Heal the Planet, Heal Yourself

You try to eat healthy. You buy organic. You travel to the farmers market whenever you can to get fresh, local produce. You try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink the proper amount of water. You exercise. So how much is this helping, in this toxic environment? Is this enough to stay healthy? To keep cancer at bay? Asthma, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease? How much does the environment affect you, despite your “healthy” choices? What if anything can you do about it?

These are the questions that come to mind when I try to do the right thing. I can’t help but wonder how the environment (air, soil, water) is affecting my food, body, mind and health, despite my best efforts.

Food, the environment and our health are inextricably linked. What we do to our planet, we do to our food – and to the air and water – and then to ourselves. Food grown and produced in an unhealthy environment is unhealthy. We introduce toxic chemicals into the food, air and water supply and then it enters our bodies. Pollution exits our tailpipes and factories and infiltrates the environment, and our bodies. This causes cancer, asthma, allergies, birth defects and more. The planet is changing, temperatures are rising and as a result farmland and crops are being affected. This can be overwhelming to think about and make one wonder, what can I, “little old me” do about it?

The health of the environment is definitely a problem, and needs to be addressed. At the same time, what we put into our bodies does matter. We should eat quality food, drink plenty of water, exercise, work to reduce stress, etc. Lifestyle choices do affect health. For instance, many healthy plant foods have proven cancer fighting abilities. Components of plant foods help the body to flush toxins out, before they can do harm like cause cancer. A healthy diet and lifestyle also have many other health benefits, including reducing stress  – a major cause of disease – and the risk of diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. So it does matter, but it ALL matters. We must also do what we can to help heal the planet. But where do we begin?

What can I do to help heal this floating blue ball we call Earth that must heal and sustain us?

I recently watched the documentary (with a long, awkward title): “How to Let Go of the World and Love all the Things Climate Can’t Change”. I was inspired and better understood what is going on with our planet, on a macro level. On a micro level, I firmly believe that awareness is the key to solving these and other problems. One person at a time, one click at a time, can change the world. If you can access this documentary, I recommend watching it and please spread the word. Share with all of those you can. We can do this, but only if enough of us wake up and demand change.

 

Poison in Food Supply

pesticideThe process of producing much of the US food supply involves poisoning it, the surrounding areas and its inhabitants. More and more people in this country are coming down with asthma, autism, and cancer due to an unhealthy diet, lifestyle and environment. Yet, this process of poisoning our food and environment continues.

I can personally attest to the effects of these powerful chemicals, including pesticides that are used in commercial farming. I relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to an area called the worlds “salad bowl” in central CA, which grows much of the world’s produce. During my daily commute through the vast, spectacularly beautiful farmland, I regularly felt a burning sensation in my throat and chest, which I had never experienced before. When I changed my route away from the farmland, this strange burning sensation in my respiratory system completely ceased. I am confident however, I am still coming into contact with chemicals in the food I eat, water I drink, and air I breathe, and so no doubt are you. Obviously the field workers are being regularly exposed as they cannot “drive around” the area.

This chemical processing is only one part of the problem. There is much more being done to our food and our environment as man continues to try to make money and outsmart Mother Nature. For instance, plant DNA is being modified, and soil is often not replenished with nutrients in between plantings. This further weakens an already compromised food supply and planet. Man-made “mystery” food is being created with unknown effects on people, animals, and the planet, and less nutrient dense foods with toxic chemicals added to it are being produced. We are consuming this unhealthy mix and it is making us sick.

Contributing to this “sicklic” cycle is lack of awareness. Consumers do not see these processes or microscopic chemicals and farm workers who experience it first-hand, have little to no power to speak up or change it. And so the sicklic-cycle continues and will continue until something forces it to alter course.

Most companies that mass produce food do not operate on the basis of kindness; they operate on the basis of profit. Cheap processing methods are therefore preferred and since people still buy this unhealthy food, producers have no reason to switch to healthier methods. Period. Let’s change the part of the equation we can control; let us the consumer pay more attention and vote more with our dollars and voices, loud and impactful enough to force change.

Then wait for it…as the chemotherapy and other sickness industry profiteers will quiver at the thought of a clean, healthy planet. And for the record, the same recipe of greed and ignorance applies to that sick-cycle as well.

For more like this:
http://anutritionrevolution.com/the-book/

The Power of Thought Over Health

Practicing Positivity with “The Four Agreements”

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

There are many studies that show the mind has a powerful effect on the body. We all know that we can control our thoughts, but how many of us actively do? Since our thoughts, like diet and exercise, determine body function, we should also practice healthy thinking.

