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Fasting is part of the human existence for thousands of years. As you will learn in this article, not only is it safe, it has numerous health benefits.
What is fasting?
There are many ways people approach a fast. It is simply a period of not eating. It may be done weekly until you reach your health targets, seasonally, or a couple times a year. Water intake is necessary during periods of fasts, as our bodies can do without calories, but not without water. Many choose to fast overnight (most common) from dinner to breakfast, or 7pm to 7am – a 12 hour fast. Then “break-fast” is just that, it breaks the fast. Recently it has gained more popularity and there are different lengths of fasts.
- intermittent fast, lasting 12-20 hours
- 24 hour fasts
- 36 hour fasts
- extended fasts
Sometimes on the intermittent fasts, people will have a coffee or tea and water while they are not eating. If you truly wish to detoxify, caffeine free is the way to go. So herbs in water or lemon certainly is less stimulating. For others they choose to incorporate bone broth, which really has proteins and fats in it, but can be suitable for introductory fasting and digestive rest.
Are there benefits to fasting?
- weight loss
- reset insulin sensitivity
- digestive rest
- more powerful than low carb, ketogenic diets alone
- protects from illness and maintains wellness
- provides spiritual cleansing or purification
- no cooking, cleaning, or grocery shopping!
- mental clarity
- overcome stubborn weight plateaus
Will I get hungry?
Hunger may set in, same as if you were at work and didn’t get a break and had to wait to eat, same experience – you push it through till it’s time to eat. But you should never feel nauseated, ill, dizzy or faint. If you do really feel the intense need to eat, it’s easy – you eat. Then you could try the fasting again next week.
Fasting will switch you body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. If your body is primed to burn carbs, you will need to get over the initial bout of strong carb cravings before the fat burning kicks in.
What do I eat when I am not fasting?
What you eat when you are not fasting depends on the reasons for your fast. If you are trying to loose weight or reset your insulin sensitivity, then a ketogenic diet may be best. For those on a digestive fast, re-introduce with easy to digest and simple combinations of foods. A spiritual fast? Then you likely just go back to your regular way of healthy eating. Regardless, you do no want to eat to make up for the time you fasted: that’s counterproductive. If you are doing one or two 24 hours fasts per week (having a couple one meal a day kind of routine), then when you are eating regular on the other days, eat the most healthy vibrant life-filled food that you can. Avoid things that are packaged or processed to get the most nutrition you can on the days you eat.
When is fasting not safe?
Fasting is not safe for the following people:
- children aged 18 or under
- thin, weak or feeble
- nutritionally deficit
Fasting needs to be medically monitored for the following people:
- those with gout
- those taking medications
- if you have type 1 or 2 diabetes
- those with gastro reflux disease
For questions or advice on what kind or whether fasting is right for you, book an appointment to review with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. (519) 826-7973.
Fun Jason. 2016. The complete guide to fasting. Victory Belt Publishing. Las Vegas.
Kale and collard greens, teff and eggs pack a punch of nutrition to start your day.
With all the rainy weather this summer, there is an upside – lots of dark leafy greens. My son is doing his masters in agriculture at Guelph and his hobby garden in our back yard is my paradise.
Dino (laminate) kale, red kale and curly kale, swiss chard and beet greens deck my plate at least three times a day, in some way.
This morning I though maybe I’d steam some greens and have them with my eggs, but I also really feel like have a warm waffle with a little maple syrup. Ideas merged and here is the recipe. It actually tastes pretty good (!), even if the waffles do look green.
Vitamix or blender – blend the following on high for about 2 minutes:
1c almond milk
1 c avocado oil
2c kale/collards/beet greens
In a medium mixing bowl combine well the dry ingredients:
1 cup teff grain
1/2c arrowroot flour
1c quinoa flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
1tsp baking soda
Pour wet with dry and stir well. Heat up waffle grill and oil it up (I used olive oil).
Pour some batter on and bake until waffles are crispy and slight brown on the outside.
