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Wisdom in Living
Body Wellness Recipes

Stephen Lau
Maintaining the Numbers

Numbers don't lie. Important numbers include Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a measure of body fat based on body weight and height, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Maintaining these optimum numbers is body-wellness maintenance.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is determined by the formula: BMI = (body weight in pounds) divided by (body height in inches x body height in inches) multiplied by (703).

To illustrate, if you are 5’11” tall and you weigh 165 pounds, your BMI will be: (165/71x71) x 703 = 23

The BMI numbers have the following implications:

Any BMI that falls between 19 and 24.9 is considered ideal and healthy.

Any BMI that is below 18.5 is considered underweight.

Any BMI that ranges from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.

Any BMI that is above 30 is considered obese.

Blood cholesterol is a significant indicator of heart health. Cholesterol by itself is not a toxic sludge with a bad reputation. Oxygen is transported to your brain by your blood. If the blood supply to your brain is reduced due to blockage of cholesterol deposits, your brain cells may also become deprived of nutrients and deteriorate rapidly as a result.

Keep your total cholesterol below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood, with your LDL (bad cholesterol) below 130 and HDL (good cholesterol) above 65; total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (desirable); 200 - 239 mg/dL (borderline high); 240 mg/dL and above (high). Avoid using pharmaceutical drugs to control your cholesterol.

Lower blood cholesterol through increased physical activity, weight loss, smoking cessation, and proper diet.

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against artery walls. It is expressed as two numbers: (1) the upper number, systolic pressure, represents the force as the heart beats; and (2) the lower number, diastolic pressure, is the force as the heart relaxes between beats. Normal blood pressure is 138 / 85. Your ideal blood pressure is 120 / 80. You may have high blood pressure when readings of 140 / 90 occur over an extended period.

New evidence links high blood pressure to increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Blood sugar levels indicate how well your body uses glucose to provide energy for your body cells. On an empty stomach, your blood sugar level should be within the range of 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter. After a meal, your blood glucose rises, but not above 135 to 140 milligrams per deciliter.

A hormone called insulin helps transport the sugar into cells, where it can be used as fuel. Blood sugar then gradually drops back to normal. However, blood sugar levels that remain higher than normal signal two problems: cells are “starving” because they are not absorbing enough glucose; the extra sugar circulating in the blood can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

Weight Management

Body weight management is body wellness wisdom. Overweight is the source of many health problems plaguing many individuals in the civilized world. Weight management is difficult in that it requires a holistic approach to weigh loss: the mind, the body, and the soul -- they all play a pivotal part in weight loss. Unfortunately, there is no short cut, no cutting corner in the process, and that's why it is a Herculean task to lose weight pemanently and naturally.

Yoga is one of the best exercises for permanent weight loss. It is more effective than jogging in that it not only burns faster your body fat, but also tones up your muscles, defines your body shape, sharpens your mind, and enlivens your soul. It is the embodiment of holistic approach to weight management. Shape Shifter Yoga is one of the most comprehensive yoga programs available. Watch the videos and lose weight naturally!

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle is a reflection of your wisdom in living, or how well you live. Essentially, it comprises your daily routines, such as what you eat and how you take care of your body.

Think about why and how you would like to change your current lifestyle for body wellness wisdom.

To get motivated to change your lifestyle, "start by asking yourself a series of questions," says Marianne Legato, MD, author of Why Men Die First: How to Lengthen Your Lifespan.

Who am I? What do I want? Am I happy?

Do I eat right? How often do I experience food craving?

Do I drink alcohol? If yes, how often do I drink? Am I still a smoker?

Do I exercise regularly?

What do I do to relax myself? Do I feel anxious or compulsive at times? Do I wish that I could have more than 24 hours a day?

Am I regular (at least once or twice a day)? Do I have constipation?

Am I on any prescribed medication? How often do I reach out for over-the-counter medications?

Changing lifestyle is never easy. However, body wellness wisdom requires you to do just that. Make the changes slowly, gradually, but diligently. Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage once said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." Take your first step now!

Breathing Right and Good Posture

Breathing right is important to body-wellness maintenance. Complete breath, that is diaphragm breathing, provides sufficient oxygen to the lungs and other organs and tissues for  total body wellness.  Diaphragm is the muscle between the lungs and the abdomen.

This is how you practice diaphragm breathing for complete breath:

Sit comfortably.

Slowly breathe out through your nose.

Contract your abdomen to empty your lungs.

Slowly breathe in while simultaneously make your belly bulge out.

