Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

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The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

ShamanicViewMentalIllnessFeature-720x377

 

Looking Through a Different Lens

I am reprinting this from an email I received from Malidoma Some, a West African Shaman whom I’ve had the privilege to meet, drive around Boulder with, and work for. Since I am going through what I believe to be a spiritual emergence, I am reading a lot on the topic. I want to continue to educate others. That what we sometimes call depression, bi-polar, psychosis, schizophrenia, might actually be a significant transformation in consciousness and a necessary stage on the path of human development. While this is a long article it’s well worth the read for those interested in the subject. Particularly if you have suffered from a mental illness or treat those with a mental illness. You might also like to read this short post Beyond Medication, Holistic Psychiatry.

 

What a Shaman Sees in a Mental Hospital

In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

 

What those in the west view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. Dr. Somé comments:

“Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field”

Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field.

These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

 

One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study, was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to ‘nervous depression,’ Dr. Somé went to visit him.

“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village. “

What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself:

“So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted”

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the west are not trained in how to deal with, or even taught to acknowledge, the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for, and assistance, in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane. Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.

 

In the mental ward, Dr. Somé saw a lot of ‘beings’ hanging around the patients, ‘entities’ that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see. “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says. It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process. “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people. They were really fierce about that. The people they were doing that to were just screaming and yelling,” he said. He couldn’t stay in that environment and had to leave.

 

In the Dagara tradition, the community helps the person reconcile the energies of both worlds–“the world of the spirit that he or she is merged with, and the village and community.” That person is able then to serve as a bridge between the worlds and help the living with the information and healing they need. Thus, the spiritual crisis ends with the birth of another healer. “The other world’s relationship with our world is one of sponsorship,” Dr. Somé explains.

 

“More often than not, the knowledge and skills that arise from this kind of merger are a knowledge or a skill that is provided directly from the other world”

The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world. The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted. The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.

Drugs.jpg

Medication only compounds the problem and prevents the integration of the spirit.

 

“The Western culture has consistently ignored the birth of the healer,” states Dr. Somé.

“Consequently, there will be a tendency from the other world to keep trying as many people as possible in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. They have to try harder.”

The spirits are drawn to people whose senses have not been anesthetized. “The sensitivity is pretty much read as an invitation to come in,” he notes.

Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as over sensitivity. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way and, as a result, sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive . In the west, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterize Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.

Schizophrenia and Foreign Energy

With schizophrenia, there is a special “receptivity to a flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled,” stated Dr. Somé.

 

“When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy”

 

What is required in this situation is first to separate the person’s energy from the extraneous foreign energies, by using shamanic practice (what is known as a ‘sweep’) to clear the latter out of the individual’s aura. With the clearing of their energy field, the person no longer picks up a flood of information and so no longer has a reason to be scared and disturbed, explains Dr. Somé.

Then it is possible to help the person align with the energy of the spirit being attempting to come through from the other world, and give birth to the healer. The blockage of that emergence is what creates problems. “The energy of the healer is a high-voltage energy,” he observes.

 

“When it is blocked, it just burns up the person. It’s like a short-circuit. Fuses are blowing. This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people. Here they are yelling and screaming, and they’re put into a straitjacket. That’s a sad image.”

 

Again, the shamanic approach is to work on aligning the energies so there is no blockage, ‘fuses’ aren’t blowing, and the person can become the healer they are meant to be.

It needs to be noted at this point, however, that not all of the spirit beings that enter a person’s energetic field are there for the purposes of promoting healing. There are negative energies as well, which are undesirable presences in the aura. In those cases, the shamanic approach is to remove them from the aura, rather than work to align the discordant energies.

 

Alex: Crazy in the USA, Healer in Africa

To test his belief that the shamanic view of mental illness holds true in the Western world as well as in Indigenous cultures, Dr. Somé took a mental patient back to Africa with him, to his village. He says:

“I was prompted by my own curiosity to find out whether there’s truth in the universality that mental illness could be connected with an alignment with a being from another world”

 

Alex was an 18-year-old American who had suffered a psychotic break when he was 14. He had hallucinations, was suicidal, and went through cycles of dangerously severe depression. He was in a mental hospital and had been given a lot of drugs, but nothing was helping. “The parents had done everything–unsuccessfully,” says Dr. Somé. “They didn’t know what else to do.”

With their permission, Dr. Somé took their son to Africa. “After eight months there, Alex had become quite normal,” Dr. Somé reports. “He was even able to participate with healers in the business of healing; sitting with them all day long and helping them, assisting them in what they were doing with their clients… He spent about four years in my village.” Alex stayed by choice, not because he needed more healing. He felt, “much safer in the village than in America.”

