Tuesday, December 24, 2013

                                         Blog #22: What Are Flower Essences?

     Flower essences are homeopathic-like extracts of flowers which often are taken orally. They also sometimes are used topically, or even sprayed in a room or used in bathwater. They can help alleviate emotional distress, resolve some physical complaints, strengthen the immune system, lend support during times of transition or personal growth, and much more.  Flower essences can also help plants and animals.  Of all the modalities in my practice, I regard these remedies as the most profound and powerful when chosen and used correctly. Some flower essences or essence combinations, such as Rescue Remedy, will most likely be helpful to everyone at some point in their lives.
     Essences usually are prepared either by boiling parts of a specific plant in pure water for one half hour, or by placing blossoms from a plant into a clean bowl of pure water for several hours in an unpolluted, sunny outdoor setting.  During the second type of preparation, cheesecloth or another covering may be used to protect the water and blooms from falling insects, leaves, etc.  With both of these methods, the flowers leave their species-unique electrical imprint on the water.  The flowers are carefully removed from the water, and the imprinted water is then mixed with brandy or vinegar to preserve the solution.  Essences are stored in stock bottles and transferred to smaller glass dropper bottles when sold or distributed. 
     The unique personality of a species of flower comes from color of blossoms, size of plants, shape and texture of leaves, quality and mineral content of soil in which it best grows, climate and challenges the species faces while growing, the plant’s natural habitat (e.g. desert or swamp), the level of environmental pollution, and other factors.  Flower essences can be selected intuitively, analytically, or through muscle testing.  Almost anyone can work safely with flower essences, since they will do no serious harm if misused.  However, it can take several years to gain skill with muscle-testing, (also called kinesiology).  Acupuncturists and body workers have an advantage because they already have developed sensitivity in their hands.  Also essential to accurate muscle-testing are keeping the mind empty, the emotions calm, and focusing totally on the process. 
     In some ways, flower essences resemble homeopathic remedies.  Both utilize the electrical imprint or “spirit” of something to help speed healing.  Both are usually taken orally, at least fifteen minutes away from anything else taken by mouth, except water.  However, flower essence dilutions are not as precise as those of homeopathic remedies.  And, while homeopathy usually works with the law of “similars”, pushing an ailing entity a little further into specific pathology in order to then rouse a healing response somewhat similar to inoculation, flower essences work more gently. They gift an ailing consciousness with constructive energies to subtly, and sometimes swiftly, move the entity back to balance and inner harmony.  Use of flower essences along with acupuncture, nutrition, chiropractic, herbs, exercise, massage and other approaches to healing has benefitted many people suffering from depression. The wide varieties of essences I have used for this problem indicate that there are many origins and types of depression. 
     Edward Bach, considered to be the father of flower essences, was an English physician who became disillusioned with the medical practices of his day.  He first turned to homeopathy and then retired to the countryside in Wales where he sought remedies in nature.  Walking though meadows, he discovered that if he held his hand over a particular flower, it affected him in a way unique to its species.  Research with flowers followed until he created the 38 Bach Flower Remedies.  He chose each essence to address a particular emotional imbalance, for he believed that anger, worry, fear, grief, guilt, and other negative emotions wore down the person, eventually leading to physical illness. Since Dr. Bach’s death in 1938, demand for flower remedies has increased steadily. They are commonly found in pharmacies in England and Germany, and in most health food stores and some pharmacies in the U.S.  They are extremely delicate, and must be kept at least a small distance away from operating computer monitors, television sets, cell phones, x-ray machines, and the like. 
     I work with several sets of remedies, which include the North American Flower Essences Set, Bach Flower Essences, Petite Fleur Essences, Perelandra Essences Set, Desert Flower Essences, and the Australian Bush Flower Essences.  Each set has particular qualities, stemming in part from the developer and also from the state or country of origin.  There is much more I could write about regarding these amazing remedies, but I believe that the best way to learn is by first using them with the guidance of an experienced practitioner and then by helping oneself and others over the course of many years. 

     This blog’s offer:  contact me for flower essences testing, and I will only charge $50.00 for the hour session, including the essence for no additional charge.  If we find that essences are not appropriate, there will be no charge for my time with you.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

                                 Blog #21: Joy of Cooking Healthy
Food preparation can be creative, fun, social, meditative, healing, down-to-earth and enlightening.  Here are three recipes I have used, varied, and shared with others. Used on a regular basis, they can be very effective. 

