blog · health

How Your Spiritual Health Affects Your Physical Health

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There is no doubt that the body, mind, and spirit are connected. The health of any one of these elements seems to affect the others.

Some research shows a connection between your beliefs and your sense of well being. Positive beliefs, comfort, and strength gained from religion, meditation, and prayer can contribute to well being. It may even promote healing. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better. It also may prevent some health problems and help you cope better with illness, stress, or death.

Beating Disease God’s Way

“And not only this, but we also glory in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

—Romans 5:3-5

“And hope does not disappoint…”

Why some people get sick and others don’t, I’ll never know. Be that as it may, I can’t let myself believe that God smites people with disease to teach them a lesson or to prepare them for some great act of service. If this were so, we’d have millions of health crusaders proclaiming their healing and giving God the glory all over the world. Instead, we unfortunately have millions of people who live a life of misery and die never having conquered their disease.

Maybe the reason so many people suffer from disease is because it’s virtually impossible to find pure air, food and water nowadays. Maybe it’s because we live in the most toxic environment the world has ever known, and it’s only by the grace of God that we are all not dead at this point. One thing I am quite certain about is that He has gifted our bodies with the remarkable ability to adapt to their surroundings and to heal themselves under the right conditions, which is why it’s so important that we do our part!

Inspired by Romans 5, my suggestion is that you approach your illness with your spiritual armor on, tightly knitting these words to your chest in the very order that the Bible lays them out:

  • Tribulation
  • Persevere
  • Character
  • Hope
  • Love

We must not confuse Paul’s message about boasting in our sufferings to be a badge of honor. Disease is not a burden to bear. The key is to fight through the tribulation, never giving up until you gain the victory!

You need to be prepared to persevere against all odds and never stop until you find the cure the works for you. This experience will develop in you a proven character that will serve to inspire everyone around you; a character defined by hope in God and in His undying care for you and for the love He has for all people.

Following these five steps is critical.

Faith. The first step is to whole-heartedly believe in God’s promises to be your provider, your healer, and your redeemer. Faith is the foundation in which your entire life is built upon. Make sure your foundation is built on solid rock, not sand!

Prayer. Not to state the obvious, but falling on your knees to seek God’s merciful hand is just what the doctor ordered. You’d be surprised to learn about the number of people who literally don’t think to pray for healing or to ask God for the formula to cure their body. Somehow, it either slips their mind or they don’t think God is concerned about their health condition. In addition to the many proven health benefits of prayer including reducing stress inflammation, trust me, it moves God’s heart. Prayer works.

Seek. The third step is to follow God’s leading and to find the solution. Easier said than done, right? I understand that this can be an arduous task for some people, but don’t despair. The key here is to test, research, study and test again. If something doesn’t settle right in your spirit, don’t do it. Barring rare emergencies, you always have time to make a sound decision so you’ll do well to follow your intuition.

Action. The fourth step is to follow the instructions God is giving you. At this point, you should have a better understanding of how the Spirit is directing you to beat this thing. Remember, “faith without deeds is dead,” so you have got to do your part!

Repeat. Make this your new anthem: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken. Healing is a journey for many of us so keep repeating Steps 1 – 4 until you get the victory!

To help you along your way, here are some affirmations that I recommend you write out and tape on your bathroom mirror. Read them every day until they take firm root into your spirit, and make them part of your daily meditation!

  1. I serve an awesome God who proclaims that He is my healer! (Exodus 15:26)
  2. I serve a faithful God who promises to never leave me nor forsake me! (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  3. I serve an unconditionally loving God who says He sees what I do and will heal me anyway! (Isaiah 57:18)
  4. I serve a merciful God who commits to taking sickness from among me! (Exodus 23:25)
  5. I serve a gracious God who promises to restore me to health and to heal my wounds! (Jeremiah 30:17)
  6. I am made in God’s image and He has given my body the ability to heal itself! (Genesis 1:27)
  7. I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7)
  8. I know that God will perfect that which concerns me to the end! (Psalm 138:8)

Last of all, don’t forget to go to others for prayer. “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” (James 5:14-15)

 

blog · health

Healing Autoimmune Disease Naturally

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Have you ever asked yourself, “What is autoimmune disease?” If so, you’re in good company because millions of people don’t know what autoimmune disorders are or what their root cause is.