Continuing your breathing in, now slowly contract your abdomen and simultaneously raise your chest and hold.

Continue your breathing in and slightly raise your shoulders to allow the air to enter fully into your lungs to attain the complete breath.

Retain your breath for a count of 5.

Slowly breathe out. Your upper chest deflates first, and then your abdomen relaxes in.

Repeat the above process.

Learn to slowly prolong your breath, making the breathing out slightly longer than the breathing in. Rodents, with the shortest breath, have the shortest lifespan in the animal kingdom. Therefore, always make your breaths longer and fuller, not shorter and incomplete, for body wellness.

Good posture is important because optimal breathing is affected by good posture.

Good posture affects your body balance. Maintain good posture through awareness.

Protecting the Immune System

The immune system is an important body system that protects the body with antibodies (proteins) from foreign invaders (antigens in the form of bacteria, infections, and viruses) that cause human diseases and disorders.

“In recent years science has learned that the human immune system is much more complicated than we thought.” Dr. Philip F. Incao, M.D.

The human immune system is complicated in that it affects the whole body system in many different ways.

Protect your immune system against foreign invaders with the 10 most important nutritional supplements:

Vitamin A to prevent thymus shrinkage (5,000 IU daily dosage)

Vitamin B6 to maintain hormone levels and to prevent thymus shrinkage (50 mg daily dosage)

Vitamin C to regulate T-cell (white blood thymus cells) function (at least 1,000 mg daily dosage or up to bowel tolerance)

Vitamin E to increase infection resistance (400 0800 IU daily dosage)

Selenium to increase T-cell activity and antibody production for detoxification (100 mcg daily dosage)

Zinc to boost your thymus for maturing T-cells to fight invaders (15 mg daily dosage)

Coenzyme CO10 to increase energy production for cells’ activities

L-glutathione to regenerate immune cells in the immune system (200 mg daily dosage)

Magnesium to increase enzymatic reactions (100 mg daily dosage)

DHEA to control cortisol, the stress hormone (5 mg daily dosage)

In addition to taking supplements to boost your immunity, you need to use diet, such as a natural thyroid diet, to protect your immune system.

Eat fresh, organic fruits, and vegetables, seeds and nuts daily.

Eat raw occasionally. Cooking, food processing, and freezing destroy some of the health-promoting nutrients, such as enzymes, in your foods

Eat phytonutrients, which are plant nutrients. These powerful nutrients include carotenoids and flavonoids (blueberries, broccoli, carrots, citrus fruits, ginkgo biloba, grapes, green tea), and phytosterols (almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, barley, peas, soybeans) among others.

Protecting and strengthening your immune system go a long way to preventing disease and avoiding autoimmuniy, which is the source of autoimmune diseases (more than one hundred types of autoimmune diseases due to a compromised immune system).

Balancing Body Chemistry

Your body is composed of positively and negatively charged molecules, which must be balanced in order to enable your body cells to function normally and optimally. A free radical is formed when there is imbalance in the body chemistry. A free radical also damages other molecules, causing them to produce more free radicals, and thus a chain reaction of damages is formed, leading to diseases and disorders.

Disease prevention requires your body cells to remain in a balanced acid-alkaline environment, which means the pH level is between 7.30 and 7.40. A too-acidic environment is not good for cellular health. Therefore, a balanced acid-alkaline level increases your energy and vitality, neutralizes excess acids in your body, removes accumulated toxins in your blood, strengthen your immune system and organ system, destroys harmful microgorganisms, and balances the pH in your body.

Remember, some acid-forming foods may become alkaline if the acids are properly metabolized by the body. The goal is to attain balance in the body chemistry to promote health and to avoid disease.

You can reduce over-acidification in your body by changing your lifestyle (making it less stressful), by adjusting your diet for more alkaline foods and drinks, by consuming medicinal plants, such as black currant and cranberry, to promote the flow of urine (diuretics) and to improve the production of sweat by exercise, and by taking alkaline mineral supplements to facilitate your internal cleansing.

Avoiding Inflammation

Everyone experiences the pain of inflammation at some time in his or her life. Inflammation is an immure response to injury, toxins, allergy, infection, or any abnormality in the body, resulting in pain, redness, heat, and swelling in the affected areas. As a matter of fact, inflammation is the major cause of physical pain that is often a sign or precursor of disease.

Inflammation is caused by the following

Toxins: Regular exposure to toxins is the major source of inflammation. Toxicity comes from the environment (the chemicals in the air, the water), the foods and drinks (especially processed ones). Cellular injury due to toxicity causes the formation of damaging free radicals.

