Saturday, March 31, 2012

Root-Cause Solutions

I know your interest is piqued and the suspense is killing you, but there are just a few more things I must say before I get into more detail on 'the Gospel of Food' and everything else :)

As I was growing up, I was a very curious child. I asked question after question, tangent after tangent. If my brother was fixing his bike or the plumber was fixing a sink, I stood by to watch, and I asked questions about any and every detail I could think of, nonstop: why, how, when, what, who... but mostly, how and why. I wasn't trying to be annoying. I wanted to know how things worked. I loved knowing! I wonder now if it was because I wanted to know, in case a problem arose later. Perhaps it was the young engineer in me, but I know now that I am a fan of finding root-cause solutions. To this day, I continue to ask questions, and I think I wouldn't be where I am if I didn't ask them.

My Journey Through the Medical Labyrinth

I grew up as any American kid going to the doctor, getting my vaccinations, taking medication if necessary. Our society was taught to believe that doctors knew better than we did, they were smarter, wealthier, more powerful, but most of all, they were inherently good. They had our best interests in mind, so why not believe them and do as they said? Thank God I was a healthy kid, so there were no major doctor visits for me, and I thank God this was before the times doctors began handing out Ritalin like it's candy.

As I got older, namely, when I began to attend the university, my medical records and appointments became mine, not my parents' problem. I got the vaccinations on my own, went to doctor appointments on my own, filled my own prescriptions, etc. It was a learning experience. I actually had doctors give me really bad medical advice. One attempted to remove a scar (actually a keloid) by "freezing" it off. Apparently, he didn't know it was a keloid (and neither did I), and that trying to "freeze" it off was absolutely the worst thing to do because it would only make it worse. I trusted him; he was the "derm" expert, but he made the scar larger, more irritated, and more prominent. Really people?!?! I know, disappointing. I began to learn that I could trust very few doctors to give me good advice.

It was also around this time that the "adult-onset acne" started becoming a problem. I had been perfectly fine growing up. I didn't even have acne in high school. Why all of a sudden did I have it, and why didn't it go away with any treatment the doctors prescribed? No doctor could tell me what the root cause was. To this day, no doctor knows, at least none that I've seen. Do they care to know? Honestly, I don't believe they do! I've asked many a dermatologist "What is the root cause? What am I doing to cause this?" A couple of them have looked at me like I'm crazy for asking the question. (I don't doubt you have all encountered similar problems, so you can probably relate.)

The answer is that they don't know the root cause. Why? Because they treat the symptom. Medical school doesn't teach them to fix the root cause, so unfortunately, we become guinea pigs. They throw whatever "medicine" they can our way to "see if it works." That's why they call it "Medical Practice." How sad. Then they use the excuse that "everyone is different, so some drugs may not work for some, while they work for others," and in my humble opinion, that is a load of crap. We're human, yes we're different, but we're not THAT different. I was treated with antibiotics and other ridiculous drugs with high dosages of vitamin-A (e.g., Retin-A), and even worse, Accutane, which is highly toxic, and guess what... it has the same results on everybody! It's so bad, you can't be pregnant while you're on it because your baby will be born deformed. Each and every pill had to be removed from the packaging separately. On the backing for each pill was the silhouette of a pregnant woman with a big "NO symbol" over it. In addition, every time I refilled the script, they also made me verify that I was on, not one, but two forms of contraceptives.

The Way Out

Obviously, I continue to doubt the medical system, especially with pharmaceutical companies and their agendas. That's why I seek to find natural approaches to remedy ailments. I've seen a few chiropractors on and off for at least 10 years now. Within the last several months, I began to see an acupuncturist and herbalist who studied Chinese/Eastern medicine. I must say this more natural approach is a very peaceful way to be treated, and "look ma, no horrible side effects!" What a concept!

What really boggles my mind is that we have known about ancient methods of healing (that have been around for thousands of years) and yet, as a society, we think we're so much more intelligent than these ancient people, all because we have modern technology. That kind of thinking never brings about progress because it is self-righteous, high-minded, and very condescending. I, too, as a child, thought my mom was retelling "old wives tales" when she'd tell me "don't go out with your hair wet, and don't walk barefoot on the cold ground or you'll 'catch a cold'," but these things aren't really that far-fetched after all. I believe our ancestors knew what they were talking about.

