Very excited to share another article I wrote recently for the Reading Eagle Health and Wellness feature magazine. It outlines ways that we can modify your diet to minimize the accumulation of man-made toxins in our bodies - very relevant today as over 75,000 new synthetic chemicals have been created and unleashed into our environment since World War II... and they can often be found in products you might be using every day!
I recently wrote an article on the advancements in preventing and curing Alzheimer's Disease made by Dr. Dale Bredesen who has been researching the disease at UCLA for 30 years. I had the pleasure of being trained in Dr. Bredesen's 'Recode' program in 2017.
In 2012, after a brief period of physical decline, I found myself bedridden and unable to move for 8 months. I was entirely helpless and relied on others for all of my needs. My previous life had been all about fitness, yet here I was without the strength to lift my head or hold a cell phone, let alone stand. My nervous system was in a terrifying state of disarray, either over or under responsive, that I would best describe as a neurological firestorm. Any function I’d had as a human being was gone. The initial doctors I’d seen early on had no clue what was wrong and nothing effective to offer.
The good news is I recovered and emerged from this experience a changed person. I look back on it as the greatest gift of my life, albeit one in strange wrapping paper.
Here are a few takeaways from my health journey…
1. Our bodies have an innate intelligence and a miraculous potential to recover from all manner of symptoms and disease. I’m referring to true restoration of health, not management of disease through pharmaceuticals. This includes cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, as well as digestive issues and allergies. More often than not, illness comes as a result of our not living in alignment with how life functions.
2. Diet and Lifestyle choices have a profound impact on our health picture… they make health or break it. This is the basis for the exciting new world of functional health care. It’s up to us to educate ourselves, make the best decisions, and take ownership of our health.
3. Our body is an ecosystem; a complex universe of various life forms (microbes and others) working together to support our health. (Check out Curezone.com to see what might be living inside you). Poor lifestyle choices upset the balance and an imbalance results in impairment of health.
4. Avoidance of exposure to toxins and daily detox support should be lifestyle practices, like brushing our teeth. We live in a sea of toxicity, as never before in history (drinking water, processed foods, plastic water and food containers, toiletries, dental amalgams, etc. are full of toxic chemicals) and our bodies can no longer handle the burden. When toxicity builds up, disease results.
5. A positive attitude and faith are two of the most powerful healing remedies. I have seen it time and time again in my work as a Nutritional Therapist and it was the case for me. Those with optimism and a strong belief in a positive outcome are propelled to health, while those who identify with their disease are held back and carry a tremendous burden of stress that interferes with the healing process. For the first three months I was bedridden, I felt anxiety, despair and hopelessness- my life as I knew it had been snatched away. Over time, I struggled to shift my attitude, to feel faith in my recovery. It was a turning point for me. Oddly, it took losing my life for me to find a deep sense of gratitude and joy that I’d never experienced before. I learned every species of bird I could see and their birdsong, and gained a new found appreciation for the beauty of plants and tree bark (these were what I could see from my bed). The beauty of nature pulled me back to life.
6. Life is the most wonderful gift. Each day is one to be grateful for and lived with joy. We spend way too much time caught up in the noise and distractions. Put down your cellphone, take a few deep breaths, look out your window or go outside and connect to the beauty of life. Few things are more nourishing to health.
"You are what you eat." How many times have you heard this well-worn phrase without giving it deeper thought?
Let's take a moment to remind ourselves that EVERY SINGLE STRUCTURE in our body and EVERY SINGLE FUNCTION which takes place to keep us alive run on NUTRIENTS from the food we eat. Our bodies are designed to run on very specific nutrients. In addition to literally building our bodies from the cellular level up, food is the "gas" for our "cars". We would never think to put inferior gas, or some other random liquid, into our fuel tank because we know what the consequences would be. Yet, day in, day out many of us consume poor quality "food" or "frankenfoods" that our bodies don't even recognize.
Question: Why is it acceptable to eat inferior quality foods and substances which are not food (I'm referring to much of what you see in the center isles of the grocery store or in a convenience store) on a regular basis?
Answer: It isn't! The structure and function of our bodies begins to degrade.
Result: For the first time in U.S. History, the life expectancy is decreasing. There is an epidemic of chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Cancer, Heart disease, Alzheimer's, Depression, and Autoimmune disease. It is estimated that at this rate by mid century roughly 1/2 of infants will be born with Autism and 1/2 of the elderly will be afflicted with Alzheimer's. These are shocking statistics. All of these are epigenetic pathologies, having a large diet and lifestyle (toxicity, inflammation, stress, infectious, microbiome health) component.
Everything you put in your mouth has the ability to either nourish and heal you, or cause damage and disease. (i.e. is not recognized a food, and thus toxic and inflammatory). It's really up to us to take ownership of our health and make the choices that lead to vibrant health. Why would we want anything less for ourselves?
The Good news: The body has a amazing capacity to heal itself when we remove the offending substances (junk foods) and replace them with nutrient dense whole foods. It's truly the miracle of life. Health and well-being are restored, energy levels soar, weight loss occurs. These changes can be felt in a very short period of time.
Basic Nutritional Guidelines:
1) Eat real food. Organic, non GMO, nutrient dense whole foods, as nature has always provided them. You will feel so satisfied with the wonderful, clean flavors in these foods.
2) Cut out sugar and refined/excess carbohydrates. Sugar is an anti-nutrient. It's an addictive, inflammatory toxin which depletes us of beneficial nutrients.
3) Cut down on or remove gluten from your diet. Take a gluten break and see how you feel. Gluten is highly inflammatory, damaging to gut health and implicated in the formation of every autoimmune disease.
4) Remove toxic, heat damaged fats from your diet (i.e. soy, corn, canola, vegetable oil, margarine). These are typically found in processed foods such as salad dressings, baked goods, chips and crackers. They are highly inflammatory and contribute to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimers, and diabetes, as well as being particularly damaging to our cell structure and communication within our body.
5) Consider adding in a few therapeutic whole food supplements or herbs (i.e. nutrients) for their powerful health benefits.
In addition to food, exercise, stress relief, and sleep are essential to optimal health.
If you want to know more about how food effects health and learn simple strategies to optimize your health, please join me for the RESTART or BioLogic Nutrition programs offered at BLDG.7. You'll feel great, experience increased energy levels and mental clarity, and lose weight. Check out their website for details.
Here's to a health filled New Year!