Thursday, June 26, 2014

What's Happened To Us?

I was in Wal-Mart recently to pick up some baking soda and vinegar. Earlier that day I'd been watching a video about the decline of American's health and the dangers of sugar. With those thoughts fresh in my mind, I suddenly saw things I hadn't seen before. 

I saw a lot of severely overweight people. (Not just carrying a few extra pounds, but so overweight that it was clearly unhealthy.)
I saw a couple of too-skinny people who looked malnourished and not healthy at all.
I saw huge displays of soda. 
I saw the man in line in front of me buy 5 frozen pizzas and a package of cupcakes. 

And I thought to myself, what has happened to our country? 
When did we exchange real food for "manufactured" food?
When did people stop caring about how they treat their bodies?
When did insanity replace common sense?

It makes me sad to see the epidemic of health problems in our country today. But frankly, it's not surprising. The "standard American diet" is probably the worst there is. It's destroying people every day.

So many people have believed the lies of advertising companies, promoting thousands of products that no one should ever put in their body. In many cases, no one was there to tell them the truth. And now we're seeing the "harvest" of a generation of people raised on man-made food instead of what God created. 

When will it stop?

My mom was raised on a farm. She ate farm fresh veggies, fresh raw milk products, and freshly prepared meats. She is still probably the healthiest person in our family. 

I was raised overseas, so most of what I ate was home-cooked. We only ate a few packaged, convenience foods. We only had sodas on certain occasions. 

But kids today eat almost entirely processed foods, and they're swimming in sodas, fake "juices," super-sweet coffees, energy drinks, and more. 

Who's going to stand up for their heath? Who's going to confront the lies of big companies with the truth of how God created His world to run?

- margarine is not healthier than butter (in fact margarine is very unhealthy!)
- low-fat is not healthier for you
- high fructose corn syrup should never be ingested
- soda is poison, and diet soda is even worse poison
- sugar is destructive
- potato chips are not a vegetable
- pesticides are harmful to humans
...the list goes on an on.

The bottom line is that man cannot "improve" what God made. 

Those who believe the lie that they can eat whatever they want and not have health problems, will be greatly disappointed when they experience the "fruit" of such a lifestyle. 

And just to be clear, I'm not blaming people here. I realize most people don't know better. They're ignorant. But unfortunately, ignorance will not protect them. Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy. He's worked hard to put a system in place that is slowly stealing health and destroying lives every day.   

Who will stand up to speak the truth once again?

I'm just one person. I can't change the whole food industry. I can't turn back time and teach the last generation how to eat real food. But if by me sharing the truth, even one person takes it seriously and protects their health, then I'll keep on declaring it as long as I can!

You're only one person. But you can teach your children to eat real food. You can tell at least one other person the truth about food today. You can make a difference. 

I pray you will, so that together we can see lives changed and health transformed. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Addressing Causes of Inflammation

Last week I shared some lifestyle changes to help reduce inflammation in general. Now let's address how to treat some of the specific causes of inflammation that I shared at the beginning of this series of posts.

- Cause: Parasites/Candida/Viruses/Bacteria 

There are some supplements that may be helpful in fighting these different infections, such as olive leaf extract, garlic, pau'dArco, etc. However, the most effective treatment we've found is Dr. Smith's CBT method. I tried just about everything else, especially for parasites and candida, but only the CBT method was truly effective for me. You can check Dr. Smith's website for a doctor who has been trained in CBT in your area, or send me an email and maybe I can help.

I think in some cases essential oils can help fight these infections, but my own use with them has been limited because of the smell factor. If you find someone who's knowledgeable about them, you can learn about their many benefits.

Also, taking a good probiotic is essential to building up your immune system so it will be better able to fight these infections.

- Cause: Toxins  

I recommend everyone makes use of ongoing detox therapies, such as lymphatic massage, detox baths, deep breathing, etc. With the amount of toxins we're exposed to these days, we need to continually help our bodies to detoxify. 

If you need help with detoxing a specific toxin such as mercury, lead, cadmium, etc. I always recommend my herbalogist. She's very knowledgeable about natural ways to heal specific issues in the body. 

