It's been a week to remember and all the messages I've received all week were “slow down” and “take care of yourself”.
A couple were obvious…others more subtle.
I don't consider myself a tired person; quite the contrary. My energy seems almost without limit. I sleep very little, am constantly on the move and I get a lot accomplished. Yet a nagging voice in the back of my mind has been wondering if I may be causing some hidden damage to myself by sleeping so little.
On Wednesday evening I ran into to technical challenges with the teleconference for Week 3 of my Balance My Body Blueprint course. I had a slide presentation ready to go, and was all set to launch into new territory. The technical challenges prevented participation on the web, where more than half my students participate. So I decided to do a question and answer segment. It was just the right thing to do. I was able to answer lots of questions, and even helped a few people to determine the probable cause of long standing health challenges. Wow. Slow down. Most people were not ready to jump into what I had planned. They were perfectly fine with slowing down and getting their questions answered.
On Thursday, I was moving quickly through my kitchen, and caught my slipper on a door stop. It sent me flying through the air and I landed hard on the tile floor. My left arm hit first, and it hurt so badly that I immediately thought it was broken. While I had lots of plans for the rest of the day and the next, I spent most of the time in bed, icing my arm and resting. Slow down. It took an injury to get me to get a good night's sleep. It's recovering nicely now, as evidenced by the fact that I can type today. Yesterday I could barely hunt and peck with one hand.
I'm getting small messages, and I'm taking them to heart. Better listen to the soft calls than to wait for a big one.
Earlier this week I received the sad news that a dear friend had died of cancer. She was a young woman, in her forties, and she's survived by her husband and four children. The children are young. Her oldest is about the same age as my youngest. And now they are without their Mommy, and the world will no longer experience the joy of Anna's sweet, kind heart and loving and giving nature.
I've experienced the loss of a loved to cancer several times over the past 5 years. And while the importance of diet and detoxification are high on my list of cancer prevention techniques, Anna's death forces me to really look at the bigger picture.
Anna was a raw food enthusiast. I met her at an Alissa Cohen Teacher training. She was the founder of Purely Delicious magazine. She was excited about sharing what she learned about the health benefits of raw and living foods with the world. Still, she got breast cancer. Sure, her diet wasn't perfect, and we can point fingers at her imperfections, and blame them for her cancer. Yet others, many of my family members included, eat way less “perfectly” than Anna did, and use toxic home and body care products and drink tap water, and they don't have cancer…yet.
The sad truth is that almost 50% of us will get cancer. Perhaps not all will die as a result, yet it's an alarming statistic nonetheless.
While it may be easy for skeptics and critics of the living foods lifestyle to use Anna's story as an excuse to just let it all go and eat whatever they want, it's important to look beyond, and continue to hold the utmost respect for the value of high antioxidant, unrefined, whole fresh plants as a vital element in keeping you healthy.
I could quote from all sorts of research right about now, and try to convince you from an intellectual level of the importance of diet in protecting you from cancer, yet I'd rather speak to you from my heart. It's easy to hear Anna's story and become fearful, and doubt your choice to lead a healthy life and eat a healthy diet. The truth is, there's a big picture here. And many of its parts are a somewhat mysterious.
Cancer is always caused by exceeding your body's ability to detoxify and repair. Cancer starts almost daily in just about everyone, and is quickly thwarted by an intact immune system and a working detoxification system.
The choices you make daily effect your ability to detoxify and thwart cancer before it takes over. Those include the quality and quantity of the water you drink, how much sunshine you get on bare skin, your movement, your thoughts, your feelings – fear and judgment create a breeding ground for cancer–how much fun you have, how much deep restful sleep you get, the quality of the air you breathe and of course, your diet.
There are so many elements that determine your cancer risk…and your ability to be healthy. Some may appear to be beyond your control:
- Genetics: some of us were born with genetic variations, called single neucleotide polymorphisms, aka SNPs (pronounced snips), that make it difficult to detoxify our environment without a little extra help.
- Your Mom's Emotional State when she was pregnant with you. You may have been born with worn out adrenals and low cellular energy as a result, making you prone to cancer and other illnesses.
- Your Mom's nutritional status and toxic exposures while she was pregnant with you. If she was depleted, you were born with nutritional imbalances.
- Early feeding:Whether you were breast or bottle fed and what your early solid foods were determine the state of your digestive tract and immune system. Leaky gut and immune system problems can increase your risk of cancer and other illnesses.
Many people embark on a health journey and address a single aspect. I see many living foods diet followers who don't exercise, or stay indoors all the time, or push themselves hard and don't sleep enough (like me). It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that the good food can compensate for shortcomings in the others, but very often it cannot.
It's time to look at the big picture. Sometimes just eating a healthy diet isn't enough.
As a mother of 4 and editor and chief cook and bottle washer for a quarterly publication, Anna had no time left for herself. Even after she found out she had breast cancer, she continued to put others first, until she had to slow down. Unfortunately, it was too late for Anna. She opted for chemotherapy and radiation out of fear and perhaps desperation.
Most likely one or more of the early factors were at play with Anna. Yet, in spite of your genetics, early exposures and maternal environment, you can do what it takes to give yourself the best possible healthy and happy life. Once you identify the early factors that may be at play, through a combination of family history and genetic testing, there are steps you can take to correct for the inborn and early deficits.
It's important to take inventory of your life and self correct where you can. If you're not sleeping enough because you're not going to bed at a reasonable hour (guilty as charged) then make a different choice. If you're not sleeping enough because you have difficulty falling or staying asleep, you might have a hormonal imbalance. Adrenal imbalance and insulin dysfunction are the most likely culprits and they are both correctable.
If you have a lot of stress in your life (who doesn't) you owe it to yourself to master techniques for transforming the negative impact on your body to positive.
Enhance your body's detoxification systems, harness the power of blended greens and drink your greens at least once a day. Look for the positive and practice appreciation. Get in touch with really matters to you, and make daily choices that are consistent with your highest good.
Take care of others, but not at the expense of yourself. It's important to take time for fun and pleasure each day, even for just a few moments.
No one can predict the length of your life – that's out of your control. You can effect the quality of your life and decrease the likelihood of suffering as Anna did by making conscious and consistent choices to put your self first. Yes, you need to put yourself first. It is only by taking care of your needs that you have the energy and ability to take care of others. And if we all took better care of ourselves, there would be a lot less need to take care of others.
Love yourself. Slow down and have fun daily. Choose happiness daily and allow good health to follow.
In memory of Anna Tipps, friend, Mom wife, daughter, teacher and kind hearted loving soul. You will be missed.
Love, Health and Joy,