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Golden Rules for Vibrant Health in Body, Mind, and Spirit: A Holistic Approach to Health and Wellness

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The golden rules in this book offer practical information and tools for health-conscious people who are not in optimal health, but wish to be.

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1. Food: What and How You Eat

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1. Food: What and How you Eat

his first Golden Rule of good health that we will discuss pertains to your relationship with food as a primary source of energy and health. From ancient times, human survival on the earth has depended almost exclusively on the availability of adequate food sources. The human body has the ability to obtain nourishment from a very wide range of plants and animals. Agribusiness, which includes the cultivation and harvesting of plants and animals for human food consumption is currently the single largest industry in the world. In your desire to maintain optimal health, the importance of food, including how it is produced, transported, processed, preserved, stored, selected, and prepared, cannot be overemphasized.

The following suggestions will be helpful in optimizing the conversion of the foods you eat into the energy you need to sustain your life and preserve your health and well-being.

EATING MEALS

Chew Your Food

Digestion begins in your mouth and proper digestion of food is very important for maintaining health and energy. Chew your food thoroughly, and eat slowly. A simple rule to follow is to completely chew and swallow what you have already put in your mouth before taking another bite. From time to time as you are eating, put your fork or spoon down on the table as a reminder of this.

 

2. Water and Your Body

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2. Water and your Body

lthough the average human being can live up to three weeks without food, a person can only live about three days without water. It is absolutely the most essential nutrient for life and our very existence on earth. The next Golden Rule of good health concerns your relationship with water.

STAYING HYDRATED

Most Americans are dehydrated, largely due to the diuretics contained in many of the popular drinks we consume. A diuretic is any chemical that stimulates the loss of fluids from the body. Caffeine and alcohol are good examples of these substances. Many Americans wake up in the morning and need their coffee—one, two, or even three cups is common even before we’re out the door. At work, perhaps another cup of coffee, or a caffeinated soft drink, which also has a diuretic effect. Lunch? More coffee or soft drinks and more of the same in the mid-afternoon hours. At dinner, we may relax with a glass or two of wine, or some other dehydrating alcoholic drink. This very common practice has a continuous diuretic, dehydrating effect on all the body’s cells.

 

3. Structure and Function: Exercising and Maintaining Your Body

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3. Structure and Function: Exercising and Maintaining your Body

ike all the body’s other systems, your spine and framework need proper nutrition, exercise, avoidance of toxic exposure, and attention to all the other golden rules of good health outlined in this book. Disturbances of the body’s framework can disrupt the function of the nervous system, upset the body’s harmony, and set the stage for disease and dysfunction. The Golden Rule presented here deals with the maintenance of your body framework and exercise.

SPINAL AND STRUCTURAL HEALTH

If you want good health, you must take care of your spine. If you want a healthy spine, you must take care of your overall health. Structure and function are intimately related. Your skull and spinal column house and protect the most evolved phenomenon in the known universe, the human brain and nervous system, which regulate all other body systems.

Caring, skillful manual therapy for structural disorders can be very valuable in maintaining the integrity of your framework, thereby improving your health. Competent, professional structural care can positively affect conditions such as back pain and related spinal and extremity disorders, aid in stress management, enhance immune-system function, and improve function of all the other body systems. To begin enjoying these benefits, you may wish to select a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) or a traditional doctor of osteopathy (D.O.). Since approximately 94 percent of all structural care is currently provided by chiropractors, they are the first choice for most people. Chiropractors believe that approximately 70 to 80 percent of all health disorders involve the neuromusculoskeletal system, including conditions that involve the circulatory, digestive, immune, locomotor, nervous, reproductive, and respiratory systems. Chiropractic and other forms of carefully applied manual therapy can be used to prevent ill health, as well.

 

4. Alkalinity and Acidity: The Right Ratio for Your Body

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4. Alkalinity and Acidity: The Right Ratio for your Body

his Golden Rule of good health has to do with the acid/alkaline ratio of your body chemistry. Alkalinity and acidity refer to the pH of the fluids in and around all the cells in your body. A solution with a pH of 7.00 is neutral, one with a pH of more than 7.0 is alkaline, and one with a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. Under the best conditions, your salivary pH, which mirrors the pH of the fluid bathing all your tissue cells, should be in the alkaline range of 7.0–7.5, with an ideal of 7.4. Every moment you are alive, your body must maintain a 7.3–7.5 pH in the blood. For people who consume a predominantly acid-forming diet or live a stressful lifestyle, the body must continually buffer the blood by using stored alkaline-forming substances—including calcium and other minerals in muscle and bone—in order to maintain this pH. Doing this disturbs the electrochemical balances in the body, overtaxes the system, and results in tissue breakdown, aging of cells, and eventual disease.

