Leslie Kenton's Into The Bliss Blog http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss A new look at traditional health. Leslie Kenton's Into The Bliss Blog Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:53:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Come Join Me In The Sacred http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/come-join-sacred/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/come-join-sacred/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:53:24 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2145 The journey of a lifetime begins when you make friends with the sacred. And the sacred is everywhere. You don’t have to travel to Stonehenge or Machu Pichu to find it. Neither do you need to swallow a consciousness-altering drug. Sacred energy continually pours forth from the center of our universe, which according to religious traditions as well as leading edge science is both right here and now yet everywhere, at any time too. The problem is that most of us have become blinded by the mechanically-orientated worldview we inherited. We have forgotten how to experience the sacred.

TAKE THE QUANTUM LEAP

quantumn-leapRediscovering this is the simplest thing in the world. It happens through a shift of consciousness—a break in time and space through which each of us can witness the sacred realms come into being. Sometimes this takes place spontaneously. It is given by grace. You can also create structures in your life which invite it to happen. Organise the space you live and work in, for instance, to make a place in your life for rituals which honor the radiance of the world around you and within you. Doing this can be a lot of fun. Think of it as adventures, a game, a childlike exploration of new worlds.

CRACK IN THE COSMOS

crack-the-cosmosCan I share with you my own life-changing call to sacred reality? It happened when I was 18 years old—just finishing my second year at Stanford University. Five months earlier I had fallen in love for the first time with a man three years older than I. I found myself in the unenviable position of having to leave him to go to live in New York. I knew it would be a long time before we met again—maybe never. We had only one day to spend together in San Francisco before my plane left. So we went for a walk in Golden Gate Park. I had been in the park many times before, visiting the Japanese garden or the museum. But I’d paid little attention to what was around me, except in the rather vague way we all “appreciate” being amidst trees, grass and flowers.

That morning, the sacred realm cracked wide open for me. As he and I wandered across grass, through trees, knowing that in a few hours we would no longer be together, I felt as though death was sitting at my shoulder. I had no idea why. I loved this man with an intensity I would never have dreamed possible. I could hardly bear the fire that burned in my flesh when he touched me, let alone the surges of power that flooded my body and psyche when he held me in his arms or whispered in my ear. Right from the moment we had met, the love between us had arisen. Both of us sensed that this love between us had somehow always existed and would forever.

SPLENDOR IN THE NOW

magical-realityThat morning, we crossed a road and stepped up on to the curb. In front of us a group of old men were bowling on the green. They were dressed in the shabby clothes the old sometimes wear—garments which, like long trusted friends, they had lived in for so many years they did not want to be parted from. None of these men paid the least attention to us, absorbed as they were in their game.

All at once, the scene before me shifted from that of a pleasant ordinary morning spent in nature—nice trees, green grass, a small knoll behind the old men rising to a copse above—to something at once ecstatic and at the same time terrifying. Space expanded in all directions. A million tiny holes appeared in reality—each emitting light. The air and grass, the pavement we had just crossed, the bodies of the men in their shabby clothes, the clouds above us, and the trees around us, trembled in radiance. Time burst wide open, breaking in great waves over the lawn. My heart seemed to grow to immense proportions. I did not understand what was happening. I knew that I had never experienced any of this before. In some way that seemed totally crazy, I was all—at the same time—being wiped out and brought back into being in a brand new form.

LISTEN TO THE WHISPERS

grand-canyonWhen an experience of the sacred arises spontaneously—frequently at times of great emotional joy or loss—it can be both blissful and awe-filled as well as mind-blowing. In whatever guise it shows itself, the sacred is a far cry from some “orchestrated” experience of pink-flowers-and-soft-music that the false purveyors of control with their glib proclamations offer us. It’s an experience full of beauty and terror, fascination and majesty. In the presence of an overwhelming power you find yourself standing before a mystery that is wholly other. I had no understanding about what was happening that morning in Golden Gate Park. The only thing I was sure of was this: I had experienced an epiphany in my life and that I wanted to live more and more in close connection with this new reality.

