100 Days of Gratitude starting Now

I love watching Nature.

I love watching Nature.

This is a short post to let ppl know that a new 100-day gratitude challenge is starting now. Here is a link to the first post for those who wish to join me or follow along for the last 100 days of 2014 [click here].

“Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.” ~ Marianne Williamson

#my3thanks

Gratitude Campaign Badge
USC’s Gratitude Campaign

When I checked my email the other day, I was surprised and happy to see an email from the community manager at USC School of Social Work with an invitation to their Gratitude Blog Carnival.

I was surprised that they had found my 100-Day Gratitude Challenge and happy to receive an invitation to write a blog post on gratitude thus pulling me out of hibernation to add one more post to this blog before another year comes to an end.

So—here are the three things I’m grateful for in 2013; family, friends and community.

Sometimes we don’t realize how important family is until a major challenge occurs. I feel very grateful and blessed to have a family that is there for me, no matter what.

Some of you know from my blog posts about the challenges I face living with the debilitating chronic illness of RA. Not only is RA physically devastating, it can have devastating emotional, social, mental and financial consequences as well.

If it were not for my family, I don’t know where I would be. I love my family so much that I want to hug each and every one of them every day.

It’s easy to take family for granted or harbor resentments and ill-feelings when we are caught up in our day-to-day tales of survival. Sometimes it takes a shock to wake us up to the fact that, “In the End, Only Love Matters. “

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little effort, we can choose to wake up through the daily practice of gratitude.

Next to family, there is nothing more important than kind, loving and supportive friends. I am so very blessed to have friends of this caliber.

As with my family, I don’t know where I would be without my friends. Friends who go above and beyond the call of duty, who show up every time you need help without having to call to ask because they just somehow seem to know when to show up.

Sometimes friends are all a person has. Maybe their family is gone or not available for some reason. Friends become a major importance in these circumstances because everyone needs somebody to be there for them.

I cannot tell you how often I give thanks for my friends.

Community work is a world all of its own that has entered my life during the last two years. There is a different energy in community work than what I am use to in the “business world”.  Community is about collaboration and win-win scenarios, at least that is my experience thus far.

I like the idea of working together for the common good of all people that includes treating the environment and people with kindness, respect and dignity. Surely one day we will figure out on a grand scale how to meld business and community through new models of business so that no one is left behind and each one of us has an opportunity to achieve our full potential.

Through community involvement I feel so very grateful to meet incredibly creative, talented and energetic individuals who never cease to amaze me. There is so much good going on in the world when you stop to take a look. Awesome People Doing Amazing Things for their communities and our world.

I feel blessed to be a part of a great community where wonderful things are happening.

What three things are you grateful for in 2013?

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your time and feel honored that you visited my blog.

Much love to all.

Five months later….

Can you see two teeny tiny brown specs on the grass by the first tree? A pair of sweet little rabbits.

Can you see the teeny tiny brown spec on the grass by the first tree? A pair of sweet little rabbits.

So here it is, the month of July already, five months since my last post where I left you hanging at my review of chapter six of  the book, Clean – Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate by Alejandro Junger, M.D.

Much has happened since the winter. You as well?

At first, I thought I’d write about what happened during my unannounced blogging break, then I decided not to. I realized that I’d be writing about things I don’t necessarily want to remember.

I’ll just say, I’ve had my challenges (physically and financially).

Who was it that said, “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.”

Since I’m still motoring along, I must be stronger.

Time will be the teller.

Some of you know I have another blog, Miracle Mama, where I inspire uplifted thought through the sharing of  miracle stories, inspirational interviews, products and services.

Over the next several months, I’ll be implementing new ideas to grow and expand the site.

If you know any miracle stories or have experienced something you want to share (maybe something uplifting or helpful to others) please contact me via email. I would love to hear from you!

I hope all is well with everyone. I’ll be around to see what you are up to soon.

