Digestion: It Affects Your Health More Than You Think

The single most reported complaints in all hospital emergency rooms are related to digestive system disorders. The digestive system is the most “stress affected” system in the human body and a big topic in our accredited health program. According to the Drug Topics News Magazine for Pharmacists (October, 2008) in 2008, Americans spent 5 billion dollars on over-the-counter digestive or “stomach” remedies.

It Starts With Education

Wouldn’t it be helpful to understand and educate others on how and why they are suffering from digestive ailments? In the accredited health program, we all know people who eat organic, natural food and are meticulous about the quality and quantity of what they put in their body and yet are sick, tired and plagued with health issues. Then there are others who eat anything and everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, and have energy to burn, not a pimple on their entire body and feel great.

Often, this is the result of the function and efficiency of their individual nervous systems. Those who have an active “sympathetic” nervous system, with the tenth cranial nerve wreaking havoc with their alimentary canal then to struggle. These are the folks that no matter what they eat and how much pure or clean organic food they consume – they just don’t do well and feel unwell much of the time.

For the individual with a well-tuned central nervous system, the digestive system can be a culinary playground that accepts all types of nutrients and food stuffs and produces ample nutrition without upset or illness.

What makes one nervous system different from another, one person’s experience different from another? It has more to do with the unconscious personality of an individual than any other single factor, with the exception of the rare congenital or pathological occurrence.

Demystifying The Nervous System

Just as our machines need electricity to operate, so do our internal organs and cells require electrical impulse to function and operate as well. The degree to which our nervous system is balanced and well-functioning – or not – is the degree to which we are healthy and able to function at maximum capacity in the world. As discussed in our accredited health programs, many healing arts such as acupuncture, yoga postures, meditation, chiropractic, breathing techniques, biofeedback, hypnosis, EMDR and other healing modalities attempt to restore balance to the nervous system as the pathway to improving internal and external bodily function. These methods address the cause of the presenting condition and not just treat the pain or symptom of the bodily malfunction.

Looking more closely at the digestive system and its intimate relationship with the immune system and the nervous system, we can easily follow the pathway of how brain function and the nervous system can create a “whole body” systemic cascade of bodily reactions which overtime lead to chronic illness and disease.

Bringing Stress Into The Mix

Our nervous systems are impacted by stressors; however, stress is not limited to just emotional stress as many believe. Stress includes poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, infection, excess exertion, surgery, trauma and reproduction. When our stresses or anxiety cause our brain to send biochemical messages to our cranial nerves, our digestive systems can be functionally affected. The anxiety and stress decrease our digestive and immune system functions.

The effect of a stressor on the body in the short term can be readily overcome by a healthy, adaptive nervous system. It is the longer-term stress, the chronic ongoing conditions and issues that place wear and tear on our nervous systems and organs and it is this friction or wear and tear that leads to chronic illness.

By understanding the intimate dance of our body’s organs and systems and how to maintain a balanced, healthy nervous system, we can avoid illness and chronic disease and live long, productive and disease-free lives!


For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

 

Are You Using Integrative Medicine For Better Healing?

Are You Using Integrative Medicine For Better Healing?

There is no doubt that today more and more people are turning to integrative medicine and alternative modalities for their health concerns and disease prevention. This popular movement, winning one out of every two American consumers as converts, may seem to some like a new idea or a “health revolution.” In reality, it is a return to a period in time, over 400 years ago, when health was seen from a more whole person, integrated and even spiritual perspective.

Until the early 1600’s, the realm of human health was believed to represent a person’s spiritual state. If one was healthy, that meant they bore no demons. If one was sick, that meant they needed to purge sickness, which was seen as a “possession” or a spiritual incorrectness that had to be remedied. The prevailing church of the day, ruled by the Vatican, exerted a huge influence over the medical community and how people viewed the cause and cure of their disease.