Eat right away with a little maple syrup, or some fresh berries.
Sometimes I will mix a cup of thawed frozen blueberries with 1tbsp or two of chia seeds and a 1/2c hot water and stir. Let it sit for a few minutes to gel up and it makes a lovely sugar free topping.
Store extra waffles in glass container in fridge or freezer for easy toaster warm up on another morning.
Teff is high in iron and calcium, dark leafy greens have iron, calcium and a ton of phytonutrients, almond milk has added calcium, eggs have B12 and protein (as does the quinoa flour).
From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M, Brown, ND.
There is evidence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity in those suffering with fibromyalgia.
Gluten Free Diet Part of Fibromyalgia Treatment
Research shows those patients with fibromyalgia have remarkable improvement when on a gluten free diet. Other interventions can be additionally helpful, such as a lactose free diet and some basic supplementation to help correct any nutritional deficiencies that are likely due to poor absorption.
How does it make a difference?
Patients experienced reduced gastrointestinal inflammation, and one or more of the following improvements: remission of FM pain criteria, return to work, return to normal life as judged by the patient, or opioid discontinuation.
How to test?
This study used before and after criteria as well as a duodenal (part of the small intestine) biopsy. A simple blood test called Cyrex Array 3 can also show the type of damage wheat can have on the brain, skin, intestine or other body tissues. This type of lab test can be ordered through your naturopathic doctor.
Isasi C, Colmenero I, Casco F, et al. Fibromyalgia and non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a description with remission of fibromyalgia. Rheumatology International. 2014;34(11):1607-1612. doi:10.1007/s00296-014-2990-6.
1 pound raw unsalted nuts of your choice
(I love an assortment of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pecans)
2 tablespoons butter OR coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
½ tsp Himalayan sea salt
One serving is about 1/4 cup.
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl (set the baking sheet aside). ( Note! in our oven only took 6 min and be sure to place on lower level rack and watch closely.)
- Mix the melted butter or coconut oil with the rosemary, and salt, optional to add a little maple syrup, pour it over the warm nuts, and toss with a wooden spoon. Spread the nuts back on the baking sheet and let them cool on the counter for 30 minutes, or until all elements have solidified and cooled. Serve at room temperature. (They’re not as good if you try to eat them while they’re still warm.)
Nuts are a good source of magnesium, healthy fats and protein. Magnesium is critical in relaxing muscles, regulating the HPA axis and in many other metabolic transactions in the body. Brazil nuts are a source of selenium, important for thyroid health. Almonds are a source of vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, important in a healthy gastrointestinal tract, immune function, thyroid health and sperm production. Rosemary helps the liver’s detoxification process. Olive oil is a healthy fat important in cardiovascular health. Coconut oil is high in caprylic acid and helps regulate healthy intestinal flora. Sea salt is a good source of minerals.
From the kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.
Picture from www.kitchenparade.com
Fibre is a form of carbohydrate found in plants. It plays a major role in softening and bulking the stool, promoting regular elimination of waste. Fibre feeds and balances the micro biome in our gastrointestinal tract. A diet high in fibre leads to better blood sugar regular, sustained energy and wellbeing.
Okay, Forty Three Eighty Fitness fans, this week’s focus in on fibre. Now I don’t really focus on carbohydrates per se, as you noticed in the 6 Daily Diet Tips you all have now. Most people do better on setting their eyes on good fibre. Why the Beach Boys’ song Good Vibrations comes to mind just now, makes me laugh. What if we had a song called Good Fibrations? What would we sing about then? Yes, fibre can make you sing, but not always the way you’d like. So, if you are used to take out food and a lot of white carbs (sugar, bread, crackers, chips etc.,) don’t go wild on adding the fibre all at once. Increase a little day by day. Otherwise, if you are not rushing out your fitness class before you are done, your friends may be wishing you did! Build your fibre intake up slowly so the micro biome has time to adjust. This will minimize gas and bloating. Read on to learn why fibre is so fabulous.
