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This journal post was written on Dec 11,2009, the day my Dad passed away.

Most of you know my father has not been well.  He suffered a heart attack over seven years ago, and most of the doctors he saw told him he was a high risk and would not do any surgery.  He also did not want to do anything invasive.  He walked around for the past seven years with 30% of his heart working.  During the last years he worked through some issues he’s had his whole life and seemed to process a lot of his own grief.  About three months ago he found a doctor at the VA Hospital in Florida that seemed to give him hope;  that bypass surgery would give him a better quality of life.  I remember the call from my father after he spoke with this surgeon.  He really made a “connection” with him.  And he was going to go ahead with the surgery.

The doctor advised him to get a flu shot.  My father has never believed in the flu shot and I don’t think he has ever gotten one.  But he did, and he got the flu.  A very bad case of the flu.  He was in the hospital for a bit during this time and he wasn’t interested in eating and he was having trouble with his kidneys.  I believe now, that his body was starting to shut down.  Please know that none of my brothers and sisters (there are 9 of us), could convince him not to have the surgery.  After he recovered from the flu, the surgery was scheduled very fast.  I was with him and my mom during this time.

Why am I writing this?  Because you know I’m all about “feeling the feelings“.  My dad ate healthy and was very physically fit.  His heart was not healed though.  And eventually his heart could not handle the stress of the emotion he had, but was not taking the time to feel.  After the surgery, he seemed to be getting better.  Right on track.  However the doctors told him although the arteries were now good, his heart was not functioning any better.  Prior to the surgery, his heart was operating at 13%.  That was very hard for him to hear and at that time, only two days after surgery, he started his decline.  On the third night, he was given something to help him sleep.  That med made him anxious and he was given something to help with the anxiety.  That didn’t help and he was subsequently given three more meds.  He became psychotic and it took many days to turn that around.  Now it’s over a week and he is still in ICU.  His lungs had fluid and his kidneys were suffering.  He was finally transferred out of ICU and as the doctor was taking out his stitches, he told my dad that he should be swinging a softball bat in two months or so.

That didn’t happen.  He was again given the wrong meds one night that set him back.  During his time in ICU, he spoke with me about the pain he felt about not being there for his kids.  About this part of him that he kept hidden from everyone.  I tried, and so did my brother, to help him forgive himself.  But these emotions, the ones he ran from his whole life, where finally catching up with him.  And sitting in a hospital for two months didn’t help that.  Yes, he had psychiatrists come in, priests come in, therapists come in.  But his mind wouldn’t let go and his body was continuing to let go.  He was tired of holding on.

He was transferred to another VA closer to my mom.  One week actually going into the rehab portion of the hospital, but that was short lived.  His body could not process the fluids because his heart was not functioning.  After a conversation with the doctor (I still don’t know what was said.  I can only imagine), he made the choice to move to a Hospice Facility.  This was last week.  After a few days there, his body started shutting down.  He stopped eating and everything started to swell with fluid.   Another doctor came in a couple of days ago and stated that “he should have never had the surgery”.  The doctors convinced my mom to go home last night, that this is what patients need to let go.  And let go he did.  Peacefully, in the middle of the night.

Has the grieving started?  For me it started years ago.  Grieving for the life I thought I was going to have.  I’ve made my peace with my parents.  I’ve thanked them for making me who I am today.  I’ve tried to help them through their own grief.  But each of us processes this differently.  We all have different filters.  Did they accept my process and believe me when I said I’d forgiven them?  I doubt it.  That’s the sad part.  Most of the time we grieve only for ourselves.  This process is for us, not for those around us.

All this talk of 2012…has anyone seen the movie yet?  What’s it about?  My belief is it’s about making peace with yourself, your loved ones, your friends.  Our earth can only hold so much negative emotion.  Do your work.  The denial, the blame, the guilt and the anger, don’t work anymore.  We need to heal as a planet.

