Tag Archives: body wisdom

Reader Question: Toxins

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What toxins are in our bodies and how to get rid of them? -Victoria

This is another great question from Victoria.

This entire concept of toxins has really spawned an entire industry based on cleansing the body.  Cleanse.  Clean.  Pure.

“Toxin” is one of those words that I’d like to see eradicated for a while.  It has created so much fear and a certain attitude of war against the body.

I’m not denying that we live in something of a cesspool of our own creation, most definitely.  However, we focus our energy on cleansing the body of the individual instead of stopping the toxic things at their source.  For example, a large part of the toxins that we ingest are in our water.  Instead of us getting really angry about that, we’ve allowed corporations to charge us money for “clean water” in bottles (plastic of course which are toxic).

Okay, reining myself back in.  That wasn’t really the question.

We are contextual beings.  What that means is that our body cannot be separated from its environment.  If you’ve ever looked at single celled organisms through a microscope, you now that they are “swimming’ through a solution of something.  There’s not just empty space between them.  It’s the same idea with us.  The “empty space” that you see between yourself and the person next to you or the tree a few feet away is not empty at all.  It’s swirling with life, dust, pollen, and all sorts of other things.  So, we are only as “non-toxic”  as our environment.

Our bodies co-evolved with everything else in our environment.  This means that we evolved all sorts of “cleansing” mechanisms naturally and within ourselves.  We have several organs who do that: the skin, the liver, the kidneys, the intestines, the lungs, etc.  A well nourished healthy body cleanses itself naturally.

However, we as a species have been very busy creating new toxins to fill that “empty space” between things.  The body may need a little additional help.

The things that we now have to deal with are pesticides in our food, radiation in the air and water, sugar, vegetable oils, genetically modified foods and strange chemical combinations created by industry.  These are the biggies.

Some of these are pretty easy to control.  Stop eating sugar and vegetable oils and GMO foods.  Source your water from a spring or use a filter for the tap.  Get angry about industry and see what you can do about your local area.  (This is hard.  Very, very hard.  Money and politics are strong forces in this day and age.)

Here are the other things that you can do:

1.  Eat well.  You eat to very literally create yourself.  What you eat is broken down and used by your body to repair and make more of you on a cellular level.

2.  Nourish your organs.  Your organs regenerate.  Your skin, your liver….you basically get new ones every few weeks to months.  So, give your body the best nutrients to build organs that are capable of cleansing the body, not just limp along trying to survive.

3.  Eat clay.  Find some edible clay and take a little bit in each day.  Just a bit.  I make toothpaste with mine.  Other times, I dissolve a little bit in my water.  This really helps with radioactivity, but it also helps with other poisons and is full of minerals.  Other mammals do this and its a traditional practice in nearly all cultures.

4.  Sweat.  A sauna is such a nice passive way to do this.  Moving intensely and with purpose is also really nice.  I’m not a big fan of gyms.  I find it far more satisfying to sweat doing something really productive.  Carry the groceries up the 5 flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator.  Scrub the kitchen floor with a brush.  Really allow your body to live in your life.

5.  Look into herbs.  There are herbs that correspond with particular organs.  I prefer to use herbs that nourish my liver or my skin instead of stronger, really medicinal ones that have an actual cleansing effect on the body.  I’d rather that my body know it has allies that are working with it instead of substances that are nearly as toxic as the substances that it is trying to detoxify itself from.

Cleansing when the body is compromised in any way can be harsh and further break down the body’s vitality.  Instead, find ways to nourish the body in little ways daily.  Keep your environment authentic.

And, remember that dirty and toxic are not the same thing.  Going outside and rolling around in the mud or playing in the dirt is actually really good for you.

Disclaimer: Everything here is my opinion and for information purposes only.  What you do with that information is your responsibility alone.

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Easier said than done.

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Health tips are happening on my Facebook page lately.  It’s just evolving in that direction.  Yesterday’s was the following:

“Eat when you’re hungry.  Don’t eat when you’re not.”