Remember that detoxing is a process, and sometimes an unpleasant one. But it's definitely worth is. The more toxins you get out of your body, the better it will function and the more energy it will have for healing. 

Grounding - 

I also wanted to mention that another good tool for reducing inflammation is grounding. (Basically it's standing barefoot on the earth, the ground). I've mentioned grounding before for its other health benefits, but I was happily surprised to learn that it's also great for reducing inflammation! 

"When you're grounded there's a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably the most potent antioxidants known to man. These antioxidants are responsible for the clinical observations from grounding experiments, such as beneficial changes in heart rate, decreased skin resistance, and decreased levels of inflammation." -Dr. Mercola (from this article)
Here's a longer article about grounding. If you can, try to spend at least 10-15 minutes a day outside grounding. If that's not possible, then maybe consider trying some "earthing" products, which you can use indoors. (I haven't tried them yet, but a few of my friends have.) Grounding is such an incredible tool for healing, and it's simple and pain-free! =) 

Well that wraps up this series on inflammation. Do you have any questions? Or any other tips on how to reduce inflammation? Please share with us in the comments. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How To Reduce Inflammation Naturally

There are several "anti-inflammatory" drugs (aspirin, NSAID's, statin's or steriods) used today for inflammation, but they only address symptoms. They don't help the body to heal the root causes of the inflammation. These medications can also cause many serious problems in the body. In general, avoid these drugs (I understand emergency uses, just always be cautious). 

There are several ways to reduce inflammation naturally. This post will discuss important lifestyle changes, which hopefully you've already been making. Next week I'll focus on combating specific causes of inflammation.

Lifestyle changes that will help reduce inflammation:

- Eat healthy!
I know you hear it often, but what you eat really does determine the state of your health. Most importantly, say no to sugar! By "sugar" I mean refined, white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other added sugars in all those packaged and processed foods.

(Healthy sweet substances, in moderation, include fruit, honey, and high quality maple syrup. You may need to avoid even these healthy foods for a time depending on the severity of your situation. But in general these are good additions to a healthy diet.)

Another inflammatory food is white flour. This converts to sugar in the body quickly after eating it, so it's very similar to eating sugar. Also, today's white flour has all kinds of problems, including being stripped of nutrients, contaminated with pesticides, often bleached, etc. Here's an excellent article that explains the problems with white flour today. 

While some people feel better by going completely gluten-free, I think many people can find healthy organic, whole grains that are ok for their body. But regular white flour products are definitely not a good thing for anyone's health. 

Sugar and white flour are some of the worst inflammatory foods. The good news is that many other foods help fight inflammation, including vegetables, fruits, olive oil, various spices, etc. 

What you eat is a very important lifestyle choice that will either slowly drag down your health, or consistently build it up. So, if you haven't yet, take stock of your everyday diet and look for ways you can cut out inflammatory foods and add in healthy foods. 

- Exercise regularly.
I know, this is another thing you hear all the time. That's because it's so important! Your body was designed to MOVE. Lack of regular movement results in many different health issues. 

I think the main thing is to find what kind of exercise works for you, then plan time for it in your schedule, get some accountability, and switch it up from time to time so you don't get bored. 

- Get proper sleep.
This is so important! Healthy and adequate sleep is absolutely vital to good health. I wrote a whole post about ways to improve your sleep here. Again, evaluate what factors hinder good sleep and look for even one way you can improve it.

- Relax!
Everyone is so stressed today, and stress is a major cause of inflammation. So we have to be intentional about finding ways to relax. 

Try doing regular stretches and deep breathing. These help improve circulation, help oxygenate and relax the body, and help the body release the accumulated tension caused by stress. 

Also, relaxation exercises can be very helpful. Once a day, close your eyes and picture yourself on a quiet beach, with a cool breeze, and fresh, salty air. Breathe deeply and feel your whole body relax. (Or if you prefer, picture a cool mountaintop with a beautiful vista...whatever scene helps you relax.) 

Taking moments here and there throughout the day to stop and acknowledge things you're grateful for, is another good way to step off the stress treadmill and help you relax.