In 1612, Rene Descartes, a powerful, influential physician and scientist, declared “I think, therefore I am.” He held that the mind and body were two separate, unrelated parts of a human being. Descartes led the political movement to separate the body from the soul, a separation in which he and his peers literally brokered a deal with the Vatican, which was reluctant to give up control over its flock. However, the “scientific revolution” was gripping the culture and the church knew it was prudent to agree. Thus, the division of the mind and body began and the practice of medicine started down the slippery slope to where we find ourselves today.

Since this division set up a medical system that treated only physical health, it became considered, by the mass majority, that this form of medicine was the only legitimate form of healthcare. However, over the course of the past 50 years people have grown sicker and increasingly dissatisfied with the medical system. This led to an increase in the use of “untried” remedies and treatments, which offered success and often cures for varied ailments. This “alternative medicine” attempts to address the whole person rather than just the physical body. Because of the success of alternative medicine, and the resultant popularity, we are currently experiencing a renaissance of the “whole-person” body, mind and spirit approach to healing.

Today, thanks to the internet, we have more information about every aspect of health than ever before. Still, there exists confusion between allopathic medicine and integrative medicine regarding how their treatment approaches differ and how one can discern what is right for their particular need or condition. By comparing and contrasting both approaches individuals can be empowered with information to make an educated decision about how they would like to address their personal healthcare and what forms they would like to incorporate.

Often called modern medicine, conventional or traditional, allopathic medicine defines health as the absence of disease, disorder or problem. This is most often attained by administering drugs or surgery that produce the opposite effect of the problem.

In allopathic medicine, the main cause of illness is considered to be viruses or bacteria. Scientific tests are used to diagnose before drugs or surgery are prescribed. Furthermore, the emphasis here is more on “attacking the problem,” which is seen as an invader or enemy outside the self, rather than exploring the cause and effect of the problem and working to identify what needs to be changed or altered to bring about the return of health.

On the opposite spectrum, alternative, natural, complementary or holistic medicine addresses the problem or condition from a focus of identifying what particular choices or behaviors the individual might be making that are leading to the expression of symptoms collectively called their “disease or diagnosis.”

In contrast, because integrative medicine bridges the gap between traditional and alternative medicine, an integrative physician or practitioner would evaluate not only the patient’s physical health, but also the other aspects of their life that may be influencing their health. Scientific evidence and ancient teachings have proven that there are multiple components to health that make up a whole person, therefore, illness cannot be cured or wellness realized without taking multiple aspects into account.

For example, a traditional allopathic approach to a sore throat could include a drug substance or over the counter aspirin and possibly a cough and sore throat medicine. The integrative medical practitioner trained to stimulate the body’s healing potential, may prescribe nutritional changes, herbs, aromatherapy, gargling with various natural extracts, vitamins, garlic, broths, vegetable juice or extracts, calcium sources or homeopathic remedies.

The options we are offered today through Integrative Medicine invite us to become more proactive and better informed as health care consumers. This empowers us to take greater control over our health outcomes and longevity. That’s a prescription for good health we can all live with.


For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

 

 

Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolution With Mindful Eating

Accomplish Your New Years Resolution With Mindful Eating

I love what Geneen Roth has to say about our relationship with food and how it reflects our relationship with ourselves.  In my over thirty years as a clinical nutritionist, I have observed, like Geneen, that we feed ourselves the same way we live our lives. The way of mindful eating is that our eating patterns and nutrition, like adaptation and survival, are critical components of our ability to live and thrive. Accomplish your New Year’s resolution, such as improving your health or losing weight, with mindful eating.

The Source Of The Challenge

In spite of the fact that the food we eat has such a significant impact on our whole being and quality of life, most of us are wildly confused about nutrition. This is especially true today because this basic necessity has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry, selling us foods and nutrition related goods our parents didn’t need or know about. 

“In the old days”, food was produced more naturally with less processing, lifestyles were less complicated and decidedly less stressful.  Remember how we said we would never grow up to be like our parents? We may want to rethink that – they are the healthiest and wealthiest generation ever!  Nutrition has become a big health issue because of poor quality food, soaring stress levels and our lack of exercise.  “The balanced diet” –the tried and true standard for good nutrition has been pushed aside for every conceivable variation on what and how to eat.