To bring his energy and that of the being from the spiritual realm into alignment, Alex went through a shamanic ritual designed for that purpose, although it was slightly different from the one used with the Dagara people. “He wasn’t born in the village, so something else applied. But the result was similar, even though the ritual was not literally the same,” explains Dr. Somé. The fact that aligning the energy worked to heal Alex demonstrated to Dr. Somé that the connection between other beings and mental illness is indeed universal.

After the ritual, Alex began to share the messages that the spirit being had for this world. Unfortunately, the people he was talking to didn’t speak English (Dr. Somé was away at that point). The whole experience led, however, to Alex’s going to college to study psychology. He returned to the United States after four years because “he discovered that all the things that he needed to do had been done, and he could then move on with his life.”

The last that Dr. Somé heard was that Alex was in graduate school in psychology at Harvard. No one had thought he would ever be able to complete undergraduate studies, much less get an advanced degree.

Dr. Somé sums up what Alex’s mental illness was all about: “He was reaching out. It was an emergency call. His job and his purpose was to be a healer. He said no one was paying attention to that.”

After seeing how well the shamanic approach worked for Alex, Dr. Somé concluded that spirit beings are just as much an issue in the west as in his community in Africa.

 

“Yet the question still remains, the answer to this problem must be found here, instead of having to go all the way overseas to seek the answer. There has to be a way in which a little bit of attention beyond the pathology of this whole experience leads to the possibility of coming up with the proper ritual to help people.”

 

Dr. Malidoma Patrice Somé.

Dr. Malidoma Patrice Somé.

Longing for Spiritual Connection

A common thread that Dr. Somé has noticed in “mental”  disorders in the west is “a very ancient ancestral energy that has been placed in stasis, that finally is coming out in the person.” His job then is to trace it back, to go back in time to discover what that spirit is. In most cases, the spirit is connected to nature, especially with mountains or big rivers, he says.

In the case of mountains, as an example to explain the phenomenon, “it’s a spirit of the mountain that is walking side by side with the person and, as a result, creating a time-space distortion that is affecting the person caught in it.”  What is needed is a merger or alignment of the two energies, “so the person and the mountain spirit become one.” Again, the shaman conducts a specific ritual to bring about this alignment.

Dr. Somé believes that he encounters this situation so often in the United States because:

“Most of the fabric of this country is made up of the energy of the machine, and the result of that is the disconnection and the severing of the past. You can run from the past, but you can’t hide from it”

 

The ancestral spirit of the natural world comes visiting. “It’s not so much what the spirit wants as it is what the person wants,” he says. “The spirit sees in us a call for something grand, something that will make life meaningful, and so the spirit is responding to that.”

That call, which we don’t even know we are making, reflects “a strong longing for a profound connection, a connection that transcends materialism and possession of things and moves into a tangible cosmic dimension. Most of this longing is unconscious, but for spirits, conscious or unconscious doesn’t make any difference.” They respond to either.

As part of the ritual to merge the mountain and human energy, those who are receiving the ‘mountain energy’ are sent to a mountain area of their choice, where they pick up a stone that calls to them. They bring that stone back for the rest of the ritual  and then keep it as a companion; some even carry it around with them. “The presence of the stone does a lot in tuning the perceptive ability of the person,” notes Dr. Somé.

 

“They receive all kinds of information that they can make use of, so it’s like they get some tangible guidance from the other world as to how to live their life.”

 

When it is the ‘river energy,’ those being called go to the river and, after speaking to the river spirit, find a water stone to bring back for the same kind of ritual as with the mountain spirit.

“People think something extraordinary must be done in an extraordinary situation like this,” he says. That’s not usually the case. Sometimes it is as simple as carrying a stone.

HoldingRock

Simply connecting with a mountain or river spirit through an artifact helps us align.

 

A Sacred Ritual Approach to Mental Illness

One of the gifts a shaman can bring to the Western world is to help people rediscover ritual, which is so sadly lacking. “The abandonment of ritual can be devastating. From the spiritual view, ritual is inevitable and necessary if one is to live,” Dr. Somé writes in Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community.

“To say that ritual is needed in the industrialized world is an understatement. We have seen in my own people that it is probably impossible to live a sane life without it”

Dr. Somé did not feel that the rituals from his traditional village could simply be transferred to the west, so over his years of shamanic work here, he has designed rituals that meet the very different needs of this culture. Although the rituals change according to the individual or the group involved, he finds that there is a need for certain rituals in general.