Benefits of Fibre
- Softens the stool
- Bulks the stool
- Traps and prevent re-circulation and promote removal cholesterol from the body
- Helps regulate blood sugar as they slow the release of sugars (carbohydrates) into the blood stream
- Feeds the microflora in your gastrointestinal tract
- Balances the variety of microflora in the gastrointestinal tract
- Help with weight management
While most North Americans get less than 5g of fibre a day, the actual recommended amount is up t0 35 g per day. Increase slowly so your micro biome can adjust. Good fibres promote good bacteria, so a slow increase will naturally help promote a healthy gut flora.
GOAL= 35g per day
2 Types of Carbohydrates
At a high level, carbohydrates can be separated into two basic groups based how easily and quickly they are digested. A motto I use in clinic with my patients is:
“Slow carbs, not no carbs.”
- Simple carbohydrates: starch, simple sugars, and fructans. Simple carbohydrates are easily broken down and absorbed in the small intestine.
- Complex carbohydrates: cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectin and beta-glucans. Complex carbohydrates are resistant to digestion in the small intestine and once moved further down into the digestive tract into the large intestine will be fermentation by the bacteria located there.
7 Types of Fibre
Where do you find these fibres?
Hemicellulose -An insoluble fibre found in whole grains. Increases bowel regularity and excretion of cholesterol.Includes: arabinoxylan, glucans, galantines, xylans, mannans, and pontosans.
Cellulose: an insoluble fibre found in fruits, legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Feeds the micro biome (gut flora) and byproduct is short chain fatty acids.
Lignins- an insoluble fibre found in root vegetables and berry seeds like flax and sesame. Helps feed and balance the natural micro biome.
Pectin is a soluble fibre found in apples, citrus fruits, legumes and nuts. Byproducts include butyrate and other short chain fatty acids. Helps balance the micro biome. Helps heal the gut and may have an effect on cholesterol.
Gums are thickening agents like xanthan, guar, Arabic, acacia, agar-agar, glucomannan and coboxymethyl cellulose. It creates short chain fatty acids in the gastrointestinal tract and promotes a healthy micro biome.
Glucans – Soluble fibre found in oats, barley and rye. Produces short chain fatty acids, stimulates healthy micro biome, reduces LDL cholesterol. Also soluble fibre found in mushrooms like reishi, shiitake, chug, maitake, and cremini. Byproducts include butyrate and other short chain fatty acids. Helps balance the micro biome. Medicinal mushrooms additionally help fight cancer, are antiviral, immuno-modulatory and help reduce inflammation.
Oligo(poly)saccharides: found in root vegetables, onions, garlic, asparagus, banana, chicory artichoke, lentils, beans and peas. Studies show very helpful in helping you feel fuller longer and reduces intestinal inflammation. Note: FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) These short-chain carbohydrates are not well absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily fermented by gut bacteria producing pain, gas and bloating.
Studies show that “increasing dietary fiber significantly reduces the risk of gaining weight and fat in women, independent of several potential confounders, including physical activity, and dietary fat intake.”
- As soluble fibre is fermented in the large intestine it produces hormones that tell our brain we are full. (glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY))
- Dietary fibre has the ability to significantly decrease energy intake
- Dietary fibre takes energy to digest and therefore reduces the over all sum of caloric intake- digestive energy = energy provided.
Lattimer JM, Haub MD. Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health. Nutrients. 2010;2(12):1266-1289. doi:10.3390/nu2121266
Tucker LA, Thomas KS. Increasing Total Fiber Intake reduces Risk of Weight and Fat Gains in Women. J Nutr. 2009 Mar;139(3):576-81. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.096685. Epub 2009 Jan 21.