Is today the day you will make that appointment with your therapist?  Today the day you will hug your child and not put your expectations on them?  Is today the day you will start that yoga or meditation class or start eating healthier?  Will you grieve today?  Will you cry for the pain, for the life you thought you were going to live?  Will you let go of all you are holding onto?  All that is making you unhealthy?  I pray you do not wait.

Be well, Donna


Most of us know the feeling…..when our emotions are too much to handle and we want to deny or bury them with food.  Or if we just don’t know what we are feeling and food is the comfort we have always turned to.  I am an emotional eater.  After turning to a mostly living food lifestyle, I still tend to indulge in the sugar treat, but it only makes me feel crappy.  Alas, even the emotional eating part of my life has changed.

When you feel your strongest cravings for food, chances are you are at your weakest point emotionally.  You may find yourself turning to food and not even know why.  Maybe you understand you are doing it for comfort, or to help you face a problem, handle stress, fight boredom, express anger or deal with anxiety.  Most of us do it unconsciously.  Whether consciously or unconsciously, it will affect your physical and emotional well being.

Emotional eating will sabotage your weight-loss efforts and will lead to eating too much, especially during this holiday time.  You may overeat for many reasons; unemployment, health problems, bad weather, fatigue, work stress or relationship problems.  Eating for these reasons can often lead to eating too much of the high fat, high calorie and the sugar rich foods!  Some people actually eat less during high emotional times.  I tend to eat less during depressing times.  Like with the recent passing of my father, even though I think about food constantly, my stomach won’t allow overeating.  I’ve had many moments where I don’t even remember eating.  And I look at my plate and it’s gone and I didn’t even enjoy it.  You could be reaching for some food right now as you read this and not even thinking about what’s happening.  You may also reach for food instead of dealing with a painful situation.  I’m trying to cry when I need to and take advantage of alone time, but also find comfort in family and friends.

Do the emotions you’ve tried to deny by eating actually go away? No, they often return and will drive you to overeat again, unless you deal with them.  It is an unhealthy cycle.  However,  you must first realize you are doing it.  Try not to beat yourself up for eating without thinking.  Let’s go over some techniques to help you the next time you reach for food instead of that kleenex.

Think before you eat.  Do you want to eat because you are emotional or because you are hungry?  Is your stomach grumbling?  Did you just recently eat?  Give this craving a little time to pass.  Take a walk or drink a glass of water first.

Try to deal with stress in other ways.  If you eat to calm stress, try yoga, meditation or listening to relaxing music.

Get support from friends or family or a group.  These people will help and can sometimes talk you through what you are really feeling.

Writing down how you are feeling when you think you want to eat or keeping a food diary can help.  This may help you see the patterns and help you connect your mood with food.

Here’s something I do:  Don’t keep those snacks you tend to over indulge with around the house.  If I don’t have them, I can’t eat them.  Or I will just buy one cookie, instead of a whole box.
It’s ok to enjoy an occasional treat.  Don’t deprive yourself.  That will just increase your food cravings. 
Healthy snacks.  You can never have enough around the house.  Choose raw, such as fresh fruit and veggies.  I don’t use salad dressing usually.  A big salad with every veggie that’s available.  Add some fruit or lemon juice for a dressing.  Mix well.

It’s hard to fight boredom.  We have so many coping mechanisms. I find laughing to help with boredom.  Always have on hand a funny movie or a classic sitcom.  How about playing your favorite artist really loud and dancing around the house?

Are you getting enough sleep?  It’s hard to feel stable with your emotions if you are also tired.  Naps are good and you should not feel guilty.

If you still can’t get a grip on your emotions, seek professional help.  A therapist will help you understand your emotional eating and help you learn new coping skills.
And here’s the most important one: If you have an emotional eating episode, forgive yourself. Write about it and plan what you can do to prevent it in the future.  Focus on the positive and what you are learning.

Keep in touch with your feelings.  Make the choice to feel joy. 

