Bugs And Fibromyalgia

You know that feeling after doing something physically demanding, when you are so exhausted that you can barely move? Your muscles are sore, even tender. You may even have a headache from being over-tired, and you may have trouble sleeping, even though that’s all you want to do. Imagine feeling this way for weeks and months at a time. That’s pretty much how I felt around the time I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, around 17 years ago.

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Millions of people in developed countries are now experiencing auto-immune disorders in record numbers. Recent reports indicate that around 5 million Americans may have fibromyalgia, an auto-immune condition that is characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, and “tender points” at the base of the neck, back and several particular places. When I saw the endocrinologist, I was told that the best thing I could do was to rest a lot and take a prescription medication from then on to manage the pain. I was told that my condition would deteriorate for the rest of my life, which should be normal length.

Even then, I knew enough about nutrition and alternative health practices to know that I would not sign up for a lifetime of pharmaceuticals until I had explored the options. I knew I could do a lot to improve the way I was eating, and I also knew I had been under a lot of stress. I loved being a mom, but taking care of 5 kiddos under the age of 11 was running me ragged! At the time, I did not realize the strong connection between the health of my gut and my immune system, but I was having a lot of digestive distress, on top of everything else.

What we eat, what we think, and what we do impacts our health, but so does our environment. Although I worked on improving my diet and figuring out my digestive issues, the biggest single boost to my health happened when my family and I moved from the Midwest to Colorado – a much drier climate. I could literally feel my body relaxing as the pain diminished on the long drive across Kansas. When we would go back the other direction, I could feel the aches and pains setting in again. That said, I’m sure I’d still be suffering if I had not navigated my gut issues.

tummy trouble

You may have heard that 80% of your immune system is actually in your gut. There’s a kind of battle going on in the guts of people in modern society that has developed as a result of our modern eating habits. The battle is between the “good bugs” and the “bad bugs.”

Ever since the refrigerator came on the scene, we’ve been losing touch with the traditional practices of fermentation, also called “culturing.” At the same time, we are eating more denatured foods  and we are surrounded by toxic substances. I recently heard a health expert warn against the toxic exposure we are all getting from our receipts. That’s right! There is BPA, a toxic plastic, in our register receipts from the gas station, grocery store, and most other places that give them out. It seems we are being bombarded from every angle!

receipts

The battle that goes on in our guts can determine, to a great degree, our overall health. I’ve known people who have fully recovered from fibromyalgia simply by eliminating wheat and gluten. For me, it took more than that, but I’m not sure I even have fibromyalgia any more. Donna Gates has been writing about the connection between a healthy gut, fermented foods and a healthy immune system for many years. Click here to see a helpful page on her website.

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There is a lot to building a healthy immune system, especially if you are dealing with a chronic health condition already. Many times, however, much can be accomplished by nurturing the good bugs in your gut while minimizing the bad ones. I hope to have my new eBook about this topic finished this spring, and you will be able to find more information as well as recipes there. Until then, check out this link to a recipe I posted earlier, or this website I recently found. This page is all about cultured foods (& recipes).

I plan to post more (much more!) on each of these 2 topics (bugs/gut health & auto-immune issues) in coming posts. I hope you’ll join me if you or a loved one is affected by these things. I welcome your comments or feedback, as always.

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Top 7 Winter Foods

You know what most of these are already, don’t you? Remember, this blog is all about nutrition & health, so this list is not going to have things like snickerdoodle latte piled with whipped cream, even though it is a hot drink. But, speaking of hot drinks, they’re not exactly food, but folks who drink plenty of steamy beverages during this time of year are definitely onto something!

winter icicles

Our bodies react differently to the same food, depending on the season. You may feel great about having a cool, crisp salad in July, while you actually need discipline to make yourself eat those greens in January. If you know anything about ayurveda, you understand this principle of seasonal eating. One winter, I became a little “gung ho” about eating raw foods. I tried to eat at least 90% of my food (by weight) raw. Besides feeling like I would die of starvation, the next most prominent feeling I experienced was cold. On another occasion, I ate nearly all raw foods for weeks on end during the heat of the year, and loved it!