Anti-Inflammatory Alkalinizing Smoothie:  Into a blender place eight ounces of filtered water or young coconut water.  Add one serving of a high quality alkalinizing green protein powder, such as Pure Synergy from the Synergy Company, or another kind of alkalinizing protein powder, such as the rice-based UltraClear Plus pH from Metagenics.   Add ½ tsp cinnamon, a total of three large handfuls of different raw organic green vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli florets, water cress, etc., a handful of organic fresh or frozen fruit, such as blueberries, pitted cherries, banana or mango, and blend until smooth.  Additional ingredients could include fresh or dried ginger root, and juice from ½ lemon or lime.  This can make an excellent meal.  Some find it filling enough to divide in half and consume at two meals.  Refrigerate after blending, and use within 12 hours.

Bone Strengthening Soup:  Into a crock pot or double boiler combine your choice of the following items to make stock:  water, sea salt or sea vegetables, herbs such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger root, onion, nettles, oregano, and sage, root vegetables such as carrot, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, white potato, and yam, green vegetables such as celery, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, parsley, broccoli, collard, turnip, and mustard greens.  You may also want to add mushrooms, eggplant, squash or other foods, as well as some fresh or high quality organic canned tomato.  The most important ingredient in this recipe is, as the name says, bones.  Usually, chicken necks, backs, and feet are used.  It is important that the chickens are raised without the use of hormones and antibiotics.  Ideally, they should be fed an organic diet, and be free-range.  Remove as much skin as possible before cooking.  Bones should be cooked in the soup for several hours or even overnight, until soft.

Juice, Soup, and Stew Tonic for Blood and Energy:  These three versions have almost the same ingredients.  They include apples, carrots, burdock root, beet root and greens, dandelion greens, spinach, parsley, kale, celery stalk, broccoli, red cabbage, and fresh nettles, if available.  Ingredients should be unsprayed, and preferably organically grown.  Nettles tend to absorb environmental toxins, so if they are wild, make sure they are not growing near a well-trafficked road or other source of pollution.  Generally, two kinds of root vegetables are sufficient in these recipes.
Juice:  Using a (preferably) good quality juicer, such as the Green Star, Green Power Juicer, Norwalk, Champion, Samson 6 - 1, or Super Angel, juice the ingredients, making sure to include lots of green vegetables.  It is best to drink the juice right away, in order to obtain as much of the enzymes and other nutrients as possible.  Fresh made juice will usually keep up to 48 hours in the refrigerator.  Include beet root, greens and nettles to build blood.
Soup:  Simmer chopped ingredients for several hours in a double boiler or crock pot.  Mushrooms, sea vegetables, and turkey are other ingredients you may want to add, especially around this time of year.  For sweetness add black strap molasses.
Stew:  Prepare in oven in a casserole dish, in a pressure cooker, or in a crock pot.  In addition to the above vegetables and herbs, kidney and/or liver from organically raised, grass-fed animals will help build blood and energy.  Dried fruit, especially raisins and wolfberries also will help build blood and energy, and help support the eyes.  If using a conventional oven, it is preferable to cook foods at relatively low temperatures, i.e. 200 degrees F, for two or more hours rather than at 350 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes, since cooking at lower temperatures will preserve more enzymes and other nutrients.  There is disagreement about the effectiveness of microwave ovens in preserving vitamins and enzymes.   I don’t recommend their use.

This blog’s offer:  Schedule a session to meet and discuss specific foods, herbs, and recipes that would be especially beneficial for you.  Mention this blog and I will take extra time to review blood work with you or test you for specific supplements.  A reasonable fee will apply.

Friday, October 25, 2013

               Blog#20:  Organic vs. Conventional:  What Are the Differences?