Some of this new information is quite useful and lots of it appeals to our vanity or desire to avoid taking the long look at what Geneen Roth refers to as “being present to our food and our lives.” If we are present, we realize that moderation and balance (just like with stress!) is the way to go.  Our foods are chemicals and can affect our emotions as well as our bodies.

A Grainy Example

An example of this is excess grain consumption. Human beings do not produce enzymes to break down cellulose, the outer protective layer of grain.  Many animals like cows and horses can eat grain in its natural state without a problem. If we attempted that, we would injure our mouths and esophagus, so we alter the grain from its natural state to flour, in order to consume it.  We think we can eat whatever, so we get creative and bake, fry, boil, etc. this processed grain into “food.” 

Unfortunately, the majority of us do not tolerate the protein gluten found in most grains.  Gluten can damage and weaken the lining of our gut, leading to all kinds of problems, which can include eating disorders, obesity and depression. Humans are also the only mammals that continue to consume milk after weaning, and it’s breast milk from another species at that. 

When we are experiencing mindful eating, we become aware of our body’s responses to what we put into it.  That requires slowing down, which is what our nervous systems have to do for our digestion to work properly. Stress is “anti-nutritious” because during stress our ability to deal with the “emergency” at hand.  Stress also significantly increases the need for certain nutrients, which are critical for the stress response. Protein, Vitamins A, B, C, and E, unsaturated fatty acids and minerals need to be replenished.

Moving Forward Mindfully

How we can improve our nutrition and discern what is best for us? We can observe why and how we eat, what feedback our bodies give us and consider the always prudent common sense approach of balance and moderation.  We are living beings, we need to eat living food.  The good news is you can eat all the fruits, vegetables, salads, veggie soups and stews you want (barring allergies) and you can’t go wrong!

 

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

 

 

What Causes The Cycle of Emotional Eating?

What Causes The Cycle of Emotional Eating?

Thanks to the work of M.I.T. professor Judith Wurtman, PhD, and others we now understand the significant role that a neurotransmitter or "chemical messenger" called serotonin plays in producing our cravings for complex carbohydrates and sugars, two of the largest contributors to unhealthy weight gain.

Serotonin and other neurotransmitters are produced by our bodies as "feel good" hormones. Under stress, we do not have enough of these hormones and we become motivated to "self-soothe" by behaviors that lead to the increase in serotonin. Overeating carbohydrates and fatty rich foods or "comfort foods" such as cookies, ice cream, and other "treats" significantly increases these hormones. Many addictions such as smoking, drinking alcohol and abusing drugs are also attempts to self soothe and increase serotonin, but no other addictive or unhealthy behavior is as socially accepted and as easily available as overeating. We can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with company. It is no wonder we have such a love affair with eating.

In addition, the body’s need for certain nutrients, specifically protein, Vitamins A, C and E, unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol and minerals skyrockets when we are "adapting" under stress. Often, if we do not stop the stress cycle or appropriately supplement these vital nutrients, we can turn to overeating to satisfy the body's demand for the fuel it needs to keep dealing with the stress we are experiencing.

For a period of time, foods that comfort, soothe or supplement can make us feel calmer until our level of serotonin drops again or until we become more exhausted and need to feed ourselves once more. Then we start the cycle all over and consume more carbohydrates and rich, fatty food to stabilize our blood sugar level and brain function until we feel better again.

This is the cycle of self-medication or self-soothing practiced in homes, offices, restaurants, automobiles and yes, even in bathrooms across America. The long-term effect of such behaviors, apart from obesity and escalating chronic diseases, is that our nervous systems are being hyper-stimulated. Anxiety, exhaustion, depression, overeating and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms we experience when our nervous systems are working on overload.

