Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Speaking Fluent Flake

Have you seen the movie ‘What the ‘Bleep’ Do We Know’? This movie had a 5 million dollar budget, complete with Hollywood state of the art special effects. It blew my hair back! Its subject?: quantum physics, how our thoughts and emotions change water, how our cells become addicted to dynamic emotions, how this dynamic mutates cells, how moving into choice changes our past and our future simultaneously, and how to reprogram our neurology through conscious intention.

According to Dr Oz, the next breakthrough in health is in the way of ‘energy medicine’. On a personal note, I am encouraged about this. I have been viewed as being part of the lunatic fringe for over 20 years. Hey! If I live long enough I might even be perceived as being main-stream.

Now, I want to make it clear that this information about energy bodies is not something that just arrived in my head. In Eastern medicine, there is recognition of the interface between the body physical and the body energetic. There have been a thousand years of study and observation in regard to chakras (energy wheels), meridians and energy and the meticulous use of acupuncture to open the flow of energy in a person’s body.

My interest in all things above the green has come about as a result of a natural curiosity, mixed with a driving need (see In a Tizzy). I ponder many things, such as; there is more space in our bodies than stuff. Question: is this just empty space? According to the new breed of scientists and researchers, this space isn’t empty, it’s full of energy. In fact, we are mostly energy. According to Bob Proctor, in the movie The Secret, there is enough energy in our body to light up a city for days.

Part of my educational background has been learning energy balancing techniques as well as the study of flower and gem essences and how they balance and relax the whole person energetically. So, here are my thoughts and ruminations.

Very early in our lives, when we find ourselves stressed beyond our ability to cope, we energetically fracture. I call these fault-lines. From that point forward, these stress-lines, even though they may be repaired superficially, are still there ready to shunt if the internal pressures become too great. The body energetic is still showing issues in the present from a past time. This is why we seem to have patterns that show themselves over and over (see Finding the Pattern).

The physical body and the mental body communicate. There is matter and thoughts that create matter. I believe that our thoughts attract the manifestation of matter that is in alignment with these thoughts. When our thoughts flow and are stress free, things manifest even faster. I also believe we can block the flow of the good coming to us, by indulging in negative thinking.

The emotional body and the spiritual bodies communicate. This is where we respond to poetry, music, and colour. Whereas homeopathics and gem essences work to shift consciousness of the physical/mental axis, flower essences work to shift consciousness of the emotional/spiritual axis.

Flower Essences help to charge up the spiritual-electrical blueprint. In its simplest form, the Vertical Axis, our South Pole, is connected to our source in nature. This is the root chakra, represented in the physical by our adrenals.

Our North Pole is connected to our source in spirit. It’s counterpart in the physical is the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This energy flow follows the same pattern as our physical spine, and the whole endocrine system as well. Flower essences activate, charge up and make fluid the flow between our lower chakas (survival/animal nature) and our upper chakras (creative/human/spiritual nature).

Research, is a quest to observe and study through complete objectivity. It appeals to the linear left brain thinking. This thinking wants everything to be inside the box. Applying this research standard to flower essences would be like asking a chemist to quantify poetry, or the effect of a sonata. To use a quantum terminology, we would be ignoring the whole in our attempts to measure the part.

Often, those who like boxes and thinking inside them will say that’ if there is benefit, that it must be auto-suggestion, placebo, or psycho-somatic’. What I have noticed in the past is that that flower essences, have really helped to calm my anxious border collie and markedly perked up my daughter’s fish (see ‘What About Bob?’).

My Mom, who was one of the most practical souls on earth, had a favorite saying. “The Proof is in the Pudding.” In other words, if it works it works.

Tomorrow I promise I will be back to my non-flakey usual self.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bio-Chemical Individuality

A friend phoned me the other day. She was all 'fired up' because she had heard that the powers that be had made an executive decision about not treating children with ear infections until 72 hours after onset. She vented at some length about what it would be like to listen to a child scream for days and feel totally abandoned, helpless and resource-less. She suggested that it was time that I got on the ‘cyber- soapbox' to tell the world about the natural alternatives. She said "people are ready for some serious information about natural remedies".

I do empathize with parents who are feeling frustrated while manageing their children’s health. Parenting is by far, our most demanding and time consuming role. The responsibily we carry on our shoulders is daunting. The irony is that this is the one role in our lives that we have little or no training in.