     The “Organic” label indicates that a food or other product has been produced using approved agricultural methods that conserve and recycle natural resources, promote ecological balance, and protect biodiversity.  It uses techniques such as crop rotation, composting, green manure, and biological pest control.  Genetic engineering (GMO’s), synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, and sewage sludge are not used in organic farming.  However, certain pesticides, called biopesticides are allowed when necessary.  These biopesticides, used in small quantities, often decompose quickly, and tend to be much less harmful than conventional pesticides because they affect only the target pest and closely related organisms.  This is in contrast with broad-spectrum conventional pesticides, which can affect not only the target pest, but also birds, insects, and even mammals. 
     Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).  Within the U.S. there are several regulating and enforcing agencies in addition to the USDA, such as Oregon Tilth.  Based on the stringent and costly process of becoming a certified organic farm, and the significant number of farms which lose their certification each year, it appears that these agencies do a reasonably good job.  Of course if you want to be absolutely certain that the produce you consume is grown organically, you will have to grow it yourself or rely on someone whom you totally trust to grow your food. 
     Most conventional farmers use sewage sludge, broad-spectrum pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), synthetic fertilizers, and irradiation.  Our soil has been progressively more depleted by continuous planting and harvesting without times of rest, i.e., a fallow year after several years of farming.  Nutrients which crops pull from the soil in order to grow are not fully replaced by chemical fertilizers, which usually only contain a few valuable minerals.
     Sewage sludge is what it sounds like:  biosolids left over after sewage is treated and processed.  Sewage sludge contains some valuable nutrients; unfortunately, it also often contains heavy metals, including cadmium and lead, dangerous synthetic organic compounds including toluene, chlorobenzene, and dioxins, highly toxic pesticides, traces of medications, including cabamazepine (an anti-seizure drug) and broad spectrum antibiotics, and dangerous microorganisms, such as staph, strep, C diff, E coli, and salmonella.
     Irradiation is a process of exposing food to high doses of gamma rays, x-rays, or electron beams.  It can kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria, but not viruses. It kills fruit flies and other pests, and prolongs the shelf life of foods.  The long term health consequences of eating irradiated foods are still unknown; however, irradiation has been shown to change the molecular structure of foods and create known carcinogens.  Additionally, some animals which were fed irradiated foods died prematurely, and suffered nutritional deficiencies, mutations, still births, and organ damage.  Irradiated foods are labeled. 
     Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a lesser-known approach to controlling pests.  Growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach.  The four steps include:
1  Action thresholds – before taking any action, IPM first sets a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken.
Monitoring and identifying pests – since some organisms are not harmful and may even be beneficial, monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed, or that the wrong type of pesticide will be used.
Prevention – as a first line of defense, IPM programs manage crops to prevent pests from becoming a threat.  This may involve using methods such as crop rotation, selecting pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock.
Control – when pest control is required, IPM programs evaluate control methods for both effectiveness and risk.  Effective, less risky controls are chosen first, such as highly targeted chemicals, like pheromones, to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding.  If these less risky controls are not working, additional methods may be used, such as targeted spraying of pesticides.  Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides would be a last resort.
     I highly recommend that you check out the website and new film called “Symphony of the Soil” http://www.symphonyofthesoil.com/  This documentary clearly and beautifully shows the dilemma conventional farming faces and the promise organic farming holds.

    This blog’s offer:  call me for a nutritional consult if you have a specific health challenge that you think might respond to an organic diet and I will help you plan a dietary program.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

                                       Blog # 19: pH Balance, Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

     An aspect of nutrition and health which is often misunderstood is the body’s pH balance.  pH refers to potential hydrogen atoms available to make a solution more basic or acidic.  A pH of 0 to 6.9 is acidic, 7.0 is neutral, and 7.1 to 14 is alkaline.  Human venous blood serum is slightly alkaline and most research indicates that it stays within a small pH range from 7.35 to 7.45.  Blood pH outside that range indicates illness, such as kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, or prolonged, excessive exercise (acidic, or below 7.35) or prolonged vomiting or the use of certain diuretic medications (alkaline, or above 7.45). 
     If you examine most sources of information about this topic, you will discover companies that are trying to sell you pH testing devices, pH changing substances which you are supposed to use long term, and even expensive alkalizing water purifiers.  These companies suggest that you can determine the pH of blood by monitoring the pH of urine and saliva.  From the small amount of research that has been done on this topic, it appears that pH values of saliva and urine are not good indicators of blood pH. 
      Several factors affect the body’s pH.  Perhaps the main factor is personality, general attitude toward life and how a person deals with stress.  The more tense and hyperactive a person is, more acidic their blood tends to be.  People who are tired and hypoactive tend to have more alkaline blood.  This variation occurs within the normal range already noted above.  Other factors that can affect the body’s pH include malfunctioning internal organs, extreme environmental toxicity, dysfunctional breathing, and continued extreme over-exertion.    
     Certain areas of the body, such as the stomach, tend to be very acidic.  When the gastric environment becomes less acidic than normal, digestive problems will result.  When urine becomes too acidic or alkaline, different types of kidney stones can develop.  When the body starts to become too acidic, it will draw on highly alkalizing elements to counteract this trend.  Unfortunately, calcium is one of the most alkaline elements in the body, and osteopenia or osteoporosis can result from its use as a buffer.  A woman told me that ever since she was a small child, her body had been overly acidic.  She found that living a low stress lifestyle, following a generally healthy diet, and avoiding medications helped her somewhat.  Unfortunately, to maintain a relatively normal pH, her body had to mobilize calcium from her bones, especially from her hip joints.  As a result, she had already received three bilateral hip replacements by the time she was 52. 
     Since the alkaline diet is generally beneficial, it is worth sharing here.  Fruits and vegetables tend to be alkalizing with a few exceptions, some of which include cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, green beans, potatoes without skins, cooked spinach, rhubarb, plums, and pasteurized fruit juices.  Other alkalizing substances include mineral water, seaweed, raw almonds, green coconut, and millet.  Meat, fish, eggs, and most dairy tend to be acidifying.  Exceptions are grass-fed raw goat milk products, and butter.  Also acidifying are corn and most nuts, grains, beans, and legumes, distilled water, coffee, medications, soda, and alcoholic beverages.  These lists could go on, but this gives you an idea.

