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A Healthy Lifestyle

Guide to Natural Healthcare

Herbs work best when supported with a healthy lifestyle – including what you eat, and sufficient exercise and relaxation.

Our company has grown from a background of the Chinese systems of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements, with which we have combined the teachings of well-regarded Naturopathic and Herbal Practitioners such as Dr John Christopher, Jethro Kloss, N W Walker, Randolph Stone, and the approach of the Hygienists. This is what we call ‘Naturopathy with Herbs’.

In a nutshell, we can say that, the best healthcare is to help the body to do its own repairing and healing, by careful attention to:

  • The Food We Eat is an explanation of how the food we eat is actually made into our body tissues; so our diet really is central to good health.
  • Alternative Therapies to help us to keep healthy; for example, see the Products pages for details of our range of herbs.
  • Exercise Stimulating circulation of all the body fluids, exercise takes nourishment to, and removes wastes from, every cell of the body.
  • Relaxation We are constantly under stress, then the Nervous System will burn out. There are some simple ideas which can help to reduce stress to a minimum, and help to make life more enjoyable.
  • Mental Attitude We cannot bring ourselves to eat well, exercise, or relax, without being supported by our minds and emotions. Sometimes we even tell ourselves we’ll do something healthy – and then do something else! Fortunately, there are some techniques which can help to make it easier for us to do what we really want to do in life. Topics 1, 3, 4 and 5 are expanded on below.

1. The Food We Eat

For many people, the thought of changing dietary habits is challenging. After eating the same sort of diet for decades, habits get deeply ingrained. However, it is obvious, that the food we eat must have a great effect on the health of the body – after all, the body is built up from the food we eat plus the air we breathe. So changes must be considered!

Here are some of our ideas.

Most people would benefit from reducing the amount of protein and starch eaten (meat, dairy foods, bread, beans, rice, potatoes, which are a starchy vegetable); and increasing the amount of fruit and non-starchy vegetables. It is now widely accepted that fruits and vegetables promote good health; to assist maintenance of long-term good health for most people, we believe that at least 50%, and up to 80%, of the diet should be fruits and vegetables. The basic case for this is that, after digestion, starches and proteins generally form acid by-products; whereas most fruits and vegetables form alkaline by-products.

Alkalis are held to be more helpful to the maintenance of good health so, for most people, fruits and vegetables should be favoured. Incidentally, a good selection of vegetables will contain a reasonable quantity of all the proteins we need, if the body digests them well. To help keep the digestion working well, our own Dig 1 Drops or, even better, the 90-day Digestive Programme, taken for 2-3 months each year will be of value. Furthermore, we think that, meat is less supportive of good health than other forms of protein.

The amount of proteins eaten by most people in affluent countries is more than is conducive to good health. In addition to the reasons given above, proteins contain nitrogen which, basically, is converted by the body into uric acid to prevent dangerous levels of ammonia forming. Uric acid is thought to be able to accumulate in various places in the body, including the joints, which detracts from the health of these areas.

Furthermore, digestion of proteins requires hard work by the body, which could be better spent in maintaining good health.

Many people have strong beliefs about diet, perhaps derived from the views of parents, or from government health departments, which have no basis in fact. For example, large amounts of protein each day are just not necessary to life, as many people believe; in fact, a couple of ounces a day are sufficient, as long as the digestion is working well.

A third idea is, that occasional fruit or fruit juice fasts for 1-3 days are beneficial for most people. These are quite easy; just drink a glass of juice every hour or so, or have a piece of fruit every 1-2 hours. In both cases, mix each mouthful well with saliva. Eat no other food, and drink no tea, coffee or other beverages (except unflavoured herb teas, with no sweetener). Water may also be taken whenever desired (in fact, plenty of water is a good idea). Try this for just one day at first, perhaps for one day a week for 2 or 3 weeks, then extend progressively to 2 or 3 days, leaving two weeks between ‘fasts’. If the one day is too much for you, then break the fast before the end of the day, and repeat the next week, trying to extend the period for which you fast each time until you carry it out for a full day. Be gentle with yourself if this is new to you.

Changing the diet in this way makes much less work for the digestion, and releases large amounts of the body’s energy for ‘housekeeping’ tasks of keeping the body healthy.

Caution: If you have any health problems, don’t undergo fruit or juice fasts without the supervision of a Practitioner experienced in these methods.