According to Wikipedia, “The lymphatic system….is a network of conduits that carry a clear fluid called lymph.  It also includes the lymphoid tissue through which the lymph travels….Lymphoid tissue defends the body against infections and the spread of tumors….Lymphoid tissue is found in many organs, particularly the lymph nodes.”  The body has between 500-600 lymph nodes.  The heaviest concentration of lymph nodes exist in the neck, groin, chest, abdomen and underarms and in association with the blood vessels of the intestines.

Lymph nodes are about the size and shape of a bean and have a honeycomb structure.  They play an extremely important role in maintaining health by filtering bodily fluids and trapping foreign particles.  They also fight disease and house lymphocytes which are critical at fighting off disease.  The lymphocytes pass through the nodes and if pathogens are detected, antigens from the pathogen bind to the lymphocytes and produce antibodies.  Other types of lymphocytes contain a toxic compound and destroy invading pathogens.  Macrophages are another pathogen component that trap the intruder.  Lymph nodes can swell due to an increase of lymphocytes, antibodies and macrophages.

The disease of the lymphatic system is called lymphedema.  It is the swelling or bloating caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid in our skin tissue in the arms or legs.  This condition will occur if the lymphatic system is damaged or has malformations.  The swelling is usually in the limbs.  Some causes of swollen lymph nodes are cancer, infections and infectious mononucleosis.  Lymph nodes act as filters.  They contain many lymphocytes or white blood cells and they will destroy bacteria and viruses in the lymph.  While fighting the infection, the node becomes swollen and tender.  You may have noticed swollen lymph nodes in your neck, but not experience any other symptoms.  I often get pain or swelling in my lymph nodes in my neck.  I believe it’s a flushing out of toxins or that my body is trying to flush out an infection.  This could be emotional or physical.  I believe that all chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused by lack of oxygen at the cellular level.  This is what they teach at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, FL.  Wheatgrass and living foods are wonderful ways to get healing oxygen into your body and cells.  Dr. Guyton wrote, “The importance of this function of the lymphatics cannot be stressed too strongly, for there is no other route besides the lymphatics through which excess proteins can return to the circulatory system.”

One of the functions of the lymphatic system is removing impurities, dead cells, bacteria, unwanted organisms or toxins from the body.  Another is the absorption of fats and proteins from our diet through the intestinal lacteals.  This gives the lymph fluid its milky color.  The lymph fluid is circulated by our muscles moving.  It also helps get oxygen and nutrients to cells by removing the dead cells, toxins, poison, and excess water from around the cells.  Intestinal tract cleansing helps with the absorption of nutrients and fats needed for good lymphatic system function.  A diet high in fresh veggies and fruit will help raise your oxygen, energy and nutrient levels.  And drinking plenty of water will flush your system and hydrate your body.

A lymph system cleanse is a wonderful thing.  The lymph system is filled with waste that has built up over your lifetime.  A cleanse will help to clean every organ and system you have.  It will effect every part of your body.  You can purchase lymph system cleanses online or ask your local health food store what they recommend.

So here we are again…..back to diet.  It’s common sense.  We need fresh foods and the nutrients they provide for our energy.  This brings life to our cells.  Junk food uses up more oxygen and we need that oxygen to heal.  Fats and proteins are low in oxygen content.  They also require extra oxygen.  Processed sugar, white flour, alcohol, coffee and soda, are other foods that require precious oxygen and take it away from our cells.

Here are a few easy things to try:

Breathing…just breathing.  Breathing helps move the lymph fluid.  Take some deep breaths.  In yoga it’s called pranayama.  Take a deep breath into your belly and hold it for a couple of heartbeats.  Exhale slowly.  Exhaling toxins out.  Massage is great too.  Check with your local massage therapist to see if they offer lymphatic massage.  Don’t forget to drink water after your massage.  This will increase lymphatic flow and release toxins.  Also, try a rebounder or inversion table.  Jumping on a mini trampoline is a great form of exercise for the lymph system.  This will help the fluid pump around the body.  Cycling, walking and running are also good.  Sweating is good.  This is releasing toxins.

