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Tips for Holistic Health

Based on Factors I Found Helpful

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I'll try to organize this list more as time goes on, but for now here is a set of holistic changes I fond helpful to improve my health.

1. Keep your pH levels balanced. (See my section on acidic and alkaline foods for more on this topic.) Many holistic doctors feel that the proper acid-alkaline balance is the key to good health. I had several of my health issues clear up just by switching to a slightly more acidic diet. Nutritionist Adelle Davis wrote that it is harder for bacteria to thrive in an acidic environment, and I think she was on to something.

Contrary to some popular fad diets, it is probably not a good idea to be either too acid nor too alkaline, but just too eat a balanced diet that keeps your body fluids within a normal range.
I've noticed that if I eat too many acid forming foods I get heartburn and high blood pressure. If I eat too many alkaline forming foods I tend to get more digestive problems and signs of sinus, bacterial and yeast infections. With diet as with many other choices in life, the middle path is often best.

2. Get some exercise each day outside in the sunshine whenever weather permits. Our bodies were meant to synthesize vitamin D based on the action of sunlight on our skin. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to rickets, osteomalacia, thyroid issues, depression, breast and other cancers, obesity and much more. Just because some people have developed skin cancer in the past from over exposure to the sun, doesn't mean that everyone else in the world should get zero sunshine exposure. The key is to get a balanced amount based on your skin color, and sunshine levels based on your geographic area.

3. Forget the food pyramid. It is based on flawed logic and input from special interest groups in the food processing industry. There is no one diet that is appropriate for everyone in the world. The food pyramid with its emphasis on grains is probably the biggest contributor to obesity, fungal infections and diabetes in this country.

4. If you have many of the conditions listed in this site and are a coffee drinker, you might find a lot of your issues will clear up just by cutting out coffee and other foods that contain caffeine. If I have even one cup of coffee, I get headaches, panicky, insomnia, chest pains, etc. I know a lot of people who have the kinds of problems listed in this site and yet they drink 2 or 3 cups of coffee each day. If they are like me, a lot of their problems would be eliminated of they just cut out the caffeine.

5. Avoid junk foods and processed foods. Emphasize foods that, even if you prefer to cook them, would at least be edible in their natural state.

6. Avoid foods with preservatives. You body may need extra vitamins and minerals to detoxify these foreign substances.

7. Unless you live in a heavily polluted area, open your windows to your home and car each day to let the fresh air in.

8. Don't smoke.

9. Don't eat foods with a lot of sugar. It provides empty calories, displaces more nutritious foods and makes is easier for yeast and bacteria to thrive.

10. Avoid supplemented foods. Some people have nutritional deficiencies and may benefit from an individualized supplement routine. However, I think random supplementation (calcium in orange juice, zinc in cereal) can throw off your body chemistry. A lot of foods are supplemented with calcium, which can actually reduce magnesium levels, causing more harm than good in people who are already magnesium deficient.

11. Buy organic foods if you can afford it.

12. Use natural unscented health, beauty and cleaning products where possible. Try not to rub anything on your skin that you wouldn't feel comfortable eating. The less toxins and irritants your body is exposed to, the less it has to detoxify and they easier it is to preserve vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium that might otherwise be used up in the detoxification process. There is a reason hair dressers have high rates of asthma, and it is highly probable it is due to their chemical exposure.

13. Use a deodorant without aluminum.

14. Use a phosphate free, unscented laundry detergent.

15. Try to find a holistic doctor if you can.

16. If you can afford it, have holistic nutrition testing done. We found this exceptionally helpful.

17. Meditate each day.

18. Watch your posture. Your muscles tend to contract or expand into whatever posture you hold all day long. Muscles that are contracted and unbalanced are a major cause of pain.

19. Practice yoga. If you work at a computer all day, get a book on how to sneak in simple stretches at your desk.

20. Plan your meals and snacks in advance. You will eat healthier.

21. Try steaming and slow cooking foods for easy, vitamin and mineral preserved, healthy meals.

22. For pain problems, try trigger point therapy and/or acupressure. These techniques really worked well for me and all of the other members of my family.

23. Get rid of any mold and mildew around the house. Along with a high sugar and high carbohydrate diet, they help set the stage for mold sensitivities and can deplete vitamins and minerals needed to neutralize the toxins in the mold. There are many health risks associated with mold exposure. Think twice about buying used items that can't be washed or bleached.

24. Eat a wide variety of foods and vary your diet each day. That way you are more likely to not overload on certain vitamins and minerals from foods you eat all of the time.

25. Take responsibility for your own health. Listen to your doctor but do your own research, too. Get second opinions, research on the web, buy books, etc. When my health was at it's low point, I decided I would not give up until I saw at least a hundred different doctors, dentists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, yoga teachers, etc. The best family doctor I went to didn't know what I had wrong, but she made a list of specialists for me to see, and one of those specialists diagnosed my connective tissue disorder. From him I found a physical therapist who really helped me, and after that I found a chiropractor who gave me a deal on having nutrition testing done through her.

26. Don't just read whatever books are popular at the moment. I've found some really interesting tidbits in from used books stores by buying health and medical books from throughout the last century - especially books by Weston Price, Adelle Davis and Roger Williams. One of my real gems was a scoliosis book I found from the early 1900s. See my section on Physical Therapy for Scoliosis for more on this book.

27. Don't give up! I think I went to around 20 or 30 different practitioners and clinics on my list of 100 before I actually found a doctor and physical therapist who helped me. I also bought (literally) thousands of books and spent countless hours on the web.

It was a lot of work but in the end it was worth it. I've improved my own health and have gotten thousands of nice emails from people with similar conditions who have found my web site helpful.

I can work again, bike ride, hike, do aerobic videos and much more. I just bought my first mountain bike for my myself last year and can go on long bike rides with my family these days.

I'm in my late forties as of this writing, and I'm probably the most pain free and have the best posture I've ever had in my life. Ten years ago, I was a wreck. I had TMJ, scoliosis, fibromyalgia, kyphosis, bleeding problems, IBS, heart palpitations, sciatica, chronic neck pain - pretty much most of the things written up in this site.

I do think for most people the answers to their health issues exist somewhere - it's just finding them that is hard work.






Related sections of interest:

Testing for Digestive and Nutritional Deficiencies

Is Your Diet Too High in Fiber?

How to Find Holistic Doctors and Naturopathic Physicians

Alternative Health Books I Recommend


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