Foundational Health Building

GM Sky Scrapers

What do I mean by foundational health building?

We build houses.  We build skyscrapers.  We build cars and trains and buses.  We build computers.  We build countless different things in our country.  What do they all have in common?  They have FOUNDATION.  They have a structure that has to be in place before the other stuff can be added.  Health and our lives are no different.  We simply cannot have healthy lives or bodies without having some foundational support first.  Without going into too much detail, what are these foundations?  Let’s take a quick look.

ENVIRONMENT:  This is step number one.  Make sure your living environment and workspace are good.  Clean air, low stress, good lighting, etc.  Hectic, stuffy environments just will not work long-term.  Taking in fresh air, clean water, sunlight, and grounding are great foundations.  These are the basics.  

NUTRITION:  We have physical bodies guys.  We simply need good nutrition for our bodies to perform optimally.  This is like having the right parts and tools to build your house.  The directions may be great, but if the materials are not there it just doesn’t work.  Different people have slightly different “parts required.”  This may be akin to different genetics, and why people tend to do best on different diets.  Focusing on super-foods and fresh local food is best.  Fruits, vegetables, organic animal products are great.  Let your body guide you.  Cutting out the junk, as always, is a good step as well.

GOD/SOURCE:  This is a super-deep topic that is beyond the scope of this post.  Ultimately, you need to personally figure out who or what GOD means to you.  Is he a good guy?  Is he a bad guy with a whip?  Does he owe you something?  Are you thankful for him in your life?  Your view of God is HUGE in your personal life.  This may be one of the most important foundational principles to work on.

FAMILY:  Family is big as well.  Having healthy family relationships is paramount to a healthy life.  When we are running around with conflicted relationships, unresolved issues, and unspoken resentments; things don’t tend to work out too well.  Focusing on fixing these damaged or broken relationships is challenging work.  However, working on family issues is critical if you want to have solid foundations.

MOVEMENT:  Life is movement guys.  We were born to move.  Not to sit at desks all day.  We don’t need much.  Anything helps.  Light cardio, jogging, biking, swimming, kayaking, mini trampoline, strength training, hiking, walking, bodyweight stuff, whatever.  Anything you will stick to is great.

SLEEP/R&R:  Sleep is where we recover.  It is where we integrate our day.  Dreaming is where our unconscious mind comes out to play.  Are you sleeping enough?  Are you relaxing enough?  Sometimes we are relaxed but don’t get enough sleep.  Sometimes we get enough sleep but we can’t relax.  Both are foundational to health and healing.

Those are the big ones guys.  Everything else comes on top of these.  Let’s fix the foundations and build from the ground up.

-JOE

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Doing Enough?

Uptight.

Are YOU doing enough today?

Are you doing enough at your job?  I’m sure you could be doing better.  What about your health?  Your eating clean.  But are you exercising?  Are you getting daily sun exposure?  Are you working on your emotions?  Are your kids happy?  Is your wife happy?  When does it end?  Most of us are taught something here.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DOING ENOUGH!  There is always something else we could be doing better.  There is always something we could be resolving.  So where do we find a balance?  Many people are truly not doing enough.  Many of us are trying to do too much.  So how do we figure this out?

PRIORITIZE:  Create priorities for your life.  We tend to focus too much on the things that don’t really matter and not enough on the stuff that really matters.  The ironic thing here?  When we focus on the stuff that REALLY matters, we find that we don’t strive so much on the little things.  What are the things I would advise working on?  Focus on the big things in life first.  GOD, FAMILY, HEALTH, RELAXATION, PASSION, PURPOSE, INNER PEACE AND HAPPINESS, FRIENDSHIPS, etc.  Don’t stress so much about how clean your car is, how much you can bench press, what your “macronutrient” ratios are, what you are NOT doing, etc.  These just are not important.  In fact, when we find ourselves focusing too much on TRYING to be perfect on superficial things; it often tells us that we are not listening to something bigger going on.  Why do you feel the need to vacuum your house every day?  Why do you feel like you have to defend yourself against what people think about you?  Why do you change the channel to avoid viewing something uncomfortable to you?  We need to build our houses with the proper foundations.  Tomorrow I will discuss the proper way to do this.  In the meantime, remember you’re a human being.  Remember that most of us are doing the best we can.  Often, it is WHERE we are putting our efforts that is the problem.  Remember to take time to rest and relax.  Remember you ARE doing enough in a lot of areas in your life. =)

-JOE

“ACTIVE” RELAXATION.