Infection: When a virus, bacteria or parasite in the form of infection attacks the body, the immune system responds with inflammation to fight and heal the infected area.

Allergy: Inflammation is also an allergic reaction by the immune system to prevent the development of an autoimmune disease.

Nutritional imbalance: Nutritional excess or deficiency may unduly stress body organs and tissues, causing inflammation that may result in disease.

Emotional trauma: Anxiety, anger, bitterness, hatred, and other strong negative emotions may elevate adrenaline and cortisol to upset hormonal balance, resulting in unresolved inflammation.

Physical injury: Inflammation is a natural process of repairing cells caused by a physical injury

Have a moderately low-calorie diet with emphasis on weight loss or weight control. Foods that are high in calories are linked to higher amounts of inflammation; the greater amount of fat tissue you have, especially around your midsection, the more inflammation you are going to have.

Most fresh fruits and vegetables are anti-inflammatory. Those red, yellow, or orange ones are particularly loaded with antioxidants, such as carotenoids, vitamin C, and quercetin. However, if you are sensitive to food allergies, avoid all “nightshade vegetables” that include eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes because they contain a chemical called solanine that may trigger an inflammatory response in some individuals who have food allergies. Eggs, dairy products, and wheat are also associated with food allergies in some individuals.

Eat high-fiber whole grains, seeds and nuts to reduce levels of C-reactive protein.

Avoid all highly processed cereals, sweets, fruit juice, white breads and pasta that increase blood-sugar levels that may trigger the release of insulin and pro-inflammatory chemicals in your body.

Cook with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, such as ginger, cayenne, clove, feverfew, nutmeg, oregano, and rosemary.  Avoid charred or over-grilled foods.

Drink anti-inflammatory beverages, including white, green, and black tea (they contain antioxidant polyphenols), and red wine (but no more than 2 drinks per day).

Anti-inflammation is disease prevention and treatment because inflammation touches every aspect of human health. As part of immunity, anti-inflammation is one of the most basic human processes. Therefore, to enhance immune health, pay attention to inflammation with an anti-inflammation diet.

Foods As Medicine

First and foremost, use foods, not drugs, as medicine. Don't readily reach out for any over-the-counter drug to treat your daily ailments. Even prescription drugs are not safe because they are chemicals.

As a matter of fact, the dangers of drugs have been well documented. The use, misuse, and abuse of drugs account for 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year in the United States. Dr. O. W. Holmes, Professor of Medicine, Harvard University, had this to say regarding pharmaceuticals putting you in harm’s way: “If all the medicine in the world were thrown into the sea, it would be bad for the fish and good for humanity.” Dr. Holmes’ statement speaks volumes of the potential harm in using pharmaceuticals.

Western medicine emphasizes too much the theoretical framework of disease, instead of the workings of the human body itself. Such disproportionate emphasis has led to the undue focus on drugs and surgeries to carry out the task of recovery and healing, instead of relying on the body itself. Remember, everything you do -- including what you touch, breathe, eat, and even think -- affects your immunity, and hence may become the source of your disease and disorder.

When you give your body a drug that replaces a substance that your body is capable of making itself, you body then becomes weaker, not stronger, and begins not only to manufacture less of that substance, but also to become more dependent on the outside source, which is usually the drug.

Unfortunately, no drugs can give you insight into the circumstances that created your problems in the first place. At best, they suppress the symptoms of the disease. At worst,  they damage your body systems, making your more vulnerable to relapses and development of other diseases.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said: "Healing is a matter of time, but also a matter of opportunity." Give your body time to heal, and also avail every opportunity to use natural and whole foods to facilitate the healing process. Always use foods as medicine first!

Other than drugs and procedures, there are many other non-toxic and non-invasive treatments to help recovery for body wellness.

Natural Self-Healing

Albert Einstein once said: "There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." So, believe in self-healing, and live your life as if everything is a miracle -- including the miracle to heal yourself of a disease. Yes, self-healing is a miracle of life!

Unfortunately, modern Western medicine has led many of us to believe that healing is a complex process, involving high technology, complex drugs, and state-of-the-art procedures. It is human nature to learn belief systems, theories, and facts without challenging them. Truly, medical professionals are experts in their respective fields, and, obviously, they not only know more than we do but also have more experience than we have. However, that does not imply that we should readily accept all their opinions without fully understanding what they are.