GREAT MYSTERY

great-mysteryIn 1917, Rudolf Otto published one of the most important books on spirituality ever written, Das Heilige—The Sacred. In it he describes the awe-inspiring mystery—mysterium tremendum he calls it—that we feel in the presence of sacred energy. He characterises it as “a perfect fullness of being, a flowering which dissolves away our conditioned thinking and breaks down all the barriers to our being fully present in the moment.” Every time we are touched by the sacred, it urges us to live a little more from the deepest levels of our own being. Experience of the sacred opens the door to a whole new way of living and perceiving reality.

Create time and space in your own life for the sacred and you automatically take the first step towards discovering the truth about who you are at the very core of your being. This is always a magnificent truth. And it is just waiting for you to uncover it. Otto characterises the qualities of the sacred as numinous (from the Latin numen, i.e. god), for they are brought about by the sudden revelation of some aspect of divine power within the paraphernalia of day-to-day living. Such is the nature of the sacred when it appears in your life.

One minute you are waiting for a bus, standing under a tree you have stood under a hundred times before. The next, this tree has become suddenly something else as well. It has been transmuted in some mysterious way into a “supernatural reality”. Of course it is still a tree to you and everybody else standing there. In fact, nothing in particular may distinguish this particular tree from all the other trees on the street. Yet because it has, at that moment, chosen to reveal itself to you in its sacred form, your immediate experience of it is transmuted into something wild and free, great and wonderful. It’s as though the tree has opened its secret nature to you and become a repository of all that is awesome. So much is this the case that experiencing the sacred can make it hard to catch your breath. It can even, for a time, make you wonder who you are and what on earth you are doing there.

FEAR OF THE SACRED

sacred-native-americanOur modern world feels profoundly uneasy before such experiences. We are the only age in all history to be living in a desacralized culture. Limited worldviews impose themselves on our lives, forcing us to live in an almost totally profane world. Today, a tree is nothing but a tree. The wind is only the movement of air caused by nothing more than mechanical shifts in currents. As far as rocks are concerned, what could possibly be more mundane or less sacred?

So we make fun of “primitive” people and their “quaint” superstitions. At the same time we exploit their land and force the deadening mechanistic values of our materialistic world on them. Whats the real truth? Rocks too have consciousness, as does everything in the universe. What we forget is that cultures for whom the sacred speaks to them through ordinary objects know very well that a rock is a rock. They don’t venerate the rock itself, or the wind. They worship the aliveness of all things and the spirit of each—something totally other and infinitely vast in its beauty. They know that whenever and wherever the sacred erupts in our lives, no matter what form it takes, a deeper, wider, richer, dimension of reality is asking us to dance with its power and celebrate its splendor.

SAY YES TO THE SACRED

sacred-momentMost of us have to relearn how. Once we do, we find ourselves continually renewed, energised, and ecstatic in the presence of sacred energies. It’s as though a wild blessing has been given us—a blessing that both nourishes and heals us. We humans have a profound need to plunge periodically into these sacred and indestructible realms which are the eternal present. It’s a need so deeply ingrained in our very being that when we are unable to fulfil it from time to time we end up living in a nihilistic wasteland. Then our lives become narrow, no matter how many fast cars we buy, how many drugs we take, how many lovers we have. Eating, sex, and getting up in the morning become nothing more than physiological events in a mechanical existence. Reawakening an awareness of the sacred in your life and making room for it turns these things into much more than mundane functions. Each one can evolve into a sacrament—the meaning of which is a communion with the sacred. As it does, our vitality, joy and creativity go on and on expanding.

WILL YOU JOIN ME?

leslie-smileSacred truths have long guided my life and work. Each year they become more and more important to me. I’m keen to hear from each one of you about your own thoughts and experiences about and in relation to the sacred. I’d like to if, when and how you have found the sacred permeating your own life. Shall we share with each other beliefs and events that may awaken us to the experience of the mysterium tremendum? Do let me hear from you.

