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Getting Rid of Negative Energy:
20 Powerful Practices for Cleansing and Clearing Your Energy Field

BY BARBARA MOORE

photo: lerina winter

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The physical world is a great metaphor for the metaphysical world, especially if you keep in mind the principle of correspondence: as above, so below. We can look at any number of physical entities—a garden, a closet, a whole house, a business, the body—to understand the concepts of clearing, containing, and cultivating. Because energy (both physical and metaphysical) is meant to flow, it is, unless inhibited, always moving. The physical world has structure and if we want the structures to remain healthy and intact, we have to take care of them. Without attention and care, things naturally move from order to disorder. Our nicely organized closet will change from order to disorder unless we put things away where they belong. A garden full of seedlings will produce better if weeds are not allowed to creep in. A business with a clear vision and a sound mission will lose its focus if other ideals or values are pursued. If not given enough sleep or food, our bodies will fall apart. Each of these processes—clearing, containing, and cultivating—play important roles in maintaining harmony. They are vital, but they are not difficult.

I believe that energy is part of the Divine. It is not out to trick you or trip you up because of some ritualistic loophole. There are basic principles governing how energy flows, but once you understand those, don’t be afraid to follow your intuition, your creative impulses, and your own common sense. We are all made of energy and are perfectly able to understand and work with it. You will be invited to try some of the practices as you read on. This is to help you start learning what it feels like to attend to your own energy cleansing. Think of this time as a sampler. Start small. You shouldn’t have a huge goal in mind or attempt to clear anything that you know is big and complicated. This will relieve pressure and allow you to focus on the practice itself and how you feel.

Everything You Need to Know About Clearing

Have you ever tried to plant a new garden into untended ground or attempted to organize an overfull closet with all the stuff still in it? Both activities can be done—unfortunately, the job will be harder than necessary, and we won’t be able to work as effectively. Clearing the new garden bed of rocks and roots, and removing clay or sandy dirt, will make it easier to place the seedlings or seeds in even rows and will make room for the addition of nutrient-rich soil. Emptying a closet helps you to see everything in it so you can more easily make decisions about what to keep, move, or discard. An empty closet allows you to see the space available so you can make the best use of it. These physical examples are good metaphors for energy clearing.

It isn’t hard to apply these ideas to our energy body. Sometimes we say that we have to take a break or go for a walk to clear our heads. If you’ve ever felt that way, you have recognized that your mental energy body was filled with thoughts that needed to be sorted through. Walking helps ground and get rid of negative or agitated energy. Once that energy is cleansed, it is easier to see what is on your mind. As you walked, you probably examined different ideas, discarding some and examining some more closely. You discerned which to keep and which to release.

Clearing your energy body is just like that. You consciously examine what is residing within you. Then you can decide what you want to keep and cultivate and what you want to release based on your free will. Most of us have a lifetime of energy built up like plaque on teeth or in arteries. Our energy bodies could look like a hoarder’s house, so full that it is hard to move around and where stagnation is the order of the day. This is why clearing takes a little more effort and time when you first begin this work. There is an accumulation of stuck, negative energy that needs to be removed.

Frequency: How Often to Clear

Energy cleansing is not something we do just once. It is an ongoing activity. Because most of us are not educated in good energy maintenance, as we walk through our days we are bombarded with other people’s energy in the form of thoughts or emotions. If we could see all this churning energy that is not being managed but just flung all over the place, it would probably be like walking through a strange metaphysical stew. Your energy body is sticky and things cling to it. If you don’t practice good energy hygiene, you will experience other people’s random energy clinging to you without you knowing it. That energy then affects you, perhaps even changes you, in ways that you aren’t conscious of and haven’t chosen.

The regularity of energy clearing will vary from person to person. Extremely sensitive people or people who haven’t strengthened their boundaries might need a daily practice. Others who have stronger boundaries or whose circumstances help them manage their environmental energy more (such as those who live alone or work from a home office) may only need a weekly or monthly practice of spiritual cleansing. No matter what rhythm of habit you eventually settle on, you may also include unscheduled clearings as needed, such as if you’ve just had a particularly intense experience or have been in a situation that was energetically fraught.

How to Choose the Best Energy Cleansing Practice For Your Needs

There are many, many ways to clear negative energy. One is not objectively better than the others. The ones that are best are the ones that work for you. The most important aspects to consider when selecting a clearing method are whether it resonates with your belief system and is something that you will do regularly. A technique from a culture that is very different from yours might not be the best choice because it doesn’t fit into your understanding. If it is too complicated or time consuming, or it requires you to purchase hard-to-find or expensive items, you are less likely to do it consistently.

For example, there are formulas for ritual baths that can be used for clearing. Some require the addition of oils, crystals, and salts as well as the use of candles. If you don’t have relationships with the energy (some would say the spirit) of the suggested oils or crystals, have no interest in them, and don’t even like baths, then that practice is certainly not the best choice for you to get rid of negative energy. However, if you love baths and have a wonderful collection of oils and crystals that you’ve worked with, then this technique is perfect for you.

In addition, you may find that you prefer specific clearing practices depending on what you are clearing. For example, you may find that a more physical clearing activity, such as dancing or walking, works best for when your mental energy body is overloaded but realize that meditation is more helpful when your emotional body is cluttered.

Let’s look in more detail at possible clearing techniques. They will be more like templates so that you can easily fill in the blanks in ways that make sense to you. Options and suggestions will be included, but remember, this is not a set system. You are not required to follow any particular instructions. In fact, if in reading these ideas you are inspired to create your own technique, so much the better. Your energy body is as personal and unique as your physical body. You get to decide what is best for it because, in the end, you and you alone are responsible for it.

20 Powerful Clearing Practices

Energy-clearing practices or techniques can be any activity that allows you to remove unwanted or negative energy. They create space in both the physical body and energy body. Because they create space, it is good to follow them with a cultivation practice so that you are controlling what will fill the space you just created. Some clearing techniques more rigorously focus on breaking up stagnant energy and should definitely be coupled with another action to release the energy you just loosened; these techniques will be noted and suggestions given for pairings. Likewise, some, particularly the earth-based ones, focus on gathering chaotic energy, which can then more effectively be cleared.

All of these techniques can be used or modified for clearing objects and spaces. As with so much metaphysical work, intention is as important as the action itself. While doing any energy work, make sure you are focused and your mind isn’t wandering. You want to be in control of what you are doing. Just as important as intent is only doing what makes sense and feels right for you. Running is a great exercise, unless you have bad knees, in which case swimming might be a better alternative. Likewise, burning sage is a great way to cleanse yourself or a space, but if you have smoke allergies, consider a movement- or water-based technique. A big part of energy cleansing work is being responsible for understanding yourself, your energy body, and your needs. Experiment, pay attention to results, and develop the perfect technique(s) for you.

As you read through these, make notes in your journal (or mark up this book) about ones you’d like to try. Knowing what doesn’t work is important too, so also note things that aren’t likely to be a good match. Even these early thoughts and decisions will help you start creating your own practice. Unless there is a reason to not try a technique, I’d encourage you to do so. The more you try, the more you’ll learn.

Movement-Based Techniques

Movement is a great (and easy) way to move energy around or get rid of stagnant, negative energy. Movement can be subtle or vigorous. We will talk about both. Mountain pose and yin yoga are gentler forms of movement, good for clearing out any energy that is vibrating too highly for your comfort. Dancing and walking can be either slow or vigorous and therefore are easily adapted to suit your needs. We will look at standing, walking, dancing, and yin yoga as clearing practices.

1. Mountain Pose

Yoga’s mountain pose might seem like more of a non-movement activity. However, the act of assuming and holding the pose includes subtle but important movement. You don’t simply stand; you stand with intention. Place your feet about hip-distance apart. Rock from your toes to your heels, finding the edges of the sides of your feet, and then settle your weight into the middle of your feet. If you were making a footprint, your foot would be perfectly and evenly represented. Tighten your leg muscles so that your kneecaps lift up and your thighbones push back. Lift your rib cage up off your waist, making lots of space for your lungs to expand. Lift your shoulders up toward your ears and roll them back and down. Make sure your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles are aligned. Keep your chin level and lift the top back of your skull, creating space at the top of the spine. Take a deep breath in, letting it infuse your mental energy body. Release the breath and release the energy into the earth through the soles of your feet. Repeat as many times as needed to feel clear.

2. Walking

When done with intention, the simple act of walking is also a wonderful practice. For me, walking is particularly effective when my mental energy body is clogged. That “all up in my head” feeling can happen after a long bout of writing or planning, listening to a deep lecture, studying or reading, or even after an intense conversation. Begin by standing in mountain pose for a few breaths while you focus on your intention, then walk, maintaining the good posture you established in mountain pose. With each step, feel the energy that you are focusing on break up and begin to move down to your feet. As your feet meet the ground, release the energy to the earth. Walk until you feel clear.

While walking try to maintain a strong, aligned posture. Also pay attention to what your body is doing while you are walking. Our bodies are a great source of wisdom and can tell us a lot about our energy body. Do you find your shoulders hunching forward as if your body is trying to protect the heart center? Are you bending forward from the waist, inhibiting your sacral or gut area? Bring your attention to those areas and see if there is other energy that needs work or attention.

Because walking is so good for removing intense or negative energy, I like to pair it with a simple cultivation technique. Repeating a mantra, either out loud or in my head, is my favorite. I choose one that invites the energy I want or a thought I want to replace the thoughts I released. For example, if my energy is out of whack because my car broke down and needs an expensive repair, I could take a clearing walk to release the anxiety and repeat to myself one of my all-time favorite sayings, which is from the fourteenth-century mystic and theologian Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Also, walking to clear anxiety due to a car expense has a poetic irony that I’m sure somehow supports energetic harmony.

3. Dancing

Dancing is a natural energy mover. There are all kinds of dancing, as well as reasons and venues for dancing. Dancing at a party or in a club can be part of a spiritual energy cleansing practice—I know it was certainly cathartic for me when I was younger. Sometimes it is hard to work in a night of clubbing when we need it…and for some, that kind of venue wouldn’t feel right. I’ve danced in clubs, at parties, at weddings, in ritual, in ceremony; with formal steps and with riotous abandon. I think any kind of dancing can be part of energy maintenance.

For me, the best energy dancing happens when alone. There is no concern about anything else (clothes, other people, whether my friends are having fun, etc.). Just pick a song and move. Learning to trust your body and its wisdom can take some getting used to, but it is worth it and easy once you get the hang of it. It isn’t easy to explain how, and getting past the awkward stage (if you have one) is a good reason for dancing alone. You can experimentally move your body and see how different motions and rhythms feel. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

Unlike most of the other practices, while I set my intention before beginning, with dancing I don’t really focus on anything after I start. In the walking practice I deliberately focus on my feet hitting the earth to remove negative energy. Dancing is more primal, and I’ve learned to trust my body. Sometimes these less consciously controlled methods are great choices, especially when you aren’t really sure what is wrong or where it is wrong. You just know something’s got to move, so you trust your body to do what it needs to. Through paying attention during your dancing and reflecting on the experience, you can learn about what was going on so that in the future you will have that experience and that knowledge to apply when necessary.

4. Yin Yoga

Westerners often engage in activities like tai chi and yoga for the physical benefits. However, these practices are deeply rooted in energy work. In their entirety they clear, contain, and cultivate. Consequently, when practiced mindfully, they are awesome for aura cleansing and energy health. Regarding clearing specifically, yin yoga is magnificent for this. Yin yoga focuses on holding passive poses for long periods, generally from one to five minutes for beginners. Physically, these long poses go beyond our larger, more visible anatomy and attend to the deeper anatomy. Long poses, particularly deep hip openers, also have an effect on the emotional body, allowing for the release of deeply held stagnant energy. If you’ve never done this before, go slowly and be prepared for an emotional as well as a physical experience. While I highly recommend yin yoga, any yoga is helpful for releasing because so many of the asanas create space in the body. Because of our principle “as above, so below,” this space is also created in our energy bodies.

As we move our physical bodies, we move our energy. Stagnation is extreme, prolonged, and inappropriate stillness. Anxiety is intensely vibrating energy. Your body can help maintain the appropriate vibration for you in almost any circumstance. Keep stagnant energy and anxiety out of your life and keep your energy clear and flowing by moving your body appropriately.

5. Sound

Using sound is a simple way to move energy by raising vibration, creating space, and breaking up stagnant energy. While this technique is mostly used for physical spaces or while doing energy work for others, you can also use it on yourself. Remember, intention matters. Traditional methods of using sound to get rid of old negative energy include rattles, drums, gongs, bells, singing bowls, and clapping. Technically, you could use singing or chanting, but I find those more effective for energy cultivation. While it is lovely to have a special instrument for your energy cleansing work, you don’t have to buy a fancy rattle or drum. You can put some dried beans or popcorn kernels in a covered container, like a plastic storage container. You can use a book or tabletop to drum on.

When I use sound for clearing myself, I often incorporate movement and then follow the clearing with stillness and silence, breathing out the activated energy and consciously breathing in a light vibration such as peace or grace. Sounds can wake up the mind and our energy. When you feel lethargic, make a little noise to wake up your energetic body.

Water-Based Techniques

Water is a wonderful and refreshing tool for clearing. We will talk about the easiest method, washing, as well as how to create and use infusions. Water can be used in creative visualization as well, when actual water isn’t handy or when you need a deeper dive, so to speak.

6. Washing

The simplest technique is to wash your hands or face with plain water. Sometimes that isn’t enough, so a full bath or shower is better. While regular tap water works just fine, many people like to infuse their water to enhance its ability or create it for a specific purpose.

7. Infusions

Adding essential oils is a common way to do this, but make sure you know what oil you are using and why (and make sure it is safe for contact with skin). While lavender is really popular, it is more a cultivating oil because it soothes and heals. I find rosemary is great for energy clearing. Please note that some people have a sensitivity to rosemary, and it should not be used by pregnant women. My personal favorite, though, is clary sage, although it is not typically prescribed for clearing and should not be used by pregnant women. If you have favorite oils and check them out first for safety, try them. Even though there are common prescriptive uses, we all develop our own relationships with the spirits of the oils.

photo: natalie collins

Placing a crystal in a container of water and letting it sit for a few days can infuse the water with the qualities of the crystal and thereby support your clearing work. I use a black quartz crystal that a friend found in Russia and gave to me. Make sure you research whatever you want to use because a few crystals do leach into the water. Safety first!

Salt is a great natural cleanser, so you can simply dissolve salt into your water to boost its clearing abilities.

Solar and lunar infusions are also popular. These infusions are easy to make. Simply put water in a container and leave it in the sunlight or the moonlight for a while. I put water in a lidded jar and leave it on a windowsill. For a solar infusion, I leave it all day; for a lunar infusion, I leave it overnight. I tend to use solar infusions for clearing and lunar for containing and cultivating, but that reflects my relationship with these heavenly bodies. Think about your own relationship to them and decide which is more appropriate for you. Depending on how interested in astrology you are, you can even refine the purpose of the water by paying attention to what sign the sun is in or what sign or phase the moon is in. Traditionally, a waning moon is used for releasing or clearing.

Whether you are just washing your hands or your whole body, another way to cleanse with water is to use soap infused with oils or herbs known for their clearing properties. I’ve found some lovely soaps infused with sage, sweetgrass, and cedar to be extremely effective. There are lots of oils that have cleansing properties. If you can’t find soap with your favorite infusions, perhaps a local soapmaker could create a custom blend for you or you can try making it yourself. If good safety precautions are used, making soap is easy and satisfying.

8. Visual meditation

Visual meditation is a useful and versatile method for clearing. There is so much room for imagination here, so let your ideas run wild. Knowledge of chakras is not necessary for energy work, of course, but even a minimal understanding of the chakras can be useful. Chakras are energy centers in the nonvisible body. The idea comes from many Eastern traditions and has been embraced by many Western energy workers. The word chakra comes from the Sanskrit, meaning “wheel” or “circle.” While there are many chakras, most Western practitioners focus on the seven main ones: crown (violet), third eye (indigo), throat (blue), heart (green), solar plexus (yellow), sacral (orange), and root (red). If you Google “chakras,” you will find many good images that show their location and the energy and issues that they represent.

One of my favorite general self-clearing meditations that involves water is to lie down, close my eyes, and visualize my energy body and my chakras. I begin at the bottom, with the red root chakra. I see it clearly in my mind and then set it spinning. I move up the chakras, moving from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to indigo to violet, keeping them all spinning at the same time. Then I imagine a swoosh of water coming..

