If We Are Not Growing, We Are Dying

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I was stuck in a rut not so long ago. Lost is a better term for it, depression is the most widely used term that is associated with stunt in our growth. 

How do we feel when we are NOT growing? How do we feel when we are not nourished and our needs are not met? We feel helpless, we see no hope only darkness, and we usually blame others for our circumstance. We delve on things that are not in our present moment. We sightsee in hell. The voices inside our heads telling us we won’t make it is louder than the voice of that wants to make it. And so on. 

I was heavy on the self-judgement side of things that it clouded my perception so heavily and I soon started forgetting I have priorities that need prioritizing and I have dreams that need actualizing.

“Worry is a misuse of our imagination.”

-Dan Zadra

It took recognizing the ownership of my own feelings and actions for me to realize that I am responsible it. We create thoughts which are manifested by our consciousness (a.k.a the intelligence that lives within all of us) and if you believe it, it’s highly likely that they get translated into our reality. And that is why we need to recognize within ourselves the  thoughts that are real, the thoughts that aren’t real, and what thoughts are healthy for us. 

 

Example of unhealthy thoughts: “I’m never gonna afford a house.” ; “All of this sucks.” ; “My coworkers are idiots.” ; “My partner doesn’t see me.”

 

Example of healthy thoughts: “I love how I can set goals and be proactive about it.” ; “I am hungry, what should I cook?” ; “Maybe Gina is having a rough day. I wonder if I should ask her to go for a short walk with me?”  ; “I appreciate how my partner shows up for me when I need him / her the most.” 

 

It helps to write down ill feelings so they don’t live inside us. There is an exercise that I learned from a book called Clarity Cleanse by Dr. Habib Sadeghi that is called Purge Emotional Writing 12 or PEW 12. This is basically a writing exercise where you don’t judge what you write, and you write for 12 minutes (I set a timer) whatever is bothering you, your soul, your thoughts, or any clutter that might hinder you from loving your life and your productivity for the day. And the best part is you don’t read what you write, you crumple it, throw it away, or burn it. I like burning mine.

 

Learning to unclog our heads and our hearts truly help in letting some new energy flow inside of us. 

“Every moment is an opportunity to grow.” 

Who is the thinker? Who is the doer? the answer simply is YOU. You have all the power to steer your whole being in whichever direction you want it to go. 

I saw some similarities on how I can better take care of myself the same time I was learning how to garden and take care of my plants last year.

What I learned is that we are the gardener of our own being. A good gardener sets his / her grow up for success so the plants can thrive and produce well. A gardener watches out for pests and gets rid of them so the plants don’t suffer and die. 

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Everyday we learn something new about ourselves and how we can continue to thrive in a world and a culture that sometimes fill us with doubt. The key to avoiding permeability, is to ignore the rest of the chatter and do our own thing. 

Do more of what makes you happy.”

WHAT WE NEED TO GROW (because we are full of life).

  • Room to Grow. The first thing we need is space. We thrive when we give ourselves enough room to grow, for our roots to go deeper, for our branches (relationships, work, interests) to extend and stretch and grow healthy leaves. So continue to clear your physiological (outer) and psychological (inner) space. It makes my work easy to manage when I have a clear head. I work from home and I notice when our home has less clutter, I can think better, I work better, and get satisfaction with my output. 

 

  • Nourishment. Eat well by finding what your body likes, and what it doesn’t like. When I was younger, I usually ask, “what’s good to eat?” now that I’m a little older and can feel my body more, I added an evaluation process before I put something in my body and ask, “what’s good for me to eat?” As we grow and change, our needs change as well. So always keep a listening ear to your inner voice and how your body feels. 

 

  • Proper Care. Apart from nourishment, we need a good amount “shut down” time. We are thinkers and doers and all that can be exhausting. So know when to take a rest. After all we cannot do our best when we are tired as hell. I find that creating simple hacks for our day to day helps add manageability amidst the craziness. I am learning to plan our meals when I know it will be a busy week for both my husband and I. 

 

  • Accountability. What are we truly responsible for? Who are we when we show up to ourselves? Who are we when we show up to others? Who are we when we show up to our community? I feel good when I take care of my own needs, and I feel even better knowing that I am doing my best to take care of my family’s needs. 