I know that this is the information age, and we are bombarded with it. But, dear readers, it is a harsh fact that 'fear sells' and this negative spin distorts most of everything we hear. Our challenge is that without a solid and practical knowledge base, we cannot discern if the information we are hearing is trustworthy. Further, how can we know if the information has specific value for us or our family.

Wellness from a holistic perspective embraces a totally different paradigm. There are a few challenges about giving specific instructions to a general audience. A Holistic Health viewpoint is not based upon the treatment, but upon the person. We are all different and every person’s overall state of being is subjectivly different. To encompass this 'whole person' view, we need to consider bio-chemical individuality.

What is Bio-chemical individuality? Natural therapists call this ‘terrain’. What this means is that we have different ancestors, with different genetic strengths and weaknesses. We have had unique birth and formative year experiences. Our nutrition and food styles are different. Our resistance to bacteria and viruses are uniquely our own. The emotional stressors we experienced and our resilience to these emotional stressors are different.

Trauma can be stored in our tissues. Many people have scars that interrupt the body’s electrical flow. It is interesting to note that no child under the age of two years old is allowed to be vaccinated in Japan. Many people have had vital organs and glands removed or tampered with.

Dental surgery has profoundly affected many people, bio-chemically and physically. Decades ago, the country of Sweden implemented a mercury-free policy for its children. Some individuals are more sensitive to mercury, heavy metals, radiation, or agricultural chemicals. Many people are using medications on an ongoing basis. It is unusual to find anyone over the age of 30 who is not on some form of prescription or over the counter drug.

When past health issues have been handled in a suppressive manner, some individuals may find that they do not respond as well to natural products as they had hoped. People’s expectations and attitudes are unique. We have different pain thresholds. Some people try natural products, expecting a drug type of response. Most people know more about the inner workings of their car, than their own bodies.

Part of my role as a Holistic Health Educator, is to help people to understand the basic functions of their bodies from a relational and holistic perspective. The more that we can understand about how our body functions, the more we can effectively support our body’s efforts. Education is an essential foundation. From there, specific resources will naturally fit into place.

The selection of natural remedies out in the world is vast, but what I have noticed over the last two decades is that families share an affinity. Some children will be more like Mom. Another child will be more like Dad, or perhaps a child will show a strong similarity to a grandparent. The acorn and the tree will respond well to similar remedies. For most families, their home-aid kits will consist of a small handful of homeopathic single remedies, a homeopathic plex or two, as well as few tried and true herbal products.

It may require a learning curve to become knowledgeable and may take time to become comfortable in your role as the health care provider for your family. It may stretch your mind and your faith a little. I can assure you from experience that there is a peace of mind beyond price that comes from understanding the basics that have proven their worth over time. Knowledge and wisdom are by far the most valuable resources.

Wellness & Vitamin C

I have wonderful friends. I am introverted by nature and they have really been putting the push on me to come out of hiding and put myself out in the world. My blog has been one of the things I have initiated in response to this encouragement. One friend suggested that I start putting out really ‘juicy’ information about remedies, and what to do about what.

My challenge as a holistic health provider, is that I cannot say that anything works to cure anything. For example, if I am asked what is Vitamin C is for, I can never answer that Vitamin C cures scurvy. Now you may believe that is true, and untold thousands of ‘Limey’ sailors sure believed it was true. From a holistic viewpoint, it isn't even the right question.

The point is, that we are bio-chemical beings. Our bodies begin to lose integrity, resilience and strength when our nutrition becomes scanty. When this lack of nutrition continues for long periods of time and in the extreme, our bodies can not function properly or efficiently. In the past, when sailors lacked fresh food in their diets, they noticed themselves slowly falling apart.

All human beings have what is termed ‘hypoascorbanemia’, which is to say that we are always potentially deficient in ascorbic acid, which is Vitamin C. It is a curious thing that all other mammal’s livers seem to create their own Vitamin C. We stand alone as being the only mammal that requires a dietary source of this nutrient on a constant basis. If you have cold hands and feet, poor circulation, bruise easily, or your gums frequently bleed, your body may benefit from Vitamin C and its Bioflavonoid companions (Vitamin C complex)

Vitamin C is ascorbic acid. Our bodies need to buffer the ascorbic acid to a base pH before it can be utilized effectively. This requirement may draw minerals from our tissues to achieve this. This is why I recommend a buffered or mineral ascorbate source, especially when you increase your Vitamin C intake beyond the usual recommended daily allowance.