So now that we are in the coldest part of the year, I want to share with you some of my favorite cold-weather foods.

1) Soups! The best base for soups is bone broth. You can make a clear soup using this broth, but you can also use it in creamy soups. I’ll be posting a recipe soon for this type of soup. For now, check out this link for a great article on soups, their health benefits and how to make bone broth (it’s super easy!)

cooked pumpkin

2) Winter squash – acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash are probably the most common, but there are many more varieties. Squash is inexpensive and nutritious. It’s also easy to prepare. It can go sweet, savory, or somewhere in between. You can even just pop them in the oven for a while on about 350 degrees. When your squash is somewhat soft, take it out, cut & remove seeds. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and/or cinnamon & butter. Delicious!

3) Hot whole-grain cereals – I stay away from wheat, and most commercially produced cereals because they are so highly processed. However, you can get a fantastic whole grain cereal from Bob’s Red Mill. Gluten-free oatmeal makes a nice breakfast if I add some nuts or nut butter and a little fruit or dried fruit. I also like turning leftover brown rice or quinoa into breakfast by adding rice or almond milk (preferably home-made), cinnamon, butter and pure maple syrup.

4) Pastured beef or other red meats. I love a great roast or stew. These meats contain nutrients that are difficult  to get if you’re not really meticulous about your diet. I’m not really a fan of diets that contain huge amounts of meat for most people. The biggest reason is that it doesn’t make sense to me since it’s so unsustainable. However, I  regularly partake of responsibly, locally raised meats in small amounts.

Crock pots deliver perfectly cooked meats with minimal effort.

Crock pots deliver perfectly cooked meats with minimal effort.

5) Cruciferous veggies – Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and others in this family are great sources of a wonderful array of vitamins and minerals. They also grow well in moderately cold weather, so it’s not difficult for me to find locally grown, organic offerings even during these months. I have a fantastic recipe for using cauliflower in my new cookbook, “Break Free!” which you can check out if you click this link.

6) Cultured foods – you knew this was coming! Cultured veggies are a perfect garnish for those lovely soups we mentioned earlier. Plain yogurt or kefir also makes a good garnish for soups, and is good on baked yams or sweet potatoes. Miso is a fine base for an easy soup. The thing you have to watch is that you don’t actually cook the cultured garnishes. Exposing them to high heat kills the beneficial bacteria. Just spoon a bit onto the finished cooked foods to boost nutrients and flavor.

Leftover qionoa hot porridge with fermented fruits & veggies

Leftover quinoa hot porridge with fermented fruits & veggies

7) Sourdough breads and pancakes – I’ll have a bunch of recipes for these in my new book on cultured foods (which I hope to finish before summer!) For now, here’s a link to an article & recipe you can take a look at. Souring increases nutritional content of bread and also improves digestibility. It’s easy to do, especially if you can manage to think ahead.

My daughter and I made this snow elephant near our house a few years ago (with my hubby, who was snapping the photo.)

My daughter and I made this snow elephant near our house a few years ago (with my hubby, who was snapping the photo.)

Delicious wintery foods are one of the best parts of this season, and they can contribute to your overall health. The foods I have listed can even help you heal when you’re battling a virus or health issue. If you have a favorite I haven’t mentioned, I love to hear about it!

Maybe You CAN Have A Perfect Body

Yes, I’m talking to you! What do you think it would it take to get you there? Lots of exercise? A great detox program? A diet? Yoga? May I suggest, perhaps, a paradigm shift, instead? I have said many times, “My husband is not perfect, but he’s perfect for me.” By that I mean, of course, that Scott does not belong on a pedestal, but I really like having him at my side. He helps me do life in a creative, responsible, and fun way. And, there’s no one else I’d prefer. It’s a bit like that with my body.

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Now that I am half a century in age, I appreciate the things my body does well, even as I watch it age. I am no longer able to binge and then go on some radical diet (like eating only saltines and grapefruit for a week). When I work out too intensely, I could be sore for a week. When I actually injure myself, what once may have taken a couple of weeks to heal may take a year. Then there’s my skin. It’s not so youthful as it once was. Fortunately, my vision isn’t as sharp, either.

