Detoxing – the path from dis-ease to vitality

In this post I am going to outline the whole enchilada as I know it, that is – how to get from poor health back to natural vitality, and the various states or stages involved – and in subsequent posts get into the details. Its been a long time since I was quite ill, deeply troubled, numbed, yet I am still working to stay as far away from that state as possible and closer to being fully acutely alive. Please do not consider anything I post here to be true. In the long honored tradition of monks and yogis, I invite you to find out if any of this is true for you.

a) ‘I’ am not my body
b) unaccountable happiness, clarity, connectedness
c) we are what we eat
d) 6 week detox inclusions and exclusions
e) 6 week detox tools
f) super foods
g) freedom and suffering
h) niyamas and mindfulness
i) ‘I’ am not my mind
j) the extraordinary miracle of this time, this place, this body
k) convergence
l) making a difference: vegetarianism and being vegan
m) the basics: what’s needed and not needed
n) fluid body vs blocked body
o) liver support
p) wheat and inflammation and poor health
q) caffeine sugar alcohol drugs
r) pH balance
s) let thy food be thy medicine – carcass versus live plant food
t) allergies, addictions & the anti-inflammatory diet
u) signals from the body
v) practicing yoga – body teaches mind
w) gentle yoga – traveling inwards
x) following one’s ‘destiny’ or path, and observing the journey
y) yoga, karma, imprints, past lives, incompletions
z) no boundaries, all is one

 

Posted in addictions, detox, Gluten free, Householders guide, Juicing, pH balance, Practising Yoga, Restoring health, super foods, VEGAN, Vitality and love, Wheat free, YOGA | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Diet, activity, love, relaxation

Dean Ornish is the one who gets credit for this:  he’s been a hero of mine for years, ever since I had to start thinking about heart disease. It runs in the family and I lost my mother earlier than I wanted due to heart disease.

Dean Ornish says eat healthy, be physically active, have love and support in your life, and learn to (destress) relax.

I have to say I agree with all of these points – I recommend gentle yoga if you want an integrative and wholistic approach to healing yourself. Go to the most ‘down to earth’ yoga class you can find, i.e. the one they offer at the local ‘Y” and do it with a friend or loved one. Try the gentle or restorative class, not the advanced classes. Beginners/restorative/gentle yoga is mostly stretching the body and connecting with the body. Usually sweet, gentle people attend these classes, and they are usually taught by people who are devoted to healing.

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Wheat, inflammation and the links to poor constitutional health

This is a complex topic for which there is a great deal of sometimes contradictory research.

However, the easiest approach to seeing if wheat is causing an inflammatory response in your body is to quit eating wheat for 1-2 weeks. It’s not as hard as it sounds – there are gluten free replacements for almost any food item in a typical diet. Most people seem to notice a change in a condition that is troublesome right away. For me it was the almost debilitating hip and knee pain that would come after a short time sitting in the car. I would be limping after a 5 minute drive. When I quit wheat that cleared up almost immediately. (Dairy -cow’s milk- products are also way up there in terms of inflammatory effects on the body.)

I have been motivated over the last 10 years to heal myself without medication, and the only other option has been through diet. So far so good, asthma is gone, (I finally put together the chronic allergic inflammation and severe asthma) chronic fatigue is 90% reduced, fibromyalgia is gone, and inflammation is overall 80-90% reduced. Energy levels are up and depression/mental fog is also gone. My commitment has been a promise I made to my daughters to live until 100. I am my word, so I work hard to make sure this is how it goes.

Personally I found that I had to try several approaches to find what worked for my body.  When I quit eating wheat, and went gluten free, the sometimes severe joint pain I was experiencing stopped, and the chronic fatigue lifted slowly over time. This was also with the help of thyroid support herbals supplements. I used Arjuna, Ashwaganda (India) and Schishandra (China) together to good effect.  I later went on to quit carbs altogether and that is when/how the fibromyalgia I have been experiencing since 2008 went away, and the severe bloating in my belly reduced by about 80%. I believe coffee irritation is causing the remaining inflammation, but I haven’t quit coffee yet!