In the summer and fall season we are blessed with fresh foods that contain Vitamin C. Vitamin C is very sensitive, and processing and cooking tends to deteriorate it. In the winter, we need to make more of an effort to include Vitamin C rich foods into our diets on a daily basis. This is when most people choose to supplement Vitamin C. This nutrient is most often depleted in our bodies by stress, and lifestyle excesses such as the over-use of tobacco, alcohol and coffee.

Mikhael Adams N.D. has formulated a brilliant buffered Vitamin C Complex using botanical sources of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids. He says that “While the maintenance of good health, the reduced incidence of colds and the profound antioxidant properties of Vitamin C are its most frequently touted benefits; the anti-aging properties are emerging as a very significant additional silver lining.”

To speak of 'wellness' means rather than focusing on disease and its treatment, we look at the restorative and nourishing aspects of food, and lifestyle. Nutrition is for life. I encourage you to make optimal nutrition part of your daily self-care as we move into the cold season.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Life-long Relationship

We tend to ride our bodies hard. A lack of good self-care can result in our bodies being chronically under nourished, over stimulated, over worked and under rested. On top of this our bodies are expected to tolerate stresses self-created by our own personalities. Our own internal dialogues bombard the cells of our bodies constantly with negative, abusive and demoralizing messages on an almost constant basis.

Emotions have a molecular weight. In other words, they are real. It is almost impossible to heal the physical body in the presence of chronic negative emotional chemistry. It creates a constant toxic down load. Such emotions are natural to the human condition.

However, as Martin Luther said “we cannot keep birds from flying overhead, but we can keep them from nesting in our hair”.

There are many ways to work with the program of habitual toxic thinking. There are many therapies that work with changing the feeling/thought/mind connection that have proven their effectiveness over time. Flower essences can help tremendously, as they work within the emotional body directly.

But of course, the first major step is to be aware that you are doing it to yourself and sincerely desire a change. If we are not willing to dig deep and be brutally honest with ourselves, we can find ourselves giving away the small addictions and withholding the emotional addictions; the ‘pay offs’ we are not willing to give up. We dig the juice!

As we harbour and feed such feelings as resentment, bitterness, disappointment, unforgiveness, and self-righteous indignation, we essentially invest so heavily in our past; we rob ourselves of our own future. And we think our bodies don’t know

Imagine this if you will; we are at a horse race. After the race is run, we interview the jockey. “Great ride, a little slow at the start…really picked up on the home stretch…really pushed hard and we came through.” and so on. Then we interview the horse. That’s when we get the real scoop on how aware, attuned, appreciative and compassionate the rider is.

Ride respectfully. Your body is yours for life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Staying Healthy in the Autumn Season

Changes in the seasons create big changes in the body. Extremes in temperature and humidity can really stress the body’s coping mechanisms, not only in detoxification but endocrine balance as well. This is the wisdom behind eating watermelon and cucumbers, raw foods, fruits and salads that cool us in the heat of the summer. In the winter we are attracted to soups, stews, foods that are oven baked. All of this tends to create more warming for the body.

With this in mind, we can maximize our personal ‘house-cleansing’ of primary elimination systems at these peak times of year. In the spring, the body is focused on cleansing the liver system, which includes the blood and intestines. In the fall the body is focused on flushing the kidneys and the whole genito-urinary system and cleaning the blood.

A simple way of looking at this is that in the spring the wood element is highlighted – hot and juicy (liver), and full of growth and expansion. In the fall the water element is highlighted – cold and damp (kidneys), and the body is conserving and contracting.

The foods we eat every day make a tremendous change in how effective these peak times are maximized. The quote “Let Food be your medicine” is certainly true.

Arame carrot ginger salad with peas
Arame is a sea vegetable which looks like black noodles. It comes in dry form, which softens when soaked in water, vinegar or broth. You will find this in your health food store or Asian market.