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Bite Into Energy – Food Combining http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/bite-energy-food-combining/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/bite-energy-food-combining/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 23:39:51 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2133 Remember food combining, developed by William Howard Hay MD? It has changed thousands of people’s lives, protecting them from fatigue, weight gain, degenerative diseases and early aging. The basic principles behind food combining are simple: Don’t mix foods that fight. Never eat proteins and starches at the same meal. Never eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal. And do not eat dessert after a meal. If you do, the dessert gets trapped in the stomach and starts to rot, since it can’t be digested properly. These fundamentals of what has long been known as Conscientious Food Combining are easy to learn and even easier put into practice. The benefits of doing so are many, including freedom from reflux, poor digestion and long-term fatigue.

DIGEST TO THRIVE

digestion-saladYour body expends more energy on the digestion of food than on any other function. Think how sluggish and sleepy you feel after a traditional Sunday lunch. It may surprise you to learn that the energy your body needs to digest food is even greater than that which you use when taking strenuous exercise. When you take in food, your system has to redirect blood supply—and therefore vital life energy—away from the brain and other organs towards the gut. Once there, your energy reserves get busy breaking down your meal. When you eat foods that fight each other, or more food than your body needs, you greatly diminish your overall vitality. You also build up body pollution. Any food—even good quality food—in excess tends to pollute the body.

PROTEINS AND CARBS ARE NO-GO

pizzaLeave behind the old practice of meat-and-potatoes or fish-and-chips. When the wrong foods are mixed together, this further delays digestion and produces toxicity while increasing both appetite and digestive upsets. Most people’s bodies are not designed to efficiently digest more than one concentrated food in the stomach at once. In the simplest terms, you need an acid medium to digest protein and an alkaline one to digest starch. Eat concentrated proteins and starches together—fish and chips, bacon sandwiches, meat and potatoes—and nothing gets digested. An awareness of this principle lies at the core of virtually every tradition of natural healing. Eating concentrated proteins and starches at the same meal wreaks havoc with digestion. It increases the number of incompletely broken down food particles that find their way into the bloodstream to cause food allergies, depression and exhaustion.

Concentrated proteins such as cheese, eggs, fish and meat must have an acid medium for good digestion. If there are any starchy or sugary food including breads, pastas or sweets in the stomach at the same time, they neutralize the acid medium, so the proteins remain incompletely digested and poorly assimilated. All carbohydrates foods need an alkaline medium for digestion and must be eaten at a separate meal. What you can get away with is the occasional garnish for protein foods or fruits—such as sesame seeds or raisins—but you would not want to add them in greater quantity.

OUT WITH Convenience FOODS

french-friesReady-in-a-minute pre-cooked meals, junk foods, and the standard meat-and-two-veg Western meals are incredibly energy-draining. They present your digestive system with the greatest difficulty of all. Virtually all of these manufactured items are grossly deficient in essential nutrient. for it to break down and make use of. Convenience foods and junk foods are also grossly deficient in essential nutrients as well. So are chemically fertilized fruits and vegetables and foods which have been excessively processed to alter their natural state. Convenience foods contain additives such as artificial colorings and flavorings which are potentially harmful. Such foods include breads, sugar, most meats, sweets, and coffee and all the ready-in-a-minute snacks and meals that fill the shelves of our supermarkets. They have no place at the food combining table.

CREATE VITALITY

vitalIf you want to build energy quickly, start right now to separate your concentrated starches from your concentrated proteins, eating each at separate meals. This will help protect your system from a build-up of acid wastes, restore metabolic balance, and resolve the energy crisis which takes place when digestion is overtaxed. Most important, it can bring you a whole new kind of energy which can have you looking good and feeling better than ever with each week that passes.

It is not only separating the kind of foods that you eat that matters for an abundance of energy. You need to be just as conscientious about what you eat. The human body is not genetically equipped to handle the refined flours, sugars and excess quantities of poor quality proteins that make up the typical western way of eating. Our ancient ancestors, whose genetic makeup we share, had no bread, sugar, junk fats or pre-packaged, pre-cooked convenience foods. They ate simple, ordinary, wholesome foods—as much of them as they could kill or gather. Their diet was high in green leaves and vegetables—all complex carbohydrates—and moderate in protein. This is the way our own bodies genetically expect to be fed: Good, wholesome, preferably organic foods, simply prepared and eaten as closely as possible to their natural state.

