As a student in herb school, I remember learning about a system of medicine where families would pay the village doctor to keep them healthy, but once a family member became ill, the service was free. What a brilliant twist on today’s approach to medicine – provide incentive to keep you from becoming a patient.
I’m not suggesting you pay me in chickens to keep you well all year. But if you could correct unhealthy patterns before they become disease, would you? If you could switch the focus to staying well instead of insuring expensive fixes to preventable problems, wouldn’t that make good sense?
Today, I saw a patient who totally gets this approach. She isn’t suffering from any serious problems, eats a healthy diet, does work she loves, and is in a fulfilling relationship.
She’s a model patient, and frankly, seeing her was a no-brainer. Until I understood what she was asking from me.
She wanted a different kind of patient-provider relationship than I’m used to having. Instead of struggling to correct problems, she wanted my support and guidance to stay well.
She saw me as someone who could step back, look at her whole life, her daily practices, her dreams for the future, and offer some advice on how to stay in the good health place she’s in.
In the end, what she wanted was help managing her enthusiasm for the projects ahead of her, without getting overwhelmed and disorganized.
Health care isn’t about insuring against what might go wrong. It’s what you do to prevent that: exercise, schedule down-time, stay in community, laugh, work, eat a variety of foods, and check in with someone who asks what you’re doing right, not what’s going wrong.
Who’s keeping you accountable for your own good health? Is there someone you can call to ask about minor concerns before they become major problems?
For years of vitality, not a future of prescriptions and surgeries, start now with a baseline assessment, then follow up regularly to stay on the health track.
You can expect to feel healthy and vital as you age, and if that’s not the message you’re getting, then it’s time to see someone who practices health, not medicine.
What are your practices for staying healthy? Do you follow a special diet, workout plan or spiritual practice that keeps you well? Share your comments here and let us know what’s been working for you.
8 seconds. That’s how long I searched Facebook to find a blog/link/post about some kind of food being ‘bad’ for me. Then, when I Googled the phrase ‘bad food’, I got 2.1 billion search results. Billion! That’s more than Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber combined!
Food-bashing is nothing new.
In the 70’s they told us fat was bad for our arteries, so my mom switched us to margarine instead of butter- my dad had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of heart attacks. His doctor told him to cut down on salt, so the only time we enjoyed that spice was on taco night – and boy, did we load it on! And forget about eggs. No way. Big killer.
In the 80’s we counted calories, because we were already starting to put on weight from the so-called food that replaced the evil fats we cut out the decade before.
In the 90’s, convenience was king, and we threw out all the rules and enjoyed our fast food lunches crammed into our 10 hour workdays. Why? Because it was all about success and big houses and keeping up with the Joneses.
Honestly, I don’t remember all the food fads over the past 40 years (and excuse me if I mixed up my decades), but some pretty lousy advice has been handed down under the guise of ‘research’ from food manufacturers, healthcare providers and mass media.
I feel so guilty eating practically everything these days, because somewhere, at some time, every food on the shelves, in the CSA box or from the garden has been so demonized that I’ve had the fear of God scared into me over ever bite I take.
Even something as purely healthy as an egg gets analyzed, researched and questioned until someone comes up with a ludicrous list of qualifications a simple egg should meet to enter our mouths:
- Omega-3 enhanced (what in the world did those poor chickens have to go through to qualify?)
- Gluten-free (seriously?)
- Farm-raised – what farm these days is good enough to meet this standard?
- Local (that’s always nice, I guess)
- Fresh (doesn’t that go without saying?)
Remember when eggs came in 4 sizes and that’s all we cared about?
For that matter, remember when the only bread choice we ever considered was homemade or store-bought? Now we worry about gluten, whole-grain, transfats vs polyunsaturated ones, and food coloring – since when does bread need to be colored?
For once, I just want to eat without running through the pedigree of my meal. I know I should be buying my food from local, organic farmers with free-range animal products and environmentally sustainable practices. I fully support these practices, in theory, but when it comes right down to it, I’ve realized that this takes an enormous amount of time and effort and planning.