Soak 1 Cup of Arame in enough cool water/rice vinegar to cover until soft (1/2 hour)
Defrost 1 Cup of Green Peas under cold running water
Grate 3 large carrots
Chop 1 green onion or slice red onion in extra thin slices
In salad bowl, mix basic balsamic/oriental/white wine vinaigrette with herbamere
Grate ½ inch or less of ginger (omit if using oriental dressing)
Add carrots and mix with dressing
Add Arame and mix well
Taste to see if it needs more dressing
Add peas and toss lightly
To serve: top with Asian topping, fried noodles or Gomasio (toasted Sesame seeds)

Oriental Dressing
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup warm brown rice syrup or agave syrup
1 Tbs water
1 Tbs sesame or canola oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp grated ginger root
¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
A little hot stuff

Scandinavian Winter Salad
2 Cups Pickled Beets or Roast 4 large beets in oven 350F- 45 min.
3 large carrots grate in food processor
Peel & grate beets and carrots in food processor
Chop ½ Cup green onions
1 Cup chopped parsley
Mix in large salad bowl

Apple Cider Dressing
½ Cup light tasting oil (Organic Canola)
¼ Cup apple cider vinegar
Herbamere or sea salt
Grind 1 tsp Thyme and 1 tsp coriander seed

I had this salad many times as a teenager, while visiting my Finnish girlfriend. Her Mother made it with pickled herring cut in small bits. I omit this!) ('She cringes’) Root vegetables are warming for the body in the cool weather of fall and winter. Baking the beets in the oven to just tender-crisp, will add to their warming effect in the body.

*These salads get better when covered and marinated in the fridge for an hour or longer.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Household Wisdom

Yesterday I was checking out Yahoo News on line, and I read an article (it was supposed to be earth shaking news I’m sure) about ‘How to Clean Your House in Ten Minutes’. As usual it was a misleading headline. It really was ‘How to Tidy Your House in Ten Minutes’. It was a good article with lots of practical tips for the 10 minute ‘blitz’. It got me to thinking!

Part of my work role is to facilitate workshops and seminars to groups. Two years ago I developed a curriculum for a women’s service group. This was geared towards coaching a resourceful lifestyle to young moms on low or fixed income. Generally what I notice is that most young women today do not have the great training in Household Wisdom that I had when I was growing up.

I like being ‘McFrugal’. I like being conscious about how to create a great quality of life, without having a huge price tag attached. Surprisingly enough, the biggest barrier to an abundant life style isn't a lack of money. When you have the blinders of 'povery mentality' on, you will never have enough; you will never see your life beyond struggle no matter how much money you have. As any business person will tell you, you never count an inventory of 'what you don't have'.

As my Mom would say, “It’s not what you make; it’s what your save”.

I say "When the going gets tough, the tough get creative".

All of my 20 years in private practice, (except for a 2 year stint where I rented an office downtown, and a three month stint in a naturopath’s clinic) have accommodated my practice within my home. I have lived in an apartment in the city, in my own home in the country, in a lake shore cabin in the middle of nowhere, in a downtown studio over top of a retail store. At the present time my office is in my duplex home in a residential neighbourhood, close to the downtown core.

Through all of this, my business has moved, morphed and grown with me. To be more accurate, rather than describe that I work were I live, I actually live where I work. The advantages are many and most of them are obvious. I don’t feel so scattered. I can control the atmosphere, so both my clients and I are more comfortable, my overhead is lower so that my fees are affordable for the ‘many’ and I can put my free moments to productive use.

The down side is that my home life always threatens to impact my work life.

So getting back to the ten minute tidy blitz; my home and workplace have always had to be ten minutes away from being customer ready at all times. If I were to let big messes go and had to do a huge cleaning every time I had a client booked, I would go stark-raving-bonkers! Efficiency and clarity are tops on my list. My kitchen is my customer entry point, so this makes housekeeping issues high on my priority.

Here are my tips for staying sane:

Tip# 1: Never, never, ever, use the oven to cook food. This means I never have to clean it (I’ve never cleaned an oven in my life and I’m not kidding! A girl has to draw the line somewhere). Use the oven to store dirty dishes temporarily out of sight. Want to bake? Get a small convection oven. A word to the wise, if you have a plastic dishpan stored in your oven, tape over the control knob to avoid disaster.