As a result, it is no wonder that within the last few years, low carbohydrate diets have proven effective for so many people. Approximately 20% of Americans, or 20 million people, are currently on low carbohydrate diets. For many of us, our stress level is a major factor in the over-consumption of carbohydrates; therefore reducing or eating normal amounts of carbohydrates is spawning weight loss. However, this is the real issue: How long can we reduce our carbohydrate loading without reducing our stress levels and the behaviors that create elevated stress in the first place?

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

Do You Want To Empower Others To Take Control Of Their Health And Wellness?

It’s no secret that we Americans have reached an all-time level of being “unhealthy,” thanks to an ever-increasing stress-filled lifestyle. Despite widespread campaigns aimed at helping people stop smoking, eat better and exercise, the vast majority of Americans does not get regular exercise and are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. There is a clear need to empower others to take control of their health and wellness.  

There has been an explosion in obesity that is cited as high as 63%, along with climbing rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases associated with lifestyle and behavior choices. As far back as 1996, Harvard Medical School published a 7-year study which confirms up to 70% of all cancer, heart disease, stroke and mature onset diabetes are preventable with lifestyle and behavior changes. And yet, the health of the wealthiest nation in the world continues to decline.

A Need For Real Health Education

Core factors for this epidemic amongst Americans can be found in a recent government study. The Institute of Medicine published a major study identifying that ninety million Americans are "health illiterate." This does not mean, in this internet dominant society, that people do not have access to or are not receiving enough health and wellness information. It means that the majority of us do not know how to interpret or use the health information we receive to control or improve our health and wellness or prevent chronic disease. This reveal the need for more educated Holistic Nurses and Health Coaches to bridge the gap.

Think of the last time you read the results of a new study in a magazine and realized you did not know how to use that information to support or improve your health. In fact, data presented to the American College of Health Care Executives identifies "lack of information as the number one root cause of death.” Yet, experts like Susan Edgman-Levatin, Executive Director, John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital, acknowledges "It's no secret that traditional methods of patient education are hopelessly ineffective."

NIWH Has An Answer

Addressing this problem, as far back as 1977, the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston, Massachusetts, in cooperation with physicians, nurses and online health educators, began research and development on an extraordinary, whole-person focused model of health education. The product of these 30 years of development in Boston area hospitals, Whole Health Education®, has today found its way into the medical mainstream.

These specialized health educators, Whole Health Educators ™, are uniquely trained in respectful presence and mindful listening skills as well as evidence-based, integrated health sciences to demystify for their clients the five major factors of health that influence how well we are or how sick we become. By providing “the big picture of health”®, an integrated understanding of how these five aspects can cause health or disease, the patient or client can possess the knowledge and tools to make necessary lifestyle changes and behavioral choices that are personally right for them. Identifying the root cause and effect of a chronic condition can free an individual to make changes they may not have previously considered.

Become The Solution

If you are looking for work with purpose and integrity and are a health care professional, or entry level candidate, who desires to serve others by providing evidence-based health information, and a natural, spiritual outlook on healing, this program may be of interest to you. NIWH offers Holistic Nurse Certification and Health Coach Certification. Program are offered through distance learning as well as optional in-person weekend classes, conducted at a Harvard affiliate hospital in the Boston area, which includes nationally recognized health experts and outstanding core facility members. For more information visit www.niwh.org or call 888-354-HEAL (4325)

 

FREE Whole Health Consultations available.
888-354-4325 Take charge of your health!

Learn The Surprising Way That Food Affects Your Mood

Learn The Surprising Way That Food Affects Your Mood

Did you know that what you eat affects your mood? It's interesting that the emphasis is usually on how things from the outside of us affect our insides. In reality so much of what is going on inside of us affects our outsides. That’s right, our mood and our food are intimately connected.

This is really evident in terms of weight loss and weight gain. The way we feel about ourselves, work, life, if we are fulfilled or dissatisfied, has more to do with what or how much we choose to eat than how eating a food has to do with how it "makes us feel." Our food decisions are often linked to our level of emotional wellness.

One of the reasons diets don't work is because the "work" is being done on the outside of the problem instead of the inside. I have been a nutritionist for over 30 years and have seen tens of thousands of patients who want to change the way they look or the way they eat.