 

  • Creating opportunities for ourselves. Daydreaming is a healthy way of exercising our thoughts. And when we dream good things for ourselves and for our family and friends, we breathe in and invite the good energy. We take more actions towards self-actualization than we procrastinate. Because truly, if it hasn’t happened yet, we can make it happen and we can take steps towards our goals. 

 

  • Some opportunities disguise themselves as failures. Growth comes in many forms. So don’t take failures too hard because what it really is is another opportunity for us to grow. We bounce back and we try harder. Because we can. 

 

  • Openness. Being open is setting aside our fears and embracing and appreciating our vulnerabilities. Being open brings us blessings that can change our life in an instant. There are words that I come across everyday that I will remember for the rest of my life, from books, from a friend, from my husband, etc. There are people that have come and gone in my life that have made a huge impact on the way I see some things to date. The idea of being open has taught me how to tame the part of me that was judging and rigid. 

 

  • Self-love. This is perhaps the biggest and most important factor I can attribute to in jumpstarting my stunted growth. Self-love is listening to our voice that wants to love ourselves and treat ourselves so very kindly. Self-love has to power to heal the damage of our early years and it will protect us from further suffering and damage.  Self-love is treating yourself with a kind inner voice, with forgiveness, and compassion. Self-love is having the courage to stand up for yourself. Self-love is sharing the love you have for yourself with the people you love, your creatures, and your environment.

 

  • Movement. The importance of adding exercise to your routine is as important as feeding our body the right nourishment that it needs. Movement connects our inner self to our outer self. when you create movement in our body it is as though these two are dancing together in unison, celebrating YOU. Exercising releases a happy hormone a.k.a endorphins that make us feel really good about our life.  I think about it as though I am ‘cleaning house’ because it feels really good internally afterwards. There is a moment of stillness that comes after a long walk, or a workout session. I love that. 

 

  • Surround yourself and your space with beauty. Our environment is key in helping us thrive. This is one of the aspects in our lives that is often overlooked but is actually really important in our health and our growth. Whatever beauty means for you, I hope you surround yourself with it. 

 

  • Interests. Our brains love healthy interests. Curiosity can give us hours and hours of brain and physical activity. My work (for a living) interests me, and I have other interests outside of work. Sometimes a day is not enough to cover everything I want to learn because I have responsibilities outside all of this too. This gets me so excited to wake up the next day and pick up right where I left of.

 

Keeping the mind, body, and heart clean, healthy and alive will keep us growing and thriving. I wish you a happy day ahead! and happy growing! 🙂

REVITALIZING the Body Doing KETOGENIC and PALEO DIET

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I’ve been on several diets since my 20’s. It’s been 8 years of diving into the world of food and nutrition through self study and research on reliable materials I can find online, in print, and the physical results I’ve gotten from trying these diets.

I’ve tried the vegetarian diet, the vegan diet, the raw food diet, the body ecology diet, the paleo diet, and the ketogenic diet. I read, find recipes, and prepare the food that’s within the umbrella of the certain diet, and stick to it for as long as I can…and for as long as it feels right and it feels good to my body. I have certainly pushed it at times. What I have learned is that my body cannot sustain being boxed in on certain diets that don’t include meat for a long period of time.

Only the our body can tell us the pros and cons of being on a certain diet and eating with restrictions because our bodies respond differently to different foods and food groups. And although this is said so many times by health bloggers and health articles, I cannot stress this enough: it is important to find what works best for YOU.

Developing a curiosity for this has been my saving grace in discovering what it is that makes my body thrive–food & nutrition wise. I have had lung issues that required so many antibiotics at a time and skin issues that I’ve lived with pretty much my whole life. Until I saw a glimmer of light in this dark path I’ve been on. 

If you are feeling like you need to create the change, I invite you to dive in. You will not be disappointed. It will take time, but take all the time you need to do your research and find a good reliable source of ingredients for your home cooking, and most importantly, do take time to get acquainted with your body and learn how to listen to it when it tells you what it needs. This is a life long learning process because our bodies change as we get older and our needs change along with it. 

I used to think that the weighing scale and tape measurements are the tellers if I’m on the right track. I was wrong. The true teller whether we are doing right by our body is the way we feel. 

Questions I ask myself to check in on how I’m doing…

  1. Do I feel strong doing this?
  2. Is my energy level good?
  3. How does my belly feel after eating this?
  4. How does my skin feel after eating this?
  5. How often do I get sick? (this is a teller on how well my immune system works, I used to get sick a lot when I didn’t have meat in my diet)

Out of all these diets that I’ve been on, I found that the Paleo and Ketogenic are the ones that worked for my body. So I’ve been doing both, having their principles meet in the middle and avoiding sweets and processed foods altogether.