Tip#2: If you have a dishwasher and are efficient in loading and unloading, God-Bless-You and ignore all of the above. I don’t have a full sized range where I am right now, so I keep a plastic dishpan stored permanently in a cupboard. It keeps the counters clear and keeps me sane. It is amazing how peaceful one can feel when ones space is not marred by a last minute assortment of dishes.

Tip#3: I use a plastic bread storage container to wash my dishes. This is half the width of the work side of the sink, so it is easy to wash/rinse and put in drainer. I use an inside the sink drainer rack in the other sink. This keeps the counters clear.

Tip#4: Put dish detergent (a Green product) right onto a sponge that has one abrasive side and a smooth side. This way you will use less soap and it will have better grease cutting action.

Tip#5: When you can’t get to the dishes right away and to keep a small job small, (and you are going to store them in a dishpan in the oven remember?), rinse off the goop first. Within the dishpan I always keep a mason jar half full of water and detergent to soak cutlery. I dislike washing cutlery and hate those dried bits.

Tip# 6: Do small tidy jobs as you go? Wipe down the bathroom at the last minute with the hand towel and then throw it in the laundry. Replace with a clean towel. Recently, one of my chums gave me a 'mucho grande' fibre pad, made especially for bathroom sink and tub cleaning. It only needs cold water to do a fantastic job. I would fight to the death to keep this tool!

Tip# 7: Providing hand soap in a foam dispenser really helps to keep your vanity, clear and hygienic for public use. Of course McFrugal loves how it stretches out the cost. To one cup of distilled water add 1 Tbs of organic shower gel. My flavour of the month is ‘Satsuma’.

Tip# 8: I have a basket full of very small hand towels sitting right by the sink. There is a wicker hamper right below. This avoids the waste and cost of paper products and still creates hygiene for my clients. I made the cloths from a piece of flannel I bought on sale, and of course McFrugal loves this too.

Tip# 9: Keep cleaning supplies simple and natural. It is the attention, not the stuff that gets the job done. I have concerns about toxic floor products, especially in regard to pets and infants who are making direct contact. For cleaning wood, tile or vinyl floors I put a tablespoon of Murphy’s Oil Soap in a spray bottle. I spray 6 ft. square areas at a time, and immediately damp mop. The floors in all four rooms plus hallway takes me 10 minutes to clean - tops. I do a through job in the corners once a month.

Tip# 10: Dollar stores have synthetic fibre cleaning cloths designed for specific jobs that are fantastic. At a bargain shop I bought a large head mop with 2 different interchangeable (wet/dry) mop pads for under fourteen dollars. (This brilliant find sent McFrugal right to the local Bistro to celebrate with a Vanilla Soy Latte.)

Tip# 11: For glass and mirrors, use white vinegar/water in a spray bottle with just one drop of dish soap. For extra dirty glass, wash window first then use the vinegar spray and polish with newspaper or a special glass fibre cloth.

Tip# 12: Lingering odours, especially from cooking can really impact the home office. For general cleaning a drop or 2 of essential oils in your hot wash water with a drop or two of dish soap can really freshen up your space.

Tip# 13: I use a natural lime or orange room spray when I start my workday, before clients come through the door. In the summer I spray this in front of the fans so it spreads fast. I routinely spray this product into a paper lunch bag, twist the top closed and put this on a shelf in my clothes and laundry closets.

Tip# 14: To discourage mould and mildew, don’t leave wet stuff in a heap. I put wet washcloths and the like to soak with hot water and oxygen bleach. For a bacteria and mould free space, make your own cleaner. To one gallon of hot water add ½ cup of Borax Powder and 10-30 drops of Tea Tree Oil and 5 drops (or more) of dish soap. This can also be used for large areas by using a small hand held pressure sprayer, but the area must be thoroughly dried out after with a dehumidifier or heater.

Tip# 15: To make a general powder cleanser mix equal parts borax powder and baking soda in an airtight jar with shaker lid. Put a couple drops of essential oil on a little bit of paper towel or cloth and bury it in the powder mixture. The powder will take on the scent. This can be used to disinfect and scour sinks and tubs gently, as well as being used to deodorize and clean carpets. Sprinkle on your carpet and use a long handled brush or stiff broom to work into fibres. Wait 15 minutes or more and vacuum.

