Ironically, I spent hours over the last week writing this final post, in which I attempted to cover all the important ground I have yet to cover, to finish all the half-written articles in my draft box. It was my final attempt to make a positive impact on the health and lives of anyone willing to read my words. Alas, the Internet ate my post...all that work just disappeared. I kind of want to cry a little, I definitely want to throw something. My husband asked, "You didn't write and save it in a Pages doc first?" Ah, that would have been far too sensible. Why not trust the blogger edit window and it's little "save" button? I mean, this is the golden age of technology. What could go wrong?! Haha... So I'm taking this loss as a sign from God that I am not meant to say all the things I wrote. And I suppose that's a fitting end to this experiment of mine, my relationship with the blogging world and with trying to convince people of health reality as I see it.
It may come as no surprise that I am retiring Radically Natural Living. My presence here has been spotty at best in the last year. I started this blog at the encouragement of a friend, with the goal of sharing my experience and background in the healing arts...and I enjoyed attempting to share and work in this medium. I have learned much, and I hope I have taught something of value. But in all honesty, the fast-paced modern Internet world of blogging and social media just isn't for me. I remember and prefer the web world before the blogging boom, when sites were slow-paced research-oriented encyclopedias. Attempting to create, design and understand the technical aspects of the blogging platform takes its toll on an old-school gal like myself. While I must admit to myself that I stole time from more needful responsibilities to create RNL, I do not regret all the hours spent in planning and writing articles, if I was able to minister to peoples' wellness. But I cannot continue to burn my candle at both ends.
I leave the world of Real food, Real health and Real birth blogging to more capable hands and voices, and I look forward to enjoying their continued works. While I will not be maintaining this blog any further, it will still exist in this space, so I hope my past offerings might continue to be used as a resource. I will be canceling the custom URL, so this blog may be found in future at www.radicallynatural.blogspot.com. I might publish a finalized RNL index sometime following this post.
Time permitting, I will continue to work (slo--w--ly) on my EveryWiseWoman Herbals site, which already contains many articles and white papers I have written, as well as my storefront for HerbalAide Super Salve, Labor Oil, and whatever remedies time allows me to offer in future.
Some of you I know, most of you I do not. I want to thank you all, truly, for your support in the short life of this blog. I did not accomplish all I set out to do, but that is part of the learning experience. At times, I tried too hard to be clever, or I neglected to restrain my frustrations with the "state of things" (I was far too snarky as I raged against the machine). I experienced valuable illuminations during this process, and I have been forced to examine my priorities and goals. But this has been an enlightening and challenging experience for me, and I appreciate your participation as readers! There are so many things I wanted to teach, to share, to reveal, but I leave that to others, including all of you. For you are your own best teacher, when you truly desire to learn and to pursue truth and personal responsibility for your wellness. It isn't anyone else's job to figure things out and apply the knowledge...it's your job.
For my final act, I will condense some of my favorite ideas and health advice that I desire to leave with willing readers. (I will not be supplying info links, as my final challenge is that you do the study.) I am attempting to be quick, not curt, and I share because I care...not just to hear the sound of my own typing. :) These are the topics I hope people will study with fervor, applying the accumulated healing knowledge to their lives.
- Health begins in the gut. If yours is leaky or riddled with malevolent pathogens, you are not healthy...your immunity, your brain function, your hormones, your ability to absorb nutrients, your EVERYthing depends on your gut health. Your children's gut health began with your gut health. If you have eaten modern food or used pharmaceuticals (including but not limited to antibiotics, vaccines, NSAIDs, birth control pills) in your lifetime, you have a leaky and/or pathogenic-overrun gut. In other words, we all have some level of gut dysbiosis. Fix it. Learn how. (GAPS is an excellent answer, likely the best answer, but not the only answer.)
- After you have healed your gut, live on a Nourishing Traditions diet and shun industrial food.
- Brain chemistry disorders (depression, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, ADHD, brain fog, OCD, etc.) are not all in your head (and they are never "just because")...they often stem from issues in the "second brain," i.e., your gut, and/or substances you put into your body (which can cause gut dysbiosis), and/or nutrient deficiencies (which can stem from gut dysbiosis). See point one. Also, suspect and correct vitamin D deficiency (if using food sources, see point one).
