Are You Suffering?

beach

That’s like me asking you if you’re staring, glossy-eyed into your phone. Of course you are, right?

We’re all suffering from something, because this world stubbornly refuses to pander to our needs — depression, arthritis, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, skin conditions, PTSD, digestive disorders, and sufferings unto infinity. We’re all burdened by physical, emotional, and spiritual frailty.

It’s good and bad, isn’t it, that all of those things are so deeply connected? When we struggle mentally, our bodies are without energy and health, and when we struggle physically, our minds just can’t operate. The good thing is this: healing and redemption, then, can flood all of our being. Making healthy choices, honoring our bodies, and pursuing a higher life washes over the full of us. When we pursue health, our entire being can’t help but to be redeemed.

Honoring our bodies

Sometimes, it feels like there isn’t much here to honor, right? Wrong! As frustrating (and disappointing) as they can be, our bodies are of incredible value. What else lets you consume an entire chocolate cake and somehow come out alive? Or who let’s you stay up all night, throwing back cold ones and then still wakes you up in the morning? Your body is your most loyal and forgiving companion.

And we can do better for it. Let’s make decisions a little better each day, choosing life over lethargy. Reach for the nutritious food, rewarding your body for getting you this far. Conquer your cravings by falling in love with new, super foods.

Yes, you know what’s next: exercise. Walk to the coffee shop to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Better yet, walk with a friend during lunchtime or after work. (Truly, you wouldn’t believe the health benefits of companionship. Here is a great Ted Talk about the incredible effects of companionship.)

Pursue health by making small, achievable steps each day to build a life that is both more uplifting and more fulfilling. You know it’s real, because you always feel better (and are better) after you exercise or go a full day eating according to plan. So let’s go.

Understanding health

What I hear most from people reluctant to embrace a healthier life is the misunderstanding of what it means to make healthy choices. It isn’t starving, it isn’t boring, and it isn’t a waste of time. It’s creating a menu of new, nutritious food, it’s self-care, and it’s rewarding.

Avoiding common offenders like gluten, dairy, preservatives, and chemicals and fueling your body with the nutrition it needs allows your body to overcome much of our suffering. When we’re burdened by physical and mental ailments, our bodies are crying out for relief. Let’s give it to them.

Here are some ideas to consider as you build a better, more fulfilling life:

  1. Eat healthy — no, I’m not talking about eating grass. I’m talking about local, farm-raised meats, eggs, and raw milk, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi.
  2. Exercise — get out there and explore a little.
  3. Sleep well — for probably the first time, make sleep a priority. It’s actually one of the most important parts of your day (yes, I mean night!).
  4. Relax and enjoy life — practice deep breathing, make time to read a book or watch your favorite TV show, eat slowly and savor your food, and cherish the people around you.

That sounds like a pretty good life, right? As our bodies heal, so too do our minds. May you find yourself more at peace.

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This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden.

What We Eat & How It Affects… Everything

That’s a mouthful, right? (See what I did there?)

Ironically, as we accumulate more and more knowledge about how our bodies work, we seem to become less and less cognizant of the things we put into it. We put uniquely designed fuel in our vehicles, but with the fuel for our bodies, we are much less intentional.

Why is that? Have we become so detached from the consequences of our decisions that we no longer see that what we put into our bodies has system-wide effects? I think so.

And how could our food not have an incredible impact on our functionality? With 3 meals a day and all of those snacks we adore, our digestive system is continually churning through food. We can’t afford (literally and metaphorically) to ignore that important role any longer.

Some people disagree with that, reminding us that our digestive system has the strength to handle anything. Yes, it does, with acid strong enough to melt through the floor, our digestive system can certainly conquer the garbage we give to it. But should it?

I suppose that’s up to you. And it’s a decision that recalls the decision Lord Voldemort must make: you may go ahead and drink the unicorn blood to live, but you will have “but a half-life, a cursed life.” Okay, so it’s not quite that dramatic, but you get the point — you can choose to sustain a standard American diet of fast, processed, hormone-infused food, but you won’t thrive.

Big steps forward, and lots of small steps back

We have creatively crafted solutions to many olden ailments — polio, smallpox, and on. However, we have, at the same time, developed modern, western ailments, ailments that burden those in developed nations (who eat the food of the western world). From arthritis, anxiety, and acne, to eczema, depression, and diabetes, our bodies aren’t functioning well at all. In a time of unprecedented scientific and technological advancement, our bodies are failing. Why? It’s in the food.

Our standard western diet breeds inflammation, immune dysfunction, and obesity. It overloads our detoxification capacities. And it slowly, but persistently wears us down, indiscriminately making us chronically ill, fatigued, and unhappy.

My experience

While there are innumerable studies that demonstrate the inextricable link between food and functionality, I’ll share my own experience here. When I entered university, I was struck with crippling anxiety; the stress and the displacement was unnerving to me. Very swiftly, chronic, moderately-severe acne covered my face and persistent eczema covered the rest of me. As you would expect, I desperately sought the dermatologist, who issued oral antibiotics and topical creams that stopped the skin lesions from forming. While they eased my immediate suffering, they did me a great disservice by misguiding me: they didn’t tell me that skin problems come from within, not without.

After 2 years on the antibiotics, I knew that I had to seek an alternative (long-term antibiotic use has harrowing effects on us). As the acne was again overtaking my face, I called a functional doctor — a doctor who practices medicine considered alternative to our general medical field. He said, “I’d like to consider your diet.” I thought, “Well, he clearly isn’t taking this seriously. I have acne, not indigestion.” I had no digestive symptoms. 0. No bloating, gas, diarrhea, indigestion, reflux — nothing. I was desperate (and thankful that someone at least cared to try to seek a root cause), so I moved forward with him.

When I did an elimination diet (eliminating common offending foods like gluten, dairy, soy, corn, additives, etc.), I saw relief. When I paired food elimination with Glutagenics (a product designed to stimulate intestinal cell regrowth), I flourished immediately. The eczema eased, the acne dissipated, and, to my potentially greater surprise, my anxiety left. I found myself happy, peaceful, and healthy. It was in this moment that I realized that our modern medicine is missing the mark: we don’t need just new medications, we need a new diet. You can buy Glutagenics here:

Metagenics Glutagenics Supplement, 9.16 Ounce

Really, we need an old diet — one filled with organic meats, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. It’s been nearly 2 years since I embraced this new lifestyle, and it’s been incredibly rewarding. It’s not about eliminating the western diet; it’s about discovering a new diet that betters honors your life. And there’s a lot of good food out there.

food

I would never recommend foregoing the doctor; we are fortunate to have access to modern healthcare. What I do recommend, because I’ve seen the incredible impact it can have, is to also explore a natural, holistic approach to health and healing. You might be delightfully surprised and relieved at what you find.

I seek not to push products or programs. I seek to share with others what the doctors failed to share with me: it’s in the food.

_________________

This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden. 

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