     This month’s offer:  feel free to call or email me with questions about the body’s pH and about this diet.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

                          Blog #18: Carnivore, Omnivore, Herbivore, Frugivore….
     There are many dietary choices.   Carnivores eat primarily or only meat.  Some well-known carnivores in the animal and plant world include lions, crocodiles, and the Venus flytrap.   Occasionally humans follow this diet and benefit, though some people become constipated and toxic.  One of my teachers was basically a carnivore for about a decade, eating almost exclusively raw animal protein, primarily raw beef.  He was, and still is, high energy and healthy.  You might want to check out the link below, where the soundman from the Grateful Dead writes about his life as a strict carnivore for several decades.  http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthread.php?t=287013
     Omnivores consume a variety of foods, including animal protein, fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.  Some well-known animal omnivores are bears, chimpanzees, and turtles.  Although there is much debate over which dietary regimen is natural for humans, most scientists conclude that prehistoric humans appear to have been omnivores and that this diet is probably the easiest to follow.  Many people who eat primarily whole, organic foods tend to stay healthy and vital as omnivores.  The Omnivore’s Delemma, by Michael Pollan, is an excellent book.  A link outlining the book’s contents is below.  
     Herbivores consume little or no animal protein.  Human herbivores are usually classified as vegetarians and vegans.  Vegetarians eat eggs and dairy in addition to fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts, etc.  Vegans consume no animal protein.  Well-known animal herbivores include rabbits, giraffes, and honeybees.  Some people maintain that humans are meant to be vegetarians because of the length of their intestines, which are much longer than the typical carnivore’s, the relatively small human mouth compared with those of carnivores and because human teeth are more suited to grinding and chewing grains and vegetables than seizing and tearing flesh.  It can be challenging to obtain sufficient quantities of Vitamin B12 as a vegan, but when people consume a high quality, balanced vegan or vegetarian diet and supplement with juices, herbs and vitamins as needed, there is strong scientific evidence that this type of diet often leads to improved health and greater longevity compared with people who consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.  Here is a relevant link http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/48/3/712
     Frugivores consume only fruit, nuts, and seeds.  Some insects, such as the fruit fly, are frugivores, and some bats, birds, and lizards in tropical areas consume primarily fruit, seeds, and nuts, except around the time when they are feeding offspring.  Occasionally humans thrive as frugivores, especially when they live low stress lifestyles in unpolluted environments, such as some tropical islands.  One danger of following this type of diet and the vegan diet is that after several years, the bodily functions dedicated to digesting animal protein become dormant or shut down completely, i.e. the stomach is no longer acidic enough to digest animal protein, and a different proportion of enzymes is secreted by the pancreas and liver.  Then, if animal protein is re-introduced into the diet, serious health consequences can result.  Below is a relevant link.  http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2013/02/07/ashton-kutchers-fruitarian-diet-what-went-wrong
     People also follow other types of diets, i.e., totally raw, raw vegetarian or raw vegan, liquids only, and breatharian (deriving all nutrients from sunlight, air, and water).  There are serious health risks associated with these diets, although I know several people who have thrived on totally raw and even raw vegan diets for many years.  In order to maintain healthy teeth and bones, raw vegans generally need to consume vast quantities of organic leafy greens, consume wheatgrass juice and other vegetable and fruit juices, and take nutritional supplements.  Infants are liquidarians for the first several months of their lives.  Some people follow such a diet for several days or weeks and seem to benefit from it; however, roughage is an essential element for most people and aids in detoxification.  I do not know of any people who can prove they have followed a breatharian “diet” any longer than a few weeks without damaging their health.  Most plants could be considered breatharians.  Here is a sensible link addressing a raw foods diet:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/raw-food-diet_b_2015598.html