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This Deck of Cards is Specially Designed to Bring You Into a State of Flow, Joy and Harmony With All Life

BY MEGHAN MCDONALD

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If you have ever experienced being in flow, you know it’s a peak experience. And if, for some reason, you haven’t, here’s what it’s like: Imagine an immensely pleasurable feeling of being connected to everyone and everything around you—in perfect harmony with yourself, your environment and the people in your life. Then imagine that, on top of this blissful sensation, you also feel a wildly expanded sense of possibility, creativity and intuition mixed with moments of joy, laughter and profound moments of inspiration. Time slows down, you are fully locked into present moment awareness, and you start to wonder if this is what it’s like to be enlightened. That’s what flow feels like, and—just like it sounds—it is a truly incredible experience.

For most people, it strikes somewhat infrequently and haphazardly, making it unreliable at best, however, there is a segment of society that has spent years studying how flow happens in order to engineer it on command so that the benefits of living in this expanded state of consciousness can be used to better our lives individually and collectively.

HuMandalas: Activating Flow States

One of those people is Daniel Levy—and while he probably wouldn’t call himself a flow expert in the classical sense, he’s found a way to help people tap into these peak flow states at will—through the use of a special type of connection technology called HuMandalas . And more specifically, Daniel is an expert at producing group flow—that is, bringing not just one person into flow, but an entire of group people, which is quite a feat.

Daniel Levy began his journey into experiencing and understanding these types of expanded states of consciousness through simple practices like breathing; moving with the waves of nature; and ancient practices like yoga, ecstatic dance and the study of sacred geometrical forms. These flow-activating disciplines gave him great insight into the nature of flow, particularly in groups, and Daniel refined this art through countless workshops and as a facilitator and consultant within numerous communities at festivals, schools and organizations worldwide.

After over a decade of real-world testing, the HuMandalas process was birthed. It is a deceptively simple but profoundly effective way to quickly bring groups of people into flow states together. As he describes them, HuMandalas is a form of guided movement meditation for groups that allow participants to get in sync with each other and the environment around them by using special kinds of intentional connection, toning and visualization practices.

In order to make all of his knowledge and expertise of bringing people together through movement and formation accessible to all, Daniel created a deck of 52 HuMandalas cards and a corresponding digital app that allow others to drop into the experience of group flow and expanded awareness on their own. Using the HuMandalas card deck trains you to align your biorhythms to the universal flow of nature through guided interactions that mirror the sacred geometry of creation. The practices the cards guide individuals through draw from qigong, yoga, reiki and elements of sacred dance, all of which are known to produce peak flow states in the individuals who practice them.

Bring Your Relationships into Harmony and Flow

So how exactly does this work in real life? Using the cards is a simple but profound experience that is highly versatile for any group experience where flow, coherence and deep connection would be useful. Think company meetings, family dinners, workshops and retreats, before yoga classes, for sports teams before or after games, for musicians and just about anything else involving two or more people.

The process goes something like this: one or more people draw a total of five cards for the group—one from each of the five categories: connect, share intention, cultivate energy (with movement and sound), offer blessing and anchor memory. Then you simply follow the instructions on the cards. Easy right? And it is on one level, but on another there is a high degree of wisdom, intention and insight that went into creating each card and designing the deck as a whole, so that you are able to create a seemingly endless variety of experiences that will lead you into individual and group flow like clockwork.

Each time you pull cards the sequence is unique and engaging, but each time it reliably leads to a peak experience. Just like in nature, the cards are never quite the same as they were before, and this newness also helps to keep your brain from falling into expected patterns—something that can work against getting in flow in the long run.

And perhaps, best of all, the decks are very affordable and a tree is planted with every purchase. To learn more visit their website: HuMandalas.com

This article is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Humandalas, whose products and ethos complies with Conscious Lifestyle Magazine’s stringent quality and integrity guidelines.

About The Authors

Meghan McDonald is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine. She holds a Masters degree in social psychology and has conducted award-winning research into the nature of human social behavior. Meghan loves exploring exotic destinations worldwide and learning about all things conscious, healthy, and whole.

The post This Deck of Cards is Specially Designed to Bring You Into a State of Flow, Joy and Harmony With All Life appeared first on .

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Living Clean and Pure: The Top 12 Most Harmful Chemicals and Toxins Hiding in Your Food, Home and Personal Care Products and How to Avoid Them

BY DR. PANKAJ VIJ

photo: lurm

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Battling Environmental Enemies

Editor’s Note: As the modern Western lifestyle spreads around the globe, so too does metabolic syndrome—a cluster of symptoms that increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions. The good news: metabolic syndrome can be tamed by a sensible program of exercise, natural foods, stress management, and quality sleep. In his new book Turbo Metabolism, Dr. Pankaj Vij, MD, distills a mass of medical research into a simple, effective program for vibrant health. Avoiding fads and gimmicks, he provides practical advice, case studies of ordinary people, and brief sections that debunk common medical myths. We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book.

Our increasingly synthetic world is immersed in unnatural chemicals. Many of these chemicals are ubiquitous environmental substances—toxins known to disrupt the normal functioning of the body’s natural systems. These toxins interfere with your quest to attain Turbo Metabolism. Did you know that we are exposed to over a hundred harmful chemicals every morning even before we leave the house?

Women are exposed to more chemicals than men because they use more personal-care products, such as perfumes and cosmetics, though anyone in close proximity to these products is also affected.

Environmental toxins are often endocrine disruptors; that is, they can block hormones or actually impair the production of hormones by the endocrine glands. In other cases, they are toxic to our “inner garden” of a hundred trillion gut bacteria, which are trying to help us by busily producing beneficial substances. Many toxins are poisonous for mitochondria, the energy-producing component of every cell and our best friends in the quest for Turbo Metabolism. In other words, these hazardous chemicals literally sap energy, short-circuit our power supply, and leave us tired, hungry, fat, and sick.

Environmental Toxins, Pollutants, and Preservatives

Here are a few of the main culprits of the 140 or so environmental pollutants to which most of us are exposed every day. They gain access to our bodies through food, water, our skin, and even the air we breathe.

The good news is that many of them (such as BPA, phthalates, and parabens) are not persistent, meaning that if we can minimize our daily exposure, they will leave our bodies quickly. However, some, like persistent organic pollutants and dioxins, can linger in the body for a long time.

Bisphenol A (BPA): Bisphenol A (BPA) has been linked to breast cancer, obesity, early puberty, and heart disease. About 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies. BPA sources include plastics, canned goods, and heat-sensitive paper (used in gas station, grocery store, and restaurant receipts). BPA is also found in meat packaging. The good news? If you can avoid exposure to BPA, levels in the body drop rapidly.

Phthalates: Plasticizers used to make plastics more soft and flexible, phthalates are commonly found in toys, hoses, toothbrushes, food packaging, shower curtains, synthetic fragrances (including most perfumes, and labeled as “added fragrance”), shampoos, hair spray, plastic spoons, and plastic wrap made from PVC with recycling label 3. These toxic substances can trigger cell death in testicular cells, leading to lower sperm counts, less mobile sperm, and birth defects. In addition to affecting the male reproductive system, they contribute to obesity, diabetes, and thyroid irregularities. It is ironic that we use perfumes to attract people to us, but they actually impair our sexual performance. The good news is that they are nonpersistent. They can wash out of the body relatively quickly when we discontinue exposure.

Parabens: Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in skin products, such as shampoos, lotions, and creams (including many expensive “antiaging skin products”). They are also found in food, such as store-bought cinnamon rolls and cakes. An estrogen (female hormone) mimic, it has long been known for disrupting hormone function in animals.  Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have linked parabens to breast cancer.  The good news is that these toxic chemicals do not persist in the body; the bad news is that we re-expose ourselves every day.

Dioxins: Dioxins form during many industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen. Dioxins interfere with both male and female sexual and reproductive function. Exposure in women early in life may permanently affect fertility.  In men, sperm quality and sperm count may be affected, causing infertility.  Dioxins are very long-lived and build up within the body and the food chain; in general, all toxins tend to become more prevalent as we move up the food chain. Dioxins are powerful carcinogens, and these harmful substances may affect the immune system. Dioxins are mainly found in products containing meat, fish, milk, and eggs. You can cut down your exposure to dioxins by eating fewer animal products, which means eating a plant-based diet. 

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs): Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), atrazine, and organotins. PCBs are the most commonly used pesticides in commercial agriculture. The way most synthetic pesticides work is by harming the ability of living things to reproduce or by harming their nervous systems. PCBs are mainly found in soil and sediment and in fatty parts of fish, meat, and dairy products. Fish and shellfish usually contain the highest PCB levels of any food, especially fish that are fatty, that eat many other fish, and that are caught near industrial areas.

Atrazine is widely used as an herbicide spray in corn crops in the United States, and it is commonly found in drinking water because it gets into groundwater. Researchers have found that a low level of atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs! Atrazine has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty, and prostate inflammation in animals.

Organotins are organic and inorganic tin compounds, used as fungicides, as stabilizers in plastics, as molluscicides (to kill snails), and as miticides (to kill mites). They have also been used as insect killers and for other industrial uses. Many of these hazardous substances are unpalatable when mixed into diets and have been used as rodent repellent. Food chain accumulation and bioconcentration have been demonstrated in crabs, oysters, and salmon exposed to POPs. Not-so-fun fact: DDT is an example of a POP that was banned after it was found to be behind the shrinking population of bald eagles.

Triclosan: Triclosan is a known endocrine disruptor that affects thyroid function as well as liver toxicity. It is commonly used in body washes, antibacterial soap, and antibacterial toothpaste. Though it is included in toothpaste to fight gum disease and bad breath and labeled as such, it also “carpet bombs” healthy gut bacteria, which influences food choices, appetite, and ultimately weight and metabolic diseases.

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs): Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are used to make nonstick cookware, an invention designed to get us to use less oil in cooking during the low-fat mania. They are so persistent that 99 percent of Americans are estimated to have these toxic chemicals in their bodies. PFCs are clearly linked with reproductive health, kidney disease, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and many other health issues. Animal studies suggest that PFCs can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.

Medications: Ironically, common prescription medications for treating diabetes, high blood pressure, and other metabolic diseases actually slow down metabolism and can cause weight gain. For example, a five-day regimen of antibiotics can destroy 33 percent of friendly gut bacteria, which affects mood and food choices. We now know that having a higher count of Firmicutes bacteria than Bacteroidetes bacteria in the gut microbiome is associated with weight gain. This evidence is consistent with “feedlot efficiency”—the practice of giving antibiotics to feedlot cattle to increase weight gain by up to 30 percent.

Plastic contaminants: The familiar “chasing arrows” symbol on plastic containers and other plastic products does not mean the product is recyclable. The little number inside the triangle tells the real story. Within each chasing arrows triangle is a number ranging from 1 to 7. The purpose of the number is to identify the type of plastic used for the product, and not all plastics are recyclable or even reusable. Numerous plastic-based products cannot be recycled.

Products with recycling number 7 are the worst (think: unlucky 7). The number 7 category was designed as a catchall for polycarbonate (PC) and “other” plastics, so reuse and recycling protocols are not standardized within this category. Of primary concern with number 7 plastics, however, is the potential for chemical leaching into food or drink products packaged in polycarbonate containers made using BPA (see above). BPA is a xeno-estrogen (xeno means “foreign” or “other”), which is a known endocrine disruptor. Plastics with recycling numbers 2, 4, and 5 are better.

Arsenic: This hazardous substance is a poison that lurks in your food and drinking water. If you ingest enough of it, arsenic will kill you outright. In smaller amounts, arsenic can cause skin, bladder, and lung cancer. It is less well known that arsenic messes with your hormones! Specifically, it can interfere with normal hormone functioning in the glucocorticoid system that regulates how our bodies process sugars and carbohydrates.

Environmental Working Group Produce Recommendations

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an excellent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. The mission of the EWG is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Publishing breakthrough research and providing educational resources, the organization drives consumer choice and civic action.

On its website, EWG publishes a ranking of common produce based on pesticide load. This ranking, as well as a database of potentially toxic household substances and personal-care products and other practical information, is available at EWG.org.

One thing I learned on this website is that washing and peeling nonorganic, store-bought produce does not solve the problem because the pesticide is sprayed into the soil and absorbed into the plant.

The USDA does not strictly define or regulate the use of the word “natural” except in the meat category. This means a tub of “all-natural yogurt” could legally contain synthetic pesticides, hazardous chemicals, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), antibiotics, and growth hormones. The label “organic,” however, requires that toxic, persistent synthetic pesticides and herbicides are not allowed, and neither are GMOs, antibiotics, growth hormones, or irradiation.

The EWG has done a good job of listing produce in order of pesticide load (highest to lowest). Because buying everything organic can be cost-prohibitive, being aware of which items of produce are highest in pesticide load is very helpful. In the list below, buying organic forms of only the first twelve items (the “dirty dozen”) can reduce your pesticide exposure by up to 80 percent. For a grower to certify and sell produce as “organic,” the grower must undergo seven consecutive years of soil-testing for synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and petroleum-based (and sewage sludge–based) fertilizers. Also, organic certified crops cannot be genetically modified or irradiated. Genetic modification is often used to make corn and soy more pesticide tolerant (the crop lives but all the insects and weeds get killed), allowing it to be sprayed abundantly with these toxic chemicals. When these pesticides and herbicides (like Roundup) enter the body, they wreak havoc on the delicate ecosystem of gut bacteria.

The way these synthetic pesticides and herbicides are designed to work is by disrupting the endocrine (hormone) systems of the bugs or poisoning their nervous systems (neuro-toxicity). This explains why we are seeing so much more infertility and neurodegenerative disorders in humans, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s, especially in farming communities where these hazardous substances are more ubiquitous.

What is the main problem with petroleum-based fertilizers? Using nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) fertilizers creates shorter root systems, leading to lower micronutrient levels and compromised immunity to disease, requiring even higher levels of intervention. Using synthetic fertilizers, which are common in modern agriculture, is like providing a “junk food diet” to crops.

The 2017 EWG Ranking of Produce Based on Pesticide Load

Below is EWG’s 2017 ranking of produce based on most to least exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizer. The top twelve are called the “dirty dozen”; buy these organic whenever possible.

EWG consistently ranks apples among the worst in terms of pesticide load. The average age of an apple in the grocery store is between four and eleven months, which may be why the soil around apple trees has to be so heavily saturated with pesticides. The industry term “birthday apples” is sometimes used because apples sold in supermarkets are often one year old! Washing and peeling does not help because the harmful chemicals are inside the fruit.

1. Strawberries (the worst)
2. Spinach
3. Nectarines
4. Apples
5. Peaches
6. Pears
7. Cherries
8. Grapes
9. Celery
10. Tomatoes
11. Sweet bell peppers
12. Potatoes
13. Cucumbers
14. Cherry tomatoes
15. Lettuce
16. Snap peas (imported)
17. Blueberries (domestic)
18. Hot peppers
19. Kale/collard greens
20. Blueberries (imported)
21. Green beans (domestic)
22. Plums
23. Tangerines
24. Raspberries
25. Carrots
26. Winter squash
27. Oranges
28. Summer squash
29. Green beans (imported)
30. Snap peas (domestic)
31. Bananas
32. Green onions
33. Watermelon
34. Mushrooms
35. Sweet potatoes
36. Broccoli
37. Grapefruit
38. Cauliflower
39. Cantaloupe
40. Kiwi
41. Honeydew melon
42. Eggplant
43. Mangoes
44. Asparagus
45. Papayas
46. Sweet peas (frozen)
47. Onions
48. Cabbage
49. Pineapples
50. Avocados
51. Sweet corn

Case Study: Andrew

Andrew, a sixty-seven-year-old retired business owner, underwent a quadruple bypass operation nine years ago. When he became my patient, he started eating “clean and green,” removing harmful substances and pesticides from his diet and choosing personal products that did not contain toxicants. He started to get lean and reclaim his energy, youth, and vitality that his old lifestyle and surgery had stolen from him.

Andrew now walks ten thousand steps every day, eats plant-based foods, meditates every day, and sleeps like a baby. His new mission in life is to spread the message of health and wellness to everyone he meets.

Rules to Live By:

+ Environmental pollutants and toxins are everywhere, so avoidance is key.

+ When you enter your home, take off your shoes so that you do not bring in unwanted harmful chemicals. Change into dedicated indoor shoes or sandals.

+ Decrease or eliminate animal fats.

+ Check your public water source.