Hopefully, you will come to visit me at Miracle Mama for now.  :)

Learning about Health – Day 51

English: Broth Svenska: Buljong

English: Broth Svenska: Buljong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know how this happened exactly, but I seemed to have diverted (a bit) from reading and writing about Dr. Junger’s Clean Program. My last post took me up to chapter six where I learned about intestinal health.

Somehow I got focused on intestinal health and revisited some earlier information I had explored several months ago. Has anyone heard of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride?

Dr. Campbell-McBride is a medical doctor with two postgraduate degrees: Master of Medical Sciences in Neurology and Master of Medical Sciences in Human Nutrition.

She is well-known for developing a concept of GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome). GAPS is a natural treatment for Autism, ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia.

In addition, the GAPS Nutritional Protocol will help with all digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, eating disorders, epilepsy, failure to thrive, childhood disease, problems with development, and much more.

If this interests you, here is the link to a 5-minute video where Natasha discusses the importance of healthy gut flora (click here).

One of the staples in the GAPS Nutritional Protocol is bone broth. Lots of bone broth and lots of soup made with bone broth. Not only is the bone broth important, it’s crucial to scrape the bones clean of all meaty bits (cartilage/connective tissue) and including adding vinegar to the water to help extract the minerals from the bones and tapping the bones to extract the bone marrow.

So — for the last two weeks, I’ve been enjoying bone broth. The first week, I tried beef bones. The second week, chicken bones. This week it’s beef bones again. I may try making broth with fish bones soon.

In addition to the bone broth, Dr. McBride recommends to slowly add fermented foods and probiotics into the diet. Her website offers a great amount of information to help get a person started (click here to read).

What started me thinking seriously about intestinal health is a situation that occurred three weeks ago. I caught the flu (I haven’t had the flu since my son was 4 yrs. old).

I didn’t eat a thing for two days and anything I had eaten prior to that, left my body rather quickly. For the next three days, I ate very sparingly.

The reason I mention this is because I made a wonderful discovery.

When I had no food in my system, the RA symptoms subsided greatly. Inflammation in my joints lessened considerably. When food was re-introduced, RA symptoms increased again.

This flu episode  started me wondering if this RA autoimmune disease has something to do with the state of my gut.

I figure it’s worth spending the time to see if the GAPS diet and Clean program have an effect on the state of my health. If nothing else, it will keep my busy and out of trouble (hehehe).

That’s all for now. Thank you for taking the time to read this learning about health series. Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Learning about Health – Day 25

Countryside near the TVA site of the Douglas dam, Tenn. (LOC)
A Simpler Time.

If you are new to this site and wondering what this is about, I’ve given myself a 100-day health challenge. I’m using Dr. Junger’s book, Clean – Remove Restore Rejuvenate to guide me through his three-week detoxification program.

I write what I learn from each chapter as I go through Dr. Junger’s book. Hopefully, it will help me to stay committed to completing the detoxification plan. If this sounds like something that interests you, I highly recommend purchasing Dr. Junger’s book (just so you know, I don’t receive a commission should you decide to purchase).

The title for chapter six is, “The Common Root of Dysfunction: Digging for Answers.” Sounds like we’re getting somewhere.

“When the leaves of a plant start looking sick, wise gardeners will dig out the root to take a look.”

Dr. Junger writes that healthy leaves come from healthy nutrient rich soil. By studying other traditions of healing he learned the concept that health and disease start in the intestines.”

Dr. Junger compares the human gastrointestinal system to that of plant roots. The intestines absorb nutrients from our food that function as building blocks that make our bodies.  He states that every single organ or function in the body has a direct link to the intestines.”

Up to eighty percent of our immune system is found in the intestines.

In this chapter, Dr. Junger discusses the four major constituents of the gut system.

The first is the intestinal flora. A healthy intestine contains about two pounds of helpful bacteria.”

