My opinion about the lifestyle changes that benefited my health.
Date: 1/7/2008 3:16:00 AM ( 13 y ) ... viewed 5995 times
From time to time I mention that I have made lifestyle changes as well as undertaking a regime of liver flushing to save my gallbladder which was once full of stones and biliary sludge. I am asked on occasions; what these changes are. I am hesitant to answer this question in the liver flush support forum because I don’t want to go off-topic. I also think we must find our own path and I am very reluctant to start a discussion that involves food because there are as many opinions as people about what to eat, how to eat it and when. Food has become an obsession where magazines and the television have articles and programmes on how to cook and then tell us to diet.
Lifestyle changes aren't just about diet they also include exercise, daily routine and adopting a good frame of mind.
I am keen to avoid any yo-yo effect in the changes I make. It is so easy to adopt a regime for a short while and then fall back into some bad habit or to “reward” oneself for sticking to a good diet by eating some junk. Any changes I make need to be incorporated into a permanent style of living that catered for lapses and treats; it requires flexibility. To this end I needed to move away from thinking about the “perfect” lifestyle and move towards a practical solution where I wouldn’t feel guilt if I defaulted.
At this point I need to interject a potted history of my health issues. I first started to become ill in 1984 after suffering a severe and life threatening bout of pneumonia. I had difficulty recovering and to cut along story short it turned into a syndrome; chronic fatigue or Fibromyalgia; that type of thing. During this period my intake of medication grew in both variety and quantity. Some years later I suffered a spinal compression injury which resulted in chronic pain and a botched operation; more medication in the form of pain killers and antidepressants. Finally, the abdominal pain that I had suffered from occasionally started to plague my life. It turned into biliary colic and the excruciating pain was ruining my days out, restricting my diet and taking over my life.
I was fortunate to be treated at a specialist pain management clinic while suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain is where the nerves continually send pain signals to the brain after the injury heals up; like Dr House on the TV programme. The treatment regime gave me a huge insight about self treatment and the lessons I learnt were compatible with what I read on curezone. I identified 8 areas of lifestyle changes that have had a direct effect on my health which can be summarised as follows:
Sleep. Early to bed and early to rise, etc.
Exercise. Adopt a more active regime including regular rhythmic exercise.
Relaxation. Take time out for yourself, by yourself to chill. Avoid stress.
Stretch. Stretch every morning and think about doing Tai Chi or something similar.
Psychology. Get rid of negative thoughts and be happy with yourself.
Social. Get involved with other people and laugh every day.
Drugs. Stop taking drugs unless it is essential.
Nutrition. Eat wholesome food in a way to suit you.
It is impossible to implement all the changes at once but each step is one step better, one percent more health, and one baby step towards my goal.
The advice I had been given was to establish a natural circadian pattern of sleep no matter how difficult that is. The cycle of sleep and wakefulness is regulated by the brain stem, thalamus, external stimuli, and various hormones produced by the hypothalamus. For example, melatonin levels are highest during the night, and this hormone appears to promote sleep. Adenosine accumulates in the human brain when we are awake but decreases during sleep and the stimulant properties of caffeine negate its effects. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus plays an important role in the regulation of circadian rhythms. The SCN is influenced by external light and also generates its own rhythm in isolation. In the presence of light it sends messages to the pineal gland that instruct it to cease secreting melatonin. The link between bodily chemistry and sleep couldn’t be clearer and the liver is the hormone production controller. My 10 top sleep tips are as follows:
1. Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule, including weekends.
2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music.
3. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
4. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
5. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. Take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment.
6. Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime.
7. Exercise regularly but complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
8. Avoid nicotine.
9. Avoid caffeine.
10. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. It can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night.
Love or hate it, exercise is essential to our wellbeing. I don’t mean all that competitive scary gymnasium exercise but the gentle rhythmic every day movement of our bodies that is responsible for pumping blood through the muscle and extracting waste from the membranes between the muscle fibres. Walking moves the stomach bowels and organs in a steady movement that helps our digestion. The liver and gallbladder are attached via ligaments and are condition by the regular movement of walking. If you look closely at the long bones in the legs such as the femur; it is curved and flexes every time we put weight on it this pumps the blood through marrow. Moving our joints wipes the joint a removes waste keeping hem in good order.
Any exercise is good exercise and I started with just 20 minutes a day.
Stress is a major threat to our health and the frustration and anxiety of modern day living ravages our bodies. I started relaxing by visualisation for two periods of 10 minutes each day in order to reset the hormone levels and my metabolism. I also learnt a breathing trick that I could use at stressful periods with could reduce my heart rate within a minute. I can now implement the same result by just imagining the breathing routine.