One of these involves helping people discover that their distress is coming from the fact that they are “called by beings from the other world to cooperate with them in doing healing work.” Ritual allows them to move out of the distress and accept that calling.

Another ritual need relates to initiation. In Indigenous cultures all over the world, young people are initiated into adulthood when they reach a certain age. The lack of such initiation in the west is part of the crisis that people are in here, says Dr. Somé. He urges communities to bring together “the creative juices of people who have had this kind of experience, in an attempt to come up with some kind of an alternative ritual that would at least begin to put a dent in this kind of crisis.”

Another ritual that repeatedly speaks to the needs of those coming to him for help entails making a bonfire, and then putting into the bonfire “items that are symbolic of issues carried inside the individuals… It might be the issues of anger  and frustration against an ancestor who has left a legacy of murder and enslavement or anything, things that the descendant has to live with,” he explains.

“If these are approached as things that are blocking the human imagination, the person’s life purpose, and even the person’s view of life as something that can improve, then it makes sense to begin thinking in terms of how to turn that blockage into a roadway that can lead to something more creative and more fulfilling.”

The example of issues with ancestors touches on rituals designed by Dr. Somé that address a serious dysfunction in Western society and in the process ‘trigger enlightenment’ in participants. These are ancestral rituals, and the dysfunction they are aimed at is the mass turning-of-the-back on ancestors. Some of the spirits trying to come through, as described earlier, may be “ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they weren’t able to do while in their physical body.”

“Unless the relationship between the living and the dead is in balance, chaos ensues,” Dr. Somé says.

 

“The Dagara believe that, if such an imbalance exists, it is the duty of the living to heal their ancestors. If these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy  will haunt the souls and psyches of those who are responsible for helping them.”

 

The rituals focus on healing the relationship with our ancestors, both specific issues of an individual ancestor and the larger cultural issues contained in our past. Dr. Somé has seen extraordinary healing occur at these rituals.

Taking a sacred ritual approach to mental illness, rather than regarding the person as a pathological case, gives the person affected–and indeed the community at large–the opportunity to begin looking at it from that vantage point too, which leads to “a whole plethora of opportunities and ritual initiative that can be very, very beneficial to everyone present,” states Dr. Somé.

 

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Bi-polar of Shizophrenic

bipolar

What are signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder and of schizophrenia?

 

To qualify for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a person must experience at least one manic episode. Symptoms of mania include

 

elevated, expansive, or irritable mood;

racing thoughts;

pressured speech (rapid, excessive, and frenzied speaking);

decreased need for sleep;

grandiose ideas (for example, false beliefs of superiority or failures);

tangential speech (repeatedly changing topics to topics that are hardly related);

restlessness/increased goal-directed activity; and

impulsivity, poor judgment, or engaging in risky activity (like spending sprees, promiscuity, or excess desire for sex).

While a major depressive episode is not required for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, depression often alternates with manic episodes and tends to occur more often than mania in many people.

 

Symptoms of schizophrenia may include

 

delusions (beliefs not at all based in reality),

hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting something that is not really there),

catatonia,

negative symptoms, like not talking (mutism, low motivation, and movement), and

disorganized speech or behavior.

 

What tests do health care professionals use to diagnose bipolar disorder and schizophrenia?

Since there is no one test that determines that someone has bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, health care professionals diagnose these conditions by gathering medical, family, and mental health information. The mental health professional will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual’s primary care doctor do so, including lab tests to assess the person’s general health and whether he or she has mental health symptoms that are due to a physical condition.

 

 

What are treatments and medications for bipolar disorder and for schizophrenia?

 

People with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia can expect their mental health professionals to consider several interventions, including medications, psychotherapies, and lifestyle advice. Medication treatment of bipolar disorder tends to address relieving already existing symptoms of the illness and preventing symptoms from returning. For schizophrenia, medications have been found to be effective in treating the positive symptoms (for example, delusions or hallucinations).

 

Antipsychotic medications that treat the positive symptoms of schizophrenia and the manic and mixed symptoms of bipolar disorder include olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), ziprasidone (Geodon), aripiprazole (Abilify), paliperidone (Invega), asenapine (Saphris), iloperidone (Fanapt), lurasidone (Latuda), and brexpiprazole (Rexulti). Older medications, like haloperidol (Haldol), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), and thioridazine (Mellaril), are more likely to cause muscular side effects, rarely one that can be permanent.