When we talked about fats in the 4380 Fitness Challenge nutrition night, one person asked me if she was eating too much fat. What she actually has found is that, for her, eating more fat actually helps with anxiety. This is a fantastic personal discovery! In the 6 daily diet tips I mention a goal of 6 tablespoons of healthy fat a day. This of course is a general guideline. I cannot tell you how much fat or carbs or protein is exactly right for you. Only you will be able to what is safe and healthy through individual professional guidance and even then, some trial and error.
Also, keep in mind your needs will change with age and season. We all need to eat for the season. When it is cold outside we need heartier, heavier meals. When it is hot and humid, we need light and refreshing sustenance to fuel us without weighing us down. Babes need higher fat as the brain is rapidly developing and different life situations demand different nutrients.
Time for an Oil Change?
Did you know that the human brain is nearly 60 percent fat? Getting the right fats in your diet is the most crucial way to boost your brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for optimal message conduction not only in the brain, but across every cellular membrane in the body.
More of these
If you are sensitive to a food like dairy or nuts, then you need to look at the other alternatives of healthy fats on the list.
- Fish oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive Oil
- Avocados & their oil
- Small amounts of real butter or ghee (clarified butter)
- Oils found in nuts in seeds
- Fats found naturally in whole dairy
- Fats found naturally in responsibly raised poultry & meat
Supplemental Fish oil (3rd party tested and cleansed of heavy metals):
- Reduces cholesterol:
- reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%
- In those with coronary artery disease: Heart attacks reduced risk by 20% and sudden death by 30% (better than statins alone)
- Improves symptoms of depression and increase length of remission
- Reduces symptoms of psychosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
- Reduces inflammation and severity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoporosis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Behcet’s syndrome, and Raynaud’s syndrome
- Helpful in weight loss
- Reduces muscular soreness after exercise
Are saturated fats bad for you?
Yes and no. Too much of anything is not good for you. So, yes trim excess fat off your meat and avoid too much chicken skin, however, eating marbled meats and full fat dairy, coconut products and egg yolks will help incorporate calcium into the bones, protect the liver from damage by alcohol and medications like acetaminophen, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular function, deliver fat soluble vitamins.
Less of these
- Sunflower oil
- Canola oil
- Peanuts, and peanut oil
- Safflower Oil
Not all fats are created equal.
Industry seed oils are those made from the seeds of corn, cotton, sunflower, safflower or a hybrid called canola. A small amount of these oils is not an issue, as we do need some omega 6 fats in our diet. Problem is with the North American tendency to eat fast food, restaurant food, processed and packaged foods, we tend to get way too many of these and not enough omega 3 fats. This tips the scale towards inflammation. Industry seed oils are easily oxidized and oxidized fats is a leading contributor to modern inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers, non alcoholic fatty liver disease and fibromyalgia.
- Super heat vegetable oil (fried foods)
- Rancid oils
Trans fats that are manufactured by hydrolyzing an natural fat tends to do all the wrong things to cholesterol. Trans fats raise LDL and triglycerides and lower HDL. Not good.
Rancid oils, or fats that are past their shelf life will contribute to oxidative stress in your body. This means aging!
Anything eaten in excess can be converted and stored in the body as fat. That includes protein and carbohydrates. Did you know one of the main reasons for young people today being diagnosed with non alcoholic fatty liver is the excessive sugars in their diet?
Friendly Fat Facts
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) must be taken in the diet as they can not synthesized by the body. It is often necessary to supplement. Fish oil that is third party tested and cleansed of heavy metals in either a gel cap or, more economically, liquid, is best.
- Fats are required to help us absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K)
- Healthy fats consumed earlier in the day (breakfast) will help curb afternoon cravings.
- Naturally occurring saturated fats that marble meat or as a part of dairy have benefits when consumed in moderation
- Breakfast: could include your dose of fish oil (EFA’s) and vitamin D, a handful of nuts, or simply a tablespoon of coconut oil in your cup of coffee.