FREEDOM TO THRIVE

vegetables-thriveThis way of eating calls for real foods rich in fiber, and plenty of the best fats: Organic coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, for instance. The health-enhancing properties of real living foods have long been tested and eulogized by highly respected European and American physicians—from Gordon Latto and Philip Kilsby in Britain, Max Bircher-Benner in Switzerland and Max Gerson in Germany, to Henry Lindlahr and JK Tilden in the United States. Eating for energy asks that you combine your foods sensibly, and that as much as possible you choose foods grown on healthy organic soils and served as closely as possible to their natural state, either cooked or raw. This is not as complicated as it sounds. Here are the basic principles of eating of high vitality eating. They quickly become second nature.

EAT FRUIT ON ITS OWN

eat-fruit-aloneFruit passes through your digestive system very rapidly. It needs little help from digestive enzymes to break it down. If you try to eat fruit at a meal with other foods, its digestion and assimilation are slowed drastically and you can get fermentation in the gut causing indigestion, wind and discomfort. If you have a blood sugar problem, insulin resistance or an overgrowth of Candida albicans, then stay away from sugary fruits altogether, or eat no more than a couple of servings of berries a day. Instead of fruit for breakfast you might have a green drink made from the tops of green vegetables in a juicer or a blender.

MAKE ONE MEAL A DAY A BIG SALAD

big-salad-mealA vibrant, living salad based on home-grown or store-bought sprouted seeds and green vegetables is the mainstay eating for high energy. It’s the best way to get optimal support for rebuilding cells and tissues, rebalancing biochemical processes, and restoring normal metabolism. Sometimes, of course, this is not possible—for example, when you have to eat in restaurants all the time. In this case, you can replace the living salad with a big dish of lightly steamed or wok-fried fresh vegetables cooked in coconut oil and served with a side-dish of soup or a protein food. That being said, the more often you are able to make a living salad the focus of the meal, the sooner you will reap the rewards of your new lifestyle. Remember that your digestive system needs time to complete the digestion of a meal before you put anything else into it. Four or five hours need to elapse between lunch and dinner. Otherwise digestion is not complete, and increased toxicity ensues. Always drink as much filtered or spring water or herb teas between meals as you like. But don’t drink liquids at a meal as they will dilute the important digestive enzymes.

AIDE MÉMOIRE

apple-beauty

  • Eat fruit or a green drink in the first half of the day followed by a protein or carbohydrate lunch and dinner, both of which should include a big, fresh, raw salad.
  • Leave four to five hours between lunch and dinner for efficient digestion.
  • Eat as much as your body needs and listen to its signals of how hungry you really are.
  • Take your time, chew thoroughly and stop as soon as you feel you have had enough. Never overeat.
  • Get rid of packaged convenience foods that rob you of vitality and undermine well-being. These include breakfast cereals, breads, pasta, sugar and all the so-called goodies made from it.
  • Cut back on tea and coffee. If you drink either, make sure it’s organic so you avoid taking chemicals and pesticides into your body. After wheat, coffee is the second most sprayed commodity in the world.
  • Restrict alcohol to a glass or two of good wine with a meal, once a day.
  • Never eat a concentrated starch food with a concentrated protein food at the same meal. Eat fruit on its own, or leave at least 20 to 30 minutes between a fruit starter and the next course of your meal.

You can pick and choose your own foods and make up your own menus once you get your head around these basic principles. Practice Conscientious Food Combining for a month and I think you’ll be delighted with how you look and feel. You can also say goodbye forever to mainstream medications designed to treat GERD—gastroesophageal reflux disease—with all their nasty side effects. Meanwhile your energy will just keep on building.

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The Miraculous Apple http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/miraculous-apple/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/miraculous-apple/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 00:55:21 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2121 The second most cultivated and widely-eaten fruit in the world is the apple. It seems we had to be well into the 21st century before science finally discovered its nutritional value. Not long ago, Medical News Today featured an article about the top 10 healthiest foods. Apples were number one. Apples are extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and marvelous dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain help reduce our risk of developing cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. But there’s lots more news, too.

