I discuss here what I call ‘preventive challenges’, making changes in advance, before you fall apart, and for the purpose of improving health and preventing disease. Ease can be the outcome of these healthful choices, and disease is the crisis created from years of bad habits, poor choices, and a lack of understanding of your personal needs within nature’s cycles. Won’t you join me in this quest for health – keeping your body clean, available to your life, nourished and thankful for the changes you are able to make, either through crisis or, more wisely, prevention?
Keeping clean shouldn’t mean keeping you too far from dirt, the Earth – play in it, get in touch with where things come from and where they go. Be a human being, not just a human doing! Garden, shop, and prepare your meals with and for those you care about. If you need further tips on health and chemical-free shopping and eating, check out my book, The Staying Healthy Shopper’s Guide (Celestial Arts, 1999).
The simplest way to understand symptoms and disease integrates Western linear (commonsense) thinking, Chinese medicine and its philosophy of yin and yang, and the naturopathic approach to health and illness. Problems in the body (and mind) often arise from either deficiency, where we are not acquiring sufficient necessary nutrients to meet our needs and body functions, or congestion, where reduced eliminative functions combine with excessive intake and the repetitive over-consumption of food or non-food substances, such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, refined sugar and food chemicals, as well as driving more than walking, and talking more than listening. With yin and yang imbalances, it is not merely one or the other, but a mixture, meaning that most people have some deficiency along with their toxicity. Clearly, in these modern times of processed and treated foods, and the chemicals used in our environment, we all have exposures to these substances. This stresses our bodies. Food nutrient levels are also lower due to lack of soil minerals. Add to that most people’s poor food choices, and it’s easy to see why we just don’t obtain all the necessary nutrients our bodies need to function optimally – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Nutritional supplements can help in obtaining all these vital nutrients.
Naturopathically, deficiency and toxicity are the continuum of nutritional balance, or lack of balance. People who are deficient may experience such problems as fatigue, coldness, hair loss or dry skin, and the healing choice is to be nourished with wholesome foods to stimulate and support healing. However, congestive problems are more common in Western, industrialised civilisations, from acute colds and sinus or allergic problems to skin rashes and digestive disturbances. Likewise, many chronic diseases, such as arthritis and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, most often come from long-term health- destroying habits.
Of course, these many health problems are not only due to poor food choices. We are constantly dabbing, spraying, and imbibing or inhaling more chemicals from the air, water and foods, and from our vehicles and medications, than ever before. Many of our acute and chronic diseases and dilemmas result from the clogging of our tissues and tubes and the suffocating of our cells and vital energy to support our ability to make healthful choices. These medical problems may be prevented or treated at least in part, and often dramatically, by embarking on a process of cleansing and detoxification. The detoxification process is the ‘natural’ way to heal!
Dietary changes, including consumption of more fresh fruits, vegetables and water, while reducing animal fats and proteins and eliminating any damaging substance abuses, are the beginning of the rejuvenation process for the human body. This was discovered long ago and is still true today, even though medical science may make light of it in deference to the quick solution to major diseases. Western doctors are trained primarily to name the disease and then prescribe a bill, a pill, and a refill, which is often not even related to the needs of the body’s healing process – the true solution for disease.
I believe in and consider the cleansing/fasting/ detoxification process (they are different degrees of the same process of reduced toxin intake and enhanced toxin elimination) to be the missing link in Western nutrition and a key to the health and vitality of our civilisation.