- If you choose to do the GAPS healing protocol, please, first read the book! Study die off and withdrawal. Understand that a healing crisis will occur (in which you will feel worse before you get better). Expect die off symptoms (a flare up of any previous allergy or GI symptoms, lethargy, crankiness, sleep disturbances, headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc.), and initial lethargy and hunger from ketogenesis (your body switching from burning carbs to burning fat). You must do GAPS Intro and then stick with Full GAPS for at least 6 months (two years is optimum) to see real results. You cannot cheat and expect it to work. Anything worth doing is difficult...real healing takes time, and being truly well demands real effort.
- Doing GAPS Intro for a couple weeks once a year is a wonderful way to detox and rebalance your gut flora and strengthen the integrity of the gut walls. Doing GAPS Intro during or after a significant illness is very healing.
- When doing GAPS, understand histamine sensitivity and how it might impact your healing process. Allergic people are prone to histamine sensitivities, and fermented foods and other foods can increase histamine levels in the body, exacerbating symptoms like eczema. Work on resealing the gut before introducing fermented foods. Proceed with ferments slowly and do not be discouraged. Healing takes time.
- Healing takes time. It's worth restating; it's a principle never to be overlooked. Healing is a process. Anything worth doing takes hard work and commitment, and healing is no different. Taking drugs that suppress symptoms is never healing. If you want to heal for real, you need to accept the time and effort involved. You need to accept the healing crisis, in which you can feel worse before you feel better.
- Coffee is a drug. Of primary concern is coffee's damage to the adrenal glands. The alert "high" you feel when ingesting coffee comes at a cost, overstimulating adrenal response, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue...coffee is an addictive substance that does not add energy, it creates fatigue. Coffee also contributes to brain fog, cross-reacts with gluten antibodies (leading to gluten sensitivity symptoms), constricts blood vessels, creates acidity, imbalances blood sugar, and produces gut inflammation. Coffee consumption will catch up with you someday. If you use coffee to "wake up" or stay alert, if you are saying, "I love coffee. There's nothing wrong with coffee. I drink it everyday and I'm not going to stop..." or, "I might be willing to try other things to get healthy, but I won't give up my coffee..." or you're just plugging your ears, squeezing your eyes shut and saying, "Nah, nah, nah, coffee good, coffee good," or if you feel fatigued or headachy or cranky when you don't get your coffee, you need to consider the reality that you are an addict. You can get flavanoids and natural stimulation from good foods and herbs that do not contain dangerous addictive substances (try cayenne, maca, and coconut oil...not necessarily mixed together, hahaha). So do yourself a favor and kick the coffee habit. Detox baths and extra hydration can help with the withdrawal symptoms.
- Sugar can be a nutrient-sucking substance that depresses immune function (by damaging nuetrophil responsiveness), feeds malevolent flora, and makes us fat. Some forms of sugar are bad, others are worse, some are OK. (Hint: agave is not OK, neither is dehydrated cane juice, which is just a fancy name for a type of refined sugar.) Study mono vs. poly saccharides and how they affect gut flora, understand blood sugar reactions, study the glycemic index, study fructose and your liver, study insulin resistance, understand how sugar feeds cancer, study various sugar forms' processing procedures and nutrient profiles. Consider that raw, unprocessed honey (a monosaccharide) is the only natural sweetener that requires no processing whatsoever before consumption, and contains antimicrobial and probiotic benefits.
- Real fat is a lifesaver. Eat more. Your brain, your hormones, your heart, your joints, your tissues, every cell in your body will thank you. Good fats nourish and satiate us, and never make us fat. If you love your kids, feed them real fat...and lots of it. Fat-free or low-fat diets and fake fats (trans fats, vegetable fats) are making us stupid and killing us. Study why.
- Modern grains are inflammatory and can "rip up" your gut. Going gluten free won't fix the root cause of your gluten problem. Modern wheat, hybridized for production, grown in synthetic monoculture environments, manipulated for higher gluten content, is a substance no longer recognized by the human body as a healthy, digestible food. Study the impact of wheat protein, study the ancient alternatives, understand the conventional wheat harvesting process (Roundup, roundup, everywhere), and know that you must remedy your gut health (see point one).
- Milk can be deadly poison. Adulterated commercial industrial milk is not food...it contributes to serious health problems, including autoimmune disorders. If you are not drinking whole, raw, grassfed milk from cows that spend time outside in healthy pastures, don't drink milk at all. Understand that if you have leaky gut, you likely cannot tolerate even Real Milk. Heal your gut first, then try Real Milk. Goats' milk is naturally more digestible for humans than is cows' milk (it's just a molecular reality). Study the issue of A1/A2 milk and understand heritage breeds vs. frankencows. Consider the old adage: Goat milk for drinking, cow milk for butter, sheep milk for cheese.