MAGIC FROM A HUMBLE APPLE

apple-bliss

  • Recent studies show that apples have the ability to improve neurological health as they are rich in quercetin, which reduces cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. According to research carried out at the University of Quebec, apples also reduce our risk of stroke. A large study involving 9,208 people showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk of stroke.
  • At Florida State University, scientists praised the apple as “a miracle fruit”. Older women who ate apples every day had 23% less LDL—the bad-guy cholesterol—and 4% more HDL—the good cholesterol, over a 6 month period.
  • Meanwhile, researchers at Cornell University discovered that apples can help “protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity”. This reduces our risk of developing disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Also at Cornell, researchers discovered that an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer.
    There is some mounting evidence that apples help reduce the risk of diabetes. A large study involving 187,382 people showed that those who ate 3 servings of apples a week had a 7% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to those who did not.
  • Finally, researchers at Oxford University discovered that eating an apple everyday can be just as effective as statins are in preventing vascular death in people over 50.

It’s about time that contemporary research is starting to celebrate the power of the apple. I have known for 50 years that apples are a miracle food. With so many benefits and uses, it is hard to list them all.

HEADSTART TO A HEALTHIER LIFE

apple-hand-1One of the best ways to trigger rapid detoxification in your body, and get you started on a way of living that will keep you healthy all around, is to do an organic applefast for a few days. Of course, no one experienced in the art and science of fasting should fast on water for more than a couple of days, unless they are under the watchful eye of a health practitioner well-trained in natural methods of healing—and never if they are pregnant, suffering from kidney or liver disease, or on drug therapy. But an apple fast is different. In truth, it is not a fast at all. You eat as much as you want—but only organic apples, in place of regular meals. Like the traditional water-fast, the applefast is a powerful tool for stimulating the process of detoxification on which high-level health depends.

An applefast can be used in many different ways, each of which is powerfully helpful. First, if you are keen to change the way in which you’ve been eating, an apple fast can get you off to a good start. It spurs the rapid elimination of waste, clears away food sensitivities—which can be present as a result of eating convenience foods, too much carbohydrate and sugar—and it can banish the ravages of unnatural appetite that develops due to chronic overstimulation of the digestive system.

After your first 2 or 3 day applefast, try to set aside one day each week for applefasting. A once-a-week, one day applefast is a great boost because a day a week on apples is an excellent discipline. It’s a practice that helps us break through ingrained habit patterns which make us unconscious and mechanical in the way we live, and largely unaware of what we’ve been eating.

Finally, you can also use the applefast whenever or for whatever reason you have slipped and eaten something that you know your body was not happy with. For example, if you discover you have eaten more than you really wanted, or your system has become somewhat polluted because you were trapped in a smoke-filled room the evening before. A day of applefasting quickly helps correct digestive disturbances and internal pollution problems which can result. It left unchecked, being out of sorts can trigger unnatural and excessive appetite. In effect, an applefast puts you back on track again, and can have you feeling great when you wake up the following morning.

APPLEFASTING—HOW LONG

apple-slicedIf you’re keen to get off to a good start with detoxification, set aside two or three days for an applefast. Buy a box of organic apples. Usually the greengrocer will give you a good discount when you buy a box at a time. Or, buy three or four different kinds for variety to get you started. They must be organic. Eat as many as you like, but eat the whole apple, including the peel, the seeds and the core. You must chew it all very well, until the last drop of flavor has been extracted from the fruit. The only part you throw away is the woody stem. The apples you eat must not only be organic, they need to be fresh and eaten raw too. You can munch these crisp organic fruits au naturel, or you can grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. You can even put them in a blender with clean water to make a whole apple drink.

Eat apples whenever you’re hungry throughout the day. How long you carry out your first applefast depends on how convenient it is for you to munch on nothing but apples, and on how you feel. Usually a couple of days are enough to give you a good start on spring cleaning the body from within. Three days is as much as any healthy body should do on his or her on, without being under the supervision of a health practitioner well-versed in fasting and the use of living foods.