The Paleo Diet a.k.a. The Caveman Diet

I first heard about this through my husband who by the way has been battling with an auto-immune disease called Psoriatic Arthritis for 10 years now, and winning by eating good and wholesome foods coupled with his bi-monthly medication that suppresses this active disease.

We bond on food & nutrition and he is the one who introduced me to the work of Mark Sisson. 

I am a fan of Mark Sisson for the reason that his philosophies and ideas that he proposes about how a human body thrives makes sense to me. He is the author of the following  books: Primal Blueprint, Primal Endurance, The Primal Connection, The Keto Reset Diet, and cookbooks accompanying these textbooks.

For the first time in my life, I have a clear understanding of what processed foods are and how frequently I have them in my meals. The truth is our food market here in the United States is deeply saturated in highly processed, high-fructose ingredients. When I was first learning about this, I took my time to re-evaluate my grocery shopping list and I would read the ingredients of every packaged goods that I buy and their nutrition facts. This helps an individual in  getting acquainted with the good and the bad in the food industry. If I don’t understand it, I don’t buy it. I consider them as laboratory created food as opposed to whole foods that are direct from farms like vegetables and animal products that does not need a label on them because you know exactly what it is already.

For example, at the market you will see that:

Produce is produce;

Meat is meat;

Fish is fish;

Poultry is poultry;

A Cookie consists of: unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour,niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin b1}, riboflavin {vitamin b2}, folic acid), semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, dextrose, soy lecithin), sugar, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated cotton seed oil, high fructose corn syrup, leavening ( baking soda and /or ammonium phosphate), salt, whey (from milk ), natural and artificial flavor, caramel color. Ingredients of chips ahoy.

Etc. 

You get what I’m saying when buying packaged goods? It has way too many questionable ingredients that can cause health issues later on down the road because most of us are sensitive and we don’t know it until we start paying attention, or worse, a physician tells us that one or more of our organs are not functioning the way it should.

Anything that has a chemical preservative is bad news. They contain allergens that are known to be harmful to us both short term and long term. 

This is what the Paleo approach looks like (focus on the pyramid):

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SOURCE URL: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-primal-blueprint-21-day-challenge-infographic/

 

The Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic Diet is when your body uses fat for fuel. We cook our food in good, clean fats (ghee, olive oil, tallow, avocado oil). While other’s who are doing a ketogenic diet include cheese, butter, and state of the art fats like MCT oil, I stick to my own version of keto, I eat meat and only vegetables that grow above ground.

We like to keep our meals simple and we enjoy tasting the freshness of our bounty by not adding seasonings and flavors that will mask them. For seasoning, I stick to sea salt, pepper, fresh garlic, lemon or lime, and whatever herbs we have growing in our garden. 

Protein Source:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Chicken (occasional)
  • Eggs (ocassional)

Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals, and Fiber:

  • Romain 
  • Brocolli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Aragula

Probiotic:

  • Fermented Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

Fruits:

  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Berries (occasional)

Keto and Paleo seems like my best bet in achieving longevity. Although they have differences, they have a similar goal of healing the body through food.

On my future blog articles, I will talk more about good fats and bad fats, the whats and the whys. 

I used to feel like a victim spinning out of control. I find that the key is knowing that we can gain control in this food industry that is so out of control. We just have to seek it and take charge of the things we want to change in our lives. We hold on to the good, and we ditch the bad that is not serving us for the better. Since changing the way I eat, my body has felt so much better, I feel more up to the tasks I’m given, I haven’t been sick for a long time, I haven’t had any episode of Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH), I am hooked to exercising, I feel strong and there is peacefulness and an overall happiness in my well being for the first time in my life. 

Eliminating Sugar, Starch, and Gluten From my Diet

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To say that I do not like seeing a dentist is an understatement. So last year when I felt my wisdom tooth started growing again (yep, they do grow in spurts!) and it hurt so terribly this time around, I knew that I’ve been having way too much sugar and starch in my diet. I decided to go cold turkey on sugar and all food item & ingredients in our pantry that turns into sugar when consumed

That includes (but not limited to):

  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Whole Grains
  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Xylitol
  • Stevia
  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Fruits containing high-fructose
  • Beans

Initially, I planned on going back to eating my treats once my tooth and gum ache went away. Because why not when there are so many good looking recipes on the internet to try and the whiff of baked goods at the market brings back wonderful memories of childhood…

But when my tooth and gum ache healed, I found myself unwilling to incorporate sweets, starch, and gluten items back to my diet. Why? I was astonished with the results of cutting them out!