The system malfunctions  when nutrient depletion results from inadequate intestinal flora. The helpful bacteria protect us from infections and disease-causing bacteria. Beneficial flora, neutralizes toxins before they get into the bloodstream and keep the bowels regularly moving toxins out of the body.

Modern living creates an imbalance in the gut with things like toxic chemicals, medications, especially antibiotics, alcohol, caffeine and stress.

Yeast is one organism that over-grows when intestinal flora is out of balance. Yeast thrives on sweet foods and dairy products and makes us bloated and gassy by irritating the intestinal lining.

Restoring the intestinal flora is part of the Clean program.

The second major constituent is the intestinal wall. The intestinal lining acts as a barrier to unwanted substances from getting inside and to bacteria, toxins and undigested food from getting out into the bloodstream.

When the intestinal wall cells are smooth, this is known as a healthy intestine. Sometimes cracks occur due to lower healthy bacteria levels caused by inflammation, food sensitivity, excessive alcohol, coffee, preservatives, certain types of medications, and other irritants.

When cracks occur the intestines become permeable. This condition is called Leaky Gut Syndrome.

The third major constituent is the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). The GALT is the system that mounts the attack against toxic bacteria and chemicals in food and when undigested pieces cross the intestinal-wall barrier, the immune system goes full force.

Dr. Junger states, “Simply from exposure to the standard American diet, our GALT tends to live in a high state of alert, constantly initiating immune responses.”

“Healthy intestinal flora is key to healthy immunity, including ordinary defense against all kinds of colds and bugs.”

The fourth major constituent is nerve cells. Around the intestines and GALT are almost as many nerves cells as in the brain. You know those “gut instincts” you have. The ones that are usually right, but pushed aside when your brain knows better.

It’s because of these nerve cells that the intestines can control their own functions independent of the brain. Apparently, the intestinal nerve cells communicate just like brain neurons — with neurotransmitters.

In fact, Dr. Junger discovered that 80 to 90 percent of the bodies serotonin is made by the intestinal nerve cells. Serotonin is responsible for producing feelings of happiness and well-being.  Isn’t that really interesting?

An equally interesting topic discussed is on gene expression. Things that affect whether a gene is turned on or turned off are; food, emotions, thoughts, accumulated toxins and environmental influences such as heat, light, sound, radiation, etc.

The science of nutrigenomics studies how our food affects gene expression. Researchers at John Hopkins University discovered “sulforaphane” found in the seeds of broccoli, “toned down the expression of certain cancer genes.” Now we know, genes do not equal destiny.

On a personal note, it’s very clear to me where I need to focus my efforts in healing from RA; a healthy intestinal eco-system.

Next post will explore chapter seven, “The Clean Program“.

To read a summary of chapter five, click here.

A journey is always more fun with company and so I thank each and every one from the bottom of my heart for accompanying me on this learning about health experience.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat symptoms or medical conditions. Always consult a qualified medical professional.

Learning about Health – Day 18

Microsoft Office Images

Microsoft Office Images

In chapter five of Clean – Remove Restore Rejuvenate, Dr. Junger explores what toxins are and teaches us about how they affect our health.

Dr. Junger states, Toxins have many ways of interfering with the normal physiology of life.”

Toxins, such as arsenic, blocks the oxygen needed to fully metabolize glucose. Other toxins, block enzymes, or stimulate body functions that begin to cause damage, such as caffeine.

Caffeine stimulates the adrenals causing an increased heart rate, blood pressure, alertness and body temperature. When taken several times a day these reactions can exhaust the adrenal glands.

This happened to me. I use to drink several cups of coffee daily and smoke a pack or more of cigarettes.

“Other toxins kill the good bacteria in the intestinal tract, block oxygen from binding to red blood cells, interfere with DNA synthesis by switching genes on and off, or block the absorption of different vitamins.”

Toxins interfere with the body’s ability to balance itself and when there are numerous kinds of toxins in the body, it’s impossible to predict their effects.