Yeah, groundbreaking stuff, there. I could almost hear the collective muttering, “duh” in a hushed exhale.

I concede that it’s not news.  It’s not avant garde.  It’s not the latest scientific breakthrough.

In my defense, however, chances are mighty, mighty good that you’re not following this old, ratty advice.  Chances are pretty good that you are probably trying to find ways to eat less than you are actually hungry for a lot of the time and eating way past that full signal other times.  How do I know that?  What, am I made of stone?  These things I speak of are things with which I am familiar, my friends.

Of course, in some part of your mind, or maybe a lot of your mind, you think that you can’t follow this little “rule” because there’s something quite wrong with you.  I mean, really, it’s so easy a kid could do it.  And before we cram crazy messages into their tender brains, they all do.

So if you can’t do it, what’s wrong with you?

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  That’s right.  There’s nothing wrong with you.

There is probably something wrong with the nourishment that you are receiving though.  I’ll bet a shiny new quarter on it, actually.

Here are the reasons that I think following this most obvious and simple guideline is so difficult:

1.  We’re told that the body is not to be trusted.  We get this message from early on from everywhere.  So, when it’s 10:30 on a Tuesday morning and you’re still not hungry but stuff down some breakfast because you’ve been told that “it’s the most important meal of the day” or it’s 8:15 on a Monday night and your stomach is growling but you ignore it because “you’re not supposed to eat past 7”, you do this because you don’t trust your body.

2.  You are malnourished.  You will continue to eat until you get the nutrients that you need, not the calories that you need.  This is a crucial distinction.  We’ve shifted in the past 100 years to the caloric model of eating.  You can eat a pint or more of low-fat ice cream during a commercial break.  Just TRY and eat that much liver.  And if liver is gross to you, you can change that to steak.  Your body wants nutrients first and foremost.  You understand this.  A tablespoon of white sugar is not the same thing as a tablespoon of just about anything else.  The calories may be the same but the drive to eat more will not be sated with the sugar.  There are no nutrients.  None.  And worse, foods such as sugar and white flour actually use up your stores of other nutrients to digest.  So, you’re not getting “no nutrition”, you’re getting “negative nutrition”.  And what do you need?  Positive nutrition in order to feel full, good, and healthy.

3.  Malnutrition is not just a matter of food.  If you feel agitated, you may need to go for a walk or punch a pillow.  Cake will not allow the emotion to move through.  Cake will numb it and repress it and that can feel helpful at times, but the agitation is still there, just buried under cake.  The starvation you feel when loneliness overtakes you?  French fries really don’t give a flip about your struggles.  Friends do.  The craving you have for affection will not be met by squirting the whole can of whipped cream in your mouth.  This cycle only creates more agitation, more loneliness, more cravings for human touch.  In the same way negative nutrition creates deeper and deeper deficits, using food to do something it’s not meant to do, creates deeper and deeper emotional deficits.

4.  Portion prescriptions.  Once you are able to connect with your hunger, portions are the stupidest thing EVER.  There are days when I eat 5 snacks a day.  None are big enough to be called a meal.  Others, I eat the traditional 3 squares.  Some, I eat one big meal with a steak so big it can’t fit on the plate.  Once in a long while, I only want a smoothie for the whole day. Portions as mandated from the heavens assume that you are the same, day in, day out.  They assume that your level of activity is identical every day.  They assume that your hormones never fluctuate.  They assume that you at 18 is the same as you at 45.  Yes, I know there are “formulas” that allow for variance, but, really? Formulas?  How hungry are you today?  Well, eat.  If you’re not, don’t.  You don’t have to eat 5 meals a day if you’re not hungry five times a day.

I could probably go on and on but this will dissolve into a rant instead of something useful REAL quick, so I’ll stop there.  In short, eat when you’re hungry.  Don’t eat when you’re not.  Basically, Nourish yourself into Freedom.

