Getting Physical

Sjogren’s Syndrome has had my attention these last few days. Sjogren’s affects gland secretion, which means there is a general dryness throughout the body. It is often in the company of lupus so it’s been a joint effort. However, I’m happy to report that I have remained more in the moment than not and am simply working through my symptoms—dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue–as they make themselves available. It is intriguing.

In examining these two autoimmune issues, I focus on what is occurring throughout my physiology rather than considering cause and effect. This began two years ago when I walked away from traditional medicine, and with a little knowledge of quantum healing, I began creating a diet for myself that would not make me sicker. I needed a distraction and food, which had been such a comfort, seemed the logical choice.

It was a no-brainer to eat whole foods and eliminate processed/refined products but I discovered I could not tolerate all whole foods, especially carbohydrates. Ultimately, I stopped eating yeast, gluten, dairy, and soy but mostly, I stopped eating almost all sugars, including fruit. I ate meat and still do, infrequently, but I receive more than my required protein amount from almond butter, plain goat’s milk yogurt, eggs, broccoli and even almond cheese, just to name a few sources. I quickly discovered that getting enough protein is not an issue.

Mostly, I found myself engaged in an experiment for health and not a diagnosis for disease. My physiology became my laboratory. As my sugar and high carbohydrate intake dropped, my joint pain began to decrease. Yet, not all sugars are equal. For example, I tolerate apple cider vinegar but no other. When I discovered that apple cider vinegar is a main ingredient in Eden’s Organic Brown Mustard, I finally found my condiment. This mustard is a marvelous addition to any sandwich.

Bread proved elusive until I learned of Paleo Bread—almond and coconut are my preferences—yet another source of protein for me. While the bread is expensive,  a local health food store is providing me a great discount. The bread is a significant source of fiber, contains no refined starch and is extremely low in carbohydrates. Yes, it is an acquired taste but like my ever-changing physiology, my taste buds are not what they were.

I discovered that change at my 60th birthday dinner. The waiter brought a complimentary birthday chocolate sundae, which I ate because it was my birthday and because I wanted to see what reaction I would have. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the taste–too sweet, too much. For the next few days, that taste stayed with me, mostly in the form of carbohydrate cravings. No one is immune to the physiology of them.

In response, I ate more almond butter and drank more chamomile tea (with Stevia) until my physiological system evened itself out. By the way, the only natural Stevia that I know of is SweetLeaf; all the others have either sugar or a sugar substitute in them. Every time I meet up with sugar, intentionally or no, my physiology alters significantly. This may have been true all my life or not. Doesn’t matter.  I discovered a connection.

In quantum healing, perfect health is an ideal, of course, but its heart is “…the junction point between mind and matter, the point where consciousness actually starts to have an effect” (Deepak Chopra). That junction point is when “…quantum healing moves away from external, high-technology methods toward the deepest core of the mind-body system. This core is where healing begins” (Chopra).

My experimenting with nutrition is only the beginning of my understanding quantum healing. Mine is an undertaking that many question to which I can only respond that for the first time in 30+ years I have a connection to my body that is not external or chemical. It is right for me. I still have Sjogren’s and lupus symptoms–no worse and perhaps no better–I haven’t paid attention to degree of discomfort for I have been busy in my physiology laboratory.

“The healing mechanism resides somewhere in this overall complexity, but it is elusive. There is no one organ of healing. How does the body know what to do when it is damaged, then? Medicine has no simple answer….A man-made drug is a stranger in a land where everyone else is blood kin. It can never share the knowledge that everyone else was born with” (Chopra).

Yet, I am not unrealistic, either. I do not believe I will attain the health of a sexagenarian who has generally taken good care of her emotional and physical needs. I was not that person for 58 of my 60 years; I am only that person now. Thus, whatever healing emerges is from an awareness born of the mind-body connection. For me, it is about appreciating the incredible complexity that is my physiology and doing everything I can to support my body in its never-ending quest to provide me health. I am much more careful in how I live.

Our physiology communicates mainly through pain or discomfort but it is in the examining of the communication that we gain a broader perspective of our physical self. Physically or emotionally, we do not operate well on deprivation. No living organism does. Quantum healing is going beyond physiology—cells, tissues, organs, and systems–to that mysterious “junction point between mind and matter” where healing begins.  It is intriguing.

(All Deepak Chopra quotes excerpted from Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine, New York: 1990, Bantam Books)

18 thoughts on “Getting Physical

  1. Thank you for sharing – a very courageous thing to do, in regard to these matters! I think the problem with western medicine is its compartmentalisation – the specialisations it creates – and foundation in the world of rationalism and mechanistic cause-and-effect. It closes off the synthesis which eastern medicine appears to have achieved. The reality is that we are integrated and complete systems.