2. Alternative Therapies To Help Us Keep Well

Alternative therapies can be extremely helpful to help us keep in balance. These can range from the very thorough, eg:

  • Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism
  • Western Herbalism
  • Homoeopathy
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutrition

to the more narrow or more limited in range – but still having a definiite place in our staying healthy. These include:

  • Osteopathy or Chiropractic
  • Massage
  • Reflexology

A combination of these approaches is almost certain to help us to stay healthy. Try a few therapies out to see which ones you like. It is recommended to build up long term relationships with therapists you feel comfortable with and who you feel sure are doing you good. And always be open to having a change – a second view is often helpful as you learn more about how your particular body works. It’s really a learning process.

3. Exercise

It is obvious to most people that exercise is good for the body. Yet, in the more affluent parts of the world, between a quarter and a half of the population are classified as overweight. This is partly because of the high fat, high calorie food people choose to eat; partly through lack of proper exercise; and partly through failure to deal appropriately with mental and emotional challenges – the subject of the following two sections.

Perhaps unfortunately, the human body can put up with a lot of abuse – often for many years – before it breaks down. But break down it does – leading to Heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and Nervous breakdown. An adage of advertising says that it is easier to sell a solution to a problem, than to sell a prevention. This is true. So don’t get ill before you realize you should have taken more exercise, eaten more sensibly, and taken more charge of your life!

Exercise encourages the tissue fluids (the sea of fluid in which the cells bathe) and the blood to circulate around the body. The more these fluids circulate, the more nutrients can be taken to the cells; the more waste products can be removed; the more defensive cells and substances can be taken to where they are wanted. It is like a city underground, subway, or metro system; disrupt the flow by taking every second train out of service, and severe congestion results, giving the poor commuters major stress, and making them late for their appointments.

It is more important you do some sort of regular exercise, than the actual exercise you do. But walking or hiking is one great exercise, especially if you’ve got some hilly terrain nearby. Jogging and running apply repeated pressure to the knees in the long run, so I’m not a massive fan of these forms of exercise. But sports where running and resting are interspersed are often excellent: for example, tennis, badminton, racquetball. (Squash is good, but in moderation as it, too, “hammers” the knees somewhat.) Swimming is great as it puts little pressure on any of the joints but it is excellent exercise. And cycling is a great all-round exercise too.

Exercise in general is great for helping to maintain efficient circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids in the body which is essential for keeping you in vital health.

4. Relaxation

The body – and mind – work best if they are relaxed. If they do not relax sufficiently, every bodily function will suffer eventually, leading to poor health.

The nervous system and the hormone system provide the regulation for all bodily functions. Continuing the analogy of the city, the nervous system is like the telephone network. When we are under stress, the nerves function less well – like the telephone wires heating up; leading to burn-outs, and misdirected nerve messages.

You can help to avoid this situation by eating healthily, taking herbs or other natural products to help support the nervous system, taking regular and sufficient exercise and sleep, and by just sitting and relaxing at regular times during the day.

If your job is continually stressful, you might ask yourself ‘Is this living?’ More and more people are ‘cashing out’; that is, abandoning their desire for high powered, relatively highly paid jobs, to do something with their working day which is more satisfying in the long term – more nourishing work, more relaxing work, perhaps with more time off and family time. Few retirees say: “If only I’d spent more time at work”.

Of course this has to be balanced with earning a living: but plenty of people have taken a risk, made a change, and been delighted with the results. We need to be open to the brilliant ideas we have, guided by common sense, of course.

5. Mental Attitude

Life is to be lived and enjoyed, not sweated over! If you do not feel a basic warm satisfaction with your life, then you have some questions to ask. What are your major goals in life? How are you going to achieve them? How will you know if you’ve got there? How will you deal with challenges? A helpful question can be: If one of your core beliefs was ‘There is always a solution’ – what would your solutions be?

(a) Goals

Does the idea of ‘Goals’ turn you off? Then it may surprise you to know that you already have them – it is just that for some people they are conscious, and for others they are not. If you don’t know what your goals are, or you don’t really know if you’ve got any – then they are unconscious for you; you’d better find out what they are as soon as possible – after all, they are ruling your life!

To help you identify your goals, and to help you bring more and more happiness and satisfaction into your life, there are various tools which can help you. One of my favourites is NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This is a powerful method consisting of a collection of a number of tools which are useful in different circumstances. For example, one tool of NLP can be helpful in reducing quickly the effects of a phobia; another can help you to enjoy studying a subject you have hated up to now, or accept a person who previously annoyed you for no apparent reason.

