How to Get Healthy
One of the daunting thoughts people have when trying to get well or “in shape” is where to begin. Typically, it begins with them asking, “what do I take.” We as Westerners love to take pills or something akin in order to restore health or to combat a symptom. However, the best place to begin has little to do with taking anything but everything to do with doing things. Those things are called, “Natural Laws.” Following Natural Laws is where you begin your journey back to health, and it’s what you follow to maintain health. And how long do you do this for? The simple answer is: Until the day you die. That’s how important they are.
So what are these Natural Laws that I speak of? It’s anything that you do which supports the body in maintaining homeostasis. As you will soon see, this list is varied and contains numerous things which are all very different but all have that commonality of adding health to the human organism. I will break this down into 2 parts: Functional Recommendations and Nutritional Recommendations. Before a person should spend any money on supplements, treatment, etc., they should start with the basics because without adhering to the basics all else is futile.
- Get outside every day for at least 15 minutes, preferably when you can get sun exposure, with your shoes off and in contact with the grass (earthing).
Earthing has been proven to benefit people with chronic disease. It is a natural anti-oxidant which protects against free radicals. It has been shown scientifically to reduce inflammation and increase the body’s ability to heal. Without quoting an endless amount of studies which support this, I would simply suggest you read Clint Ober’s book on Earthing.
- End your showers with the water on cold for 15 seconds.
Cold water at the end of a shower helps re-balance your nervous system. If you want to step up your game, do 3 min hot water, 1 min cold. Three cycles of each starting with hot and ending on cold. I’d suggest you have your back to the cold water at first, then turning around. Yeah, “it sucks”, BUT…it’s just cold water. People suffer far worse than getting sprayed with cold water. The one thing I guarantee is that the second and third round are far easier. Lastly, you will feel great at the end. That I guarantee.
- Dry skin brushing before you go to bed.
Dry skin brushing helps move the lymph. The lymph is the fluid that is carried throughout the lymphatic system which removes toxic matter from within (cellular waste) and from without (environmental toxins). Skin brushing is done very lightly and swiftly. Begin at the hands and feet and brush towards the heart. Include your face, neck and torso. This should only take about one minute (15-20 seconds for each extremity). Typically, this is suggested only for night time, but if you wish you can do it both in the morning and at night. If you want to step up your game, invest in a vibrating exercise machine, sometimes called a powerplate. What 99% of the people who buy this fail to realize is that you really should be using it to stimulate your lymphatic system, not to lose weight. Weight loss should come from proper diet and routine exercise, all else should be supplemental.
- Castor oil pack for 40 minutes to 1 hour in the evening.
Castor Oil has awesome benefits when used appropriately. The main reason I recommend castor oil packs (applied over the abdomen) is because it stimulates the immune system. To be specific, it stimulates the GALT (Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue). The GALT is responsible for approximately 70-80% of your immune system. This has huge implications for people with intestinal disorders. The GALT interacts with the microflora (bacteria) at the level of the mucosa (the internal lining of the intestines) which directs the development of a competent immune system. This is why it is important to take probiotics as well as using castor oil packs.
Castor oil packs should be used for a duration of 1 hour. Cotton-Flannel is found to work best clinically. There are many things on the internet showing how to apply these packs. Most of them make this simple task a difficult and arduous ordeal. And using a regular piece of flannel tends to be messy. Buying a castor oil pack will save yourself all the non-sense that people go through in order to do this very simple task. It’s worth the minimal expense!
To simplify this, you take the castor oil bottle and squeeze about several tablespoons of the oil onto the castor oil pack, fold in half and run your hand over the castor oil pack so that it drives the castor oil into the flannel and spread it out. You then place it on your abdomen with a heating pad. That’s it. Fold it in half and place it back in the plastic bag afterwards.
Each night for the first two weeks, apply one more tablespoon over the flannel material. Eventually, it should be damp all way through. These packs should also be done till the day you die as they enhance the natural physiology of your body.