No pregnant or lactating woman should do an applefast, nor should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint, for in such cases a sudden change of diet carries with it potential dangers to health. But, if you are generally well, then a short applefast is a great way to clear the decks for a new way of healthier living. When your day or two on apples alone is finished, then you can start the next morning to apply your healthier way of eating based on fresh foods.

ONCE A WEEK TREAT

bag-applesIt really is a treat, too, as you’ll find after you’ve got into the swing of it. To lay aside one day of rest from the three-meals-a-day routine and spend it applefasting gives your digestive system a break. It helps clear your mind and encourages the letting go of old poor eating habits. It’s also an excellent tool for giving an extra push to the detoxification process. For me, applefasting is a pleasure. When I travel, and hate being faced with some of the airplane, hotel and restaurant food which I would otherwise be forced to eat. So instead, I carry a sack of apples with me, and munch away. I always find it increases my energy and has me sailing through whatever I have to do. I tend to vary the day of my applefast from week to week. Most often, it is Monday, because I feel that this is a good way to start the week. But when I have a commitment which entails lunch or supper or Monday, I simply shift it to a day later during the week.

THE QUICK CORRECTOR

rain-appleIn many ways, the most useful thing of all about the applefast is that you can call on it when you most need help to get you back on the rails again. Each of us occasionally finds ourselves in a situation where we’ve eaten something that we would rather not have eaten. You may find your system has been upset by some dish you were served the day before, which has forced the return of false appetite, and does not seem to want to go away until your digestive system is calmed and your body is balanced once more. Or perhaps you’ve overeaten—old habits die hard, and you must be patient with yourself if this does happen—or you’re under heavy stress for some reason, and feel you need help to smooth things over. The applefast is ideal as a “quick corrector” in any of these situations. Spend a day munching organic apples, and it well you to rights again, so that when you awaken the next morning you feel more centered and more yourself, ready to get back to eating good-quality foods with renewed enthusiasm and energy.

CLEANSING CRISIS

apple-headacheVery occasionally when someone goes on an active program of detoxification beginning with the applefast, he or she has the experience of a headache at some time within the first day or two, or feeling moody or having an upset stomach or loose bowels. This is a sign that your body is throwing off wastes at such a pace that you are experiencing what is known in natural medicine as a cleansing crisis. In fact, this happens to very few people. If you happen to be one of them, be glad. Even though it may be a bit of a nuisance for a few hours, it’s actually a good sign. Your body is taking the opportunity to get rid of a lot of debris that it wants to eliminate. If a cleansing crisis does take place, make time to relax—in a darkened room if possible—and be kind to yourself. It’s quite a feat to be ridding your body of so much old debris at once. The cleansing crisis will pass quickly, leaving you better than ever.

BEWARE THE CAFFEINE MONSTER

coffe-monsterPeople most likely to get a headache as part of the cleansing crisis are those who’ve been drinking several cups of strong tea or coffee a day. This kind of reaction is triggered by your tissues dumping a lot of stored caffeine into your bloodstream all at once in order to clear it from your body. The first time this happened to me, I had been in Vienna for six days, where everybody drinks coffee—and very strong coffee indeed—all day long. Not being much of a coffee drinker myself (apart from a cup of bitter Turkish coffee once every six months after a middle-eastern meal), while there, I decided to go along with the custom. The day I left the city, I got into an airplane to return to London and to my usual way of eating, and found I was struck down by the most appalling headache which lasted about four or five hours. It was no fun, believe me. But when it passed, I did a 3 day applefast. I was left with the most wonderful feeling of freshness and lightness—the way you feel on a beautiful summer’s morning when there is a light breeze blowing. This sense of lightness is a common one for people who turn to an applefast to clear their system of stored wastes. It more than makes up for the headache or tummy upset that heralded its coming. When you experience a headache as severe as the one I had that day, it makes you appreciate even more how valuable a one-day-a-week applefast can be, and what a source of pleasure and energy. It’s something I would never want to be without.

