by Dr. Randy
There are two sides to our interest in maintaining a healthy body. One side includes the goal of achieving and maintaining good health for as long as we can. This is a path that can potentially prevent much suffering. The second side is our concern with the way we appear, especially as we compare ourselves to other people.
Let’s explore fat as one focus. Being overweight has many negative connotations and health effects. Fat cells stimulate inflammation and thus increase the risk for many chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Taking measures to prevent and reduce fat stores in the body will increase the likelihood of persistent good health. Exercise in itself will tend to decrease fat and prevent aging of cells. On the other hand, our culture values strength and good muscle tone, equating being lean with good looks. This can give rise to a hyper-focus on appearing lean and attractive, and negative feelings about anything resembling excess weight. As metabolism slows down with aging, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain this ideal, and much personal suffering ensues.
The concern with appearances is a slippery slope that can lead to obsession with our superficial material form and our fragile egos. Pride and vanity can become weights that pull us down into a continual quest for clearer complexions, more firm and muscular bodies, and a more youthful appearance. Of course this quest is ultimately doomed because we will all age, sicken, and die. Our culture places great value on the youthful qualities of smooth firm skin and hardened, toned bodies, and many industries exist to fulfill and encourage these longings. This pursuit can occupy inordinate amounts of time and distract us from some more worthwhile pursuits. Perhaps we should leave youthful appearance to the young who are busy attracting mates and achieving athletic success. Some would argue that developing a spiritual practice that fosters kindness, self-compassion, and generosity as we age might provide a better use of our time than chasing after good looks. We may want to prolong the appearance of youth, but a more balanced resignation about inevitable aging will lead to greater happiness.
What to do
A middle ground represents a more balanced view. Create good health through a healthy diet and lifelong exercise, but also recognize the natural tendency to age, and eventually to die. A frantic pursuit to stave off the inevitable may give us a little more time, but also waste precious resources on a deluded quest. Happiness will not come from having a lean body, but prolonged good health just might.
by Dr. Randy
We usually think of medical treatment and health advice as something we receive. Take a particular supplement or herbal formula or homeopathic medicine. This is a rather passive form of health care. Patients receive the expert advice of a practitioner and choose to either follow that advice or pursue other avenues of treatment. When someone is in distress, then seeking and taking medical advice is usually straightforward. If the goal is relief from immediate symptoms, then taking a nontoxic approach to solving them is great. We can even learn to administer some of these treatments to ourselves and be more self-sufficient.
However, achieving good health requires a much more active process. Symptoms can interfere with our clarity of mind and can disrupt our lives. Symptom relief is helpful because it can free us from suffering and allow us to pursue our life’s purpose with fewer limitations. One of our purposes can be the cultivation of optimal health. The rich soil for this cultivation takes the form of what we commonly understand as a lifestyle that is nourishing. If we establish a lifestyle that includes nourishment of the mind, body, and spirit, then we are more likely to experience happiness, fulfillment, and good health.
What are the ingredients of a nourishing lifestyle?
- Equanimity of mind fostered through meditation.
- A healthy diet comprised of natural, whole foods.
- Regular exposure to nature, plants, and the sun.
- Caring, loving relationships.
- Movement of the body through walking, exercise, or moving meditation (yoga or tai chi).
These factors will counteract the many stresses of our lives, the worry, problem solving, and material concerns that occupy us. Cultivating the conditions for health will help to provide an antidote to the effects of stress and help prevent illness.
Here is a meditation for self-healing.
Let me be happy.
Let me be free from danger.
Let me be healthy.
Let me be at ease.
by Dr. Randy
You may not have seen it yet, but it’s here. This year’s flu can be severe. This flu starts out with a severe sore throat (sometimes with bleeding) and fever with shaking chills. Other symptoms include cough, diarrhea, headache and severe body pain. There are milder versions that only include a few of these symptoms, sometimes just a cough and low grade fever. However, the adage holds true that if you think you’re going to die, it’s the flu. In general, young people with a strong and reactive immune system tend to have the more violent symptoms.
The treatment requires a change of homeopathic remedies depending on the stage of the illness. For example, it can start with a Mercurius-type cutting throat pain followed by a Bryonia-type flu with a bad headache, dry racking cough and body pains, and then turn into a Kali-bichromicum pattern of congested cough and sinus pressure.
Other measures for managing the flu include elderberry extract and a Gan Mao Ling Chinese herbal formula. Some typical formula models include Wellness Formula by Source Naturals and Cold Away by Health Concerns. These fit the first stage of the illness. At later stages, different herbal formulas for congestion and cough will be appropriate.
I usually communicate with patients on a daily basis to manage these different stages, and instead of a few weeks of protracted illness, the symptoms can resolve in 5-6 days. In any case, it’s no fun for people going through the illness.
Family members and anyone exposed to the flu can take preventives to stave off symptoms. These may include a medicinal mushroom formula to bolster immune function, colostrum or a cold-processed whey protein powder, and elderberry. If there is known exposure to the flu then the homeopathic remedy Influenzinum can be protective. And taking Wellness Formula or an equivalent anti-viral treatment can work to fight off the viral attack. Of course, everyone should be taking vitamin D in the winter to maintain a resilient and active immune system. The vitamin D dose for children is 1,000 IU per 10 pounds of body weight up to 5,000 IU. Adults can take 5,000-10,000 IU per day.
Drink fluids, stay warm, eat soups and stews in the winter. Get some exercise, meditate, do yoga. Take care of yourself this flu season and hopefully you will stay well.
by Dr. Randy
Like me, you may be contemplating your resolutions and resolve at this time of year. I urge you to consider those things you value most. This will begin, no doubt, with those you hold most dear, and hopefully expand to others. In this precarious world we are all interdependent. Although our success and livelihood depends upon our own efforts, our happiness and fulfillment comes from our involvement with others. Consider your causes, your aspirations, and the fleeting nature of our lives. Try to reach beyond the petty concerns of disagreements and conflict. Hold things lightly and with humor.
You may want to begin the year by wishing everyone well. It is a time to wish for happiness, peace, safety, and health.
Many factors for these wishes are out of our hands. Acceptance of the flow of life is the best, and only, reasonable course. We can, however, do everything in our power to promote ease through the year, and through turbulent times.
We can do things to promote health. Bolster your immune system, take antioxidants, and eat a clean diet with fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. Maintain strength with regular exercise to prevent injuries. This is a simple program within everyone’s reach.
We can promote goodwill and peace in the world though many causes and our own intentions. The world needs our good wishes.
I wish you all a year of happiness, health, and a mind at ease. May your projects succeed and your life purpose be fulfilled.
by Dr. Randy
What a wonderful time of year. Family, warm fires, holiday cheer, and happy children content with the few gifts they receive. Does this sound like your house? If not, then you may need to change your expectations. Or have no expectations and enjoy whatever you have. Above all go slowly and go lightly. Practice ease. These are turbulent times with the potential for disappointment and dismay. It is a time for reconsidering our goals and behavior and what we value in our lives. Rushing for last minute shopping in the crowds, and getting all those remaining items on your list may not really be necessary. Consider the spirit of generosity and the rewards of simply giving. Consider the importance of relationship and not material possessions. The holiday season is a good time for reflection and simple comforts. Think of those cultures free of the holiday madness. Enjoy daily small pleasures and the people you love. Be at peace. Stay warm. Have a holiday season free of stress. Stay healthy, and if colds occur, then take them in stride. Keep that elderberry on hand. And be of good cheer.