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



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.

Learning about Health – 100-Day Challenge

Microsoft Office Images

Microsoft Office Images

Many, many months ago, I purchased a book, “Clean: Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate,” by Alejandro Junger, M.D. The New York Times bestseller is “The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself.”

While I read the book when I purchased it, it sat on my shelf until a few days ago when I decided to give myself another challenge.

The best way for me to stay focused on something is through a 100-day challenge.

I decided to go through the book chapter-by-chapter highlighting important points and implementing the ideas as I go.

Chapter one talks about the awesome healing ability the body has. It’s the body’s organs and physiological process working together that keeps it clean.

The chapter explains that by implementing a focused period of detoxification, the body will reset itself because you have switched on its innate healing ability.

Some of the benefits of detoxifying are; steady energy, avoid colds and flu, heal allergies, age gracefully and avoid disease.

In actual fact, the body’s detoxification system is always working every day. The trouble is, toxins from the environment and from the food we eat accumulate in the body faster than the body system can keep up.

Our ancestors, the hunter-gatherers feasted and fasted. They went through periods when they bulked up followed by periods of imposed famine.

Signs of toxic overload include; headaches, bowel irregularities, allergies, weight problems, depression, anxiety, and pain.

According to Dr. Junger, one of the most common consequences of poor detoxification functioning is inflammation.

I know all about inflammation as rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory auto-immune condition.

Dr. Junger states that “as toxicity accumulates, your body systems are damaged one by one, starting with your intestines.”

Apparently, intestinal irritation causes a host of symptoms like; seasonal allergies, skin rashes, depression, and even a lack of enthusiasm for life.

A person can do one, two or three weeks of the “Clean” diet.

Sounds interesting don’t you think.

I definitely know that my diet isn’t clean. For one thing, I have way too much sugar. Sugar cravings are a challenge for me. Every day, I eat food items such as; dark chocolate, honey, gluten and egg-free cookies, energy bars and hot chocolate drink mixes.

Next post will cover chapter two.

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it.


Learning about Love: Day 76 – A Call to Help

A rose for a rose.

Have you ever heard a story that made you feel that you just had to do something to help?

Today, I went to visit a yoga teacher. Her name is Kate Stevely. Kate’s been practicing yoga for forty-five years. I figured she knew her stuff.

I wanted to find out if Kate could help my body to move again. Since dealing with severe RA symptoms and inflammation in every joint, my body has ceased up.  Range of motion is quite limited in all joints and almost non-existent in some.

Kate said it’s important to keep the body moving, even if all you can manage is in the smallest degree. Motion helps to remove toxins.

Kate knows about chronic illness. Her niece, Barbara, experiences chronic illness and in 2009 Barbara had her colon removed.

Since then, she’s had numerous surgeries due to blockages and now she’s at the point where the doctor’s cannot do anymore surgery because of too much scar tissue.

Barbara is on a diet of pureed food to minimize stomach blockages.

Kate, Barbara’s aunt, found a facility in Florida that will assist in loosening the scar tissue in Barbara’s intestines and abdomen.

Barbara’s friend, Lisa is helping to raise funds so that Barbara can get the help she needs. All Lisa is asking for is $1 from each individual until they reach $10,000.

It would be awesome if we could help Lisa and Kate create a miracle for Barbara by contributing $1 to their fundraiser called “Project Paper Crane”.

If everyone you knew contributed $1, it won’t take long to reach the goal.

Here is a link to Lisa’s plea on Barbara’s blog (click here). And here is a link to the fundraiser page (click here).

I’ve only given a small summary here on my blog to help raise awareness for Barbara, please read both page links above to get all the details.

I sincerely appreciate the time you take to read the blog and visit the links I provide.

Love and blessings to all. 🙂

Photo credit: FreeDigitalphotosdotnet

Learning about Love: Day 9

My life is unbelievable.

It was 6:30 p.m. on Monday when I decided to go downtown for ice cream and sit by the river. As I got ready, I felt a little melancholy. Most of my time is spent alone and sometimes the loneliness gets to me. This was one of those times.

I thought how nice it would be to have someone in my life. Then I thought about all the things that are attached to having someone special in my life and the previous thought vanished. I’m not ready for the whole enchilada.

I enjoyed a cup of very tasty organic blueberry ice cream while I sat at the picnic table by the river.

Mmmm ice cream

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. People were collecting in the park. Someone was setting up a small stage and a speaker and music system. Young women in workout clothes arrived. They told me it was Zumba in the park night. For two seconds I thought about participating, then I had a visual of what that would look like and decided to pass.

Zumba dancers

Just as I finished my very tasty ice cream I noticed an older woman walking toward the picnic table. I smiled.  She sat down. She told me that she has lived in the town for seven years and this is the first time she has been to the park.

We chatted for the next hour and a half. Then she invited me to her home to see her zapper.

I have wanted to try a zapper since I heard about them a number of years ago. The least expensive one I found was selling for $100.00. That’s a lot of money to throw away if the thing doesn’t work, I thought. So, I’ve never bought one.

