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My Personal Conflict With Homeopathy

 

Last week I blogged about my newfound interest in homeopathy and the class I am taking on the subject. It has been a fascinating journey so far and I really am enjoying all the new information. (I should probably mention that I’m about 2 weeks behind on my lectures and assignments but I don’t think you’ll tell on me, right?)

My main reason for studying homeopathy in the first place is twofold:

a) It’s a large division of Natural Healing that I knew absolutely nothing about.

Many people sort of lump it together as the same as the rest of natural, holistic methods – and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Homeopathy and its methods are its own entities, with their own procedures and set of rules. If you ‘break’ them – it’s no longer considered homeopathy.

b) What can it do for me and my family?

I suppose anytime we learn about something that interests us, we ask ourselves this question. Is homeopathy something that I would consider using in the future (or present) when health issues arise? Can it help us in ways that other natural healing modalities can’t?

Those have been my two motives.

So far, I have come across one very large conflict.

Duby’s Bowl For Healing

I have always been a huge believer and proponent in creating a “bowl for healing.” What this means is, just like my blog – the 5 Pillars – it’s important to create not ONE but several avenues of healing.

– A physical healing. Nutrition is KEY … exercise, sleep, fresh air, clean water. Etc. We can do yoga and meditate all day, but if we’re eating Snickers for lunch and Jelly Bellies for supper – well, it aint gonna cut it.

– An emotional healing – my Doc tells me that EVERY illness has a mental component. (I suppose that’s hard to understand when it’s something simple such as an ear infection or strep throat…) but the fact remains, there can always be an emotional healing that accompanies a physical one.

– An Energetic Healing. I know I haven’t blogged about this topic at length but more and more we (as in alternative health minded people) are learning about Energy Medicine and how it plays a huge role in not only healing from illness but increasing in energy, vitality, moods, stamina etc. (who wouldn’t want that?) Energy healing can take many forms – such as Meridian tracing, Chakra clearing … things like Acupuncture, EFT, EMDR, Polarity… there are so many kinds, its difficult to list all!

The point in creating a ‘bowl’ for healing is so we as – one WHOLE body – which includes body AND mind AND spirit – can have a complete and entire healing.

The beauty of Homeopathy is that it prides itself on being THE ultimate healing modality that does this complete healing the best. Why?

Because Homeopathy teaches that with ONE single remedy – it has a combination and is a ‘recipe’ of your complete condition INCLUDING the mental, emotional and physical issues.

Why? Because Homeopathy – while a physical remedy, is considered an “energy medicine” that helps realign a person’s “Vital Force.” In doing so, this sets off a chain reaction – healing all the parts that are imbalanced – whether it’s a physical or mental imbalance.

Now, I MUST mention that MOST holistic therapies do this as well. My Doc would probably never speak to me again if I said his teachings on Naturopathy don’t include mental and emotional aspects of an illness – it CERTAINLY does!! In my first appointment with him, he drilled me (in that loving way of his) about my personal lifestyle and environment – and took that into great consideration when working with me.

However, as much as it’s strange to write this, based on my class and what I’ve learned, Homeopathy believes that they do this healing different – and BETTER than everybody else, ALMOST sounding like no other therapy is needed. (I’m not educated enough to argue this point, I’m merely relaying over the concepts I’ve been learning)

Who would have thought a school of healing could be so elitist? Smile

Getting back to My Personal Conflict:

It’s quite simple.

When taking a Homeopathic Remedy, they teach you that there are things you should stay away from, or try not to do – because it can interfere with the Remedies at work. Since it’s considered an ENERGY Medicine – they tell you to stay away from ENERGY medicines.

So, if you get acupuncture, or do something like EFT, Chakra therapy – then it might cause the remedy not to work.

Also, taking any kind of vitamins or herbal tincture can get in the way of a remedy working.

(have you figured out my conflict yet?)

I know that while on Allopathic medications –one needs to stay away from certain substances. (although quite frankly since I’ve never taken antibiotics, I can’t tell you what. But obviously there are substances that don’t mix with prescription drugs!)

