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.  🙂

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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 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.

Uninspired, but Educated

Microsoft Office Images

I’m not feeling well-inspired these days. Life’s been rough for weeks now.

It’s challenging to live with a chronic illness, as many that do, know so well. It robs you of your energy. It robs you of your abilities. It robs you of your freedom.

Yet, there are positive aspects to the experience of disease. It’s taught me about what’s really important in life. It’s taught me about gratitude. It’s taught me that even though I don’t have a post-secondary degree in anything, I still have much to offer.

One of the experiences RA disease is giving me is the opportunity to live in poverty. Living in poverty has forced me to reach out to agencies and groups in the community.

When I worked full-time, the network of community supports just wasn’t on my radar at all.

I had no idea that people on social assistance received $599 per month for housing and food and the people on disability received $1,064. Nor, did I know that the affordable housing wait-list is six years long and the majority of the food available at the food banks is either canned or packaged.

Living in poverty is an educational experience.

As well as being educational, it is giving me an opportunity to participate in community work and to develop skills in areas such as advocacy, public speaking and writing articles.

In addition, I’m learning about the various levels of governments and the procedures in which they operate.

I’m mostly involved with a group called, Awareness of Low Income Voices – ALIV(e). We have a website and a new blog.

ALIV(e) is a collaborative group of individuals dedicated to bringing an active and positive voice to individuals and families who are experiencing or who have experienced poverty level living in the Waterloo Region.

ALIV(e)’s goal is to educate the public about the impact of poverty on peoples’ lives, to inform the public about changes in policy as it applies to those who live at poverty level, and to share information on available resources that may not be well known to the general public.

On the blog’s “About” page we state;

Poverty (for the most part) is not a choice. Many of the people who live in poverty experience challenges and barriers that create obstacles to rise above their situations.

Societal attitudes, social policy issues and systematic barriers, as well as low wages, disabilities, psychological or emotional factors, illness, single-parent families are among the challenges faced by those who live in poverty.

My personal story is an example of how someone who once had a full-time job ended up in poverty through a debilitating illness.

Others end up in poverty due to mental health issues, undiagnosed learning disabilities, psychological and emotional disturbances or disability due to accident.

All want to work, but find it hard to do so without considerable outside supports which, by the way, are non-existent.

From time to time, I hear comments from those not living on social assistance. Some of the comments are things like; they’re lazy, they get “free money”, they’re ripping off the system, they’re deadbeats…

I have to say, this makes me sad.

The majority living on assistance are truly needy individuals who deal with significant challenges.

It’s equally sad to see that when governments have cuts to make, they tend to target the social assistance programs. Why? Because they can.

After all, it’s the poor. They have no high-powered lobby activists to make deals on their behalf. They have no bargaining power.

It seems, quite frankly, the poor don’t have rights.

It seems, they don’t have the right to live with dignity and respect. It seems, they don’t have the right to a hopeful future.

Poverty is growing in cities and rural areas all over the world. Yet, many of us want to ignore it because it doesn’t affect us. Many of us still have our jobs.

It is wonderful to have jobs and hopefully governments will help create more jobs. The more jobs, the better. But, let us not forget and leave behind those who deal with significant challenges and barriers to employment.

I urge people to look into the social assistance policies in their cities and countries to see if they will adequately meet the needs of one who is unable to work.

And if one is fortunate enough to “have it all covered”, maybe rallying around those who “don’t have it all covered” will be the push that governments need to create policies that provide adequate safety nets for those in need.

Please visit the ALIV(e) blog to read my article, “Exploring Social Welfare Abroad”.

Thank you very much for reading and leaving your comments. Wishing all a wonderful weekend!

Learning about Love: Day 8

Today, I need some loving self-care.

As I write this post the time is 11:30 p.m. on July 1st. Earlier today, for about three hours, I helped a friend with some shop work. We filled and packed orders for shipment, broke down cardboard boxes for storage, displayed product on some shelves, did some rearranging and generally got a minute sampling of what my friend does for a living.

I had a great time. It was fun and interesting, but physically challenging. It seems that whenever I want to do something that involves more than sitting at the computer, walking to the car, driving to the store or wherever, the RA disease reminds me that I’m different; that I can’t keep up.

When I arrived home, I was exhausted and my feet hurt like anything. I had to lie down. So I did and fell asleep for two and a half hours. The sleep helped a bit.

As I sit down to write this post I still feel tired, my feet hurt to walk and my body aches. I so feel that I need to wrap myself in a blanket of Love and go back to bed. So that’s what I’m going to do and in the morning which is today, I will stay in bed until I feel rested, then start my day with a loving kindness meditation.

The resource I’ll use for a guided loving kindness meditation is at the UCLA Semel Institute – Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre

It’s a page of free downloadable mindful meditation audio’s. Two of my favourite’s are the short and longer versions of the Loving Kindness Meditation, however they are all very excellent.

I find that a loving kindness meditation is such a great way to restore my energy reserves. I’ll let you know how the day goes.

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.

I’m All Pooped Out!

While it is true that I’m experiencing more frequent elimination due to the antibiotics the doc prescribed, it wasn’t the instigation for my choice of title. No, that would be rude.

When I say, “I’m all pooped out,” I mean I’m tired. Exhausted. Drained. I think I remember my dad used that expression. I hope he meant he was tired.

It’s tax season here in Canada, eh? And although I wouldn’t call myself a hard-core tax preparer, I have been helping-out (somewhat) more than usual in between RA flare-ups and other health diagnoses.

So, what I’m really trying to say, is that I’ve spent more time away from my computer during the last month and a half and haven’t been able to keep up with the blog-neighbors and Facebook friends, for that matter.

This means, I’m lagging behind on all the news and I’m not sure where to start to get caught up being that tax time is gearing up for the final eight days starting on Monday and I’m still not feeling up to the challenge.

I did, however, take some time to kick-back, read Anita’s Moorjani’s book, Dying to be ME and write a review this weekend. I posted it on my other WordPress blog, Miracle Mama. If you have time, you may want to check it out. It’s sooo inspiring!

In the meanwhile, I hope everyone is well and I look forward to catching up soon.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to catch me up on what I’ve missed.