Not only did my tooth and gum ache went away, to my surprise, there were more improvements to my well being that came along with it.

Improved Oral Health

My wisdom tooth is now growing in peace, no more pain or gum ache. My teeth feels stronger and porcelain like because there are no starch clinging on to it even after brushing them.

Facial Complexion has Improved

The tiny bumps on my face that I’ve had since entering adolescence have dramatically gone away. I used to think it’s genetics and that I have inherited a bumpy facial complexion when in fact, it was all about the way I eat and what I am eating.

It Cured my Dermatitis Herpetiformis

I have what is called Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) which is an itchy, blistering, burning skin rash and can be difficult to live with, especially when the breakout happens, and especially when I don’t know what triggered the breakout in the first place. I feel powerless when a breakout happens. I would break out on my knees, elbows, hairline, and scalp and it hurts not to scratch the itch. And it hurts even more after I scratch it and I see the damage that it’s done. The breakouts can transfer from one part of the body to another. The longest breakout I’ve had to deal with was on my scalp and hairline at the back of my head where it stayed on from 2008 to 2011, during that time I couldn’t wear a pony tail or a top bun.

So when I completely eliminated starch and gluten from my diet, I have had zero episode of a break out. I couldn’t be happier because for so many years, this has been a burden to me.

Better Energy

“But how will you have energy if you don’t eat sugar in your diet?” This is a frequently asked question by family and friends when I tell them I’ve eliminated sugar from my diet. I was raised in a country where rice is a staple in every meal–breakfast, lunch and dinner have a big serving rice, little protein, and a side of vegetables. Philippines is also abundant in tropical fruits that contain a high amount of sugar. We always have banana and mangoes in our home and I’ve enjoyed them immensely because they give me a caffeine like buzz and I will crash hard once the effect wears off…I either drift off to the dreamland or I pretend I can go on reading a book only to find myself reading the same sentence over and over.

So after eliminating rice, fruits and sugar from my diet, I no longer feel the “crash” that occurs when I was on a high-fructose, high-carb diet. I incorporate good fats with my daily meals as a source of energy.

Better Emotional Health

To say that I do not experience any mood swing after switching to a no sugar diet is BS because I still do–but now, only before my monthly cycle starts. It still happens, but its very limited.

No More Bloated Mornings

I have better mornings now that I am not waking up feeling very heavy physically and mentally.

Leg Soreness and Cramping have Subsided

For the longest time, my legs have bothered me especially in the evenings. They would feel very heavy by the end of the day and only an hour long massage alleviated half the pain that I was feeling. So to my surprise, my legs no longer feel painful and I no longer experience cramping.

If I have Bad Bacteria Living in my Gut…

I am determined to live a healthy lifestyle now that I am awake to my body and realize how much of this world there is to live for. Sugar feeds the bad bacteria in our body, so if I have them, they sure are starving right now. And when something starves, I’d like to believe they just die.

Weight Loss

My weight have fluctuated for most of my life and I see now how it is hugely related to these two constant factors: physical environment and emotional state. Before my curiosity about health and food came about, I was eating anything and everything under the sun. I would try the latest crazed diet even when my body told me and showed me symptoms that I shouldn’t. When we travelled for 6 months, I did not bother taking care of my body. I would just eat what is readily available at the stores and at restaurants. This was troublesome for me. I gained so much weight in 2016 and 2017.

Eliminating grains, starches, sugar, and gluten from the diet reduces the amount of calories I consume on a daily basis–this naturally forces the body to use the fat on our midsection as the source of energy (that’s why I eat good fats so I can keep supplying my body with good, stable source of energy).

Aversion To Sweets

One of the ‘side effects’ of eliminating these food groups / ingredients is that I cannot stand the taste of sweetness. So I avoid anything that has a trace of sweet to it.

Cutting out the food groups and ingredients that caused suffering to my body and mind is  by far the most life changing experience that I have ever done. So what do I eat? I am mostly doing a ketogenic diet (meat, fish, and only vegetables that grow above ground). I will talk more about the food groups under ketogenic diet on the next blog article. 🙂