Nevertheless, when it comes to holistic healing, I have a hard time with the concept of taking an “end all be all” one remedy – and having to stop all other things. Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. I understand why those rules are in place – I understand that it can interfere – but does that mean I have to get rid of my “bowl of healing?” Do I need to discard it and put all my eggs into one… plate?

The truth is I am a new student to Homeopathy and still in the beginning of the journey. And who knows, maybe it’s one of those things where I shouldn’t “knock it till I try it.”

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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Homeopathy – What is it?

 

homeoapthyI’m sure some of you may have realized I haven’t blogged in almost a whole month. Yes, I’ve been a neglectful blogger, but I suppose my writing energies have been focused elsewhere; working on my writing classes and my children’s’ book. My ‘health’ energies have been focused on a very fascinating Intro to Homeopathy course and I suppose that between that, oh and regular life stuff like laundry, my blogging has become back burner. (how sad!)

When I realized how long it’s been since I’ve blogged, I decided to shelve my work in progress series on “rethinking health” – and instead, make things a little easier and blog about what I’m studying!!! (why didn’t I think of this sooner?)

So here goes.

Intro To Homeopathy.

I decided to take this class because it was offered by someone I knew – a homeopath who’s been practicing for over 30 years – and she actually no longer takes clients because she focuses all her time on teaching a plethora of Homeopathy classes. Also, I’ve been studying Naturopathy for about 2 years now (give or take) and very often the subject of homeopathy comes up amongst friends, fellow health nutters –and I never knew anything about it. Like many people out there in the big wide world, I lumped homeopathy along with other natural healing methods, assuming they were all pretty much the same type of thing.

WRONGO. (as the Grinch would say)

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Homeopathy really is NOTHING like any other healing modality and I can tell you that this stuff is freakishly fascinating.

What is homeopathy?

In simple terms, it’s a natural form of healing that combines ALL aspects of health when prescribing a remedy. The homeopath will ALWAYS look at the mental/ emotional wellbeing (and symptoms) along with the physical symptoms of an issue.

So, for example. Suppose my sister calls me and tells me she has a terrible cold, winter bug type thing. As a student of Naturopathy and herbalism, I will tell my sister:

“go to take Echinacea, Astragalus, bump up Vitamin D, take hot baths, drink ginger tea, remove all wheat/sugar/dairy, and go rest etc..”

A Homeopath on the other hand will say (for example)

“What kind of cough is it? Is it dry, wet, barking type?”

“Are you feeling chilled? Are you hot, cold?”

“Do you feel like you want to be left alone, or do you specifically NOT want to be alone?”

“Are you feeling angry, emotional, anxious, etc..”

The basic principle of homeopathy is that what is good for one person, may not be good for another. Meaning, 2 people can both be sick with a similar illness but they are given 2 different remedies. (this is one of the reasons why it is very difficult to do scientific studies on the effectiveness of Homeopathy because no 2 remedies are the same!)

Why? Because each person comes with their own ‘junk’ in whatever form. Homeopathy teaches that true health means a complete homeostasis between mental, emotional and physical faculties.

For example. If someone is plagued with severe migraines – we can say they are not ‘physically free.’ However, if a person is physically free of ills, but has poor concentration, brain fog, and memory difficulties – are they mentally free? My teacher gave the example of a person who watches a ‘tear jerker’ movie. If they cry a bit during the movie, that’s a healthy reaction. But if they’re still crying a week later, that’s a sign of an emotional imbalance. We learn that there needs to be a complete balance of all three – and functioning properly. (of course Duby adds in the importance of Spiritual health as well.) A homeopath will take ALL of the issues into consideration when prescribing the one customized remedy for a person.

How did it start?

Not that anyone is interested in a major History lesson – I happened to think it was kind of cool how it all came about.

The dude who founded Homeopathy was Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (please don’t ask me how to pronounce his name, I have no idea) … he lived 1755- 1843 in Germany.

He was a medical doctor with his own practice. He was translating medical texts and was fascinated about a species of tree bark which was being used to treat malaria. He took some of this tree bark (talk about experimenting on one’s own body!) and found that it CAUSED SIMILAR symptoms to the malaria illness. Long story short he continued researching on the idea that that “Let Likes be Cured by Likes.” In other words, a remedy will be given with a substance that produces in a healthy person those same symptoms a patient experiences. But in a person who is sick, that substance will help cure them. (I told you it was freaky stuff!)