Maybe what we’re really after is more like making peace with our physical selves, and supporting healing where necessary. Perhaps you have some sort of chronic condition. It’s important to note that lots of folks have been told that they would have certain symptoms or conditions for the rest of their lives, or even that they would decline with age, only to find that when they took much better care of themselves, they improved drastically or healed completely. It’s also true that some people have set out to heal themselves through nutrition or “alternative” therapies, and have not had the improvements for which they had hoped.

Quite a few years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called “fibromyalgia.” There were days when I could barely get out of bed. I was also having all sorts of digestive woes, scary heart symptoms, and hypoglycemia. On top of all that, I had 5 small kiddos at home with me every day. I was told that I should take medication, that I would be taking increasing amounts of this medication as I aged, and that I would continue to lose mobility until I died, though my life expectancy may be “normal.”

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I did a lot to change my situation over time. Now, I don’t really know if I actually have fibromyalgia at all. (More to come soon about this condition and other autoimmune disorders.) I do feel a little sore at times, but mostly, I think I feel pretty terrific for a 50 year old. I am so thankful for the improvements I have enjoyed that I find no time to worry about how much I may dislike any body part or physical attribute. It’s true that I’ve traded acne for a few wrinkles. This does not bother me too much.

I’m choosing to be very thankful for all the things my body does for me, does exactly according to its design. I’ve never been naturally athletic or coordinated, but muscle memory and countless exercise, yoga, and dance classes have trained my body to be stronger, more flexible, and miraculously, more graceful. When I was younger, I got sick 6 or more times every year. Now, I rarely get even a cold. In fact, during the past 3 years, I’ve had only 2 colds, and they were separated by only a few days.

upside down girls

So, what about you? Perhaps your body is doing miraculous things every day.  Maybe you will feel marvel if you simply begin to pay careful attention to all the things that are being perfectly executed in your body, day in and day out. While your body may not be perfect, perhaps you’ll find it seems pretty perfect to house your soul for your time on this planet. If not, perhaps there are ways you can support your physical strengthening or healing. And, a health coach can help. Please contact me if you are looking for one!

Super Veggies!

If you’ve heard anything from me at all, you’ve probably heard me encouraging you to eat more vegetables. But, what’s even better than vegetables? Super Vegetables! There are actually at least 3 ways to improve upon plain old veggies. These days, we need all the help we can get to nourish ourselves optimally, right?

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The first way to improve on ordinary veggies is to find organic, bio-dynamic, or locally grown varieties. There has been some debate about whether organically grown foods actually contain more nutrients than those that are conventionally grown. The foods that have been tested and analysed have yielded varied results (I think partly according to who is doing the analysis). We do know that foods have optimal nutrient levels when soil is healthy, and when they are at the peak of ripeness. Local foods that are in season are naturally at ideal nutritional levels. Soils that are not bathed in chemical fertilizers and pesticides are full of wonderful, beneficial micro-organisms, and they produce more nutritious foods.

And, speaking of micro-organisms, there is another way to get more nutritional “bang for your buck.” Ordinary vegetables become extraordinary when fermented via lacto-fermentation. In the process of culturing veggies, they become more digestible, nourishing to your gut (thanks to the proliferation of friendly bacteria), nutritious and flavorful. The more subtle flavors that result from this natural process are different from the pickles and sauerkraut that are made with vinegar. You can find a great recipe here.

My current selection of fabulous ferments

My current selection of fabulous ferments

The final way to multiply the good qualities of your vegetables is by sprouting. I am not an expert at this, but I hope to learn a lot more in the coming year. There are numerous resources on the internet about sprouting. This website is a good little resource I found       (click here). I like that this article addresses unwanted bacteria that can grow during the sprouting process. After all, not all bacteria are friendly!

bean sprouts

A few months ago, I told you about the amazing work of Dr. Terry Wahls, and her recommendation that we consume about 9 cups of vegetables per day (Click here to see that post). I don’t know about you, but I’m not even sure I consume 9 cups of anything some days. However, maximizing the impact of the veggies I do eat seems like a good way to get lots of what I need without swallowing a bunch of supplements. Besides, I love the variety.