Take in some good breaths and flush out the old!

Psyllium has been showing up as an ingredient in high-fiber breakfast cereals. It has been claimed to be effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels in those who consume it.  "Several studies point to a cholesterol reduction attributed to a diet that includes dietary fiber such as psyllium," says Wikipedia.  Sometimes all I have to do is read a sentence and it convinces me I have to try it in something other than what I find it in on the grocery shelf.  This one screams "Put me in a smoothie, please!"

This is about the benefit of using powdered psyllium that you can certainly find in stores or at the bulk department in your local health food store.  Metamucil?  What's that?  I'd rather have a fresh drink made right in my own kitchen with all the benefits.  You don't want to ever take psyllium fiber without fluid.  Follow directions on the label, or with a teaspoon of psyllium, take at least 8 oz of liquid.  More is not better here.  Putting just a little of this potent ground husk is enough to make your smoothie great and to regulate your digestive system.  Be sure to thoroughly blend your powder in your favorite blender.  If you do take psyllium capsules, read and follow the directions on the label carefully.

Psyllium is good for constipation or food cravings and ground psyllium is well-known to benefit irregularity but it can also regulate your appetite and fat absorption and that can turn your smoothies into diet food.  Studies have also shown that psyllium is effective in lowering total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.  Other studies have revealed positive benefits of psyllium to be effective in helping with Crohn's Disease by acting as a prebiotic.  This will aid the healing of the inner lining of the inflamed intestines.
The fibers in psyllium will absorb water and add bulk to stool.  In my reading I've found that some doctors may tell you it takes a few months for psyllium to work.  That is misleading.  If you are consistently constipated, you may need to replenish the beneficial bacteria in your belly.  This is what may take a few months.  It will take that much time to build up the healthy bacteria that use fiber as their food.  Then the healthy bacteria feed, fill up your colon and then become easier to eliminate.  Psyllium husk powder is a soluble fiber.  It will relieve constipation and diarrhea and the bloating and gas that is common in IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).   High consumption of psyllium can lower the mortality rate from colon cancer.
The bulkiness of psyllium fiber is beneficial to satisfy your appetite.  Adding psyllium husk powder to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner smoothie will fill you up and reduce your cravings.  This fiber will make for a thicker smoothie.  In an hour after drinking your smoothie, your body senses the thicker consistency and your stomach and small intestine register the changes in viscosity, literally "filling" you up.  Not only does psyllium fiber speed the movement of digested food, it will enable you to absorb less fat from your food.  This fabulous fiber also regulates two different hormones that keep you from getting hungry.

Here are a couple of warnings about psyllium: Prescription drugs should be taken one hour before or two hours after psyllium.  The reason being that the absorption and effectiveness of many drugs may be reduced.  Second, always read the label regarding the amount of liquid you should ingest with this fiber.

What's stopping you from adding this easy ingredient to your smoothies?

Enjoy the consumption and absorption and assimilation and elimination! 

Current Mood: creativecreative

It's really a challenge to stay on a high raw lifestyle when you live with others who are not.  I took last week and challenged myself to juicing as much as I could.  First I have to say I felt wonderful immediately.  My stomach aches disappeared and as of today, I lost four pounds.  I don't usually crave cooked, but I was at that point before I started this.  That craving has disappeared along with the sugar cravings.  I've been at this point many times over the past few years.  Although I eat a high raw diet, I have my moments.  So it always feels great to get back to who I know I really am.  The emotional piece is another issue.  It seemed my body took me on a whirlwind of processing this last week. 

Do you pop antacids during the day?  Do you take over the counter meds for acid reflux or digestion issues?  If your digestive system isn't breaking down the nutrients in your food and absorbing it properly, your body won't be able to stay healthy.  The first question you should ask yourself is, "How's my poop?"  I know, a touchy subject.  But if your digestive system, from stomach to colon, isn't working to its optimum efficiency, you won't be having regular bowel movements.  By regular, I mean 1-2 a day. 