 

5. Medicinal Wonder Foods

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5. Medicinal Wonder Foods

his Golden Rule concerns your appreciation for foods that have medicinal properties. Most of the foods described in this chapter are available in the produce and natural foods section of most traditional grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Finding some of the less common items may require a trip to an organic food co-op or a health food store. Almost all traditional foods are considered safe for general consumption. However, if you have questions or concerns regarding whether a particular food, herb, oil, or botanical product is right for you, it is wise to consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional. He or she can, for example, answer your questions regarding recommended dosages and address your concerns about possible interactions with any medications you may be taking or any food sensitivities or allergies you may have.

WONDER FOODS

No doubt, you have heard of wonder drugs that have been credited with significant breakthroughs in advancing health and saving lives. Certainly, some of these agents deserve our respect and recognition, particularly in emergency and crisis situations, and for thoughtful use in managing advanced, irreversible disease states. However, the wondrous healing properties of dozens and dozens of whole foods and whole-food derivatives, herbs, botanical plants, aromatic and essential oils are now being rediscovered.

 

6. Nutritional Supplements

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6. Nutritional Supplements

an the average person maintain vibrant health, energy, and vitality without taking vitamin and mineral supplements? In an ideal world, the answer would be yes, because it would be possible to obtain all the nutrients the body needs from fresh, whole foods. However, between the depletion of nutrient-rich farm soils and our very busy lifestyles that preclude growing our own foods, this is simply not possible or practical, so supplementing with the appropriate nutrients is recommended.

To get the maximum benefits from your supplementation program, I recommend reading up on the subject, and perhaps consulting an alternative or complementary practitioner who has access to the latest research on vitamins, minerals, herbs, enzymes, botanical medicines, homeopathic preparations, and dietary lifestyle. Obviously, you know your own body, mind, and spirit better than anyone on earth. You know your symptoms, habits, addictions, body rhythms, and the other factors that make you unique. By doing your own reading and research, you can greatly aid any professionals you may initially consult when you start your supplementation program.

 

7. Rest and Sleep

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7. Rest and Sleep

n today’s fast-paced, competitive society, many Americans are working or playing longer hours and therefore sleeping less. Indeed it’s gotten to the point where sleep deprivation, with its negative consequences for health, has become almost epidemic. The importance of getting adequate sleep cannot be overstated, because it’s during this time that the body repairs and heals itself. For most people, getting “enough” sleep means enjoying at least seven to eight hours of restful sleep during each twenty-four-hour period. Quality of sleep is probably more important than quantity because, during the deepest portion of the sleep cycle, the body’s tissues and nervous system are repaired and restored. Clearly, it’s important to do whatever it takes to increase your chances of sound, deep, uninterrupted sleep, and this means following the Golden Rules outlined in this chapter.

KEYS TO A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

Your Bed and Mattress

There are two things you should freely spend money on—the best pair of shoes and the best set of bedding you can buy—because chances are you will spend the great majority of your future in one or the other. Be extravagant when you choose your bed, mattress, and pillow. You’re worth it.

 

8. Fresh Air and Breathing

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8. Fresh Air and Breathing

his vital Golden Rule relates to the importance of the air you breathe, and to obtaining adequate oxygen. While you can live for approximately three weeks without food and about three days without water, you can survive only a few minutes without air and the critical element it provides—oxygen. The importance of taking in enough oxygen cannot be overemphasized. Equally important is the process of expelling carbon dioxide and other waste products from the bloodstream, which is also a function of breathing.

PROPER BREATHING TECHNIQUE

You may not realize that for optimal health and energy, it’s important to breathe properly. Most people, particularly women, breathe with only the upper third of their lungs. This shallow breathing starves the blood of oxygen and causes an excess of waste products to accumulate in the body. To avoid these negative health effects, you should develop the habit of breathing deeply from your diaphragm and abdomen, inhaling deeply through your nose, and slowly blowing the air out from deep in your abdomen and diaphragm through pursed lips. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped, crisscrossing layered muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. It’s a powerful muscle that acts as a bellows to move air in and out of your lungs when you breathe. Breathing in deeply is important, of course, but breathing out is equally important because that’s how the body rids itself of carbon dioxide and other waste products to keep rich, oxygen-filled red blood cells flowing through the bloodstream. The diaphragm also plays an important role in heart function by acting as another pump to return venous blood back to the heart from the lower extremities, which helps your general circulation.

