Restoring health from a state of imbalance can be regarded as an art.
In the article ‘Holistically Connecting to Health’ I outlined a process for identifying and understanding the root causes of imbalanced health. Once core issues influencing health have been identified, a process of returning the body back to a state of balance can begin.
To get this deeper understanding of core health issues, you will need to look at health holistically and connect as many influencing factors as possible to your current state of health. The key points to consider are:
- Get an accurate picture of your current state of health by scanning your body from head to toe and identifying any health issues. Don’t just focus on individual symptoms see your body in its entirety.
- Consider as many influences as possible which could be currently affecting your health such as: diet, seasonal influences, any stress such as work issues, the affects of any medications, sensitivity to chemicals and so on.
- Identify any inherited health issues from grandparents and parents which may have been passed down to you. This will highlight potential areas of weakness within your body which may be more at risk from imbalance.
- Conduct a sequential analysis of your health from conception, birth, early years, childhood, teens, adulthood etc to the current point in time. Identify any past health issues & influences chronologically.
Once you have all of this information, any patterns of imbalance and the core issues influencing your health should be revealed. Remember you are the key to getting a holistic perspective & increased awareness of your health. The next step is to begin a process of restoring the body back to a state of balance by supporting the body with its natural ability to self-heal.
Homeostasis is the body’s inbuilt mechanism for maintaining balance with any physiological process. We normally associate homeostasis with processes like: maintaining body temperature, blood pressure and heartbeat within acceptable ranges.
Homeostatic maintenance occurs during every physiological process within the body and especially when things start to go wrong. We need to bear this in mind when dealing with problematic symptoms as the changes within the body resulting from the symptom are also part of the process to restore balance. For example a fever is a common symptom of infection. The action of raising body temperature improves the flow of body fluids like blood and lymph and enhances immune functions. Rest, a simple diet, taking fluids and keeping the head cool with a cold compress would all support the body with counteracting the infection. Interestingly, a higher body temperature also helps to inhibit viral activity therefore it is a good idea to support the fever process rather than suppressing it.
Look deeper and support what the body is trying to do to achieve balance
The Role of Nutritional Therapy and Naturopathy
Nutritional therapy and naturopathy, when used holistically, are powerful tools to help restore balance and support homeostasis. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates has been credited with the saying ‘let food be your medicine and medicine be your food’. He recognised that certain foods nurture and support body with restoring health. However when aiming to nutritionally support health it is important to always take into account the body’s current ability to digest absorb and eliminate. This is achieved by only consuming foods the body can recognise and handle at this point in time. For example someone with a poor digestive system may only be able to initially handle simple foods like home cooked broths or freshly pressed vegetable juices. Meals may initially be based around simple minimally processed natural foods. As the digestive system improves then other foods may be gradually introduced.
Recipe for Creating a Healing Diet
Use Natural Whole Foods
The first basic principle is to use natural whole foods, which are rich in nutrients. Whole foods contain a synergistic balance of nutrients which is near impossible to replicate via artificial food fortification. When you are aiming to prepare a healing diet from natural whole foods, choose simple dishes like broths, soups etc which are easier to digest. This is particularly important when the digestive system is weakened as it will be harder for it to process overly complex foods.
Don't Over Burden Digestion
Don’t burden digestion during times when it is naturally weaker. Consume heavier foods during the day when digestion is naturally stronger and eat less towards the evening and night as the body is not geared up for digesting heavy foods.
When assessing digestion notice how you feel after consuming certain foods. For example how do you feel after consuming the ‘not so healthy’ foods like crisps, processed foods, cakes, ice-cream, coffee, chocolate etc? Consider also how you feel after consuming generally recognised ‘healthy foods’ like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds and legumes? Do you feel heaviness, bloating or experience any mood swings? If you keep a diary, you may be surprised at your findings.
An increasing numbers of people are finding that they don’t feel right after consuming whole grains and in particular whole wheat. At the root of this imbalance there will be a chronic level of dehydration within the body which becomes aggravated when whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are consumed as they have a tendency to draw water out of the digestive system if they have not been correctly prepared. The traditional methods for preparing these foods like soaking, sprouting, slow cooking and fermentation should always be used with these foods, which makes them easier to digest and makes the nutrients easier to absorb. In certain chronic situations these whole foods will need to be avoided and may only be gradually introduced after the body is given additional support to heal and rebalance.
Choose Local, Seasonal and Organic Foods
Choose local, seasonal & organic foods if possible. Locally, seasonally produced foods are tuned into the same environment that you are living in and will therefore be more harmonising to health than food which has been imported from other far off countries. Consuming out of season foods can also place a stress on the body as they will have an opposing effect on your body in relation to the actual season you are living in. For example, eating non-seasonal cooling summer fruits during the winter may adversely affect someone who has a slower metabolism and colder body temperature.
Organic foods also offer a lower load of pesticides, herbicides etc which will represent less of a burden on the body’s detoxification system. This is an important consideration if the current levels of detoxification and elimination of the body are poor.
Supporting the body through a natural whole food based diet loaded with the necessary nutrients leads to positive changes in wellbeing like: the reduction of cravings, an increase in mood and energy and so on. At the same time when we consciously avoid foods which are hard to digest, process and eliminate we reduce the load placed on the digestion, detoxification and elimination systems of the body. This gives the body the extra space to rebalance functioning which will involve the detoxification and elimination pathways of the body. This is the point where naturopathy may be incorporated as an invaluable tool in the healing process.
Support the Body to Cleanse and Eliminate
Naturopathy recognises and supports the body’s natural ability to self-heal and self-correct from a state of imbalance to balance. It uses natural cleansing and detoxification techniques which support the elimination organs of the body to release stagnated toxicity like mucous congestion which often builds within the lymphatic system, lungs, digestive system and colon.
The art in the process of detoxification is having an understanding of how the body eliminates toxicity and waste and to recognise potential areas it can get stuck with like the elimination pathway. One of the principles the body employs is that if it cannot eliminate a waste it will then store it within but will always choose storage sites away from the vital organs. If the imbalance is not corrected then over time the body stores this toxicity inwards and deeper within the body structures. For example certain types of joint pain may be linked to the storing of unprocessed waste within the joints. Notice how arthritic joint imbalances always start in the peripheral areas of the body (hands and feet). If the imbalance is not connected then it moves further inwards affecting the wrists, ankles, knees, elbow, hip, shoulders and spine. In this example, the right naturopathic techniques may be used to help the body to eliminate stored toxicity from the joints. Naturopathic techniques to support the liver, kidneys, lymphatic, circulatory systems, elimination channels and the joints would all help with releasing and supporting a rebalance of joint functioning.
Any inherent weakness, illness or injury often results in toxicity and waste congestion building in the affected area of the body. If this situation is not corrected then over time it will lead to imbalance and ill health stemming from the areas of imbalance. The right naturopathic technique may be used to help keep these areas from becoming overwhelmed with wastes and toxicity build up.
The appropriate naturopathic technique should therefore be used to help release areas of congestion but to do so in manageable amounts that are bearable to the individual.
When positive dietary changes are made which reduce the body’s level of processing from digestion this then creates spare capacity for the body to self correct imbalances.
This is the main reason for combining nutritional and naturopathic approaches to support the body with rebalancing.
3 simple steps to reconnecting to your health are:
- Understand the inner communication from the signs and symptoms presented by your body.
- Get a holistic perspective of any health issue rather than just focussing on symptom removal. This will reveal the core issues for any health imbalance.
- Support the body to restore balance with tools like nutritional therapy and naturopathy.
If you have any questions about your health or you would like to learn more about connecting to health and creating a healing diet then please contact me.