Starting The Year With Compassion

I hope you have been enjoying the season – I have! I will not make excuses for not posting for the past several days. It’s the holidays, and I am somewhat busy. In future years, perhaps I will have a way to post things in my absence, but that is not yet part of my M.O. There was a time when I would have berated myself for falling behind in my responsibilities. But not this time. After all, I have not been able to read the blogs to which I personally subscribe during the past couple of weeks, so maybe you’re not missing mine either. So I’m going to cut myself some slack today. Which leads me to today’s topic.

I painted at a Christmas Tea, and enjoyed all sorts of holiday activities.

I painted at a Christmas Tea, and enjoyed all sorts of holiday activities.

I posted not long ago on the topic of weight issues. (Click here to see that post.) I tried to explain that this is not my area of expertise, and that I will not be bringing it up often. However, I have been giving a series of workshops with fellow health coach, Erin Statter, and our January topic is weight management. I also happen to know a few folks who have wrestled with these types of struggles for many years, so I’ve been asking them to enlighten me a bit.

I want to learn what’s behind weight struggles, because I keep hearing that it’s not really about the weight, first and foremost. I have said many times that we are all unique, and that holds true for this area, too. Still, there are some common themes I keep hearing. Like so many aspects of health, people seem to usually know what they “should do” or “might try.” What is it that keeps us from doing something that we sort of want to do? What we know is good?

My son, Joel, made this angel from marshmallow and a cup.

My son, Joel, made this angel from marshmallow and a cup.

There are a few different answers to these questions that seem plausible, but again, there is a common theme. I recently picked up a little book called, “Eating With Fierce Kindness” by Sasha T. Loring. I’m not finished with it, but so far, I like it and it reinforces some of what I heard as a health coaching student last year.

What I’m hearing so far from this book is that we are hard on ourselves, and often do not treat ourselves with as much kindness or compassion as we would a friend. Learning to be kind to ourselves by doing what we need to do to care for our bodies is a first step for some of us in coming back to a state of health, which can also lead to increased ability to maintain healthy weight.

I have made this wonderful & salubrious breakfast for the past several Christmases.

I have made this wonderful & salubrious breakfast for the past several Christmases.

Does this ring true for you? It does for me, even though I have not had a great difficulty with weight. I have kept from gaining too much mostly because it hurt to eat for so many years – not through virtue or good self-care. Yet even in my case, I did come to a healthier weight once I began to take better care of myself.

So, in the spirit of kindness to myself, I shall not feel guilty about enjoying the holidays, even though it meant missing a couple of blog posts. I am not sorry. (That is so hard to say!)

Pecan Pie I’m Not Afraid To Eat

My Grandma Walker was an expert pie maker. She made mince pies, fruit pies, cream pies, and my favorite, pecan pie. Although I have not eaten one of her pies in over 30 years, I still remember how they tasted – perfect! My own mom made very good pies, too, and I made her teach me how to make pie crust when I was a teen (from Crisco and white flour). She shared her pecan pie recipe with me, and I didn’t think twice about the fact that the main ingredient was dark corn syrup.

Holiday yummies - home made cranberry sauce

Holiday yummies – home made cranberry sauce

These days, I can’t quite bring myself to make a pie out of corn syrup. My teeth would not stand for it, for one thing! Years and years of too much sugar and other foods that convert quickly to sugar when eaten have left me much more sensitive to blood sugar ups and downs. I can manage all of that really well if I stick with a pretty good diet most of the time. But this time of year, it’s a challenge to include wonderful traditional foods in a healthier way. I think about that pecan pie for weeks! I don’t want to have to put it away after only a bite or two – I’d prefer to have a slice or two, wouldn’t you?

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I have several ways to keep a lid on my holiday eating. I’m not trying to control my weight as much as I just want to feel well and come to January with a sort of clean slate – not an intense need to detox. If I can do that, I don’t have an issue with the weight, either. I’ve been working at it a bit each year for a while now, and last year, January was a pleasure.