+ If your tap water is sub-optimal, use a water filtration system (I prefer reverse osmosis systems) or drink filtered spring water.

+ Wash your hands before you eat (but avoid harsh antibacterial soaps with chemicals like triclosan).

+ Avoid plastic utensils and Styrofoam plates, especially when heating food (contaminants are released when these are heated). Stainless steel or even bamboo are much better.

+ Throw away scratched nonstick pans, which release PFCs. Stainless-steel pans are probably the best.

+ Avoid printed receipts (most printers in commercial establishments use heat-sensitive paper loaded with BPA). Get electronic receipts, if possible.

+ Stop wearing synthetic fragrances, perfumes, and scents and try essential oils instead.

+ Insist on environmentally friendly dry-cleaning chemicals.

+ Buy organic produce when possible.

Excerpted from the book Turbo Metabolism. Copyright ©2018 by Pankaj Vij, MD. Printed with permission from New World Library newworldlibrary.com.

About The Author

Pankaj Vij, MD, FACP, is the author of Turbo Metabolism: 8 Weeks to a New You: Preventing and Reversing Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, and Other Metabolic Diseases by Treating the Causes. As a doctor of internal medicine, he has helped thousands of patients lose weight, manage chronic health conditions, and improve their physical fitness. Visit him online at doctorvij.com.

The post Living Clean and Pure: The Top 12 Most Harmful Chemicals and Toxins Hiding in Your Food, Home and Personal Care Products and How to Avoid Them appeared first on .

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Ridding Your Body of Yeast: 6 Antifungal Essential Oils for Killing Candida

BY DR. ERIC ZIELINSKI

essential oils have been used for millennia for their health, healing and spiritually activating properties. photo: christin hume

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Candida infections (candidiasis) can have three different presentations.

+ Oropharyngeal candidiasis: Oral yeast infection, or “thrush”
+ Vaginal candidiasis: A vaginal yeast infection
+ Invasive candidiasis: A systemic infection where Candida species enter the bloodstream


It’s important to keep in mind that not all women present candida overgrowth in the same way. Women typically don’t go to their doctor unless they get a vaginal yeast infection, which puts them at risk of developing a systemic problem. If you suffer from a combination of the symptoms below, you may have a candida infection:

+ Brain fog
+ Chronic fatigue
+ Foul body odor
+ Insomnia
+ Low libido
+ Sugar cravings
+ Seasonal allergies

Top Six Essential Oils for Candida

It’s important to point out that most of the essential oil recommendations out there for candida focus on treating vaginal infections or thrush, not invasive candidiasis. This is not to say that essential oil protocols are nonexistent for systemic candida overgrowth, but in my opinion you will be better served if you use essential oils in conjunction with significant dietary changes as your first line of defense. This is particularly true if you’re trying to treat a vaginal yeast infection or oral thrush.

I have seen some dramatic results when the following six essential oils for candida are used to treat overgrowth.

1. Tea Tree

By far, the go-to antifungal oil is tea tree. This oil has a long history as a skin treatment and air-purifying agent, and has been used with great success to treat fungal infections. Thus, tea tree oil for yeast infections is very effective.

Application: Douche up to twice a day to treat a vaginal yeast infection using the following protocol. Similarly, oil pulling with lavender and tea tree can help oral thrush.

Candida Douche

Supplies

+ 2 drops lavender essential oil
+ 2 drops tea tree essential oil
+ 1 teaspoon raw honey
+ ½ cup warm distilled water
+ Small glass bowl
+ Douche bag (which you can find at most drugstores) or squeeze bottle


Instructions

+ Mix the essential oils and honey in a glass bowl.
+ Add the water and stir until the honey dissolves.
+ Fill a douche bag with the solution.
+ Sitting on the toilet or squatting in your shower, rinse the vaginal cavity using the douche bag or squeeze bottle.
+ Immediately afterward, wash the vulva with mild soap and water in the shower.
+ Douche once or twice a day for up to two weeks at a time.

Note: Alternatively, you can try the pessary (vaginal suppository) or tampon approach if you stick with the gentler essential oils for yeast infections. Do not use thyme, peppermint, lemongrass, or the other more caustic oils (i.e., “hot” oils like cinnamon, clove, and oregano that cause a burning sensation), or you could cause serious discomfort!

2. Thyme

Broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungals have failed to stop the epidemic, so researchers are investigating natural broad-spectrum alternatives, including essential oils for candida. A study out of Poland discovered that both tea tree and thyme oils have the uncanny ability to change the morphology and metabolism of yeast enzymes, suggesting that these essential oils can significantly impact Candida albicans pathogenicity and that candida cannot become resistant to these oils.

Application: Make a 2% body oil dilution with thyme and coconut oil and apply over your abdomen to treat systemic candida overgrowth. Not safe for vaginal application.

3. Peppermint

In 2010, one of the most exhaustive studies to date evaluated how thirty different essential oils for Candida albicans inhibited the growth of the bacteria in vitro. Of those tested, twelve were found to be ineffective. Eighteen were found to be effective; of these, eucalyptus and peppermint oils stood out. At concentrations as low as 0.15%, both showed significant fungicidal properties.

Application: Try oil pulling with one drop of peppermint to cleanse the mouth of oral thrush. Not safe for vaginal application.

4. Geranium

Specifically testing how geranium helped mice with vaginal candidiasis, researchers discovered that the oil had a minimal effect when applied alone. However, when used in combination with vaginal washing, the infection decreased significantly.

Application: After showering, massage a 1% body oil dilution of geranium oil mixed with a carrier over the genital region to help prevent yeast infections. Coconut and evening primrose oils are the carrier oils of choice.

5. Lemon

Truly a jack-of-all-trades, lemon has performed well against drug-resistant strains of a number of bacteria and fungi, including MRSA and candida. Additionally, multiple commercial lemon oils have been shown to contain a broad-spectrum ability, killing a variety of fungal strains, including C. albicans, C. tropicalis, and C. glabrata. Not all lemon oils are equal in treating candida symptoms, however. Be sure to use those that are rich in monoterpenoids.

The key takeaway is this: Limonene—a monocyclic terpene—is the main ingredient in most lemon essential oils on the market. However, the anti-fungal activity depends on the content of oxygenated monoterpenes—the higher the content, the better the fungicidal effects that were observed. If you want to battle candida, try to get a chemical analysis of the brand of lemon oil before buying to be sure it contains these constituents. You can usually find this information on the oil manufacturer’s website.

Application: As with lavender, try incorporating lemon essential oil into your culinary creations—it’s delicious when stirred into olive oil that you drizzle on salad, for example, mixed into yogurt, or added to guacamole—for an extra antifungal punch. A little goes a long way, so start with one drop and add more to taste.

6. Clove

Rich in eugenol—a chemical component of plants with antiseptic properties—clove oil is a superhero at killing microorganisms. Research has shown that its power against candida strains is so potent that it can reduce the fungi to near zero levels, including fluconazole-resistant strains! Before you apply it topically over sensitive areas of your body, however, take great caution and be sure to dilute it properly. I recommend starting at a 1% dilution and working your way up as long as no irritation occurs. Clove is a powerful essential oil for candida, and in general, so take note that it can seriously aggravate your skin.

Application: Try combating candida internally with these candida capsules.

Candida Capsules

Makes 1 application

Supplies

+ 2 drops clove essential oil
+ 2 drops thyme essential oil
+ Organic extra-virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, or unrefined coconut oil (melted)
+ Pipette
+ Size 00 capsule (time-release capsules are preferable)

 Instructions

+ Using a pipette, drop the essential oils into the narrower, bottom half of the capsule.
+ Fill the remaining space in the capsule with the carrier oil of your choice.
+ Fit the wider, top half of the capsule over the bottom half and secure snugly.
+ Swallow the capsule immediately with water on an empty stomach.
+ Take once or twice daily for fourteen days.

Note: Do not premake capsules and store for future use because you do not want them to leach or erode.

Additional Essential Oils for Candida

Keep in mind that as you branch out and expand your medicine cabinet to treat candida, certain oils are inherently safer and more effective than others. For instance, oils rich in oxides have a tendency to irritate already sensitive vaginal tissue. This would include oils rich in both 1,4 and 1,8-cineole, so use caution with the following oils:

+ Bay laurel
+ Cajuput
+ Cardamom
+ Eucalyptus (globulus and radiata)
+ Galangal
+ Ho leaf
+ Myrtle
+ Niaouli
+ Rosemary (1,8-cineol ct.)
+ Sage
+ Saro
+ Spike lavender

Alternatively, these essential oils for candida that contain the following alcohols are much gentler:

+ Linalool—clary sage, lavender, lavandin, and ylang ylang
+ Borneol—lavandin, lavender, and rosemary
+ Geraniol—palmarosa, thyme, and Melissa
+ Citronellol—rose, geranium, citronella, and Melissa
+ Menthol—peppermint

As you can see from this exhaustive list of essential oil uses and applications, you have options to treat candida naturally. With that said, if you’re on the SAD (Standard American Diet), are on recurring cycles of antibiotics, or are dealing with unresolved chronic stress in your life—all common triggers of candida—then using essential oils for yeast infections is like taking one step forward and two steps back.

As with all of the conditions discussed in this book, a completely holistic approach is a must if you want to fully resolve a candida infection. Sure, essential oils can help, but they are only one piece of the (organic, gluten-free, naturally sweetened) pie!

Excerpted from The Healing Power of Essential Oils. Copyright © 2018 by Eric Zielinski, D.C. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

About The Author

Dr. Eric Zielinski is on a mission to help people experience the abundant life. Formally trained as a public health researcher and aromatherapist, Dr. Z is the founder of the Essential Oils Revolution summits and Essential Oils for Abundant Living Masterclass that have helped more than 550,000 people across the globe use essential oils safely and effectively. An accomplished researcher with several publications and conference proceedings, Dr. Z currently sits as peer-reviewer for multiple journals. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and four children. Learn more at: drericz.com

The post Ridding Your Body of Yeast: 6 Antifungal Essential Oils for Killing Candida appeared first on .

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The Keys to Healthy Teeth:
Research-Backed Natural Remedies For Repairing, Strengthening and Whitening Your Teeth

BY NADINE ARTEMIS

photo: autumn goodman

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The Bone-Beauty Connection: Teeth and the Keys to Oral Health

We have been taught to brush twice daily, floss, and visit the dentist to maintain healthy teeth and gums and prevent tooth decay, yet the staggering number of cavities, crowns, root canals, and extracted teeth confirms that something is amiss. Although there are a plethora of periodontal promises ranging from fluoride floss to minty mouthwash, there is more dental decay now than in any previous century.

Wearily, we roam the drugstore dental aisles. Searching for solutions, we attain countless tubes of paste, we maintain the ingrained hygienist and dentist appointments, and we brush with daily diligence for decades. Even so, healthy mouths evades us, and the possibility of periodontal disease percolates. Receding, bleeding gums are the norm. Unexpected cavities form, and millions of root canals are performed. The definition of insanity, doing the same thing and expecting different results, applies to our current state of dental care.

Our mouths are a microcosm mirroring the macrocosm of imbalances on our planet. Our dental dysbiosis reflects our lack of symbiosis in our relationships to our bodies, global food production, medicine, and the environment. On a microscopic level, everything that is going on in our mouth is going on in the world: enamel and topsoil erosion, systemic corrosion, crumbling bones, mold in our homes, triclosan in toothpaste, toxins dumped in haste, factory farms festering with fungi, pollutants in the sky, adverse effects of petroleum oil, glyphosates affecting our gums, guts, and soil; deforestation, fluoridation, pesticides, and antibiotics that mutate microbes, gum pockets that erode, chronic disease, mercury in our mouths and seas, environmental allergens, chaotic carcinogens, and invading pathogens. These things threaten the borders of our body and the boundaries of our planet.

Mastering the Mouth through Bacterial Balance

The mouth is the principal portal into our bodies. It interfaces, absorbs, and assimilates our world. The endocrine, immune, and digestive systems are intimately bound to the microbiome of our mouths. By understanding the human microbiome, we understand that our oral health depends on a thriving microbiome; and as human hosts to this bacterial banquet, the key to vitality in our bodies and mouths is bacterial balance.

What we now know is that many of the periodontal procedures and medicants of modern dentistry disrupt the beneficial bacteria of our gums and mutate our mouth’s microbes. Many of our oral-care practices suppress immunity. Instead, we need to reconcile with our bacterial community for healthier gums and teeth. We need to fluff our oral flora, and befriend our body’s bacteria. We need to abandon the products, practices, and antibiotics that are making our microbes mutate, mottling our teeth, and deforesting the flora of our oral ecology.

Not All Dentists Are Created Equal

On top of this microbe mutation, the profession put in charge of our oral health and tooth care is shrouded in subjective science. Dental diagnosis can vary vastly from dentist to dentist. To demonstrate this, a researcher for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, armed with a hidden camera and a dental assessment from the University of Toronto, visited twenty dentists. Her otherwise healthy mouth only needed a cleaning and a crown replacement, but if she had followed the combined recommendations of the twenty dentists, then nearly every tooth in her mouth would have been treated, including multiple unnecessary root canals, veneers, fillings, and crowns.[1]

Another journalist, with a trusted dentist’s confirmation that he only needed one crown on a molar, traveled across the United States for fifty dental examinations. All fifty dentists examined the same mouth and the same X-rays. Their estimates ranged from $700 to $19,000, and the treatment plans ranged from crowning one tooth to having all twenty-eight crowned, from gum surgery to veneers! The actual molar that needed a crown was missed by fifteen of the fifty dentists. When asked about the journalists’ findings, the American Dental Association was not surprised by the inconsistencies, as they claim, “Dentistry is an art based on scientific knowledge.”[2]

This journalistic research illustrates that there is money to be minted from the health of our mouths, which may be fiscally influencing some dentists. Although dentistry conjures images of the exactness of an X-ray, sterile environments, white lab coats, and advanced scientific equipment, it is not an exclusively objective vocation.

Clearly, there are fifty shades of gray affecting our pearly whites. Fifty interpretations from one X-ray! While we let that information sink in, it is easy to feel exasperated and to roll our eyes at such inconsistency; or we can see this as a crack for the light to shine in.

When it comes to caring for our teeth and our oral health, we can master the map of our mouths. With leading-edge information from compassionate, pioneering dentists, we can now understand how our bodies are designed with a dentinal fluid that acts like an invisible toothbrush, repelling cavities and synthesizing new dentin from odontoblasts. We can see that our mouths can be incubators of infection and that we need to create a microbe-topia for the multitudes of microbes in our mouths.

This is the triple threat to having a healthy mouth: the harmful procedures, the lack of understanding about the tooth-nurturing dentinal fluid, and the periodontal scorched-earth policy on bacteria. This trifecta is the perfect periodontal storm that fosters endodontic entropy, dental problems and decay, and a system that settles for Band-Aid solutions of bleaching, gum grafts, veneers, and fillings.

Common Dental Procedures: What You Need to Know

Now let’s look at some common dental procedures and weigh the pros and cons.

Silver Fillings

Silver-colored dental amalgams have been used to fill cavities for more than 150 years. They are made from a combination of silver, copper, tin, and mercury. These fillings are more economical and durable than other filling materials. The American Dental Association recommends silver fillings for children who squirm in the dentist’s chair because they are easier to place than composite fillings.

Silver Fillings: Cons

+ Dentists must drill away healthy tooth bone to prepare the tooth for silver fillings.

+ These eighteenth-century dental solutions are 50% mercury, one of the most toxic substances on the planet; yet even though this toxicity is scientific fact, mercury is implanted in multitudes of mouths in the form of fillings. Mercury is also a cumulative toxin that passes through the blood-brain and placental barriers. It tenaciously binds to tissue, altering DNA, nerves, cell membranes, and mitochondrial function. Mercury toxicity is linked to dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other degenerative disorders.[3] Mercury is also linked to periodontal disease, receding unhealthy gums, and skin hyperpigmentation.[4] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that the highest body burden of chronic mercury toxicity comes from silver fillings. In addition, when mercury fillings are removed, even though there is not a metallurgic change to the mercury, the EPA considers it toxic waste, and fillings must be handled with a strict no-touch protocol to protect dentists and the environment from mercury poisoning.[5] The FDA states, “A person with four fillings has enough mercury to make a 20-acre lake unfit for fishing.”[6] Yet, somehow, it is still okay for our mouths and tongues to touch it daily, and it is still common in tooth care and not universally banned in dentistry.

