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Healthy . . . From the INSIDE Out

Being a chiropractor is the most amazing job in the world!  Most people enter into my “chiropractic kitchen” to find the ‘popcorn’ in their spines, get flipped over like a pancake, or twisted up like a pretzel.  What I do is: structural realignment of the twenty-four bones of the spine, as well as the occipital bone and sacrum at either end.  Does this take pressure off the very important system running your body?  Yes.  Is it important to live a life free of spinal interference?  Absolutely!  Is it the end all be all answer to living the healthiest life?  No.

No.  “How can she say no?” you wonder.  “She’s supposed to be selling her trade,” you think.  I recently moved from Singapore to Honolulu, to make Hawaii my new home.  After two years in Asia, I was tired.  I was tired of giving my everything to teach a culture about chiropractic as a form of practicing wellness, and not just as a band aid for pain.  Time and again, after explaining my brains out about how the body might react, and that healing takes time, a common reaction after the second visit would be this same  woeful lament: “Still got pain.”  They said it like an accusation, as if years of twelve hour days in front of a laptop and fast food for dinner every night had nothing to do with the fact that their pain had only gone from a 9 to a 7 in two visits.  What I’m trying to say is that chiropractic is just one piece of the big huge health puzzle.  It is incredibly and satisfyingly awesome.  It is good for your body.  And it is only ONE WAY to keep your body at your best.

One of the key themes of chiropractic is ‘ADIO.’  This stands for: Above Down Inside Out.  The brain up ABOVE has to send signals DOWN to the rest of the body so that the body can heal from the INSIDE to the OUTSIDE.  But when I stare at ADIO, I can’t stop thinking about food.  Food also brings good energy from your mouth above, down your esophagus, into your stomach and digestive system, where the nutrients can be absorbed on the inside so that your skin glows on the outside, your tummy stays trim, and your muscles ripple with —- wait, starting to not sound like you?

You know how sometimes you can look at someone and they just don’t seem healthy?  It could be blotchy skin, a bit or a lot of extra weight, or even a depressed attitude.  We all display the signs now and again, with increased stress on the body.  We are living in busy times; times too busy to prepare a decent meal.  I, myself, just one month ago, had a whole different mindset about a proper diet.  Being on my own, I had convinced myself that if I had no one to show off my cooking skills for, then there was no point in cooking.  WHAT A MESSED UP WAY TO LOOK AT THINGS!  As I found out, there is no one more important to cook for more than yourself.  If you don’t teach yourself how to eat right, who is going to do it for you?

Cancer, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Coronary Artery Disease.  If you found out you had one of the above right now, I bet you would change your ways in a heartbeat.  Every day we make choices about what to put into our bodies.  It’s easy to choose chocolate when deciding between snacking on a carrot or a candy bar.  But if the stakes are higher, we might think a little bit harder.  It’s too bad that most people are moved to act by fear.  However, I want you to do a mind trick.  Put yourself in the position like you were just diagnosed with something from the above list.  Or maybe you are struggling with a condition already, and you’d like to work on it.  Live in that space for a minute, five minutes, an hour, or a day.  And think about what you would do to change your outcome for the better.

I am on Day 18 of a 21 day cleanse.  I chose to do a cleanse offered by Standard Process, as I have heard nothing but the best about their health products.  Deciding to do a cleanse is daunting.  The rules, as I understand them, are as follows:  Only organic fruits and veggies for the first ten days, with twice as many veggies as fruit.  Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.  No legumes, nuts, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, soda pop or bread.  A small portion of lentils or brown rice each day is permissible, as well as half a sweet potato.  On Days 11-21, you may incorporate organic chicken or fresh caught fish.  Standard Process supplies supplements to get you through the days, which include: SP Cleanse, SP Complete, Green Food, and Gastro Fiber.  The SP Complete is a powder that you add to two smoothies a day.  You can choose between SP Complete and SP Complete (lactose free).  I chose lactose free, just because I felt like pushing myself to the edge (I love milk!)  Every other product on the list goes down the gullet in the form of a pill.

I ordered my products and lined them up on my kitchen counter.  I felt accomplished already.  It was as if they held the key to my health salvation.  I then went to Down to Earth, a local organic vegetarian store here in Hawaii.  Two hundred dollars later, I felt like I had the makings for a few days of good clean eating.  I felt proud when I heard people murmuring about how good my cart looked, especially in a store where everything is pretty much healthy.

I am not one who really enjoys eating salads.  I grew up eating a lot of rice and soup, so I like warm hearty meals.  I made it through Day 1 by making a lentil veggie soup.  I reluctantly chewed down a few stalks of celery, and did not enjoy it solo.  Later on I had half a sweet potato with raw garlic mashed, with a stir fry swiss chard that was quite spicy and delicious.

It began to dawn on me that it was going to be fun to come up with new recipes, and new ways to get as much nutrients into my body as possible.  Is it time consuming?  Yes.  But it is rewarding in more ways you can imagine.  I felt a little weird on the second day; tired and exhausted without having done anything to cause it in my regular daily activities.  Days 1-3 were like getting to know a new life.  The coolest part about it was that any boredom I had being home alone was now gone, because feeding yourself is a fun part time job in itself.  When, after 21 days, your healthy activities of daily living have become a habit, you can re-enter society with a fresh outlook on what you are willing to ingest!

TIPS for doing a cleanse:

Clear out the cupboards of junk food before you start to avoid temptations.

Find a buddy to either hold you accountable, or do the cleanse together with you.  Just like going swimming, it’s safer with a buddy!!!

Plan your meals ahead of time and get the bigger dishes cooked on a Sunday or a day off.  Just having sliced veggies ready to go in Tupperware in the fridge is a HUGE help.

Don’t go on the scale every day.  Instead, weigh in the day before, on day 7, day 14, and day 21.

Be ready to do more dishes than you have ever done before in your life.

Consult your physician before making any drastic changes to your diet.

It’s Day 18, and I’m feeling empowered because I have stayed in control of my will power, and it wasn’t very hard.  You just have to be ready to be disciplined and do the work.  The hardest part is taking the first step.  So far, my buddy and I have each lost 9 lbs, and my doctor says 10-15 lbs of weight loss is very normal for this type of cleanse.

So while I’m serving popcorn, pretzels, and pancakes in my chiropractic adjustment, it’s green smoothies, baked squash, and fresh veggies in the real Casa de Cass.  Bon Apetit!

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