One of the things I did this year was to develop a new pecan pie recipe for the holidays. I want to share it with you today. It’s not that this would make a great entree, but as a dessert, it’s delicious and still offers some good nourishment without a ton of sugar.

My new pecan pie!

My new pecan pie!

What you need for the filling:

1 cup “crispy” pecans (instructions below), plus more for decorating the top

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon grade B pure maple syrup

3/4 cup milk or milk alternative

5 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

What you do:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees (F). Over low heat, melt butter and coconut oil.  Beat together all ingredients except for milk and pecans in a large mixing bowl. Beat in milk (or alternative). Add pecans and mix gently. Pour in raw pie crust (Click here for gluten free recipe. I used this one, with ground flax seed and no egg white.) Arrange pecan halves on top.

Here’s how to make “crispy” nuts. (Sally Fallon Morrel gives instructions in her “Nourishing Traditions” book, and so do a few other folks.) Soak your nuts 12-24 hours in salted water. Drain off water and use it to water plants, if you like, but don’t drink it! This removes the phytic acid coating from your nuts, making them more digestible and preventing them from blocking absorption of other nutrients. Now, your nuts are quite soggy. To make them crisp, dehydrate them in a dehydrator for about 12-15 hours, or place them in a single layer on a baking tray in a barely warm oven (200 degrees or less) with the oven door left partly open. There you have it.

"crispy" pecans - you can do this with other nuts, as well.

“crispy” pecans – you can do this with other nuts, as well.

Bake pie at 425 for 10 minutes. Without opening oven, lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 40 minutes, or until done. Pie is done when crust is slightly brown and center is puffed up a bit. Gently push in on center with the back of a spoon – it should give a little, but not be too jiggly. Let the pie cool for about half an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Winter Is Really Here

It’s been a good year, in many ways. Weather inspires me, probably because I live in Colorado where the weather is pleasant so much of the time. Our summer was not terribly hot, autumn was temperate and full of colorful leaves (and yes, a big flood, which was scary and messy.) Now, it’s snowing and cold. This is not the first snow of the year, but the earlier one was rather light, and it wasn’t too cold. The green plants didn’t even all die. I was still eating lettuce, parsley and beets from my summer garden last week. So, maybe that snow didn’t count…

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Thanksgiving was late this year, so my daughter was especially eager to begin the official Christmas season the very next day. We’ve had a lot going on around our house, but still, decorations are appearing. More show up every afternoon around 3:30, when school lets out. It’s really nice to have a teenager around who likes helping with such things. It can feel overwhelming to be the sole decorator and yet be laden with negative feedback when the home does not feel festive enough.

Renee has been making salt dough ornaments.

Renee has been making salt dough ornaments.

This weekend, I will be painting at a women’s Christmas tea nearby. I will also be participating in the “Christmas In Berthoud” craft and holiday fair. Scott, my husband, will also be painting at a Christmas tea, for another group of ladies, in a different location. Just to be sure the week holds enough activity, my daughter’s holiday choir concert was last night. Hanukkah season is also upon us, intersecting with Thanksgiving in a way that reportedly will not happen again for tens of thousands of years.

A heavy snow would once pushed me right over the proverbial edge. I’m not claiming to be 100% free of stress right now, but I’m not cursing the white stuff or the temperature today. I made a decision years ago which I have never wanted to revoke. It’s a choice that has helped me remain much more cheerful. I decided never to complain about the weather. I don’t make the weather, can’t change it, and neither can you, as far as I know. I am thankful for the sun, the rain, the wind, and the very variety in it all. Scott & I chose to live where we are, and I will not complain about one of the most distinctive features of Colorado.

In fact, the choice not to complain about the weather has inspired me to expand the concept and give up complaining altogether. Okay, the truth is that I realized years ago that I should do this, and I’ve failed, mostly. However, as I walked my dogs in the crisp morning air today, and reflected that I have been much happier for my acceptance of the seasons, I thought that I’d renew my intention to be satisfied and content, even while I know there will always be things to complain about.