+ Both old and new mercury fillings release vapors twenty-four hours a day, with a 500% increase when chewing, teeth grinding, and drinking hot fluids. According to the Journal of Dental Research, gum chewing increases mercury-vapor release considerably![7] Other Filling Options

Costly porcelain fillings are not 100% pure porcelain; they contain carcinogenic nickel and aluminum too. Most white composite fillings contain bisphenol A (BPA), formaldehyde, and aluminum. The best current filling choices for healthy teeth are zirconium-oxide fillings, ceramic resins, and non-drilling techniques.

Because all filling materials are foreign to the immune system, it is a best practice for dentists to do a biocompatibility blood-serum test. Ideally, preventing cavities and learning how to keep teeth healthy naturally is optimal! (We’ll go into that soon.)

Wisdom Teeth

This third set of molars generally develops in the late teens and early twenties. These teeth are considered best to be removed as prophylactic prevention to avoid impacted teeth, and partially erupted wisdom teeth may be hard to clean or may affect neighboring teeth.

Wisdom-Teeth Removal: Cons

+ A report published in the American Journal of Public Health deemed that 6.7 million out of 10 million preventive wisdom-tooth extractions are unnecessary.[8]

+ The British National Health Service has stated that the practice of prophylactic removal of pathology-free impacted wisdom teeth should be discontinued. There is insufficient evidence that impacted wisdom teeth cause dental problems, and the expense and risks of the surgery are not justified.[9]

+ We may need the wisdom of these teeth later in life for chewing surfaces; additionally, extraction alters the structure of the neck, jaw, and mouth.

+ But that’s not all. Multiple pathological bacteria are often found in the jaw on wisdom-tooth extraction sites. This is because it is standard protocol to leave the periodontal ligament in after extraction. Simply put, this causes a sluggish area in the bone marrow where virulent bacteria gather and eat away at the jawbone.[10]

+ These jaw cavitations are a hidden consequence of wisdom-teeth extractions, as most of the time there are no visible symptoms. When a jaw cavitation shows up on an X-ray, the bone has already eroded by 50%.[11] These areas in the jaw are medically referred to as osteonecrotic lesions. Dr. Hal Huggins’s research institute revealed that these jaw-cavitation sites are sanctuaries for serious pathogens that can lead to an array of autoimmune diseases.

Biological dentists, who learn how to keep teeth healthy naturally, can check for cavitations by making a small incision in the gum of the extraction site and examining for mushy pockets in the jawbone. If there is decay, a simple procedure can clear it up: the site is opened, the decay is scraped off the bone, bacteria are thoroughly removed, blood flow to the area is reestablished, and the site is treated with ozone. If you do need a tooth extracted, including a wisdom tooth, be sure to work with a dentist who will also be sure to remove the periodontal ligament as part of the protocol.

Through the dedicated research of dentists Weston Price and Ralph R. Steinman, we now know that proper nutrition is the key to keeping wisdom teeth. When enough nutrients are supplied to the jawbone during pregnancy and childhood, all thirty-two teeth have enough space in the mouth without crowding.

Root Canals

A root canal is a procedure for infected teeth that kills the unhealthy tooth by removing its internal structure, including the nerves, pulp tissue, and blood vessels. The hollowed-out tooth is rinsed, filled with latex and cement, and then topped with a crown. The purpose of a root canal is to hermetically seal the tooth and save the chewing surface.

Root Canal: Cons

+ Theoretically, a root canal seems like a good idea, but, clinically, it is a bacterial horror story. A dead tooth remains in the mouth as an incubator of infection, a bacterial breeding ground, and a necrotic nest for pathogens to grow and spread. This oxygen-starved stagnant tooth becomes a haven for harmful microbes, which lead to dental problems. The whole goal of a root canal is to have a non-infected, sterile tooth; but the exact opposite is created. Each tooth contains three miles of microscopic dentin tubules that are impossible to sterilize! With the blood vessels removed, neither antibiotics nor white blood cells can reach the location to fight infection. Every time a root-canaled tooth is used to chew, bacterial toxins are squirted into the bloodstream. These toxins that flow from the anaerobic infection silently spread to the gums, ligaments, and jawbone. Because the nerve tissue is removed in the procedure, there will be no pain indicating infection. In an interesting correlation, physician Josef Issels in forty years of treating cancer found that 98% of his patients had root canals.[12] He insists that his patients remove root-canaled teeth before starting treatment.

Dr. Stuart Nunnally, a highly respected and pioneering biological dentist, conducted independent tests on root-canaled teeth.[13] To qualify, the teeth had to be symptom-free and show zero signs of pathology on an X-ray. One hundred percent of these root-canaled teeth, upon surface inspection and in X-rays, were textbook-perfect root canals yet lab tests revealed that the teeth harbored severe toxic pathogens. While this type of information has not permeated into every dental practice, and with the knowledge comes some ethical decisions for dentists about how to approach diseased teeth, thankfully there is vibrant discussion in endodontics journals about the impossibility of sterility in root-canal-treated teeth.

If you have a root canal and this information is unnerving to your seemingly healthy mouth, it is important to know that although root canals become focal infections that feed anaerobic bacteria 100% of the time, not all root canals are causing systemic health issues, because of an individual’s epigenetics and because each person handles toxicity differently. If you are experiencing a decline in health (especially in the months preceding the procedure), or if you have an autoimmune issue, you may want to explore having root-canaled teeth extracted and the periodontal ligament removed. This is an easier decision if it is a back molar, as the space can be left as is, yet a difficult decision with a front tooth, as you may then need to explore a bridge or a zirconium post implant tooth.

It takes a special quality of mind to be schooled in certain methods yet hold the capacity to question these methods and to forge ahead to find new terrains of thought and scientific solutions. Fortunately, some dentists do, and there are new frontiers in dentistry that can help us all rectify the damage of previous decades of dental procedures. When it comes to more natural oral health and teeth care, some biological dentists are pioneering the way with the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy that stimulates growth factors, and ozone injections and gels to clean infections and infuse surgical sites with a “breath of fresh air.” These dentists are also leading the way with more biocompatible material choices.[14] Dentists that are leading the field with these innovations will be among the first to integrate successful stem-cell therapy for tooth regeneration, which will be a reality in the very near future.

Fluoride’s Effect on Bones and Skin: What You Need to Know

If you suffer from cavities, then fluoride toothpaste and treatments might be right for you. Possible side effects may include bleeding gums, skeletal fluorosis,[15] sclerosis, dementia diagnosis,[16] pitted and crumbled teeth,[17] impaired myelin sheath, acne,[18] arthritis, gingivitis, bone-crippling disease, joint pain in your knees,[19] thyroid disease,[20] hip fractures, hyperactivity, damaged sperm motility,[21] increased infertility,[22] disrupted collagen synthesis,[23] gastritis, suppressed immune system, impaired glucose metabolism, skin rashes, damaged bone formation,[24] cell mutation, nausea, tooth discoloration, frequent urination, poisoning, DNA alteration, and reduced IQ.[25] Go ahead and ask your dentist if fluoride is right for you.

Although we have been told and sold on fluoride in tap water and in dental and tooth care products to strengthen bones, it actually makes bones brittle and stiffens skin by impeding collagen production. “Contrary to marketing madness, tooth decay is not caused by fluoride deficiency! The United States’ EPA has fluoride on its ‘substantial evidence of neurotoxicity’ list. Fluoride appears to interfere with critical bodily chemistry, damaging gums, disrupting collagen production, and reducing enzyme activity. Fluoride accumulates in the body, especially in the pineal gland, lowers IQ, forms deposits in the brain related to Alzheimer’s, promotes early-onset puberty, and the list goes on and on.” [26]

With all of these documented side effects, maybe fluoride isn’t the answer to how to keep teeth healthy naturally. To truly grasp how cavities form, we need to understand how teeth are nourished and cleansed from the inside by a dentinal-lymph fluid.

Mottled, fragile, disintegrating, tainted teeth are the dental devastation from not understanding that our teeth are alive and intimately connected to the body, bloodstream, and lymph. It is through this systemic connection that some medications and chemicals, such as antibiotics and fluoride, contribute to brittle, discolored, and even crumbling teeth, by suppressing the dentinal-lymph system, which is active in healthy teeth. This affects bone and teeth mineralization, nerve health, microbial diversity, saliva pH, and endocrine function.

The Invisible Toothbrush: Optimizing Your Oral Health

Teeth are fed from their roots by the dentinal-lymph system, like tree roots drawing up nutrients via the sap. The dentinal-lymph flow is a toroidal system: Lymph-liquid spins inward and upward into the tooth’s core, the pulp chamber. It flows through the tooth and out onto the enamel. Like microscopic sweat, these tiny droplets coalesce on the surface of the enamel, forming a fluid layer that prevents biofilm formation and commingles with saliva to lubricate and communicate with the mouth’s microbiome.

Operating much like the lymph system, there is a microscopic flow of fluid involved in healthy teeth care that originates near the intestinal area and flows upward and outward through the teeth, flushing out toxins, providing nutrients for the teeth’s mineral matrix, and repelling microbial biofilm on the tooth surfaces, preventing tooth decay and gum disease, and maintaining a healthy mouth. When this dentinal-lymph secretion is properly metabolized and functional, it acts like an invisible toothbrush, preventing systemic decay, inhibiting the penetration of pathogens, and neutralizing acids on the tooth’s surface. However, this dentinal-lymph flow can stagnate and even fully reverse. Diet and hormones are the principal activators of this self-cleansing system. Certain chemicals and medication, as well as a diet of processed food, sugar, and carbohydrates that spikes insulin levels and disharmonizes hormones, cause the dentinal-lymph system to reverse. When this happens, the capillaries in the tooth suck in bacteria, like a straw, and other microbes from the mouth into the tooth, causing infection and biofilm formation within the pulp chamber and dentin tubules. This self-contaminating system causes a “leaky tooth,” and it is the genesis of cavity creation.

A cavity is an infection in the tooth. Like all wounds, it has the ability to heal. Teeth are alive! The current condition of your teeth and mouth can evolve with better tooth care. Dr. Ralph R. Steinman, the same dentist who scientifically proved the existence of the dentinal-lymph system,[27] showed that including dietary magnesium and phosphorus reduced the decay rate by 86%.[28] Dr. Melvin Page confirmed this by finding that when phosphorus blood levels drop below 3.5, cavities begin to form.[29] Additionally, the former president of the ADA, Dr. Weston Price, concluded that fat-soluble vitamins K2 and D3 reversed and inhibited decay. Fillings are Band-Aid solutions and are susceptible to recurrent decay. Yet, when the underlying causes of cavities are addressed and the dentinal-lymph flow is restored, teeth will remineralize and be more resilient to cavities in the future.

The Mouth’s Microbial Menagerie: How to Optimize It For Greater Health

There are more bacteria in a kiss than there are people on the planet. Our mouths are a microbial menagerie. As holobiont human hosts to these microbes, we have forged an elaborate evolutionary and ancient alliance. A good host provides a stable, loving home and nourishing food for their flora friends. In return, these microbes micromanage our bodies by digesting food and secreting beneficial biochemicals. They are also sentient sentinels that strengthen our immunity while preventing pathogenic periodontal party-crashers from proliferating and from excreting endotoxins and colonizing the community.

The key to oral health is maintaining an ecologically balanced and diverse microbiome. Contrary to this, we have been caught in the dross of carpet-bombing the biome—practicing a scorched-earth policy of periodontal and tooth care. Chemicals in teeth bleaching, fillings, rinses, and fluoride; the sudsy surfactants of toothpastes; the antibiotic atomic bombs on bacteria; masticating meals of glyphosates and pesticides; root canals festering focal infections; the metallic mass of mercury, titanium, and nickel—these have all scorched the hive intelligence of our oral habitat. This defoliation of our oral flora has made extinct and mutated microbes, resulting in complex ecological shifts of resident microbiota, giving rise to gingivitis, halitosis, cavities, oral thrush, cankers, and bleeding and receding gums. Our mouth, once a moist microhabitat of homeostasis, becomes an oxygen-starved oasis of anaerobic activity, eating away at our immunity and sending systemic disease throughout the body.

Just as toxic food and chemical irritants induce leaky guts by microscopically perforating the intestines, the scrubbing and rubbing of our gums with mutating medicants and caustic chemicals cause leaky gums. Bacteria from our mouth does not normally enter our..

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The Top 10 Health Benefits of Probiotic Supplements and Foods: Heal Your Gut, Feed Your Brain and Supercharge Your Immune System

BY JO A. PANYKO

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What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are officially defined by the Joint Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Working Group as “Live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Basically, probiotics at this point in time are live bacteria and yeasts that provide health benefits to you if you take them in adequate quantities.

Probiotic supplements are not drugs (in the United States), although super potent forms may be obtained through prescription. As such, they are not intended to treat or cure any diseases, mental or physical. Probiotics benefit and complement a healthy way of life filled with nutritious food, adequate exercise, restorative sleep, beneficial social engagements, reduced exposure to toxins, and hydration with clean water.

Probiotics are part of your body’s microbiota, your collection of microbes. The sum of the microbiota and its metabolic activities is called your microbiome. You will often see the word “microbiome” used to denote both the microbiota and its genetic and metabolic effects.

A Brief History of Probiotics

Microorganisms such as Archaea are believed by science to be the earliest life forms, with bacteria and yeasts, which are also microscopic organisms, not far behind. Although bacteria and yeast cells are much smaller than human cells, it may surprise you to know that your human cells have some basic processes in common with bacteria and yeasts.

Animals, including humans, have microbes inside them that benefit them in multiple ways. These microbes are in a loose sense like probiotics, but the definition of probiotics was established to designate those microbes that have been isolated, studied, tested in a laboratory dish and/or clinically in animals and/ or humans, and proven to have beneficial properties. In many cases their genetic fingerprints were sequenced for identification purposes and also to check for potentially harmful genetic components. The official term “probiotics” established specific criteria for scientific studies and probiotic supplements, foods, and drinks.

While most probiotics are found only in probiotic pills, you can find some good probiotics and/or other beneficial microbes on raw produce; in raw, fermented foods and beverages such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, some cheeses, kefir, kombucha, and kvass; and in probiotic-fortified processed foods such as some breads and chocolates. Probiotics and other beneficial microorganisms are best used preventively and with variety, so for optimum results, indulge in them daily, and take time to determine which are the best probiotics for you.

The concept of probiotics is credited to Élie Metchnikoff, a Russian scientist born in the mid-1800s, whose work provided profound insights into immunology and microbes. He developed a theory about aging that over the years had been forgotten in mainstream medicine but is now embraced by many scientists: namely, that health is influenced by toxic bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. He is said to have noticed that people who lived to be over 100 years old in the Balkan States and Russia drank sour milk, which we now call yogurt or kefir, every day. In fact, Bulgarian yogurt cultures even today are regarded as highly therapeutic.

The Special Benefits of Probiotics

How can something as small as a microscopic organism be so important for health? The reason is that there is not just one microbe, nor a handful; there are approximately 1 trillion microbes per gram of feces. Microbes within you are found on your mucous membranes, spanning from your mouth to your anus, from your nasal passages to your lungs, in your urinary tract, and even on your eyes. In fact, in your digestive tract alone, it is calculated that for every cell of yours that is human, there are an equal number of bacterial cells.

There are also microbes that live on your skin, and different types prefer to live in different niches of your skin. Microbiota, the collection of microorganisms, are well adapted to live in and on your body, and while they benefit from resources you provide, under normal circumstances you benefit much more from everything they do for you.

Inside your body bacterial and other microbial cells live in close contact with your own cells, and in healthy conditions the thing that separates them from you is a layer of mucus. Between that layer of mucus and the inside of you is a layer of skin-like cells one-cell thick. One thing you have to understand about your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is that although it resides within you, it is really connected to the outside world, from your lips to your anus, and the things that protect you from the outside world are the mucus; the skin-like layer of cells with immune, nervous, and endocrine cells below it; and the beneficial microbes. At least 70 percent of your immune system is in your GI tract! This is why taking probiotics benefits the immune system greatly.

The beneficial microbes, including probiotics, live with other microbes that are either benign, pathogenic (disease-causing), or opportunistic, meaning that they normally play nicely but can get out of control if given the opportunity. Actually, any microbe can cause you problems if it ends up in a place other than where it is supposed to be. Such a scenario can happen with intestinal permeability, commonly called leaky gut. Leaky gut happens when the layer of skin-like cells in your GI tract develops gaps in between the cells, allowing food particles, toxins, microbes, and other hazards to enter your bloodstream, if not stopped by the immune system. Since mucus, the thin layer of cells, and your immune system are your only defenses against the outside world within your digestive tract, it is very beneficial to you to have helpful microbes protecting you from potentially pathogenic microbes. These beneficial microbes can produce acids or antimicrobial products called bacteriocins, which hinder or kill pathogens. They can also stand in solidarity to prevent pathogens from taking up residence, or displace them if they do.