- Toxins are everywhere and we need to be aware, practice avoidance, and build and cleanse our bodies through detoxification and nourishment. Study EMF pollution, industrial food (especially chemically based agriculture and CAFOs) and the pollution that system causes, air and water pollution sources, sick building syndrome, toxic toiletries, cleaning products, baby and feminine products...understand sources of chemicals in your everyday life...synthetic foods and supplements, wireless devices, VOCs, off-gassing formaldehyde, PDBEs, dioxins, drugs, etc. Learn how to make or find alternatives, and change your lifestyle to reduce toxic load.
- The FDA is not your friend. Read all about it. Dare I say more? This unelected, corrupt, collusive, bullying, deceptive, profit-mongering (for its buddies) agency calls evil good and good evil. While its "approved" drugs harm (and even kill) people, the FDA spreads fear and lies about botanical medicine...the (non-patentable, ergo "non-profitable") plants that actually can and do cure illness and disease (competition for the medical industry's drug system). The FDA has a history of threatening and persecuting out-of-the box doctors, healers and providers who promote and use such remedies. I recently parted ways with an essential oil company I previously promoted, after said company scoured my blog and informed me that I was out of "compliance" with its FDA-obeisance policies. I will not comply with the FDA, and I will not do business with natural medicine suppliers who do not believe in the medicine they sell...who encourage their distributors to remain silent about the curative powers of those botanicals. Apparently I have strong feelings about this. I need to take a therapeutic magnesium salt and lavender bath.
- Vaccines are dangerous. It's true. Google it. OK, kidding aside...study this prominent and essential issue (books, articles and videos abound on the topic)...be warned, it's not pretty.
- Herbs are not drugs...they are Real Medicine, safe and effective. Study and understand the whole herb methodology (it's the antithesis to the pharmaceutically influenced "slice/splice/isolate/synthesize" methodology). Learn how to use botanical medicine properly and consistently.
- Pregnancy is not an illness and birth is not an emergency. (Exception: women in the small minority of high risk pregnancies...study the statistics.) Midwives are pregnancy and birth experts; understand midwifery education and training. Technological interventions do not make birth safer; homebirth is the safest place for normal birth (hospitals are for acute emergent traumas). Understand the cascade of interventions and study the midwife model of care. Don't dose your baby with cocaine during the birth process, don't traumatize yourself and your baby with a damage-causing, synthetic hormone to unnaturally force the process. Don't become an industrial birth c-section statistic. Learn how to birth and choose a midwife who will help you do so successfully. Learn about VBACs. Free yourself from birth fear!
- Healthy children begin with healthy mamas! Learn the importance of natural child spacing both for mama's and future children's health. Understand "second child syndrome" and how to avoid it. Embrace traditional wisdom...practice biological breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing.
- The pregnant body exhibits wisdom (and heightened protective powers...remember "radar nose?"). Cravings for "pickles and ice cream" may be a long-held cultural joke, but is actually body knowledge brilliance. Traditionally fermented pickles, a probiotic food, feed our body's beneficial flora, boosting immunity and promoting good flora to pass on to baby...not to mention keeping digestion working well throughout pregnancy. Natural, old-fashioned, high-fat ice cream made with raw grass-fed whole milk and cream (and preferably honey over refined sugars) is a baby-building superfood, full of necessary fats and minerals. Such dietary components keep pregnant mamas healthy and comfortable, help to build a healthy baby (bones, brain and gut), and prepare mama for nursing success.
- Our hormones are out of whack. Thyroid and adrenal problems are the "new normal." Irregular menstrual cycles and infertility are modern dilemmas. Learn about your endocrine system. Do a liver cleanse (the liver is an important part of the endocrine system). Heal your gut. Dump the drug habits and eat real food, particularly good fats and cholesterol (a "mother" hormone and a basic building block of every cell in your body). Get more vitamin D (a steroid hormone precursor). Learn about toxins, how to remove them from your body, and how to avoid them (including electronic pollution and EMF radiation). During all your childbearing years, eat a nourishing fertility diet (look up the WAPF pregnancy/nursing/fertility diet), including fertility-boosting herbs like red clover. Study lunaception. Get more sleep.