Tip# 16: Have a junk box/basket and throw in any out of place objects and sort them when you have a moment. Don’t let this build or you will go out of your mind!

Tip# 17: Store all your knickknacks and accent decor in a box and only bring out one special item at a time. This makes it easy to dust (with a mitt or cloth that has been lightly sprayed with water/Murphey's). This helps you create one beautiful focal point in a room at a time. This helps to keep your world open and clear. Cluttered space, cluttered mind.

Tip# 18: Floors are for walking. This means you never have to look down, and your space has a clear open feel. Hang things on the wall, invest in shelving units; create group seating to get away from the habit of pushing all furniture to the walls. Create walk isles and pathways where traffic naturally flows. All in all, do anything in your power to create some open clutter-free space.

Tip# 19: God invented shelves and baskets for a reason. This creates organization and decreases clutter. For me this equals a clean, stress free environment that can be tidy at a moments notice.

Perhaps I’ve been overly wordy; however it is my chance to do one better over 'an earth-shaking news report'. Your home should be an oasis for your soul, not your own private horror show.

p.s. Any reporters out there who want more earthshaking news? I am available for comment.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Body of Knowledge

For so many years we have been viewing our health in an odd way. Often what we think is going on is not necessarily how our body sees itself. We tend to under-estimate the subtle stresses from the past or present that affect our daily lives. Holistic Health is not about using new products in an old way. The ‘holistic model’ can provide a person with an integrative and whole way of looking at their health and their lives.

Over the last 28 years I have studied other modalities such as Iridology, Homeopathic Drainage, Flower Essence Therapy, One Brain Integration as well as Herbal and Nutritional therapies. I have explored Neuro-linguistic programming, Time Line Regression, Auricular Therapy, and Personality and Temperament Typing.

What I have realized is that our bodies have built in, natural self-regulating mechanisms. As long as our vitality is high and the body’s detoxification systems are functioning, all will be well in time. However if a person is fatigued; the toxic burdens are high or toxins are entrenched where the vital functions occur; it is hard for the body to turn around by itself. The body will however continue to invest its energy towards healing, even to the point of exhaustion.

It is important to understand the whole person in respect to healing and health. If a person is under stress emotionally, they may experience bio-chemical imbalances or physical imbalances or bio-electrical imbalances. If a person is under stress bio-electrically, it can affect them bio-chemically, emotionally, or physically. Understandably, a person who has been struggling with their physical health for a long time may also experience emotional stress. We are interesting creatures.

To be Holistic in approach and viewpoint, it is important to be able to view different aspects of the whole person. In this way ‘emotional work’, Flower Essence Therapy, or ‘energy balancing’ can have a huge impact on our well- being. We are Bio-chemical beings. Therefore it is important to support the body bio-chemically, and nutritionally as well.

Behavioral Kinesiology is a unique bio-electric system that allows us to dialogue with the huge amount of intimate knowledge that our body holds in its memory and awareness. It stands to reason that our bodies function with a sensory apparatus far beyond our conscious awareness. This dialogue with the human body also bypasses personal biases and preconceived notions held by either client or practitioner.

It is always important to address the root causes of imbalances. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and likewise, our health is restored and rebuilt over time, one success upon another.

Suggested Reading: Your Body Doesn’t Lie- John Diamond
The Field- Lynn McTaggart

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Treating the Skin Inside Out

As a child I had re-occuring tonsillitis. When I was in my very early teens, my skin started to break out badly. The skin on my face was always red with inflamed bumps. Underneath were these deep cysts. My misery continued for 12 years.

It was at this point, that in desperation, I went to a dermatologist who put me on a wide range antibiotic. I remained on this drug for five more years. Although my skin was problem-free, by this point I was having repeated yeast infections and digestive problems, and my cycle was wonky. I also had re-occurring rhinitis and sinusitis.

All in all, this-bucket-of-misery was my sorry self until the age of 34, when I had my wake-up call. An alternative health practitioner helped me identify that I had an intolerance to cow’s dairy (that was the cysts, tonsillitis, rhinitis and sinusitis), was allergic to oranges and the orange juice I drank by the gallon (the red inflamed bit was hives). My practitioner also determined that I had Candida, which is a systemic yeast infection that was made worse by the extended use of antibiotics. This explained the digestive issues, and wonky cycle. If I had only known…..

