100-day Gratitude Challenge 2015

The 100-day gratitude challenge is continuing into 2015 at miraclemama.com where I’m posting regular updates for now. I have re-posted today’s entry here. For previous and ongoing posts check out miraclemama.com.

Original posted at miraclemama.com

Gratitude Challenge 2015: What’s in your Heart?
Gratitude

A favourite quote of mine is from a commencement address given by Jim Carrey at the 2014 MUM Graduation.

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. Because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart.” ~ Excerpt from Jim Carrey 2014 MUM commencement address.

I realized the truth of these words in 2011 when I ended up in the hospital emergency department as I share in the story, “In the End, Only Love Matters.”

The practice of gratitude will open your heart and the more you practice the better you will feel and the deeper you will feel love.

Related articles ♦ 100-Day Gratitude Challenge, Get Out of Your Head and into Your Heart

Thanks for reading and sharing! Wishing you an awesome day! 🙂

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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 â€” 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.

Learning about Health – Day 13

Yummy

Yummy

In the New York Times bestseller Clean:  Remove Restore Rejuvenate, Dr. Junger opens chapter three with a question he asked himself after a consultation with a New York psychiatrist, “How and why did my brain cells forget their chemistry?”

The psychiatrist told him that a low serotonin level in his brain caused his symptoms, but the psychiatrist did not tell him how and why his brain developed the low serotonin levels in the first place.

Dr. Junger discusses the differences between western and eastern schools of medicine and states that unlike eastern schools, western doctors no longer diagnose a medical problem by observation and deduction.

In the west, diagnosis is based on code. That is, a list of disease names with corresponding symptoms for which treatment is based on a list of pharmaceuticals.

The “how” and “why” the patient experiences symptoms is not usually addressed.

What Dr. Junger writes in his book is exactly my experience.

I presented symptoms. The doctor took some tests and sent me to a rheumatologist. I received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. The rheumatologist began treatment from the list of medically accepted pharmaceuticals for RA.

Since then, the “how” and “why” questions have led me on a personal search for answers in naturopathy, homeopathy, eastern schools of medicine, spiritual traditions, and many different healing modalities.

Logically, it makes sense to me that if an over-reactive immune system is the cause of RA symptoms, then something must be present in the body to cause the over-reaction.

It does not make sense to me that my immune system is in fight mode for some elusive reason as western medicine would have us believe.

Dr.Junger makes a compelling case for toxic overload as the cause of many western diseases.

He defines a toxin as “something that interferes with normal physiology and negatively impacts bodily function.”

Chapter three quite thoroughly discusses how we are exposed to toxins.

In chapter four, Dr. Junger explores the evolution of the modern food system and its effects on our health and makes a case for “we are what we eat”, in addition to, “you eat what you are”.

Dr. Junger explains,  we are what we eat because “the compounds that the body makes from food are what it uses to build your bones, muscles, tissues and even the molecules and enzymes that fund your chemistry.”

And, you eat what you are because you crave the foods your body is accustomed to having. Dr. Junger says, “craving toxic food is a classic sign of a toxic state.”

When you switch your diet to live food that carries the energy of life you will find yourself craving these foods again and again.

I found this to be true for me, as well. When I stick to a live food diet, I find myself craving fresh live food juices and smoothies quite frequently. When I slip back into old habits, I crave fish and chips, cheeseburgers and chicken pot pie.

At the end of chapter four, Dr. Junger tells us how to live a longer, healthier life based on life expectancy research from communities world-wide.

Communities that grow their food using compost, water and sun, who eat mostly raw and seasonal foods, whose animals are fed and raised in natural ways, who lovingly and leisurely prepare their food, who chew their food ten times longer, who sit at the table with family and friends, who spent time in the sun, move a lot, occasionally enjoy rich foods and wine, who have strong bonds with family and friends, and who live life with a strong sense of purpose and community belonging live a longer, healthier life.

According to Dr. Junger, Clean is about giving rest and relaxation to the digestive system to awaken the body’s own detoxification system so that it will clean up and eliminate toxins that make a body sick.

Next post will cover chapter five.

To read a summary of chapter two, click here, chapter one, 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.