- Your bowels tell you more about your health than most practitioners can. Study the Bristol stool chart. You should be passing a healthy bowel movement daily. Nausea can be an indication of your need to empty your bowels. Understand that sluggish and abnormal bowels (stinky, scanty, hard, etc.) contribute to toxicity, inflammation, systemic malfunctions and illness. Become acquainted with the benefits of water enemas. Coffee enemas can be used therapeutically; coffee acts differently in the body when used in an enema. (Please study this first...you use very small amounts of low-roasted coffee for enemas, and sensitive people may not do well with coffee enemas...coffee enemas are serious detox therapy.) Enemas are a wonderful way to detox. Don't be squeamish, be a grown up and take care of your health. Let's raise our kids with comfort and knowledge of natural bodily functions.
- Body odor and skin condition reveal the status of your body's ecological health...this is gut dysbiosis in play again. Strong and unpleasant body odor indicates flora imbalances. Natural hygiene begins with systemic detoxification and gut health. Skin eruptions (rashes, acne, etc) are also a sign of what is happening in your gut...food sensitivities and gut dysbiosis are the culprits. Your outside reveals your inside, and the odors emanating from you, as well as the "stuff" erupting on your skin, reveal internal health. (Bad breath can be microbial overgrowth, but can be exacerbated by dehydration.)
- Dehydration is deceptively common. Every cell in your body needs water to survive, let alone thrive. Your brain will divert water from your other organs to ensure its survival. The average adult body uses about 64 ounces of water daily just for survival processes. We must replenish this and more daily. Constipation, headaches, lethargy, loss of suppleness, blood viscosity, systemic toxic buildups...these and more are common side effects of dehydration. Read Dr. Batmanghelidj's books and learn about your body's needs and cries for water. (Always remember to replenish electrolytes, by eating more mineral rich salt.)
- Real salt is good for you. Your body needs mineral-rich real salt. Study why, and don't deprive yourself!
- Magnesium is the unsung hero of the mineral world. Study the effects of magnesium deficiency, and how essential magnesium is to muscles and nerves in your body.
- Vitamin D! Sun...pastured lard...oysters...nontoxic cod liver oil. Vitamin D good, sunscreen bad. Vitamin D good, synthetic versions bad. Irradiated sheep lanolin? Skip it! Eat D rich foods and bathe in the sun (if you can get any). Your skin synthesizes vitamin D from sun exposure, which is the best way to get D. Alas, most of us never get enough D-rich sun. So be sure to eat good D sources for at least 9 months of the year.
- Real food matters. Modern, industrial, chemically produced, synthetic, processed, denatured, neutered frankenfood is destroying our health. Take responsibility for what you put in your mouth and feed your children. Cutting corners and cheating will catch up with us. Pay now or pay later. Garbage in, garbage out!
- Laughter heals! Among other benefits, laughter releases endorphins, which alleviate pain and speed healing. (Laboring women should have their husbands tell them jokes...or turn on a Tim Hawkins DVD...especially during transition!) Studies have shown that a positive outlook has a beneficial impact on illness recovery. The Bible says that a cheerful heart brings health to the bones! We all need to lighten up, reduce stress, sleep more, and laugh often (especially at ourselves)!
- Are we slaves to our genetics? Are genes immutable? Seems not... Study epigenetics and read Pottenger, Price, et al. Learn how to feed your genes and flip your switches. Take your future grandchildren's health into your hands now. We are what we eat.
- Ailments are never arbitrary. Everything has a root cause. Nothing just "happens" for no reason. Anyone who says otherwise is either uneducated, brainwashed, or lying.
Well that was a mouthful! And there is yet so much more I wish I could share...that I wish I had shared. But I suppose this isn't a bad start for a "consideration and research" list to throw in someone's lap. For anyone who is still left, I will close with a parting plea...
Bless yourself and your families by taking time everyday to turn off your cell phone (if I could un-invent them, I would), turn off the wifi, walk away from your computer, and pick up a real book (the kind made of paper). Read, absorb, learn, apply, grow, practice...do the hard work to nourish yourselves: mind, body, soul. There are no shortcuts. All choices have consequences: good, bad or ugly. But we all have much to learn; the process is never-ending, utterly essential, and wonderfully rewarding. Study to show yourself approved; research until your eyeballs go numb. Make a difference in your own life, and your children's lives.
Enjoy good health, eat Real Food, use Real Medicine and pursue Real Birth, and may you be blessed by accepting our Creator's blueprint for life.
Thank you for reading! God bless you!