And I’m working on it, little by little. I started by shopping the organic section of my grocery stores, reading food and farming blogs, and I’m finally going to join a CSA this Spring and see what THAT’S all about.
But for now, I’d like to pour a bowl of oatmeal without worrying about whether it’s organic or gluten-free, and top it with walnuts without wondering if they’re covered in pesticides, and mix it up with some organic milk that might not be from a farm nearby, and top it off with dried cranberries that probably have some sugar added because I couldn’t find the unsweetened ones I’m supposed to buy.
It would be a little slice of heaven to enjoy a warm spoonful of breakfast and not once, not even for a split second, wonder if the grain in there is genetically modified.
I love to eat, but we’ve taken all the fun out of eating in our culture. Food is a minefield of potential cancer-causing, inflammation-inducing terror. No wonder everyone is so confused and stressed about what to feed their families.
Today, for just one meal, eat without guilt, or fear, or disappointment. Before you start your new eating habits – low fat, high fat, low sugar, no sugar, vegetarian, paleo, vegan, grass-fed – enjoy that juicy steak and baked potato smothered in gravy with a side of delicious, and sugary, fatty, gluten-laden pie for dessert with a big smile on your face.
Life is stressful enough. Enjoy your food, even if it’s not the most healthy thing you’ve had this week. Then tomorrow, pick just one thing to do differently. Eat a little less, skip dessert, add a vegetable to your plate without worrying about who grew it. You’ll get there. It’s a process. One step at a time.
If you’re serious about eating more local or considering joining a CSA, check out my Resources page for links to trustworthy products and businesses in our community.
Could forgiveness heal a relationship that’s important to you? My guest blogger, Life Coach Nancy Dennis, shares personal insight on how she learned the lesson of forgiveness.
I remember when I was first presented with the concept of forgiveness being a conscious choice. It had nothing to do with how I felt, wrongs being righted, or justice. Now this was news to me, because I had been wronged, deeply wronged, and anyone would agree with me. But here was an opportunity to see something differently. Not looking at what had happened, but looking at how I was going to choose to ‘be’ in the light of it.
What I learned was that forgiveness was not about saying what had happened was now OK or forgotten. It simply meant two things:
1. I would choose to no longer allow myself to roast the other person on the spit – to turn over and over again the wrongs done, and turn up the heat of my anger and resentment.
2. I would choose to no longer play the victim card — not in my mind, my conversation or my actions. The facts were facts, without right or wrong, and I was no longer reopening the wound and poking at it.
Up until that time, I believed that you had to feel ready to forgive, to in some way say “this is now OK”.
But forgiveness had nothing to do with feelings, or never remembering, or saying it no longer mattered. It had everything to do with moving on.
I was encouraged to begin this process when I was ready to commit to those two things – no more roasting on the spit, and no more victim.
Now here’s the interesting part…I found myself resisting this guidance. I convinced myself I just needed to get my head around it, needed more time, wanted to feel better about the concept – you get the drift. And then I proceeded to wrap this up in a nice tidy bundle and put it on the shelf way back in the recesses of my mind – in my “someday I’ll do this…” box.
It wasn’t until about 6 months later that forgiveness came up again. I was asked to look at how much time I had spent reviewing and rehashing the wrong done to me. And then to look at how long in physical time, the event had taken.
Lastly, how much longer was I going to surround myself with this toxic essence, when I could just decide to set it down, let it go, and be present and thankful for the here and now?
I realized it was time to forgive. To just lay it down, no more roasting on the spit, no more victim, no more looking back. Just let it go. I made the conscious decision to forgive, and I made the promise to myself that if I ever again brought up the thoughts or feelings, as soon as I recognized what I was doing, I would remember that I was no longer allowing myself to think like that – I had let this go. Love and peace and blessings to all.
If you’re reading this, and you find there is something or someone you need to forgive – if it’s niggling your heart – then I encourage you to make the choice to forgive. I guarantee you it is not serving you well.