Of course there are others that came along after him and researched his findings more, and solidified his ideas etc… one such person who I found truly interesting was a man by the name of Constantine Hering… he began to study Homeopathy ONLY because he thought it was crazy and wanted to disprove its legitimacy !!!!! He’s now known as “the Father of American Homeopathy.”

Ok, history lesson is over.

I had No idea….

I found it surprising to learn that in the early 1900’s there were 22 homeopathic medical schools, 100 homeopathic hospitals, and 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies… why those numbers no longer exist today, is another topic Smile

Long story short, Homeopathy is nothing like I’ve ever studied (even though there are similarities in the sense that it wants to create a long lasting healing in a safe and gentle manner) and I’m finding it really fascinating.

I’m sure I’ll blog about this topic some more since my class runs for the next few months….

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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Hey Ya’ll! Paula Deen and Her “shocking” Health Announcement

Hey ya’ll!!!

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Paula Deen – famous for her heavy Southern cooking – has Type 2 Diabetes. She was diagnosed 3 years ago, and recently made it public, and she is now a spokesperson for a diabetes drug.

The blogosphere is filled with articles on Paula Deen’s cooking style and its role in her disease, so I’m not going to add to the pile with yet ANOTHER article.

What I would like to talk about is something Paula said regarding her grandmother. Here is the quote from the USA TODAY article:

“Type 2 diabetes is like “Russian roulette” when it comes to whom it’s going to strike, Deen says. “It’s about heredity. It’s about age, lifestyle, race. I’m the only one in my family who has it. My grandmother cooked and ate like I ate, and she didn’t have it.””

Bubby’s Homemade Cooking:

This got me thinking.

My bubby also ate like this. Ok, maybe Southern Fried Chicken wasn’t a staple in the Lower East Side back in the day, but I’ve read through enough of my Bubby’s recipes to see “FAT” as the number one ingredient. Fat, Butter, Cheese… I have recipes of cakes and breads and stews…. Quite frankly, I’ve never attempted most of these recipes because to make it “Duby Friendly” I’d have to practically change the entire recipe!

So why is it, I asked myself, that our grandparents were able to eat this way and they didn’t get diabetes?

My bubby of blessed memory lived well into her 80’s and was pretty healthy for almost her entire life. There was no heart disease, or diabetes or even Cancer … (thank G-d)

So why is it that people TODAY who are seemingly much healthier (and thinner) seem to contract all these diseases and chronic illnesses???

I’d like to open this discussion, and I really want to hear from YOU guys – my readers – why YOU think this is.

Here are a few reasons that I came up with…

1) Sedentary Lifestyle: TV, Computers,

Do I need to explain this one? It’s kind of obvious. Our sedentary lifestyle is a big factor in many of the “new” illnesses in today’s world.

Years ago, people did manual labor jobs. Whether working in factories, on farms, – people were moving and doing all day long and “breaking a sweat.” Today, of course these kinds of jobs still exist, but for the most part, our industries are more service and information based (technology, computer programming, online work etc.), and how much sweat are we really producing sitting at a desk on the computer?

Speaking of computers, of course, I don’t need to tell you about how computers have COMPLTELY taken over our lives. (Laptops, iPads, computer games) It’s one of those things that if abused can be a terrible thing, but yet it is hard to maintain a balance.

Long story short, back then maybe people ate “heavier” and “fattier” foods, but people MOVED!!!

2) More Driving, Less Walking

Back in the olden days (and not even so old!) people walked everywhere. Kids drove bikes, and adults walked. (at least that’s what they tell me Smile) Before I went away for high school I remember asking the principal if there was a bus to school. She told me that since everyone lived in the area, everyone walked to school. I believe I was a little frightened by this prospect, but what an incredible way to start the school day with a cool brisk walk to school!!!

3) Toxins / Pesticides

It’s not that food didn’t have pesticides back then, but take a look at how our farming industry has become so commercialized. The attitude of “big is better” and “more for cheaper”…we’re eating unnaturally colored and oversized vegetables, and they use many pesticides to produce vegetables that last longer and grow larger.