Such changes can sometimes be achieved disarmingly quickly, either with the help of a trained Practitioner, or by yourself with the help of an NLP book. One reason I like NLP is that it questions the belief that ‘painful experiences must be re-experienced to help get rid of them’ – a belief which pervades some therapeutic approaches.

On the contrary, NLP can always be used to interpret experience in a positive way, because it does not attach value judgements such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to behaviour; rather looking at behaviour as ‘resourceful’ or ‘unresourceful’.

This is all around un-learning some of the meanings we have learned to attach to specific words – such as guilt and low self-esteem (perhaps the two most prevalent negative influences in the collective western psyche).

NLP is nearer to the experience-based ‘non-blame’ philosophy of Buddhism or Taoism, than it is to the more rule-based belief-systems of some western religions and psychological therapies.

Some techniques which you can try to help you are those which work primarily through the mind or emotions, such as visualization, affirmations, counselling, psychotherapy, meditation and CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Visualization and affirmation can be learnt by yourself from books, if you wish. Meditation can also be self-taught – but a teacher can be invaluable. The other methods need a helper. You may have to try a few approaches to find one you really like. And, similarly, a different approach may suit you better at a different stage in your life. A bit of experiment may well be necessary.

Some more physical approaches as acupuncture, homoeopathy, reflexology, osteopathy, chiropractic, kinesiology, and massage. When you go in for such treatments, make sure you have an aim, so that you are aware of any progress being made. Decide what you want, ask the practitioner what should be achieved and how long it should take. After that time has passed, talk to the Practitioner again about your progress. If you can see no improvement, consider going elsewhere. You may well have to go to a number of Practitioners, even in the same or different techniques, to find one who suits you.

(b) Happiness

Happiness is probably the most fundamental desire of most people. When you are happy, you are at your most alive. Here are a few ideas for encouraging happiness which you might find helpful.

  1. Stretch yourself. Where survival, shelter or food needs are not an issue, we are happiest when stretching ourselves – progressively discovering new talents within, and using them for the benefit of ourselves and others. This is a life-enriching process and, happily, a never ending one. Extend yourself and the benefits will ripple out and touch everyone you know. From a health point of view – live in a vibrant, interested way and disease won’t want to know!
  2. Question your beliefs. This can be educational. Find a belief you have, then question why you have it – who told you to have it? Does it help you? If so – great; if not – consider changing it for a better one; beliefs can be changed.
    There’s a story about the wife who cuts the end off a hock of ham before cooking it ‘because her mother did’. The husband is fascinated as to why. He asks her mother – and finds that she was only copying her mother in turn. Eventually it turns out that the grandmother did it because – she only had a small pan to cook it in… Moral: Hold your beliefs because you want them – not because they’ve been passed on to you by well-meaning ‘authorities’ (eg parents, teachers).
    Beliefs about health we have come across are ‘Men need bread and potatoes to make them strong’; ‘Everyone needs fish or meat every day to stay healthy’; or ‘Doctors know what is best for my health’. There are many other common beliefs which should, perhaps, be questioned.
  3. Keep learning. This is the information age, and information means learning. Computers have revolutionized life in the last twenty years; the Internet will certainly go further over the next twenty. The information revolution has been compared in scale to the development of the printing press by Gutenburg in about 1450 – but its effects will be felt much more quickly. Two generations ago, our relatively stable world changed slowly, and a job was often “for life”. Now, change is at an ever increasing pace and multiple careers are common. Fast change is here to stay and versatility is the key in this age. The more skills and abilities you have, the better.

Just as change keeps you young, alert, and interested in life, so it keeps you healthy. Life is change – most of the cells in our body are replaced, at the most, each seven years. Some are replaced every few hours.

The opposite of change – stagnation – is death; stagnation (poor circulation) of the Liver causes numerous ailments, including headaches, poor digestion, nervousness, stress; stagnation in the bowel leads to constipation; and stagnation in the blood stream causes cold limbs, and poor nutrition to the cells of the body including the the brain.

In Summary, To Keep Mentally Fit – set yourself some goals which you find highly attractive; and consistently focus on keeping happy – by stretching yourself; question your beliefs; and keep learning. It may sound like a lot – but I think there’s really no alternative!

I hope this section gives you some useful ideas to help you feel more fulfilled and satisfied in life – which is your right.