     This blog’s offer:  feel free to contact me with more specific questions regarding any of these diets.  If you would like guidance regarding your own diet, or want to begin a detoxification program, I will help you with that at a reduced fee if you mention this blog.  Please share this blog with others.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

                                              Blog #17 What Are GMO’s?
     The World Health Organization defines GMO’s as organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.  An extreme example of this was a tomato plant that had a fish gene spliced into its DNA.  This tomato was never used commercially, since it was not frost resistant.  There is much debate about the safety and efficacy of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) used in agriculture.  Proponents of GMO technology claim that GMO food has significantly reduced green house gas emissions, herbicide run-off and soil erosion.  They say that they are producing plants which can better withstand drought, disease, and insects and which require less natural resources and pesticides to produce.  These plants are immune to the negative effects of one or more pesticides, including RoundUp, which disrupts the digestive processes in insects.  Monsanto, a major inventor and distributor of many GMO seeds, has spent a lot of money developing GMO’s and has chosen to patent the seeds, making it necessary for farmers to purchase new seeds every year rather than use seeds from the previous year’s plants. 
     Although numerous scientists have asked that more time be allowed to test GMO products for safety before placing them on the market, Monsanto and other companies refused to wait, making the U. S. and world population the testing ground for product safety.  Some results of animal testing since GMO’s have been in use are as follows:  thousands of sheep, buffalo and goats in India died after grazing on GM cotton plants; mice eating GM corn for a large portion of their lives had smaller and fewer babies; more than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks and were abnormally small; testicle cells of mice and rats fed a GMO soy diet changed significantly by the 3rd generation; most hamsters fed a GMO soy diet lost the ability to reproduce.  Also, in the U. K., human soy allergies increased by 50% soon after GM soy was introduced.  Approximately 85% of commercially produced foods in the U.S. contain some GMO ingredients; however, we often don’t know which products or ingredients they are, since food manufacturers are not required to inform the public. 
     GMO plants also effect the environment.  Unintended and uncontrolled mutations tend to occur in GMO plants, and when these interact with other organisms in the environment, they generate unintended, unpredictable side-effects.  For example, when ordinary commercial corn or organically raised corn is exposed to the pollen from GMO corn, GMO corn characteristics take over in future generations, threatening the existence of non-GMO corn and organic corn.  The same is true for other GMO crops.  Some of the plants that are now genetically modified include corn, white potatoes, cotton, wheat, sugar beets, zucchini, tobacco, tomatoes, strawberries, alfalfa, peas, soy, rapeseed (the source of canola oil), sorghum, papaya, pineapple, and some trees. There also are plans for the use of GMO salmon in the very near future.  Cows, poultry, sheep, and other animals that are fed GMO foods also may have an unfavorable effect on our health and the environment compared with animals raised humanely and organically. 
     It is my opinion that until the safety of GMO foods has been proven, it would be advisable to avoid consuming them as much as possible.  Many countries, including Australia, Brazil, Norway, France, Germany, and Spain have chosen to protect their citizens and environment with partial or complete bans on some GMO seeds and/or products.  Ways to eliminate GMO foods from the diet in the U. S. are by consuming only certified 100 % organically grown foods, growing your own food, checking the labels on produce (5 digits beginning with a 9 means that the food was organically produced), purchasing foods only from local farmers whom you trust, and only buying foods with the following certifications: QAI, Oregon Tilth, or CCOF.  USDA Organic standards are nowhere near as stringent as the former three.  Below are a few links which I would strongly recommend you explore for even more information about GMO foods.   