Often I see clients who complain about the condition of their skin, and many people mistakenly assume that they have a topical problem. When we understand the natural healing pathways of elimination in the body, we can see more clearly why the skin is showing the stress. Many skin conditions evolve from improper elimination. When the body gradually becomes overloaded with toxins, it attempts to eliminate them through eruptions through the skin.

Systemic problems that may show in the skin are: liver overload, poor kidney or bowel, elimination, allergies or even hormonal imbalances. Viral, bacterial, yeast, fungal, parasitical overgrowth and their generated wastes can affect the skin.

Small improvements in diet and lifestyle can begin remarkable changes to what we see in the mirror. A complementary health provider can help develop a specific, personal and customized detoxification plan. This would be a good first step towards improved health and appearance. I always encourage clients to look to the root of their problems, rather than just treat the symptoms.

I recommend the use of spring, distilled or filtered water such as reverse osmosis to cleanse the skin. Paper products such as facial tissue or even the use of ordinary tap water may be an irritant to dry, sensitive, or irritated skin. Don’t overlook laundry products being a source of irritation for the skin. You are making contact directly with your towels, sheets and pillow cases.

Many natural products help to protect and heal the skin. Although we have dramatically different skin, with different needs, both my 30 year old daughter and I use products from the same Organic Skin Care line. This company uses pectin and zinc cream bases; pure flowers, herbs and minerals. They use only food grade preservatives. I call it skin food.

I encourage my clients to choose a simple skin care program, using the purest natural ingredients. Keep your fingers out of the jar, and store products in the fridge. Like any good self care, the bottom line is ‘pick the best, keep it simple and stick to it’

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In A Tizzy

I remember when I was in a tizzy concerning my daughters health. I was beside myself. I thought 'tearing out your hair' was just an expression!

When my daughter was in pre-kindergarten, she just thrived. One year later, a month into kindergarten, everything fell apart. She was so exhausted. This usually very bright, animated and engaging child became dull and silent. When I realized that this was not just a passing thing, I got scared. My clinic doctor said that it was likely a lingering virus. I wasn’t satisfied with that answer. I looked further. We saw 13 different doctors within a 7 week period. I got thirteen different opinions which just added to my confusion and frustration. I thought I was going ‘out of my mind’.

In theory, I was in agreement with the whole ‘natural’ thing. Putting it into practice was harder as I didn’t have the family support. My (nurse/school teacher) family didn’t go too far 'outside the box'. In desperation, I decided try something completely different. I made an appointment with a woman who was an iridologist with a Herbal practice.

Things I found out:
My daughter was intolerant to cow’s dairy. She was allergic to wheat and had trouble digesting gluten (grain protein). (Lo-and- behold, me too! There went the chronic rhinitis and adult acne). Her intestinal system had been under stress for so long, she was mal-nourished. Checking back, I made the connection that her screaming with ear infections occurred after every scheduled vaccination.

I could have assumed that she was allergic to kindergarten, as this was the one thing that changed everything, but this was not so. Her little system was under heavy stress from the moment I introduced cow’s milk and gluten grains to her diet. I also found out that mornings at the baby-sitter’s were really upsetting to her. Having to proceed to School in the afternoon was just the ‘one more stress’ that broke the camel’s back.

Practical things were put into place. I deleted milk, cheese and all gluten grains. I added rice fibre to her diet (very gentle as she was a child), a Vitamins/Mineral supplement, introduced simple cleansing herbal formulas, added a digestive enzymes to each meal, and added liquid chlorophyll, (a gentle blood/liver/kidney cleanser that improves nutrition in the blood) to her drinking water. She was also transferred to the morning class, so that she would be able to nap and rest at home in the afternoon.

Parents are God-appointed health care providers. I encourage every parent to roll up their sleeves, and take back the responsibility, authority and privilege of this roll. Who else has the heart, the drive and the passion? Who knows your child as long or as well?

Seek out the health care ‘players’ that will help you put together the pieces of the puzzle. Be sure that they embrace the holistic model. Please don’t alienate your doctor, or expect them to embrace fully what you are doing, because at some point, in all likelihood you are going to be very, very grateful that they are on your team.

