Healthchat

Conversations about optimal health.


Holistic Health or Turn off the TV

Back in the day, holistic health referred to the whole person, an undivided approach to wellness. I had a professor in nursing school who taught the theory that all illness is caused by emotional reactions. For instance, since cold germs are always present, we “catch a cold” when our immunity is weakened by grief or stress. I agree with her, that human beings are made up of physical, emotional, and spiritual selves and they cannot be divided for the purpose of treating disease.

This theory was brought home to me this winter. I have joined an exercise class made up of women who are older than I am. The main topic of conversation is ailments, MRI’s, physical therapy, acupuncture and the latest health report on the news networks. The prevailing attitude is negative about life in general. Granted, getting older is not for the faint of heart, but this stage of life is no more difficult than any other stage, it’s just different.

Now I ask you, if we are a whole person and wellness comes from being well in every aspect of that person, why do we treat the physical and neglect the emotional and spiritual parts? These women spend a lot of money on the latest treatments for their physical ailments, yet they ignore the stress caused by watching the nightly news or the anger that has not been addressed in decades, or the grief and hurts that have not been resolved or the basically negative worldview.

Western medicine seems to diagnose and treat the physical ailment without considering what emotions, or spiritual beliefs lead up to it. Stress, we are finally acknowledging is a contributing factor but is there a concerted effort to treat that as well? I think if we payed attention to the mental state, emotional history, and all the body systems that contribute to disease we would have more keys to treatment and prevention.

If the women in my class delved into their emotional state, worked to change their mental outlook and turned off the TV, I believe their physical health would improve. The atmosphere in our class would be more upbeat and optimistic. Am I the only one who thinks like this? Weigh in, let’s continue the conversation.


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Biking in December

IMG_0382Living in the Mid- Atlantic region means temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s in December. Everyone I talk to puts their bikes in the shed and looks for indoor exercise venues. My advice, don’t be so quick to table biking outdoors. There are always days when the temperature moderates and warm biking gear works well. I even found a pair of heavy weight biking pants at WalMart. Old school lined leather gloves with tapered fingers are great for changing gears and keeping hands warm. If you are prepared you can still bike until Christmas.


90 Day Vegetarian Adventure – Day #65 Lower Weight, Lower Cholesterol

Since the 90 Day Vegetarian Adventure began I have not eaten any red meat, hot dogs, pork, dark meat poultry or eggs.  There have been isolated incidents where certain recipes have contained a small amount of ground turkey or chicken breast and full fat cheddar cheese.  Also, we live in an apple  growing area and cheddar cheese with fresh apples is a lunch that I have chosen to enjoy.  The only nonfat dairy that I want to add to my diet is yogurt, however, my food choices have been less than perfect.

You must be asking why I’m giving you the background.  Yesterday, I visited my Family Physician to discuss the effect of the imperfect vegetarian diet, supplementation, exercise and Statin medication.  I’ve lost weight according to the Doctor’s scales, and it’s been a lot of years since that has happened.  My Total Cholesterol reading is 34 points lower and my blood pressure is lower, in the healthy range.   Plus I’m fitting into one dress size smaller.  The combination of a vegetarian diet, exercise, supplementation and Statins is producing healthier results.


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90 Day Vegetarian Adventure Day 9 Struggling

At the beginning of the week I had my blood work drawn and had a conference with my Doctor about my knees and cholesterol.  The LDL number is high enough to treat with  medication.  My knees are slightly arthritic and the left knee has a bone fragment that is floating.  Even though surgery is in the near future, a lower weight would help all of these conditions.  So, the 90 Day Vegan Adventure isn’t only about a new eating habit, it’s also about weight loss.  The catch-22 is exercising with a bum knee.  Yoga has worked for flexibility and strength but I need an inexpensive form of aerobic exercise that doesn’t cause knee pain.  Recommendations are welcome.