- Incorporate deep breathing into your day and evening.
Deep breathing helps remove volatile toxins including CO2 from the system. The lungs are one of the primary emunctory organs (an organ which removes wastes). Deep breathing stimulates the para-sympathetic nervous system (which relaxes you and calms the nervous system). If you can do more than 20, even better. The goal is to eventually get to do 100 deep breaths over 24 hours and these can be broken up throughout the day. You can incorporate this when doing castor oil packs, while in the shower, walking, or even sitting in the car at a stop light. Whatever method you take, just create a pattern for yourself for doing it at certain times.
- Move with intent each day.
You don’t need a gym membership to exercise. There are plenty of things you can do on a daily basis which constitute movement. Some examples are jogging, gardening, bicycling, using a mini trampoline, yoga, stretching, or any number of calisthenics which may include jumping jacks, push-ups or even jumping rope with an imaginary rope. It works, try it.
Engaging in these types of activities helps to move your lymphatic system and increases your heart and respiratory rate which facilitates the removal of toxins. As stated before, if you are not taking out the trash, bugs come in, and in terms of health, disease sets in.
- Do not eat for three hours before bed time.
Eating before you go to bed is counter-productive for the body. You must give the body time to digest, process and assimilate your meal. Your body should be repairing when you sleep, not digesting. It is also a time where the body is cleaning out impurities such as lactic acid and other metabolic wastes.
A large protein meal is better to be avoided late at night. On average, it has been stated that digestion consumes 30% of the body’s energy sources. Thus, if you eat a large meal before you go to bed, it will often stagnate in the stomach. Of all the foods, protein takes the most amount of energy to digest.
Most people eat too much protein. The purported amount of protein needed by the body is simply not true. Moreover, protein should be a side dish, not the main staple of the meal.
Another food to avoid before bed is raw foods. These take longer to digest so they too are not recommended at night time.
- Do something fun every day.
Ride a bike, throw a ball, play a board game or physical game, play Frisbee, bocce ball, tennis (who cares if you are horrible), racquetball, bowling, or take your dog to the park and play. This is the perfect time to take up something new. Even watching a comedian on YouTube is better than nothing, but once on the computer, people usually stay in front of it just like the T.V. If you can’t do fun, then take a peaceful walk.
Mental health is vital to a balanced human being. Stress has a profound impact on your immune system, nervous system, endocrine system and every other organ system. You need and deserve to give yourself 30 minutes of daily fun or mental rest. If you can’t find the time then you need to re-evaluate your priorities because you should be at the top of the list. This is not being selfish as some people internalize it, but rather it is taking care of yourself so you will be around to take care of others, especially if you have kids.
- Significantly reduce TV watching, particularly the news.
Whether you accept it or not, TV shows distort one’s reality of how life really should be and is. Limit internet use. There is very little on TV that is positive. The news is negative and there is nothing so important that you won’t find out in other ways.
- Be in bed by 10 p.m. Sleep in total darkness. No electronic devices. Wear ear plugs and mask if you are susceptible to noise and light that you can’t control.
There have been countless studies which have shown the importance of sleep. Sleep is a drainage remedy which means that it enables the body to eliminate toxins. It is a time where the body gets rid of metabolic wastes including acids which destroy tissues. It is when our body rebuilds itself.
Part of that rebuilding process is the release of growth hormone. When you are up past 12 a.m., the level of growth hormone in your body significantly decreases. In the next couple of hours, you are getting the tail end of the growth hormone release which is not going to sustain your health long term. Getting adequate sleep is imperative so that the body can do what it is innately designed to do, and that is to maintain homeostasis, or simply put, balance within the body. The body has one purpose – survival. And survival is achieved by maintaining balance and harmony.
It should also be noted that electronic devices emit EMF waves which disrupt sleep. A person should have no electronic devices of any kind in the bedroom. It should be pitch dark. Once you open your eyes, even in the middle of the night and see a minute amount of light, it affects hormone secretion adversely.