Bags of home-made gluten-free granola waiting to be sold this weekend

Bags of home-made gluten-free granola waiting to be sold this weekend

If you are in Berthoud, Colorado this Friday evening or Saturday, stop by Grace Place on Mountain and see me! I’ll be doing mini-consultations and selling my famous home-made gluten-free granola, as well as an allergy-friendly cookbook, which will soon be available through this site.

To Tell The Truth: Gratitude

Thankfulness is a good thing for so many reasons. Have you been seeing “gratitude lists” on Facebook? Sometimes, it just does my heart good to read what a friend is thankful for. But, it’s also good for my friend, the one who is expressing thanks. In keeping with the season, I was thinking about the topic, and why it’s such a healing thing to express thanks. One thing that I keep coming back to is that it’s a way of telling the truth.

My husband & daughter digging the hole for our traditional "Terra Turkey" last Thanksgiving

My husband & daughter digging the hole for our traditional “Terra Turkey” last Thanksgiving

It seems like when I was growing up, truth was looked upon as objective, more often than not. Granted, I had a rather small circle of friends and family. Maybe lots of folks were leaning toward a different perspective even then. In any case, the current trend is that truth is perceived more often as relative or subjective. We could debate this, and I’d have to admit that I could appear to be “on the fence.” After all, I’m always talking about the idea that what “is true” for you, from a health standpoint, is not necessarily “true” for everyone. It’s this idea of bio-chemical individuality, and I stand by it. Everyone’s make-up and life experience create unique expression and invite individual protocols for health and healing. That is why I never say things like, “This diet is the best for everyone.”

Mountains & family - I'm thankful for both!

Mountains & family – I’m thankful for both!

The truth about gratitude is different, precisely because it is true for each of us. Everything I have, and everything good about my life, is connected to someone else – either another person or group of people, or my Creator. I did not give myself the abilities and talents I possess, though I have worked to develop them. I do not create the weather or the mountains, two things from which I derive much enjoyment. My friends do not have to treat me with kindness and generosity, so I am thankful when they do. The truth is, I am not alone in any of my successes or pleasures, even if it’s just me and God.

In the world of wellness, we talk about “alignment.” I’m not talking about some totally abstract, New-Agey idea. I’m talking about having the various facets of myself “lined up.” The goal is that nothing in my life is out of character or contrary to what I’m really about, and that the purposes into which I pour my energy and time support my actual goals, instead of being scattered. A big part of alignment is honesty (telling the truth about my self and what I know of the world.)

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So, thank you! Thanks for being a part of my world by showing up to read this post. Without you, I’d just be talking to myself, and that’s not really any fun.

A Change In The Weather

Seasonal eating is fun! Watermelon in summer, pumpkin in fall, leafy greens in spring – just seems natural, don’t you think? It’s fun partly because most of us don’t even think about having a nice hot cup of peppermint cocoa in July, so by the time the holiday season rolls around, it really seems like a treat.

You may feel even better about the seasonal foods you enjoy when you hear that it’s also a healthier and more affordable way to eat. And, when you look at the bigger picture, it’s also great for our local economies if we work in lots of fresh foods that are in season close to home.

Jake's is famous for pumpkins

Jake’s is famous for pumpkins

Not far from where I live, a very visible piece of land is a well-known (locally) spot to purchase home-grown produce during nearly any time of year. Bigger than a garden, smaller than a farm, Jake has been around for many years, selling produce for neighborly prices. You know when your food comes from Jake, it’s really fresh, and not old. That means it is probably full of plenty of good micro-nutrients and trace minerals, and it hasn’t been sitting in a truck for days or in a warehouse for weeks. Nor has lots of cash gone to the transportation of these beautiful veggies and fruits.

There is a philosophy that teaches the benefits of learning to live in harmony with the seasons. It is called “Ayurveda,” and it’s been around a lot longer than Jake. The word itself means “life truth.” Though ayurveda hails from the east, the teachings actually align rather nicely with my own Biblical faith. The belief in an intelligent designer of all things behooves acknowledgement of the wisdom of the seasons, which can be no invention of human beings.