Dandelion wind

You REALLY should relax man!  Take a deep breath.  Find your center.

Is taking a small break from our stressful lives really all that we need?  A moment in the midst of calamity can do wonders, don’t get me wrong.  But are we actively unwinding our clocks on a regular basis?  Stress winds us up a lot.  We don’t usually take much time to just BE and RELAX.  This is especially true if we are going through stressful events, rough jobs, health problems, bad relationships, problems with children, etc.  Add to that bad food choices and malnutrition.  It is so easy to wind up and never unwind.  Enter “Active Relaxation.”

ACTIVE RELAXATION:  This is something you set aside time for.  It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or longer if you wish.  10-20 minutes would seem ideal for most people.  What does active relaxation look like?  It can look like anything you want it to.  The main ideas?  SLOW your breathing, relax, and let go of tension.  Some good examples of activities that promote active relaxation of the body would include tai-qi and qigong, some slow yoga, very slow walking, belly breathing to meditation music, laughter, slow spiritual reading, or plain old meditation.  Affirmations is a great way to relax as well.  Repeating phrases with our breathing can help rapidly calm the system.  Phrases like “I unwind and relax with ease,” or “I deserve a breather” are great.  Affirmations can be anything you want them to be.  Anything that helps put you in a state of deep calm.  For most of us, we only realize how stressed we have been when we truly relax.  It is unfortunate, but most of us rarely reach the state of true relaxation.  We let the worries and stresses of the day wind us up more and more, then we get stuck there!  So let’s learn to un-stick ourselves and practice a little “active relaxation.”  I can’t help but share the 5 principles of “REIKI” with my readers.

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL NOT WORRY

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL NOT ANGER

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL DO MY WORK HONESTLY

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL HONOR ALL LIVING THINGS

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL COUNT MY MANY BLESSINGS

Enjoy =)

-JOE 

HEAVY METALS

English: Glam metal/Heavy metal and Hard rock ...

No, not the music.  

Most people have heard of “heavy metals” before.  Especially things like mercury, lead, etc.  Mercury is the big one most people talk about.  What is the problem?  The levels of these poisons is ever larger in our environment.  It is in our air and water.  It is in our food.  It is in our dental work.  This stuff is NOT designed to be inside the human body.  Add to this the fact that most people are highly deficient in minerals and vitamins.  Our bodies need this stuff.  When it does not show up, the body will often use another substance in its place.  Enter heavy metals.  There is also an interesting emotional link with heavy metals.  Toxins tend to get trapped in areas of the body that have stored emotions.  For example, the liver will store anger and frustration.  The lungs and heart may hold death frights and grief.  When we don’t acknowledge these feelings, the toxins can’t move freely.  This has always been a problem and is the reason spirituality has been a part of healing since humans have been around.  The problem now?  There are astronomically more toxins coming into the average persons body!  The other problem with metals is that they seem to be harder to remove than some other toxic substances we have been dealing with for much longer such as alcohol, tobacco, etc.  Heavy metal poisoning has been linked to most illnesses.  Especially included are the “modern” or “untreatable” conditions like autism, MS, some cancers, autoimmune conditions, and lyme disease.  This is NOT good stuff.  It also happens to be an area of a lot of disagreement between practitioners.  There are several different methods of treatment.  Some are somewhat dangerous.  There are risks that go along with most styles of chelation.  Honestly, I am no specialist in heavy metal detoxification.  I feel that working with an advanced practitioner is a smart idea with this one.  However, nature has blessed us with some amazing substances to help MILDLY get this stuff out of our bodies.  Let’s look at the natural things we can do to start lowering our heavy metal count without jeopardizing our immediate health.