But beneficial microbes such as good probiotics do more than just protect you from pathogens inside and outside your body. The health benefits of probiotics can include significant effects on your digestion and nutrient absorption. They can utilize food substances, such as soluble fibers, that otherwise would be useless to your nutrition. They can break down substances in foods that keep you from absorbing the micronutrients inside. They not only protect against the consequences of rogue molecules passing through a leaky gut, but they assist your intestinal cells in staying healthy to optimize nutrient absorption. In addition, some of the metabolic by-products of probiotics, such as short-chain fatty acids and vitamin production, are very nourishing to your GI tract.

Probiotics have direct and indirect effects on your immune system. They can help tip an imbalance in an immune response, such as in seasonal allergies, to a more balanced state. Probiotics benefits have direct and indirect effects on your nervous and endocrine systems, too, and are part of your enteric nervous system. They can influence every system in your body. The amount of probiotic pills and supplements shown to be beneficial in research for various conditions differs based on the population and condition studied, so no blanket recommendations can be made.

Cautions

There are many health benefits of probiotics, but there are also a few cautions to heed as well. First, if you are immune compromised (catheters, cancer treatments, HIV, trauma, and so on), please consult your physician to check if there are any contraindications for using probiotics. Second, if you never used probiotics or a particular type of probiotic before, and/or never ate much raw food or indulged in fermented probiotic-rich foods and drinks (such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, or kombucha), please proceed slowly with probiotic supplements and use. Although probiotics are tiny organisms, they can have very potent effects on your body.

As you progress with increasing dosages of probiotics internally, you may experience increased abdominal gas, upset digestion with diarrhea, headache, fever, muscle pain, brain fog, and/or anxiety. If the symptoms become too uncomfortable, decrease the dosage for a few days and try again. These symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that things—such as a die-off of pathogens or an awakened intestinal reflex—are changing.

If you ever have shortness of breath, tightness in your throat, hives, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction, discontinue use immediately and seek medical help.

The side effects of probiotics as your body adapts to them are usually mild if you are generally healthy. Introduce probiotic foods, drinks, and supplements gradually and soon you will be reaping their benefits.

Overview of Probiotic Microbes

Back to the question of what are probiotics: There are five main types, each in its own classification called a genus. Within each genus there are multiple species, and within those species there are multiple strains. For example, Lactobacillus is a very common genus of probiotics. Within that genus are numerous species, such as rhamnosus. The genus and species of a microbe are always italicized, making it easy to know that a microbe is involved. In a species such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus (often abbreviated L. rhamnosus), there are many strains. An example of the name of a strain is L. rhamnosus GR-1.

Here are the most common genera you will encounter:

Lactobacillus is a common genus of probiotic, and at least thirteen different species are used as probiotics. Lactobacillus is a common resident of your GI tract and is also commonly found in the vagina. It is found on raw produce, in many fermented foods and drinks, and in probiotic pills/supplements.

Bifidobacterium is another common genus, with at least seven species used as probiotics. Bifidobacterium is a normal resident of your GI tract and is the dominant microbe in breast milk. Probiotic supplements and fermented milk products are the best probiotic sources of Bifidobacterium. 

Streptococcus has two species that are probiotics, thermophilus and salivarius. Most others act either neutrally or pathogenically in you. Thermophilus is found in yogurt. Salivarius is found in normal oral microbiota. Both species are found in supplements.

Bacillus is an interesting genus because these microbes have the ability to form endospores, tough outer coatings, when conditions are not suitable for them to flourish. There are five species of probiotic Bacillus: clausii, coagulans, indicus, licheniformis, and subtilis. Not every species of Bacillus is probiotic. Some Bacillus species are usually pathogens. Bacillus may normally be found in the GI tract, but they generally do not take up residence for long and will pass through and be eliminated if not replenished. Bacillus are common food spoilage organisms and are also found in probiotic supplements and in soil, air, and water.

Saccharomyces another genus of probiotic that passes through your GI tract is a yeast. There are two species used probiotically, cerevisiae, found in baker’s and brewer’s yeast, and boulardii, found in supplements.

There are other lesser-utilized probiotics, including some Leuconostoc, Lactococcus, and Clostridium butyricum, and E. coli Nissle, among others.

The world of probiotics and the gut microbiome is an exciting one that is impacting and will continue to impact how health and medicine are viewed. Read on to discover more about it!

Health Benefits of Probiotics 1. Calms Reactions to Foods

Different people react to foods differently. What may be nourishing to one person may be another person’s poison. We don’t normally think of foods as being poisonous because they usually are not deadly, but foods can be toxic to a person who is allergic, intolerant, or sensitive to them. The difference in toxicity may show in symptoms.

In a food allergy, there is an immediate immune reaction to the offensive food. Classic allergic symptoms such as tingling lips, burning/tightness in the mouth/throat, gastrointestinal upset, difficulty breathing, rashes, hives, and even anaphylaxis may be present. Although any food can cause an allergic reaction, the most common offenders are peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, fish, shellfish, eggs, soy, and wheat.

In a food intolerance, the body is not able to properly handle the food, but there is not an allergic reaction. A classic example is lactose intolerance.

In a food sensitivity, the immune reaction is delayed, usually several hours to days after the exposure. Food sensitivities are the most difficult to determine since there is not an immediate reaction. These kinds of issues with foods can cause a wide range of physical and mental problems. An elimination diet followed by reintroduction is one of the best ways to determine a food sensitivity.

Food allergies and sensitivities both involve the immune system, albeit in different ways. Many types of probiotics can benefit and help modulate the immune system, and they can calm these conditions, not only via immune regulation, but also through prevention of intestinal permeability, improved intestinal motility, and communication with your genes.

2. Relieves Constipation

Do you strain with infrequent bowel movements? Do the feces look like separate hard lumps or like bunches of hard lumps stuck together, or are they pencil-thin? You may have constipation. The Bristol stool chart (BSC) was developed by two doctors as a way to differentiate between states of constipation, normal elimination, a state of lacking fiber, and states of inflammation. Stools are supposed to be long and sausage-like, with few or no cracks in the surface.

The bad news about constipation is that there can be many causes, from simple causes like dehydration and lack of fiber to complicated structural causes or disease. While constipation may seem to be only a nuisance that causes uncomfortable symptoms such as abdominal bloating or pain, the truth is that constipation increases the risks of several diseases.

The reason constipation is linked to disease is that it allows undigested food and bodily wastes to sit in the colon, putrefy, and dry out. As feces dry out, water from the feces is reabsorbed back into the body, and along with it toxins. Additionally, microbes that like those conditions can multiply, releasing their toxic products that are then absorbed into your bloodstream.

Thankfully, most causes of constipation can be improved with dietary and lifestyle interventions. One of probiotics benefits is constipation relief. Probiotics of many kinds can help with constipation because they can keep the digestive contents moving along through different mechanisms such as short-chain fatty acid production, influences on the nerves of the digestive tract, electrolyte balance, pathogen control, and others. Think of probiotic foods and pills as an addition to other dietary and lifestyle interventions to relieve constipation and return your digestive system to its normal functions.

To make a dish that can help with constipation, top your favorite salad loaded with greens, numerous vegetables, and avocado with one-quarter cup of raw sauerkraut instead of a questionable bottled salad dressing to restore health to your digestive tract and to get wastes moving.

fermented foods from korea. photo: jakub kapusnak

3. Boosts Immunity Against Flu

Ugh, the coughing, sneezing, runny nose, spells of burning up followed by spells of freezing, pounding head, and an achy feeling that someone just beat you to a pulp…yes, my friend, you have the flu.

Flu is short for influenza, an upper respiratory viral infection. The main problem for you, and the main advantage for the survival of influenza viruses, is that there are many variations that can cause illness. Flu shots are based on virus strains that are anticipated to be widespread. Sometimes those assumptions are correct and other times they are not. This section will show you one overlooked way to fortify your body to best avoid becoming sick with the flu at all, or how to recover if you do succumb.

Viruses like the flu need you to survive, so they infect your cells. Once inside the safe harbor, they divide like there is no tomorrow. It isn’t long before your immune system catches on to what is happening and mounts its attack.

You may have heard that taking vitamin C or zinc is helpful, preventively or during sickness. This is because vitamin C and zinc improve the functioning of cells of your innate immunity, your first line of defense against pathogens like the flu. They also are involved in the generation of and protection against the inflammatory response caused by the battle with the flu.

One overlooked mechanism that supports your innate immunity is gut health, specifically the role probiotics play. Good probiotics benefit your health by keeping your gut microbiota, inflammation, and immune system balanced preventively, as well as acutely when you are sick, so that no matter which flu strain comes along, your immune system is ready.

4. Improves Digestion

All of us can use a little, or a lot of, help with digestion once in a while, which is one of the most common health benefits of probiotics. If you experience chronic problems with digestion, however, you should see a gastroenterologist who can diagnose anything that might be seriously wrong.

Probiotics and raw fermented foods and drinks, such as sauerkraut and kefir that contain probiotic-like microbes, are very helpful for digestion. They help to keep your gastrointestinal tract at the proper pH for optimal digestion and help to break down foods. They also regulate the motion of your intestines so that food moves through at the proper pace.

The next time you need help with digestion, instead of reaching for a medication, try eating a spoonful (to start) of a raw fermented probiotic food or drink or taking a powdered probiotic supplement.

Easy Raw Sauerkraut Recipe

This is a basic sauerkraut recipe. You can experiment and add garlic, other vegetables, and spices like caraway or ginger to give it more depth of flavor.

+ 4 cups shredded green cabbage
+ 3⁄4 teaspoon pink salt
+ Clean, wide-mouthed pint glass jar
+ 1 large cabbage leaf
+ Washcloth or bandana
+ Rubber band

+ In a medium bowl, toss the shredded cabbage with the salt with clean hands, gently squeezing to draw out the juices.

+ Scoop handfuls of the mixture into the jar, packing it down as you go. Pour any juices from the bowl into the jar.

+ Fold the cabbage leaf and cover the top of the shredded cabbage mix, submerging the mix below the juice line.

+ Cover the top of the jar with a cloth and a rubber band.

+ Place jar in a warm place and begin tasting in about a week. Flavors develop over time, so cover with a lid and refrigerate when sauerkraut taste is to your liking. Add water to keep contents submerged.

5. Helps IBS

It seems like one minute you have diarrhea (D) and the next minute you are constipated (C). Abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating come and go. You are tired of running to the bathroom frequently, or spending a long time in the bathroom waiting for something to happen. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a diagnosis of exclusion. Infections and other causes of your IBS-C dominant or IBS-D dominant symptoms have to be ruled out, but in many cases the diagnosis of IBS doesn’t really provide answers. You may be on a low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet, which helps, but is restrictive.

Pinning down the exact causes of IBS is difficult because each person has his or her own combination of causes. One cause that is receiving much attention is that of a disrupted microbiome, as there is a strong association between having a gastrointestinal (GI) infection, like food poisoning, and the onset of IBS. Also, the FODMAP diet, and nonabsorbable antibiotics to kill gut microbiota, have provided relief in many patients, further supporting the suspicion of a disrupted microbiome as contributing to IBS.

Once the GI microbiome is disrupted, and especially if an infection is treated with antibiotics, it can take time for the resident microbiota to recover, if it ever does. A disrupted gut microbiome sets the stage for altered motility, intestinal hypersensitivity, gut immune activation, leaky gut, altered bile, mental disorders, and a host of other factors that can play a role in IBS. Good probiotics, along with a proper diet, can help the GI tract get the microbes it needs to function normally.

Probiotic yeast may be a help too. Both probiotic bacteria and yeasts have been effective in scientific trials for IBS. Work with a clinician to find the best probiotic supplement, along with diet and lifestyle factors, for you.

6. Limits Yeast Infections

Have you ever baked bread and had to proof the yeast? Proofing the yeast allows it to become active in the conditions it prefers the most: warm and moist with access to sugar. Baker’s and brewer’s yeast are both forms of Saccharomyces yeasts, as is Saccharomyces boulardii, but these yeasts are usually helpful to you and noninfectious, except in immunocompromised people or people with yeast allergies.

Candida yeast species, on the other hand, can cause numerous infections in and on you. Although..

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The Keys to Lasting Love:
5 Practices For Creating Thriving and Passionate Long Term Relationships

BY GAY AND KATIE HENDRICKS, Ph.D.

photo: zabalotta photocase.com

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The Five Secrets of Lasting Love

Here’s the bottom-line truth we’ve discovered from our decades of work with couples in long-term relationships: People can endure long-term relationships in many ways, but they will only thrive if they do five things. In other words, you can grow older with your partner in many ways, but you will only grow closer and more creative through the steady practice of five actions, which are the keys for how to make love last.

We believe these five actions should be taught in every classroom in every school, every day. They most definitely should not be secrets we have to seek after or stumble into by trial and error. Yet they are. Almost none of us begin our love relationships knowing how to do these simple things, and our relationships are disastrous as a consequence.

Let’s permanently remove the veil of secrecy that has covered these relationship tips and skills, and begin a new era of intimacy in close relationships.

The First Secret to Lasting Love

If you want a close, vibrant, and long-lasting love relationship, you need to become a master of commitment.

We teach couples how to make love last by making real commitments to each other. There is an art to commitment, but almost nobody knows how to practice it. The first art of commitment is to spot and acknowledge the unconscious commitments that cause us to sabotage the harmony of our close relationships. In practical reality, the act of claiming ownership of an unconscious commitment changes a troublesome dynamic in a relationship faster than anything else.

The second art of commitment and another key for how to make love last is to make commitments you can stand by. Real commitments can only be made about things you have control over. Real commitments are verifiable. If you make a phony commitment, such as “I promise to love you forever,” you set up an impossible situation by promising an illusion. Nobody can commit to loving someone forever, because some days you won’t even wake up feeling loving toward yourself. Love is a mystery—part feeling, part spirit, part mind—and mysteries by their very nature are outside our control. A real commitment would be to commit to telling your partner the truth about when you’re feeling loving and when you’re not. This type of commitment builds long-lasting love and saves relationships while turning on the flow of intimacy and creativity.

The Lasting Love program offers a specific set of commitments we’ve researched with several thousand couples. When couples make these commitments, their relationships thrive.

The Second Secret to Lasting Love

If you want a long-term relationship that’s both close and creatively vital, you’ve got to become emotionally transparent. To go all the way to ultimate closeness and full creative expression, you must eliminate all barriers to speaking and hearing the truth about everything.

We teach couples how to make love last by listening to the truth about everything from their partners, and we teach them how to speak the truth about everything to their partners. Everything means everything: feelings, deeds, hopes, dreams. We ask them to consider any hesitation about telling or hearing the unvarnished truth to be a symptom of resistance to greater love and creativity.

We know this move is radical because it produces huge bursts of creative energy in everyone who tries it. As a practice, it has awesome power. As a concept, it quickly polarizes people—we’ve seen talk show audiences erupt in cheers and boos when we’ve said couples need to tell the truth to each other about everything. After twenty-plus years, though, we’ve still found no exceptions to the truth rule.

The Third Secret to Lasting Love

If you want a long-term relationship that’s both close and creatively vital, you must break the cycle of blame and criticism—it’s an addiction that saps creative energy as surely as drugs or drink.

We invite couples to turn their relationship into a blame-free zone. We teach each partner to take full responsibility for everything that occurs in the relationship, especially if it looks like it’s the other person’s fault. Radical responsibility—and the powerful creative energy it unleashes—comes from catching yourself in the midst of saying, “Why did you do that to me again?” and shifting to asking, “What am I doing that keeps inviting that behavior?”

In order to build lasting love, we ask couples to go a strict no-blame diet and stick to it. As a practice, this move liberates tremendous energy. In fact, we’ve seen life-altering breakthroughs come about when couples simply went one full day without criticizing or blaming each other. As a concept, the idea of giving up blame and criticism is often greeted with derision. “Impossible,” some say. “How boring,” say others. We have found that it’s actually possible, and anything but boring. The couple who is deeply addicted to blame and criticism has usually come to mistake the adrenalized drama of conflict for the flow of connection.