GMO. Enough said.

Now let’s talk about toxins in the actual air around us. All around us is toxins – from the shampoo and toothpaste we use to the chicken / meat we eat – from the chemicals to steroids and antibiotics …

Another interesting point is that back then we had more homegrown (made in the USA) food, while today many of our produce is imported. Unfortunately, other countries don’t necessarily have the same regulations and standards. (another reason for eating Locally!)

4) Food is overall less nutritious than it used to be

Because of all the pesticides and ways our food industry is allowed to cut corners, it’s understandable that even healthy food (such as vegetables) is less nutritious than it used to be.

Duby’s Note:

I would like to insert here a small caveat. While my Bubby and Zeidy didn’t have to worry about GMO’s like we do today, this doesn’t mean that in those days, things were all honkey dorey.

Just last week I was chatting with my aunt who was telling me how my Bubby Rivkah didn’t let her children eat certain foods because she knew they were suspect.

For example:

a) White Flour: Back then (we’re talking the 1950’s) people used White Flour without really understanding why it wasn’t healthy. People liked the look of white bread, so companies milled and then bleached the flour, thereby stripping the vitamins. (I’m sure you all paid attention to my last blog post Smile) My bubby understood this and in ALL her baking and cooking, she would add Wheat Germ to put back lost vitamins and minerals. (I remember my mother teaching me to add Wheat Germ into my meatball mixture)

b) My bubby never let her kids have Tuna Fish in their school lunches. The companies back then weren’t regulated like today, and a scandalous report found particles of rodents(!!) in the canned Tuna. (My aunt also told me that they found shards of glass in the cans as well!)

c) Never were they allowed to have dry cereal. Why? Because Bubby understood these weren’t a source of good nutrition. It turned out that dry cereal had as much food value as Styrofoam. Once this became common knowledge, General Mills and others began to ‘put back’ the vitamins into the foods.

Even back then, it was imperative to keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention to what’s going into our bodies.

5) Supersized portions

We are stretching our dollar and stretching our plates. Check out the image below from TheVisualMD.com for a startling comparison of how our portion sizes have grown over the years.

So yes, maybe my bubby made cheesecake all the time … but something tells me those slices were a LOT smaller than they are today Smile

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6) Margarine vs. Butter

I’ll admit – many of my mother’s recipes call for Margarine – to make the recipes pareve. But NONE of my Bubby’s recipes call for Margarine. They all call for Butter or Fat. Isn’t that interesting? Now, I know that eating a stick of butter is unhealthy. (Thank you Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live for that incredible sketch!) However, there is something to be said about eating REAL vs. FAKE.


A friend of mine in Agoura Hills, California – is an incredible baker. She bakes all these heavenly goodies for her family…and I once asked her about worrying about weight, or health. She told me that yes, eating cake isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, but she knows what her kids are eating. There are NO preservatives and she’s choose which flours to use. While you shouldn’t eat an entire batch of cookies, at least she knew the products were “real” and “wholesome.”

(Duby’s Note: I agree with my friend’s opinion only to a certain extent. Sugar is sugar no matter how you look at it. Yes, it might be more “natural” than Aspartame {which may cause cancer} but sugar can be harmful in other ways.)

Long story short – margarine, while is wonderful to us Kosher bakers, it really is a terrible thing to put in our bodies.

7) More Medicines – More Illnesses

I don’t have any statistics to back me up on this one (and this is totally my opinion) but there is a REASON why it’s called “Bubby’s Homemade Remedies.” Our Bubbies all knew just the herb or tonic to whip up when we were sick, and they didn’t fear illnesses like we do today.

Walk into any school building, and you’ll find kids with every allergy under the sun:

Wheat Free

Gluten Free

Soy Free

Egg Free

Nut Free

Dairy Free

(am I missing any?)

Then we got seasonal allergies up the whazoo. As for us adults, there are an incredible amount of autoimmune disorders- and the numbers of these illnesses are increasing. Our bodies and immune systems are literally overwhelmed and while trying to survive it’s attacking itself causing all these problems.

