Tag Archives: vitality

Balancing Your Hormones? Pay Attention to Your Adrenal Glands

Due to stress and poor diet, the function of the adrenal glands is diminished. Three naturopaths I know have indicated that almost every one of their patients has adrenal deficiency, an under-diagnosed condition attributed to many health issues including tiredness, recurring infections, failing immune system, decreased sex drive, infertility, salt cravings, achiness, low blood pressure, dizziness when standing, and hypoglycemia.

The adrenals are small glands above your kidneys in your lower back. They secrete over 50 hormones including epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), estrogen, and testosterone. They are responsible for the fight or flight response, a life-saving mechanism designed to strengthen our bodies in times of extreme stress. As a result, stress is one primary cause of adrenal deficiency.

During stress, the adrenals release cortisol. (High levels of this hormone are linked to breast cancer.) When the adrenals are fatigued from overwork, extra progesterone is sent in to help support them. Since the hormone progesterone helps keep your levels of estrogen balanced, it gets distracted from doing so when it steps away from its post to help your adrenals. This cycle of stress and adrenal fatigue can continue indefinitely. Meanwhile, your hormones struggle to maintain some sort of normalcy.

Adrenal deficiency and the associated symptoms can be reversed. One way is to stop all the rushing around and rest. Lie down as often as you can. Meditate, sleep adequately, eat well, and limit both sugar and caffeine, which stress the adrenals. All of the things you know to heal stress also heal the adrenals.

Balancing hormones means creating an internal condition that is as close to your natural rhythm as possible. The natural rhythm of a human being does not involve speeding down a highway or rushing around to get everything scratched off a to-do list each day. To get closer to your own natural rhythm, take time for yourself, slow down, and breathe.

7 Ways to Have a Real Thanksgiving

Recently I asked a friend, “What do you think is the importance of gratitude?” He said, “I feel good. It opens my heart up. Maybe that is enough. But it is a form of delight. I have a need to get to the feeling of gratitude. I can’t will it, but instead I must feel it. It comes from the act of giving. God gives us all this abundance. Gratitude is a feeling you show toward kindness or a blessing.” Wow!

Of course, it’s easier to feel deeply grateful when life is going well. But the practice and real treasure comes when you express appreciation for life even when it’s difficult.

Professors of Psychology Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons did research on gratitude and thanksgiving. Their studies found that daily gratitude exercises lead to higher alertness, enthusiasm, optimism, and more energy. They also found that grateful people feel more loved, less stressed, and less depressed. They exercise more regularly and make more progress on personal goals. All this from having gratitude for something! And each day, there is something to be grateful for.

As our gratitude holiday approaches, my practice is to keep my thoughts focused on what it’s truly about (between running to the store for more cranberries…). Here are my 7 ways to have a real Thanksgiving.

1. List 10 parts of your body that function reliably. For example, your ears, eyes, heart, bladder, kidneys, knees, ankles, toes, fingers, wrists, stomach, nose, eyebrows…

2. List 10 things that make you happy.

3. List 10 people who have helped you in the past, no matter how small.

4. List 10 people you have helped, no matter how small.

5. List 10 things you are grateful for in your life.

6. List all of the good that has come into your life in the last 5 years.

7. Complete the following sentence: I’m so happy and grateful now that…

8 Ways to Keep the Acid-Alkaline Balance in Your Body

alkalineWhy do we need to pay attention to our “acid-alkaline balance?” Some say it’s nonsense, but I believe it’s something to keep in mind on your path to health and vitality. Your body can be too acidic if its pH, or potential Hydrogen, is acid forming. When we measure pH, we measure the degree to which negative ions and positive ions push against each other. Negative ions are alkaline-forming. Positive ions are acid-forming.

Most people who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD — and it truly is) who live in our modern society have too much acidity in their bodies. Processed, fried, and fast foods, alcohol, sugars, white flour, meats, stressful environments, noise and chemical pollutants, all cause an acidic environment in the body. Stress, worry, anxiety, anger, and fear cause acidity in the body.

Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity, says, “When cells live too long in an acidic condition, they adapt to it by mutating and becoming malignant. Long-term acidic conditions in our bodies provide perfect environments for cancer and auto-immune diseases like AIDS to flourish. Most people with these disorders also have candidiasis.”

Your own alkalinity can be tested using special strips, which you can find in a natural foods market. Your pH level is taken from your saliva or urine first thing in the morning. A balanced urine pH is approximately 6.4. It’s interesting to see what the strips indicate, but it isn’t always an accurate reading. A blood test would be more accurate.

I think it’s important to take steps to alkalize your body whether or not you know your pH levels. You can create your own balanced internal pH. Following the 8 ways on this list will encourage a healthy acid-alkaline balance in your body.

1. Spend adequate time outdoors in sunlight – twenty to thirty minutes per day. Even when it’s cloudy.

2. Have a regular pattern of sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

3. Use an 80/20 ratio of alkaline-forming foods to acid-forming foods. You can find a list of alkaline and acid-forming foods if you do an online search.

4. Rest and reduce stress.

5. Walk by water or by the sea.

6. Eat fresh foods found in nature including an abundance of vegetables.

7. First thing in the morning drink the juice of ½ lemon water in a tall glass of warm water. Although citrus is acidic, your digestion uses the acidic parts and leaves an alkaline residue.