When we start to "work" on the goal, within a relatively short period of time, they become aware that there are underlying feelings and emotions associated with not eating foods that help them to "medicate" or mask their feelings.

They often become discouraged because the feelings are uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It is our human nature to avoid pain and move towards pleasure. It takes courage to truly tackle and confront the underlying issues of "food and mood," rather than focusing on the outside of the problem, to focus on the inside instead.

Here is an exercise you may find to be of value. If you are dealing with mood or food issues, keep a journal for 10 days. Write down everything you eat and how you feel when you don’t eat what you want, as well as how you feel when you DO eat what you want.

Just becoming more aware of what you are putting in your mouth and how it translates to how you feel after you eat a particular food, can be the start of a healthier and happier relationship with food and your mood. Before you take your next bite, consider whether you are feeding your stomach, your mood, or both.

 

FREE Whole Health Consultations available.
888-354-4325 Take charge of your health

 

 

Can One Drink a Day Increase Your Cancer Risk?

By now, everyone has heard about the benefits of red wine — that it’s packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and resveratrol, which may reduce bad cholesterol and help prevent blood clots [1]. But, as doctors have long known, there is another alcohol and cancer link. Namely, drinking alcohol is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer.

The Research

The Million Women study followed the behaviors, lifestyles and reproductive habits of women over the course of a seven-year period. It found that 13 percent of certain cancers were linked to alcohol use [2]. Women who were heavy drinkers were more likely to be affected. The cancers linked to alcohol use included: mouth, throat, esophageal, breast, liver and rectal.

Certain types of cancer are more pervasive depending on one’s alcohol habits. For example, mouth cancer affects up to 70 percent of heavy alcohol drinkers. Those imbibing five or more alcoholic drinks per day are more likely to suffer from cancers of the upper digestive tract. Three or more drinks per day can increase cancer risk by up to 41 percent in men. Two or more drinks per day increases the risk by 20 percent in women.

All Or Nothing

With news like this, it’s understandable that some people might rush to clear out their liquor cabinets and completely abstain from even “one more drink.” The key, however, is knowing that cancer deaths linked to alcohol overall is quite small — an estimated 2 to 4 percent. But it’s still worth noting that these deaths could have been prevented just by enjoying alcohol in moderation.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, doctors still acknowledge the benefits of drinking a glass of red wine. It appears to be good for the heart, and promising research has been done on the topic of resveratrol. However, the resveratrol studies have so far only been performed on mice — not humans [3]. To get the measured benefits of resveratrol noted in the studies, you would have to drink 15 gallons of red wine every day!

Is Red Really Best?

There are also noted benefits found in the alcohol itself, such as a 25-40 percent decrease in cardiovascular disease with moderate drinking [4]. These specific conditions include: peripheral vascular disease, ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot), sudden cardiac death and other cardiovascular issues. Moderate amounts of alcohol also raise the body’s “good” cholesterol. There are additional social aspects, such as drinking with friends or a stress-relieving drink at the end of a hard day of work [5].

The specific type of alcohol involved in reducing cardiovascular risk does not seem to matter — beer, wine, vodka and other types all seem to bestow the same effects.

With this in mind, what are the best ways to drink in moderation safely?

  • Time Frame Matters: Someone who has 5-7 drinks on a Friday night might think they’re getting the same benefits as someone who has one drink a day (if they can think straight at all), but binging on alcohol can have the opposite effect, including liver and other organ damage. Spread your alcohol consumption over a longer time period rather than guzzling it all at once.
     
  • Drink With a Meal: Having food in your stomach slows the rate of alcohol absorption, which is why more people feel hungover after drinking on an empty stomach. Drinking before a meal may also aid digestion.
     
  • Know Your Risks: If you have a family history of breast cancer, for example, it’s probably not a good idea to hit the bottle often. Understand the genetic links between alcoholism and cancer as it applies to your unique makeup.
     