From my own personal experience, forgiveness has been one of the best things I have done in my life.
You can reach Nancy for more life wisdom at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.coachnancydennis.com. Nancy is a guest instructor at Natural Healing Omaha workshops, including Women’s Health Series 2014 – 6 Steps to Whole Health, which includes her class “Healthy Relationships for Life”.
Are your diet, relationships, body, mind, sexuality and creativity fighting each other for control? Finding balance on your own is challenging. Some help would be nice…
Women’s Health Series – 6 Steps to Whole Health offers personal, practical and professional training for the whole you. All the best ideas for holistic health and wellness. Join us…
Workshops begin Monday, February 3 through March 10. 6 weeks. 6 professional women instructors. Priceless insight.
Bring a friend, sister, or Mom, and make this a special girl’s nite out.
Here’s what participants from the Fall 2013 classes had to say:
“Completely blown away and eager to study in the weeks ahead.”
“Smart, strong women with good, loving energy. I learned much from the participants, as well as the presenters.”
“I was so impressed and appreciative of the women you chose to lead these classes! Powerhouses of mind, experience, heart.”
“Left feeling great energy, connected and fulfilled.”
“I will miss having this on Monday evening; just having a room of women to be with knowing they aren’t judging you; being totally yourself is so freeing. Learning on top of all of that is even better.”
To view or print flyer for this class series, click here
TO REGISTER NOW, click here.
For those of you contemplating change in 2014, here’s a little food for thought from my guest blogger, Flame Schoeder. She reminds us that what we call ourselves becomes our truth. So, choosing your names carefully is naturally good medicine for the mind.
A friend of mine once told me there is a Native American belief that if you have ‘K’ in your name, you’ll always be confused. I’ve heard stuff like that before, haven’t you? I’ve heard stuff like that about my name, my personality, my body type, and on and on, ad nauseum.
We take this stuff to the bank, don’t we? “You’re right! I WILL ALWAYS be confused.” Then, when confusing situations came up we throw our hands up and say, “See… there it is… my confusion. No way around it. It simply cannot be helped.” And plunk ourselves down, frozen in despair.
These ideas that we take to the bank are called “Structures of Knowing.” We all have them and they’re not all bad. A structure of knowing that the glowing red metal is hot keeps us safe from being burned by it. The problem comes when we solidify these structures of knowing into the truth without occasionally checking their validity. “Am I always confused?”
I’d hazard a guess that, even if you have a ‘K’ in your name, you have clarity at least once in a while. If left un-checked, though, this structure of knowing might wreak havoc on your life.
It lets you off the hook, for one thing. “I AM confused,” you say, as if in physical reality someone could reach out and pinch your confusion. You are not confused. You experience confusion sometimes (and when you’re in it, it seems like you experience it all the time). Positing that you are the very being of confusion, though, isn’t very empowering.
So your goals? Your dreams? All that stuff you want written in your obituary? It doesn’t happen. That “I’m confused” structure of knowing quickly becomes a self-limiting conversation. You were more interested in proving yourself confused than you were in achieving your goals and dreams. (Take heart. You’re not alone, that kind of self-limiting thinking happens to all of us.)
What if it we frame it differently, though? What if the wisdom in the Native American tradition was accurate but it wasn’t the final word? After years of introspection, spiritual work and coaching, I see the bigger container that holds statements like “if you have a ‘K’ in your name you’ll always be confused.”
Instead of a ‘K’ meaning you’ll ALWAYS be confused, it may simply point to your capacity to be confused, which may be more than average. I maintain that if your capacity for confusion is great, then so is your capacity for clarity—more than average! You can only have confusion as a counterpoint to its opposite. Confusion in and of itself doesn’t exist (or at the very least it is incredibly hard to conceptualize and understand). So if you can master confusion, then you will, by default, become a master of clarity.