 The Fourth Secret to Lasting Love

If you want a vibrant long-term relationship—one in which you feel close as a couple and creative as individuals—you’ve have to do one big thing first. You’ve got to take your attention away from fixing the other person and put it on expressing your own creativity. Even one hour a week of focusing on your own creativity will produce results. More than that will often produce miracles.

Nothing will sap your vital energy faster than squelching your creativity. Often, couples stifle their individual creativity in order to focus on fixing and changing the other person. Since this seldom produces tangible results, they devote more energy to the other person as a fixer-upper and less to individual creativity. When results are not forthcoming, they complain about the other person to third parties. They enter a dangerous cycle of complaint that has addictive properties—the more you do it the more things there are to complain about. Ultimately this leads to dissipation of creative energy and inner despair, and none of this is helpful as a way to make love last a long time.

By contrast, fully creative people don’t have time for complaint. Even if you’re not fully engaged in creativity (even, as our research indicates, if you’re doing only an hour a week of creative expression), you will see quantum enhancement of vitality within the relationship with every increase in creative self-expression.

The Fifth Secret to Lasting Love

If you want to create vital, long-lasting love, you must become a master of verbal and nonverbal appreciation.

We teach couples how to appreciate each other spontaneously and frequently. Although this may sound like a simple thing, it most definitely is not. In fact, it’s the last thing we teach in the program because it’s the hardest to learn. To utter a clear, heartfelt appreciation to another person is radical partly because it’s so rare. To receive such an appreciation from another person is equally challenging. Most of us have never seen or heard a rich flow of spoken appreciations in relationships. In fact, many people cannot recall a single instance of clear appreciation in their families of origin.

The simple solution is to speak a heartfelt ten-second appreciation to the other person, for no reasons other than to signify a commitment to appreciation and to open the flow of appreciation. In other words, the spoken appreciation is not to get a particular result from the other person. In reality, it produces powerful results very quickly, but it is important that the appreciation not be spoken as a manipulation or in expectation of a reward.

We teach couples how to make love last by learning to develop simple and complex appreciations, ranging from “I like the way you did your hair today” to “Throughout our lives together, I have been repeatedly amazed by how generous you are.” Although most couples can learn the art in an hour, they tell us that it takes the better part of a year’s daily practice to savor its full value.

Active Skills to Unlock Long-Lasting Love

Discovering the secrets to creativity, commitment and appreciation has been the most exciting professional and personal journey of our lives thus far. We are tremendously enthusiastic about sharing the secrets of these arts. This set of skills and relationship tips will equip anyone with a powerful and reliable method for enhancing the flow of connection in any relationship. Although we will focus mainly on love relationships, these skills also apply to business, friendship, parenting, and other areas where the flow of connection is paramount.

These five secrets have a revolutionary effect in any relationship in which they’re practiced. The five secrets move people quickly through the stuck places so that they can enjoy the profound beauty of genuine and lasting love.

Many people wrongly think that creativity, commitment and appreciation are passive states of being. They incorrectly assume that you’re either committed or you’re not, you’re creative or you’re not, you’re appreciative or you’re not. The good news is quite the opposite: These are active arts—skills you can practice from moment to moment—but they will ultimately help you create a long-term relationship and experience long lasting love.

Putting Commitment into Action

Let us show you what we mean with a brief story of the power of the new paradigm:

We’re sitting with a man and a woman in our office, trying to help them out of a marital jam so long in the making and so long overlooked that it felt like death hovered in the room with us. They’d been together fourteen years, and it had essentially been fourteen years of struggle. After hearing their story, we asked them to do something radical: We asked them to declare this marriage dead. “If you will declare this marriage dead, we will ask you a question that will bring a new one to life or help you walk away from the death of this one with fewer wounds.”

They were puzzled, but they went along with us and declared it dead. We paused for a full minute of silence to honor the death of a noble effort that turned awful. When our minute was up, all of us open our eyes. We asked them: “What did you learn from this marriage that you could not have learned any other way?”

The question caught them by surprise, and they answered it candidly. In the years since we first asked that question, we’ve heard people speak their reply in hundreds of different ways. No matter how they word it, people often come down to saying the same two things:

1. “I found out the hard way that I’m more committed to my old patterns than I am to loving and being loved.”

In other words, they gradually put a commitment to an old pattern (criticizing, overdrinking, controlling) ahead of the commitment to the relationship. They didn’t know how to make a conscious commitment to the relationship that was bigger than their unconscious commitment to their respective destructive patterns.

2. “I discovered too late that I didn’t get or give enough appreciation, and I waited until too late to do anything about it.”

In other words, they were unskilled and stingy in the area of appreciation.

Next, we asked them another question: “Given the demise of this marriage, and given what you’ve learned from it, are you willing to make a commitment to a new marriage? Are you willing to create a marriage in which you both feel fully appreciated and you make the relationship more important than your old patterns?”

We asked them to consider the question carefully, in the quiet of their own minds and hearts, then give us a clear “yes” or “no.”

After thirty seconds or so of silence, they spontaneously opened their eyes at the same time. They both nodded and said, “Yes.”

The air cleared. The energy in the room lightened as their faces relaxed. We all sat back in our chairs, knowing there’s work to be done to learn how to make love last but also knowing there was a new possibility that had not existed before.

Next, we asked: “Would each of you be willing to devote the same amount of energy to expressing your creativity that you’ve been using to fuel your conflict?

Again, they were caught by surprise. It hadn’t occurred to them that the exact same energy that’s required to drive conflict can be used to inspire and express creativity.

Eventually they agreed to turn their conflict energy into creativity energy, but they were quick to tell us they didn’t know how.

“Nobody does,” we say, “but once you make the commitment, the exact path always reveals itself.”

The miracle unfolded over the next two months and continues to blossom now. They made good on their initial “yes,” using the new techniques of commitment and appreciation. Within two months they had created something brand new, and during a four-year-later follow-up session, they said it was unimaginably better than their “first” marriage. In fact, they said that because they didn’t understand commitment and appreciation, the first marriage had been doomed from the beginning. Even though their first marriage had lasted fourteen years and this new one only four years so far, it felt as if the first one never existed.

That’s the power of commitment, the first principle of the new paradigm of long-lasting love. Now, take a closer look at the appreciation.

Alternating Cycles

Human beings alternate between two ongoing cycles: a cycle of complaint or a cycle of appreciation. The ratio between the two—the amount of time we spend in each—determines how happy we are and how much happiness we inspire around us. It also affects how much creativity we express and inspire in others. It’s also a key ingredient for how to make love last.

The cycle of complaint goes as follows:

We want or need something from our partner, such as more communication, more understanding, more touch, more freedom. For some reason, however, often lost in the mists of childhood, we’re unconsciously committed to not getting those things. Inevitably our partner fails to give us what we want, so we complain about it and criticize our partner for his or her faults and failures.

The situation usually doesn’t improve (or if it does, it improves only temporarily before returning to baseline or worse). We complain and criticize more, which leads to greater awareness of our partner’s insufficiencies. Armed with more detailed evidence, we escalate our barrage of criticism and complaint.

We’ve worked with couples who had been recycling the same complaint for decades. Our conclusion—which surprised us at first—is that nobody ever gets better by being criticized, and it certainly doesn’t inspire long-lasting love. Almost everybody who criticizes, though, is convinced that if they keep it up long enough it will have the proper motivational effect on the other person.

Let’s look at a better way. The cycle of appreciation, another ingredient for how to make love last, goes as follows:

We look for things to appreciate about our partners. We discover new ones or notice old ones anew. We speak our appreciations clearly. We see more things to appreciate, which leads to greater awareness of our partner’s value.

Living in a cycle of complaint consumes the very energy needed for creative expression. Living in a cycle of appreciation frees up energy that each person can use for individual and mutual creativity.

Appreciation in Action

What most of us need to know is this: We have a choice about which cycle to live in. What most of us really need to know is how to shift quickly out of the cycle of complaint and into the cycle of appreciation, which has the power to create long lasting love.

We’ve been running a large-scale research survey, via our website, on the subject of appreciation. One of our research associates sent Gay a note a while back in which she articulated her own reaction to something that happened at a dinner with us. Here’s what she wrote:

Speaking of appreciation, I remember the first time I ever saw a clear example of it. The three of us were in a restaurant together when we first met. At one point in the conversation Kathlyn said something funny. I vividly remember your turning to her and saying, out loud, casually, as if it was the most natural thing in the world: “One of the things I really love and appreciate about you is your fantastic sense of humor. You make my life so much richer because of how you look at the world. I was just feeling grateful for that and wanted you to know it.”  Kathlyn smiled warmly and thanked you, and then you both returned to our previous conversation.

I sat there perplexed for a moment. Although I’d seen strong, stable marriages before, I’d never seen this kind of communication. It’s not the way most people talk, nor is it really the way most people think, either. Later, I realized that I was waiting for the punchline. I expected you to follow your appreciation with something teasing or funny or even insulting, and when it didn’t come, I didn’t know quite what to think. My mind was thinking: “Wait a minute… so you’re just going to appreciate her? Out of the blue? For no reason? Without wanting anything in return?” I think I learned something brand new about relationships that day.”

Embedded in her observation are important insights into how to make love last and a new paradigm of relationships. For example, it surprised her to see one of us appreciate the other “out of the blue” and “for no reason.” In other words, she witnessed appreciation for its own sake, with no other agenda running as a sub-text of the communication. In addition, the appreciation was spoken “without wanting anything in return.” In other words, it was not designed to produce an outcome or result. This latter observation distinguishes the art of appreciating from the related art of praising.

There is no question that praise is a useful and important skill—many books are available on how to do it effectively. For example, in the classic book, The One-Minute Manager, authors Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson show how to use praise to reward good performance and shape employees’ behavior in a positive direction. In Thomas Gordon’s books on parent effectiveness and teacher effectiveness, he presents a methodology for influencing children’s behavior by the power of praise. That’s not what we’re talking about.

The art of appreciating operates in a different paradigm, which may be why there aren’t many books about how to do it. As we will show later, the paradigm in which appreciation occurs is not linear, nor is it intended to produce a specific result (although it is one of the factors that builds long-lasting love). It does not fit within a reward-and-punishment schema. You shift into the new paradigm by making a conscious decision, a commitment to base your relationships on an ongoing flow of positive energy—of genuine love. You choose to focus on appreciation “for its own sake,” not to influence the behavior of the other person. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, the skills of active appreciating and conscious committing actually have a profoundly positive effect on other people’s behavior. Things change for the better the moment either of these skills enters a relationship.

Here is an example of appreciation for its own sake, drawn from our own relationship:

Gay: One morning I awoke early to do some writing. After an hour or so I took a break to meditate, and during meditation an idea popped into my mind. I wrote “Thank You!” about a dozen times with different-colored ink, and then cut the paper into strips with a pair of scissors. Each strip had a “Thank you!” on it. I put a “Thank you!” on each step of the stairs Kathlyn would take after she woke up. I was upstairs when I heard her sleepy footsteps approach the steps. Suddenly I heard a giggle, and then another and another as she came up the stairs and encountered each of my different thank yous. When she came into the kitchen she was absolutely aglow.

A New Paradigm of Relationships

We believe that concepts such as conscious committing and active appreciating constitute a shift in context that fundamentally alters the way in which people regard intimate relationships and contributes to how to make love last. This new paradigm is what caught our research associate’s attention that night.

Prior Contexts

Up until very recently, the context of intimate relationships was clouded by survival fears, rather than a desire for lasting love. Although survival is not the main priority for millions of people when they wake up each day, it still is for many others. Fears about hunger, deprivation, and other survival issues still shape the nature of relationships. In times past, our ancestors paid less attention to psychological or spiritual fulfillment. Techniques for problem solving were essentially nonexistent.

Things changed as the twentieth century gained momentum. From our parents’ time up until the present, the context of relationship shifted toward “luxury items” such as the fulfillment of potential. Movies, literature, and other arts began to celebrate the transcendent possibilities of relationship—symbolized by the graceful dancing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The Freudian revolution promised to offer tools for handling problems when missteps caused us to tread on each other painfully.

The New Context

It’s a big shift from survival to fulfillment. In the survival context, life is lived in waves with things like fear and hunger as the crests and periods of relief from those things as the swells. In the fulfillment context, life is lived in waves of fulfillment and the hunger for more. We believe, however, that the context is about to make an even larger shift, opening access to a new force field. This new force is electric with previously hidden potential. We believe that relationships in the new millennium will shift toward a focus on appreciation and celebration. The focus will be on the flow of..

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Discover the Best Form of Exercise For Your Unique Body Type

BY DR. SUHAS KSHIRSAGAR AND MICHELLE SEATON

photo: efe kurnaz

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The Right Exercise for Your Body Type

When people think about exercise, they usually think in terms of building muscle or losing weight. But exercise for body types is so much more than that. While you must eat and sleep in order to stay alive, exercise is a different but equally crucial kind of habit. It’s something you must choose to do every day to maintain your body’s vitality. It’s a chance to breathe fully, to work and build muscle, and it can also burn fat if you are doing it at the right time. You can also do too much exercise and put yourself at risk of inflammation or injury if you are doing routines that involve too intense of exercise for body type.

We all need exercise every day, but we don’t all need the same amount or the same level of exertion. What’s more, some people do best in group classes, where they can socialize and stay focused. Others need solo walks or runs to clear their heads. A few people need competition or high levels of exertion, but these are the exception. No tendency is better than another. The question is: What kind of exercise do you need? Only when you know your body type and how you respond to exercise physically and mentally, can you choose the right fitness program and exercise for your body type.

To find out how your body responds to exercise, you can take this short quiz. What we are looking for in this body type test is your natural response to exercise from your own experience. For each of these questions, find the answer that best describes you.

Exercise for Body Type Quiz

1. When you were a teenager, how much exercise did you get?

a) I did some dance classes, but no formal exercising. I was rushing around doing other things.
b) I loved team sports. I was always outside playing some kind of game.
c) I was not that active. I liked socializing, reading, or hanging out.

2. If you played organized sports (or even kick the can) as a kid, what did you like best about it?

a) Every game was different and interesting. I liked chatting during the game.
b) I loved winning and seeing how hard I could push to win.
c) I liked the social aspects. It was a great way to hang out with other people, and there were often snacks afterward.

3. When you do go to the gym, what is going to get on your nerves the most?

a) I have to have music or something to read or someone to talk to or I lose interest.
b) Someone using the machine that I want to use. I don’t want anything slowing me down.
c) Being surrounded by people who are obsessed with their fitness and their bodies.

4. When you’ve tried working out in the past, what got in the way?

a) When my workout feels like a rut, I start skipping days.
b) Work deadlines are the only thing that gets in the way.
c) I lose my motivation to get to the gym if there is anything else I’d rather do.

5. If you engage in exercise that’s more intense than usual, how do you feel afterward?

a) Exhausted and wrung out. I need a nap.
b) It resets my emotions; it takes the edge off of my anger and frustration.
c) I feel lighter and more focused.

6. What is it about your daily routine that gets in the way of regular exercise?

a) I’m overscheduled as it is. So the workout drops off my to-do list.
b) Exercise is always a priority. I’d rather exercise than eat lunch.
c) My schedule isn’t the problem. Motivation is the problem.

7. If you have to skip working out for a few days, how do you feel?

a) Not that different. Unfortunately, this makes it easier to pass on exercise.
b) Frustrated and fearful that I’m losing my level of fitness.
c) Dull and heavy, especially in the morning. I feel bloated.

8. The best kind of workout is one in which I:

a) Feel energized but not exhausted.
b) Sweat and struggle enough to know that I’m getting fit and toned.
c) Move from feeling reluctant to feeling that I’ve accomplished something.

9. What I’m most concerned about when I start a new exercise program is:

a) Am I going to struggle with nagging pain or get an injury?
b) Is this going to be intense enough to produce results?
c) Am I going to be motivated enough to continue?

10. How would you describe your body type?

a) Naturally short or thin, with smaller bones at the wrists and ankles.
b) Strong bones and good muscle tone.
c) Big-boned and sturdy.

To score the exercise for body type test: Add up the answers. If your answer for most questions was A, I would say you are a variable exerciser. If your answers were mostly Bs, you are a strong exerciser. And if you answered mostly Cs, I would say you are a light exerciser.