If you haven’t joined us for #30daymove, yet, it’s not too late.  Never too late!

the mythology of the happy new you

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Happy New Year everyone!

I have been gone from the blog for a long time.  Of course, after every vacation, I feel that I need a vacation.

During my time away from here, a lot of things have changed.  I took the decision to emphasize speaking as part of my service offerings this year, I found an apartment in a new town, I will be saying goodbye to the sweetest little cabin in the woods ever that my son and I made livable, I ate a lot of cheese, and I realized how very, very much I hate being sick.  I’ve had a cold that just won’t go away but the lack of sleep and the holiday festivities don’t help with that (nor did all that cheese!).

Last night, after downing a healthy dose of magnesium and sleepy herb tea, I had a great night’s sleep.  I woke up this morning knowing what I wanted to talk to you about: the happy new you crap that springs up around this time every year.

I have nothing against changes and the daily habitual movement towards more vibrant health, more rational and expansive thought, ever more profound respect of the bodies that we each are.  In fact, I’ve pretty much devoted my life to this.  HOWEVER, it is the underlying message of the new year/new you mantra that rubs me the very wrong way.

Reading between the lines of this is a very calculated way of getting you to feel a lot of discontent.  Resolve this year, finally, to just not be you anymore.  Because, “you” is not enough.  “You” is not good.  “You” is not flashy, sexy, skinny, stylish, productive, fit, valid enough.  “You” is quite simple, flawed.  Throw it out.  Get a new “You”.

Oh, trust me, I get the allure.  I had the flashing insight a couple years ago that my greatest addiction is “starting over”.  It’s very much part of the diet mentality.  Monday morning I will just START OVER.  By, Friday I was binging on everything in sight because Monday-Thursday I had set up impossible standards.  But, that golden promise of Monday morning, the shiny perfection that would be my life started then.  Amplify that expectation by a gajillion and you have the Happy New Year/Happy New You myth.

This will be the year that you have the whitest teeth, the sharpest collar bones, the perkiest butt, the best job, the cleanest house, the most romantic relationship and the most fulfilling friendships.  (My resolution was to always have the flattest stomach!  My body shape simply will never allow for that.  I have a broad ribcage and a high waist…literally will never have the flattest stomach!)  I just feel exhausted thinking about all that pressure we’ve just put on ourselves.

1.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  Nothing.  

2. Is having collar bones sharp enough to give paper cuts in the office really one of your cherished values?  Is it possible that it’s important to you because you have been brainwashed by the diet/fashion industry to even want them?

3. How do you really want to spend your time this year?  Depriving yourself of pleasure so you can feel that you are meeting a group of strangers sitting in a board room’s expectations or nourishing yourself into greater and greater freedom?

The difference between the new you myth and the nourishing freedom way of life is that in my way of thinking, you already are the source of your greatest wisdom.  Yep, that old, shabby you that’s knocking around your un-flashy life is the greatest treasure that you have.  Nor did you have to spend a dime for it.  The body that you may find less than: not thin enough, not strong enough, not…enough, has more to teach you than any upper level college course, more than pursuing your doctorate.  It KNOWS.

The secret to empowered change is to honor your body.  Listen to it.  Respect it.  Give it want it needs and what it wants.

It may take some time to accomplish this.  We live in a world that trains us to be deaf to ourselves.  It actively has a vested interest in insuring that you are completely cut off from everything that you really know in your bones to be true and replaces it all with mirages.  My job as a coach is to act as a facilitator, as a guide on the incredibly fascinating and enriching path back to yourself.  Yes, you will most likely change your appearance, you will most likely change how your clothes fit.  You will most definitely change how you feel.  You will change your health.  You will change the way you process things.  Most profoundly, you will change your perspective and all the external noise will no longer apply to you.  You will find an inexhaustible font of joy.  You will find the true source of wealth.  And, it’s right there, in the oldest you.

So…Happy Ancient You!

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