Finding answers to your health issues
Catholic Natural Health Guide for Getting Healthy
by Rita Davidson
At the start of a new year, we often want to kick start our healthy eating or weight loss. I remember growing up and there was never any other New Years resolution, except losing weight! What I’d like to accomplish with this Catholic Natural Health Guide for Getting Healthy Series, is to share a foundation of health to help you.
Many years ago now, I studied natural health for 6 years looking for answers to our own health issues, so it has always been a part of me. That foundation helped me to find a path through all the conflicting information out there to keep us healthy. I don’t have all the answers, but I want to share what has worked for us and give some basic advice that can help anyone. The biggest problem I see today is people have forgotten how to ‘think’. Much of this might be new information for you, but don’t just listen to what you hear from commercials and TV, there is a world of information below all that industry that can get you healthy and keep you that way.
So, why are you here?
Are you trying to find answers to your health issues? Do you have low energy, stomach pains, anxiety, depression, ravenous hunger, confusion, headaches, fatigue, heartburn, loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation and other more serious symtoms? Then this series is for you. Other more serious ailments may also learn from this so stick around. I pray you might find some help here to get your health back.
Why does this matter?
Why do we want to be healthy? I mean, does God really care if we are healthy? After all, if we suffer well, and offer it up it all works for good?
Yes, and no. First, of all, whatever our ailments, and suffering might be we must always offer them up as God’s will. That is for sure.
But, God also expects us to take care of ourselves. So, to take care of the bodies which He gave us which becomes a temple of the Holy Ghost during Holy Communion. So for this reason we should do all we can to keep this ‘temple’ healthy.
“Know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own ?” God’s own prescription for us to use the wisdom He gave us to take care of His temple.
For years I suffered a collection of issues, that never seemed connected. We went from vegan-ism to vegetarianism, to raw-food-ism, to where we are today. A great resource for that story and recipies is The Catholic Health Letter that we published for 7 years, and is available as a collection on our website here.
Eventually, fatigue made it harder and harder to tend to my family and this publishing apostolate. This all came to a grinding halt when December of 2010 I didn’t have the strength to peel potatoes Christmas day. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. So let me start at the beginning.
When we began our own journey of health, we realized there are some foundation basics that you need to have in place if you expect to get anything from your health journey. I had experience with my studies in natural health that we rarely needed a doctor, and often didn’t get sick and still don’t. But we still have health issues that needed tending. So, read on:
A Look at Your Health basics:
1. Start reading labels. You will be amazed at what your labels tell you. I don’t expect you to know what those ingredients are but, just to see the list of ingredients on your Salt box, will be enough to open your eyes. If you have never read labels, start with your kitchen. Just pick up stuff out of your shelf and read. Google some of the names you find. It will be an eye opener for you. And hopefully make you realize how unhealthy much of the food is that we have in our kitchens.
2. Processed foods: Now that you are reading labels. It’s time to reconsider your processed foods. Processed foods are no more than chemical concoctions made in laboratories for your consumption. More and more they are being made up of chemicals and food dyes, and other things we can’t pronounce, from companies that do not care about the health of your kids, but only their pocketbook.
If you are trying to save money on groceries this is the one place you will get double bonus points. Cut out all the canned and boxed foods (Frozen boxed too) and you will see a drop in your food bill. That means no more instant potatoes, no more hamburger helper, no more frozen pizza’s. This alone is a huge sacrifice for many families, I know we were there too. But, cooking doesn’t have to be difficult once you remove all these unnatural concoctions from your kitchen. (we’ll talk more on this in a later post).
3. Artificial sweeteners: some of you might be trembling to think of removing these. Especially those that are diabetic and those that are overweight. It might scare you when I say that artificial sweeteners are what might be keeping you overweight. For every chemical you put into your body, your body deals with it, by storing it up in body fat on your body. Just like the processed foods we looked at above, if you can’t say the name or can’t say where it was harvested from, eliminate it and don’t look back. Overweight people are especially prone to using this out of desperation to lose weight and from the guilt of carrying around extra weight. If you are overweight and reading this, my heart goes out to you, for the pain and suffering your weight has given you. For the uncharitable remarks you have heard, even from well-meaning Catholics. Keep reading this series and it will give you some eye-opening advice for your weight.