The high-brow, important, wealthy "medical/pharmaceutical" industry, on the other hand, creates "temporary fixes" to merely treat the symptom. The root problem never gets fixed, and over time, the use of those drugs harms our bodies and they eventually cause us to develop those ailments that have become today's mysterious diseases--ones that doctors/pharmaceutical companies say have no "cure." You know which one's I'm talking about: Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Cancer, and a myriad of other maladies.

If only we could look to the natural to find the cure. The cure is somewhere in the natural world, and in my humble opinion, from what I've read and seen, nutrition is where salvation begins. The food of today is poison to our bodies and it slowly kills us (not to mention any "pharmaceutical" drugs we may be taking). The 'medical/pharmaceutical' approach is a vicious cycle that is "raising money to cure _fill in the blank_," and that money goes right back to the pharmaceutical companies who use it to develop even more poisonous and toxic "medications" to kill us slowly. Our insurance plans become more expensive and who makes all the money? Insurance companies and Pharmaceutical companies. I'm tired of it, and I want to do something about it, even if only for me and the people around me whom I can reach through this blog. I want to be healthy, and I want the same for my friends and loved ones. I wouldn't even mind if I never had to see a medical doctor again.

My Goals

The purpose of this blog is to open your eyes to the natural approach for any and every ailment. Yes, every single one, no matter what it is. I am by no means an expert, but I am a seeker of truth, and I want to share with you what I have learned and what I will learn as I embark on this journey myself. I plan to start with nutrition because I think nutrition is the foundation for everything else. Eventually, I want to discuss natural ways to treat ailments and chronic problems. I will be doing my research, looking into various natural methods and approaches, especially those that have been practiced for thousands of years. I have many things to share, but all in its time, and one step at a time.

Having said that, all things in moderation. I am not perfect, and I don't expect myself to be. I am human. I know that we can only do so much with the resources we have. My blog is by no means an effort to catapult you into the stone ages to do everything you possibly can the natural way, so much that you drive yourself insane. No, I understand the difficulties of living in this world. My approach is to do my best with the knowledge, resources, and time I have.

The key point is becoming aware of the things that harm us. That's the first step, and how does that saying go, "knowing is half the battle?" If you are ignorant that Hot Cheetos are bad for you because they contain MSG (which not only makes them highly addictive, but also raises the insulin in your body), there is no battle; you will be tempted, and you will eat. But when you know why Hot Cheetos are so bad for you, you'll avoid them because you are now aware of what you are putting into your body, and you will probably refuse to eat them again. You'll be tempted, but you will likely say no.

So don't knock yourself if you begin to feel you're not doing enough. Knowledge is power. Just let it settle, and you will begin to make better choices. I know I did. Plus, our bodies are so resilient, it doesn't take long to bring your body back to a healthy state. Your blood levels change relatively quickly when you start feeding your body correctly. And don't worry about weight right now. When you start eating the right things, the weight normalizes itself, but the most important part is that your body is healthy, and you will know when you're healthy because you will feel healthy.

You getting ready?

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Gospel of Food

It all began one late November morning last year. To be exact, it was Saturday, November 26th, 2011, and I will never forget it, for this is the day that catapulted me into a new lifestyle, dare I say 'diet'—one that will last a lifetime. This experience was life changing, revolutionary, a change for the better, and I will tell you all about it, but first... a little background.

You might be thinking "Ok, it's another foodie blogging about cooking (and why on earth is she saying evangelizing?)" but, in reality, that is not the case, that is, I'm not a foodie. "That's strange," you might say, and indeed, it is strange, as I grew up never having much of an interest in food. I ate to live, and it didn't matter what it was—hamburgers, pizza, tacos, you name it—I ignored any negative claims about its nutritious content or lack thereof. First of all, I was rarely tempted to over-eat and I believed in the saying "all things in moderation." Second of all, I grew up Christian and we prayed for our food. I trusted God was keeping me safe from all harm, and yes, He did, but at the same time, I wasn't being a good steward of the resources and knowledge to which I had access. I kept my ears closed on purpose because I didn't want to know the harm that could potentially come to my body.

"We're all going to die someday" I said. I figured we'd never know what killed us in the end anyway, so why care about it now? But most importantly (and I want to draw attention to this) I didn't know who to trust to give me the correct answer. I knew the world was inherently bad and there were too many lying greedy people in the world, so much that I preferred to be apathetic if I didn't know which side was right. (You better believe that if I ever found out the truth about something, though, I'd become evangelical. I'll go to the grave fighting for truth.) But when you grow up hearing "this new study says coffee is harmful to your body" and then later you hear "this new study confirms coffee is actually very healthy for you," how do you know what to believe? I just thought, "I'd rather not hear any of that so that I don't have to know," and that was my opinion for a very long time. It also didn't help that I was slim with a high metabolism, and since being slim connoted "healthy" to society and doctors, I never had reason to believe I needed a solution since I didn't have a problem.

