In today’s medical environment, it is increasingly difficult to wade through the myriad of information available and decipher exactly what is involved in achieving optimal health. Most Americans have some health problems, many of which are medicated, but not actually treated at the root cause level. In other words, the symptoms are being treated, but not the underlying cause of disease.
In my experience working with a wide range of health issues, it has become clear to me that there are 3 Pillars of Health and “Dis”ease. If each of these areas are investigated and addressed, symptoms naturally resolve and are replaced with feelings of good health, energy and wellbeing.
The 1st Pillar: Nutrition
It’s no secret that the standard American diet is sadly lacking in nutritional value. But the situation is far more serious than that – our diet is full of substances that cannot be classified as foods – pesticides, fertilizers, colorings, preservatives and other toxins – many of which are known carcinogens and disease-producing agents. These agents also pollute and deplete our air, soil and water so that the foods that are grown and raised are already lacking in nutritional value.
On top of all that, we are being fed foods that have high allergy potential. The biggest culprits here are gluten (found in wheat, oats, barley and rye), dairy products and soy. And that doesn’t even address the amounts of sugar, caffeine and alcohol we consume as a nation.
If this sounds drastic, it is. There is no getting around it. If you are ill you need to adjust your views on nutrition and make some changes. Is it going to be hard? Yes, most likely. Will it be worth it? Without question, yes. It may just save your life.
The steps are really quite simple –
- Eat organic food and drink filtered water – that means fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry and wild fish, eggs and everything else you can.
- Quit eating processed foods – learn to make smoothies, salads and stirfrys (each of these takes 10 minutes).
- Cut back on gluten, soy and dairy.
- Give up coffee (you’ll feel horrible for a few days but then I promise you’ll have more energy than before).
- Get a food allergy and gluten intolerance test – they will tell you which foods work well for your body and which will cause you problems.
- Recruit guidance and support – it is a learning curve, but it’s possible for everyone.
The 2nd Pillar: Infections
Many health issues have infections as a causative factor, yet many of these are undiagnosed and go untreated. These infections may be viral, fungal, bacterial or parasitic in nature, and may have existed silently for years.
Some infections are clearly linked to disease, such as malaria or Lyme disease. They must still be treated for wellness to occur, and the other 2 Pillars must still be considered, but they can be regarded as primary causes of illness.
Let’s take Lyme disease for example. Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete (a type of bacteria) Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted via a tick bite, mosquito bite, or in utero from mother to baby. Chronic Lyme disease is a disabling disease that can mimic chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and a host of others. By the time it is chronic it has caused major problems with the immune system. Immune reactions start occurring to different foods, thus tying in the nutrition component. Co-infections take hold (other “bugs” that like to live alongside B. burgdorferi), and often mold and heavy metal toxicity arise, requiring detoxification programs.
Let’s look at a less obvious example. Millions of Americans take antacids for reflux and heartburn. Many more experience burping, belching and a feeling of fullness, as if food just sits in their stomach. A smaller but significant number report that they react badly to foods that they have always been able to eat in the past. All of these symptoms are classic symptoms of H. pylori, a bacterial infection that invades the stomach. H pylori is the primary cause of ulcers, but has also been linked to headaches and migraines, and in some cases, stomach cancer. Therefore it does not make sense to take antacids for years when an underlying infection may be causing the problems, especially when that infection can be treated with a 14 day course of medicine or a 30 day course of herbs.
Another common type of infection is intestinal parasites. Again, these are picked up by stool tests and are incredibly common. Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort may all be caused by parasites, as can irritable bowel syndrome.
Candida, or yeast overgrowth, can cause a wide range of symptoms including bloating, fatigue, headaches and weight gain. Yeast overgrowth affects many Americans, but again, is often missed in traditional medical circles.
The 3rd Pillar: Detoxification
I cannot overstate the importance of detoxification to health. In our modern environment we are bombarded with chemicals – from air, water and the food we eat. Many of the medicines we take also increase the toxic load in our bodies.
Heavy metals are one of the most significant groups of toxins. Mercury comes into the body through vaccinations, amalgam fillings, eating fish and simply breathing our polluted air. Lead, aluminum and a host of other metals are also prominent in our environment.
Toxins in our body are neutralized by our liver and excreted through the kidneys (urine), bowels (stool), lungs (air) and skin (sweat). By supporting these organs of detoxification and elimination, we can reduce the toxic load in the body and allow good health to occur.
There are three steps to detoxification:
- Reduce the amount of toxins coming in – organic food, filtered water, minimizing prescription medications, avoiding substances such as caffeine and alcohol, avoiding unnecessary vaccinations and replacing amalgam fillings with composite material are all helpful steps you can take.
- Supporting the liver enzyme systems – herbs and nutrients to increase the conversion of substances from harmful to harmless forms.
- Opening up channels of elimination – helpful therapies here are far infra-red sauna, lymphatic drainage massage, ionic footbaths and intravenous infusions of vitamin C and glutathione.
Heavy metal detoxification requires special agents called chelators to help bind metals so they can be excreted. Chelators can be given intravenously, orally, or as a cream to be rubbed into the skin. Most people test high in heavy metals, which can contribute to lack of energy, brain fog and poor memory/ concentration, cardiovascular disease, behavioral issues, Alzheimer’s disease and premature aging, to name just a few.
A comprehensive approach to health that addresses these three major areas can go a long way to restoring health, even in the face of long-standing, chronic disease. There is always potential for improvement, even when conventional medical approaches have failed. While these areas may seem complex the central theme is the same – remove the obstacles to healing, be that infections, heavy metals or nutritional imbalances, and the body has the wisdom to heal itself.