Learning about Health – Day 2

Microsoft Office Images

Microsoft Office Images

In the previous post, I summarized chapter one of  Clean: Remove Restore and Rejuvenate.

In chapter one, we learn that our body’s detoxification system is continually working helping to keep us alive.  The cells are constantly eliminating waste substances that get processed through body systems and are then expelled.

If the system is efficient it helps to keep us healthy and young. If the system is heavily clogged due to environmental toxins,  improper diet and stress, symptoms and health conditions appear.

Chapter two, chronicles Dr. Junger’s journey from childhood in Uruguay where his family shopped at the local farmer’s market, ate lunch and dinner together at the family table through his early desire to become a doctor and then onto cardiology where the effects of his lifestyle and what he saw in his patients led to a desire for change.

Dr. Junger completed his internship at New York University’s Downtown Hospital in Lower Manhattan. He writes that the pace was fast with his main sources of nourishment from takeout, vending machines, nurses’ potlucks and the hospital cafeteria.

When he had time, he shopped at the local supermarket for fast microwave food that fit perfectly with his hectic schedule.

He found himself thinking, “Boy these Americans really know how to make things easy.”

Dr. Junger began to gain weight, he sneezed often when the seasons changed and always felt exhausted. It seemed the convenience foods were taking a toll on his health.

At the completion of a three-year internship and residency, Dr. Junger moved to Manhattan’s Upper East Side and started his cardiology training at Lenox Hill Hospital.

During the second three years of training his allergies got so bad that he had to use antihistamines and steroid inhalers. He felt bloated often with abdominal discomfort alternating between constipation and diarrhea.

After consulting a Gastroenterologist and going through all the necessary medical tests to rule out serious health conditions, Dr. Junger was given a diagnosis of “irritable bowel syndrome.”

The treatments suggested were antispasmodic pills, anti-flatulence pills, painkillers and anti-diarrhea medication alternating with laxatives.

He wasn’t surprised that nobody asked him what he was eating since he had never taken a nutrition class in his medical training.

Then something surprising occurred, Dr. Junger started waking up with chest pain. As a cardiologist he knew the heart muscle and its arteries were not the problem. He found out he was depressed.

With no family history of depression and no situational evidence to cause his feelings of impending doom, he decided to seek help.

In addition to feelings of sadness, Dr. Junger noticed his mind did not stop thinking thoughts. Dialogues played incessantly and kept him awake at night.

A psychiatrist prescribed Prozac, stating that a chemical imbalance prevented his brain from producing enough serotonin.

Dr. Junger received a second opinion. This time he was prescribed Zoloft, the cousin to Prozac. The psychiatrist explained that serotonin is responsible for the feeling of well-being and happiness. He reassured Dr. Junger that he wasn’t alone and stated he was starting to see depression in almost epidemic proportions.

Dr. Junger rejected the idea of being on prescription drugs for life and began his own research. Delving into subjects of psychiatry and psychology led him to self-help and then on to Eastern Philosophy.

Dr. Junger discovered meditation helped calm his mind and led him to being more present in the moment. He learned that the study of yoga encompassed personal attitudes toward the world and others, attitudes toward self, body postures, breathing exercises, control of the senses, concentration, meditation and present moment awareness.

An opportunity to work at a meditation school in India for one year came to Dr. Junger. He took it without hesitation.

While at the meditation school in India, Dr. Junger’s medical symptoms were clearing up.

At the end of the year, he returned to America and took a job as cardiologist in a busy practice. Many of the patients were taking five or more prescriptions and his job encouraged adding more.

One day, Dr. Junger received a visit from a friend who had just returned from a stay at the We Care Spa.

Dr. Junger’s mouth dropped as he watched his friend walk into the room. Ten days before, he saw a bloated, overweight, sallow-skinned man. Now, he saw a man who was fifteen pounds lighter, with shiny glowing skin and with eyes whose whites glistened.

The spa is known for green juices, colonics, massage, sunshine, yoga and meditation.

Due to his hectic and committed schedule, Dr. Junger couldn’t actually stay at the Spa so he took on the program as a spa out-patient.

After two weeks of the program, his body reset itself. All of his symptoms disappeared including headaches, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and depression.

This experience motivated Dr. Junger to research detoxification processes and expanded his doctor toolkit to include detoxification, dietary change and wellness from inside.

