Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Tips for Living with Illness or Disease
From fad diets promising quick weight loss to conflicting information from scientists, what can you believe? Who can you trust? Nutrition experts say one thing and doctors believe the opposite. With the overload of information, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. That’s why I decided to write a blog post about holistic nutrition and lifestyle tips for living with illness or disease.
Many diet products and services are just expensive supplements, conveniently disguised by clever MLM marketing tactics. These fad weight loss gimmicks carry no proof of safety or effectiveness; some even present the potential risk for harm.
Dealing with illness, disease, and adverse medical conditions can add significant amounts of stress to the situation. This article will present a unique, holistic (body/mind/spirit) concept around nutrition and lifestyle when living with illness or disease.
Inspiration, Motivation, Determination
My inspiration to start a career in holistic nutrition and health comes from my biggest hero ever, my Dad. He passed away in 2012 at the young age of 57 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease.) He was diagnosed in May of 2004, was given a 2 year life expectancy, and passed away in January of 2012. He lived for 10 years with this horrible terminal disease, 8 years beyond his diagnosis.
The usual life expectancy upon diagnosis of ALS is 2-3 years. I attribute his life expectancy anomaly to the recommendations I was giving him based on the research I performed, the courses I became certified in, and good old fashioned trial and error of our own. We overhauled his entire lifestyle.
By eliminating toxins and switching to all organic food and personal care products, he was able to slow the progression of his disease. Through better nutrition, mindful living, and having a positive attitude (as much as possible given the situation), he was able to outlive his life expectancy.
Tip Number 1 - Healthy Eating, Body Cleansing & Detox, Food Journaling
My personal research indicated that ALS and other brain/nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis are caused by an excess amount of mercury in the body – especially the brain. My research also indicated a common, repeating occurrence of dental amalgams (silver fillings) in people with these types of diseases (especially ALS).
These are some of the frightening things doctors and dentists are not telling us. The reason is most likely because they either don’t know themselves, or totally discredit any evidence or patient testimonies of personal accounts, such as mine.
The first thing I recommend to anyone who is afflicted and living with illness or disease is to remove all dental amalgams. My second recommendation (whether or not amalgams are present) is to do a body cleanse and detox. Similar to diets, there are hundreds of different types of cleanses and detox methods available.
I recommend investing time into researching the specific cleanse that’s designed for whatever illness or disease you want to address. The most common cleanses are heavy metal, colon, lymphatic, and liver/kidney cleanses. In fact, the lymphatic system is the most underrated system in your body.
Everyone knows about the immune system and how important it is in order to maintain a healthy, disease-free body. However, most people have no idea that their immune system is actually controlled by their lymphatic system. This is well-known in Asia and India. In Ayruvedic and Chinese medicine, they address your lymphatic system before considering your immune system. The reason is simple and I will explain.
You MUST Address the Most Important System in Your Entire Body
The lymph system runs up and down throughout your body parallel to your circulatory system and blood flow. The lymph system moves only in one direction (upward) but the circulatory system however, runs in a continuous loop. Lymph fluid goes through the cells of your body, bathing the cells in the fluid, and cleanses the toxins from the cells.
Think of lymphatic fluid as oil for your car and how oil goes through the engine components and attracts all of the dirt, particles, and grime.
The lymph system contains holding spaces called nodes throughout the body. The lymph system is actually connected to the circulatory system. The lymph nodes are filters for the fluid and they clean out the toxins in the lymphatic system. Some of the toxins collected and filtered are viruses, bacteria, dead blood cells, cancer cells, and other pathogens.
When the lymph nodes become clogged up with these toxins, they swell up. This is why you often get “swollen lymph nodes” when you are sick.
For this reason, it’s essential for the fluid to be circulated throughout your body. If the fluid has nowhere to go, it will accumulate in the nodes. Once lymph nodes become saturated with toxins, they can start to breed nasty things like infection and even cancer, such as with exposure to asbestos.
Through the lymph fluid, the illness or disease gets passed through the blood and to other parts of the body. This is precisely why cancer spreads like wildfire once it enters the blood stream!
Up, Down, and All Around…
My favorite subtle exercise by far is called rebounding. Rebounding is basically bouncing on a mini trampoline. I’m not talking about those giant trampolines you see in the backyards of suburban homes, which are great to use as well. What I’m referring to is a small, round trampoline (about 3 feet or almost 1 meter in diameter). I enjoy rebounding because it’s fun and easy to do, and doesn’t cause as much stress to your joints as jogging and other cardio machines.
Rebounding helps move and circulate your lymphatic fluid. Similar to a car and flushing the fluids regularly, it’s imperative to keep the lymphatic fluid clean and well circulated. Basically, the lymphatic system is the toxin waste stream of the body. It stores all of the wastes and toxins that are dumped from other organs and cells. This fluid moves upward through the lymphatic ducts (those nodes in your neck and under your arms) toward the heart and neck.