Traditional diet and treatment for autoimmune disease usually centers on symptom relief and never addresses the main issue. If we don’t know what’s triggering the disease, we’ll never find a remedy! Thankfully, not all healthcare providers think this way as more doctors are learning to ask the important questions to find the root causes of our ailments.

The more we try to understand autoimmune disease, the more we find out we don’t know too much about it. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has stated, “The exact cause of autoimmune disorders is unknown,” and, “There is no known prevention for most autoimmune disorders.” Yet, one thing we do know is that natural treatments for autoimmune disease do exist and people need to be aware of them!

What is Autoimmune Disease and How It Works

When your immune system is operating correctly, it only strikes against foreign cells and menacing pathogens. But when an autoimmune reaction happens, your immune system thinks that your own cells are the threat. In addition to viruses, bacteria, toxins and cancer cells that are a regular threat, your white blood cells begin to target healthy, normal cells. If not resolved promptly, the immune system could operate in hyper-drive, which can cause immune fatigue and will ultimately lead to widespread problems.

Various reports claim that 80 – 100 diseases today fall into the what is autoimmune disease or autoimmune-related category. Some of the more common autoimmune diseases are:

  • Alopecia areata (hair loss)
  • Anemia
  • Celiac disease (gluten allergy)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • GI disorders (inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (a nervous system disorder)
  • Hashimotos
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Narcolepsy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Skin conditions (psoriasis and scleroderma)
  • Thyroid disorders (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
  • Type I diabetes

When the immune system is in high gear, medical doctors are trained to address autoimmune conditions by prescribing powerful immune suppressing drugs. Unfortunately, this not only neglects to treat the underlying reason, it puts patients at a greater danger of developing complications from common colds and flu.

Causes Of Autoimmune Disease

Although the answer to “what is autoimmune disease?” still befuddles many doctors, there has been some major advancement in understanding the true nature of this disease.

  • Genetics – Research suggests there is a close genetic relationship among autoimmune disease, which explains why multiple family members oftentimes suffer from the same disorder.
  • Chronic inflammation – According to Mark Hyman, MD, “Autoimmune conditions are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues.” When you think about how our culture’s diet is so rich in processed and inflammatory foods, it’s no wonder why 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disorders!
  • Vaccines – The June 15, 2014 report from the Department of Justice clearly shows that the flu vaccine is the most dangerous vaccine in America. Most of the injuries caused by the flu shot were linked to the autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome. Of the 78 cases awarded settlements for vaccine injuries, 55 were caused by the influenza vaccine, including one death.

Natural Treatment of Autoimmune Disease

If you or a loved-one have struggled to answer the question “What is autoimmune disease and how can I beat it?” I understand your frustration and please believe me when I say that there is hope. Research and personal testimonies have shown that, YES, autoimmune diseases can be prevented and treated effectively through natural remedies!

If you expect that you have one of the autoimmune disorders that I have listed above, you’ll want to get in touch with your natural healthcare provider immediately. During your visit, don’t forget to ask about getting tested for celiac disease, hidden food allergies and heavy metal toxicity. These are sure-fire signs that something more harmful may be going on and can help give you a clearer picture of what you can and cannot eat.

5 Steps to Stabilizing Your Immune System

You’ll also want to implement these 5 steps right away.

  1. Address hidden infections (bacterial, viral and fungal) with oregano essential oil or other potent natural remedies.
  2. Heal your gut and start taking a live probiotic supplement.
  3. Implement a core nutrition strategy including sufficient doses of fish oil, vitamin C, and vitamin D3.
  4. Engage in natural anti-inflammatory activities like a home fitness program.
  5. Counteract stress with deep relaxation methods such as prayer, deep breathing, yoga, and special essential oils.