 

Mood stabilizers like lithium (Lithobid) and antiseizure (anticonvulsant) medications like divalproex (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR), and lamotrigine (Lamictal) treat active manic or mixed symptoms and those symptoms from returning. Antidepressants are the primary medical treatment for the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder. Antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), vortioxetine (Trintellix), and vilazodone (Viibryd); serotonergic/adrenergic medications (SNRIs) like venlafaxine (Effexor), duloxetine (Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima), as well as bupropion (Wellbutrin), a dopaminergic antidepressant.

 

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can treat people whose symptoms of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are severe and have inadequately responded to psychotherapies and a number of medication trials. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can treat resistant depression, as well.

 

Talk therapy (psychotherapy) is an important part of helping individuals living with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia achieve the highest level of functioning possible by improving ways of coping with the illness. Assertive community treatment (ACT) involves members of the treatment team having daily meetings with the schizophrenia sufferer in community settings (for example, at home, work, or otherwise in the community) rather than just in an office or hospital.

 

What is the prognosis of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia?

Bipolar disorder sufferers tend to have mood problems up to 60% of the time but can be helped with psychotherapy and medication. Schizophrenia has a more difficult course, less so with treatment. People with either condition are at risk for developing medical problems, other mental health disorders, taking their own life, or otherwise dying younger.

 

 

 

 

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Get UP for Pulled Muscles and Sprains

pulledmuscle

 

Get up for Pulled Muscles and Sprains

 

If you’ve really injured yourself (with shin splints, a pulled muscle, or a sprain, for example), you need downtime to heal; otherwise it’s important to keep moving.

 

“Activating a sore muscle is better than resting it,” says Stephen P. Sayers, PhD, an assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of Missouri Columbia. ”

 

Getting the blood flowing to those muscles will reduce inflammation and help them heal.

 

Choose a less strenuous exercise to do for a few days; then gradually work your way back up to a harder routine.”

 

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One Patients RA Treatment. Did it Work?

RA

 

Sarah’s RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis )  Treatment

 

When I first saw Sarah, we discussed her diet, and I suggested there might be a genetic influence involved as she’s Scottish-Irish. Many of her family members also had autoimmune problems, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Her genetic background suggested she may have an intolerance of wheat and gluten.

“You said I should eliminate that out of my diet as well as processed foods and sugar. You also did a metabolic typing. I did a very thorough questionnaire about how I metabolize food, about my energy levels, and about the stress in my life.

 

Along with my blood type, I was given a very special protocol of which foods would help me heal… I did a lot of vegetable juicing, which really helped me. I juiced probably 48 ounces a day of green juice.

 

I also ate a lot of organic grass-fed beef, ostrich, bison, free-range chicken and raw dairy. You even recommended raw eggs and raw egg yolks. Because I was in Wisconsin, I found an organic farm close to me. I got most of my meat, raw milk and my eggs from there. I bought all my fresh vegetables from local farmers markets. I got to know area farmers and learn about their farming practices.

 

I would buy a variety of vegetables and meats from them because I knew how they grew their food and raised their animals. I even used to meet the ostrich farmer in a parking lot across from the co-op where she used to sell her meats and buy it direct at a lower price. I also incorporated a lot of probiotics in my diet, and increased my vitamin D levels. Instead of suppressing my immune system with drugs to control my disease, I was using food to redesign my immune system and make it as strong as possible.

 

Apart from diet, the other important issue you advised me to address was the level of stress in my life. At that time, I was a teacher, new and passionate about the field. I worked very long hours, beyond what was healthy. Additionally, I dedicated several hours per week to triathlon training, and had some emotional stress in my life is well.

 

You, emphasized how stress and emotions impact immunity and now that I am studying Eastern medicine I have learned it is one of the primary causes of disease. I still question whether it was the amount of work and stress in my life which triggered the onset of my disease.

 

I cut back on the amount I was working and doing, and made more time for rest and enjoyment. You, also taught me Emotional Freedom Technique, a method of tapping along traditional energetic acupuncture meridians to help relieve emotional issues. I began incorporating EFT into my daily life, which was a simple and time-effective method to help me better deal with everyday stress and anxiety.

 

The Importance of Vitamin D

 

Vitamin D is a really important component. It stimulates 200 to 300 anti-microbial peptides that are even more powerful than antibiotics, which help improve and regulate your immune system and fight infections. Sarah, as many others with RA, noticed her symptoms were at their worst during the winter, and would often dissipate during the summer. This is what you call a giant clue that vitamin D is at work…

 

Invariably, unless you’re aggressively addressing your vitamin D level with sun exposure or supplementation, your blood levels of vitamin D will drop to dangerously low levels sometime in January, February, or March, when sun exposure is at its lowest. Optimizing your vitamin D is extremely important.