Along with these lifestyle changes, certain supplements may help you to deal with inflammation temporarily. Vit. D, Vit. C, quercetin, herbs like ginger, and certain essential oils may help. Getting your omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio balanced is also important. (Butter contains the correct ratio of 1:1, so it's good for this.)

Just don't start taking supplements randomly. Either work with a trusted health provider, or learn how to muscle test these things for yourself. (I'll write more on muscle testing in another post.) 

One more thing to mention is the importance of keeping a healthy insulin level. This is mainly done through diet (no sugar or grains) and exercise. The reason this is so vital is that unhealthy insulin levels cause inflammation and lead to all kinds of health problems. (There's a longer article by Dr. Mercola about insulin and inflammation here.)

I know that's a lot of information. Just break it down and start where you can. Do something today to invest in your health. =) 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation is the body's natural response to a perceived threat, like an injury or infection. Inflammation is a necessary function in such situations to help the body heal. However, when inflammation is triggered mistakenly by the immune system or if it becomes chronic, then it's a serious problem.

Chronic inflammation can actually be present in the body for years without noticeable outward symptoms. Then "suddenly" a disease manifests (cancer, heart disease, etc), which is the natural result of years of untreated chronic inflammation. 

Or, some people live with noticeable chronic inflammation in terms of allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, arthritis, etc. Yet they have no idea what's causing the inflammation or what to do about it.

So here are some causes of inflammation, which I hope will help you in assessing your own situation. 

Causes of Inflammation:  

- Smoking - Most people know the other unhealthy effects of smoking, but they don't realize it also causes serious inflammation in the body. Even if you don't smoke, beware of second hand smoke as well.

- Parasites - These nasty critters can cause all kinds of problems in the body, including inflammation as the immune system tries to fight them. Almost everyone has parasites, yet most people are unaware of it. (I've written posts with more info on parasites here and here.)

- Candida - With the increase in unhealthy foods consumed today, candida overgrowth has also increased. Chronic candida can cause all kinds of symptoms including severe inflammation.

- Viruses/Bacteria - When the immune system is unsuccessful in completely eliminating an infection then it remains in the body causing chronic inflammation. Some types of arthritis can actually be caused by these systemic infections. (The same is true of other chronic infections like Lyme, malaria, etc., which can be sources of inflammation.)

- Inflammatory foods - What you eat either positively or negatively affects inflammation. Foods such as trans-fats, fried foods, sugar, white flour, "junk" food, etc. increase inflammation in the body. (Some foods that help reduce inflammation are fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and certain spices. For a longer list go here.)

- Toxins - Based on my own experiences, I believe that exposure to toxins can cause inflammation in the body, especially if the body has a weak or non-funtioning detoxing system. Toxins and chemicals such as pesticides, flame retardants, formaldehyde, etc. are everywhere around us. These things are foreign to the body, as well as harmful. Thus the body often responds with inflammation to the perceived threat. Also, mycotoxins, or toxins from mold, are very damaging and can be a cause of inflammation. 

- Lack of sleep - The body needs adequate sleep in order to function properly. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system, and leads to all kinds of health problems.

- Stress - Who doesn't feel stressed today? Momentary stress the body is equipped for. But chronic or ongoing stress does untold damage to health - including raising cholesterol, decreasing metabolism, raising insulin, decreasing healthy gut flora, and much more. Outside stressors are unavoidable at times, but our response to stress is vital in how the body handles it. Our thoughts and feelings really do cause physiological changes in the body - either positive or negative. Also, past stress (traumas or just stressful events) can be a cause of inflammation if they haven't been peacefully resolved in our own hearts and minds.

As you can see, a lot of things can cause inflammation, and most of us face more than one of these challenges.

I'm very careful about my health, but lately I've had a lot of painful inflammation (after several months of hardly any). We finally tracked down the source to both a parasite and candida overgrowth. So I'm addressing those root causes. 

Next week I'll share some ways to reduce inflammation naturally.

P.S. Here's a 9 minute video about inflammation basics by Dr. Mercola, if you want to watch it.