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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Food Can and Does Heal - Part 3

I forgot to mention one great benefit about following the Cure for Arthritis nutrition plan (see the last two previous posts for the plan), WEIGHT LOSS!!! My mom lost more than 50 lbs. and I lost about 10 lbs. We both kept all the weight off for about five years. My mom gained about 10 lbs. back after the fifth year and I gained all 10 lbs. back after my two pregnancies. It is refreshing to be reminded of the great success we had back then because I am beginning to show signs of arthritis on the joints of my index fingers and I'll be following my mom's footsteps. I just learned that the signs of arthritis tend to show up when people are in their mid 30's. So I have made a commitment to stop eating meat. I am having a hard time cutting out the caffeine because I love tea, but that will be step two.

Here's a link to a list of foods and their healing benefits. If you are dealing with illness, and want to start using food to heal, I encourage you to get the help of a trusted naturopath physician.
Here's to our health!!!
On a different note, my attempt to get to bed by 10pm every night was a great success....for about a week. LOL, then our family moved and I was back to hitting the sack at midnight. Over the years I've learned to accept falling off the waggon as part of life and I don't beat myself up; now getting back on the waggon is not such a dread. I am back on track with sleeping 10-6.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Food Can and Does Heal - Part 2

Here are the specifics of what mom and I did to help her heal the arthritis. It was really just a formula of subtracting the inflammatory foods and adding foods and supplements that would help her heal. As I mentioned, we subtracted: caffeine, refined flour, refined sugars, dairy and all meats. We added the following supplements daily: MSM crystals (not pills), glucosamine sulfate, and alfalfa pills (to absorb the toxicity in the joints.) We followed the meal plans from the book (There Is A Cure for Arthritis) pretty closely. We used only fresh ingredients, nothing canned. She followed this nutrition plan for a year, including the monthly three-day fasts. I followed the plan with her for three months. My mom began feeling significant relief from pain and stiffness after three months. I started feeling much more energetic and lighter in my abdominal area. The plan is very straight forward. The tough part, for us, was leaving the substances we were, quite literally, addicted to. It was hard to leave coffee. Both of us had been drinking it for decades. We are both fans of chocolate and all types of sweets, pastries and the like, so around the holidays, it became very tough say no, but we relied a lot on each other and on PRAYER for encouragement and for those needed reminders that the immediate satisfaction was not worth our long term goal of beating the arthritis. If someone had told me ten years earlier that healing arthritis was possible to do without drugs, I would have been very skeptical; but today I am a firm believer in using food as a first resort to healing. I do have to add that during this year, my mom did not do any additional exercise that what she was accustomed to, which was light walking.

During that year, mom had found a job as a teacher's assistant at a kindergarten. One day she came home ecstatic about being able to use scissors 10 consecutive minutes WITHOUT PAIN! Before our healing journey, she couldn't even hold a pair of scissors. It felt like a miracle to her.

After a year, my mom gradually added back very little turkey, chicken and fish to her diet, but to this day she does not eat beef or pork. She only eats sweets on very special occasions and she eats loads of fresh fruits and veggies. Thank you Dr. Airola and thank God for fresh, nutritious food.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Food Can and Does Heal - Part 1

One major stepping stone in my search for wellness was my search for a way to help my mom manage her rheumatoid arthritis. I've gotten her permission to share this inspiring story. When my mother moved in with me, she didn't have the strength in her hands and arms to pick up a cushion off the couch, plus she was stiff and in pain all the time. She had been living this way for about 15 years. It was emotionally painful to watch her move about with such discomfort. I was determined to find a way to help her heal. Thanks to a previous roommate of mine who also battled a serious case of arthritis and won, I found the help my mother needed. We read and implemented a modified version of the recommended nutrition and detox plan in a book called There Is a Cure for Arthritis by Paavo Airola. The program outlined in the book is very aggressive and radical. My mom felt she could not do a 40-day fast, which is what the book called for, so instead she decided to fast once a month for three days at a time. But before she got up to this point of detoxing, she cut out all of the following from her diet: caffeine, refined sugars, refined flours, meat of all types (even fish), and dairy. All of those items are highly inflammatory and aggravate arthritis. I decided to join her in her new way of eating, which was one of the toughest changes I have ever made in my eating habits. We were left with the choice of fruits, vegetables, grains (but no bread) and nuts. We worked together to prepare the broth that she was to have during her fasting days. We held onto each other while walking through the mall craving sweets and coffee. It bonded us as mother and daughter and it made each of us stronger as individuals. At the time, I was mad. I was mad that my mother had been told that she would live with this condition for the rest of her life and there was nothing she could do about it. I was mad that she was poisoning her body with pain killers that would only result in more painful side effects. It drove me to search for answers and a real cure for her condition.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What is wellness anyway?

I started pursuing "wellness" in the late 1990s, thanks to a friend who cared enough to introduce me to various simple ways to detox and clean up my nutrition; and also thanks to an ayurvedic doctor who shared with me as much information on health and ayurveda as I could process. Since then, I have been on just about every point of the health spectrum; swinging the pendulum from being a fast food junkie (even though I knew what I was doing to myself) to being on a strict raw vegan diet for almost three months. Now that I have learned much more about wellness through my chiropractor hubby, my definition of wellness has crystalized as follows: I continue to improve areas of my life that are well by using techniques that have proven effective for me, while I nurture and help heal the areas that are in pain or suffering. In other words, I don't sit idle until I am in pain, I proactively listen to my body, my thoughts and my spirit to prevent disease or pain. The reality....easier said than done! But I believe that my philosophy has worked for my relationships (keeping them honest and healthy) and it allowed me two peaceful, beautiful births.
I believe that everyone defines wellness for themselves even if they have not consciously put it down on paper (or a blog). Sometimes wellness does not include health, it may just mean contentment and acceptance of situations we cannot change. Being conscious of what wellness means is the first part of finding it; taking deliberate steps to achieve wellness is part 2.

So here is my one deliberate step. Go to bed by 10pm and be up by 6am. Let's see how it goes.