We have a very efficient and impressive medical industry, yet, we seem to be getting sicker.

In conclusion, my Bubby certainly baked with Fat and Butter and made delicious kuchens and kichels and a whole bunch of “ich” type goodies. While I may try to emulate her recipes, as Paula Deen says that she bakes/eats just like her grandmother did, we need to remember that we live in a completely different world, and must live/cook/eat with the realities of the 21 century.

What do you think my dear readers?

Why do YOU think our grandparents were able to cook the way they did and yet we have more illnesses?

Or do you believe that our grandparents were just as unhealthy as we are today?

I would love to hear your opinions!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Misc. Ramblings, Physical Health

 

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“Rethinking” Grains

Last week I began discussing rethinking what we already know about health. (or what we think we know.)

We discussed that nutrition is crucial for our long term health, and many consider it to be the building blocks and foundation to being healthy. Without a proper foundation, a “building” has no chance….

So today, I’m gonna jump right in:

Rethinking Grains:

Grans is a very hot topic. It’s one where everyone has their own opinion, experiences and preferences.

No matter which school of thought that we follow, we need to remember the most basic thing rule: Beware of White Flour:

clip_image001What is White Flour?

White flour products (such as “enriched” flours) are missing the two most nutritious and fiber-rich parts of the seed: the outside bran layer and the germ (embryo). The wheat is milled, which removes the bran and germ. This process gives the flour a longer shelf life.

These products should not be STAPLES in our diets. On OCCASION I bake yummy cookies and cakes for my friends and family, but as a general rule, white flour should not be a staple, used in sandwiches, pastas, dinners etc.. White flour has been STRIPPED of nutritional value and while “carb loading” might give us a quick boost of energy, the satiated feeling doesn’t last long and the negative effects last longer.

White flour can and WILL make us fat and sleepy. It causes anxiety, mood swings and depression and weakens our immune systems making our bodies more susceptible to illnesses. There is a very long list of why white flour is bad – so please when you have a moment, google it.

Ok, so white flour is bad. I think we all get that by now, right? So what’s the alternative?

How about Whole Grains?

“Whole grains (or foods made from them) contain ALL the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.” (Definition of Whole Grains – WholeGrainsCouncil.org)

So let’s talk whole grain breads. Once again – it’s a HOT topic and it can be VERY confusing.

Breads – Check those Ingredients!!

If you want to make things super fun, let’s talk about the fact that many of the breads sold in supermarkets that claim are whole grain and super duper healthy, are not as healthy as they seem. This is why we must learn to understand to decode nutritional and ingredient labels.

The other night, I went to my local grocery store to do some investigative research on the subject. I went with the intention to compare the popular breads and study the labels. I then went home and researched this on the internet.

If it Looks Whole Grain, and Says Whole Grain, Is it Whole Grain?

The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I eating whole grain?” Just because we ate “brown” colored bread, doesn’t mean the bread is in fact whole grain. Many products tout they are a healthy source of whole grains, when in reality refined flour is the first ingredient. The FDA does not define what percentage of grain must be whole in order to use this claim, so be sure “whole grain” or “whole wheat flour” is listed as a primary ingredient.

My dear readers, I was so flipping confused I can’t even begin to express my frustration at how difficult it was to demystify the healthy breads amongst the supermarket shelves!!

Breads or Cereals may say “Whole Grain” on the label, but that doesn’t tell us how much of the flour contained within is really whole.

Points to Remember:

– White flour products should NOT be staples on our tables.

– Introduce sprouted bread products – Duby recommends: Ezekiel Bread, and Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted Breads I am also a fan of The Baker Company. They have very few ingredients in their products (always an excellent sign!).

– Many people have difficulties digesting WHEAT and wheat products. There are many whole grain breads out there that are NOT made from wheat and therefore easier to digest and lower on the glycemic index. (Spelt is one of them – and I make a Spelt Challah with no sugar and it’s wonderful!)

– Its imperative to listen to our bodies when we eat grains. Have a little fun science experiment with yourself. If you “crave” another slice or don’t feel at all full after eating one or two slices, you might want to consider switching companies.

– Don’t rely on fiber numbers to find whole grains. Breads, especially "light" loaves, may have added processed fiber.