FOODS:  Food truly is our best medicine most of the time.  There are certain herbs and foods that have been known to chelate metals gently from the body.  Among them are common kitchen herbs like CILANTRO.  This is the big one used in most supplements designed to remove metals.  Combining cilantro with a binding agent such as GARLIC or CHLORELLA is often a good idea.  This prevents the bad stuff from moving around to other areas of the body somewhat.  Garlic is said to be a mild chelator as well.  HEALTHY FATS are great mobilizers of metals.  Think raw fats.  COCONUT OIL, OLIVE OIL, RAW BUTTER, BONE MARROW, EGG YOLKS, AVOCADOS, ETC.  They provide our body with a lot of helpful stuff to get this gunk out.  KELP and some other seaweeds may help replace minerals.  An easy recipe I learned from Klinghardt is to make a “cilantro pesto” to use regularly.  Take maybe a cup of olive oil, a few bulbs of raw garlic, and a bunch of cilantro.  Blend it up to make a pesto.  Add a little sea-salt.  Store in the fridge and use with your food or on salads.

HEAT THERAPY:  Sweating has long been used as a way to purify the body.  Heavy metals can be sweated out.  Using things like saunas, steam-rooms, epsom salt baths, steam-showers, etc all can mildly eliminate these substances.  Be careful not to overdo though.  I would also advise adding in plenty of minerals into your diet, as you will sweat some of these out as well.

MILD CLEANSING:  Mildly helping the liver, kidneys, and lymph to eliminate their poisons will always be useful.  Using herbs, juicing, coffee enemas, and other mild things should help give your system a breather.

EMOTIONS/SPIRITUALITY:  This is a big one with metals.  A lot of us have repressed emotions.  A lot of us have bad mental conflicts going on inside of ourselves.  How big are yours?  Do you have a problem with God?  Do you feel unloved by your parents?  Did you get in a bad divorce?  What is causing you problems?  Maybe there is a lot of repressed anger you could deal with.  Figure out where your conflicts lie and address them.  This often means working on deep childhood issues for many of us.  It is worth the effort to restore health and balance to your system.

There are other therapies guys.  Hardcore chelation.  Injections.  Synthetic vitamins, etc.  These are best left for people who really know what they are doing.  Removing the sources is always the biggest first step.  Avoid fish and other foods that are contaminated.  Drink spring water from a clean source.  Try to breathe clean air.  Work on the emotions.  These are the main things.  Let’s start building awareness and get this problem on its way out =)

-JOE

 

 

ILEOCECAL VALVE?

English: A Globe Valve. The valve body is colo...

HUH?

I seem to be on a digestive kick guys.  What is the ileocecal valve?  Like hiatal hernia problems, this little guy goes relatively unrecognized.  His importance plays a big factor in our health.  Most people haven’t heard of the ileocecal valve before.  So what is it?  

ILEOCECAL VALVE:  This “valve” is a small, golf ball sized part of our lower digestive anatomy.  It connects our small intestines to our large intestines.  The point of this valve?  To keep the sewage from the large intestines separate from the stuff happening in the small intestines.  With unhealthy lifestyle choices this valve can get stuck open or closed.  This is a problem folks.  What do you get?  You can have sewage flowing into the area you are supposed to be absorbing your food.  You can also have waste not properly able to flow out.  Let’s look at a few reasons the valve gets stuck and what we can do to fix it.

CAUSES:  The culprits always seem to be the same don’t they.  These are a little different, yet still similar.  Processed foods are among the worst.  Gluten, pasteurized dairy, improperly prepared grains and cereals, sugar, etc.  Roughage can also irritate this valve.  Too much raw salads, raw carrots, or under-ripe  fruit can cause this valve to spasm a bit as well.  EXERCISE, or lack thereof is a huge issue as well.  Our systems are all PUMPS.  They are designed to be PUMPED!  Digestive system, detox system, circulatory system, lymph, etc.  Most of these systems have their own pumps.  But they are designed to have help.  Exercise stimulates digestion big time.  Mixing it up is always a good idea.  Bicycling may be especially good for this problem.  Stress is a big one too.  When we are stressed, we don’t digest our food properly.  What does this lead to?  A “back-up” in our bodies.  Traffic jams.  This is no good.  We want to be relaxed and well rested when we eat.  Ultimately, removing the sources of your stress is a big help with almost all problems in the body.  So what can we do about this issue?  There are a few simple steps.

SOLUTIONS:  The first solution is to remove the causes.  Clean up the diet.  Eliminate the roughage foods for a little bit.  Focus on soft stuff.  Try eliminating gluten, most grains, hard veggies, and irritating spices like hot peppers, etc.  Going off  these things for a few weeks can help calm this valve down.  Exercising more regularly, deep breathing, sleeping more, and getting rid of stress all will do wonders.  As with the hiatal hernia, sometimes our parts like a little help to regain proper functioning.  There are several techniques that you can do on yourself that help get this little guy back up and running.  There is another valve on the other side called the “Houston’s valve.”  The principle is the same.  Let’s look at how to find these valves and I will post a short video on massaging these spots.