Yoga and Tai Chi are very valuable forms of body-and-mind conditioning. The stretching of every muscle and tendon helps the body remove debris and waste. Poor posture causes muscle trigger points to form. For example, trigger points in the digastric muscles in the neck can block the drainage channels from the brain. Poor posture can be induced by a whole manner of things including stress and the hunching associated with abdominal pain. Stretching these muscles removes trigger points and allows toxic waste to drain unrestrictedly from the brain. I carry out regular stretching routine on awakening every day.
Whilst in hospital for chronic pain I was treated among others by a specialist psychologist who introduced me to a number of ideas about how the mind works irrationally and how it can be changed. In particular I was introduced to cognitive behaviour therapy which is a modern day equivalent of spiritualism with some science backing it up. I was taught that my thoughts and feelings are not the same thing and by changing my reaction to a situation it could change the way I thought about life and my health. I don’t get wound up about things I have no control over, like other drivers on the highway. I have abandoned perfectionism because one doesn’t need the bar setting high for every day living and it only leads to premature failure. I have also given up seeking approval for my decision and now, I am my own master.
Being in a social group is very important. Being able to talk and laugh in the company of others provides a tremendous boost to our self belief and confidence. Being social doesn’t mean going out for a drink or a meal. I use to get a good social fulfilment by being with people at work and found it difficult to interact when I lost my job. I set myself goals to become integrated in society in other ways by joining committees, taking up dancing, participating at curezone and enjoying motorcycle rallies. Being able to laugh out loud once a day is good medicine.
I stop taking medication because they don’t work for my long term chronic condition and they were destroying my internal organs. I was on 8 morphine pills a day and a load of other medication and went cold turkey for 4 weeks to get off the pills. The most convincing evidence involves the antidepressant drug amitriptyline which is administered to increase pain threshold and improve sleep. This drug interrupts the digestive cycle allowing food in the stomach to stay there all night and I was told by my doctor also leads to biliary stasis and ultimately surgery to remove the gallbladder.
I first discovered that I could feel healthier by changing what and how I ate after reading a book about combining foods and trying it out. Although there was little scientific support for the theories expressed in the book I immediately had more energy and a clearer mind. I found that eating pre-prepared food and high carbohydrates meals sapped my energy. I follow the rules of food combing today which stipulate that high carbohydrate food isn’t eaten with protein or acid fruit.
I try to eat food with the least amount of human intervention, consequently fresh fruit, vegetables and whole foods are high on the list by ready meals are at the bottom. I avoid eating high carbohydrates like mashed potatoes, white rice, white bread, white pasta etc. I eat three simple meals a day and food intake is separated by at least 4 hours. Just about all the food I eat is prepared in the kitchen from basic whole-food ingredients. Generally speaking I don't eat out except for a few special occasions a year.
I eat as much raw food as I can without interfering with the family routines too much but the family has joined in and think the raw diet makes them feel better. I often eat things like raw porridge with nut oil for breakfast. If I eat bacon I have it with an apple or tomatoes rather than making a sandwich. Lunch is always a plate of raw salad and vegetables, grated carrot, parsnip beetroot, beet leaves eaten like lettuce, dandelion leaves, slice of raw red cabbage, raw leak, some nuts and olives. This plateful of raw salad-like food is eaten with fish, egg, cheese meat and an apple. Lunch is always raw every day except Saturday when anything goes because people are in and out the house all day. I tend to bake bread on Saturday so there is something wholesome to eat for a quick snack. The evening meal is always something and vegetables with fresh fruit for dessert (often with cream). We have an indulgent pudding once a week but over time this has slipped to once every two weeks and generally we now prefer the fruit. We use plenty of ginger, turmeric, and herbs in our cooking as food. We also use olive oil and animal fats rather than margarine. Etc, etc, etc.
I suppose my weakness is biscuits (cookies) and home made cakes which I eat in moderation and infrequently. If I fancy a snack I eat a handful of nuts or crystallised ginger. I don't eat burgers, pizzas or any of the modern fast foods. I suppose I am fairly unique because I never eater a Mcdonalds in my life. I do like homemade pies and pasties and they are on the menu but in moderation and because we make them ourselves I know what’s in them. Not every day is meat or fish; we also like eggs, cheese and beans. We aim for 2 red meat days, 2 white meat days, 2 non-meat days and a fish day. All the family has joined in the new regime except for my daughter. Without going into too much detail I hope you get the picture of a wholesome food intake with built in flexibility to suit my family and me. It is not a purist existence by any means and has taken about 4 years to tailor it to our requirements. As far as I can see most people start to be selective about what they eat in later life and the earlier you can get control the better.
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