This was the beginning of the Clean Program.

Next post will summarize chapter three.

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.

Marianne changed her Profile

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Just thought I’d have a Facebook moment and let followers know that I’ve changed my profile script.

Since WordPress doesn’t make the announcement, it seemed like a good idea for a new post, but I could be wrong.

Here’s the new “About me” on my profile pic;

“He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother.” These lyrics are some of my all time favorite. When I was growing up, I used song lyrics to describe how I felt about my life. In my early teens, this inclination died and was no more. Many years later, every now and then, it returns…and I smile. The Meaning for My Life (formerly Grandeurvision) is about: Love, Life and Presence. Miracle Mama is about miracle stories to inspire a life free from doubt, fear and limited thinking. I write from my heart when I feel inspired to share something. Welcome, friends of the world.

So what do you think?

Inspired by a comment on my friend, Ken Wert’s blog, Meant to be Happy, the profile update is meant to help bring out the authentic voice that lives inside.

Ken wrote a blog titled, 5 Signs Personal Development Blogs Are Hurting Your Personal Development.

One of the comments mentioned the importance of learning to listen to our authentic voice stating that our authentic voice knows what is best and always speaks the truth.

I whole-heartedly agree and found myself thinking that sometimes the lines are blurred.

For instance, scientists prove that environment conditions an organism. Since we are organisms, this applies to us as well. We are conditioned from birth. (But, don’t believe me. Check out the data for yourself.)

I see from my own personal experience; this is true. Even though, I prided myself of being independent, I see where I took on the beliefs of my environment.

These weren’t my beliefs from my own authentic voice. They belonged to someone else.

Over the years, the authentic voice peeped out on occasion, but I was quite good at silencing it.

So — who is the I that did the silencing?

Ah ha!

I caught you!

I see who you are now.

You are the conditioned self. The persona the world sees. The one who judges, analyzes, compares, calculates, criticizes and protects.

The authentic voice knows truth and doesn’t have to analyze, compare, calculate, criticize or make up beliefs.

It just knows.

Have you ever had a knowing about something, that wasn’t backed up by a data calculation of your mind, and turned out to be true?

I love when this happens!

This is how I want to live every day, every moment.

I want an intimate relationship with my own authentic voice.

What about you: do the lines blur for you too? Do you sometimes silence your authentic voice? 

Learning about Love: Day 100 – I feel loved

The other day, my friend called. I was at home, ill with a nasty virus.

My friend commented about the way my voice sounded and asked if she could bring me some nice hot tea from Tim Horton’s. When I replied with, “thanks for the offer, but I’ll be fine”, she asked if I needed anything at the store.

My friend explained that she had to go to the grocery store for herself and then she thought she’d go through the Tim Horton’s drive-thru so it was no trouble for her to pick something up for me as well.

I hemmed and hawed thinking that I didn’t have any more than a few dollars of change in my purse. I was low on milk and would need some more for my tea, so I mentioned that I could use a small container of milk.

Then my friend asked if I would like a bagel or a biscuit. “Can I bring you a sandwich?” she asked. “What kind would you like?

I hesitated and I hesitated. I could tell my friend was concerned about making sure I was eating while nursing the cold virus, but I didn’t want to impose.

Embracing help when it’s offered is something I’m learning slowly.

“Would you like turkey?” my friend asked.

I told her I liked the new turkey Panini. She said she’d stop by in an hour.

When my friend arrived, she handed me a large container of milk, a large cup of tea, a turkey Panini sandwich and a chocolate chip happy face cookie.

As I walked back to my apartment with my hands full of blessings, a warm fuzzy feeling welled up inside.

It was the best tasting turkey sandwich I’ve had.

Later that evening, I called my friend to tell her that I felt so loved by her care and thanked her for our friendship.

I learned that receiving love is just as important as giving love.

This post marks the end of my 100-day learning about love challenge. Much like my 100-day gratitude challenge, I feel like a different person to the one who began the challenge.

The insights and shifts I’ve experienced is phenomenal. I’d like to share them with you over the next few weeks or so.

Thank you for following along and for your comments. I’ve been really busy with so much going on and haven’t been able to keep up with blogging activities as much as I’d like to.

Wishing all a wonderful week.