– The less ingredients the better. Even if a bread IS IN FACT whole grain, it defeats the purpose if it contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup and a whole host of preservatives.

Test your Knowledge: Which Bread is Healthier?

These two breads both look healthy and wonderful. Both boast “high in fiber,” “no High Fructose Corn Syrup” and have that healthy look to them. Both say Whole Grains, and look to be a great bread to grace your table!

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However, when we look at the label and ingredients, the bread on the left contains “100% whole Wheat flour,” while the one on the right, contains whole wheat flour AND regular white flour. This means that we as the consumer have no idea how much or how LITTLE whole grain it really has!

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Food for thought!

Editor’s Note: The breads pictured here are not necessarily Kosher and weren’t examined based on the fact that they are. They were merely used for investigative purposes.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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Getting Healthier in 2012 – Rethinking!

 

the_thinkerI have been doing a lot of thinking lately, (oh no! Smile) and I have officially named 2012 – The Year of Health! (sounds awesome, no?) Obviously a motto or resolution of “getting healthier” is very vague and can be very confusing. So to help makes things easier, I decided to narrow it down to one simple concept – “Rethinking Health.”

Time to rethink what we assume we know about health, and to stretch our brains a little bit. Even if we don’t change a single habit, if we begin to view things a little differently then I’d like to believe we’re on the right path.

So for me, I’ve been doing some “rethinking.”

It’s interesting how over the years my perceptions and understanding of true health has changed quite dramatically. It’s a little extreme to go from eating processed and unhealthy foods to eating sprouts and vegan tofu!!! The journey to true health is a real journey, and while it might sound silly, it really isn’t a journey that should be rushed lest you miss some valuable lessons along the way.

Valuable Lessons? What kind of lessons can you learn from eating carrots?

Well, I’m so very happy you asked. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned from my “journey” towards a happier and healthy life. (feel free to comment on what YOU have learned from your healthy habits)

1. Nutrition is not something to be taken lightly.

We always joke about how some people can eat so much junk food and never gain a pound. Well, it’s not about weight and it’s not about pounds and we must as a society stop putting so much WEIGHT on how much we WEIGH. When a person is overweight, it’s merely a symptom of something that’s out of balance. (incorrect eating, lifestyle habits, stress, lack of physical exercise etc.)

I never really took nutrition seriously. Ok, so I knew I shouldn’t pig out on Donuts at the Chanukah party because I would feel bloated and gain a pound or two. But I never understood that it goes much more beyond the bloated feeling for a few hours. The way we eat DIRECTLY affects EVERY other aspect of our lives. Our moods, our cognitive skills, our sex lives, our energy levels, our immune system….

In simple terms – our food can make us or break us.

And as I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “we are what we eat.”

2. Health is more than just not being Sick

This is an attitude that I find in alternative health more so than in the conventional health world (for those of you who go to regular MD’s – you’ll have to let me know if they teach this as well.)

The point is that true health is an all- encompassing freedom. Free from physical ills, free from emotional baggage that holds you back, and clear focused sharp mental capacity. (and if you’ve been following my blog, you know I believe Spiritual Health to be equally important – living with a sense of a higher purpose etc)

If a person has to take blood pressure medication every day of their lives – that’s not exactly physical health, is it? It’s called disease management. If I am physically healthy with boundless energy, yet I have a hard time concentrating and focusing in class – that means my mental faculties are imbalanced and no, I’m not fully healthy.

I think this is a hard concept amongst conventional medicines because we are so used to compartmentalizing things. If I’m depressed then I go to a therapist, and if I have a stomachache I go to a general practitioner. But if I’m depressed because I got into a fight with my husband, it’s highly likely that I will have stomach issues! My point is that we are an entire body that consists of mind, body and spirit – – and should be treated as such, not as individual symptoms. (I believe that this is most taught in the school of Homeopathy which truly takes into an account a person’s emotional/mental well being when prescribing a remedy)

3. Our Lifestyle Can Be Just as Poisonous

This is tough one to explain because it means taking a hard honest look at where we work, who we interact with and what items we use on a daily basis. So, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the term “Toxic Relationships” – coined for those friends we looove to hang out with, but for some reason afterwards we feel like crap?

