Archive for May, 2010

Where Dust Prevails

05/17/2010

In two days I’ll be heading west for a six-week Sahavas, a spiritual retreat. It’s not the kind of retreat where beautiful specimens of humanity drop grapes into your mouth, soak your feet in exotic scents, melt your muscles in a hot stone massage, and wrap you in lusciously soft bath sheets steeped in soothing essential oils while you focus on all the wonderful things in life you deserve.

It’s not the kind of retreat where creature comforts are provided in luxurious elegance:  900 count sheets, fine gourmet foods served at your whim, multiple spas, games and myriad other forms of entertainment awaiting your command.

Nope. This is the kind of retreat where dust prevails. It’s in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The temperatures can be surprisingly cold, as in hailing; and wet, as in a weekend of torrential rain – both unlikely but have happened. On bone-dry windy days you know what it would feel like to be dropped into fine cornmeal before frying, especially when you are covered in the grease of sweat brought on by scathing heat. If you’re not accustomed to heat and it’s 108 degrees F, you might wonder how life could possibly continue. But, thank heaven, you’re lucky enough to just miss the paths of a thousand spontaneous forest fires begun by heat lightning!

This is the kind of retreat where 6 will share one small, dated bathroom. But that will be a fortunate luxury in comparison to the great many campers who make due with portapotties and one flush toilet. More important, it’s the kind of retreat where instead of focusing on worldly activities and acquisitions the focus is on silent listening to the internal communication with God.

An atmosphere prevails that words alone cannot describe; it is something to be experienced. It comes quietly, as if it has always been there (which it has, but the doors and windows were never so open before.) One moment you’re hurrying to complete a necessary task (there’s a small group of volunteers who take care of the tasks.) And in another moment you realize something big just shifted. It might occur all at once in a nanosecond, or over time. But there it is.

It is an atmosphere of Love that, at times, has filled me in such a way that nothing was wanting, and I wanted nothing. There was only the completeness of the timeless present, in the timeless Silence of God’s presence. This marks a sharp contrast to my normal limited personality-self. And I begin to see what inner patches of mine need weeding or healing.

Last year I left with a couple of major themes, mostly about following the heart and not second-guessing it. And another that was more difficult to grasp:  Truth goes beyond right and wrong. To a mind that is quick to analyze, that was a stunning concept. I had some silent conversations with God over it. I’ve come to realize it is not a concept. It goes beyond concepts.

Concepts, ideologies, cause families to fight over points of view and keep nations at war. This statement tells me Truth goes beyond opposite opinions. What a challenge to find the place within that can let go of attachment to being on the right side, in order to uncover something greater than either side.

I look forward to this internal, six-week journey. I will try to post here at Moving from the Inside Out during that time, but I’m not making any promises. Let us see what happens! May your life journey be intoxicated by the divine wine of life:  the silent gift of infinite, unconditional Love.

Question for You:   What fills your heart and soul?

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Part 3: Conclusion of Your Ancestral Diet and Digestive Harmony with Dr. Ananda Kramer

05/13/2010

What happens next?

MMS: Glad to have you back from your trip, Dr. Ananda. On this quest for finding Digestive Harmony and our Ancestral Diet, we left off with the importance of knowing if there are any foods for which we are genetically intolerant. You use a simple test, which can be done at home, to find that out. What happens next?

AK: What happens next is the work begins! Almost everyone says to me, after I tell them what their food intolerance is, “Now what can I eat”? I customize my dietary recommendations according to each individual’s needs.

In general, we all need to begin to cook our own foods. Cook from scratch!  Avoid using soups and sauces as bases for a meal and cook whole foods that are fresh, organic, locally grown and in season (which I have been saying for many years, long before it became popular.)

For example, cook a chicken or a roast and have left over meat for sandwiches rather than buying lunchmeat. Cook fresh salmon instead of buying canned. Reduce carbohydrate consumption, especially bread, crackers and pasta. Cook whole grains instead. Have a variety of fresh vegetables and salads. Eat fruit for dessert.

Good digestion is the foundation of your house, your body.

Good digestion is the foundation of your house, your body. I believe that without good digestion it is very difficult to improve health. But just like a foundation is not the building, more than good diet is involved in creating a strong body. The building materials of our body should be top notch and we want to buy the best quality food and prepare it carefully.

We also need to consider other things. If we continue with the building analogy, what about the design of the building? The design is as important as the foundation. We need a comprehensive plan to build good health that includes physical movement, drinking plenty of fresh clean water and sleeping eight hours a night.

MMS: I know from my practice that most people do not fully recognize the importance of physical movement, clean air and clean water. What kind of results do patients get when they, or you and they, figure out their harmonious food plan?