Probably the biggest obstacle in people getting healthy or remaining healthy is diet. We truly are what we eat. Once the diet goes South you can pretty much guarantee that everything else follows if. And that includes our attitude, outlook, the way we handle things, etc., etc. What you choose to eat is paramount. Below are some basics to how a person should model their diet.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – ½ -1 tsp in a glass of water 15 minutes before your meals.
The use of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) dates back to the days of Hippocrates. He used this himself for its natural health benefits. The main reason I recommend and take it myself is that it stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes. For this effect, it is recommended to take a ½ to 1 teaspoon 15 minutes before meals. However, if you forget, you can still take it with your meal or after, but less water is preferred as you will dilute the stomach acid needed to break down food, particularly meat if eaten.
The full benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar are the following:
- It contains enzymes which assist in digestion.
- It increases the alkalinity of your blood pH. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is very acidic.
- It contains alpha-hydroxy acids which benefit the skin giving it a vibrant look.
- It can help in weight loss. Typically 2-4 tsp is needed three times a day.
- It contains polyphenols which have anti-oxidant properties.
- It has been shown in a recent clinical study to reduce fasting blood glucose in diabetics.1
With Apple Cider Vinegar, you want to make sure you buy the kind with the “Mother.” The Mother is the cloudy stuff which floats around at the bottom. If not, then you will have wasted your money. If you buy Bragg’s you can’t go wrong.
ACV is great to help stimulate digestive enzymes. Many people have an issue with this. Even if you don’t have an issue with deficient digestive enzymes, ACV has many other benefits. It is great for people with reflux (GERD). Whatever you’re looking to improve reflux with the use of ACV or anything else, just remember, things take time. Be patient.
As for taking it, I have no desire to drink 8 oz. of diluted ACV as some people recommend to mix it with. You may want to mix it with a smaller amount of water and just take a shot of it. Whatever works for you.
- Drink whatever your weight is (divided by 2) in ounces of water each day.
While this isn’t a rule etched in stone, it does serve as a general guideline. Most authority figures recommend between 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid a day, or 6-8 glasses. Fact is, most of us are dehydrated and we need to increase our water consumption. Water is essential for cell health and the removal of toxic matter. Dehydration also leads to constipation and fatigue. Many people believe that they only need to drink if they are thirsty. However, this is not entirely true. In Chinese medicine, there are conditions where a person has no desire to drink water despite being dehydrated. There are other cases where a person may be thirsty but has no desire to drink. While this may seem difficult to comprehend, the condition does exist.
- Use Appropriate Cooking Oils
Use cooking oils that are appropriate for the heat you are cooking at. This is based on the “smoke point” of the oil. This means that when you cook with a certain oil, and the temperature exceeds a certain point, the oil will begin to smoke. When this smoke point is reached toxic fumes and harmful free radicals are produced. Therefore, it is important to understand what oil to use when cooking.
I have listed a few of the many oils by their given smoke points and temperature at which to cook with them:
Low heat: (recommended for salads)
- Extra virgin olive oil (320 Fº)
- Coconut oil (350 Fº)
- Virgin olive oil (420 Fº)
- Extra light (468 Fº)
- Mustard oil (489 Fº)
- Avocado oil: (520 Fº)
Different oils have different constituents such as Omega 3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants, or vitamin E, so this may be a consideration if you wish. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and coverage of the topic, but these are common cooking oils used by most people. The bottom line is to use the appropriate oil for cooking and to buy organic, unrefined, cold-processed vegetable oils. To be even more precise, it is best to buy oil that is from the same place, not 3 different countries (difficult). Do what you can. Read the labels!