Special Note to Diabetics: I have a special affinity for you too. You see my father was insulin dependent diabetic as was his whole family. I have seen family members lose one foot then another from this disease, only to succumb to infection and lose their lives. This is a debilitating disease like none other and I pray that this series will help you too, so please read on. And please, remove the artificial sweeteners too. Which leads me to my next,
4. Sugar: Many of us are sugar addicts without knowing it. Diabetics are especially prone to being sugar addicts too. If you still eat alot of boxed foods you are getting way more sugar than you think. Look for the names of sugar in your labels, you’ll be surprised how much sugar is in processed foods.
Here are just a few names that sugar goes by on a label:
- glucose, fructose, molasses,
- corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice,
- honey, malt syrup, barley malt,
- maltose, maltodextrin, sorbitol,
- sucrose and more.
All the more reason to remove the boxed and processed foods from your kitchen.
Be aware removing sugar will leave you with cravings, so don’t give up if you fail. Sugar is a powerful addictive substance (drug?), so take it slow and remove a little bit each week.
Now that we have removed the basics from our diet let’s look at two things we need to add:
1. More water: You hear this time and time again, we need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Yes and no. Problem is with this, is some people that have certain health issues (that we’ll get into later) can upset their electrolyte balance by too much water. So, be careful how much more you drink. But do try to get in real water. What I mean is, this doesn’t count as coffee, tea, colas, milk, juice. No, I mean real plain water. Just more of it.
Did you know the majority of headaches can be healed with drinking water? For years I suffered first migraines and then sinus headaches and whenever one would come along. I would start to drink water. Not just a cup or two, but a whole bottle. Soon after this went down, I would have a bathroom call and after that my head would be clear.
Which brings me to the next benefit of water. No more constipation! Often times constipation (if you don’t have any other health issues) are caused by dehydration. Just increasing the water you drink will often resolve constipation that you have had for years.
Your going to start to see a pattern here that our gut is a really important part of your health. Many headaches are caused by dehydration and by a bowel that needs to be cleared out. That alone might be the one tip you need to stay headache and constipation free!
2. More vegetables and fruit; This is one area that I always highlighted in The Catholic Health Letter, and if your looking for spiritual topics and health recipies I highly suggest you get a copy of that.
But most people don’t realize how much better you will feel just from adding more vegetables to your dinner plate. Salads are good too, but not everyone likes salads so lightly steamed or boiled vegetables taking up half your dinner plate will help your digestion and help your bathroom trips to be much easier. Vegetables are full of fiber, and vitamins and minerals that you just can’t get from other sources. They add color to your plate and variety to your meals.
I”ll never forget the mother who came to me with a child with heartburn. I suggested to her to give the child a piece of celery after the meal. Instantly the child’s heartburn was gone and the child was so happy he thought I was a miracle worker!
Yes, if you have heartburn, just try taking a celery stick and see if your heartburn doesn’t disappear too! It works!
If vegetables are not your favourite, then add in one at a time. Just eat a little bit the first day, and a little the next day. If you have special needs children like we do, eating vegetables might be the hardest thing you get your children to do. I often make blended soups to get it into them.
Well, this is a mouthful! For many of you this might be all review. You may have already taken care this, by having your own farms and gardens, eating naturally and baking your own breads. Bravo! Your on the right road already! I hope this refresher was good for you.
For the rest of you, I hope this has given you some tools to take control of your health and move into more healthy eating.
Stay tuned for our next issue where we’ll look at another topic, in the series Catholic Natural Health Guide for Getting Healthy!
©Copyright 2012 Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved
These articles are intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Follow this advice at your own risk.
Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. Mark is her ever patient husband. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. By then, she had completed degrees in Hairdressing and Make up artistry. She went on to receive a degree in Natural Health and another degree in Art. At age 26, Rita suffered a minor stroke. With no lasting effects, this dramatically changed her outlook on life. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith, by creating unique Catholic books and resources.. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. She has been a homeschooling mom for 20+ years, and has written for various magazines. She is honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys through http://www.LittleFlowersFamilyPress.com