  • Talk to Your Doctor: Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about your drinking habits. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can interact with alcohol and lead to severe side effects. Tell your doctor how many drinks you have per day (on average) and ask whether or not this may affect the medicines you’re taking.

In Summary

Knowing the risks and benefits of drinking is about more than just issuing “one size fits all” advice. Your family history, genetic makeup and susceptibility to cancer and alcoholism should all play a role in your decision to drink.

Even your mental health (such as whether or not you’re suffering from depression) can upset the balance and lead to addiction. Other factors such as your gender, level of physical activity, smoking habits and so forth will also play a role in how much alcohol your body can realistically tolerate, and if the health payoff is truly worth it.

 

FREE Whole Health Consultations available.
888-354-4325 Take charge of your health

How Reducing Your Stress Can Aid Digestion And Prevent Disease

How Reducing Your Stress Can Prevent Illness

Understanding the connection between brain function, cranial nerves, digestion and immune functions illuminates how and why dysfunction and “dis-ease” occur in the body. Just as our machines need electricity to operate, so do our internal organs and cells require electrical impulses to function. The degree to which your nervous system is balanced and well-functioning – or not – is the degree to which you are healthy and able to function at maximum capacity in the world. This is how reducing your stress can aid digestion and prevent disease.

Many healing arts such as acupuncture, yoga postures, meditation, chiropractic, breathing techniques, biofeedback, hypnosis, EMDR and others attempt to restore balance to the nervous system as the pathway to improving internal and external bodily function. These methods address the cause of the presenting condition, rather than just treating the pain or symptom of the bodily malfunction. 

Exploring The Body Systems 

By looking more closely at the digestive system and its intimate relationship with the immune system and the nervous system, we can easily follow the pathway of how brain function and the nervous system can create a “whole body” systemic cascade of bodily reactions, which over time lead to chronic illness and disease. Our nervous systems are impacted by stressors; however, stress is not limited to just the emotional realm as many believe. The topic of stressors and adrenal function are explored more deeply in other blogs.

For now, keep in mind that when our stress or anxiety causes our limbic system to send biochemical messages to our cranial nerves, our digestive systems can be functionally affected. The anxiety and stress increases our adrenal function output, and this increase of adrenal hormones and steroids in turn decreases our digestive and immune system functions.

A written schematic would look like this:

Stressor = A limbic system response and/or increased adrenal cortisol secretion. = Decreased digestive function thru sympathetic cranial nerves (vagus nerve) and decreased immune (bone marrow) function.

Overcoming The Effects Of Stress

The effect of a stressor on the body in the short term can be readily overcome by a healthy, adaptive nervous system. It is the longer stress–the chronic ongoing conditions and issues–that place wear and tear on our nervous systems and organs. It is this friction or wear and tear leads to chronic illness.

By understanding the intimate dance of our body’s organs and systems and how to maintain a balanced, healthy nervous system we can reduce stress to aid digestion and avoid illness or chronic disease, and to live long, productive and disease free lives!

FREE Whole Health Consultations available.
888-354-4325 Take charge of your health!

Learn The Secret To Taking Control Of Your Health And Wellness

Learn The Secret To Taking Control Of Your Health Today

Do you ever wonder why, in spite of all your good intentions, you just cannot seem to take control over your whole health and wellness? The answer to that question can be found in the words of Albert Einstein, who reminds us "you cannot correct a problem with the same thinking that created it." In other words, you cannot change old behaviors and overcome old obstacles without new information.

The Institute of Medicine recently published a study indicating that ninety million Americans are "health illiterate," which means we do not know how to interpret or use health information to control or improve our health or prevent chronic disease. Data compiled previously identified "lack of information as the number one root cause of death." Understanding that there exists a cause and effect relationship between what we know and how we behave, we need a model of integrating this important information to change the behaviors that lead to chronic disease.

According to a seven-year, 1996 Harvard Medical School study, approximately 70% of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes. Furthermore, our diseases and conditions are primarily a result of stress, food, environment, attitude, emotions or beliefs that keep us in behaviors that lead to illness. Which invites the question, are we consciously choosing to be unhealthy, or do we just not understand sufficiently the relationship between what we think, how we behave, what we put into our bodies and how we keep ourselves well or make ourselves sick?