- Lunch & Supper: Salad or vegetables could be complimented with either 2 TBSP of olive oil, 1/4 avocado or some omega-3 rich fish like sardines, salmon, herring. Even lamb or chicken – light or dark meat or strips of steak will help get the most out of all your nutrients.
From the research and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.
Kresser, Chris. 2014. The Paleo Cure. Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health Needs — Prevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessly, and Look and Feel Better than Ever. Little, Brown & Company. New York.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Fish Oil monograph accessed Dec 30, 2014. Full monograph available upon request.
I was only looking for 6 key reasons to eat vegetables.
I found five thousand. How can this be? PHYTOCHEMICALS. There are more than 5,000 phytochemicals identified plus many we suspect still remain unknown. Turns out, mother nature has packed a punch of power in the plant kingdom. Many plants contain one or more of these 5,000 nutritional perks that helps us:
- Defend against pathogens, parasites, and predators.
- Protect against chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and cancer.
- Purify and renew the blood
- Cleanse body of toxins
- Stimulate effects
- Relaxing effects
Food for …
As a part of the Forty-three Eighty Fitness challenge, for the next six weeks we are going to cover the elementary need for food. Function. That doesn’t mean it has to boring and mundane. It just means we are going to get back to providing our body with the building blocks it needs for life. It is about food for sports performance, energy, mental clarity, good digestion, glowing skin and good sleep. It is not all-inclusive, as they are general dietary guidelines. Each week we will dig a little deeper into the 6 daily tips. If you are not a part of the program and not a patient of mine, don’t worry, there is still lots right here in the Forward Health Journal and on the Naturalaura site.
In our society we relate to one another so much through food. It is really a part of our heritage, our culture and our social connection. This is partly what makes it so difficult to make changes. It’s not just a little corner of your life. Eating is something we do everyday. Every time we eat we make a choice. What drives that choice? Taste? Texture? Atmosphere? Experience? Promise to make you happy? If you suspect you might make choices driven by emotion, you might like to join me next Wednesday, March 15th at Goodness Me! in Guelph from 6:30-8pm for a free educational session on Food or Mood, Which Comes First? Register here.
Evolution, Not Revolution!
It won’t work if you try to make all the changes at once. As I say to my patients, it’s about evolution, not revolution. Did you learn to ski by jumping on the black diamond hills first? Not likely. You needed to build some strength, add some skills, practice them in safe small ways and build your confidence. Ditto for making changes in diet. Start somewhere. Carve out an area and make some attempt for small changes. This week we are going to start with vegetable awareness! Goal is 6 cups of vegetables a day. Many people struggle to get one. If you are the one cup a day kind of person right now, then maybe you aim to get two or three cups a day as a place to start. What’s in it for you?
Guideline Goal: 6 cups of Vegetables a Day
3 Cups of Cabbages
The cabbage also known as cruciferous or brassica family helps support phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification of the liver. This means eating more of this family of vegetables provides support for your natural detoxification process. Your liver is in charge of over 300 jobs. Not a bad thought to give your liver a hand.
Interesting to note: broccoli contains abundant B vitamins, vitamin A, has more vitamin C than citrus and is rich in chlorophyll.
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Collard greens
- Bok Choy
- Radish/ radish greens
3 Cups Leafy Greens
Bitter greens help stimulate digestion. Good digestion means good energy! Some cultures find this helpful before a meal, others after. Leafy greens also provide fibre, vitamin K, chlorophyll, vitamin A and C. Lettuce leafs contain the sedative lactucarium, which relaxes the nerves, helping the rest and digest nervous system do its thing.
- Dandelion greens
- Carrot tops
- Red leaf lettuce
- Beet greens
1 Cup – Mix of Orange and Red
Red and orange means a rich source of beta carotene / vitamin A. Carrots and beets are blood purifying and anti-inflammatory for mucus membranes. Bell peppers are additionally an excellent source of vitamin C. Sweet potato and squash have great fibre and help reduce inflammation.
