Dietary Choices and Listening to Your Body: Part A

Marcey Shapiro, MD

Marcey Shapiro, MD

I used to be fairly dogmatic about diet, believing there was a right way to eat. In my twenties, this right way was vegetarianism. I was an ethical vegetarian and felt sanctimonious about it. I deplored the idea of killing animals for food. I loved the works of writer Frances Moore Lappé and would quote her to anyone vaguely interested. But my body did not agree with my mind’s choice. In my early forties, I discovered the work of the nutrition-oriented dentist, Weston A. Price, then read Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions and fell in love with the idea of a “right diet” all over again. In contrast, this diet incorporated lots of animal fats and animal protein. While I still respect these works and remain influenced by them, I have since come to an even broader understanding of health and nutrition.

Simply put, there is no one right diet for everyone. One person may actually feel fine on a vegetarian diet, while another may thrive with an abundance of saturated fats and animal protein. One person may do very well with wheat and whole grains, and another may not tolerate gluten, or grains. One person may feel best eating predominantly salads and light fare; another may flourish eating mostly cooked food. All of these, and more, are viable and appropriate for various people. An individual body may have changing needs over a life- time, and that is fine too. A woman who is menstruating might crave meats, including liver, and want them daily, while the same woman post-menopause might find herself less interested in such foods.

There are many reasons why our dietary needs vary. Early nutritional factors, ethnicity, genetics, taste preferences, metabolic type, stress level, work load, allergies, environmental exposures, and phase of life all play a part. Not everyone can digest or metabolize certain foods. We have all heard that everyone needs to eat more fiber, but for many people, fiber aggravates existing bowel conditions. If your body cannot utilize or assimilate the six servings of fibrous “healthy whole grains” currently “recommended” per day, why on Earth would you eat them?

As simplistic as it might sound, the best way to find out what is right for you, at any moment, is to consult your own body. Consult your cells. Consult your organs…..

In the seventh year of vegetarianism I found myself dreaming about eating meat almost nightly, visiting steakhouses and rib joints in those dreams and enjoyably dining on meaty delights. After about three months of this, I took a gentle but firm look at myself and asked some tough questions. I began with “What am I doing to myself?” and proceeded with “Why am I doing this and for whom?” and “Could I love animals and still eat them?” I realized that my opinions could not just railroad my body. I understood that I was doing my body a disservice by deciding what I would eat based upon a programmatic ideology. So I sought and found a different direction. I made the radical decision to include my body in the conversation about what to eat, by listening to what my body was asking for. My dreams were obviously indicating that meat was on my body’s menu, so somehow I needed to make peace with that. At the same time, I easily found evidence of spiritual and moral people who ate meat. I discovered that even the Dalai Lama eats meat, because after two years of vegetarianism, he developed jaundice.  His body, too, asked for something different. Eventually I went out to a local restaurant and ordered ribs. An hour after eating them, I felt a deep flush of physical well-being, a feeling I had forgotten knowing. It was an almost religious experience of nutrition. I understood, viscerally, that the body itself must be consulted about its needs.

This is not meant to be an argument for or against vegetarianism or veganism. I know healthy vegetarians, and I have known others who could not get past their mental constructs when their body clearly had a different idea of what it needed. Many people stop listening within, as I did, based on ideology and opinion. As a society, we are obsessed with eating properly, yet many of us are poorly nourished. We cannot rely on external “experts” to guide us. “Experts” differ widely, and by listening to them instead of ourselves, we relinquish our power to notice, choose, and decide what is right for us.

Excerpted from Freedom From Anxiety: A Holistic Approach to Emotional Well Being by Marcey Shapiro, MD, published by North Atlantic Books 1/14/14, copyright © 2014 by Marcey Shapiro. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

Stay tuned for more thoughts from Marcey Shapiro, MD,  on “Transforming Health” and Heart Centered Living

Posted in CONDITIONS, healthy foods, NUTRITION/SUPPLEMENTATION, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cauliflower Health Benefits – Video

with Karen Roth, Holistic Nutritionist

with Karen Roth, Holistic Nutritionist

Cauliflower is a heart healthy vegetable. It contains high levels of folic acid and B6 that help keep homocysteine levels from rising.

In the video link below learn the other benefits of this vegetable in the cruciferous family.

Plus you can save calories by substituting cauliflower for potatoes.

Video Link: Cauliflower Health Benefits with Karen Roth, Holistic Nutritionist

For additional educational video clips submitted by AHHA members, visit AHHA’s Self Help Videos section.

Posted in CONDITIONS, HEALING APPROACHES, healthy foods, heart condition, nutrition, NUTRITION/SUPPLEMENTATION, weight | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Where Do I Go From Here? – Article

Jeanne Wallace, PhD, CNC

Jeanne Wallace, PhD, CNC

Have you recently heard news from your doctor that was frightening? Chances are, we will all hear something we don’t like. What do you do first? How can you deal with the diagnoses?

The article link below provides advice and tips on dealing with the diagnosis of illness and taking responsibility for your health.

Learn how a challenging prognosis can help you learn more about yourself and influence your healing.

Article Link: Where Do I Go From Here by Jeanne Wallace, PhD, CNC

For additional articles, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self-Help Articles Collection.