Essentially, if you’re using a supplement, you need to take whatever dosage is required to reach and maintain a therapeutic level, which can only be done by a healthcare worker that understands this.

Nourishing your gut microbiome is another important component. In addition to eating more fermented foods, it’s equally important to cut out sugar from your diet as it will feed pathogenic microbes and decimate your immune system, leaving you susceptible to autoimmune diseases of all kinds.

“I learned how to ferment my own vegetables and dairy products. I made my own kombucha, yogurt, cultured butters, milk kefir and coconut kefir. It took almost two years to get my system in balance, but right away, I noticed a difference.

In about two weeks my cravings for wheat, breads, and sugar diminished… My healthcare worker also told me that I had leaky gut and digestive proteins in my bloodstream.

 

I talked to my healthcare team, and after three months after being very strict with the diet. I felt better; I’d lost about 10 pounds. I had so much more energy and felt lighter. But when they did my analysis and showed me was — that I had completely changed — that’s when I really believed that food was medicine…

 

I was able to resume my regular activities… I was able to return to racing. That year, after following your protocol for about a year, I actually won an entire triathlon… So I went from being told I’d never run again to winning a race. Slowly, slowly the symptoms diminished. After two years of being very strict [with my diet], my symptoms went to complete remission, and they’ve stayed that way. It’s been over 10 years.

 

I still work out. Right now, I train Brazilian capoeira, which incorporates martial arts, dance, and acrobatics. I’m still able to do gymnastics. I can still do back flips at age 43. I still run occasionally. I still swim and bike. I do yoga and cross-country skiing when I’m in the north. So, I’m very active and very healthy. In fact, I feel that by you helping me, it really extended my life. I feel much younger than my age.”

 

I just want to wish Sarah the best, and her testimony we hope is helpful for others.

 

Sarah did go through more steps than she had wrote about, but

There IS Hope for RA Patients!

 

 

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Diverticulitis: Prevention and Treatment

diverticulitis

Diverticulitis Prevention: Can You Avoid This Illness?

 

The best strategy to prevent diverticulitis is to consume a diet with high amounts of fiber. Adequate amounts of fiber in your stool can help prevent constipation, allowing waste to move easily and preventing you from putting pressure on the colon during bowel movements.

 

Dietary fiber also fuels beneficial bacteria to produce compounds that help regulate your immune function.There are two kinds of fiber in foods, namely soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material that makes stools softer and larger, so they can be passed easily through the intestine.

 

Meanwhile, insoluble fiber absorbs water and adds bulk to stool, which helps move waste through the digestive system. You can get both soluble and insoluble fiber from plant-based foods. To ensure that you’re getting equal amounts of both, you should add a wide variety of fiber-rich foods in your meals.

 

For example you can take organic psyllium. It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and not only promotes healthy digestion, but also heart health, weight control, blood sugar support, and more.

 

Just three servings of psyllium per day can give you as much as 18 grams of dietary fiber, bringing you closer to the recommended minimum of 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed.

 

Have a health professional go over your vitamins and supplement intake first before you add anything to it.  Taking psyllium along with other supplements can cause you must distress.

 

Physicians have previously recommended diverticulitis patients to avoid eating nuts, seeds, and popcorn, as they believe these can get lodged in the pouches and cause or worsen the infection.

 

However, modern research1 found that there’s no evidence linking these foods with diverticular disease, and therefore may be safe to eat.2 Other ways to help prevent diverticulitis – or diverticular disease in general – include:3

 

  • Avoid overconsumption of red meat.

 

  • Avoid foods loaded with unhealthy fats, as they may lead to intestinal blockage and worsen diverticulitis symptoms.

 

  • Get enough regular exercise.

 

  • Drink plenty of liquids, ideally pure clear water. This is especially important if you are consuming a high-fiber diet. Without enough fluids, the fiber will only add bulk to the stool and will not soften it, which may lead to constipation.

 

  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

 

  • Quit smoking. Smokers have a higher risk of complications from diverticulitis.

 

  • Do not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as they have been linked to diverticular bleeding.

