Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Supplement or Not To Supplement

To supplement or not to supplement…that is the confusion!

As a macrobiotic counselor, I have felt strongly on getting every nutritional need met from daily good quality food choices and sources. Dr. Frank A Carbo, senior editor of Chiropractic Wellness and Fitness magazine, states two reasons why our food sources are not enough anymore. “First, globally, our food sources are becoming depleted of nutrients because the soils in which they grow are over harvested, and lack nutrients. Secondly, individually, our choice of foods can themselves lack the essential nutrients”.

The main objective of my job has been to guide people in the prevention of disease and the maintenance of good health. Now my job task has become helping people out of crisis and into wellness. Within the first 6 years of my practice, I found that I could create an eating/nutritional protocol for someone and within weeks noticeable results were attained. The guidelines would serve nicely as a springboard to continue with the “new” lifestyle to create optimal health. But, this is not true today. As our lives get busier and more stressful, the antidote of proper eating and healthy habits has to be brought up a notch just to keep us on the “healthy” side of the race. And, bringing it up to par means a lot more food…good quality and prepared appropriately. Can we eat as many nutrients as our bodies’ require? Here is where supplements are needed some of the time. Ideally, it would be great to go back to the source and supplement the depleted soil. But, don’t get me started on that subject…

By now we are agreeing that sometimes you may need supplementation. So what is a supplement? A supplement is a concentrated nutrient that is ingested in a concentrated way to saturate the body in order to increase depleted levels. The body has a monitoring system that triggers the memory amount of nutrients so when it is provided with correct amount it is recalibrated to maintain that level again. Usually a 3-4 mos. protocol is sufficient to bring the levels back to normal. Depending on your goals, you can reduce, rotate or stop the supplementation.

How do you determine how much supplementation is needed? Preferably you will be under the guidance of a trusted practitioner. Nonetheless, here is a brief summary of Supplement Terminology 101.

Nutrients are divided into two categories, macro (big) and micro (small) nutrients. Macronutrients are complex carbohydrates, simple proteins (bean and bean products)/complex proteins (animal source) and essential fats. These you get from the “bulk” of your daily diet and they are measured in grams. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. These you get from the “fiber” part of your daily diet, mostly in fruits and vegetables. These are measured in milligrams. You need a nice balance of both to create your personal health balance.

So here we go. There are several different measuring systems used today. The RDA (recommended daily allowance), the ODA (optimal daily allowance), the DOI (daily optimal intake) and the SONA (suggested optimal daily nutritional allowance) are the main ones. Don’t get choked on the terminology.
The only two I concentrate on are the RDA and SONA. Let me help you put them in perspective.

The RDA’s were developed for healthy people under normal life circumstances to prevent the development of deficiencies leading to disease. In other words these people had no pre existing illness, no genetic weakness and no environmental exposure…really?... like in Avitar?
The RDAs are based on scientific research that is judged by the Food and Nutrition Board to be the adequate known nutrient needs for healthy people. The first published recommendation was in 1943 and is updated every five years or so. So if you fall under the “Avitar” category you can guide yourself by the RDAs to maintain your health levels.
But, if you are like the rest of us and live in a fast paced, technology driven, always connected, poor food choices which lack nutrition… in other words, real America, then you want to look at the SONA guideline.
The SONA guideline was developed by Alex Schauss, PH.D, from the extensive work done by Emanuel Cheraskin and W.M. Ringsdorf Jr. over a 15 year study. This study correlated the intake of specific nutrients to specific health issues and tried to find a truly ideal level of intake for each nutrient.
But before you run out to the vitamin store, I want to remind you of two other very important elements that support life-long health and energy. They are exercise and a positive attitude.
In summary, we all need a little help now and then.
Here are my 5 guidelines for proper supplementation.
1. Be wise- do your research and don’t just depend on the media to guide you.
2. Work with a practitioner you trust- one that knows you well especially your health patterns.
3. Choose high quality and trustworthy products.
4. Choose liquids or powders whenever possible for easier digestion and absorption.
5. Rotate and rest from supplementation.
6. True long lasting health comes from the conscious daily choice of real and optimum quality food not from a pill.

“Let your spirit and the influence of a higher power guide you to your goal of health and rebirth because that quality of healing, you can never get from a pill”. Controlling Crohn’s Disease the Natural Way

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Body’s Regenerating Powers

I’m increasingly fascinated by the body’s regenerating powers. I have been teaching and guiding people to a healthier life for over 20 yrs. now and still the most exuberant feeling comes over me when their body begins to change after very basic and simple diet and lifestyle changes. Good food, good water, proper breathing and eating, proper exercise and a life with purpose seems to be the winning formula as detailed in this informative video.

So why is this so difficult to achieve in modern society?

We have become a robotic society that follows the path of ease and impatience. A lifestyle change requires time and effort. The moment you make the decision that “something has got to change” the internal struggle begins. You know you have to make these changes and it forces you to interrupt the habits you have already formed.

Is it worth it?