LOCATION:  The best way to locate your ileocecal valve is to imagine a line connecting your belly button to the front of your hipbone.  Find the midpoint of that line with your fingers.  Next, go down an inch or two until you find a small, tender spot.  This is likely your ileocecal valve.  Most people have soreness or tenderness in this area.  The same is true of the Houston Valve.  So let’s look at a quick clip on how to fix this up.  Keeping your digestive system and all of its parts happy and healthy is a great defense against all types of ailments.  Let’s get the system back up and running on all 8 =)

VALVE CLOSING

-JOE

FOOD COMBINING.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) feeding on salmon, t...

FOOD COMBINING.  What is that?

Food combining is an ancient technique.  It is really pretty simple.  How do we get healthy?  We follow nature.  We follow what our ancestors did for thousands of years.  Enter food combining.  The “Modern Paleo” movement needs this one big time =)  Mixing walnuts, carrots, eggs, oil, “nut flour,” maple syrup, raw honey, and butter may TASTE DELICIOUS. The principle is that different foods take different times to digest and require separate digestive processes than others.  For example; a potato takes a different type of digestive enzymes than a steak.  A piece of fruit is different from either of them. Let’s look at a typical “meal” at Olive Garden.  I have nothing against Olive Garden.  It is delicious in fact.  Following are some meals other animals or our ancestors may have eaten. 

OLIVE GARDEN FOOD COMBINING:  Salad, bread sticks, and soup for appetizers.  A course of baked salmon with bruschetta bread.  Finished off by a desert tart made with fruit.  All the while slugging down water, coke, or tea.

Is this a normal way to eat?  Is it feasting and is it fun?  Sure it is.  The point here is not to remove all our days of extravagance.  It is to improve our health over time by following these simple guidelines “most of the time.”  So what are these guidelines?  What is the best way to eat for energy, digestion, and health?  We are all different.  We have different digestive strengths and weaknesses.  Things are also determined by the health of our bodies.  There are some simple rules that everybody can achieve success with.  Let’s take a look.  This is in order of time it takes to digest.

WATER/JUICE:  There really is no digestion time here.  How quickly can your body absorb the liquid?  Usually about fifteen minutes or so with water.  You may give yourself a little extra time with juice.  Drinking liquids fifteen minutes before meals is great.  Drinking a lot WITH your meals is not so great.  A lot of liquid dilutes your own digestive enzymes and makes it harder to assimilate your food.

FRUIT:  This is probably the biggest one.  Fruit digests very quickly.  In a healthy body maybe half an hour to an hour.  Especially the good kind.  Juicy, plump, and soft.  So what happens when we eat fruit after other things?  It ferments.  It gets slowed down.  All the sugar stays behind.  It is generally best to eat fruit early in the day before we have eaten too much.  Eating fruit 2-3 hours after a meal is ok too.  The main idea?  Have an empty stomach with fruit.  I will admit this guideline makes me sad because this man loves trail mix =)

PROTEIN/STARCH:  Protein requires an acidic medium to break down.  Heavy carbohydrates a different one.  What is the result?  Unfortunately, our favorite foods go out the window.  Steak and potatoes.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  Wings and beer.  Mixing these types of food is generally not a great idea.  Protein is fine to eat with non-starchy vegetables.  Things like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, etc.  Stewing foods or crock-pot meals tend to blend the lines here.  “The foods tend to work out their differences in the pot,” was a line from a book “Healing With Whole Foods.”  This is why crock-pot   meals are so tasty =)  Starches mix well with non-starchy vegetables and fats as well.  Soups are a great way eat most things together.

MONO-MEALS?:  What is a mono-meal you say?  Basically, just what it sounds like.  A mono-meal is eating one thing for a meal.  This is imitating nature at it’s best.  Look around.  All the other animals tend to eat ONE thing at a time.  There are no three-course dishes out there unfortunately.  This is something to be eased into.  Mono-meals is a completely different style of eating than most of us are accustomed to.  So what are some examples of mono-meals?  A bowl of blueberries.  An avocado.  1/3 pound of juicy lamb.  A big bowl of broccoli, zucchini, or peas.  Are mono-meals always needed?  I think it is a great thing to ease into.  Often times, mixing foods can actually HELP digestion.  What are some examples of this?  Adding healthy fats or broth with cooked meats will aid in digestion.  Using herbs with meals will often help as well.  Adding healthy fat to vegetables is great.