 

9. Choosing Your Doctors and Care Providers

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9. Choosing your Doctors and Care Providers

ven if you are healthy, it’s essential to have access to healthcare providers, and you should be selective when choosing them. The difference in the skills, experience, and attitudes of healthcare professionals could either save or threaten your life. This Golden Rule focuses on the next area of importance in preserving your health: the selection of healthcare professionals when you need them.

HOLISTIC HEALTH CARE

When possible, try to find holistically oriented physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who believe that the body is more than the sum of its parts. These practitioners embrace the notion that all living species, including humans, possess innate intelligence that serves to maintain the body’s health and integrity, and that the role of the doctor or health practitioner is to facilitate and enhance this response.

Ideally, any healthcare provider you choose should also subscribe to the following practices and beliefs:

• Optimal health is a manifestation of harmony within the body, mind, and spirit.

 

10. Don’t Put Poisons into Your Body

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10. Don’t Put Poisons into your Body

his Golden Rule for the maintenance of your health has to do with avoiding the intake of poisons into your body. The healthy human body has an incredible ability to survive and even thrive, in spite of almost daily exposure to varying amounts of known toxic contaminants within the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we consume. This achievement is made possible by our bodies’ innate ability to recognize the difference between things that are necessary and nourishing and in need of retaining, and things that are harmful and dangerous and in need of expelling. Perhaps the most astonishing thing is that it does this without our conscious awareness. The lungs have the ability to dispel the harmful carbon dioxide from our bodies and to retain the oxygen needed for life. The blood, lymph system, liver, kidneys, colon, and skin all work in harmony to discharge the toxic wastes from our bodies and do so with great efficiency. Obviously, however, there are limits on the amount and the potency of the toxins the body can effectively deal with and remain healthy. This chapter places emphasis on helping you understand the potential sources of subtle toxic exposure, such as heavy metals, fumes, and industrial and agricultural chemical hazards, and to encourage your avoidance of less subtle toxic agents, such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

 

11. Heart Disease and Stroke

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11. Heart Disease and Stroke

ardiovascular disease, affecting the heart and blood vessels, is the number-one killer in America today. Heart attacks and strokes kill almost 1,000,000 people every year, and more people die from coronary heart disease and strokes than all other causes of death combined. Currently, 63 million Americans (about 25 percent) have some form of cardiovascular disease.

By far, the major cause of heart attack and stroke is inflammation and hardening of the arteries, which results in a buildup of hard, fatty plaque deposits on the inner lining of blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to the heart and the brain. There are many different factors that contribute to the blockage, breakdown, hardening, and inflammation of these critically important blood vessels.

The Golden Rules outlined in this chapter will provide important information to help you avoid becoming a casualty of the most fatal health disorder known to humans.

UNCONTROLLABLE FACTORS IN CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

 

12. Blood Sugar Disorders

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12. Blood Sugar Disorders

efined sugars and processed starches included in excess in your diet place stress on your body that can result in blood sugar disorders such as diabetes and hypoglycemia. Drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages and consuming high-fat foods only increases the risk of developing these conditions. If your diet is less than healthy and particularly if you have a family history of hypoglycemia and diabetes, you need to be especially vigilant about managing your diet and watching for signs that you may be developing problems with blood sugar.

DIABETES MELLITUS

There are two primary types of diabetes mellitus, each having their own characteristics, as discussed below.

Type I Diabetes Mellitus

Type I diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. The reason for this distinction is that it usually strikes during childhood or young adulthood, and most often requires insulin therapy immediately upon diagnosis and thereafter throughout one’s life. The predominant symptoms of type I diabetes are:

 

13. Headaches

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13. Headaches

t’s estimated that one out of every five Americans uses pain-relieving drugs daily for the management of headaches. Headaches can have many different causes. If you experience severe, recurrent headaches, it’s very important to schedule an appointment with your doctor so you can get an accurate diagnosis to rule out a more serious condition such as a brain tumor, a weakened blood vessel, an infection, or high blood pressure. Once these conditions have been ruled out and your doctor has determined the probable source of your headaches, you can explore appropriate treatment options.

TYPES OF HEADACHES

To weigh your treatment options, it may be helpful to understand exactly what type of headaches you have. The following are the principal types of headaches.

Tension Headache

Tension headaches, in which pain is experienced through the back of the skull, the forehead, and above the eyes, are perhaps the most common type of headache. People who experience tension headaches often complain of accompanying stiffness, fatigue, and tightness in the neck and upper spine, which is usually caused by the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper-back being tightly contracted. In fact, tension headaches are often referred to as muscle-contraction headaches.