     This month’s offer:  contact me if you have any questions about particular foods containing GMO ingredients.  Either I will talk with you over the phone or ask you to come into my office along with the particular food(s) in question.  Depending on the time I spend with you, I may charge a small fee.  The first 15 minutes are free of charge.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blog #16 Cooling Chronic Inflammation

                                                               Cooling Chronic Inflammation
During the last couple of decades, medical scientific literature has increasingly blamed inflammation – the body’s inflammatory response of swelling, redness, heat and/or pain for many of humanity’s physical ailments.  Certain kinds of inflammation, such as fevers which destroy bacterial overgrowth, are desirable, but most types of inflammation are considered destructive.  Examples of conditions driven by chronic inflammation are sleep apnea, arthritis, especially rheumatoid, inflammatory, and gout, atherosclerosis, acne, allergies, celiac disease, many autoimmune illnesses, including lupus, MS, Graves disease, scleroderma and psoriasis, chronic prostatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, duodenal and gastric ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, depression, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.   
Inappropriate, chronic inflammation involves the body’s over-reaction to a threat or imbalance such as aging, obesity, mental or emotional stress, toxicity, chronic infection, and nutritional deficiency.  Although we cannot individually control some of these threats, such as aging or air pollution, other factors are well within our control.  Fortunately, nutrition is a controllable factor for many people, once they know what foods are pro-inflammatory and what foods help counteract inflammation. 

               Inflammatory                                                           Anti-inflammatory or Neutral
refined sugars, including white or brown sugar,          raw honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses
corn syrup, agave nectar, artificial sweeteners, in       stevia       
aspartame, saccharin, sucralose
high omega-6 oils, including peanut, corn, soy,           high omega-3 or balanced oils: olive, flax seed
safflower, grape seed, walnut, sesame, wheat germ    avocado, coconut, macadamia, wild-caught fish
canola, margarine, farmed fish                                         
fried foods, especially deep-fried, grilled,                   boiled, steamed, poached, raw, braised,
barbequed,                                                               juiced, foods baked at low heat, broiled      
meats and poultry: grain-fed, processed,                   100 % grass-fed, organically raised meats and
high-fat, factory-fed, and feedlot                               poultry
most dried fruit, some canned and frozen fruit            fresh, organically raised fruit, raw, juiced, cooked at
                       low temperatures
seeds and nuts:  rancid, fried, roasted, salted             organically raised, raw, unsalted in small quantities
vegetables: sprayed, GMO, cooked as above           vegetables: raw, cooked using above methods         
 -                                                                              non-GMO, pesticide free, especially cruciferous and                                                                                                                                                      
 -                                                                              leafy greens                 
refined, sprayed, or GMO grains, all flours                occasional whole organic, non-GMO grains
large amounts of legumes and beans                          occasional organic, non-GMO legumes and beans
refined table salt                                                        high quality unrefined sea salt Himalayan salt,                                     
                                                                                sea vegetables                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
alcohol, especially hard liquor and beer                      wine – high quality, in small quantities
in large amounts, over time
commercial milk, cream, cheese, cow milk                 organic or grass-fed plain unsweetened yogurt,
   -                                                                            cottage cheese, goat, sheep dairy products 
commercial eggs                                                        high omega-3 eggs, from free-range poultry
commercial teas                                                         pesticide-free teas
commercial coffee                                                     coffee:  organically raised, fresh ground, black,
-                                                                                     unsweetened, one  to two cups/day
-                                                                                     herbs:  ginger and turmeric root , boswellia
-                                                                                     supplements: high quality multi, highly absorbable         
-                                                                                     magnesium, Vitamin D3, pro-biotic supplements or
-                                                                                     foods i.e. yogurt, raw sauerkraut, raw fermented miso
This list is not exhaustive (though some may find it exhausting) but it is a good beginning.  Usually, it is not possible to adhere to this kind of nutritional program perfectly, nor is it usually necessary to do so, except in rare cases.  Keep in mind that other lifestyle changes in addition to improved nutrition may be necessary to maximize chances of partial or complete recovery from inflammation-driven illness.  Stress management, appropriate exercise, sufficient sleep and rest, meaningful social connections and networks, creative outlets, and more may be important components of treatment.  Below are two links which address the biochemical processes and effective medical management of chronic inflammation.  The specific condition addressed in the first link is sleep apnea.

This month’s offer:  feel free to call or email me with specific questions regarding this article.  Also, if you bring in a week’s food diary I will help you develop a specific diet with recipes for $50.00.  Feel free to share this blog with others.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