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains – brown rice, wild rice, millet, quinoa, and amaranth. The “anti-inflammatory” diet isn’t really a specific diet but rather it involves removing foods which promote inflammation, which is a contributing factor to the development of chronic disease. Rather than making your diet complicated, as many people do, remove the junk food, all processed food, and eat food that is grown from the ground. Don’t eat things out of a can or a box. Just make that your goal. What happens day to day, happens. But you need to at least try and have a point of reference to guide you in your decision making! Remember, we are beings of the earth meant to eat food grown from the earth. Despite this seemingly common sensible idea, people always seem astounded when “natural remedies” work. It’s crazy isn’t it?
- Eat at least 5 different colors of fruits and vegetables each day (dare I say 9? This is what current recommendations are even by the Cancer Society).
The more colors and brighter colored foods you have in your diet the greater the anti-oxidants. Some producers artificially color their fruits to be more attractive; therefore, buy organic. There’s no point in buying food that has little to no nutritional value and is covered in pesticides. Farmers markets are great if reasonably priced. Otherwise, choose a market that has quality organic foods. We live in a toxic world – it is what it is.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, you want to make sure that you buy organic the fruits and vegetables that have the least pesticide residues on them. As you will see, certain fruits and vegetables have higher amounts of pesticides sprayed on them. The following list are the foods commonly known as the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. The dirty dozen are the fruits and vegetables that you want to buy organic (they have the most pesticides), while the Clean 15 you don’t need to because the amounts of pesticides are negligible.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas-imported
- Sweet peas-frozen
- Sweet potatoes
As a side note, some people are unaware of the nightshade family of foods – potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers. These specific foods have been implicated in causing symptoms in some people. Potatoes have been found to irritate people with GI issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, while tomatoes have caused a worsening of pain in people with arthritis. There are differences in opinion as to whether there is validity to this or not. Fact remains, some people claim to become symptomatic after eating such foods. Are they lying or making dubious claims? It seems that according to the studies which refute such notions, they just might be. But tell that to the people who claim otherwise.
The point I’m making is that rather than getting caught up in debates like this and confused by “experts,” begin a diet journal. Ultimately, it’s about how you respond to food, not people in a study! This is crucial to remember when taking into consideration what studies promulgate. Medicine is individualized which is why I will always prefer case studies over randomized studies where all 5,000 people get the same treatment.
When it comes to food, if isn’t grown from the ground, if you can’t name it or pronounce it, it is not what your body wants. Unfortunately, modifying your diet from your favorite dishes may seem like a real buzz kill. However, if you are a novice in the kitchen then cook with spices as they do wonders for taste buds and may just help you avoid certain cravings later on.
Providing your body with a healthier source of fats such as avocado or nuts can also help shift your desires away from unhealthy fatty foods. Remember, fat is necessary for the body. Thus, you want to ensure that you are providing it with healthier fats than that of the SAD (Standard American Diet). Many people think try to avoid “fats” because they think they will gain weight. This is a fallacy. In fact, there was as study in which 2 groups got the same calories each day, but one of the groups diet was high in carbohydrates where the other group was high quality fats. The group with high quality fats burned more calories.
To facilitate eating better, make a list of different meals to cook. It will help you plan and prevent making poor choices in the “pinch and on the go.” Also, make a list of restaurants with foods you like that are healthier for you than not. This helps tremendously when you don’t feel like cooking. And the fact is, life happens. Who knows, maybe you have organic restaurants near you that serve healthy food and you have healthy take out options. Look around at what’s available near you and try to minimize your pitfalls. Just remember, restaurants want to maximize profit, and that means hydrogentated oils, GMO foods, etc. Choose wisely.
- Grass fed and organic meats are preferred.
Most people should know by now that most all commercially available meat in restaurants and sold in stores contain antibiotics and hormones. If you have not seen the movie Forks Over Knives or Food Inc., then you should because it is quite enlightening. It does a very good job illustrating why the word “natural” means absolutely nothing! Due to food manufacturers lobbying politicians for their own interest they have been able to create loopholes so that they can continue marketing food which has harmful ingredients. Some of these ingredients can be toxic to the cells. Despite the toxicity, they are still able to call the final product, “natural.”