 

14. Managing Your Weight

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14. Managing your Weight

re you a lean, mean loving machine with buns of steel and sex appeal? It is estimated that up to 70 percent of Americans are overweight. Of this number, about 10 percent are considered obese, and their excess weight is actually threatening their lives. Clearly, for good health, it’s important to maintain your weight within a reasonable range.

Many factors need to be considered in understanding the causes of obesity. During the past decade, thousands of low-fat and non-fat products have become available to millions of consumers. You may be surprised to learn that the American Heart Association has pinpointed these products as being major factors in increasing, rather than decreasing, our country’s obesity epidemic. How is this possible? Too often, people believe that they can gorge themselves on low-fat cookies, frozen yogurt, ice cream, and pastries. As it turns out, while lower in fat, almost all of these foods contain more sugar and more calories than the full-fat foods.

 

15. Arthritis

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15. Arthritis

f you have arthritis in any of its forms, carefully following the advice provided in this chapter and throughout the book can help you overcome many of its effects. If your arthritis is advanced, severe, and notably disabling, you may wish to explore safe, natural substances that have been proven beneficial in alleviating the pain, stiffness, and other symptoms associated with the many forms of this condition. Initially, however, it may be useful to review the most common types of arthritis in order to choose the most effective natural-control measures available.

TYPES OF ARTHRITIS

Osteoarthritis

Approximately 40 million people in the United States are living with osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, a painful and often disabling condition. By degenerative, we mean that the disease worsens with age. While almost all joints in the body are affected by this condition, the greatest amount of degeneration occurs in the weight-bearing joints, such as the lower spine, hips, knees, and ankles. It can also cause disfiguring and painful destruction of the hand and shoulder joints. Osteoarthritis is a major source of chronic disability, leading to a diminished quality of life, lost wages and work productivity, and enormous medical expense.

 

16. Cancer—A Modern Plague

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16. Cancer—A Modern Plague

ancer continues to be one of mankind’s greatest challenges. In spite of the time, talent, and economic and human resources poured into research and treatment, the disease in all of its forms kills about 500,000 Americans each year. It is the single most significant factor in personal bankruptcy, and approximately 60 percent of all healthcare dollars are expended for cancer-related health issues. While great strides have been made in the fight against cancer—including notable advances in the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma and childhood leukemia—over 1,000,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, and almost all forms of cancer remain stubbornly present in Western society. In fact, some forms of cancer, such as childhood brain tumors, are even increasing in frequency. Clearly, then, prevention is very important.

When we talk about cancer, we’re really referring to a family of diseases. Currently, we know of over one hundred forms of the illness, usually referred to by the organs affected—colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and skin cancer, to name a few of many. Regardless of type, all forms of cancer begin within the cells, the body’s basic structural units. Every second of your life, your body cells reproduce and replace themselves. This means that, every few days, the lining of your stomach has been replaced entirely with new cells; every ninety days, all of the body’s billions of skin cells and red blood cells have also been replenished. Thus, every few years, almost all of the body’s cells are completely replaced with new, healthy cells.

 

17. Constipation

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17. Constipation

he body’s ability to fully eliminate harmful waste products is very important to good health. Through the colon, the organ primarily responsible for detoxification, the body is able to cleanse itself of wastes in order to maintain health. Thus, it’s imperative that colon function is effective and efficient. Constipation is a very common disorder among Americans—in fact, Americans spend $450,000,000 annually on commercial laxatives! Fortunately, the Golden Rules presented in this chapter can help you avoid this uncomfortable problem.

ALL CONSTIPATION IS NOT THE SAME

The most common form of constipation is known as atonic constipation, which affects approximately 85 percent of all people who at one time or another must deal with the condition. The less common type of constipation is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or spastic constipation. If you regularly suffer constipation, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two conditions, because the treatments for each differ significantly.

 

18. Asthma and Respiratory Disorders

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18. Asthma and Respiratory Disorders

n the past three decades, the incidence of bronchial asthma has risen tenfold in the United States. Probably the most significant reason for this notable increase is exposure to larger amounts of environmental contaminants and pollutants. Indoor and outdoor allergens hamper the body’s natural ability to prevent these toxic and irritating substances from being absorbed into the bloodstream, and for people whose immune systems are hypersensitive to environmental toxins, the result is congestion, inflammation, and swelling of the mucous membranes lining the nasal passageways, throat, bronchi and lungs. For some individuals, the result is acute and chronic bronchitis, recurring pneumonia, strep throat, tonsillitis, and even emphysema—in spite of sophisticated antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

If you or someone you love has asthma, bronchitis, or any other recurrent lung disorder, the Golden Rules presented here will be very valuable.

CONVENTIONAL TREATMENTS

 

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