That said, it does not mean that modern medicine has no place in natural healing. The fact of the matter is that in the past decades, many "new" diseases have emerged, such as AIDS and SARS; there are also many psychosomatic conditions, degenerative diseases, chronic ailments, and stress-induced syndromes that have produced a set of symptoms not easily classified according to Western medicine. As a result, many conventional doctors prescribe medications that may relieve disease symptoms only for a while. Accordingly, many individuals feel the need to seek an integrated approach to health and natural self-healing.

The wisdom of body wellness lies in the desire of an individual not just in seeking recovery from a disease or disorder, but also in fostering the awareness of wellness, and the quest for self-healing

Self-Healing begins with the mind first and not the body.

The mind is powerful in that it is the origin of all your thoughts, which determine not only who you are but also how you experience your life.

Mind power holds the key to recovery from any disease.  Every thought counts in the process of self-healing.

With intent, come concentration and focus to seek self-help to empower yourself with knowledge of self-healing, without which you may be at a loss as to what to do next.

A powerful mind can produce positive thoughts, which affect not just your body and your emotions, but also your genes.

You need visualization, which is the ability to see “reality” in your mind’s eye. Seeing is believing: “seeing” the positive result of your efforts through positive images reinforces your “believing” that you will recover from the disease.

The laws of nature determine how things happen. One of the laws of nature is habitual stimulus: a certain stimulus, habitually applied time after time, may prove to produce a certain predictable result. Use your subliminal messages to conduct an internal dialogue with your subconscious mind in order to achieve your personal goals in self-healing.

Natural Detox

According to Dr. John Tilden, author of Toxemia, the first and only cause of disease is toxemia, which is the accumulation of toxic wastes over a long period of time. In other words, toxicity retained and stored in our bodies is the common denominator for the causes of all human diseases. Therefore, body-wellness recovery requires the natural removal of toxins, even after the disease or disorder has been overcome.

Natural detox for internal cleansing is a must for long-term body-wellness recovery. There are several ways for effective natural detox:

Fasting: A one-day fast is ideal for regular maintenance, preferably once a week or every two weeks; a three-day fast several times a year; a two-week fast to cure a specific disease under the supervision of a physician.

Breathing: Consciously change your breathing patterns to relax your body and mind to enhance natural detox. Use your diaphragm breathing.

Skin brushing, an external way to detoxify the body, is an effective time-honored method to increase blood and lymphatic circulation to remove dead skin cells, and rid your body of toxins, especially through its pores. Brush your entire body daily with a natural-bristle dry-skin brush.

Foot patches: The use of foot patches is an easy and unobtrusive way to assist your body in the removal of a myriad of pollutants. Your feet, known as the “second heart” contain the reflective zones of your internal organs, where your body toxins accumulate and dissipate. Cover your feet with foot patches to remove your toxins while you sleep. Foot patches are available on the Internet.

Hydrotherapy: Drink plenty of water for natural detox. Hydrotherapy also involves alternating application of hot and cold water aimed at increasing your blood flow to different tissues of your body. Take a very hot shower immediately followed by a very cold one, and repeat the process two or three times a day. After the hydrotherapy, snuggle into your bed, staying warm for half an hour or so. You will feel completely refreshed and rejuvenated.

Exercise: Exercise not only stimulates blood circulation and the movement of lymphatic fluids, but also promotes the reduction of fat reserves, thereby instrumental in facilitating the removal of toxins stored in your body.

Foods: Use natural foods for natural detox. These foods include: apple, alfalfa sprout, artichoke, avocado, beet, burdock, barley, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, kiwi fruit, seaweed, and watercress.

Herbs: Use herbs, such as black walnut, cascara sagrada, cayenne, dandelion, echinacea, fennel seed, Indian rhubarb root, licorice root, milk thistle, psyllium husk, red clover, slipper elm inner bark, and yarrow.

For natural detox to be effective, a holistic approach is required. The body, the mind, and the soul of an individual are all inter-connected. For this reason, holistic detox is the only way to optimum natural detox for body-wellness recovery.

Fasting, for example, is more than a matter of willpower: it involves a deepening of faith and the capacity to let go. Fasting is a spiritual act of the mind to detox the body. The soul affects how you react to anxiety, anger, frustration, and other everyday negative emotions that may adversely increase the toxicity in your body because your toxic thoughts are stored in your subconscious mind, which in turn controls your conscious mind. You are what you think: you become your toxic thoughts. Therefore, the role of the body, mind, and soul cannot be overlooked in natural detox.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau
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