 

  • Reduce your caffeine intake. Some people think that drinking coffee can help their stools to pass, but this is actually a wrong approach. Caffeine is a diuretic that can lead you to lose water in your body, causing stools to harden. Excessive caffeine may also cause your colon muscles to contract, preventing stool from passing through smoothly.4

 

  • Do not delay your bowel movements. This can harden stools and increase the strain on your colon muscles, which can then lead to diverticular disease. You should be having three bowel movements per day to keep a healthy colon.

 

 

 

 

Diverticulitis Diet: Foods to Eat and What to Avoid

 

If you have a mild case of diverticulitis, your physician will likely prescribe a specific diet as part of your treatment plan. While it may not completely treat the illness, it can give your digestive system a chance to “rest,” so that it can recover from the infection.

 

Most physicians will recommend that you consume a high-fiber diet. Fiber softens your stools, allowing them to pass through your intestines and colon more quickly and easily. Some of the best fiber-rich foods include:1, 2

 

  • Vegetables (artichokes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, peas, and broccoli) and vegetable juices

 

  • Fruits, including raspberries, blackberries, pears, apples, and avocados

 

  • Potatoes

 

  • Legumes, such as navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, and split peas

 

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur

 

But in severe diverticulitis cases, switching to a high-fiber diet too soon may not be effective, and may only worsen the symptoms. Instead, your physician will likely recommend a clear liquid diet first.3

 

Liquids You Can Take for Diverticulitis

 

Start by eating homemade bone broth, made from lamb, beef, chicken, or fish, and with some cooked vegetables and meat. This will help heal leaky gut syndrome, boost your immune system, and heal the digestive tract.4

 

Bone broth provides you with easily digestible nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur. The gelatinous collagen in bone broth also has amazing curative properties. It is a hydrophilic colloid that attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, hence supporting proper digestion.

 

Aside from pure and clear water, Ginger tea is another soothing drink that you should add to your diet. Sip on warm ginger tea two to three times daily, as it will help reduce inflammation and aid in digestion. This healing food works wonders on your immune and digestive systems.

 

Other Recommended Foods for Diverticulitis

 

Once your diverticulitis symptoms have lessened, you can move on to consuming easily digestible foods, ideally grated, steamed, and pureed fruits and vegetables. Avoid those that have tough skins and small seeds that may accumulate in the diverticula sacs. Some of the best choices are carrots, beets, grapes, apples, lettuce, and watercress. You can juice them, but leave out the fibrous areas until your body has adjusted to them.

 

When you feel better, you can start to add fiber-rich foods, including raw fruits and vegetables and unrefined grains, such as fermented grains, black rice, quinoa, and sprouted lentils, to your diet.

 

Remember that digestion starts in the mouth, so make it a habit to chew each bite of your food thoroughly, or until it is nearly liquefied. The more you break down the food before it goes to your stomach, the more readily absorbed the nutrients become.5

 

Food plays a great role in how you manage diverticulitis, so remember to discuss your diet needs and restrictions with your physician. Write down your questions, and make sure that you clarify which foods are safe and which ones are not. You can also ask for a referral to a nutrition specialist who can help you come up with a well-balanced meal plan to alleviate your condition.6

 

IF you have any questions or concerns about prevention of this disease or any disease please call us.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

How to Cure a Cold

saltwater

 

Cure A Cold With Saltwater

 

Got a cold?  Gargling with saltwater can soothe away symptoms like a sore throat and sniffles, reducing the odds of that cold turning into an upper respiratory infection by  40%.

 

Gargling removes microscopic viruses from your throat and airways, which is key for keeping them from triggering a serious illness, researchers explain.  At the same time, gargling with saltwater loosens mucous and soothes irritated throat tissues, so you feel better faster.

 

ALSO:  Be Kind Too!

Simple acts of kindness, like running an errand for a homebound neighbor, makes your immune system more robust, a study from Bishop’s University in Canada reveals.  Acting with compassion releases a cascade of protective hormones and immunity improving chemical messengers the study authors say.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.  Call us if you are having problems with reoccurring respiratory infections, or any healthcare concern.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived:  P. Carrothers

312-972-WELL

Health and Disease

Congestion Relief

clementins

Congestion Reliever

Cold season is here, buy you can minimize sniffling and stuffiness with clementines.

A USDA study found that this easy to peel fruit is packed with synephrine, a natual

Antihistamine that reduces nose and throat inflammation and slows the production of mucus.

Great ideas:  Add Clementine segments into your favorite chicken or beef stir-fry dishes.

Also: Toss peeled and thinly sliced clementines, chopped carrots, and chopped parsnips with coconut oil, then roast in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-WELL