This applies to our work environment also. For example, we knew there was a problem, when every Sunday night my husband would get depressed thinking he would have to go back to work Monday morning, and knowing he would have to deal with certain people.

These people as individuals might be wonderful caring and kindhearted – but to you (or me) they might be TOXIC.

A toxic environment WILL play a huge role in your overall health. Personally, I think this is the hardest one of them all. Eating healthier, taking vitamins, doing Yoga is one thing … but leaving a job, or a city, or a friendship because its not healthy is very difficult to do.

As for ‘items’ that are toxic… overusing computers, cell phones, microwaves, aluminum bake-ware – items we use every day, they directly effect our energetic systems and ultimately our health.

4. True Health & Wellness Helps Us Be Happier

This is a big Statement!

– When life is in balance – our work life – our personal life, there is a sense of peace and tranquility and things are in healthy flow. 

– When we are in healthy environments, feeding our bodies the proper nourishment, our emotional responses are appropriate and our mental faculties are sharp.

– When we are aware and mindful of our surroundings – we are able to acknowledge what is good for us and keep the rest out, allowing us to create a happier life.

I have been enjoying this “RE-thinking” thing, and I plan to continue this vein. Over the next few days / weeks I’ll be discussing Rethinking our Physical Health and Emotional Health.

I hope you’ll join in the discussion!

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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Following the Crowd Like Sheep

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about sheep recently. As I’m sure you know, I speak to many people about their health practices and ideals, and in my mind, “sheep” is an excellent way to describe them. I first heard this term being used by alternative health organizations, (in a very negative way). It describes people who don’t know better and follow the medical system blindly, as sheep do, without ever really finding out the truth for themselves or learning to make their own decisions.

The more I have learnt, the more I find this to be true; so (naturally) I decided to blog about it.

A few years ago I was a sheep. (ouch!) I listened to what my Doctor told me, and I believed and did whatever I was told. Sadly though, something was not right. At some point, I had to ask myself, “why isn’t this working?” Sure, my doctor was smart – and YES I know – my doctor went to medical school and I did NOT – however, there comes a time when you need to KNOW your own body. As unorthodox as it sounds, I needed to be responsible and be the “doctor” for my body.

And so, I began to research – to ask the WHY questions, and not to stop until I got some answers. Now, many of you might not feel you need to ask the WHY questions because you’re pretty satisfied with your health, or your child’s health – and maybe your medical doctor has been wonderful to you and all’s fine and dandy. And that’s great too. But, really – let’s think for a minute. With a fine tooth comb, we study our cell phone bills – looking for mistakes. We examine with a sharp eye our bank statements to make sure there are no errors. We harshly judge our children’s teachers because we want to make sure our kid is getting the best possible education.

Why do we not do the same with our medical system?

Its mind boggling, watching people follow like meek and timid sheep with little or no independence when it comes to taking responsibility for our health.. There is always room to ask WHY, to discern and understand the reasons. There should be no such thing as: “That’s just the way it is.”

I decided to blog about this now because tonight /tomorrow I will be commemorating my mother’s Yartzeit. She passed away in 2002 at the young age of 49. When I was just a young toddler my mother was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and unfortunately, I never really got to know who she really was, the person behind the illness. There is one lesson that I learned from her that I will never forget. When I was a kid, during those turbulent years when I had no friends and felt I’d never fit in with my snobby and elitist classmates, my mother constantly reminded me: “Do Your Own Thing.” She would say to me, “if everyone is doing one thing, but you want to do another – Do what YOU want.” Never EVER “follow the crowd” blindly, but decide for myself what it is I wanted and what is right for me. She promised me, that if I was true to myself and listened to my heart, then soon people will be following ME instead of the other way around.

Of course, this lesson took me years to learn. Maybe that’s why today I’m so adamant of doing things differently? (my pink wedding gown perhaps? Smile)

As an advocate for alternative health and responsible living, this lesson of not following like timid sheep is important now more than ever. It’s imperative we learn to take action for our health instead of just following the crowds and the “norms.”