Some Remarkable Results

AK: When people change their diet based on the Food Intolerance Test they report some remarkable results. One would expect that digestive complaints would improve and that is true. But I also have reports that long-standing skin conditions have healed. One woman reported to me that after five years of avoiding eggs, her intolerance, her Lupus and Chronic Fatigue were in remission. We were both very impressed.

Going from perfect food to the best diet for them

Actually, any and all imbalances in a person’s health will improve with the right diet but how much is dependent on the individual’s vitality and overall health. I have observed over the past nine years of working with Food Intolerances that for some individuals diet alone is not enough to restore their health. It is definitely a good foundation but other therapies need to be added to bring the desired result. [Look for more on this in our second series of interviews in a few months.]

In general, the younger the person is when the intolerance is identified the better the result. Children heal quickly if given good nutrition. Fortunate is the child who starts life with breast milk and then transitions to solids based on their ancestral diet. In my book they are going from perfect food to the best diet for them.

She even lost two or three dress sizes

MMS: I remember hearing about a member of your family who had nausea and digestive problems since childhood. Once you discovered her Ancestral Diet and she eliminated her food intolerance, potato, her digestive complaints disappeared. She even lost two or three dress sizes. I’m not sure which is more impressive!

I can attest to the fact that, as an aging boomer, my health changed dramatically after I followed your advice, including eliminating dairy products. This certainly contributes to aging with ease. Thank you Dr. Ananda; I appreciate all the time you’ve given to our interview for this blog’s readers.

Focused on helping people get better

AK: Thank you for this opportunity to let more people know about this simple yet powerfully effective way of identifying an individual’s personal diet plan. The doctor who created this test in the 1920’s was interested in helping people recover their health. He did not write a book, go on a lecture tour or in any way publicize his work. He focused on helping people get better.  Today a small number of Naturopathic doctors in the Pacific Northwest carry on this work because we have not found a better way to restore digestive harmony to our patients.

MMS: In a few months I’ll post a second series of interviews with Dr. Ananda about Transformational Healing. To learn more about Dr. Kramer’s work, go to http://www.doctorananda.com

Thanks for coming by; please leave your comments.

Questions for You:  Does your way of eating make you feel healthy and energized in a good way (versus a caffeine or sugar induced temporary high?) Do you have food cravings, swelling, joint stiffness, congestion, bloating and other symptoms whose cause is unidentified? Do you have a chronic condition?

How I Fell in Love with My Cleanse

05/10/2010

I can’t remember exactly when I finished my 21-day cleanse. I felt so good I didn’t want to stop. So I didn’t. Oh, I’m adding some foods I had omitted but not all. The first couple of days were tricky. It’s hard for me to get up real early. I hang out doing delicious movements to keep my psoas and core loose and moving (cause I can assure you they would have been welded together by now if I didn’t.) By the time I come down for breakfast it’s late. So I had to learn to navigate the clock:  they recommend 2 – 3 shakes a day; I had 1.5 shakes twice a day. Worked for me.

Getting the shake down was an interesting process. I remember one morning looking at sewage sludge. It tasted like tart sludge. I guess when you mix dark-colored blackberries, raspberries and blueberries with deep green powder, off-white rice protein powder and purified water, you’re not going to make light and lovely celestial shades.

It began to look better when I added either a small organic banana or small apple to fewer frozen berries. The color and taste improved immensely:  less dark, more sweet (berries can be quite tart.)

My next logistic hassle was what foods to actually eat. There was a limited list of veggies, chosen for their high nutrient content, as well as organic brown rice and lentils. I needed to have at least twice as many veggies as fruits per day, which wasn’t a problem, I only had fruit with the shakes. Raw veggies were advised over cooked, but cooking was okay if only for a very short time.

When I got tired of grumbling to myself I figured it out. We (hubbs and I) made great salads with all kinds of greens and accoutrements. I shredded raw beets, cabbage, zucchini and carrots into the salads. Microplaned garlic or chopped in fresh onion. Raw mushrooms and finely sliced celery were added to radishes, jicama, cukes, tomatoes, parsley, chives, cooked asparagus (and sometimes a few raw tips) and, of course, mixed salad greens, spinach and avocado. After some days I began adding a little brown rice to it. Of course, a little organic olive oil (the chaste kind, you know, extra virgin) with a little fresh lime or lemon juice squeezed on top and tossed with a couple of shakes of Real brand salt (it is real salt, not baked at 3,000 degrees, not bleached, without sugar, dextrose or any number of chemicals often found in box salts. Celtic Grey is another terrific salt.)

What a thrill! I’ve never been on a cleanse that allowed olive oil, citrus, tomatoes or salt. Yippee! This was a luxury cleanse! I added plain, baked sweet potato twice (I know, you’re thinking I’m a real daredevil. Guess I just can’t help it!)