8. Utilize natural healing such as acupuncture, energy work, reflexology, color and music therapy, yoga, chiropractic, and spiritual healing, all of which have alkaline forming reactions in the body.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from EMFs

Lack of clarity about the potential adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in our environment causes anxiety and concern for many. EMFs have have been linked to cancer, but it’s also difficult for scientists to accurately measure our exposure to TVs, cell phones, wireless gadgets, computers, wifi, and appliances and then associate it with illness.

There is now enough data about the long-term health affects of power plants, power lines, and transmitters to warn us that our dependence on electricity, electronics, and wireless data can have health consequences. Long-term chronic exposure to wifi is becoming a health problem.

Whether they definitively cause cancer or not, EMFs do affect your personal energy field. Your energy field is sensitive and reacts to other energy fields. In the world of energy healing, it’s best that your energy field be as clear and healthy as possible for your overall wellbeing. The good news is you can protect yourself from EMFs during the day and at night when you’re asleep. Here are 5 things you can do that will cut down on your exposure.

1. Stay at least three feet away from appliances when they’re running. Although they’re not the healthy choice, if you use a microwave, move away from it when it’s on. Three feet is the distance at which most scientists say the EMF from an appliance diminishes.

2. Move electronics away from your bed, including electric clocks and cordless phones. Don’t sleep under an electric blanket or use electric heating pads.

3. When possible, replace box spring mattresses and metal bed frames with non-metal alternatives. Scientists have researched geopathic stress, including the effect of sleeping on metal. They say it’s like sleeping on an antenna or radio amplifier, which can affect the physical body. Studies have shown that people who sleep on box springs and metal bed frames have higher rates of breast cancer than those who don’t.

4. Turn off electronics before you go to bed and don’t have a TV where you sleep. It’s tempting to go to bed with a computer gadget or cell phone nearby while watching the late shows on TV, but it’s not a healthy practice.

5. Turn off all wifi in the house when it’s not in use, and especially when sleeping. Wifi on all the time and particularly at night is considered long-term chronic exposure.

Is Soy Good for Breast Health?

Photo by GlobalCitizens01 flickr CreativeCommons

Photo by GlobalCitizens01 flickr CreativeCommons

Soy wasn’t considered fit to be eaten in China, where it originated, until they discovered fermentation. The Chinese knew that soybeans contain natural toxins and enzyme inhibitors that block protein digestion. High in phytic acid, they can interfere with mineral absorption. Soy is a known endocrine disrupter. Most soy crops are genetically engineered and heavily sprayed with pesticides. The list of problems related to eating soy is a long one, so is soy good for breast health?

We’re told soy is a preventative to breast cancer. But, I think it will be revealed that unfermented soy products are not good for us. Japanese women, who have low rates of breast cancer, don’t eat as much soy as we’ve been led to believe. They eat miso, which is fermented soy, and they eat tofu, but I think the reason there are fewer Japanese women with breast cancer is because their traditional diet is based on whole foods. It also includes iodine-rich seaweed. They rarely eat sugar and white flour products, nor do they eat big pieces of meat or dairy products laced with hormones. They consume lots of vegetables, fish, and green tea.

Based on what we know about soy and how it is marketed to us, products made with soy protein isolate are also suspect, even though it’s in imitation meat products eaten by vegans and vegetarians and people wanting to be healthier by avoiding meat. For optimum breast health, I ignore unfermented soy products: soy milk, soy nuts, soy protein powders and bars, soy cheese, soy ice cream, supplements with soy, and also tofu. I use organic fermented soy only in moderate amounts: miso, tamari, tempeh, and natto.

To learn more, read The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla T. Daniel. And to find out more about a healing, nourishing approach to breast health, see my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

The Healing Power of Art

Jim Dine, artist. "Four Hearts" 1969

Jim Dine, artist. “Four Hearts” 1969

Creativity can be deeply healing. A wise colleague told me that in his 30 years as a healer he never saw a person with growths in the body who didn’t also have repressed creativity. This makes sense. We are born to create. Whether we design, invent, paint, draw, color, write, sculpt, build, weave, bake, or tend a garden, creative energy needs an outlet. Let’s talk about the healing power of art.

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy is neither created nor destroyed but is changed from one form to another. The energy inherent in the desire to create is given outward expression and transformed into a song, a garden, a new deck, a soup. We don’t have to think of creativity only in the form of art such as painting. When we watch children they show us a variety of creative expression. Maybe you pushed your creativity aside as you grew older, but your ability to create something new is still there.

When creativity is held inside it’s like a stream blocked by a dam. The water has no place to go. When a stream is blocked, it changes into a puddle or a pond. There isn’t any forward movement, only stagnation. What if the same thing happens in the human body when creativity has no place to go? Since creativity can be seen as energy, a force desirous of movement, what happens when it’s blocked? Could it contribute to growths in the body?

Do you remember a time when you created effortlessly? What did you love? Colored pencils, fabric, paint, clay, daydreaming, crayons, crafts, yarn, dirt, plants, and flowers? Take a moment to remind yourself of all the ways you loved to create. Which of these could you begin again?

Page 2 of 212