On my mom’s yartzeit, I believe that she’d be happy I’m living this valuable lesson daily and I only hope that you try to do the same.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

steps

My mom, my brother and me (with my AWESOMELY wild curly hair) on our front steps in Albany, NY.

to be cropped

Mommy & Me Smile (wasn’t I a cutie patootie?)

Family Picture - 1982

My Family way back when… (I don’t look very happy to be there. It must be the hideous fuchsia velour outfit I’m wearing. Well it was the 80’s….)

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Misc. Ramblings

 

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New Year – Not New Plan :)

calvinHappy 2012 everyone !!!

My grandmother always reminds me that January 1st is NOT the Jewish New Year, and shouldn’t be celebrated, but to me, I always felt it’s the perfect opportunity to take a small breath, look at the calendar and see where we are headed and where we are going.

So, 2012 – what’s on the To Do List for this year?

To find out the BEST New Year’s resolution, all you need to do is ask yourself the following question:

What do I complain the most about?

Simple yet effective.

Complain about your weight?

Complain about how stressed you are?

Complain how frustrating your job is?

Well there ya go!

Now you know what needs working on.

I asked my husband a few weeks what I complain about – and obviously he didn’t want to answer. He was scared it was one of those “Do I look fat in this?” type questions but I reassured him I really wanted to know. It wasn’t much of a surprise when he told me the one or two things I bring up the most. Good! Now I know what I need to work on.

This year, I don’t really plan to begin any new resolutions. Instead, my plan is to keep doing what I know to be right and keep at it. Obviously it isn’t always easy, and there are oh so many bumps along the way, but the point is to keep going. Finding my pitfalls and trying to work around them (or through them) will help ensure my success.

What’s That On My Plate?

So once again – I’m focusing on stepping up my healthy eating. Each time I do my detox I feel more energetic and healthier. And with each time I do the program, it kick starts my healthy eating (its seriously awesome people!)

I hope to incorporate more raw foods in my menus. Even if my plate has plenty of vegetables on it, it doesn’t come close to eating RAW – raw foods are ALIVE with nutrients, vitamins and minerals and nothing beats them. I noticed this on Shabbos when I looked around the table and saw everything I had prepared was cooked. Imagine how thrilled my husband was when I told him we’d be eating more raw this year J (and more vegan) hehe.

My neighbor Meir, is very knowledgeable in eating locally and sustainably. This is not my strong area so it’s always good to have a chat with him. He’s been recommending how to start my organic garden, where the best Farmer’s Markets are and he’s introduced me to like minded people. Recently, Meir has been harvesting his own organic Wheat Grass. It almost sounds like a drug when you do some research of its health benefits. He has been juicing it and passing it along to me and woah what a rush!!!! I call it – Liquid Energy!! (its some serious stuff…)

Watch out for that Cliff! What Cliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiif…..

My biggest pitfall is The Holidays. I don’t have it completely under control, as Tishrei found me eating cake and lots of other goodies that ended up making me feel sick. (feel free to read my Tishrei Report Card with all those exciting details)

Another area that needs improving is working through the emotional difficulty I have when I eat at other people’s houses. Sure, I work my tushy off to plan ahead of time, bring my own food if necessary, and speak to my hosts to make sure there is food I can eat. But there is often a feeling of “why me?” that comes along with it. It’s always a struggle to sit at a table watching everyone enjoying something yummy, and I’m sitting and eating carrots. Yes, I understand the health benefits and acknowledge that in the long run I’m better off without that delicious yummy Trifle dessert, but it doesn’t take away that sometimes it’s frustrating. At some point, I’ll figure out how to get over it. (hey, I never said I was perfect.)

Oh Exercise – my arch nemesis!

Show me someone who loves to exercise, and … that won’t be me Smile

For me, the hardest part of exercise is getting back into the groove. Maybe I’ve taken a few days off because of a partying weekend… or maybe I wasn’t feeling too hot so I skipped my usual Pilates. It’s that “getting back into it” that kills me, and I have yet to find a way to keep it consistent so that exercise is a constant with no long periods of time without it. (tips and suggestions are welcome!)

That pretty much sums up my Health plan for 2012. cow

What’s YOUR new year’s resolution???? Do tell!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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