Having clarity, and the skills to find it, IS empowering. That’s a toolkit you can take with you anywhere and it will serve you well. When the exact same situation that sent you into despair before comes up anew, you handle it. You use these skills to get through it. At the end you experience yourself as being powerful, capable, and ultimately, confident.
The next time you hear yourself solidifying an idea into “who you are” give it the physical reality test. Is this the truth? Can someone reach out and touch my:
If not, look at where you have a choice over your behavior. Am I more interested in perfectionism or being a loving mom? Am I more interested in procrastinating or being a published author? Lazy bum or creator of beauty? Shopaholic or financially successful? You get the gist. These antidotes to our structures of knowing are called our ‘intentions.’ Intentions are one of the things we can always be clear about and when we’re demonstrating them, life is sweet.
With any luck, as you ask these questions, you will also see pretty clearly what the next step to take is, too. What do loving moms do? They let the dishes sit sometimes so that they can snuggle a sick kiddo. What do published authors do? They schedule time to do their writing and then they actually write. What do confused people do? They consult their trusted confidantes until the answer becomes clear.
That structure of knowing that used to keep you from your goals and dreams will become less and less powerful as you stay focused on your intention. As you focus on your intentions, people around you will notice some sweet changes in you, and you’ll notice them in yourself. So, go ahead, question your structures of knowing; everyone in your tribe will thank you for it.
Flame Schoeder is Vice President of the Nebraska Heartland Coaches’ Association and has been coaching since 2004, focusing on personal development. Follow her on Facebook or email her at email@example.com to find out how she can help you learn to shine.
When Jill Lemen started creating her organic fruit and nut bars, she wasn’t the most healthy eater on the planet. But as caregiver to a wheelchair-bound health nut, she was challenged to come up with a grab-n-go organic food bar that was tasty AND gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free.
What started as a healthy snack for a clean-eating friend surprised and inspired Jill to create Noshsense. I met Jill at a women’s small business gathering, where she brought samples of her tasty treats. It was love at first taste.
Every time I turn around, there’s a locally owned business getting started by a woman with a great story. Everything from yoga and massage to specialty baked goods and handmade body butters are being crafted by local businesswomen with a mission.
I thought you should know about these local products and services I’ve discovered, so I put them all into one big Gift Basket. And I’m giving it away.
How can you WIN this?
If you’ve signed up for my monthly newsletter or offered a comment on one of my blogs, then you’ve already entered the drawing. If not, leave a comment below this blog. The drawing to WIN the Healthy Holiday Gift Basket, compliments of Natural Healing Omaha, is December 2nd.
Even if your name isn’t drawn, you still win! These are some great gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.
Give something local, handmade, herbal, natural, organic (and all that good stuff ) and feel good about holiday spending.
But let me get back to the drawing. Look at all these items you could WIN:
- Rose Water Toner – ‘Mildly Astringent — Mighty Refreshing.’ That’s how SeaRose describes her Rose Facial toner, a product of her local small business, Black Iris Botanicals – https://www.facebook.com/blackirisbotanicals.
- Gift Certificate for 1 dozen gluten-free and vegan muffins from Two Birds Bakery www.twobirdsbakeryomaha.com.
- Hyp-Yoga weight loss CD’s and green “Peace” t-shirt, for the cool person in your life. See what it’s all about at Hyp Yoga Omaha.
- One dozen gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free organic fruit and nut bars made by their local creator Jill Lemen and her small business http://www.Noshsense.net.
- A signed copy of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, A coming-of-age tale of fanfiction, family and first love. It’s local, it’s handmade (ok, not so much) and it’s juicy, good reading!
- One hour massage from Summer Schwery, one of our very talented massage therapists at the Four Winds Natural Healing Center. She’ll melt your mind into a state of bliss.
- Sample handmade soaps in four ‘flavors’ – Lemon Poppyseed, Calendula Olive Oil, Avocado Shea Butter and Rose & Lavender – from Metta Handmade, the brainchild of local owner Stacia Hoover. More soapy love at http://www.MettaHandmade.com.