Variable Exercisers

As a variable exerciser, you’re someone who wants to be fit, but often finds that something gets in the way. In Ayurvedic terms, your body type would be called “vata,” which means air. And like the air, you are shifting, swirling mass of ambitions, plans, and contradictory impulses. As a result, you probably exercise in streaks. You have found exercise routines or fads that worked for you for a few weeks or months, and then when you got bored or suffer an injury, you forget to exercise.

Exercise for your body type might also be a struggle because of your variable energy levels. Variable exercisers who engage in intense workouts may find themselves wrung out and emotionally exhausted afterward. While other body types can be energized by an intense workout, you tend to feel spent, and it may take you ninety minutes or more to rebuild the energy you need to focus on your other goals. You can also put yourself at risk for injury: dry joints can get inflamed and sore, especially if you don’t have enough healthy oils in your diet.

Here are some exercise pointers for this body type:

Stay mentally engaged in your exercise. You need to find exercise that engages your mind as well as your body. That probably means a fitness class where you can move to music or follow instructions. Yoga is also a great choice because it can calm your racing thoughts and deepen the mind/body connection. By contrast, reading and watching TV while on the treadmill is a bad idea because you are not paying attention to the way your body feels during exercise. This puts you at greater risk for injury and exhaustion.

Less is more. Look for grounding exercises for this body type that increase flexibility at a more relaxed pace. This means yoga, Pilates, tai chi, walking or hiking, or cycling. Don’t worry about whether you are sweating enough or straining enough. Ideally, you should feel energized and calm during your exercise routine and afterward. If instead you feel light-headed, depleted, or suffer from muscle cramps, you have probably done too much. Interval training is great exercise for your body type because you have short bursts of high intensity followed by much longer rest periods.

Make time to warm up. Other body types can jump into an intense routine with minimal warm-up, but not you. You need to stretch and spend time doing deep breathing while you ease into a workout. This is particularly true in winter, when variable exercisers struggle with chills and poor circulation that keeps their hands and feet cold. Make sure you use a lot of stretching and at least five to ten minutes of walking or jogging lightly to get your circulation moving and your lungs working before you dive in.

Strong Exercisers

As a strong exerciser, you probably live by the motto “no pain, no gain.” In Ayurvedic body type terms, you would be a “pitta,” which means fire. When it comes to exercise for your body type, you crave intensity, heat, and progress. When you are not at the gym, you are on a bike, on a tennis court, or swimming laps. The best thing about working out and exercise for a strong body type is knowing that you are getting stronger and more capable every day. Scheduling workouts is no problem for you, just as keeping a regular routine in your daily life is a priority. Even on vacation, you are looking to get as much out of every day as possible.

Strong exercisers usually have a large appetite because their digestive fire is as intense as their personalities, and so you may have felt that exercise was a great way to balance your love of food. Having a strong body and an equally strong metabolism works well as a weight-loss solution until middle age. At that point, many strong exercisers find that their metabolism shifts and their bodies no longer build muscle at the same rapid rate.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you exercise for your body type:

Leverage your love of competition and intensity. You have a stronger natural drive and love to feel challenged, so a difficult workout helps reset your emotions. Try to engage in sports that combine competition with exercise, such as basketball, racquetball, or martial arts. Any activity that requires you to track your progress helps you stay motivated, including CrossFit training or distance biking. You can excel at winter sports because your body isn’t affected by the cold. Be careful too about pursuing adventure sports, such as BMX biking, extreme skiing, snowboarding, which can also take a toll on your body.

Avoid lunchtime workouts. You are often over-scheduled, and that means that you are tempted to exercise later in the evening or at the noon hour, instead of eating. Noon workouts push your blood flow away from your digestive tract, which will upset your stomach when you do eat. Morning workouts will offer you an emotional reset first thing, so that you can face the day calmly and with greater focus.

Stay cool. You have a natural fire, meaning that your body temperature runs high. You sweat a lot when you work out, and that’s fine, but you need to make sure you don’t get overheated. High heat increases inflammation and puts you at risk for injury, so be sure to hydrate, and you may also benefit from a cool shower after an intense workout. This natural fire also speaks to your emotional intensity. You can and do push yourself too hard in competition, and that’s when you get hurt. You sometimes try to lift too much weight, or force your body to do things it can’t. The antidote to this is staying cool mentally as well as physically: keep your mind sharply tuned to your body while you work out. Stay curious about how you feel during each exercise. Swimming is an ideal exercise for this body type, especially if you are dealing with nagging injuries, because it keeps the body cool and takes the pressure off your joints.

Light Exercisers

Light exercisers often struggle to get enough healthy exercise. You may go to the gym intermittently, but it’s never been a priority. In Ayurvedic terms, your body type is called a “kapha” or water type. You are too easy going to get obsessed with your body or to get caught up in competitive activities. And that’s a good thing. But you do need exercise. Without it, your body takes on excess fluids and you feel sluggish and dull. Of all the body types, yours responds best to exercise because you rarely face injury and you never tire.

An intense workout will fill you with vitality and give you a healthy glow. This may be a revelation, because a lot of light exercisers think of themselves as overweight. Your body type is one that built bones and tissues early in life. And as you sailed through the teen years and young adult life, you may have struggled to lose weight. And you may have a tendency to put on weight, regardless of what you eat.

Here are some guidelines for choosing the best exercise plan for your body type:

Do anything that causes you to breathe deeply. Some of my patients say that exercise is better than coffee in the morning, because it makes them feel so focused and alive.

Go the distance. This body type has the most endurance because you have larger bones and more tissues. You can work your body endlessly without worrying too much about injury or exhaustion. That means you will do really well with power walks, hiking, rowing, distance running or biking, or anything that requires steady, sustained energy. Even if you start with walking, you can build up longer distances, then alternate with running and walking. Eventually, you can add weight training or a higher intensity class such as spinning or aerobics. Once you get past your inertia, you work harder and longer than anyone in any fitness class.

Connect to your body. It’s important to notice how you feel during your workout and afterward. Many people with this body type have forgotten how great they feel while engaging in intense exercise. They have forgotten how light they feel and how clear their minds get. Make time to notice the natural high that comes from exercise for your body type and you will be more likely to keep doing it.

This piece is excerpted with permission from Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar and‎ Michelle D. Seaton.

About The Author

Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar is an internationally recognized leader in the ancient science of Ayurveda, which emphasizes a comprehensive, whole-body approach to health. His mission is to empower people to take control of their wellbeing and help them restore their body’s natural, happy balance. In addition to running his private clinic in Santa Cruz, California, he frequently shares the stage with many of the top pioneers in health and wellness circles, including Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins, and is a keynote speaker and faculty member at several Ayurvedic institutions worldwide. Visit his website: ayurvedichealing.net

Michelle Seaton is an award-winning journalist, NPR reporter and the co-author of several fitness and health books, including Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life and Living with Cancer. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals including Reader’s Digest.

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How to Erase Bad Memories:
Science-Backed Practices for Letting Go of Fear, Pain and Hurt

BY AKSHAY NANAVATI

photo: tobi oluremi

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Time Traveling to Change Your Past

I once worked with a woman named Rachel who was at a transition point in her life. She had just made the decision to abandon a lifestyle of clubbing and partying. Instead, she committed herself to a daily spiritual practice, eating only raw foods, and other positive changes. Despite her commitment, she found herself resisting the change and could not understand why. She knew this new lifestyle was exactly what she wanted, yet there was a deep-rooted fear holding her back.

Buried within her implicit memory lay the answer to her troubles. Working together, we wandered into her past to visualize the events that took place when she chose this new way of life. She remembered her old friends abandoning her because they could not tolerate her “extreme” raw food lifestyle. A series of these experiences led her to believe the raw food lifestyle meant having no friends.

Inevitably, being a social creature who craves human connection, she found herself scared to embrace that way of life. By bringing that implicit memory into her awareness, she was then able to shift the meaning she created for those events.

To help Rachel choose an empowering meaning, I guided her to visualize the healthier future she wanted to live in. When I sensed her desired future had been validated on an emotional level, I verbally steered her back into the past. At first, it was a shock for her to go from a place of joy to a place of darkness. But from that place of joy, she saw the experience in a different light.

Suddenly, in what can only be classified as a light-bulb moment, she realized her friends hadn’t abandoned her; they gave her the space to live her purpose. “They gave me the wings to fly,” she ecstatically realized. By changing the meaning ascribed to those past experiences, she no longer saw them as negative moments in her life. For her, the past had been altered. The “reality” itself changed because perception shapes reality, and perception is based on memories that constantly lie to us.

How Your Brain Turns an Experience into a Memory

“Every special date and anniversary, every advertisement, every therapy session, every day in school is an effort to create or modify memory.”

—Dr. Joseph Ledoux

Memories create the series of habits, associations, and patterns that make you who you are today. Like it or not, you are a product of your past. Your present is molded by it, and your future is dependent on it. But the past doesn’t have to define you. It isn’t real. Your memories are as plastic as your brain and you can learn how to erase bad memories. With a proper understanding of memory, you can manipulate it to let go of the past, push through your fears, and experience the bliss of Fearvana. There are three steps involved in the process of converting an experience into a memory:

1. Acquisition: Acquisition occurs when your brain, working in conjunction with the bodyguard at its base, receives and processes external stimuli. As you read this paragraph, your brain is starting to form a neural network based on the information it’s acquiring.

2. Consolidation: Most of the information that comes into your brain is lost in short-term memory, but some of it becomes a part of your long-term memory. To implant an experience into your long-term memory, neurons are connected through pathways that collectively form large neural networks.

These are physical maps that materialize as structures in your brain representing a memory. The process of strengthening these pathways to build the construction of a memory network is called consolidation. How each memory (whether a happy or painful memory) is consolidated depends on various factors, including how much attention you paid to the event, the emotional impact it had, and the number of senses it engaged. If you simply skim this, it will fade away from your memory. If you focus on the content and apply it, you will gain the experiential memory required to consolidate the knowledge into your subconscious.

3. Retrieval and Reconsolidation: Retrieval is when you pull a past experience from your brain and bring it into the present. During retrieval, your brain activates a neuron that triggers the other neurons in that particular memory network. If a part of a memory is activated, such as the sights, sounds, or tastes you experienced, it lights up the rest of the neurons in that network. This is why the song “When You Say Nothing at All” triggers the memory of my ex-girlfriend. Reconsolidation is what occurs during retrieval. It is your brain drawing information from various regions and putting these pieces together as a consolidated memory to bring into your consciousness.

The efficiency of each of these steps is dependent on many factors, including genes, health, stress levels, and belief systems, to name a few. Regardless of where you are now, though, your memory is plastic, so it can be improved and healing of memories can occur.

There are two kinds of memories you have the power to mold: implicit and explicit memory.

What did you do yesterday evening? To answer that question, your brain activated the neural network of yesterday’s events and retrieved that memory map to tell the story of what you did. You actively brought the past into your present awareness. This happens both when you’re casually thinking about or dwelling on the past. The conscious direction of your mind into your past is known as explicit memory.

On the other hand, if you were to put down this book, step outside, and get in your car, assuming you know how to drive, would you have to think about it? The reason you can drive with such ease, or walk through your home, or even know how to walk for that matter, is because of implicit memory. Implicit memory runs on autopilot without your human brain.

When you entered into this world as a helpless infant, these memories were responsible for your transformation into adulthood. In fact, researchers believe that in the first year and a half of our lives, we only encode memories implicitly. According to Dr. Daniel Siegel, the three features of implicit memory are, as follows:

1. You don’t need to use focal, conscious attention for the creation of implicit memory.

2. When an implicit memory emerges from storage, you do not have the sensation that something is being recalled from the past. (You don’t think about the first time you learned how to walk every time you walk.)

3. Implicit memory does not require the participation of the hippocampus (the human brain’s role in memory).


Your implicit memories are responsible for your beliefs, your subconscious mental models, your sense of right or wrong, and the triggers that cause you fear, stress, and anxiety.

What If You Could Be Fearless?

“Memories influence every action and pattern of action you undertake.”

—Dr. Daniel Amen

The neural networks that form a memory live in many different areas of your brain, but there are two areas most active in the creation and storage of memory: the amygdala and the hippocampus.

The amygdala is responsible for implicit memory, and the hippocampus is responsible for explicit memory. That is an oversimplification, but it is a useful one in helping you understand the two kinds of memory.

Dr. Siegel calls the hippocampus “the master puzzle piece assembler.” It compiles the information it receives from multiple areas of your brain to produce good and bad memories, as well as meanings and emotions for any event. It also helps consolidate the information stored in short-term memory, turning it into a long-term memory you can recall in the future. When I asked you what you did yesterday, those events were probably not at the top of your mind. By answering the question, as Dr. Siegel states, your hippocampus “literally link[ed] together the neurally distributed puzzle pieces of implicit memory.” The conscious activation of your memory turns the implicit into explicit. Various parts of the brain work together to form these implicit memories, such as the basal ganglia, which is “the habit center” of your brain, but the amygdala is primarily responsible for this task. The amygdala, or fear center of the brain, stores emotionally charged and painful memories to help you avoid future danger. If you are like me and you were a bitten by a dog as a child, your amygdala imprinted that experience into your implicit memory, possibly causing you to have a natural aversion to dogs, or at least the kind of dog that bit you. This is what makes the amygdala the central player in the creation of all learned fears. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just get rid of it? Not really.

In 2010, researchers Justin Feinstein and his colleagues discovered a woman, whom we shall call Mary, with an extremely rare disease that left her without an amygdala. She was a goldmine for neuroscientists. They did everything they could to scare this woman, but nothing worked. They made her watch scary movies; they gave her snakes; they put spiders in her hand; but none of them registered a fear response in her brain. Imagine being completely fearless. You could quit that job you hate, run that marathon, write that book, start that business, and do all those things you have always wanted to do but have been held back by fear.

Turns out, it’s not that easy, as Mary discovered. One night while strolling through a park alone, Mary was attacked by someone wielding a knife. What would you do if that happened to you? More than likely, you would not return to that same park alone and in the dark, at least not in the next week. The reason you would stay away is because you have a functioning amygdala that remembers the danger. Mary did not have this capacity. The very next night, she went back to the same park, once again, alone.

Mary had been attacked at gunpoint, had her life threatened, and was almost killed in a domestic violence incident—all because she had no amygdala to process fear and keep her out of life-threatening situations. The amygdala helps keep us alive by learning what to fear.

“You don’t learn how to be afraid; your amygdala doesn’t have to learn what to do; it learns what to do in response to [stimuli]. So it learns what stimuli it should respond to,” says Ledoux. “So it’s learning and memory in that sense that we call an implicit kind of memory where you don’t have to have any conscious involvement.” Remember, no matter what fears show up with bad memories, they are not bad or unreasonable. You don’t control their existence; the amygdala does.

Without the activation of your conscious self, how can you be held responsible for your fears? Your implicit memory has implanted them into you. This is why so many of us are held captive by the events of the past and the fears they have created within us. The good news is that these memories are not actually true, and they most definitely are not set in stone. You can learn to forget bad memories and heal painful memories.

Your Past Is a Lie

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

—Carl Jung

Shortly after the tragedy at the Twin Towers on 9/11, psychologists conducted a survey with hundreds of people about their memories of the event. In a follow-up survey one year later, they found that 37 percent of the details were different. Within three years, that number rose to almost 50 percent.

Some of the memory alterations were minuscule; others involved an entire shift in the story line. Some people even remembered being at a different location that morning.

After the study, Elizabeth Phelps, one of the lead researchers, wrote, “What’s most troubling, of course, is that these people have no idea their memories have changed this much. The strength of the emotion makes them convinced it’s all true, even when it’s clearly not.”

In another study, conducted on three hundred people convicted of crimes in the United States who were later proven innocent through DNA testing, researchers found 75 percent of them were sent to prison based on false memories of eyewitness. The eyewitnesses did not know they were lying; they simply believed their memories to be facts. Truth is nothing more than what we believe it to be, and those beliefs are as malleable as the memories that created them.

To demonstrate how our memories can be manipulated, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has repeatedly proven that as many as 50 percent of the people in any given study could be tricked into believing a fabricated event. Using what she calls a “false feedback” technique, her team embedded into the minds of their research participants fake memories, such as finding yourself lost and crying in a shopping mall as a child, almost drowning before being rescued by a lifeguard, and getting attacked by an animal, to name a few.

In numerous other studies with people from all walks of life, even those trained to handle stressful situations like those in the U.S. Special Forces, Loftus has demonstrated the ease with which false memories can be implanted into the human brain. “Memory works a little bit more like a Wikipedia page: You can go in there and change it, but so can other people,” she says.

