Let it

Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”
Harvey MacKay

Monday, October 8, 2012

Body and Soul

The Soul or Spirit of a person is their core, their very being. I believe this fully, but I also believe that this truth is often used to discount our immensely important connections with our bodies. Often the downplay comes in an attempt to be sensitive to negative body images and frustrations- our own, or those of others. I need to express before I delve into this subject, that I respect and honor every body, regardless of shape, size, or ability. It's functions are magnificent, it's intricacies awe-inspiring. We need to honor the way that our bodies were created and evolved to function.
When we respect the ins and outs of our bodies, and do all we can to facilitate proper function, we cannot help but improve every aspect of our lives.
I have had my own past struggles. Acne, obesity, hormone imbalance, depression, and injury to name a few. I was raised in a very health conscious manner, and after a dark and confusing time in my life, sought to return to the relative health I'd enjoyed growing up. My life so far, like many of those seeking health, has been a roller coaster. Highs of "I think I've got it!" give way to lows of, "I don't even care anymore." And despite efforts and following the marketed advice, we give in to the sad little voice that says, "It must just be me." Sadly, many never see the variables involved- the way our environment has been tampered with, the profit-driven bad science that has been pushed into our consciousness. For far too many, the game has been rigged, and we haven't a chance of winning with the rules we've been given. I've come to believe through my own experience, that our physical health and well being is a powerful fulcrum in the balance we all strive for. Unfortunately, with so many variables thrown in, this means far too many of us are in complete disarray on a daily basis. I'd like to share a few points that have helped me immensely in making sense of it all. (Please keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, nor am I intending to dole out medical advice, these are based on my personal research and experience.)
1- What you eat effects your hormone production.
Hormones are how our body communicates with itself. You screw with hormone production, you screw with everything. Did you know that inadequate saturated fat and cholesterol intake impairs your body's ability to produce hormones? WHAT?? Yep. I just said that. Fats and proteins from healthy, happy animals are a must for the healthiest me. Our "fat-free" revolution has messed us up big time. And our obsession with poly-unsaturated fatty acids (vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil... notice the only oil that can come from these has to be chemically extracted?) has our essential fatty acid balances way out of whack. What's this mean? Depression, feminine issues or low testosterone, weight gain and/or hard loss, skin issues... and much, much more! There are plenty of other food substances that can knock your hormone production out of whack, including too much soy consumption, GMO foods, and excess sugar/carbohydrate intake (this includes anything that turns into sugar in your blood stream like grains and starches). The bulk of our food should be unprocessed- Veggies, fruits, meats, eggs, fish and nuts.
2- Become a food snob.
Quality food matters. Check your labels. I go organic whenever possible. I try to get my meat and eggs pasture fed and free range. I get my fish wild caught. This is the best way to keep my toxic load low. I'm not perfect at this, but every little bit helps! If I am going to splurge once in a while, (which I highly encourage) I make my chocolate high quality and dark, and my ice cream of whole, high quality ingredients.
3- It's not just what we eat. Our skin is one of our largest and most absorbent organs. The shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup, etc that we use is often laden with petrochemicals, xenoestrins and cancer causing agents. I discovered my own significant sensitivity to parabens in particular when my periods became horribly heavy and irregular, my weight hit an all time high, and I just felt beaten all of the time. Consider simplifying your skin and body care and going with more natural alternatives.
4- I love essential oils and plant medicine.
If you aren't familiar with them, I suggest you become so. Essential oils are gentle, effective, and have few side effects. I use them daily. They have the power to cleanse, support the immune system, alkalize the blood, aid in hormone balance, and fight the bad bugs without taking out the good ones. Get educated and become your own first defense against illness.
5- There is such thing as too much exercise.
If you are killing your self for an hour or more every day, in my opinion, you're doing it wrong. As they say, "abs are born in the kitchen". Fuel matters, and exercise should be enhancement to health, not the driving force. I had my phase of eating vegetarian and waking up early to beat myself up for over an hour every day. Did I lose weight? Yes. Was it sustainable? No. Was I a hormonal and exhausted basketcase? You betcha. I think that rest is just as important as movement. I am in nowise meaning to insinuate that I don't advocate exercise. I do!! And how!! But I think getting more bang for your buck so that you have time to sleep, rest, play and live is a smarter way to go about it than hitting the treadmill and hating it. For me, once I got my food in order, the exercise thing fell into place. I have enough energy that I need to move and I love it! I trail run a few miles once a week, I do yoga, I do High Intensity Interval Training or lift heavy things once a week, and I play a lot- climb a rock, try a balance pose, chase some kids (preferably ones who know and trust me). Short and intense is what my body loves. I also let my body rest. I'm a big fan of Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint and Primal Blueprint Fitness. You can subscribe to the free newsletter and download the free e-book at Mark's Daily Apple.
6- You have to be able to live this way and love it. If you are on a "program" and counting down the days, it's almost a given that you won't stick with it. Whatever healthy lifestyle you choose to live, it needs to be one you love, that allows you to live. This means habits need to be consciously and mindfully changed so that you are working with your body, not against it.
Our body chemistry is intricately interlaced with our emotions and thus our spirituality. To master the heavenly, we must honor and respect the earthly.

2 comments:

  1. i love this! and i feel really good about using natural shampoo (baking soda mixed with water), conditioner (lemon juice mixed with water), body scrub (brown sugar, honey, olive oil) and deodorant (coconut oil, corn starch, and baking soda). oh, and lotion (coconut oil). (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eden! Those are some great tips!

      Delete