Here are some symptoms of poor digestive health: Hypertension, joint inflammation, migraines, acne, congestion, anxiety, depression, fuzzy thinking, and loss of bone density.  Most of us have lived with stomach problems for so long, we can't imagine it being any way else or that there is a solution.  And how many of us are not even making the connection between most of these dis-eases in the body and the food we eat?  Most of your immune system activity starts in the stomach.  Inflammation starts in your digestive system.  Your gastrointestinal system is the part of you that breaks down your food into raw materials and energy.  If you are having problems breaking down and absorbing this food, it can cause many symptoms and start to address other concerns.   Other symptoms that let you know you are not absorbing nutrients are: cramping, gas, weight loss, loss of muscle, chronic diarrhea or constipation, bloating, and hard or fatty stool.

This is the first time I've heard of the enteric nervous system (ENS).  Your emotional health is connected to your GI system through the ENS.  You know how your stomach feels when you are stressed?  The mind-body connection is very powerful for maintaining or recovering your physical health.  Your GI tract is 20-30 feet long and lined with a protective mucosal barrier.  In this tract, all food-based antigens, toxins and pathogens (disease causing) are looked at and managed.  Having healthy microflora in your GI tract is one of the most powerful ways to enhance your digestion and build immunity. 

What affects the flora in your gut?  The food you eat, its pH balance, fiber, essential fatty acid content, and glycemic load.  Don't forget about past antibiotic use!  So if you are not eating a living food lifestyle, and the lining of your GI tract is too permeable, undigested food particles will cross into the bloodstream, causing a condition called leaky gut.  This seems like such a small problem, right?  Food particles?  How can that affect my health?  If all of your systems aren't working properly, foreign invaders are more harmful.  Your body cannot fight off dis-ease and harmful organisms.  When not working properly, your immune system starts a natural and essential result...an inflammatory response.  This leads to chronic inflammation in your digestive tract and that can lead to certain reactions to food, like dairy and gluten intolerances. 
So are you getting the idea?  If your digestive tract isn't working properly, it's probably due to your food intake and emotional well-being.  Raw foods will absolutely help.  The body does not need to expend so much energy in the digestion process and you won't have to take things like; enzymes, probiotics, acidophilus to restore digestive balance, reset the immune response and aid inflammation.  Your body will crave that which it is allergic to.  Eating a diet high in living foods can help with cravings and emotional well-being.  This type of lifestyle, along with healthy fats and protein, will help your digestive metabolism and regulate your insulin and cortisol.  All of this will give you more energy and definitely elevate your mood. 

Your body used digestive enzymes, stomach acid, bile and digestive hormones to break down food.  Common among adults is an enzyme deficiency in lactase.  This enzyme is needed to digest milk products.  Your stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) decreases as you age.  If you use a pH-balanced diet this will help you not pop those antacids anymore.  Created in the liver, bile is stored in your gallbladder.  Bile is a mixture of cholesterol, salts, pigments, water and minerals and is vital for fat digestion.  There are many hormones used to influence appetite and regulate digestion.  So it certainly looks like if your body cannot provide a healthy level of these fluids, you will definitely experience problems with detoxification AND have trouble maintaining a safe and healthy weight.  Bigger problems include anemia, kidney stones, gallstones, gout and malnutrition.

What else can you do?  Try eliminating the foods that give you stomach aches.  Eating more living foods, taking digestive enzymes and putting back the good bacteria, especially after a dose of antibiotics.  When you eat, just eat.  Chew slowly until your food is liquid.  Remember what Gandhi said..."Chew your drink and drink your food."  Stop drinking with your meal.  If you must drink, small amounts of room temperature water is better.  Remember, your goal is to absorb the nutrients of the food you eat and eliminate the rest.  You do not want to have undigested food hanging around having a party in your stomach or your digestive tract.  That can only lead to lots of bacteria that also poops a lot! 

Have a great day!

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
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