One thing I was, though, was picky, and I still am. I think I will always hate gristle in my meat, and you will find me still eating when everyone is done because it takes me most of the meal just to cut away the gristle or take out the onions (because I dislike them as well). Being that I was so picky, and eating was such an effort growing up, I became very bored with eating quite quickly. The full plate my mom would serve me would go back to her nearly full, and then she'd yell at me for eating like a bird. People thought it was strange when I'd say "I get bored with my food." As I grew older and I moved out of the house, I rarely cooked for myself. I wasn't, first of all, fond of food, and second of all, I hated all the effort of making the food, eating it, getting bored with it, then cleaning up the kitchen afterward. Sadly, I was lazy, and I found the easy way out. I ate out, and like many others, I was blissfully unaware of all the atrocious things in our food because, again, I didn't want to know. Isn't ignorance bliss?

My younger sister, April, on the other hand, has been a foodie since birth. She has always appreciated food, and because of that, she enjoys cooking, watching the food channel, and inventing her own recipes. (I've actually learned to appreciate good food because of her and other foodies around me.) April has even blogged about cooking! Several years ago, in an effort to be more healthy, fit, and trim, she hired a personal trainer and started paying more attention to what she ate. Long story short, she has changed her lifestyle (yes, diet) for the better, and this is kind of where the story begins.

It was a beautiful November morning, and I was having breakfast at the home of my sister April, and her husband, Raf. Eggs, bacon, and sausage, mmm... but it wasn't long before April and Raf were up to their usual discussion—one where his engineering mind seeks to scientifically understand the conclusion that April's engineering mind has already decided is valid. It's cute, really, and kind of funny. Nevertheless, it is the topic they were discussing that I'd like to draw attention to, for it is this very topic that began my journey to enlightenment.

The topic of discussion was in regards to a "food" documentary that April had just watched. She had mentioned it a couple of times that morning, but I dismissed it as unimportant because, again, my "blissfully unaware" mind tends to prefer ignorance. That's why, at first, I listened to their discussion merely for the entertainment factor—as I find it amusing listening to April logically prove her point while Raf attempts to exercise the scientific method on her "hypothesis." But as she got more frustrated with his pointed questions, she found she could not explain them as well as the documentary, so even though I insisted she forget it, she grabbed her laptop and brought it to the kitchen island to show us the clip in the movie that explained her point.

As I watched the clip, I was astounded. I could not believe my ears. After seeing that, I could never be on the fence about food anymore; I had heard the other side! I could no longer be blissfully unaware. That day, I went straight home and I watched the entire documentary. Immediately, I drafted an email with some notes I jotted down, and I sent it to all my siblings telling them the importance of watching this documentary. The ensuing events are things I will never forget, and I promise, you will soon hear of them.

I am no longer that little blissfully unaware lass. I'm still picky, but I'm older and hopefully wiser. I have learned to keep my mind open, and most importantly, the importance of "the other side of the story." I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd ever blog, let alone about food, but here it is. I am not ashamed to say I've become an evangelist about the "Gospel of Food and Other Natural Remedies," and this is precisely what this blog will be about. I hope to enlighten others as I was enlightened. Yes I will be opinionated, and I apologize if you don't agree.

Now, you might be tempted to think that my main topic will center around avoiding processed foods, but that's not entirely the topic (although it is an important one). The topics I will discuss begin with a revolutionary concept that only a few months ago came to my knowledge. The topic in itself is not in reality revolutionary at all because it was something that was common knowledge only a century ago. Unfortunately, today it is very controversial, and I warn you that you too will be tempted to doubt it, but that is precisely why I have chosen to write about it.  Rarely anyone talks about it, very few people know about it, and I haven't stopped talking about it since I heard of it. That is why I have chosen to call myself the "NaturEvangelist"—the one who brings the good news about food and natural remedies for curing ailments.

Stay tuned...

Update: 25 August 2012
I want to point out that I use the word "diet" throughout this blog, but for the most part, I do not use it in the context of something short-lived. For me, the definition of diet is an organism's regular dietary nutrition. For example, the diet of a great white shark is fresh meat.