘whys‘, let’s look at diet and nutrition in a bit more detail, to see what the basics are and what we can do now. As mentioned above, the research is clear, a diet based on plants is best for our overall health and longevity. You do not need to be vegan…adding in some animal products is acceptable. The portion size and quality of this protein source are worth investing in, however. Where possible, avoid the processed, fast-food type food sources. They are what we call empty foods because you’ll most likely feel hungry again soon afterwards. Not only that, they are processed with ingredients which are not going to support your health and wellness goals. Rather, they’re more likely to contribute to your inflammation, pain, swelling and skin conditions for example. So it’s best to avoid them.
A good habit to get into when faced with a decision around your food and drinks choices is asking yourself this question, “Will this food/drink take me closer to or further away from my health and wellness aspirations, based on my current daily patterns and choices?”. And remember, we can all enjoy some indulgences, just keep the regularity and portion size of these indulgences in balance. Be honest with yourself, because it’s only yourself you’re fooling otherwise. Think of your food as medicine, as fuel to support your overall health and wellbeing. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change e.g. eating cake or cookies every day is not going to give you the medicine and fuel you need to sustain a healthy body at a healthy weight. Therefore if you look at them as the enemy to your goals, their appeal lessens. It’s also important we ask ourselves why we may be reaching for these empty comfort foods or drinks regularly…what is the emotion behind these choices? What are we masking, hiding or trying to blank out when we eat to comfort ourselves? Understanding these choices also helps to rebalance our way of doing things…and a great tool which I use all the time in my practice is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), which helps to rebalance the mind-body-social aspects within us again, thus supporting our return to health and vitality once more.
Remember, what you eat is important…but it isn’t the whole picture, as explained in previous posts. Your emotions, your beliefs, your environment, your organ health all play a part. What you eat and drink is just a part of the greater whole. Here are some ideas to help get you started on making healthier choices:
Start to take action, experiment and learn what supports you and what hinders you.
Fully remove fizzy, sugary drinks and alcohol from your daily routine. It may work for you to enjoy them occasionally further down the line, once you’ve got a firm grip on your habits again. For now though, fully remove them.
Reduce or better still, remove tea and coffee for the time being. They are diuretics (increase your need to urinate and dehydrate you) and do not support the journey towards health and vitality when you’re in recovery.
Remove processed foods – learn about this by reading labels on anything you buy. If it has ingredients which are not natural or pronounceable, it’s a sign these are additives, so put the item back on the shelf.
Swap your white carbs for whole grains e.g. eat brown rice, rye sourdough bread, wholegrain pasta.
Make each meal mostly about fruits and vegetables. Most of your plate or bowl should be plants. We want to increase your fruit and vegetable intake here.
Learn about healthy fats and proteins for you and increase these e.g. flaxseeds, avocados, oily fish like salmon or sardines are all good examples of healthy fats and proteins. Others include beans and legumes such as red lentils or mung beans, or nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, sesame and pumpkin seeds. The latter need to be consumed in moderation. Do not make the mistake I’ve made (a few times) and think you can eat a lot of nut butter because it’s homemade or heaps of nuts because they’re natural and unsalted. We only need a few nuts or a small handful of seeds a day to benefit. More than this each day and you will pack on the kilos and not help yourself.
Drink natural water. Tap water is fine if you know it’s not polluted with chlorine or other such additives like fluoride, which are claimed to be helpful. They are not helpful. DO NOT be fooled. If in doubt, install a water filter system at home or buy a water filter jug. Avoid buying plastic bottled water. Aim for eight glasses of plain water per day.
Now, what about movement, physical activity, exercise…? We all know regular physical move and activity is good for us for many reasons e.g. it helps to control our weight; it’s good for our brain and reduces stress, anxiety and depression; it also supports a healthy heart and helps to reduce symptoms which contribute to conditions like diabetes; it helps to improve your sleep quality and thus also helps to improve your longevity; it sounds counter-intuitive, but exercise improves bone health and thus also helps with muscle strength too; and how about it helping to improve your sex life too, not to mention having a healthier bowel as well. So what’s not to love about getting some regular movement and physical activity into your daily routine…?
We don’t all need to be ultramarathon runners, Olympic champions or super flexible yoginis. There is a scale and we all fit on it somewhere. Where we fit will all depend on your current vitality, health and age. None of these need be a barrier to beginning to get more active, however. In fact, they can act as a motivator to get you going. What you choose to do is up to you…the best place to start however, is with an activity you know you will do regularly, no matter what. The trick is to start small. A while ago, I read a book titled Mini Habits by Stephen Guise which is all about creating and starting with smaller habits for bigger results. e.g. if you want to begin exercising, start with one sit up a day. It may not sound like a lot, but after 100 days, you will have done at least 100…and in all likelihood, you will have done a lot more…and improved by a huge percentage over that time.
So if you enjoy walking but haven’t walked in a long while, begin with just 100m per day and see how you get on. As you master that distance, increase it over time. An easy way for many of us to monitor this with distance or steps these days is via the smartphone. Most of them have an inbuilt health app, which counts your steps and distance walked over the course of a 24 hour period. It can be an easy way to keep track of what you’re doing.
Some other ideas to help get you moving with daily physical activity include swimming, pilates, tai chi, dancing, weight training, boxercise classes, aerobics, Zumba, cycling, tennis and hatha yoga to offer just a few examples to try out. There are of course many many more. The key is to find what works for you on a regular basis and stick to it. If you’re like me, you need a variety of activities to stimulate and motivated you to keep going. So I mix things up. I walk regularly, I attend boxercise classes, I also do some of my own sessions at home (HIIT and yoga), I am also currently loving skipping and with the weather (slowly) improving, I will be in the ocean a lot more for swimming too. I also like to get out on a bicycle, as well as attend group HIIT classes when I can too. It’s up to you though. The key is finding what you love and doing it regularly, even you just start with 30 seconds per day. This is how I have built up my skipping. I was tripping up a lot, to begin with, as well as getting out of breath quickly too. However, I dedicated a small amount of time to it regularly and can now easily skip for 10 minutes with only a few trip-ups.
You too can achieve the results you desire by making small and regular changes to your daily routines. Simple changes like taking the stairs instead of the escalator or lift; getting off the bus or tube one or two stops earlier and walking the rest of the way to/from work; getting together with a few trusted friends and joining an exercise club or group together, to help motivate and hold each other accountable. The list is endless. Beginning is key however. And the key to beginning is in your hands.
Day one or one day…you choose.
And if you would like a partner in your journey, this is part and parcel of what I offer in my practice. Together, we can find the root cause of your symptoms and then co-create a bespoke plan for you, to help you get on track towards your health and wellness aspirations. Then you too can not only have your cake but also enjoy eating it too.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch now to begin your new journey and a new you. What better time than the new moon in Gemini, which arrives on 3rd June. New moons are a well-documented time for setting new intentions, goals and plans to work on. So let’s get started today.