For me, the worst of things became the very best of things. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t fast. But at least it made sense! I had systematic tools in my hands with a clear goal and a purpose. I was also able to change worry into action. In retrospect - this adventure took me into a whole new area of study that totally changed me, my career and of course, opened the door to my daughter’s rich future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Internal Romance

When I put on make up, fuss a bit with my hair and dress up a little, people wonder if I am trying to attract a man. When I don’t get all gussied up, people wonder if I’m letting myself go.

The point is, what I do, I do for me. I have a love affair with life, and in this life I am the leading lady. Do I cast myself as the cleaning drudge or the hard done by divorcé, or even the less favoured sibling? Are any of these a true reflection of who I am?

I get to decide. They are only true if I say they are. I get to decide what my story is all about; is it a tragedy, a comedy, an adventure story? Ahead of me, all blank pages. The pages to the left have been written in already, but I am also editor of my story. I can go back with my magic red pen and change the flavour, point or purpose of the story. It’s my story.

The 'manure' for a good story is always just about the same. There are interesting characters that are facing times of testing, and rising to the challenges. As the story resolves we see our characters gaining wisdom, growing in perspective and maturing. Their experience has such potency when they are sharing their story with others.

So what’s with the romance thing? In my world, a story about a dog or a horse is a romance story. A story about children, or estranged families reconciling, or even stories about finding our ancestors. These things are the very essence of romance; anything about relationships, interactions, impressions, perceptions. Romance is who we are, where we are and how we are and with who.

Film Shot: Put a man standing alone looking out toward a mountain sunset and - Yup! – We’ve got ourselves a romance story.

A line in a Sarah McLaughlin song says “In a world created for romance”. Think Maui, The Grand Canyon, the Sahara or Niagara Falls! To me, this world that we live in, the backdrop to our lives, is created for romance.

What excites me in the very core of my being, is when my experience connects me with the Creator who created me. I understand more about Divine nature by what my own heart responds to: Romance, adventure, excitement, adversity, mystery; a story with great characters and timeless themes.

The stories that we love, and flock to the theatres to see, are romance stories through and through. The Titanic grossed millions. Think of some other timeless classics: Gone with the Wind, Gladiator, Old Yeller, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Lawrence of Arabia or Last of the Mohicans.

It is always marvellous to see ordinary people living extraordinary lives, or even people living ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. This world we are in is created for Romance.

Changing the Filters of Our Perception and the Yoga Connection

I remember reading a story about a woman who was walking outdoors with her two year old. She was totally absorbed with her own thoughts and was really not paying attention to anything else. She finally noticed that she was getting some very long and fixed stares from passers by. When she looked down she realized that her toddler had picked a lit cigarette up off the pavement and was happily smoking it as they walked along.

“Everything depends on your mental outlook…All of your experience is filtered through the creativity and appraisal of your mind. Happy and unhappy belong to your mind, not to the world.” _Yogi Bhajan

We don’t often consider the need to do ‘mental housecleaning’. Unless we can cut through the old clutter, how can we live in the present moment? How can we experience the fully human qualities of clarity, creativity, wisdom, joy, compassion and love on a day to day basis?

I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Michigan, personally experiencing a whole day of meditations designed to balance the mind, from a Kundalini Yoga perspective. Fascinating! Since then I have been studying a compilation of lectures given over a 10 year period by Yogi Bhajan, the teacher who brought Yoga from India to North America in the 1960’s. The subject of these talks is The Mind.

At one point he says “If you go along with your mental intrigues, you will not get spiritual and have worldly success or happiness. You cannot reach that happiness and contentment no matter how many sophisticated intrigues your mind creates.”

Busted! Oh the mind just loves those games, and will do almost anything to keep them going. He says “We go temporarily blind and temporarily deaf. We become temporarily unintelligent. We cut ourselves off from our reality and our creativity and live the non-reality of a dream world created with our fears.”

I think we all know what it is like to be all fixated about some thought, problem or tangle in our own minds until our heads feel ready to burst. Habitual toxic thinking evokes habitual toxic emotions. Often we don’t consider the bombardment of stress our physical body experiences day after day just coping with this. Most importantly, by living reactively to the artificial and stressful environment created by our minds, we lose all chance of happiness.

Healthy thoughts create a healthy experience. All of our life experience is filtered through our own minds.