So in the end, we are all different.  We are working with different equipment.  The best analogy?  Think of your body as a conveyor belt.  What happens when something quick-moving gets stuck behind something slow-moving?  Traffic jams result.  Try to let your workers process the food you just ate before moving on to something else.  They need different “tools” for different jobs.  The way we eat in this country puts enormous stress on the entire person.  Let’s make our jobs a little easier and start implementing FOOD-COMBINING into our lives.  Oh, and don’t forget to break the rules every now and then =)

-JOE

 

 

INDIGESTION?

BK Meal

What about INDIGESTION?  Does it happen to everybody?  Do we even know what it means?  Maybe it is something most of us experience, yet view as a normal part of life.  Does it sound normal to you?  INDIGESTION?

I would wager to say that it is NOT normal.  It is not something to be experienced on a night out with the guys or date night with the girls.  What does indigestion really mean?  Well, it means what it sounds like.  Your digestion is not properly digesting, assimilating, and eliminating your food.  We can run into trouble at every step, but it really is all the same.  Where your system is weakest is where the chain will tend to break down.  So what is going on here?  Why do we “in-digest” and how can we fix it the natural way?

CAUSES:  We need to look at the causes of indigestion first.  Most of these aren’t too hard to guess on, but some are a little harder to avoid than others.  FOOD is obviously the primary culprit here.  Simple put?  WE EAT THINGS WE WEREN’T DESIGNED TO EAT!  So that puts us at a disadvantage already.  What are the worst offenders?  As usual; gluten, pasteurized dairy, processed foods, sugars, most quick-prep grains, overcooked food, “instant-food,” etc.  Surprisingly, high-fiber vegetables and fruit can be offensive as well.  Eating large amounts of high-cellulose salads, raw veggies, and unripe fruit can cause problems for people as well.  Add on to this the sheer BULK of food we eat at one time.  We often eat gigantic portions of food.  Usually we eat them in horrible combinations as well.  Do we really think a burger, fruit salad, french fries with cheese, and a large coke is a good thing?  You can add stress to the list of causes as well.  Eating while anxious, stressed, in a hurry, or emotional can all cause indigestion.  So what can we realistically do about all of this?  There are a few simple remedies that will keep indigestion at bay and keep you free from OTC medications.

DIET:  As usual, the diet is the biggest factor for most of us.  Cut out the offensive foods.  Eat smaller portions more frequently.  If roughage veggies and fruits bother you; don’t eat too much of them.  Juicers and blenders are great here as well.  Try to follow good food combining.  This is a post in itself (maybe tomorrow), but there are some easy things to remember.  Eat fruit alone on an empty stomach.  Fruit digests quick and will ferment and produce gas if it is eaten after a major meal.  Don’t mix heavy starches and proteins together at the same meal.  Unfortunately this cuts out most people’s favorites.  Mashed potatoes and steak.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  The list goes on.  Those are the biggies.

STRESS:  Figure out where your stress is coming from and try to eliminate it.  Don’t watch upsetting news or stimulating movies while eating.  Don’t argue with your spouse or children.  Try to create relaxed mealtimes.  Having family time and blessing your food is a great habit to get into.  If possible, don’t rush yourself.  How are you supposed to digest anything well when you are already somewhere else in your mind?  Plan ahead, cook in bulk, etc.  Do what you need to do to be able to have relaxed, pleasant mealtimes.

CLEANSE:  For most of us; some form of cleansing will be necessary to completely fix the problem.  Why is the diet not good enough?  Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn’t.  How clean are you willing to go?  The problem is that most of us have YEARS of bad habits behind us.  Think of adding up all the cereals, the cheese, the bread and pasta, the pizza, etc.  You get the idea.  So you end up with a big job on your hands.  Cleansing can speed up the process for most of us.  Simple things like herbs can really help.

So there you have it.  INDIGESTION.  As usual, eliminating the causes is the most important step.  The body will always heal itself when given the opportunity =)

-JOE