- Bell pepper – red/orange
- Sweet potato
1 Cup Other
For appetite control, celery can be eaten between and during meals. Celery root is excellent sliced thin and baked on parchment paper. Fennel root has a mild licorice flavor and is an excellent add to soups. Parsnips slow cooked with carrots marinated in a little olive oil and sea salt is delectable. Peel them and cook them whole! Cucumber is very cooling and better eaten in the hot and dry times of the year. A couple slices of cucumber and maybe a sprig of mint in water is a very refreshing. summer drink.
- Celery root
Ideally more cooked in the fall and winter and start introducing more raw in the spring. Cooking vegetables will destroy some of the nutrients, however softens the fibres and makes them easier to digest. Digestive fire is stronger in the hotter months, so lots of raw in summer is just fine. Fall, winter and early spring we are better to eat more slow cooked, lightly steamed vegetables. I often preserve the water I steam my veggies in and use it in stir fry to add moisture or add it to soup. Eat your cooked veg or broth within 24 hours to obtain the maximum nutrition. Don’t forget an easy way to add up the vegetable tally is to throw a stick or two of celery, and a handful of greens into your smoothie. My favourite energy-boosting green smoothie has 2 sticks of celery, a handful of leafy greens- whatever is in the fridge, a bunch of dried mint from the garden and a little ground ginger with my pea protein.
Cornerstones of daily eating.
Jessica Cosby and Brett Milton’s Forty-three Eighty Fitness six week challenge kicks off in Guelph this month. My part is to provide some education for the nutritional aspect of good health. Thanks to Carrie and Mark Godman we set up at the prestigious Granite Homes showroom this Friday and delved into the general aspects of the 6-Daily Diet Tips.
For the next six weeks, there will be weekly posts to provide a little more information in each of the areas of:
Oh, I almost forgot!
From the heart, mind and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.
More about naturopathic medicine here.
Del Rio D, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Spencer JPE, Tognolini M, Borges G, Crozier A. Dietary (Poly)phenolics in Human Health: Structures, Bioavailability, and Evidence of Protective Effects Against Chronic Diseases. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2013;18(14):1818-1892. doi:10.1089/ars.2012.4581.
Pitchford, P. 2002. Healing with whole foods. Asian traditions and modern nutrition. 3rd ed., North Atlantic Books, Berkely, California.
Temple N, Wilson T, Jacobs DR. 2006. Nutritional Health—Strategies for Disease Prevention 2nd ed, , Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.
Serotonin, constipation and migraine headaches may be linked.
What is going on?
It seems that there is a reduced output of serotonin. There are serotonin receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and the brain.
It appears to be due to a genetic change in serotonin production 5-HT2A – 1438 AA genotype (p=0.0005).
How will I know if this could be me?
Patient with this genetic susceptibility tend to have:
- frequent bouts of constipation,
- experience headaches only on one side of their head
- suffer more frequently from extreme light sensitivity.
So what can be done ?
Possible trials of supervised supplementation of serotonin botanical medicines or supplements that are safely prescribed may be helpful. Ask Dr. Laura M.Brown ND if this treatment is right for you.
Uluduz D, Cakmak S, Ozge A, Ucbilek E, Sezgin O, Soylemez F, Temel G, Kanik A. A Link between Migraine, Tension Type Headache and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Clinical and Genetic Indicators (P4.120). Neurology April 5, 2016 vol. 86 no. 16 Supplement P4.120
If we miss or get stuck at a point in our life, there is potential for emotional buildup that may present as sickness in the body.
When a person is “stuck” at a certain level, a homeopathic remedy, acupuncture, a Chakra clearing, yoga exercises, focused breathing, or other therapeutic efforts may “lift” the person and help them better perceive and move on from their current situation.
Understanding the Stages of Life
Whether we look at Erikson’s Stages of development, Scholten’s Homeopathic Table of Elements, Maslow’s Hierarchy, the Chinese Five Elements or the Chakra system, we can see the natural progression of development we embark on through our journey of life.