- Personal notecards created with artful calligraphy designs by Jen Waltemath of Omaha. Check her stuff out at http://www.jafix.info/!
- Generously large planter full of greenery, perfect for a corner of your sunny room, from The Potting Shed Garden and Gift Center, compliments of owner Amy Weir.
- A selection of gluten-free, organic, handmade veggie wraps from April’s Wraps. These babies are to-die-for delicious, smeared with your favorite spread and loaded up with veggies.
Need a gift item for a birthday or graduation? Find links to most of these items all year long on my ‘Resources and Affiliates’ page.
This drawing is my way of supporting local small businesses and connecting you with unique, local, quality products and services you can’t get just anywhere.
Do these businesses a favor and Share this blog on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or wherever you do your socializing on line!
Happy, Healthy holiday season to everyone from Natural Healing Omaha. Remember, leave a comment on this blog or sign up for my herbal newsletter to enter.
Are you guilty of being this kind of friend? Sadly, it’s so common that you might not notice the problem at first. You ask someone ‘How’s it going?’ and the conversation goes like this:
Friend: I’m annoyed because I feel like I’m giving my all at work, but no one recognizes the effort.
You: Yeah, I know how that feels. My boss sucks in that department.
Friend: Right. The boss just walks right by without ever asking how I’m doing or to say ‘good job’.
You: I know how you feel. Sometimes I just wanna scream. One time, I worked overtime on this big project for two weeks and nobody even said ‘thanks, good job.’
Friend: Geez, that sucks. I hate my job. I wish I could quit.
This conversation is going nowhere fast, and both of you are bound to end up resentful and bitter. Neither one of you is really hearing the other person. You’re both waiting your turn to tell your own sad tale of woe.
What if you stopped to really listen to your friend? You could change the whole direction of the conversation.
In this next scenario, you’ll see how the dynamic changes when you stop to hear the words. See if you can figure out what’s different about this:
Friend: I’m annoyed because I feel like I’m giving my all at work, but no one recognizes my efforts.
You: It sounds like you don’t feel appreciated.
Friend: Right. The boss just walks right by without ever asking how I’m doing or to say ‘good job’.
You: Hmm. I’m guessing there’s something you’re especially proud of that you’d like your boss to notice.
Friend: Actually, there is. I just finished a project in record time and the client was so happy because she saved quite a few dollars in the process.
You: So, your client took the time to say how great your work was? That’s cool.
Friend: Hey, you know, that is cool. I’m feeling pretty good about that.
You: Way to go. How about we celebrate over coffee?
What’s different about this exchange? The focus is not on you.
Instead of offering an example of how lousy your life is, too, you can turn it around. Demonstrate that you hear what was said by saying it back in a different way.
Let your friend be heard.
You’ll get your turn another time. This is her moment. Make an effort to listen. Don’t expect the favor to be returned. Give without asking for anything back.
It’s the holidays and lots of us start feeling stressed right about now. Stress is a major cause of health problems. Being heard is a simple, powerful, natural remedy for stress.
Like most natural healing, the effects are subtle but profound. Relationships start to heal. Anxiety and depression lessen. Stomach aches and headaches and body pain ease up. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.
When you use a simple tool like this to shift the course of a conversation, you raise the vibe of your relationships. Step by tiny step, resentment, helplessness and that ‘poor me’ attitude dissolve. A problem becomes a celebration.
Can you do it? Can you offer your generous, complete, undistracted, attention to someone?
It’s not necessary to completely understand and share in their feelings. It’s only necessary to listen. Try it.
What better gift can you give this season?
Related Post: A Naturally Healing Tea for This Time of Year
Something special happens in the first few minutes after I close my office door to talk privately with a patient. Something very personal and comfortable is exchanged in those quiet conversations.
For centuries, women have been the family healers, applying herbs to aches and pains with only the knowledge passed down from our own mothers and grandmothers.
Google tells me it was Ben Franklin who coined the phrase ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. I think it’s time to add ‘a pinch of attention’ to that old saying.