At the end of the day, Functional Medicine experts like Mark Hyman, MD have shown time and time again that their patients respond extremely well to these 5 steps. Make it your aim to beat this thing and get your immune system on track today by taking simple steps to improve your lifestyle physically, mentally and emotionally!

blog · health

Tips To Avoid Gluten & Why Wheat Is Bad

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On restaurant menus all across the nation and in virtually every grocery store that you walk into, gluten-free foods are readily accessible, but ever since the groundbreaking New England Journal of Medicine review was published in 2002, the dangers of celiac disease and how to avoid gluten have rapidly become household concerns.

According to Mark Hyman, MD, the widespread effects of eating gluten are essentially without end, and most of the following diseases have been linked to eating wheat and gluten-containing foods:

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Canker sores
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Fatigue
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Most autoimmune diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Schizophrenia

It would be difficult to find any medical doctor or naturopath who doesn’t advise limiting gluten consumption, let alone leaving it out altogether from your meal plan. Gluten-awareness has been so successful that even people without gluten sensitivity avoid gluten as a preventative measure.

This is really interesting because humans have existed on wheat and gluten-containing grains since the beginning of recorded history, but these grains have all been but vilified by our nation today! Is gluten really bad for everyone even if you don’t suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease?

Why Wheat Really Is Bad

Desiccating is a common farming technique when wheat farmers literally drench their fields with the chemical Roundup several days before harvesting their crop. The reason this is so effective for wheat farmers is because it causes the wheat to go to seed before it dies, which boosts the crop unnaturally. At the same time this kills the competing rye grass, which takes care of a major weed problem that wheat farmers’ battle.

This practice is not licensed. Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. An interesting side note, malt barley which is made into beer, is not acceptable in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with pre-harvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the market place if it was sprayed with pre-harvest Roundup…but wheat is ok. This farming practice greatly concerns me and it should further concern consumers of wheat products.

Contrary to popular belief, wheat and gluten-containing products may not be bad in-and-of themselves. There is actually a growing body of evidence that suggests gluten isn’t unhealthy at all, and the reason people have reactions after consuming it is because of the dangerous chemicals used in conventional farming practices; namely, the use of Roundup. Some doctors believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the glyphosate (Roundup), not the GMO’s or gluten, that annihilates the gut flora and leads to chronic inflammation that has characterized gluten-related autoimmune diseases and other ailments.

There’s an extremely strong correlation between the use of Roundup on corn and soy over time and the increase in all these different diseases, and celiac disease is one of them. We certainly have seen an explosive appearance of celiac disease almost overnight in the last five to 10 years. Now you have a growing section of gluten-free choices of various food products. Lots of people are intolerant to gluten, of course. But people aren’t thinking, ‘Why is this now true? This didn’t use to be true’.

 

How To Avoid Gluten

So why avoid gluten? The bottom line is that even if gluten isn’t bad for us, we should stay away from most conventional grains because of the dangerous conventional farming techniques that use Roundup. With that said, it may seem overwhelming to do this because gluten is everywhere. In reality, it’s a lot of work at first, but after a while living gluten-free is quite easy.

1. Break Up With Wheat and All Her Cousins

First and foremost on your list is to stop eating all non-organic flours. This is one of the best steps you can take. When doing so, avoid these gluten-containing products:

  • Barley
  • Bulgar
  • Flour
  • Durum Flour
  • Triticale
  • Kamut
  • Oats (unless labeled as “gluten-free”)
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Graham
  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat

2. Stop Eating The Foods That Commonly Use Wheat

Next on your to-do list is to avoid these food items that regularly contain wheat:

  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Couscous
  • Crackers
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Muffins
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Pastries

3. Avoid Hidden Sources of Gluten

After you have tackled all obvious signs of wheat and gluten, it’s time to take it one step further and give all the hidden gluten sources the boot!