A zapper is a device that sends electrical current into your body and kills parasites, apparently. Hulda Clark, the inventor, has the directions for how to make one in her book, “The Cure for all Disease.”

My park friend’s son-in-law made a few zapper’s up for her and her family. She has an extra one to lend to me when she finds where she put it. In the meantime, she gave me a treatment while I was at her house. All I felt was some pulsing sensations in my hands where I held the wet paper towel covered copper cylinders. I think the idea is to use it everyday until you notice relief from symptoms.

So — now I have a new friend with a zapper. Amazing! This stuff just magically happens. All I have to do is show up.

The greatest service is to recognize the essence or the reality of the other person. Everything else passes away, is transitory, but that recognition of the other as God and one with who you are, to see that, that is the greatest service you can give – the realization of who that person truly is beyond the form. ˜ Eckhart Tolle

Once again, thank you so much for accompanying me on this journey. Wishing everyone a really awesome day.

If you are new to this blog and wonder what this is all about, I’ve given myself a 100 day “Learning about Love” challenge. So — for the next 100 days, it’s all about love. My good friend calls it a “love makeover” (hehehe).

Thank you to all who accompany me on this journey. I really appreciate the support and wonderful comments. 🙂

I created a Facebook page for The Meaning for my Life to build a community where like-minded individuals can share the meaning for their life as well as items of inspiration to help keep us focused on Love, Life and Presence. Just give us a ‘Like’ and your in (hehe). The Like button is in the right sidebar under ‘My Story’ pages.

A day in a life with rheumatoid Arthritis – Part 8: What Do I Do Now?

Holy moly, I give up. Why is it, just when you think things are going good, something happens to burst the bubble?

The blog post I planned to write last week was to say good-bye to “A day in the life with RA” titles. Yes indeed, it felt so great that symptoms were at an all-time low. I decided that I would not focus on RA any longer in blog posts, in fact, I made the declaration to not even think or talk about RA. I would seal my lips and never utter another word on the topic.

But. Those thoughts quickly vanished. It started on Thursday evening when I suddenly realized that my eyes felt very scratchy and bothered by light.

In the morning, I called the optometrist and went to her office right away to get my eyes checked. The exam showed they were extremely dry and the tear glands were somewhat clogged. The optometrist indicated that “dry eye” is one of the symptoms of RA as well as with other autoimmune disease conditions. “Oh joy”, I thought.

I left the office with instructions and lubricating drops.

In addition to the dry eye, my throat was extremely dry and the inflammation level was up significantly in my feet and ankles. Getting around was tougher than normal. I thought back to what I had to eat the previous day. Hmm, that’s the day I decided to try an omelet. It had been about three months since I’ve eaten eggs. Maybe that accounts for the flare-up, I reckoned.

Over the weekend, the inflammation in my feet and ankles seemed to subside a bit, I think. However, who knows why, but Monday brought increased inflammation again.

Today was the kicker though. Today, Miss Hop Along was escorted arm in arm by two of the tenants who live in my building after they saw me inching my way from the parking lot after getting out of my car.

See the squirrel climb the wall.

Hmm, I thought back over my diet of the last few days and wondered if it was the pecans in the gluten, dairy, egg and sugar-free muffins I’ve been eating. Maybe I’m sensitive to nuts. Maybe I am a nut.

Or, maybe the increase in symptoms is due to the fish oil supplement I began taking recently because it’s recommended to reduce inflammation.

I just don’t know. And, quite frankly, this is getting ridiculous.

I’m at the point where I ask myself, “What do I do now?”.

In my last post three weeks ago, I mentioned a much improved situation with test results to back it up (click here to read).

Now, I feel as though in reality, the dietary changes did nothing. Could it be that my body is reacting finally to the gradual decrease in prednisone by becoming more inflammed? Who can really say for sure why my symptoms improved and now seem to show little improvement.

So, do I scrap it all or do I keep going?

I can’t let my rheumatologist hear about this setback. I can see the glimmer in her eye as she says, “So, are you ready to try the new RA drug I recommended to you way back in September? You know, the one that is a IL-6 receptor inhibitor and is given intravenously once a month.”

No, we can’t let her know about this situation. We have to find another answer.

Sometimes I wonder why it seems to be so difficult to get well. Then, I remember.

I have access to a plethora of pharmaceuticals at a cost of $2 per prescription. Some of the RA medications cost upwards of $1,700. per month, but in my case, the government pays the bill. Thank you, government.

But here’s the thing, I view pharmaceuticals as a win-lose scenario, where the patient is the loser. I prefer the notion that the body will heal itself, once it is given the correct environment to do so.

Unfortunately, the medical system I’m under does not adhere to the; body heal thyself notion, nor, will it tolerate freedom of choice. Sure the government will fork over $1,700 per month for pharmaceuticals, but it won’t cough up a nickel for non-pharmaceutical treatment.

The Sun is on the horizon.

I guess, I have to keep going to find the correct environment for my body to heal itself and forget about trying to figure out why this flare-up is happening.

I need to keep focused on the goal: Make the best of each day no matter what seems to be going on in the moment.

You can do it, Marianne!