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Gut-Check: 5 Health Stones to Start Stepping–Not Skipping

November 10, 2012

*Please visit elephant journal to view my similar article*

Trust your gut; follow your gut… no, no, no. Believe in your gut, believe in being well and your gut will guide you.

In a nutshell, a healthy gut equals a healthy, happy individual. How do we proliferate the health of this intricate inner system? That’s the fun part, and having fun is an essential ingredient in the remedy. Below you’ll find 5 simple synergistic stones to start stepping–not skipping.

Do stress, happiness and the mind affect our health and body? Most definitely.

Stress affects the whole body. Our natural alarm system’s fight or flight response, for instance, slows digestion lowering blood flow to major organs, alters the immune system and reduces reproductive and growth processes as the body prepares for action releasing stress’s main hormone–cortisol. Many seemingly mild, daily stressors can trigger similar mind-body responses.

Psychophysiological effects of the mind on the body are profound and generally trusted in naturopathy, while arguable in conventional healthcare.

Systemically altering the body and brain, stress either contributes to or causes many diseases such as candida, digestive disorders, parasites, acidosis, obesity, depression, and funky non-diagnosable meanderings like fatigue, aches and brain-fog. Our body is one system and many of these issues can be traced to the gut

As adrenalin and stress manifest in our bodies, positivity also lays its mark, when a newly zealous idea catalyzed in the mind, for instance, tickles in your belly and resonates a pleasing bodily state.

Happiness promotes health and a happy gut, but it’s easier to be effected by stressful, anxious thoughts. Especially when chronic or prolonged issues populate our minds daily without conscious alarm, which arise from a world that drives us up, against, left, down, right, sideways, and diagonally, but not in flow with natural instincts. We have domesticated, but instincts are hard to rid–a house cat released to the wild for the first time proves a savvy hunter.

Our inner garden is overrun with bacteria good and bad, bumping into each other and procreating–both sexually and asexually at roaring rates. Like stress overrides spirited vibes, bad bacteria tend to maintain higher ground in our inner ecosystem.

Bad bacteria love acidic environments produced by the standard American diet.

When we eat refined carbs, sugars, fried foods, beer and other acidifying substances our digestive system becomes a bad bacteria breading ground leading to disease, discomfort, and even cancer. Adding alkalizing vegetables, such as kale, watermelon, lemon and lime, wheat and alfalfa grass to your diet will add balance to your system.

Balancing good bacteria with the pesky bad is paramount to health and requires continual tending to our inner garden’s ecosystem.

As you balance your pH, energy, clarity and a clean feeling arise as a fully functioning system clears out waste and good bacteria begin growing in numbers. Probiotics serve as the most potent supplement for repopulation. Homemade kefir with a double fermentation period along with home fermented vegetables are helpful too. While yogurt is beneficial, bacteria levels are too low to significantly heal a distraught digestive system.

Balance is essential–of bacteria, mind, diet and lifestyle.

Diet is no doubt important, but if it isn’t matched with a positive, mindful state, stress will counteract your efforts.

Happiness promotes vigor, stress promotes death.

Positive endeavors rest atop a slippery slope. Becoming overly concerned with doing what’s good for us, eating well, for instance, causes anxiousness leading to isolation and being emotionally and physically consumed.

Keeping positive people close, fostering relationships and being proactive to engage socially will surely help keep your health and well being on track.

Education is also essential, so read up on healthy living, diet, pH balance, stress, health and natural remediation, or on snowboarding, backpacking, travel, or indulge in a creative project. Take small steps in whatever way works for you to promote a positive aura.

There is an education paradox, however, where the more you know the more trouble it can bring to your daily life. No more non-stick pans, check the ingredients before eating, are those eggs organic–you get the idea. Down the road you may be shocked at poor choices you had made in the past but been unaware, so although it can be a pain, it is for the best.

Knowledge can be a drag–use it wisely.

Can’t we all dream of living the happy go lucky life of a Golden Retriever?

Educate positively! Read blogs, sites, books etc. that stimulate positivity in your brain. It’s a fun, easy and satisfying act and nice to know you aren’t just procrastinating or surfing the web, but investing in your health.