  • Broth and bouillon cubes
  • Bread crumbs and croutons
  • Candy
  • Fried foods
  • Imitation fish
  • Lunch meats  and hot dogs
  • Malt
  • Matzo
  • Modified food starch
  • Seasoned chips and other seasoned snack foods
  • Salad dressings
  • Self-basting turkey
  • Soy sauce
  • Seasoned rice and pasta mixes

4. Be Cautious When Eating Out

Keeping a gluten-free diet on the road isn’t as challenging as you may think. If you’re traveling or want to give yourself a break from making your meals, you can safely eat at many chain restaurants all across the nation because many have gluten-free menus. These restaurants are some of the best:

Chipotle – Chipotle is #1 because of their commitment to go GMO-free. You can eat in confidence knowing that your food is just as healthy as it is tasty! Simply stay away from the burritos and you can pretty much eat anything at Chipotle.

Panera Bread – It sounds crazy that a bakery has gluten-free options, but Panera has done a fantastic job catering to ALL of their customers. About 5 years ago, Panera was one of the first chain restaurants to offer their “Hidden Menu,” which is mostly gluten-free and includes some tasty options like:

  • Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey
  • Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak
  • Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad
  • Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad
  • Power Chicken Hummus Bowl
  • Power Steak Lettuce Wraps

Ruby Tuesday – Preparing one of the best, most affordable salad bars in the nation, Ruby Tuesday offers a nice selection of gluten-free options. They have put together the most extensive “Gluten Free Menu” on the market and includes a detailed list of every item on their menu for people allergic to eggs, fish, milk, MSG, peanut/tree nuts, shell fish, soy, and wheat/gluten.

5. Ways To Enjoy Great Gluten-Free Alternatives

At the end of the day, the safest food to eat is the food that YOU make, so include more homemade recipes into your daily health regimen.

On your quest to go gluten-free, the easiest step of all is to enjoy a great variety of tasty, healthy gluten-free recipes that you find on the Internet, and you can make them in the comfort of your own home. A little bit of planning goes a long way towards healthy meals.

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Dear Me, You’re Not Weak

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Dear Exhausted and Weak Me,

You’ve had a bit of a setback, and the progress you thought you were making, has now been undone, but please don’t ever call your body weak again. It had to fight so much for so long, that it’s one of the strongest bodies you’ll ever meet. It had to carry so much and it fought so hard for you. Never forget that progress is a slow process.

Please don’t ever feel guilty again of not being the perfect friend, wife, sister, or daughter. You are not your disease even though you feel that is all you are. You’ve tried to keep up with life, but in the end, you lost. You fought an incredible battle. But a setback is just a set-up for a comeback. And one day, you will be winning again. You’ll proudly show your scars and scream “I’ve survived”.

Please don’t ever feel ashamed again, for not remembering things and asking questions when you should already know the answers. Memory loss is part of the disease, and some day your brain will function properly again. Remember that the people who love you, don’t blame you. So why blame yourself?

Don’t compare yourself to the girls who post pictures with the cutest outfits, on sunny vacations and living life. When these girls wore dresses and high heels, you wore pajamas and a robe every day of the week. And you know what? That is okay. Really, it is. Your time will come too, and then you’ll feel confident and maybe even pretty. And you’ll buy all the dresses and shoes you can dream of.

Don’t accuse yourself of being difficult to love. Don’t you dare tell yourself that ever again. There is so much to love about you. When you feel hate for yourself, you are actually hating the disease. But there is more to you than disease. You are giving, generous and have a big heart. Even with this debilitating disease and unreal medical bills, you still support people you love and give a lot to your family while trying to never ask for anything. Your soul is pure and your intentions are always good. Don’t blame yourself for the negative thoughts, but learn to understand that they are a part of this process. There will be a day when you will be able to tell your mind to shut up when the bad thoughts come again. You will beat this negativity. Yes, you will.

Don’t hate yourself. Stop hating your body. Your legs carried you through the hardest parts of your life. Your arms are strong, yet they are also soft and can be used to cuddle and hold the ones you love. When you’re finally able to work again, it will feel like the biggest victory you’ll ever know. I promise you that if you learn to appreciate yourself, your body will glow again. The scars will be evidence that you have won the fight. Celebrate and look toward the future and be thankful.

