After a night of sleep, the best and most delightful way to get your digestive juices flowing is to eat one of nature’s perfect foods: fruit. Fresh fruit are the best way to start your day because they are easy to digest, so you can ease your body into the day and avoid a shock to your system first thing in the morning.
Fruit is composed of simple sugars, many vitamins and minerals and lots of water that assimilate into the body very quickly. This allows the body to remain in its detoxification mode longer, rather than demanding heavy digestive processes first thing in the morning.
According to the laws of proper food combining, eating fresh fruit on an empty stomach is most beneficial for digestion. It is further recommended, especially if you have sensitive digestive system, to eat one type of fruit at a time, as different families of fruit require different enzymes for digestion. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and tangerines combine well together and should be eaten separately from other categories of fruit. Melons should always be eaten alone as well.
Some types of fruit that go well together are:
- Strawberries and kiwis
- Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
- Sweet apples, peaches and cherries
- Pears, papayas and mangoes
- Apricots, sweet plums, fresh figs
- Bananas and sweet grapes
A recent headline in the New York Times read, “Breast Cancer Drugs Urged for Healthy High-Risk Women.” It immediately caught my attention and made me think, “wait a minute – healthy women are not high risk!” Unfortunately, the conventional medical establishment often becomes so focused on curing one specific disease that they forget that a true state of health comes about by treating the whole body and mind.
The article goes on to explain that a medical panel recently recommended that doctors prescribe two potent anti-cancer drugs to women who’s family history puts them at high risk for breast cancer. What’s the problem? To begin with, the drugs (called Tamoxifen and Raloxifene) have serious side effects that include blood clots and stroke. They are potent toxins that severely undermine a person’s health in numerous areas.
Prescribing toxic pharmaceuticals to a healthy patient violates the first principal of naturopathic medicine which is “first, do no harm.” The first goal of naturopathic medicine is to eliminate stored toxins from the body and prevent the introduction of new toxins through adjustments to a persons diet and lifestyle.
While family history and genetic makeup can increase a person’s susceptibility to developing cancer, these risk factors can be intercepted through diet and lifestyle. Staying active, adopting a natural, plant-based diet and supplementing with natural, hormone-balancing remedies as needed, along with detailed and specific organ balancing and detoxification are all sustainable, health-promoting strategies which will not only lower a person’s risk of developing cancer, but will also actively promote a state of total health and prevent the development of a wide range of conditions and diseases.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never thought about learning how to breathe. After all, our body does it automatically from the moment we’re born and the doctor slaps us on the back. But as we grow up, stress causes us to fall into a pattern of superficial, shallow breathing and our body gets starved for oxygen. A lack of sufficient oxygen can contribute to many health problems, including heart disease, sleep disorders, lack of concentration and fatigue, to name a few.
Deep, rhythmic breathing is the foundation of physical and mental health. After a lifetime of shallow breathing, it requires focus and concentration to learn how to breath deeply again. With practice, however, deep breathing can become automatic and can radically transform our internal environment.
According to the Yogic perspective, proper breathing brings more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and it also controls the vital life energy, or Prana. When we breathe in, we take in oxygen, which then passes through the body in a form that revitalizes everything it touches. Then we exhale carbon dioxide and release toxins from the body. The practice of Pranayam helps you absorb vital life energy through breath control, linking your body, mind and spirit.
Deep breathing is something you can practice on your own, at any time of day. It can take as little as 5 minutes, and the effects will be dramatic:
- Sit comfortably, either in a chair or on the floor. Feel your spine elongate towards the ceiling and drop your shoulders away from your ears.
- Throughout the exercise, make an effort to breathe in through your nose, but if this is difficult, you can start by breathing through your mouth.
- Place your hands on your abdomen and breath out. Tighten your belly muscles to release as much air as possible.
- Breathe in slowly, imagining your belly like a balloon that’s filling with air.
- Let the breath rise from your belly, up into your chest and all the way to the top of your collarbone.
- Exhale slowly, the same length as your inhalation. Let your chest deflate first, then gradually contract your abdomen.
- Begin with five or ten repetitions of this breath, and increase the number of repetitions as it becomes more natural.
Deep breathing can feel uncomfortable at first because it uses muscles in our chest and abdomen that aren’t used to getting a workout. Over time, however, deep breathing can become a source of pleasure as it gently massages our internal organs, revitalizes our energy and helps regulate our mood and strengthen our concentration. After this practice becomes a habit, you may find your body automatically breathing deeper during the day. Success!
Everyone knows that they have a skeletal system and a muscular system – that’s what we use to move. We know we have a respiratory system that helps us breath, a cardiovascular system that pumps blood throughout the body and a nervous system that helps regulate our response to our environment. But that’s not all you need to know…
The lymphatic system is equally crucial for our health and wellbeing. It helps maintain healthy blood and detoxify the body. Without a lymphatic system, the waste produced from daily activities would accumulate in our bodies, causing disease and ultimately death.
The lymphatic system works hand in hand with your immune system to strengthen the body’s response to toxins and foreign agents. Lymph is a clear fluid that runs in capillaries that parallel your blood vessels. However, unlike the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, which rely on the heart and the lungs, the lymph system has no automatic pump. Without exercise, lymphatic fluid will stagnate, and toxins will accumulate and manifest as disease.
Some major lymph nodes are located under your armpits and at your hip joints. As a result, any activity that moves those joints will help stimulate and move the lymph to process and eliminate toxins. One powerful way to get your lymph flowing is to put on a piece of high-energy classical music and pretend to be the conductor. The activity of swinging your arms will act as the pump your lymphatic system needs. So next time you feel sickness coming on, remember that in the symphony of your body and all it’s different systems, you are the conductor of your own health!
Everyone knows it’s important to exercise, but do you know why? It’s not just about losing weight - exercise has a beneficial impact on every system in your body and can help alleviate numerous conditions.
Here are just a few of the benefits of physical activity:
- Lowers stress
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves flexibility
- Enhances blood circulation
- Strengthens the heart
- Tones the muscles
- Relieves pain by pumping endorphins into your system
- Strengthens bones
- Improves quality of sleep
- Relieves menstrual cramps
If there were a quick, cheap, side-effect free medical procedure you could go through that would produce all those benefits, everyone would sign up in a second. But guess what? Exercising is all of those things and fun as well! As little as fifteen minutes a day of jumping jacks, jumping rope, dancing to your favorite high-energy music or jumping on a trampoline can do wonders for your body and mind. So what are you waiting for? You don’t have to wait for that miracle medical procedure – you have the power to turn your health around!