The purpose of this blog post is to set the record straight … for me! You see, I was raised to understand life in certain ways and this understanding led me to develop a whole raft of detrimental beliefs, which have caused me considerable suffering and are at the root of the neurological condition I’m experiencing. I was also raised in accordance with strict rules and expectations, much of which was based on this understanding, and failure to follow these rules and meet these expectations was often dealt with in quite a harsh way, causing considerable emotional pain, much of which was never resolved.
If you are experiencing a neurological disorder [parkinson’s, ALS, MS] chances are, you’ve spent too much of your life worrying. I certainly have! Worrying about what people think of me. About failing. Worrying about getting beaten up, being laughed at, spanked, criticized, punished, etc. Worrying about money, keeping my job, the mortgage, the kids, my parents, etc. And where did it get me? Absolutely nowhere!
- Stress [especially fear related stress]
- Sugar [refined and natural]
One of the more significant challenges I face living with a neurotransmitter condition [parkinson’s] is coping with anxiety. This morning, I experienced it in spades when I made an appearance on our local cable television station. I was filming a segment on martial arts and even though I’ve been on the show several times and know the hosts very well, I was still feeling enormous anxiety. It was in part, magnified by how I have been feeling about my father’s deteriorating health. I have also been feeling a lot of anxiety about announcing changes to our program at the karate club. I think they’re very positive changes, but you never know how people are going to react. As an example, while most of the world celebrated the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1989, there were many people [including people in positions of power] who didn’t. You just never know!
I have recently experienced, firsthand [not that I needed a reminder I thought] the affects of stress and fear on the symptoms I experience. A few weeks ago, my father had a heart attack and subsequently, it appears he has developed sudden onset dementia. He hasn’t been officially diagnosed, but the evidence seems clear [erratic behavior, confusion and cognitive deterioration]. This is not uncommon. It also happened to Mari’s mother. Dad was hospitalized almost a week ago and his condition has worsened with each passing day.
At the root of an unpleasant life situation, for example, a chronic illness, is one or more false beliefs. It’s these false beliefs, for example, the belief that you’re worthless, that create negative feelings such as anxiety and fear that in turn create stress and block healing. An important part of the healing process then, is dissolving negative beliefs.
Chronic anger keeps us in a state of chronic stress, which in turn messes up our neurology and fatigues our adrenal glands. It causes our bodies to be in a state of constantly producing stress hormones and neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, adrenaline and cortisol, while shutting down the production of calming neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, eventually leading to neurological conditions like Parkinson’s.
It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has. — Hippocrates
The medical community admits to not knowing what causes our neurotransmitters to get so far out of balance that we develop a chronic health condition such as parkinson’s. They focus entirely on a dopamine deficiency with no explanation of the cause. They speculate that it may be connected with heavy metal toxins and overexposure to pesticides and chemicals. They also claim that there may be a hereditary factor. The natural health community believes that the underlying cause of all disease is a leaky gut, weakened immune system, an acidic body, inflammation and a clogged up lymphatic system. I fully agree with the natural health folks and while I can’t say with 100% certainty, I’m pretty sure I know what led me to develop this challenging health condition.
Convincing people to eat a more healthy diet is a considerable challenge. Healthy eating takes willpower. It’s not easy to resist the temptation of a piece of chocolate or a burger loaded with bacon, cheese and ketchup. Nor is it always easy to take the time to prepare and cook nutritious foods when you can reach in the cupboard or pick up the phone and have something on the table in short order and with little effort. However, knowing that a healthy diet is key to having a healthy immune system can inspire us to make better choices at meal time.
Our immune system is vital to our health. In fact, the state of our health is pretty much entirely dependent on the state of our immune system (IS). If our IS is in good working order, it’s almost impossible for us to get sick.
According to The Healing Code, written by Alex Lloyd and Ben Johnson, only one thing compromises our IS, and that is stress. Stress comes primarily in four forms: first, an unhealthy diet; second, day to day stress; third, unresolved emotional pain; and, four, physical trauma to the body. If the stress is mild or short-term, generally our IS can handle. The problem is that we’re overloading our immune system with all forms of stress.
Given that 80% of our IS is situated in our gastrointestinal tract, the single most important thing we can do for it is to eat healthy foods. It’s the surest way to keep from getting colds, flus and even cancer. Unfortunately, the lure of tasty, unhealthy stuff is quite often too irresistible and so we opt for foods and snacks that aren’t good for us.
The second important thing we can do for our IS is to feel good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves we make better food choices and we are generally much happier…we are not so affected by day to day stress. A happy mind helps keep our body’s pH level in the 7.0 to 7.4 range which promotes a healthy IS.
Changing the way we eat begins with awareness. It is really important to know about the effects of all the food we consume. Yes, everyone knows that eating candies, snack foods and fast foods isn’t exactly going to help you live til 100. But it is also important to be aware of the negative health effects artificial sweeteners (esp. aspartame), sugar, margarine, dairy, pasteurized juices, processed foods and genetically modified foods (esp. corn), because in many cases we’ve been led to believe the exact opposite.
We also need to be aware of the positive effects of fermented foods (like sauerkraut and kefir), which put healthy bacteria into our digestive system, and Vit D (esp. from the sun), which promotes a healthy IS.
Folks, it’s like we’ve been given a choice. We can choose short term ego gratification by stuffing ourselves with tasty, unhealthy foods or we can choose long term health. Because I am in the process of healing Parkinson’s, my choice was made easy for me. I just wish I had this awareness, wisdom and willpower before I got sick, and I wish the same for you.
In recognition of the importance of maintaining a healthy immune system, this month at our karate club–Georgina Family Martial Arts–we’re celebrating Be Kind to Our Immune System and we invite you to celebrate it with us by making healthy food choices.
Honouring your immune system is a wonderful gift you can give yourself! We wish you healthy eating and an awesome day!