I will add some links to some of the notable sources on the following topics:

The KETO diet approach to a food based anti-inflamatory diet.

The KETO diet was originally used for children with epilepsy who’s epilepsy was not responding to drugs. Dr. Berg on that link on sources of inflammation; he shares a lot of his knowledge of bio-chemistry/physiology, nutrition science, for anyone who is looking to figure out what is going on in their own body and address it through diet. He also sells various supplements, and my link to his video is not an endorsement of his products.

To see a documentary on the effectiveness of the KETO approach to reducing epilepsy, and for adults, improving everything from stage 4 cancer to severe heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimers, watch The Magic Pill. (may be on youtube also streaming on Netflix Spring 2019).

The role of wheat on inflammation and our body and brain health. 

The author is Dr William Davis, of the book series that started with Wheat Belly

Dr Weil on the role of food triggered inflammation in poor health. 

Dr. Andrew Weil, Columbia University, was one of the early adopters of the viewpoint that chronic inflammation is the source of poor health and diet is the key to regaining good health. He has multiple resources on how to improve one’s health through diet, specifically addressing the role of inflammation and discussing anti-inflammatory diets. Note: Dr. Weil includes carbohydrates as a major source of calories and nutrition in his anti-inflammatory diet. This runs counter to the other trends on eating for wellness, specifically the low carbohydrate KETO diet approach.

The key is finding what works and doesn’t work for your own body, and connecting with your own commitment to good health.

 

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Pilgrimage, devotion – Shiva Sahasranama Mantra

I love devotion, not because I am religious, but because devotion reflects depth, unwavering strength of purpose, dedication, and purity of intention. These qualities are rare, and pull me in their direction.

The sound quality and images lead me to believe this was recorded in a cave during his pilgrimage to mount Kailash. It has always sounded to me as if there are two voices. If not, that then a one frame delay on the second channel creates that lovely echo/second voice.

To find and follow the verses chanted in this extra-ordinary video (audio really, video is secondary) scroll way down the page to where the video is posted, begin looking in the text after verse 25, before it restarts at 1, at 2nd occurrence of OM, written above the video frame. At 48 seconds in, the second OM.

To go deeper, forget all that and listen with eyes closed.

 

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Niyamas and Mindfulness

There is a lot of talk of practicing mindfulness; being present to who you are with, or what you are doing, and observing the self. It is a good practice. I for one spent many years at least semi-asleep, unaware that my behaviors were not by choice but automatic. Certain things automatically made me unhappy or angry or resentful, and bad behaviors followed. With some work I became more self aware, and more able to choose what frame of mind/behavior I will have, especially when confronted with events or people who create disturbance.

For me the key to doing this was following the Niyamas. These are the practices of daily living, and close variations on these are found in all the Holy books, as a prescriptive guide on how to live life. An interpretive and abridged short the list of Niyamas from the Hindu tradition follows here:

Clearness of mind, speech and body. [Attained through practice of Ahimsa; doing no harm to others through action or thoughts, and being truthful]
Contentment, acceptance of oneself and others
Perseverance in one’s purpose – practiced with discipline and austerity
Self reflection for the purpose of self knowledge
Devotion or practice of worship for connection to the eternal consciousness

For me the pathway to mindfulness was practicing these Niyamas, and cleaning up my behaviors within my family and at work. I studied the Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras with my yoga teacher Charat, and practiced meditation, fasting, pranayam, bhajan, and while I initially started to practice yoga for the purpose of my health and simple peace of mind, I realized along the way there was much more to learn/practice.

These days my practice is limited, focused mostly on the householder duties or taking care of family and home with gratitude and steadiness. Nonetheless, I am never bored. What I have found is that mindfulness in every task, no matter how ‘small’ or ‘mundane’, is a practice in itself, and has developed my ability to be (content) with what is and what is not, to be able to practice non-attachment, (liberated from those strong feelings of needing control in my case), and continue to be present or mindful almost all the time. For me the gift of presence and mindfulness is having a deep appreciation of life and the people in it. Love and connection to others is incredibly present.

