Do you have a fire burning inside you?
Maybe it’s an emotional fire like a passionate love or a nagging grudge. Or perhaps it’s a little physiologic fire like a lingering cough threatening to become bronchitis, or that digestive pain you always feel that could be colitis. (Physiologic inflammation is connected to emotional “fires” but that’s another post.)
As we all reflect on where we’re at, where we’ve been and what we want to do in 2012, I challenge you to become more aware of what’s on fire in your life (and health) and see if you can snuff out the little flames that aren’t productive.
You see, inflammation in the body is just like fire in nature. It is an essential, live and dynamic process that signals the need for change, repair and growth. Like fire, inflammation in our body can eat up resources and nutrients that would otherwise be used for more important functions. A classic example is the inflammatory effect of sugar. When consumed unnecessarily (i.e. you’re not in need of gaining weight, feeding yeast and fermentation, or trying like Mary Poppins to get a potent remedy down), it puts demands on the circulating stores of B vitamin and mineral enzyme building blocks like magnesium while stimulating insulin and the hormonal cascade that goes with it – well, long story short, your body gets busy metabolizing it instead of repairing itself and fighting off any pathogens it may have come in contact with.
Alright, so I don’t explain biochemical processes very well. Fortunately, I know someone who does. A few years ago, I had the pleasure and privilege of contributing to the work of a fellow nutritionist who has written a fantastic book called Meals that Heal Inflammation. Julie Daniluk, co-host of The Healthy Gourmet on OWN, has put her heart and soul into this book with laudable results. MTHI launches this month and if perchance catch Julie at Chapters book signing you’ll immediately see that she obviously has the right fires burning in her life. Her energy is infectious.
What I love about Meals that Heal is 1) It’s scientific. There’s no “hocus pocus” babble, just the facts about how foods affect your body. 2) It’s up-lifting and motivating. Julie herself has conquered battles with painful, life-threatening inflammation and shares her story and that of others helped by her approach in delightful vignettes throughout the book. 3) It’s about the food!!! It’s not a diet but all about eating right so your body can heal and you can feel like yourself again.
This book is the perfect read for someone looking to make a change in their health in 2012. In addition to reading it and finding at least one recipe in it that you will use on a regular basis, here are some more “anti-inflammatory” life habits that you can try on to dampen negative stress and turn up the heat on projects that deserve more of your energy:
Forgive people who have hurt you. Not just in your mind, but in real life, i.e. tell them you forgive them and make amends.
Start on a hobby that you have always wanted to make time for, or that you enjoyed as a child. You never know, your hobby might became your claim to fame. In the very least, its a great escape and stress reliever. Much better than the ol’ telly.
Pay it forward/Less is more. De-clutter and make space by donating one item for ever new item you got for Christmas. For example, for every new pair of socks or hat-mitt set you got, give one away to a homeless shelter. “Warm fuzzies” are good kindling!
Surround yourself with positive people that you can learn from. Was it Bill Gates or Steve Jobs who had little formal education but made a point of surrounding himself with learned experts when building their empire?
Rest. Recoup. Recharge. Always make time for “down time”as your routine reward after a day well lived. You need to rally your strength and resources to keep fueling those good fires and putting out the bad!