FIBER: It is something preached about from nearly all fields of medicine. The researched benefits of fiber extend from helping to lower cholesterol and preventing cancer to improving gut health and supporting healthy weight loss. If a pharmaceutical drug could accomplish all of these health claims, then healthcare providers might be out of a job! With all of the supported knowledge about the wonders and workings of fiber in the body, most Americans still fall short of taking in the recommended minimum of 25 grams per day.
WELLNESS CHALLENGE #5: FIVE TO THRIVE
While fiber can be found in a wide array of food groups including whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, today I challenge you to focus on eating the RAINBOW in the form of fruits and vegetables. Aim for a combination of 5 fruits and veggies in a variety of colors. Whenever increasing your intake of fiber, it is always helpful to increase water as well to prevent constipation while your body adjusts to the change. Let food be your medicine today!
If you are reading this post, then you are likely using a device that requires recharging. Turns out that YOU are a ‘device’ that also requires recharging and today your challenge is to do just that. Sleep is one of our most important means of resetting energy levels as it brings balance to the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. Meditation can also serve as a restorative practice to reconnect our busy minds to the rest of our neglected bodies.
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT
How many hours have you spent in front of a screen today? This week? And how many hours have you spent doing something you really truly love? If you are noticing a stark imbalance, it may be time to cut the cord, power down your electronics and look straight ahead while walking down the street for a change. Give yourself a 2-hour break today from a constant feeling of being ‘on call’ and notice what changes when the impulse to check your phone or e-mail relaxes. With the new space created in your day, I encourage you to try a 10-minute breathing meditation and aim for an extra hour of sleep. Let yourself be recharged!
I met with a woman recently who just a few years ago became quite sick and debilitated following a fairly routine surgery. Multiple interventions from her physicians only worsened her symptoms. Thankfully, she responded beautifully to several simple and effective naturopathic therapies and recovered fully. “I am so grateful that happened,” she shared with me at her recent visit. “If that hadn’t happened I might not have continued down this path to really addressing my health.”
These expressions of radical and unconventional gratitude for the challenges in life can take time to cultivate and often surface after we are safely on the other side of tragedy or loss. What if it was possible to hold space for gratitude while in the midst of a challenge? What else might become possible when we let go of judging a situation as good or bad and simply offer gratitude that we are alive and experiencing it?
TODAY’S WELLNESS CHALLENGE: AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
As you move through your day, I invite you to practice welcoming gratitude for the things and people that push you to your edge and press all of your buttons. (Remember this is a challenge!) When you are losing patience or the detour sign shows up in your path, see what happens when you meet that experience with a grateful heart. For example: “I am grateful for all of the red lights that I encountered on the way to work because I had a chance to take a few deep breaths.” or “Thank you to the woman in line in front of me who counted out all of her change in pennies as she gave me a chance to practice my patience.” Start small and see how far you can stretch yourself with your growing and grateful heart.
How many days go by that we forget to marvel at the beauty of creation around us? Compartmentalized in houses, offices, cars and gyms, we can live much of the day separated from Nature. With this separation can also come a dis-connect from our own Nature and what it means to be an active participant in the health of our planet.
If you have recently lost your way in terms of self-care or connection to Nature, today you are invited to reengage your senses and tune in to the natural world surrounding you. This may be as simple as looking for the moon at sunset or noticing the fall mums about to bloom in your neighbor’s front yard. You may go as far as eating your lunch at the park near your workplace or kicking off your shoes to stand barefoot for a moment in the dirt. Every encounter with our natural surroundings is an opportunity to connect with our own natural rhythms and inherent capacity for healing and wellness.
Rather than inventing tortuous practices to keep children quiet at the dinner table, when your parents instructed you to chew your food 20 times after each bite, they may have actually had your digestive health in mind. The digestive process engages even before that fist bite of spaghetti leaves the fork and enters the long and winding tube known as your digestive tract. While you are cooking and preparing your food, digestive enzymes begin to percolate in the stomach and pancreas in anticipation of your incoming meal. During the act of chewing – or mastication – you further engage digestion by breaking down the size of the food coming in and release the enzyme amylase in the mouth to begin breaking down carbohydrates.
Today’s Wellness Challenge: Chew each bite 15-20 times before swallowing. Use this time to see, smell and taste your meal. Try to avoid distractions while eating by avoiding ‘multi-tasking’ or eating in front of the computer or TV.
My mom is newly retired. After over 40 years practicing as a nurse both in the ICU and on the case management side of patient care, she has witnessed both the successes and limitations of our advanced Western medical system. My mom is one of seven children in a family with a strong history of cancer. In recent years chronic health conditions including thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, obesity and cystitis are beginning to appear among her siblings, nieces and nephews. So far, my mother is the only one of her siblings to have tested positive for a cancerous colon polyp which has not reoccurred since initial detection over 20 years ago.
Our family is not unlike many other families who have inherited a genetic soup ripe with mutations that predispose the immune system to disease or illness. However, new discoveries in the field of epigenetics remind me that factors in our environment such as healthy nutrition, stress management, exercise and time in nature can alter the degree and severity to which these genetic alterations shape our future and overall health.
Sometimes it takes a life crossroad, like retirement for me, to make you want to “kick start” the next chapter in your life. I’m hoping the Fall detox will be that renewal for me towards a better self. – Lynne Telfair
To my surprise and delight, my mom signed up for the Fall Detox beginning Monday October 5th. At a time of transformation in her life, she is ready to take a proactive approach to navigating her inherited predispositions with anti-inflammatory foods and a mindful approach to nutrition.
(You could insert: sugar, Diet Coke, chocolate, a glass of wine…).
What if there was another possibility? The stories we grip to so tightly are often fueled by an undercurrent of fear – for example, drinking caffeine out of fear of not having enough energy to finish the To-Do list or using wine to relax at night for fear of not being able to fall asleep. Can you remember the day when you stopped choosing the behavior and the behavior started choosing you? The Fall Detox is designed to release these old patterns and offer you a new possibility.
Sometimes our greatest fear is not the limitations that our chronic symptoms create, but what may be possible when we are finally free of what is holding us back from realizing our greatest potential. Through the Fall Detox, I look forward to supporting you as you release your reins on fear (or Diet Coke) for 10 days and re-experience your health!