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Convergence

Convergence is the extra-ordinary meeting of time, place, purpose, accident, people and so on at one point (in time, in meaning, in heart beats, in the breath). It’s when everything in life suddenly seems to be standing together at the junction in the path. Its when life shows up. It is extra-ordinary in that something about it makes (me) notice. Whereas most of the time life just flows by.

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Compassion

Practicing compassion is a sure path to peace of mind. whether it is for our loved ones who can drive us mad when they do not do as we think they should do, or for the angry driver, who is so unhappy they would endanger others without a thought to the harm they may cause. Compassion for them will allow us to stay calm and undisturbed. Compassion for the suffering of others and practicing ahimsa, or non-violence, towards any other living being, will lead to peace on a grand scale.

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Fluid body vs blocked body

Without water things do not flow. In the aryuvedic view of the body there are points in the body through which ‘prana’ or life energy flows, like water. The practice of ‘pranayam’ is breathing to stimulate this energy. Sound vibrations like the sound of ‘Om’  are also used to unblock areas in the body where energy is not moving through. As I go thru my life the impact of harsh events, loss, anger, injury, these all leave my energy channels blocked. Some of these spent years in my body before they got worked out/released. Body work, and yoga asanas, help to open those channels. Water is also key, as it literally helps to move the blood and oxygen around my body. In one deep meditation with my legs locked, asleep (and burning) I could feel (and hear) my heart beat and circulation, flowing like the ocean, with a sound like the waves.

And if the body is not well the mind cannot be well.

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Unaccountable happiness, clarity, connectedness

Unaccountable happiness comes from many practices; for me it comes mostly from the practice of surrender (and acceptance) and non-attachment. I first learnt what it meant for me to surrender during yoga classes with Charat in Singapore. As he instructed us in class, he would ask us to surrender, to the pose, to the body, and to the divine spirit. My mother was ill and was not going to be with us for long. Finding my way to allow the grief to be there, to accept her imminent death and not resist it’s inevitability; this was a huge surrender for me. It did not create unaccountable happiness for me in that moment – but a month later when I travelled all the way back from Singapore to the US to be by her bedside for her last few days, I was able to experience being with her as powerfully in her death as in her life, and moreover, be witness to the miracles in my own family that happened in the space of her passing. As I drove about the city where she had been hospitalized during her last travels, I was able to listen to music, feeling unaccountably happy, while at the same moment, profoundly saddened. That was the first time I noticed this kind of happiness. It could be called something else as well – it could be called ‘fully present and present for life itself’. It is an experience of fullness, being acutely present to the external and physical realm of the world, where everything in life is fully accepted as it is, no matter how things are.

Since then there have been countless moments of unaccountable happiness, and there had been before that too – the difference was in the consciousness of the moment. Its as if the heart, the body and the mind all surge at once, with the experience of love, contentment, some call it bliss… when this happens I take a moment to acknowledge it – that everything is so perfect (perfectly imperfect), that I am so fortunate to be alive and experience it this way. Then I let the moment pass and move on, with the practice of non-attachment, no matter whether the attachment is to something ‘good’, or ‘bad’.

Clarity Purification of your body, your family/social/business relations, and of your thoughts and spoken conversation can lead to elevated states of clarity as the background noises will quiet, worry and compulsion will cease. The mind, when quiet, can perceive clarity.

Clarity seems to have its degrees and its always already there. I would describe it as a range from luminosity to crystalline white light. For me, clarity comes with the absence of mental noise, background concerns and worries, or any compulsive need to take action of any kind. With those things absent, there is a clarity of Being, even quietness in the body, that allows the ‘vision’ of the minds eye to become clearer. There is less emotion and a different quality to perception. It is the condition that allows heightened perception. The ‘luminosity’ is akin to feeling someones energetic vibrations. Some people, especially healers, are able to see or feel that energy very acutely and find the places where there are interruptions or differences in that energy. There is a clarity of perception that goes beyond our typical mental checklist of what we observe, for example, when we are interacting with someone else. It’s like being tuned in enough in a conversation that you address the unspoken questions as you speak, because clarity has them at the surface.