In a world exploding with health information, especially on the internet, we are caught in the dilemma of having abundant amounts of information, without a context through which we can understand and utilize this information in a way that is appropriate for our own unique personal health needs. There is, however, good news. Making its way into the mainstream of health care is an integrated model of health information and education that provides a "whole picture of health" perspective, allowing each of us to discern and create our own unique approach to taking charge of our health and well-being. Whole Health Education, developed over the past 28 years, in cooperation with Boston physicians, nurses and educators, is an approach to understanding the cause and effect our behaviors and choices have on our state of health. Demystifying the five major factors that influence how sick or well we become, Whole Health Education provides a perspective on human anatomy and physiology, bio-chemistry, psycho-social, environmental and spiritual aspects which allow for an authentic understanding of what we need to know to resolve chronic health problems or to stay healthy.

Integrating evidence-based information with the wisdom of various spiritual teachings and a whole-person overview of behavioral options, Whole Health Education offers each of us a tool for personal health management by providing personalized health information that explains the physical, emotional, nutritional, environmental and spiritual aspects of a health concern.

For example, Mature Onset Diabetes affects approximately 18.2 million Americans and is the leading health concern in our culture today. As all chronic conditions are, Mature Onset Diabetes is a multi-dimensional disease state; the unique Whole Health perspective can facilitate the restoration of health for those with chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Physical/Structural

What happens on a physical and structural level with Mature Onset Diabetes? The specialized beta cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin, become incapable of producing adequate amounts of the critically necessary secretion. This happens over a period of years and can begin in our bodies, over time, by eating large amounts of insulin-provoking foods. These insulin provocateurs, which are sugars and starches in the form of complex carbohydrates, require the pancreas to produce more insulin so that the sugars can be carried over the cell membranes to all parts of the body. Serious disturbances occur when we do not have enough insulin to carry the sugar over the cell membranes. Insulin hooks onto the sugar molecule and acts like a lock and key mechanism to bring that sugar into the cell, where it is then used in the energy cycle of cell metabolism. The nervous system, brain and the lungs cannot function without the proper metabolism of sugars.

Emotional/Social

Just as diabetes is a lack of nourishment on a chemical/nutritional level, so is it a lack of emotional nourishment on an emotional/mental level. It relates to the "feel good" nourishment component of your body. What do we know about carbohydrates and serotonin? Carbohydrates provoke the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neuro-transmitter that produces a feeling of well-being. There is a direct relationship between what our body is doing chemically and how we feel emotionally. When we crave or build our diet around carbohydrates, this can be a way of "self-medicating" our emotional needs by eating carbohydrates to provoke insulin production.

Sugar problems can affect us emotionally. Let's say you have a pancreas that is not working properly. What can happen somatic-psychically from the pancreas to the brain? If we are feeling the ups and downs of hypoglycemia, and its biochemical/neurological symptoms, it may undermine our sense of security, self-esteem, and produce anxiety and fear.

What is the emotional component of diabetes and the pancreas? Often, it can be a poor sense of self-esteem and a fear of not being "good enough" or not belonging. These feelings, medicated by the serotonin foods, can lead us to not look deeply enough into what is causing our health concerns and allow the feeling/feeding cycle to continue.

Chemical/Nutritional

On the nutritional side, the treatment for people with Mature Onset Diabetes is to decrease the stress on the pancreas by making changes in their diet — decrease starches and sugars and decrease calories. Eat less, eat right. What kind of a diet would be best for preventing Mature Onset Diabetes? Vegetables, vegetables, and vegetables combined with lean proteins such as fish, chicken, water, a little fruit and a little fat. In a hypoglycemic situation, it is wise not to eat grain or sugar, but sprouted grain bread and other substitutes can be healthy and satisfying.

