Replace with healing foods and supplements. Replacing the digestive aids that have been depleted. Replace means to add back the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and other necessary factors that the body, mind and spirit have been missing. In order for our bodies to digest properly and fuel that digestive fire, we need certain enzymes like hydrochloric acid (HCl) and bile. When we eat a diet full of processed foods, simple carbs, fast and fried we deplete the body of these essential enzymes. Add to that medications, stress, disease and sedentary lifestyles and these necessary components are compromised even more.
This is the step that involves helping get your digestive fire back into an optimal balance, so the rest of your body and mind can do its thing in a healthy manner. Like everything else in health and medicine, there is no one size fits all. The degree of your enzyme and nutrient depletion will dictate what you need to replenish. Sometimes just adding in a supplement HCl or another digestive enzyme. I often have my patients drink the juice of a half a lemon or a teaspoon apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. In practice, I have added 1 drop of therapeutic grade lemon essential oil in a cup of water with immediate relief of indigestion and reflux. Also, replacing your daily coffee for a trial with herb-infused green tea is another way to help heal your gut.
This is the step I would recommended talking to a professional about. A nutritionist, functional dietician, naturopath, functional medicine or integrative medicine practitioner, herbalist or a health coach can help guide you in the right direction.
For the replace mentally and emotionally, I mean replacing the thoughts and words you use to inform your day, if they don’t serve you. Creating mantras and affirmations is beneficial in this part of the healing process. The brain creates reality through the familiar. If you start to change your thoughts and your words to something positive, eventually that will become the brains go-to pattern and habit.
Baby Steps: For this, I am going to focus on replacing your thoughts. This has the biggest impact on your overall health, as thoughts become reality. Two books I would recommend on this subject regarding thoughts and health are Mind Over Medicine and Into The Magic Shop. Retraining your brain to think and feel healthy thoughts, ideas and words eventually becomes your reality. Simply by refocusing on “I am healthy” despite how many diagnoses you may have begins to shift your physiology in a healthier direction. If you want to eat healthier, make that your mantra “I eat more vegetables and fruits”. If you want to quit soda, make “I love water” your mantra. Little shifts for big changes is really powerful in the long-run.
Food: Discussed above.
Movement: Replace your sitting with movement, in whatever form that is to you. Whether you replace your desk with a standing one or you get out of bed 15-minutes earlier to walk outside, make sure you replace your lack of movement with increased movement. Don’t just jump into using a standing desk all day, you can get swelling to your ankles with this radical change. Take a few hours a day to make the transition easier on your body. You can also replace taking the elevator with the stairs or parking the car away from the front door and taking a sweet walk before and after work. You can even replace lounging tv time with one or five minutes of marching in place. Just make sure you move. Humans are built to be active, do exercise, to move around, walk, run, get blood pumping and sweat going. So just MOVE!!
Meditation: Discussed above. Mantra can be part of mediation as well. In those moments of mindfulness, we’re able to calm the brain and body.
Sleep: Replace your nightly tech-heavy routine with a dose of real- life socializing and decompressing. Replace the nightly ritual of watching the news with your favorite comedy or a stand-up Netflix show. Laughter is a natural tranquilizing with no side effects and can help you sleep. We get enough stimulation on the negative side throughout the day, why not try to replace those experiences with something good and happy and funny? Whatever you decide to replace your technology with at night, just make sure it leaves you feeling well and good without eliciting FOMO or jealousy. Also, replacing your computer with Flux which adapts your computer screen with the time of day is a really easy first step.
Play: Replace sofa time with play time. If you have kids, turn off the tv and have some good old fashioned play. If you don’t have kids, chase your loved ones or furry animal around the house. It may sound silly, but even just a few minutes of play can have a lasting effect on your heart and mind. I’m also a big fan of pranks. We take ourselves too seriously these days and I recommend taking yourself out of the robot mode and have a little fun. When my dad was in his manic phase of his disease he was a total handful, we had to follow him everywhere and make sure he wasn’t going to hurt himself or others. Then he took my t-shirt, which is tight on me and put it on. After a few nights of very little sleep, lots of stress and constant worrying, we just laughed hysterically as his slightly atrophied muscles bulged through the shirt and he caused a little rip in the sleeves. Play, darnit!! There is an institute and a medical journal based on this exact subject, so the research is clear! Replace your seriousness with a little play and your life will be better, I promise.
Community: Social isolation and loneliness should be treated like a chronic disease. There is an epidemic of loneliness that affects 60 million people in America alone. We don’t have to be lonely, we choose this every single day. I understand that feeling of not wanting to share myself with others or feeling like I don’t belong. I lived many years that way. But after a long 500-mile walk through Spain and living with my ailing father until his passing, I realized we need human connection in order to thrive. It doesn’t have to be a monumental task to putting yourself out there. Simply just connecting to others with a real heart-felt hug (produces oxytocin), making eye contact or sharing stories is beneficial. Attend a meet-up and set your intention to stay open will allow for you to connect as well. Everyone has someone they jive with, its part of taking control of your health to find those folks.
Thank you for being part of the Shiny Healthy People community. I’m so happy and delighted that you are on this journey with me.
Thank you for reading.