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A greater Wisdom has landed us on an earth that brings forth all sorts of wonderful plants, given as a primary source of food for all. Plants naturally participate in the natural cycles of the earth – day, night, seasons – and we do, also. However, we seem to be disconnecting in ways that are new – working and eating at night, shipping foods long distances, eating cold foods in cold weather, hot foods in summer.

There is a lot more to ayurveda than eating seasonally, and I’m not saying that this is the absolute best philosophy that has all the answers. On a basic level, what I know of it makes sense. To learn more about ayurveda from Dr. Oz, click here. You may have seen me refer to Dr. John Douillard in this blog. He is an expert in the field and has many helpful articles on his website. Click here to see.

Photo by Lee Freeman

Photo by Lee Freeman

Lots of other folks promote the wisdom of seasonal eating, without stated affiliation to ayurveda. Among those, I love the website of Jenny’s Nourished Kitchen. Emphasizing traditional eating, this is a full-service website offering lovely photos, recipes, great articles and more. Click here to visit Jenny.

Another proponent of traditional and seasonal eating is Sally Fallon Morell, who heads up the Weston A. Price Foundation. She has long been a hero of mine, and I had the pleasure of hearing her speak last year. Click here to visit their page.

I often have clients protest, “eating healthy is so expensive!” I am happy to report that it need not be so! In the coming months, I hope to be pointing out numerous ways in which you can save money, both in the short term and over the years, by making much healthier food choices. Seasonal eating is a delicious way to start!

More About Integrative Health

In my last post, I focused on the word “integrate,” and forms of that word. “Integrative medicine” is a term I never used to see, even with a keen interest in alternative therapies and nutrition. Now, the term is popping up a lot more often, in my experience. Though I alluded to this in my last post, you may be wondering, “What in the world is ‘integrative medicine” or “integrative health?”

Perhaps you’ve heard of the famous Dr. Andrew Weil? This man is an author and an actual medical doctor who practices a type of care that includes healing protocols from many sources, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, and nutritional therapies, along with many more. At the University of Arizona, he founded the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, where one may obtain education as a practitioner.

Dr. Andrew Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil

And Dr. Weil is not alone, of course. If you grew up in the 1970’s, like I did, or later, you may have had ice cream at a place that featured “31 Flavors.” Well, John Robbins was associated with that establishment when he decided to pursue a different, healthier path. He and his son, Ocean Robbins, will be presenting an online conference on integrative health very soon. You can sign up to attend sessions at no charge by clicking this link.

Why all this buzz about integrative health/medicine? It’s pretty exciting to me, actually. For a while now, there has been a growing awareness that western medicine is not the only approach to attaining or maintaining health. For certain emergencies and conditions, the advances in western medicine are saving lives and improving the quality of health.

Natural-and-Integrative-Medicine-Expert-image-Orlando

But, it’s becoming clear to many of us that there’s more to overall health. We can benefit from applying the wisdom that is more widely known in other parts of the world, or even from our own history. Research is also uncovering all sorts of connections between physical, mental & emotional, relational, and even financial health. We know that stress impacts our health. In a similar way, so many aspects of our lives have an effect on our physical condition and determine sickness or well being.

When you read this blog or other articles about nutrition, it may seem as if it’s possible to eat a “perfect” diet and achieve optimal health by virtue of the “best” eating plan. In fact, you know, if you have been reading my posts, that I think great nutrition can improve your health in a big way. But it’s not everything! Far from it. Integrative health looks at the whole picture, and tries to help create balance and nourishment for the body, soul, and spirit.

Lynn K & Fran Judd

Another key component of integrative health is that it is a pursuit of wellness & wholeness from the ground up, so to speak. Sometimes, we tend to think of fixing or abating symptoms so that we can forget our troubles. A holistic viewpoint sees symptoms as more of a gift, pointing to something deeper that needs attention. It seeks to address the root cause of any pain or symptom and work toward strengthening the body’s own natural defenses.

This is one of those big topics that really doesn’t fit into one little blog post. I hope I have shed a bit of light on it, though. Perhaps the bottom line is that integrative health is about healing and wholeness – about you, more than your sickness or issues.

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