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    • Yes, Matthew, I so agree about Western medicine. What continues to amaze me is its insistence on specialization but I suppose that is possible (at least in part) because so few are willing to stand up and say, “no thank you.”

      Karen

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  2. Some fascinating information here Karen. Luckily I can tolerate most foods but my partner is especially interested in avoiding a lot of things for health reasons, and wellbeing, so I shall look more closely at some of these ideas. Hope you have a better week.

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    • Hi, Diana!
      Avoid sugar and eat only whole foods, and that’s it. If I had followed that advice early on, I would not be engaged in my “experiments”; also, I would be able to tolerate fruit, which I really do miss. Other than fruit, I cannot say I miss refined/processed food. August McLaughlin’s blog is a great, practical resource.

      Karen

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  3. I feel so lucky to have a body that works like Ford’s Model T–turn the crank and it goes, but I also appreciate what the limitations of your disease have forced you to become; a more acutely aware participant in life. I wonder whether, without the illness you would be the thoughtful, considered person you have become. I doubt it. With the right attitude all of life is a learning experience. You have that attitude.

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    • Thank you, Adrian. You’re absolutely correct about this disease; it is an incredible gift. It makes living in the moment rather easy; consequently, my perspective is ever evolving.
      Karen

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  4. Great post, Karen and once again you have shared some wonderful information. It really is a balancing act to keep the healthiest of bodies in check, let alone when any one bit is out of whack. I agree with your approach of the mind/body connection along with taking control over your own health. I have mad respect for any person who can say what is and isn’t working then actually do the work/research to find what does work. I’ve had to do it for myself, my mom who is an 11 year cancer survivor and both of my dogs; it’s a day to day drill to keep those scales balanced. Your physical reaction to the sugar on your birthday is a prime example of how quickly and significantly the body can be thrown off; you don’t even want to be near me or my attitude after I’ve eaten pineapple!!! LOL I figured that out pretty much the same way. Thanks for sharing as I am sure this information is valuable to many out there. Have a wonderful day and wishing you good health.

    Stephanie

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    • Hi, Stephanie!

      As you say, it is a day-to-day drill to maintain the balance but it’s also a bit of an adventure, isn’t it? Have to admit that I thought I would always miss certain foods but I no longer do. It may be that eating those foods is just not worth the reaction, which it isn’t as the reaction is always significant, but I do find myself craving foods that I can eat, which now just happen to be healthy. Who knew?

      I so appreciate your support and enthusiasm, Stephanie.

      Karen

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    • It took me a while to understand that if I didn’t turn this around, no one was going to turn it around. I’m not always good with the obvious. Thanks for the support, Ann.

      Karen

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  5. Beautiful post, Karen. You are an inspiration, both in your taking responsibility over your lifestyle choices and wellness and your spectacular attitude. I’m so happy that you’ve found dietary shifts that bode well with you.

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    • Thanks so much, August. Your blog is one of my trusted resources for living life; I always learn something there.

      More and more, I am concentrating on the sugar issue, starches in particular. I doubt I will ever tolerate a starchy vegetable or fruit but being able to add in some whole grains such as buckwheat and amaranth provides other carbohydrate sources such as organic soba noodles. In miniscule amounts, I am now able to tolerate organic brown rice flour, infrequently. I consider it progress.

      This really has become an adventure for me and is allowing me to experience life in a totally new perspective. Always a pleasure to have you stop by, August.

      Karen

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  6. Wow! Good for you for taking the initiative to figure out for yourself what works (and doesn’t work) for you. There are not many people who would be willing to do the “research” and live with the necessary choices that would help them. I am really impressed at the effort you have clearly put into this!

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  7. This is truly fascinating. You sound pretty much at peace with your diet, which would probably drive most people crazy. Having serious health issues does seem to get some people to experiment, and I hope it’s true that your diet helps.
    No fruit would be the toughest one for me, but I’ve been finding sugar is difficult to give up, also. I’ve tried, but I haven’t given it up completely, and I know it bothers me. I’ve been testing coconut sugar. It doesn’t seem to spin me quite as badly as the others and tastes better than stevia.
    In fact, any simple carb seems to worsen my sinus and asthma issues. I hadn’t heard of paleo bread or the fact that commercial stevia has other sweeteners in it.

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    • Hi, Ann!

      I have never minded the taste of Stevia. I recommend the SweetLeaf brand because it is cut with inulin (chicory root) rather than sugar or sugar substitutes. I don’t find it bitter. Coconut sugar sounds wonderful but because it is so high in sucrose (with smaller amounts of fructose and glucose) I cannot tolerate it.

      As for fruit, I miss it but it’s not worth the physical reaction. Ultimately, that’s what it has come down to for me: I avoid sugar because if I don’t, I get sick, which can last for months.

      Karen

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