The process of most commercial meat manufacturing does not promote health. Some parts may be considered disgusting if you care to think about it. From the hormones, antibiotics and literal bleaching of the cattle meat to kill bacteria to the dye added afterwards to make it red again it is all incredibly unhealthy. What makes this more interesting is that even despite knowing this, many of us will still eat it. It just goes to show you how our minds will frame things to meet our desires. Face it, we are product of our environment and social conditioning and engineering.
It should also be stated that the amount of meat recommended and consumed far exceeds what humans need. In addition, meat costs a lot of money. The diet should be predominantly vegetarian. Eating less meat makes organic meat affordable. We are only talking a few dollars. Shop smart.
One more thing to mention about meat. Just because the packaging says that the animal was not given antibiotics or hormones does not mean that they were not fed GMO corn, which if not organic, I assure you they have been. GMO foods, in layman terms, damage the internal workings of the cells making them function less optimally. Remember, it’s cumulative, eating GM here and there isn’t going to rob your health, but making self defeating choices day in and day out will over time.
- No dairy, processed or refined sugar, alcohol, gluten, flour products or sodas.
Dairy is incredibly mucous forming and often loaded with hormones. Many people love cheese and will not give it up. If you have chronic disease already, then you will lose the battle if you do not reduce your cheese and give it up for at least some time. Try a vegetarian type of cheese if you have issues parting. Some of the brands are actually quite good.
Processed/refined sugar leads to uncontrolled blood sugar and shuts down the immune system for approximately 5 hours after consumption! Alcohol impairs the liver’s ability to remove toxins while also impairing the immune system. Both alcohol and refined sugar lead to damp heat in terms of Chinese medicine. Damp heat is a pathogenic factor which can lead to a host of symptoms such as bitter taste, fever, fullness in the chest, genital swelling, itching or discharge, nausea or vomiting, or scanty dark colored urine. General dampness leads to phlegm which impedes the flow of qi in the body.
Gluten, most commonly found in breads, has been increasingly shown to adversely affect people and produce countless symptoms. Anything called flour is processed, particularly enriched flour. Wheat and its different forms such as bulgur, durum, farro, kamut, seminola and spelt all contain gluten. The forms of grains mentioned above are not.
Quinoa is an excellent grain that is pleasurable to many people. It is similar to rice in texture and mouth feel, but small circles as opposed to an elongated grain. Most people don’t realize how nutritious quinoa actually is.
In my opinion, avoiding processed flour may be the hardest part of the diet for many people. Even if you are not gluten intolerant or do not have full blown celiac disease, it may not be a bad idea to limit your intake of gluten products especially if you have some form of chronic disease or symptoms of any kind which are not improving. It should also be remembered that non organic grains have pesticides on them. There is increasing research suggesting that pesticides contribute to GI problems such as Celiac disease and other problems as they damage the lining of the intestines which then leaks toxins into the blood stream.
Soda is loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and phosphoric acid (which is believed to pull calcium from bones due to the inverse relationship of calcium and phosphorus in the body). So reducing or eliminating these products will only benefit your health. There’s always new studies linking these types of drinks to various chronic disease such cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Is it really all that surprising?
So, the time has come to make a decision. Do you want to get on board with changing your life and moving toward wellness? Do wish to make the time? Do you have the will power? Do you have the patience? Do you have the understanding that your body needs time to correct the more than probable decades of less than optimal living? You are not taking pills to give the illusion that you are better simply because a symptom disappeared because you ingested a toxic pharmaceutical that has zero ability to add health to your body. You are identifying obstacles to cure and removing them while giving the body what it needs to help restore homeostasis. This takes time.
If you can get onboard with everything above for a few months, then I would seek professional intervention of a holistic doctor who can guide you in your journey. The reality is that chronic disease needs more than what I have listed above. But no matter what therapies you do or supplements you take, if you do not follow Natural Laws, then you are wasting your time and money because you MUST adhere to the basics of health. This is your foundation!