Most of us think memory is when we remember a past event. We believe it “works like a video camera, accurately recording the events we see and hear so that we can review and inspect them later,” summarized psychologists Dan Simons and Chris Chabris. In reality, memory is like putty; it can be molded by all who possess it. Therefore sad, painful memories can also be healed and you can learn how to let go of the past. You might have been in a situation where two people recall completely different “facts” about the same event. This occurs because of how a memory is reconsolidated in our brains. Every time we explicitly recall a memory, we are not remembering the event itself, but the last time we remembered that event.

“We learn, we store, we retrieve, and when we retrieve the next time, we are not retrieving the original experience—we are retrieving our last retrieval,” says Ledoux. “In other words, upon retrieval, a new memory is formed.” In his last line lies the secret to erasing memories and changing your past.

When you consciously go back in time to recall an event, the memory is summoned from your hippocampus, which works with the amygdala and other parts of your brain to remember your past.

The act of remembering alters the neural network of that memory, creating an entirely new structure of neural connections. So every time you think about a past event, the “reality” of that event changes, based on your current state of being, your current level of awareness, and the present conditions in which the memory is recalled. Since good and bad memories are formed by your conscious remembrance of them, not by the event itself, altering the conditions in your brain during recall can recreate the neuronal map of your memories and the stories they tell.

If you make yourself happy now and then travel back in time to a sad or painful memory, the joy you feel in the present will change the neurological formation of that sad event. By choosing your present state of being and then going into your past, you can begin to heal and erase these memories and change the effect the past has on you today.

For a while, Rachel’s past kept her imprisoned by fear. By first sending her into her desired future, Rachel was able to then travel back in time from an empowered place. Her state of being in the present delivered a wave of positive emotions into the neural network of that memory. Those emotions became the fuel that made her implicit memories explicit, allowing her to consciously change the impact and, in turn, the content of those events.

What this means for you is that your memories might not be true. But don’t let this information lead you to question and dwell on your past. That could drive anyone insane. Instead, use the malleability of memory to your advantage. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how “true” your past is. Memories function the way they do because all that matters is how your past helps drive you forward today.

As LeDoux explains, “The brain isn’t interested in having a perfect set of memories about the past. Instead, memory comes with a natural updating mechanism, which is how we make sure that the information taking up valuable space inside our head is still useful. That might make our memories less accurate, but it probably also makes them more relevant to the future.”

Memories come and go based on the “use it or lose it” principle of neuroplasticity. Self-awareness allows us to choose the kind of information we want to occupy neural real estate and erase memories we don’t want to store. Without it, the battle is lost to the implicit fears and stressors our ancient animal brain thinks it needs to keep us alive, and bad memories can take over.

The animal brain might be long overdue for an upgrade from the primitive lifestyle it is still accustomed to, but until that happens, we must activate our human brain to alter and heal the content of memory. Once we make the choice to consciously travel back in time from an empowered state, we must act quickly. We don’t have a lot of time to take the next step in changing our past.

In a study at NYU, Dr. Daniela Schiller and her team of researchers showed two groups of participants a random sequence of blue and yellow squares on a screen. On the first day of the experiment, group 1 and group 2 were both occasionally administered an electric shock when exposed to a blue square. Both groups developed a fear memory associating blue squares with pain. Our “associative memory” is constantly forming associations between the various elements that come together to form a memory, so that when one element is activated, it triggers the other as well.

On the second day, the researchers reminded both groups of their fear by exposing them to a blue square. Inevitably, the association they learned the previous day triggered a fear response in the participants’ brains, causing them to sweat at the sight of that dreaded blue square. With the painful fear memory now activated, the researchers left the room and returned to group 1 after a few hours. They then flashed a sequence of blue and yellow squares without administering a shock. They continued this until the group no longer feared the blue squares.

With group 2, the researchers returned after six hours and repeated the same procedure until they too no longer feared the blue squares. By exposing both groups to the source of their fear and removing the pain associated with it, they eliminated the fear response from automatically showing up in their brains.

On day three, the researchers once again showed both groups a blue square without a shock. This time, only group 1 showed no fear. Group 2 still remembered the association it had formed on day one and reverted back to that old fear response. “It was pretty astonishing,” said Dr. Schiller. “It had so many implications for why some therapies only work temporarily. The original idea was that you could forget a bad memory but you’d always have the original memory stored somewhere. The new theory is that memory can be updated, and there is a window in which this can be done.”

The researchers brought the participants back one year later, and their response was the same. Group 1 had permanently eliminated their fear of blue squares, while group 2 still remembered the pain accompanying the flash of a blue square. This six-hour window for altering and erasing a memory has been found to be present in rats as well.

What this means is that to change and let go of the past , we need to activate a memory from an optimistic present state and modify it within six hours, just as Rachel did. Your past helped shape the fears that keep you imprisoned in your present, so altering, healing, and erasing your memories is often a necessary step to move from fear to Fearvana. Let’s work on adapting your history to serve your present self and your future self.

Training Exercise: How to Erase Bad Memories

I want to make it clear that just because we are delving into the past doesn’t mean we all need therapy to thrive. The problem with many forms of therapy is that it takes you back in time from a very disempowered state in the present. Simply opening up your heart about the past doesn’t free you from it. When done incorrectly, the time traveling process only aggravates the stressors and fears caused by the very event that brought you to therapy in the first place. It reinforces the negative impact of that past event by creating an unpleasant association between the neural network of that memory and your current distressed state.

I experienced this first hand as a veteran diagnosed with PTSD by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Before I taught myself how to heal my brain using everything I am now teaching you in this book, I went to a therapist to overcome my psychological obstacles. I used to walk out of that office more miserable than when I walked in, and very often, I would drive straight to the liquor store.

My therapist told me this was a normal, even necessary, part of the process to heal past memories and wounds. Although I know he genuinely wanted to help, after learning the inner workings of the mind, I came to realize his approach was far from the truth. The methods below allowed me to finally find value in the guilt I felt over losing my friend in Iraq.

Another problem I found with therapy is that traveling back into the past is useless unless we use it to drive us forward. It is pointless to spend years on a therapist’s couch, analyzing and interpreting every second of your past, with no clarity as to what you want to gain from it. You don’t need to waste all that time.

We only need to delve into the past to the extent that it negatively affects who we are today and who we want to be tomorrow; otherwise, what difference does it make? Those moments are now over.

We can’t do anything to get them back or alter the actual events. All we can do is change and erase our memory if and when we need to.

Back toward the Future Exercise

In this exercise, our focus will be to travel back in time with the sole intention of..

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Organic Highs: Healthy, Natural and Safe Alternatives to Drinking and Drugs That Boost Health, Mood and Pleasure

BY JEREMY JOHNSON

photo: maxime bhm

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Dolan Ramsay is the founder of KATY, an organically grown and plant-based mood-enhancing supplement that you can take in capsule form. It was designed with a mission in mind: to create a safer, healthier alternative for the dance, party, and festival scenes around the world. Now, he’s working on a new line of health and wellness products, including BROCK, an organic supplement designed to boost testosterone and enhance male sexual performance. I spoke with Dolan about the stories behind KATY and BROCK and how he’s using sacred science like Sanskrit mantra, Vedic astrology, and Yogic philosophy to realize his dreams and impact millions.

Q: First of all. Wow. It’s great that you’re providing a healthier and organic alternative to the smorgasbord of psychoactive substances out there in the festival scene. What was your inspiration behind KATY?

Thank you very much. It’s great when people see the purpose of what we are doing. Appreciate you giving us the opportunity to share our passion and mission.

Our inspiration really was a culmination of a few divine events. Some of which at the time they happened may not have been perceived as blessings.

The thread is that addiction has played a role in all of the lives of our team members, both personally and the lives of the ones we care about. It has even taken the lives of some of the people who were once closest to us. Thankfully, we learned that we desired a sustainable way to seek the experiences we wanted to have.

A few years ago I got my entry into the world of online marketing while working with a top influencer. We had this one promotional partner whom I had a brotherly connection with. At the time, he happened to be launching a nootropic supplement company that was mostly focused on focus and productivity solutions for entrepreneurs, so he started sending me some products to try out.

A year or so after getting to know each other, and him knowing my passion for electronic music and going out dancing with my friends, he sent me this unreleased product that was for euphoria and mood boost.

The timing couldn’t have been better as a few of my friends and I had hit a wall with the party scene and really wanted some healthier alternatives. We didn’t want to deal with the Monday morning blues and next day dread of having fun all night.

Over a few years we developed this product, and eventually, it got to the point where friends were starting to ask me for it. At the same time, I noticed the explosion of music festivals that were happening and saw the opportunity to bring this to the mainstream.

In a few days I made the website myself, came up with a name, and launched it to friends. Then I eventually got some in the hands of some influencers in the dance music scene, and it was incredibly well-received.

A few big articles later we had officially blown up.

Q: When we were setting up this interview, you told me that sacred science—i.e. the wisdom and practices of yoga, the insights of Vedic astrology, etc.—were essential to your success as an entrepreneur. This sounds deeply inspiring for any of us out there looking to self-actualize, realize our dreams, and stay “woke” (as they say) in the process. Tell us about your journey. How did you discover the sacred sciences? 

Well, as it happens for most, the spiritual path and an interest in personal development usually comes from some crisis.

When I was 17 my mother passed away. The immediate years that followed lead to a wide array of experiences to test the limits of what I deemed life to be. Eventually I burnt out and had my first real dark night of the soul. From this I got deep in the world of personal development.

A big part of this in the beginning was yoga and then next came Vedic astrology, which I was introduced to through my former fiance’s good friend. My interest in it eventually lead me to connect with a marketing student of mine named Kathleen Whalen, who I found out was also a Vedic astrologer.

After my fiancé and I had parted ways, which lead to the distancing with my previous connection that introduced me to Vedic astrology, I immediately gravitated to Kathleen and her expansive knowledge of ancient wisdom.

Kathleen has introduced me to and helped me integrate Vedic astrology, Sanskrit mantra, Yantra, and Ayurveda into my life and has supported my study of yoga philosophy.

These all have proven to be so profound in my personal and professional life and have helped me manifest incredible opportunities, cultivate amazing relationships, have a solid moral foundation to live from, and impact millions of lives.

Q: How have these sacred sciences helped you get to where you are now?  

Well one of the stories I like to share the most is when a friend of mine purchased a Facebook page from another friend. At the time it had about 45,000 likes, growing by a few hundred each week.

He came to me and asked me if I wanted to partner with him on it and run it. I was honored and took the opportunity in with open arms.

Immediately I turned to this Lakshmi mantra and Sri Yantra practice that I had been experimenting with.

Lakshmi Mantra is a prosperity practice to be done every day for 40 days. It only takes about five minutes and brings luck, creativity, prosperity, opportunity, purpose and passion. Combined with the Sri Yantra gazing practice, which is the symbol for creativity, you can get exponential results.

The long and the short of it is that six months later, with no money spent on ads and all organic and viral growth, the page was at just under 2 million likes. We had created an email list of 90,000 people, earned 6 figures in revenue, and impacted over 100 million lives.

This is just one story of how this ancient, sacred wisdom and practices have impacted my life personally and professionally. The stories are endless and some of them beyond words to explain.

We, of course, leveraged the success of this one project and brought all these tools into our current company LIMITLESS LIFE and have seen even more miracles. I’m truly grateful for these incredible tools the universe provides us to live out our purpose.

It’s interesting to note that one of my nerdy hobbies is etymology and the origin of the word prosperity is purpose. Purpose meaning “to put forth” essentially, putting ourselves out into the world. So we are most prosperous when we are living our purpose and that is what the Lakshmi Mantra really does, aligns us with our deepest purpose. Truly incredible.

Q: Let’s switch tracks. Tell us about your newest products and what inspired them.  

Yes, well we actually have a few big things happening in the product development area.

First off, we have created a new two capsule combination for KATY that will give the fun seekers exactly what they are looking for. This is really next level and is going to make a lot of people happy.

Then we took the product that has been KATY and we made some tweaks to enhance its ability to support people with focus, mood, and calmness, and we renamed it AVA.

This is huge in the area of emotional and mental wellness. The potential for this product is limitless, truly. We have given it the nickname “The Pill for Peace”.

If everyone took a couple AVA a week, we would have an incredibly peaceful and compassionate world. And its not about people checking out but building new, enhanced pathways to give us the state of being we desire.

Next we have a line of nutritional sprays that contain the most potent, bioactive nutritionals available today. With just a couple sprays under the tongue you can achieve the experience you desire. We have one called SHEA for mood, positivity and optimism and one called MARK for focus, creativity and productivity.

And then we have BROCK, our revolutionary men’s performance supplement. In a time when masculinity and being a man is ripe for evolution we have what we refer to as “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” in a capsule.

Q: BROCK isn’t just about sex, is it? It sounds like this would be a great supplement for athletes.

Correct. BROCK is unlike any testosterone or male enhancement solution on the market today. Whether you’re 18 (and predisposed to low-testosterone) or 86 (and need more than supplemental testosterone and/or traditional sexual enhancement meds) BROCK improves your health and performance holistically. After 4 years of development and 3 years of testing early versions to thousands of satisfied men, BROCK is safe and natural while providing sustainable, repeatable results.

BROCK provides the optimum amount of testosterone for increasing muscle mass, restoring clarity and energy, and enhancing performance and strength.

It does so by challenging convention and utilizing the body’s own processes, including Cholesterol Hormone Conversion, to increase specific hormones in a manageable but heightened way. We really have created the perfect storm of male performance enhancement, making you the man you were born to be naturally, safely, sustainably, and compassionately. 

Q: These products seem to have a common theme: a healthier, holistic approach to sensual and physical well being. People are hungry for that. Has your personal journey with the sacred sciences helped to build the founding ethos behind your company?

Yes, our products are all about this concept of experiential nutrition. And this is about serving the body and mind so we can pursue our soul’s purpose, which essentially is the path of yoga, which means yolk, symbolizing the concept of unity.

So its about uniting the body and mind, which most medications do not do; they, in fact, separate the two by depleting the system and breaking it down.  If we unite the body and mind, then we can filter through to our deeper selves and get in touch with and live aligned with our soul.

This is all inspired by our deep personal and spiritual development work fueled by ancient wisdom. This is reflected in all we do, from how we grow our plants sustainably and organically on plots of land we own, to how we extract the ingredients in a chemical-free manner, the combinations of ingredients we use, and the philosophies we run our company and personal lives by.

We are not perfect by all means, but we strive to be our best!

Q: Back to your spiritual journey. What’s your daily practice look like? Fellow entrepreneurs are curious to know!

Well on this note of perfection, in no way do I ever want people to be like me. Or to even “look up to me”. Hopefully I just inspire you to be your best version of you.

The word perfect actually originates from the word “complete”. And those who have pursued the path know we are never complete. We can pursue completion and perfection, but we will not achieve it.

So back to the question… my daily practice.

Well, its quite simple actually. As a result of doing some deep transformational work, I feel like a lot of this has been deeply engrained in me, and I carry it in every second of my life.

The things I do daily are the Lakshmi Sanskrit Mantra practice, drink lots of clean water, a walk or fresh air of some sorts, and then tune into the key astrological events for that time period.

That is the daily, then, of course, I throw in asana practice, meditation, sutra reading and journaling when called for.

Q: Finally, Dolan, what would you say to anyone who’s looking to achieve their visions and start their own path of self-actualization? Is there something essential from your practices with the sacred sciences that you would offer them? 

Well as cheesy as it sounds, I would say “love yourself.” But I may not mean what you think I mean when I say this.

Funny, the origin of the word “love” is actually desire. And desire means “de sidre” which is French for “of the stars.” 

Bottom line, I believe we have everything in us already. The universe is with in us, and the external world is just a reflection of it. So just start to listen to your desires and pursue them one layer at a time.

If you want support with this, then definitely get a Vedic astrology reading and do the Lakshmi Mantra. The astrology session can give you some insights to your deeper desires, purpose and mission, and the mantra can align you with that on a daily basis and bring you what you need to support the fruition of it.

That would be the beginning of the path from my experience.

Thank you!

About The Author

Jeremy Johnson is an essayist and culture writer. He is a contributing editor at Reality Sandwich magazine and forthcoming author of Passages from Tomorrow. He also writes for OMNI, Disinfo, and Evolve and Ascend. His interests include philosophy, culture, and futurism.

The post Organic Highs: Healthy, Natural and Safe Alternatives to Drinking and Drugs That Boost Health, Mood and Pleasure appeared first on .

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