Posted in Beliefs, cancer, CONDITIONS, HEALING APPROACHES, holistic, LIFESTYLE/ATTITUDE | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Variety under one roof
 – AHHA Resource

AHHA_LOGO_CLR_squareAre you one of the increasing numbers of people who appreciate the value of integrating multiple healing options? Wouldn’t it be convenient to have these under one roof?

AHHA introduces you to AHHA Institutional Members who are centers or clinics that have gathered several healing approaches within one facility.

AHHA Resource Link: Healing Centers in North America

For additional practitioner referral resources visit Referrals.

Posted in HEALING APPROACHES, holistic, integrative | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wellness Exercises & Stretches for Long Life – Video

with Michael Reed Gach, PhD

with Michael Reed Gach, PhD

Discover wellness stretches to counteract stiffness and muscular pain.

In the video below learn a series of easy-to-do daily stretches to relieve muscular pain and reduce stiffness. Includes acupressure points to boost your immune system.

Acupressure points open the healing energy to flow, which tones the muscles, and makes stretching more effective and therapeutic.

Video Link: Wellness Exercises & Stretches for Long Life with Michael Reed Gach, PhD

For additional educational video clips submitted by AHHA members, visit AHHA’s Self Help Videos section.

Posted in Acupressure, CONDITIONS, exercise, HEALING APPROACHES, immune system, pain | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding Iron Levels

David Getoff, CCN, CTN, FAAIM

David Getoff, CCN, CTN, FAAIM

The best way to check iron levels is to check ferritin, or iron storage. If your ferritin level is, in general, between 35-100 your iron levels are healthy, and you don’t need to supplement with it. Ideally, you would choose an iron-free multivitamin supplement because your levels are fine. If your ferritin level was below 35 you probably need more iron and you should choose a multivitamin that does contain iron. However, if your ferritin level is up past 100 and heading toward 150, you have way to much iron in your blood and it is probably causing oxidative damage. The standard (and healthy way) to lower your ferritin levels is to give blood, sometimes multiple times, until your ferritin levels go down again.

In the past decade, a study was done in which the ferritin levels of children with attention deficit disorder were tested, and they came back in the non-detected to 12 range. The children benefitted from supplementing with iron. Anemia is another commonly-known health condition caused by iron deficiency, but it can also be caused by low vitamin B12 or folic acid.

From Class Four of Attaining Optimal Health in the 21st Century Instructed by David Getoff, CCN, CTN, FAAIM.  Presented by the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.

Posted in dietary supplements, healthy foods, NUTRITION/SUPPLEMENTATION | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Ten Tenets of Wellness – Article

Michael Arloski, PhD, PCC, CWP

Michael Arloski, PhD, PCC, CWP

Providing people with good information about physical fitness, stress management, nutrition, etc., is important, but insufficient.

The article link below provides ten factors in addition to education that the wellness movement has identified as being critical to motivating change.

Learn how to help yourself, and others, experience a higher awareness on their wellness journey.

Article Link: The Ten Tenets of Wellness by Michael Arloski, PhD, PCC, CWP

For additional articles, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self-Help Articles Collection.

Posted in Beliefs, HEALING APPROACHES, integrative, LIFESTYLE/ATTITUDE | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vitamin D

Aisle7-3_Photo“The list of health benefits linked to vitamin D is rapidly growing, and a new report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that women who eat high amounts of vitamin D may lower their risk of having depression symptoms by as much as 20%.” from a new healthnotes NEWSWIRE research article ” Dfor Depression.”

For additional research results, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Special Updates eReport Archives and note Featured Research item in each issue.

Posted in CONDITIONS, depression, dietary supplements, HEALING APPROACHES, nutrition, NUTRITION/SUPPLEMENTATION | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thought Field Therapy or TFT Demo – Video

with Jef Gazley, MS, LMFT

with Jef Gazley, MS, LMFT

Curious about what Thought Field Therapy is?

In the video link below Jef Gazley guides a subject through this energy psychology process to remove a personal anxiety about flying.

Video Link: Thought Field Therapy or TFT Demo with Jef Gazley, MS, LMFT

For additional educational video clips submitted by AHHA members, visit AHHA’s Self Help Videos section.

Posted in anxiety, CONDITIONS, HEALING APPROACHES, Thought Field Therapy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Integrative Vision Care And Nutrition – Article

Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

Mind/Body medicine is based on the fact that our health and well-being depends on all the individual parts working together effectively. So it should come as no surprise that healthy eyesight is also dependent upon our total well-being, which is affected by our genetic makeup, the food we eat, our work environment and exposure to airborne toxins, as well as our general belief systems about ourselves and the world we live in.

The article link below references numerous peer-reviewed studies identifying specific nutrient deficiencies that could impact eye health.

Nothing replaces a positive, healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, daily meditations or walks in nature and a healthy diet. If that is not enough for your eyes to be healthy, you and your physician might include nutritional supplementation.

Article Link: Integrative Vision Care And Nutrition by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

For additional articles, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self-Help Articles Collection.

Posted in CONDITIONS, dietary supplements, eye diseases, HEALING APPROACHES, nutrition, NUTRITION/SUPPLEMENTATION | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment