What is stress telling you?

Since I became sick I have had my focus on, what I could do myself, to help my body heal, and preferably, as soon and as fast as possible!

Good food and rest

Good food and rest

But most importantly,

I have been thinking, what is there in this for me to learn?

I kept asking myself – how could I who is, so healthy, become so sick?

How?

How?

I poked and I prodded, I took deep breaths, I scratched my head, I turned and I swirled with the question……why, and what is in here for me to learn?

The illness, the imbalance in me, surely had a message, a very important one, I knew, but what was that message?

I finally got it ! I knew that stress creates havoc in people’s bodies. But somehow I didn’t think it also meant in my own body!

I could somehow, magically escape stress and just move on, without it having any effect on me…….

Just continue my tin soldier act …. stressing away….

But reality is, no-one can, not even me or you! Eventually, stress catches up with us and we break down in some way or the other. In my case, it was this infection, but it could just as well have been, depression or a heart attack…

I have to admit that I have been stressed, emotionally stressed for quite some time and finally my body broke down. I had neglected to hear my body’s desperate whispers in my ear for too long. I had not been listening and in the end it had to scream, in the form of an illness, that almost wiped me out, to finally, finally, get my attention!

Quiet enough to hear

Quiet enough to hear

Illness forced me to become quiet enough to hear.

What I learned is that we can eat healthier than heathy and we can exercise till the moon goes down. But, if we are stressed, its not going to work. It’s like a beach ball we can try to hold it down under the water, but it eventually will pop back up.

The truth is, stress robs us of life, it makes us sick – it’s a killer!

Please see the interview by clicking the link below, with Gabor Mate MD  –  Dr. Mate, a Vancouver based doctor, who has for many years worked in the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital where he was the medical coordinator. Based on medical studies and his own  personal experience, and through his work, states that there are important links between the mind and the immune system.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/15/dr_gabor_mat_when_the_body

Stress is a sign to slow down and listen. The problem with stress is that we become used to it and can hardly even feel we are stressed after a while it just feels “normal” to feel like that.

Stress actually starts in our childhood, for example, some of us learned not express emotions and needs as children. This means we are much more receptacle to becoming stressed because we have learned early on to suppress our emotions and needs.

Stress weakens our immumne system and makes us more prone to diseases and while stressed it’s more difficult to heal.

It’s obvious that stress creates imbalances in our bodies and our lives! It should be treated with uttermost respect – symptoms of stress are not only whispers, they are the body’s desperate scream for attention!

Read more about stress symptoms, signs and causes here

Read Gabor Mate’s book “When the body say’s no” Understanding the stress- disease connection.

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Let Food be thy medicine — even in the hospital!

It has been busy around here and life is not always as you plan it or want it to be …..

I had just accompanied my beautiful daughter to her new home. Helped her as she settled and got ready to start a new life at university. We had some amazing days together and my heart was filled with of love, tenderness and tears, as Ihugged her goodbye and headed to the airport to fly home, without her.

Back home again, I was busy giving workshops and it was fun, I love it, I was busy preparing for another 4 workshops that were already booked. I was running my beautiful 10 morning k’s every other day.

IMG_5111

And then one day just after I had been out swimming in the lake, enjoying maybe the last swim this year — I got sick — really sick! And ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance! That, definitely, was NOT supposed to be!

I spent 4 intense days in the hospital, and gratefully I am now home recovering and feeling the strength and energy coming back. Wonderful!

But it definitely was not the food that healed me………..I know that for a fact. The doctors and nurses were absolutely incredible, they went out of their way to help me heal and feel comfortable. Amazing competent, warm and wonderful people!!

But the food……… that’s another very sad story!

During the 4 days, I was served 12 trays of food, each of them impossible to eat. I know I should be happy and grateful that I was served food at all ……. but honestly, it was the most unappetizing sad “food” I have ever seen in my life – I was chocked!

As a chef and a person who has been healed through food and lifestyle changes – I just couldn’t stop myself from thinking – why?

Food is so important for so many reasons!

Surely this can be done better!

Over and over again I was thinking how absurd it was that I was in hospital, a place of healing and there was no interest about the food. Fresh nourishing food is such a vital part in healing!

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates (year 431 BC!)

In those 4 days I did not see a single fruit or vegetable, never mind the fresh anything at all – no fresh fruit nor fresh vegetables – no – ZERO – none at all!

The food on the trays had perhaps never been fresh! Everything was processed and as far as I could judge, had nothing to do even with nourishment! And served in dull plastic containers on a dull plastic tray.

With a rumbling tummy and food fantasies on my mind, I talked to the nurse about the food – they said that over 70% !!! of all trays go back untouched!

70% -What a waste!!! What a shame, how sad, what a total missed opportunity!

We know that healthy food helps us heal faster, we know that healthy food has the potential to prevent disease. We know that sick people more than anybody needs nourishment.

We also know that a vast majority of diseases are caused and directly linked to unhealthy lifestyle and eating the wrong diet……..so why don’t the hospitals grab the chance and serve sick patients enjoyable, nutritious fresh food. Grab the chance to feed and inspire healthy living – and help the patients to heal themselves.

So why? …….. The argument is “It’s too expensive!”

But is it, really?

In Denmark, at one point in time, they went through the same gloomy experience! 40 tons of hospital food was chucked away every day, because it was so grim, no one wanted to eat it.

To change that, they employed professional chefs along with dieticians and they designed menus for people to enjoy, to look forward to every day and to help them heal faster!

Serving meals, 3 times a day became a thing of the past — because when you are sick you are not necessarily hungry on the dot. Instead every patient has a menu and a telephone. And when hungry, they simply take the menu, pick their fancy and call the chefs in the kitchen. The meal is then prepared, cooked from fresh natural ingredients and brought up to the patient. Nutritious, fresh, delicious — real food from real people – who care and love cooking!

What they found was, not surprisingly, that there was hardly any food waste, patients got well, out of bed and home faster, too.

And, it was not more expensive!

But unfortunately, it is in general the same story – no matter where you are in the world – hospital food has a bad reputation.

Hospitals around the world are missing a huge opportunity. Hospitals, our health care system, could be the greatest example of health! Show us how to enjoy food, teach us what to eat to stay healthy and nourished, the best food for our bodies – to assist us heal, to help fight disease and prevent it.

Great food in hospitals would not only help us heal, but it would also inspire us all to practice more healthy living when we got back home.

Imagine how we could assist the body in healing if we were served something like this:

Freshly squeezed carrots

Freshly squeezed carrots

Green smoothies

Freshly prepared green smoothies with fresh spinach leafs and juicy fruits

Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal

Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal, with almonds, dates and apple – a glass of freshly squeezed orange

Fresh fruits and veggies

Free access to fresh fruits and veggies

Crispy Spring Rolls

Crispy Spring Rolls

A bowl of freshly made tomato soup

A bowl of freshly made tomato soup made of REAL tomatoes

Instead of this –

Breakfast?

Jello for breakfast?

Lunch?

Lunch?

Not sure...

Not sure….

On the fourth day I cried…….

If we have to spend money – why not spend it well?

I know there are other places that have changed the concept of tasteless grey hospital food – and with great success – that’s here in Canada.

Listen to this inspiring talk by Joshna Maharaj – an amazing passionate woman who helped change the hospital food in Toronto.

Hurraaa for people like Joshna!