Please forgive your former friends for not being able to understand what it really means to be sick. They simply cannot empathize with you, and their lack of trying doesn’t mean they are bad people. It just means that life got in the way. If you allow it, life will reward you with new people who will see the good in you when you feel lost.

Please get rid of the idea that you can never thank your loved ones and friends enough for putting up with you. It’s not necessary to give them money or gifts. Remember that they support you because they choose to. Cherish them, and pay them back with love and unconditional friendship, because that is more than enough.

This is not your fault. Disease is not your fault. But this happened to you, and you’ve lost control over your body and life. Stop being impatient, pat yourself on the back and remember how far you have come. You can do this. Heck yes, you can.

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In Sickness And In Health, Loving Your Spouse Through Illness

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Many people suffer from chronic illness, some visible and some not. As one who suffers from several chronic illnesses, I can honestly tell you it is difficult to be married to me. Some days are good, some are really good. Some days are bad . . . and others even worse. You never know how you’re going to feel from day to day, or even hour to hour.

Being married to a person with a chronic illness is not much fun. It’s really taking the “in sickness and health” vow to the extreme. I’m not trying to compare my chronic illnesses, which are minor in the grand scheme of things, to a spouse who has lived through ALS or cancer with their husband or wife, but there are days I feel like my husband got the raw end of the deal.

Did he really mean to sign up for this?

Is he sure he wants to stick around and deal with this the rest of our lives?

He assures me he did and that he’s not going any where, but I still can’t help but wonder what his life must be like from day to day. Never knowing what “condition” I will be in by the time he comes home from work. Never knowing whether or not this is the moment I’ll have to go to the hospital. It’s not easy being married to me. These few reminders can help anyone going through difficult times.

  1. PRAY. Pray for your spouse and for your marriage. A chronic illness is something that will stretch the limits of your patience and test the boundaries of your love. It isn’t easy and it won’t just “go away,” so you need to pray. Pray for your spouse as they maneuver the difficulties of the illness, and pray that you will know just how to love them through it all.
  2. Communication is KEY. This goes for marriage in general, but especially when the spouse has a chronic illness. Their level of activity can vary greatly from day to day. Their level of comfort in those activities will vary greatly as well. Talk about EVERYTHING. This is the most important thing I can tell you. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary. But running from problems because they’re hard to talk about will only strain your relationship and tear you apart.
  3. It’s not their fault. Although you may tell yourself this, know that it’s not because of anything they did. They didn’t wish this illness on themselves and wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. It stinks. Know that they want to feel better. They want to be involved. They want to be active; they just can’t some days.
  4. Don’t be offended. Some days will just be more than they can handle, and the best thing they can do is say no. They still love you and want more than anything to be with you, their family and friends – but sometimes it is better they stay home and rest. Don’t take it personally; it isn’t you – really.
  5. Don’t pressure them. Your wanting them to feel better won’t make them better. And just because they want to feel better won’t make it happen, either. If they say they’re not up for a day trip, don’t make them feel bad for not going. If they say they can’t take the trip, don’t make them feel worse for the change in plans. They are already beating themselves up about it. Know that when they feel better, they will make it happen.
  6. Be patient. There will be days, and sometimes weeks (or months), when they will feel sick or just completely out of energy. They will continue to try and keep up for someone else’s sake or to keep up appearances or whatever other reason they can think of, but they will eventually hit a wall. And when they do, they will go down hard. Be patient with them as they recover. Be patient with them as they find a “new normal” with this illness and balancing their other “duties” as wife and/or mom, or husband and/or dad. It isn’t easy for them to admit defeat.
  7. Don’t ignore their issue. As with anything else, ignoring their issues will not make them disappear. In fact, ignoring them will likely lead to them shutting down and/or depression. And that is a scary, slippery slope. They likely suffer from bouts of depression when flare-ups occur anyway, so don’t ignore them when they happen.

Do you or your spouse live with a chronic illness? What ways have you found to love them through the difficult times?