My dad rebounded on a mini trampoline every single day after we discovered this simple exercise can help eliminate toxins and ease ALS symptoms. Any type of up and down movement circulates the lymph fluid, but rebounding is the most subtle and requires little effort. This is great if you suffer from limited mobility. Rebounding can benefit many illnesses and diseases.
When living with illness or disease, aside from toxin elimination, the rest is nutrition and lifestyle based. Eat foods that agree with your body. In order to know what foods agree with your body, you must listen to what your body is communicating to you. Your body is always communicating in the form of symptoms, but most of the time, we’re not listening.
Start Listening to Your Body
If you start listening to what your body is telling you, knowing what and how to eat becomes easier. The most powerful tip I recommend is to keep an ongoing food journal. Write down everything you eat for every meal. Then write down how you felt before, how you feel 10 minutes after eating, then 30 minutes or an hour after eating the meal. Doing this will allow you to see patterns with the foods you’re eating.
For example, if you eat cereal, a bagel, or high carb foods in the morning then experience an energy crash, you likely shouldn’t eat whatever you ate in the morning. The same concept goes for when you feel amazing and full of energy after eating a meal – you probably should have that food more often.
When it comes to holistic nutrition and lifestyle, just remember this: no health coach, nutritionist, dietitian, or even doctor knows your body better than your body knows your body! Keeping an active food journal will give you access to what works and doesn’t work exclusively for your body.
From this record, you can always refer back and understand why something didn’t agree or may have caused an issue. In my opinion and from my experience coaching people, keeping a food journal is the most effective way to create a personalized diet plan for your body. Get a food journal here.
When it comes to thoughts and emotions, you’re like an onion – layers and layers and layers have to be peeled away in order to get to the center of what you’re really thinking and feeling. Once all layers have been peeled away, you’re left with nothing, and from this empty space, you can create anything.
Tip Number 2 - Mindful Living (Get in Tune With your Thoughts and Emotions)
My father’s health and nutrition experiences were certainly not an easy process or discovery. It took months to fine-tune a personalized diet that worked for his body. When diagnosed with illness or disease, there’s an added level of physical, mental, and emotional stress to deal with. Being well informed and mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and actions is essential.
Eating healthy is not only important for the physical body; it greatly affects the mental, emotional, and spiritual areas of your life as well. The old adage goes, “You are what you eat.” That statement may not be far from the truth. Body, mind, and spirit connection is becoming more and more recognized in the mainstream these days, and is something I’m ecstatic about. The foods you choose to put into your body are in direct correlation to the mental and emotional states you’re experiencing most of the time.
When you choose healthy and nutrient dense physical foods, those foods impact your mental and emotional state just as much. When you feel good about what you’re eating, you will feel good emotionally, mentally, and physically as well. When you feel good in all these areas, you will naturally feel happier, healthier, and sometimes, if need be, a more productive you.
The key to making healthy food choices is getting in tune with what’s going on inside. There are many things to uncover, and many unhealthy habits we acquire due to not wanting to face certain issues within ourselves.
When you become authentic and honest with yourself and with other people, proper food choices will automatically follow because you respect, love, and value yourself.
Tip Number 3 - ALWAYS Have a Positive Attitude!
Before my dad passed away, he shared some of the most profound wisdom I’ve ever been exposed to in my life. He told me that “life itself is our greatest teacher” and “we always have a chance to start life all over.” He also said “when you take responsibility for your life experience and face your fearful feelings, you are able to laugh in the face of defeat.”
Even though he suffered tremendously in the last year of his life, my dad maintained an incredibly positive attitude. He woke up each day feeling inspired to beat his disease, no matter what it took. He told me that staying in a positive mental and emotional state about his illness was his only choice.
He chose to live inspired, by accepting his affliction instead of resisting what was so. He said resistance to his illness was the illness and not the ALS itself. He became extremely philosophical in his later years as I think he learned a tremendous amount from dealing with an illness like ALS. I firmly believe his positive attitude also contributed hugely to why he lived so long after being diagnosed.
Having a positive attitude is also important for children, parents, family, friends, and even community members. Even if you’re not living with illness or disease, having a positive attitude as much as possible can make the most challenging conflict or event bearable.
Are YOU Ready to Listen to Your Body?
In conclusion, listening to your body, combined with toxin elimination, good nutrition, mindful living, and maintaining a positive attitude can have a significant impact on your life. This is especially true if you or a loved one or friend has been diagnosed and is living with illness or disease.
I hope my personal experiences with my father, can relate to what patients and their loved ones and caretakers are faced with. I’m confident and trust that our experiences have the potential to greatly improve the quality of so many lives.
Although my father ultimately ended up passing away, he had minimal end of life complications compared to the majority of people who have passed away from ALS. His willingness to implement holistic nutrition and lifestyle modifications while keeping a positive outlook helped ease his suffering tremendously.
To learn more about holistic nutrition and natural health, check out my book. In it, I cover every aspect of body, mind, and spirit health.