Hippocrates knew what he was talking about even thousands of years ago. A Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, Hippocrates is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine, yet the way we practice medicine today is a far cry from his approach. Hippocrates conducted his own research through experiments and data collection to conclude that disease is a natural process. A process caused by natural reactions of the body and that the role of the physician was to support the natural resistance of the body to overcome the imbalance. Once the imbalance was restored, the person would return to good health and harmony. He believed (against the teachings of the school of medicine) that the body functioned as one organism and must be treated as such. The school of medicine’s approach was to isolate each organ and treat them separately. This is very similar to how we treat disease today in conventional medicine. There is a specialist for each body system or organ and we are referred to one of these specialists by our primary physician if a problem arises that they do not have the expertise to treat. The problem with this model is that we are going against nature and how our body was designed.
To be clear, I am not putting the blame on doctors, nor do I think there’s not a place for conventional medicine. I’d like to share a little about overcoming my own health struggles and what worked for me. Everyone’s healing looks different so you don’t need to follow the exact path I took, but I think there are a few tips that can help anyone in their journey towards better health. I worked in health care for many years and loved certain aspects of it, but shortly after I started my career I began having some health struggles of my own. Fatigue, depression, anxiety, infections, pain, indigestion, inability to concentrate, and more. Instead of listening to my body and taking guidance from it, I fought it tooth and nail, because this is how I roll. After all, I didn’t have time for all this! For the next several years I was in a constant fight with my body. After lots of tests, therapy, medication, and a good dose of denial, I managed to find a way to keep up my performance at work without really taking good care of myself...sort of. What took me several more years to learn is that you can’t defy nature. If you ignore what your body is trying to tell you, it will bite you in the butt down the road, usually much harder than it tried to in the first place.
So...as I began to feel as if I had control over my body with all the tools listed above, I was blindsided by a cascade of worsening health issues. And they kept coming for what seemed like FOREVER, especially after the birth of our first daughter in 2010. They knew me well at the dentist because I had eight root canals in a very short time, all of which would later be extracted, became dependent on medication, had worsening depression, and was struggling to keep my family together. Even as I write about this difficult time I get a tightness in the back of my throat, a clenching in my stomach, and that feeling of desperation I once felt. I know now that this was imbalance manifesting in my body trying to tell me it needed something other than what I was doing.
Thankfully, it wasn’t yesterday. It wasn’t even a year ago. It was almost eleven years ago. I was in a constant fight with my body, and the universe for that matter, for a good majority of this time. What I discovered the hard way is that when you are in fight mode you are not open to the things you need to make real lasting change. So long as you have your fists up ready to strike the next person who crosses your path, you will never come to a place of healing. Our psychological and physical health are directly related and whether its physical, emotional, spiritual, or all three, you must heal yourself from a perspective of wholeness. Yes, seeing a doctor, therapist, or other health care professional may be part of your recipe for healing, but you my friend, have everything you need right inside you to heal yourself. You just need to listen very carefully.
By sharing my own experience and struggles my hope is that perhaps you won’t feel so alone, or inadequate, or desperate. I was really hoping to leave politics out of this, but Obama made a statement in one of his recent speeches that keeps popping up in my mind. He talked about how it’s hard to lose when you’ve worked so hard for what you believe in, but despite our differences, we must remember we’re really all on the same side. Whether you’re fighting yourself or someone else, it’s an incredible relief to know that unity is ultimately what will heal us. This is how we were designed by nature, as a whole person needing wholeness for healing. It’s all connected and we can’t heal one part without examining the others.
There are so many factors involved in the healing process it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I believe in starting simple. What got me off on the right foot was getting all the toxins out of my life. I’m talking about toxins in the body but also environmental toxins, psychological toxins, and emotional toxins. We live in a toxic environment and that isn’t going to change anytime soon so everyone can benefit from doing an occasional detox program. Doing this will allow you to think clearer, feel better, and set the stage for true and lasting healing and what better time to start than the spring when life and warmth are about to return! Here are a few tips to get you started in each category, but make it your own. Customize it for your own specific goals. You can find countless detox juice and smoothie recipes on the internet that are specific for healing certain disorders or targeting a specific area of the body that may need attention.
BODY DETOX: There’s no better way to cleanse yourself than to start with good nutrition. If you are up to diving right in and want to try a juice or smoothie fast, Cherie Calbom’s book “Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing For Life,” has some great tips and recipes for getting started. A juice fast isn’t for everyone though so if you are one of these people, start by choosing organic as much as possible and decreasing the higher allergenic foods such as meat, wheat, and dairy. Know what you are consuming. The best way to do this is to prepare your own meals at home. You don’t need much time to throw together quick healthy meals, you just need to commit to doing so and prioritize it. Below I have included a tasty green smoothie recipe for you to try that is easy to make and delicious! It removes heavy metal toxins that build up in the body and is loaded with micronutrients necessary for optimal body function.
ENVIRONMENTAL DETOX: Most of us don’t think about it, but toxins enter our bodies in more than one way. Our skin and lungs take in a good majority of toxins as well so be mindful about what you put on your skin and the quality of the air you breathe. Things like laundry detergent, dryer sheets, soap, shampoo, lotion, make-up, and cleaning products all affect our “toxic load.” Choose “free and clear” varieties and natural health products as much as possible. Natural cleaning products are also effective and they smell great too! Especially now since we are spending more time inside it’s important to use natural cleaners because any artificial fragrances and chemical additives end up in the air we breathe. Visit your local health food store for an array of different brands or go online to order if you know what you want.
PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL DETOX: The psychological and emotional detox may take a little longer to see results. This were the most challenging for me. I like to compare it to strength and flexibility. Strength is easier and quicker to achieve if you have a good action plan, but flexibility needs more time, nurturing, and patience (something I have very little of). Unfortunately, you can’t rush this part and it’s extremely important. This type of detox can come in many different forms and is personal to you. It may be prayer, meditation, exercise, religion, journaling, therapy, or simply engaging in a favorite hobby to express yourself. Make time each day for self care that supports your mental health and your body will thank you for it. Stress does a number on the physical body and may lead to weight gain, digestive disorders, metabolic imbalances, unbalanced hormones and more.
I hope by sharing some of my own struggles and tips for success it has helped you to feel less alone and perhaps inspired to start your own journey. Remember to BELIEVE in yourself even if others don’t. Tell yourself you will and can have what you desire. Keep telling yourself this especially when you feel as if you’re moving backwards. Another thing about nature is that it’s always in motion. Sometimes moving forward, sometimes moving backward, but there’s always a good reason for the direction it’s going. I’d love to hear your story or simply the first thing you are going to do to get started. Please feel free to comment here on our blog and get support from other likeminded people. Most of all, enjoy the process and be kind to yourself!
HEAVY METAL DETOX SMOOTHIE:
Cilantro and parsley are great for removing heavy metals from the body and taste great in this delicious detoxifying smoothie!
1/2-1 cup fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup cucumber (without skin if non-organic)
1/2 cup chopped fresh kale
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 fresh mango
1/2 cup filtered water or raw apple juice
Wash and roughly cut up herbs, veggies, and mango. Add to blender with lemon juice and blend until smooth. Replace as a meal or drink as a post workout recovery drink. Enjoy!
Shawn Clavelle holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Yoga Instructor. Drawing from her clinical nursing experience and own personal journey, Shawn has a passion for identifying the obstacles to good health and guiding others in their own journey. She has created a yoga and nutrition program which is accessible and sustainable for those wanting to make changes that last. Shawn believes that what you put in your body and how you move it are crucial to living the most fulfilling life possible.