Just ask my dear friend who got diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer 3wks. ago. She immediately called me to discuss her options. I advised her to start macrobiotics in order to change her physical environment while she decided on her medical protocol. She started the macrobiotic program immediately. Now just 2 ½ weeks later, her tumor has shrunk from 1.5cm to 1.3cm and the surrounding lymph nodes don’t look as inflamed.

Or ask the 15yr.old young man, who has been weak and in pain for over a year now enduring the attacks of Crohn’s disease, with very little relief from the harsh chemical drugs. His whole family embraced the lifestyle change by cleaning out the pantry and learning about new foods prepared in a new way, in order to help him through his Crohn’s disease. Now into the second week of following the macrobiotic protocol he is eating a variety of foods, feeling stronger and filled with hope.


Give good food a chance!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Birthday Celebration of a Healing Life

In my last blog I spoke about utilizing significant dates in your life to motivate action.

My birth date has been a frequent motivator for me. Let me count the ways. The most significant… obviously, was the beginning of life breathing and existing outside the womb. Then, in my younger years, it meant starting a new diary with new ideas and stories on crisp new pages. Later, my birth date became about starting new disciplines such as studying more, training more and saving money for a car. Later it became a date to dread because it meant “another year older”.

But, it took on a new meaning when I was told that due to my incurable illnesses these birth dates would be shortened. Suffering through pain and anguish, my birth date became a goal to reach each yea. To make it to the next one filled my daily thoughts.

Then, never was my birth date more significant as when I decided to begin to create a healthy life. My birth date has become a celebration of life! The years have passed quickly as I enjoy my healthy life actualizing my dreams as a wife, mother, author and teacher. I look forward to each birth date as another chance to be grateful for finding my healing path 30 years ago. After all, it was on that birth date that I cleaned out my pantry and began feeding myself “a healthy life”. It was this experience that outlined my life calling to become the voice and guide for others to find their healing path.

And, to continue in the same birth date tradition, once again I have chosen January 8, 2010 to launch my new website I think the name says it all and it seems that the planetary influences agree. My horoscope for this date is (translated from the Spanish magazine Vanidades) “Pluto continues its direct transit through Capricorn injecting positiveness and strength. Take advantage of this energy to realize changes in every aspect of your life or begin a new project. Everything you attempt in this moment will have success. It is a good time for travel”.

Who am I to go against Pluto?
Happy Year to all!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Resolution - Some Like 'Em, Some Dont

New Year’s Resolutions, some like them some don’t. Personally, I like them. I’ve always been a person who needs a plan for my plan of action. This is important for me especially when it comes to life changing decisions. A life changing decision means an action that will impact your life in a new way to create new results. After all why would we want to put energy into something that will create the same results? Creating DIFFERENT results is the goal.

Let’s break it down. The ”resolution” is the decision to create an action. The action requires a plan. The plan of action is the means to that goal. When you take the time to plan, you create the energy at many levels. In new thought science, or the law of attraction, it is believed that the intention is what begins the movement toward the action and that the action is the manifestation of the thought. The manifestation is the tangible or the measurable goal. The resolution may start with big actions or small actions. Some peoples’ personality is to jump right in with a big action once they decide something, while others need small steps that lead to the main action. But whether you like to jump in with both feet or if you prefer baby steps, having a starting point is the most important and a significant motivator of when to actually make the jump. This is where the “new year” comes in.

In the book Getting Things Done by David Allen he introduces the horizontal and vertical concepts to planning or “action management”. Simply put, horizontal planning is the idea and all the components that need to come together to reach the desired goal. Vertical planning is the focused action steps required to start. One is the idea and the other is the action. The idea carries feelings of excitement and motivation-it’s an abstract concept of something that is desired. The action steps carry feelings of dedication and responsibility. Both require motivation. And, what is more motivating as a starting time line than a significant date in your life?

These specific dates carry a lot of motivating energy. For example, you are always aware of them and many times they create a feeling of change and you think to yourself "I Need To Do Something Different". For me, it keeps procrastination to the minimum. So whether it’s a new- year, a birthday or the beginning of a new season, just pick the date and start. Start with a 3 week commitment outline on how, when, and where you will begin. For example, say you are intending to make changes with a dietary or an exercise program, in 3 weeks you create changes physically, mentally and emotionally. Physically you change your blood quality to become more oxygenated and alkaline for better cellular and immune support. Mentally you increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain for clarity of thinking. Emotionally you increase the dopamine and serotonin levels which are the feel good chemical hormones that support the feeling of well being. This is an example of taking small steps to achieve a better long term result. Is it worth the effort? ….heck yeah!

One of my significant life changing experiences was when I made the decision to change my nourishment, diet, and the way I viewed food to the macrobiotic concept. I started on my birthday, Jan 8 in 1980. I had my ups and I had my downs, but I did best when I was able to set small goals for myself and not overwhelm myself with unreachable goals. It changed me physically, mentally and emotionally and now 30 years later I live a disease-free, healthy and happy life! And I was able to achieve this through small goals and resolutions. This year’s resolution?..... to increase my yoga practice by 5 extra minutes a day, chew my food 10 extra times and to blog consistently!

Happy 2010!