                                                  Blog# 15:  Detoxification
In the industrialized world, where factory waste and automobile exhaust pollute the air, where drinking water is often contaminated with fluoride, trace amounts of medications, heavy metals and bacteria, where food is increasingly tainted with antibiotics and growth  hormones or mass-produced in soil containing less and less nutrients, disease usually springs from two problems:  toxicity and/or deficiency.  In order to absorb nutrients from food and manufacture and use energy at the cellular level, it is important to first “clean house”.  Otherwise, the body’s toxic load interferes with absorption of nutrients.  Some of the consequences of excessive toxicity include leaky gut syndrome, food and environmental allergies, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, skin rashes, asthma, thyroid and other endocrine gland imbalances, back pain, localized and generalized edema, and autoimmune disorders. 
     The body usually detoxifies via the kidneys and bladder, lower GI tract, upper GI tract (vomiting), the pores, (sweating) skin (rashes, eczema), lungs (breathing, coughing, mucous discharge, sneezing).  Helpful therapies include massage and other bodywork, acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, sweat-inducing exercise, skin scrubs, enemas and colonics, improved and/or restricted diets, fasts, meditation, yoga, and qi gong.  Detox is most effective and safe when designed specifically for an individual, rather than taken from a book or the internet.  Below, I will share some information about detoxification, as well as some relevant links.
     Embarking on some detox programs without strict adherence can reduce benefits or even result in new health problems.  For example, water fasts can be dangerous and, if embarked upon at all, blood, urine, blood pressure, and other information should be monitored by a knowledgeable health care professional.  Breaking a highly restricted fast inappropriately can be dangerous.  After a water or juice fast of several days, it is safest to begin eating only small quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, and, over several days, to gradually increase the amount and variety of food. 
     Detoxification without nurturing or strengthening measures which may include sea salt baths, herbal therapy, sufficient fresh fruit and vegetable juices or weight-bearing exercises can result in deficiency-related problems such as osteoporosis, depression, and fatigue.  This is especially important for perimenopausal women and people with degenerative diseases.
     The use oils for detoxification purposes, such as the currently popular “oil pulling" or the use of castor oil packs over the liver or elsewhere, can acidify the body, and so are best balanced by alkalizing procedures, such as washing off oil with an solution of baking soda and water, or using a toothpaste that contains baking soda and other alkalinizing ingredients.  Too much acidity in the body can lead to arthritis, decalcification of bones, kidney stones, and other problems.  Stress, air pollution, and intake of large quantities of processed meats, and bread can all be acidifying.  It is usually beneficial to help the body balance pH by using alkalinizing procedures such as consuming large quantities of leafy green vegetables, and the use of certain mineral salts or herbs.  Below are links on the use of castor oil packs and on the alkalinity and acidity of foods.  
     Beginning a challenging detoxification program which your schedule, finances, or lifestyle will not accommodate, or without the support of family or friends can result in failure to complete the program.  It is important to insure the support of others or to at least ascertain that one has the resources, strength, and self-discipline to finish.  A program such as the internationally known Gerson Therapy, used to treat cancer and other degenerative and autoimmune diseases, is especially difficult to follow.  Deviation can lead to a worsening of the illness.  Below is a link about the Gerson therapy.
     Returning to an unhealthy diet after a detox can result in a return of the original health problem, or even a worsening of the problem.  However, pushing oneself too hard in a program can result in emotional stress which may acidify the body and cancel out the beneficial effects of the detoxification.  Calming herbs, meditation, and sufficient rest can often alleviate stress in these cases.
     For most people, a good detoxification program with which to start is simply eating only certified organic and/or home grown, unsprayed fresh fruits and vegetables, along with lots of water, vegetable broths, and freshly made juices for a week.  For people with blood sugar issues, small quantities of a high quality, green nutritional powder, such as Pure Synergy (check the link to the Synergy Company to the right of this blog) could be used to supply extra protein.  Occasionally, there are people for whom this type of mild detox will result in unpleasant symptoms.  These people would do well seeing someone for more specific testing and guidance.
     This month’s offer:  Contact me for more information about specific fruits, vegetables, and juices which would be beneficial for a short restricted diet for detoxification.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

     Blog # 14: The Role of Creativity and Self-Expression in Healing

To round out these seven blogs on hypnosis, self-hypnosis, and meditation, I believe that it is important to mention how creativity and inspiration can enhance physical, emotional, and mental well-being.  At one point, I suffered with physical and emotional pain stemming from many things, including my father’s death.  Mining life for inspiration and sharing through creative outlets helped me more deeply than anything else during this difficult time.  Of course, I did get lots of rest, ate wholesome food, practiced qi gong exercises, and received regular treatments which included chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, and flower essence therapy.  Two of the other things that helped me were spending time in nature, and writing. 

Because of my love of nature and writing, I facilitate a nature writing group at North Park Village Nature Center one Sunday each month. The nature writing group is open to whoever feels drawn to it.  Each month we share writing and walk in the nature preserve.  I hope that the group has been helpful to many of the people who have participated over the years. 
Below, you can read writings of some of the people who have attended this group.