The Power of Thought Over Disease

Many research studies show that positive thinking is an effective tool in the fight against cancer and other diseases.

Stress is a leading cause of disease. Stress can be reduced with modified thinking as stress levels are based on an individual’s interpretation of how stressful something is. Basically, if we believe an event is stressful, our bodies will respond accordingly. The reverse is also true. So, how do we control our thoughts in order to remain disease and stress free?

Recently, I benefitted from reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. This book is a great tool to learn how to move our thoughts, and our behaviors, into a healthy direction. This book dramatically changed my thoughts and life, and so in honor of the holidays and your health, I will summarize the four agreements.

The first agreement: Be impeccable with your word. Your word is your power to create and is how your intent manifests. The word is a force, the power you have to express, communicate, think and create the events in your life. The word is like a double edged sword. It can create a beautiful reality or cause destruction around you. Your word can be pure magic, but, to misuse the word is what the author calls black magic. Too often words are used that injure or create fear. Impeccable means “without sin”, so to use your word impeccably means to speak without sin, or with good intent. In other words, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.

The second agreement: Don’t take anything personally. This one is a bit more self-explanatory however, for most people it is easier said than done. If someone sees you on the street and says, “Hey, you are stupid.” it is not about you it is about them. If you take it personally, perhaps you believe you are stupid. How would this person know if you are stupid or not? Is he psychic?  Ruiz points out that this second agreement is based on the first as if we are all impeccable with our word, we will not shout comments at others like “you are stupid” nor will we speak that way to, or believe these negative things about, ourselves.

The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions. The first thought that comes to my mind is the wife or girlfriend who pouts without saying a word hoping the husband or boyfriend will figure out what is wrong (I of course have never done this!). Most men are not psychic and he is therefore probably not going to figure it out, unless she tells him. This is the idea behind the third agreement. Don’t assume people know your wants, needs or expectations; communicate them instead to avoid hurt feelings and arguments.

The fourth agreement: Always do your best. This agreement allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits. Doing your best can mean doing better one day than another, as your best will vary depending on whether you are tired or well rested, unwell or healthy, but always do your best—no more and no less.

There is a reason this powerful little book was on the New York Times Bestseller List for over seven years. I highly recommend it to adjust your thoughts, improve your health and change your life.

This book will also make a great gift. Giving a positive gift like this may also boost your health as there are studies that show acts of kindness improve the mood and health of those who perform, receive and witness them.

There are many of us who can benefit from improving our thoughts and therefore our health. Additionally, when I see television commercials with wives criticizing their husband’s laundry folding abilities and those that condone lies and humiliation, as well as programs like “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” and those with characters that regularly insult each other, it only enforces my already held belief that our society can benefit in many ways from practicing The Four Agreements.

May peace, love, positivity and kindness always be with you. Happy holidays!

Resources:

Ruiz, M. A. (1997). The Four Agreements. Amber-Allen Publishing; San Rafael, CA.

 

 

Got GERD? Learn to Balance Body Acid Naturally

By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian

The foods we eat contribute directly to the pH balance in our bodies. If the acid levels in our diet are out of balance, health problems will often occur. Problems associated with high acidity include acid reflux, GERD and indigestion. Acidic environments are also linked to cancer and other diseases.

Acidic foods are highly prevalent in the average American diet. These foods need to be consumed in balance with more basic (alkaline) foods to keep the body chemistry in line. Use the following list to help balance your body chemistry naturally.

Highly Acidic Foods (avoid):

Alcohol, asparagus, beans, Brussels sprouts, buckwheat, catsup, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cocoa, coffee, cornstarch, cranberries, eggs, fish, flour based products, legumes, lentils, meat, milk, mustard, noodles, oatmeal, olives, organ meats, pasta, pepper, plums, poultry, prunes, sauerkraut, shellfish, soft drinks, sugar, all foods with added sugar, tea and vinegar. Also aspirin, tobacco and most drugs.

Moderately Acidic Foods (limit):

Butter, canned or glazed fruit, cheeses, dried coconut, dried or sulfured fruit (most), grains (most), ice cream, ice milk, lamb’s quarters, nuts and seeds (most).

Highly Basic Foods (consume liberally):

Avocados, corn, dates, fresh coconut, fresh fruits (most- even citrus), fresh vegetables (most- especially kudzu, onions, potatoes, rutabagas), honey, horseradish, maple syrup, molasses, mushrooms, onions, raisins, soy products, sprouts, Umeboshi plums and watercress.

Moderately Basic Foods (consume liberally):

Almonds, blackstrap molasses, brazil nuts, chestnuts, lima beans, millet and soured dairy products.

Resources:

Balch, P. A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing. Avery Publishing: New York.