Mustn’t forget the cleanse supplements. I used the Standard Process formulations – actually, this is their cleanse except for the shake. I had to substitute because their shake is whey-based and I’m dairy intolerant. Most shakes either have a whey base, or there is some amount of sugar in them (often in the fruit flavor that’s added,) and some have synthetic nutrients, a thing I can’t abide.

One of the really wonderful things about a cleanse is getting a clear baseline again. In other words, as I go through the year I gradually add a little too much olive oil to dishes, and get very heavy-handed on the spices. And doesn’t winter just bring on a need for lots of good, homemade bread? And cupcakes? And . . . and . . . and. But no matter what, even if I ate a perfectly perfect diet all year round, the brain habituates: it stops noticing what we do habitually. I start to lose my ability to discern what I need and don’t need; I start to lose balance and am drawn to foods that are wrong for me.

When I feel clean inside, I’m back to neutral, zero, my intestines and colon are not mucked up. My liver and gall bladder have had their workloads reduced. I feel lighter and able to discern what I need vs. what I want out of whim, desire to be entertained, or an emotion (emotions created the comfort food industry.) I am in a much better position not only to choose healthy foods, but to feel and appreciate their affects.

Detoxification:  It is said that toxins adhere to fat and cleansing helps to break up and release those toxins. The intestinal lining gets a rest and the intestines and colon get rejuvenated. It is also said that personal growth work (working on editing our behavioral and/or emotional patterns) is aided by this process.

Bottom line:  I feel great, my energy and mood are upbeat, and my energy is more even than it normally is (I’m a peaks and valleys person, as opposed to some close family members who have even energy from morning to night.)

An Aging Gracefully Bonus:  My early-boomer joints function more smoothly and energetically without swelling.

So I’m going to continue my shakes and lots of salads while I add other cooked veggies, lentil dishes and occasional poultry – till my body says it needs a change.

Question for You:  What do you do to clean out toxins and help your body feel rejuvenated?

Thanks for dropping by. Do share your comments.  Next time:  Part III:  the conclusion of my interview with Dr. Ananda Kramer on Digestive Harmony and the Ancestral Diet.

Ever Noticed How Much We Don’t Notice?

05/03/2010

Have you ever noticed how much we don’t notice? We don’t notice when we hoist a shoulder to an earlobe when reaching for an object. We don’t notice when we clamp our arms to our sides when we walk, or that we lead with our heads (maybe the mind can’t wait for the rest of the body to get to its destination.) How can we care about, let alone change, something we don’t notice?

We move on automatic pilot, relying on unconscious habit patterns that are programmed and maintained through neural signals. To make a difference in these unconscious patterns of movement, or lack of movement, we go back to our first three steps described in earlier blogs. We make a conscious decision to do so (Step 1) and then set an intention (Step 2). To change these patterns we need to begin to discern how we move or where we don’t move. To create such awareness (Step 3) we use movement.

Step 4:  Movement

Movement – subtle, mindful and rhythmical – can begin to ‘speak’ to, or access, the central nervous system, a non-intellectual part of the brain that affects neural signals – like those that help keep self-limiting patterns in place. We want to create new neural signals that support our intention to, say, loosen tight muscles and ease joint mobility.

We perform mindful (you could say meditative) movements, in a particular manner, on one side of the body. We notice how that side feels in contrast to how the other side feels. This allows the non-intellectual brain to begin to notice the difference between the two sides. The effect is similar to inputting data into a computer. Once the data ‘registers’, it becomes the basis for the brain, nervous system etc. to begin to help us create new neural signals that help reprogram old patterns.

Simultaneously, we kinesthetically begin to feel how we actually (vs what we assumed) use our bodies and the effect of that usage. That kinesthetic awareness informs subsequent movement, which increases awareness, which guides further movement, which expands awareness . . . a spiral of symbiotic relationships emerge, working from within and without.

The nature of the movement is important, but not conveniently described here. Among the essential tools are attitudes of healing as well as visualization, breathing, self-massage and a lot of repetition. In my opinion and experience these mindbody methods, combined with Intention, Awareness, Movement (I AM) create a powerful process that supports transformation of self-limiting patterns, whether physical, emotional or behavioral.

The resources are inside us. We just need a road map to find and use what we already have; once we do, it’s ours for life. For we boomers, it makes for graceful aging with ease. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever need to seek help from other professionals. I receive therapeutic massage and chiropractic in addition to my personal movement practice.

Share your comments; they are appreciated. This is a huge topic and I am only glancing the surface. To learn more about the fascinating internal communication network click on Articles (on the right). I also recommend the book Molecules of Emotion by the brilliant researcher Candace Pert, PhD.  See you next week.

Question for You:  How do you address unwanted patterns?