At the other end of the spectrum is the intense vibration of white light.  It is less mysterious than it seems, white light contains all the color vibrations, and when there is sunlight, it is always there. If you practice fasting, prayer, meditation, breath exercises etc. it is possible to perceive and experience the color vibrations in ways that are extra-ordinary. You may experience crystalline white light, where as you look through everything is the same except that it is appears as if through a sharp crystal clarity, and it can occur as something that is more than just visual.

Connectedness It is an experience that words are truly inadequate to describe.

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Six week detox tools

BODY FUNCTIONS

A practice from the Aryuvedic tradition; consider that our body has three main functions – producing energy to run on, healing itself and growth/regeneration and eliminating waste and toxins from the body. It is said that between the hours of 4am and noon the body is cleansing itself – so many yogis will have only lemon or lime water and nothing else until early afternoon when the first and sometimes only meal is taken. From noon until 8pm is considered to be time to take in food and do things that generate energy for the body, that may include eating, napping, taking sun and fresh air, exercising, and for a practicing yogi it would include a yoga poses or ‘asanas’, and pranayam, or breath exercises. It is recommended that you take your fresh vegetable juices in the late afternoon or early evening as they will then be bioavailable for the healing and regeneration process during the night. From 8pm until 4am the next morning nothing should be eaten so the body does not have to deal with heavy waste elimination processing in the body, and the body and mind should be quiet and resting, that is: no movies or news , early to bed, rising early. Observing these three practices with provide a framework within which to practice a better diet, and a healthier lifestyle.

BODY CLEANSING

Adding a favorite cleansing tea to your daily routine is an easy path to being on a constant detox. Ginger tea is probably one of the most effective. Boil sliced ginger in a pot for about 15 fifteen minutes, drink it hot or let it cool. Dilute as necessary. Whether you use ginger tea or another of your own favorites, cinnamon is also very good, mint is good, the constant ‘washing’ of the internal organs with a cleansing tea will help wash out the toxins that begin to release from your cells. Note: when detoxing is approached in a hurry the risk is that too many toxins get released into the bloodstream at one time. For example if you start with a water fast right away. This places a heavy load on the liver and kidney, causes headaches and ill feelings, and discourages the detox process.

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We are what we eat

When I finally started cleaning up my diet, figuring out what foods were allergens to me, what caused asthma or inflammation in my system – my body was able to communicate to my brain better about what I was eating. Or, my brain was able to get the message better. The messages began to be something like: ‘oh wow, that made me feel really good!!!!’, or ‘geez, you’re killing me here.’

I know it sounds silly – but truly I began to tell the difference between live and cooked foods and was able to feel the difference in energy I would have after having one over the other.

So dead foods, even if they were vegetarian, or vegan, were still energy suckers, live foods were always a source of energy. So that is the bottom line for me – if I really need energy I eat live foods, and way less of it – because it provides so much fuel to the body. If I eat dead foods, I feel, well, less alive…

From another perspective – if one believes we take in the matter we eat into our body at a cellular level then well – as they say – who needs embalming? We are already preserved, polluted, chemicalized, processed, genetically modified, growth hormonized, etc., etc. Not to mention, as Maya Tiwari would say – we consume the anxiety, grief and fear of the animals that are slaughtered for our consumption.

One thing to keep in mind as well is that the body is a highly functioning machine, but if it is constantly dealing with our excesses of bad foods, we are wearing out the machine on waste processing, reducing the time for other higher functions like healing, regeneration and growth.

And, connected to this, we are sometimes HOW we eat. Distracted, absent, over consuming gluttons…I certainly was and still can be. Being fully present for the food we eat seems to go a long way towards having it provide nutrition, curbing the tendency towards overeating, and having the food choices be better.

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