                                                     Blue #4
By Robert Lawrence, this poem was published in Exact Change Only, winter 2013 edition

When I feel blue,
I receive the most acute comfort
from listening to the rough twang
and painful times of down-home blues.
Sky-blue is simultaneously
cell membrane thin and depthless.
Red is a warm color;
blue is a cool color (blue
walls can lower blood pressure)
but blue flames burn much
hotter than red flames.
I summon these paradoxes
after storm clouds have cleared
and a blue star shines high
over glistening snow crystals.

                                          Elder Home Visit:  Alice
                                              By Ilda Castellanos
Alice, how are you?
It’s so good to see you.
I sing you “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”,
You say “that’s a nice song.”
Your love, John, is happy to see you.
Your Lynn, your first born, is delighted to see you.
You serve up delicious pickled beets with onions
That you made just for us, which we snack on before
I teach you how to play skip-Bo.
“Not a fun game,” you say,
But you try a few games.
“How are things with you,” you always say
After you greet me,
After you tell me to take off my coat
And get comfortable.

                                    On a Winter Path  
                                    By Betty Jacobsen

on a winter path
my foot catches on a small branch
frozen upright in the snow
I fall face forward
onto the icy earth, then turn
and lie gazing upward
beneath a darkening sky
under a looming cloud of gray

In the apiary nearby hives hum quietly
with the winter work of bees
dying drones cast out
from the honey of sweet companionship
gasp and struggle beside me
on the cold white ground
their life force spent
in the act of procreation

the frigid air is thick with portent
hung with prescience
heavy with augury
something’s about to happen
or an awful storm

I hope you enjoyed these poems.  People have brought short stories, essays, articles, journal entries, blogs, songs, and even excerpts from novels to our group.

Starting next month, the next seven issues of this blog will cover detoxification and nutrition.

This blog’s offer:  Come join us at our next Nature Writing Group on Sunday, May 19th from 11 am until 1 pm at the Nature Center in North Park Village, at 5801 North Pulaski, in Chicago.  Feel free to contact me with questions about directions.  As always, please share this blog with others.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

            Blog #13: How Hypnosis Can Help You Meet Your Muse

     Many famous artists and scientists have used self-hypnosis 

intentionally or unintentionally to access discoveries and intuitive 

insights.  The Nobel Prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats wrote

of the time when he was sitting at his desk writing poetry and 

accidentally dropped his pen.  When he bent to pick it up, he 

recalled many fantastic adventures, one after another, and then 

realized that he was remembering dreams of nights past.  When he 

tried to think about these dreams, they drifted from his memory and 

he again forgot them.  He realized that when he wrote poetry, he

was in this dream state, equivalent to deep hypnosis. 

     Thomas Alva Edison, possibly the most famous and prolific 

inventor in U. S. history, said that he made many of his discoveries 

while napping in his easy chair in his library.  He would spend some 

time pondering details of a particular challenge he faced, then 

would ask his mind to give him an answer.  He then fell asleep in 

the chair, letting both his arms dangle down over the chair’s arms.

In one hand, he held a large glass ball.  When he fell asleep, his 

hands would relax and the glass ball would clatter to the floor.  The 

resulting vibrations would wake him and he would have an answer, 

sometimes in the form of a diagram.  These answers were not 

always correct, but many were, or were able to eventually lead him 

to a correct answer. 

     Children are spontaneously and naturally creative.  They often 

daydream, and can access information intuitively, a process which

is quicker than analytical thinking.  Of course, accessing both the 

intuitive and the analytical minds simultaneously is often the best

way to be creative.   This can be difficult for many people.  

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are skills that will help with this. 
     This blog’s offer:  call my office for a free fifteen minute 

consultation regarding a specific challenge in your creative 

endeavors.  I will also let you know if hypnosis or another method 

would be likely to be helpful. 

Also:  Come see my photo show at The Coffee Shop, at 1135 W. 

Sheridan Road, in Chicago.  The show will be there through 

March 31st.  There will be a special reception with music and 

celebration from 7 pm until 9 pm on March 22nd.    Laurie 

Little, a photographer and award-winning film-maker, has 

some beautiful photographs of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 

winter.  Laurie also designed my blog, with a little help from 

me.  My photographs were taken during my travels in Kenya 

and Mali.  Some narrative accompanies many of the pictures.