There are many quick reads (like what you’re now reading) on how to do this or that better you can apply to everyday life. The more you know the more power you have to enhance health and happiness.

Read, don’t believe everything, but believe what is intuitively right to you.

We’re all unique, so feel good and proud to do what brings you happiness, however quirky and unconventional–conventionalism and fashion tend to be temporary and wearisome.

Small things count and it’s the simple that is complex–take little mindful steps daily in all areas of life, but most importantly, mystically, and simply, believe it.

Accept the unknown.

The placebo effect illuminates the power of the mind over the body. People have risen from their deathbeds by believing in their health, staying positive and having social ties.

The power to transform your health and spirit lies in your mind.

Take a few of the steps outlined and see how they fee, have fun with it and see what works. It doesn’t have to be all at once.

Combined with education, the points below are the peddles to your bike.

Let your curiosity thrive.

Be one with the planet, your community, your social circle, and yourself

Embrace, expand, sustain, flourish.

Here are 5 stones to begin stepping–not skipping–towards a healthier, happier, resilient body and mind:

  1. Alkalize! Incorporate more alkalizing foods into your diet to raise your pH and create an internal environment inhospitable to disease causing microorganisms. Check out the alkaline diet and start innovating new foods and recipes into a vibrant life. Bonus dietary/gut aid: take a quality probiotic and eat more fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut (which are fun and easy to make at home).
  2. Live mindfully. Emphasize relaxation and consciousness. Everyone is unique, so find what works for you. Try yoga, meditation, breathing, mindful-based stress reduction, autosuggestion and showing gratitude for the majestic beauty of all life.
  3. Be social. We are social beings. Having a quality social milieu is energizing, supporting and so much more. Studies have found that positive relationships are one of the strongest contributors to happiness, which is one of the strongest contributors to health. So be friendly, make (and keep) friends and lower your expectations of others. Treat your friends like dogs–we don’t hold dogs to high expectations, and are therefore forgiving and playful, while not only enjoying their company, hanging out, and having fun, but also serving as a dependable, loyal companion.
  4. Educate. With today’s mixed up healthcare and food system one must take responsibility for their own health. This means learning how to do so properly, and if you read this article, you already have the right mindset. Incorporate what you learn creatively (being creative also boosts happiness). Continue learning, growing, and feeling balanced, aware, grounded, and content will ensue.
  5. Believe. Believe it or not, believing can manifest in reality. Things can be “all in your head.” Think happy thoughts, eat when you’re hungry, nap when you’re exhausted, exercise when energized, tell yourself a reinforcing daily mantra and believe, believe, believe in yourself, your health, your friends, your abilities, your life.

  1. Bonus: Don’t take life too seriously–it doesn’t last forever. Careful not to stress, creating anxiety trying to perfectly step along these stones to health, or those steps may be in vain. So remember, keep it light and have fun with it!

And it won’t go without saying–exercise!

You can’t escape your mind, but you can have fun with it
(Illustration by John Holcroft, originally for the Guardian)

A new feeling of clarity and energy was introduced into my life when I began laying my feet, one by one, along these stones. Understanding the central role of my gut, stress and mind body on overall function and health both in body and mind were essential. I continue learning and incorporating new information in my life in lively little ways every day.

Have you had positive experiences with any of the stepping-stones discussed, or are there any I didn’t lay? Please share your experiences, comments and knowledge.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2012 3:25 pm

    Brilliant tips! I have had positive experiences with many of the stepping stones you listed….most notably…Believe! Believe in yourself and what you can do…anything is possible. Being social also huge…just back from a dream 3 months in Europe. I can’t believe I asked strangers if they would like company for dinner (I was alone, they were along in the restaurant…what was the worst they could do…say no!) I felt so energized and found myself with people to eat with as a result! I ended up eating with the one person on multiple days…made solo travel so much more fun when you could connect with people from around the world.
    Have a great day!

    • December 10, 2012 4:41 pm

      Happy to hear you enjoyed and have been successfully stepping, Anita! Your story reveals something I think many have thought to do, but never dared; knowing the worst that can happen is they say no definitely inspires action, and has led me to unexpected social encounters as well. Love your story–thanks for sharing! All the best.

  2. December 11, 2012 9:23 pm

    Thank you so much for stopping by stillvoicing!


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