Dr. Junger began noticing the symptom of “puffiness” in his patients. He uses this term to describe a state known as “mucus” by Eastern forms of medicine.

Ayurveda medicine says that toxic foods and toxic thoughts present a “mucusy heaviness in the body.” Chinese medicine says this mucus is found in and around the cells, in the blood, in the GI tract and in your thoughts.

Mucus isn’t all bad though as it is the bodies natural defense against irritants. An example is when you inhale pepper. The nose runs trying to get the irritant out so that it doesn’t damage the nose lining.

Dr. Junger’s book completely explains why and where this mucus gets stuck and how it creates havoc in our bodies. And, the more we eat and snack, the more the mucus builds up and can’t leave the body.

“When you eat sparingly, take in nutrients that promote detoxification and start exercising, you “de-puff.”

Dr. Junger explains that an effective detoxification program will help shed weight (water and mucus), whiten eyes, firm skin, especially in the face, provide a sense of clarity and lightness in body and mind as vital fresh food attracts uplifted thought.

Constipation, allergies, depression, irritable bowel syndrome are some of the conditions that Dr. Junger’s patients are overcoming through his detoxification program.

Dr. Junger goes on to explain the bodies ecosystem and how toxins affect the bodies environment in fascinating detail. It makes one appreciate just how precious and miraculous it is to have a body.

If this information interests you at all, I highly recommend purchasing Dr. Junger’s book, Clean – Remove Restore Rejuvenate.

Next post will explore chapter six.

To read a summary of chapters three and four, click here.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat symptoms or medical conditions. Always consult a qualified medical professional.

The Future is Now

New year celebration!

New year celebration!

The thing I love about blogging on WordPress and posting updates on Facebook is that, whether I like it or not, my life is on record. That is, parts of my life are on record.

Having a record comes in very handy as we come to the end of another year. I can travel back in time to view snippets of life’s moments. For instance, I see that I began 2012 in the same way I’m ending 2012: focused on diet.

In January 2012, I learned that Dr. Terry Wahls healed from MS through diet.

In February, I learned that Joe Cross healed from a rare autoimmune disease and lost 100 lbs through a change in diet.

In March, I learned that Anita Moorjani healed from stage four Lymphoma, although, diet had nothing to do with it. That experience, was a very out-of-the-ordinary occurrence. I’d say; a miracle.

During the year, I noticed that health challenges were up and down for me, as was sticking to a healthy eating program.

Still, through it all, I have come to the conclusion that the foods I eat affect the level of RA symptoms I experience and in fact, they affect how I feel generally.

Yet, because of an event that occurred the year prior; I learned In The End, Only Love Matters.

And so, I have learned not to stress myself out over the little stuff, like diet, health challenges, financial challenges, silly drivers, etc.

I learned that I must make the best of each day no matter what seems to be going on in the moment because how I think, feel and react to what is going on in the moment is creating my future.

“The future is Now;” when I heard Ti Caine say these words, a light bulb went on.

To me, this statement means; if you’re not changing what you’re thinking, doing,  how you’re feeling or reacting in the moment, chances are, you’ll be doing exactly the same things a year from now and you’ll wonder why your life is the same.

Been there; done that. And, still doing it, to a point.

Even though, I learned about Love and I learned about Gratitude, it’s in the moment-to-moment practice where it really counts.

So — by this time next year, I want to say, I’m the proud owner of a “clean” body (clean being detoxified of allergens and toxic substances), I increased my income by $400 a month and I increased my level of peace, joy and gratitude.

I guess, another way of saying “the future is Now” is: We create our future each and every moment.

If I want health, abundance, peace, joy and gratitude in future, I have to make the choice Now —  in each and every moment.

And so, this blog post amounts to my way of pondering, picturing and planning the best year ever.

Wishing everyone many blessings and thank you very much for visiting, reading and commenting on the blog.

May we love lots, laugh lots and live lots. And may 2013 be your best year ever!