Because hormones are chemicals, diabetes and hypoglycemia are both hormonal-based problems. What we know about the hormone system is that it works as a balanced interdependent system. Diabetes is an endocrine-related, systemic problem. With a systemic problem like diabetes, you have a body system problem–you do not just have a condition by itself. It is known that the pancreas is related, through hormone interaction, to the adrenals, and the adrenals are in turn related to the reproductive system. It is known that these glands are related through hormone interactions to the pituitary and the pituitary is related to the thyroid gland, the thyroid is related to the thymus, and the thymus is related to the immune system.

Environmental/Internal & External

The environment that we work in, live in, walk through, and/or live near  can have an impact on the way that we feel and the way we feel about ourselves. How do we learn to trust in the order of the universe? By behaviors that come from trusting the order inside ourselves. We do this by setting boundaries — codes of conduct of how we are going to behave, eat, work exercise and live. If we don't violate our own boundaries, we are less likely to let anybody else violate our boundaries. We have to start with ourselves. Our experience of victimization can begin with our own self-victimizing behavior.

Spiritual/World View

A Hindu Vendata truth is that "the whole world is one family." It is said that there is only one disease, the disease of separateness, separating oneself from the awareness that we are one living organism. Competition creates isolation. The spiritual challenge presented by hypoglycemia and diabetes appears to be involved with over- or under-valuing the self: judgment of self and then others. Where are we in the process of getting to the truth that we are all equally important? The drama created by a one-up or one-down dynamic that we may allow to be part of our experience can lead to psychophysiology and the behavioral issues which can contribute to and create Mature Onset Diabetes.

Expanding your knowledge of whole health can transform your experience of taking care of yourself. It can provide an understanding of our health concerns and conditions from this multi-dimensional perspective that makes sense in a way we can utilize the information directly and in a meaningful way. In addition, having the information provided in a mindful, respectful way that invites each of us to discern what we know about our health and condition, how to choose to resolve the problem and what kind of care we choose to have, allows each of us to experience whole-person health care through whole health information. Then, WE become the center of our health and healing process, rather than the doctors or practitioners we go to for guidance.

 

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Calcium May Help You Burn More Fat

Information from the Nutrition Institute of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, appears to confirm the “rumor” that calcium-rich diets result in lower body fat. According to a recent study in mice conducted at the University, a diet that includes low-fat dairy products and calcium supplementation can result in significant weight loss through the burning rather than the storing of fat. This is a result of the role that stored calcium plays in the breakdown and burning of fat inside our body’s cells.

The Science Behind Calcium and Weightloss

Here is an excerpt from an article on the study, written by Jeanie Larche Davis:

“The researchers used mice bred to be obese in their current study. The mice were fed a special high-fat, high-sugar diet for six weeks. All had a 27% increase in body fat.

Some were then switched to a calorie-restricted diet. Of those, one group was given calcium supplements (calcium carbonate similar to Tums) and others were fed “medium” and “high” amounts of low-fat dry milk.

Body fat storage was markedly reduced by all three high-calcium diets, say the authors.
Those given calcium supplements had good results, when combined with the restricted-calorie diet.

Mice getting their calcium via supplements had a 42% decrease in body fat, whereas mice eating without supplements had an 8% body fat loss.”

Dissecting Why It Works 

This was of great interest to me, and it felt important to share. Over the past 10 years, I have observed that during any period of time when I have consistently taken calcium supplementation, in the form of powdered calcium/magnesium, my body weight has definitely decreased.

Within a month or so of not taking the calcium/magnesium powder, the weight starts to creep back on. This article helps to answer the question of why. Thyroxine, secreted by the thyroid, is a critical hormone in intracellular metabolism. Thyroxine also has a significant impact on intracellular metabolism and on the utilization of calcium.

Having a calcium rich diet allows the thyroxin that is necessary for cellular metabolism to be more efficient in utilizing the fat stored in our cells for energy! That is why high calcium diets facilitate weight loss.

Put It In Practice

Armed with that information we can enjoy eating our spinach, kale and sardines, knowing they are working away to keep our body fat burning. 

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888-354-4325 Take charge of your health!