Often, it is a combination of acupuncture, a Chakra clearing, yoga exercises, focused breathing, massage homeopathy or talk therapies that gets us on our way and eventually to the top of the mountain. What is most important is to enjoy some sights on the path along your journey.
The common thread of our personal development is woven from ancient yogis, Chinese Medicine, psychologists and psychotherapists. We all need to have our basic needs of life met before we can develop an element of safety. We need to know who we are as individuals and how we belong into our society before we can further develop the area of our heart and be able to share it interdependently with others.
It is when we can be comfortable with ourselves, we can then withstand the swell of the tide of outside influences.
Keeping the mind steady and calm while the world swells around us, is the first stage of actualization.
Once we have mastered the space of a calm and equitable mind, we can then practice the ability to let all the world go and connect with and allow our spiritual self to unfold.
Balancing the “fight or flight” (sympathetic) and the “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) nervous systems helps gain access to this blissful balanced state of what Heart Math people call “coherence”. It is not only reserved for yogis, meditation artists, super-energetic or “smart” people. It is for us all to climb mountain, at our own pace, with our own challenges and with our own set of earthly and heavenly guides.
The fact is we are all able to achieve this pinnacle of self-actualization, however we are all also susceptible to fall and crumble back down to the basic needs of life. We may actually experience many rises and falls over the course of a lifetime. In each rise and fall, it is like a breath in and out, so long as we live, our breath will rise and we will too again. Hopefully, overall, we are making steady progression up the mountain.
Sometimes it takes intense focus in one area of our life, while the others lay dormant for some time. That is, we can invest heavily in school or career while putting family life or personal relationships on hold. If we excel strongly in one area of our life, without giving time for balance in others, we miss out on the cross-training type of personal development that we need in order to rise to our greatest potential. It is important to loop back and catch ourselves to keep a steady progress in all areas of our life. Sometimes we need the chance to develop one aspect of our being before we are ready and hold the wisdom to get on to the next.
Wisdom is more precious than gold, as we learn from Soloman in the Book of Proverbs and if we do not learn from our mistakes and move forward, then this is the greatest crime.
In Chinese Medicine the circles of life go on a 7 year cycle for women and an 8 year cycle for men. At age 7 the vitality of the young girl is vibrant, 14 she begins to menstruate and the governing and conception vessel are primed. Age 21, a woman’s essence peaks, she has reached her physical limit of growth and the wisdom teeth come in. Age 28 the tendons and bones of a woman are strongest and the hair flourishes. Age 35 the Yang channels weaken and the woman’s complexion withers and hair begins to fall. This progresses and the hair grays at age 42. Age 49 the conception and governing vessels are empty and the uterus closes and infertility sets in. This is a time now for more creativity and personal embarkment of growth as the energy is no longer needed to tend the womb. Menopause offers a later life fire that is more than just about hot flushes!
Later Life Fire
Time to get moving on what you have put off:
For males, the Chinese Medicine 8 year cycle begins similarly with abundance of energy at age 8, mounting at age 16 when the sperm arrives and Yin and Yang are harmonized in the male making him capable of producing a child. At age 24, the male’s physical energy peaks and the wisdom teeth arrive. At age 32 his tendons and bones are strongest and by age 40 the hair begins to fall and teeth become loose. At 48 year old man’s Yang Qi is exhausted and his face darkens as his hair turns gray. At age 56 the male’s liver energy (testosterone) is weakened and tendons stiffen and the sperm dries up. At age 64, from the ancient Chinese circles of life, the hair and teeth are gone.
We can calm the storm within and age more gracefully
Limit excessive sexual activity.
Thai Qi, Qi Gong and Yoga and HeartMath incorporate breathing exercises that help increase the vitality and essence of our aging being.
From the heart and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. Dr. Laura offers personalize lifestyle coaching and professional means to help you Move Forward in Your Health.
Picture credits: pinterest.com, healingtherapist.com