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Secrets For Radiant Skin http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/secrets-radiant-skin/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/secrets-radiant-skin/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 23:41:04 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2103 Beautiful skin vibrates with energy. All twenty-one square feet of it. Skin is not only your largest organ. It is a multi-dimensional interactive system of information, molecules, energy, cells, and genetic messages determined by the health of your body. In fact our skin is completely dependent on the body’s living matrix for its radiance. Learn to feed it well and your living matrix will function at a high level of order. Your skin becomes regenerated and rejuvenated no matter what’s your age. Who ever said it’s not possible to turn back time?

THE BIG THREE

3There are three little-known nutraceuticals to turn to when your skin needs extra help. They represent a magnum force against aging, wrinkles and skin problems. They form the core of a wide-based anti-aging, anti-inflammatory antioxidant army, working to protect the integrity of the living matrix. The big three work wonderfully together. They also work well when taken with the more common antioxidants from alpha-lipoic acid, grape seed extract and Co-enzyme Q10 to vitamin C and zinc.

TAKE SULFUR

msm-sulphur-skinSulfur is the third largest elemental component of your body. The hottest item in offices of savvy plastic surgeons these days is a unique form of sulfur known as MSM—methyl-sulfonyl-methane. At the top of the list for extra support, MSM is a superb free radical scavenger. It neutralizes free radical molecules that damage skin. Found in every tissue of your body, MSM concentrations diminish with age. So they need to be supported by the right kind of diet and supplements after the age of 25. MSM is also found in rainwater, the sea, and all living organisms. It exists in especially high concentrations in raw vegetables, fruits, and sea foods. Even the cocoa plant from which chocolate is made is a good source. But, unless your diet is composed primarily of raw foods, it is highly unlikely that you are getting enough MSM for optimal health and beautiful skin.

The crème de la crème source of sulfur for the human body, MSM slows the loss of collagen, stabilizes connective tissues, and helps clear toxic buildup both on a cellular level and in the body as a whole. MSM is light years ahead of other forms of sulfur. It is completely safe as well as highly effective. Even people who are “allergic” to sulfur-drugs and sulfite-based food additives thrive on it.

GREAT NAILS AND HAIR

msn-great-hair-and-nailsSulfur is the most beautifying of all the elements. Even the curliness of hair depends on it. It regulates the sodium/potassium balance, bringing in nutrients and oxygen to cells and neutralizing wastes. Every time your body clears destructive chemicals, it uses sulfur to do this. MSM provides elasticity and healing repair to skin tissues. It can even alter cross linkages, smoothing out scars. It is not only useful as an internal supplement essential for beauty. As a prime free radical scavenger, this form of physiological sulfur also helps rid the body of allergies. It even helps protect the lining of the digestive tract from parasites and pathogens. This is most important for skin, since when leaky gut or dysbiosis occurs in the digestive tract, our skin suffers. If you have a tendency to acne, you can break out. If your skin tends to be dry, this can make it drier and give the face a colorless, lifeless look. Sulfur is also essential for strong cartilage, for bones, and to build keratin—the fibrous protein out of which your hair and nails are made—as well as for virtually every function of the skin. With extra MSM, your nails grow faster and stronger. Your hair gets thicker and shinier. A good dose of MSM is 2000 milligrams (2 grams) for each 60 kilos of weight a day. Start with 500 mg per 60 kilos of weight and work up. Use together with half that amount of vitamin C (so if you take 2 grams of MSM take 1 gram of vitamin C).

POWER FOR LONGEVITY

skin-powerThe second master nutraceutical for skin is carnosine. Carnosine is not to be confused with the amino acid L-carnitine which transports fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells so they can be turned into ATP. Carnosine is a dipeptide—a two-part protein—made out of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine. Like MSM, it is a natural metabolite in your body as well as a powerful antioxidant. It occurs in particularly high concentration in long-lived cells like nerves and muscles. Carnosine levels also decline as our bodies age. In muscles, its concentration falls by more than 60 percent between the age of 10 and 70. Carnosine both rejuvenates old cells and extends the functional life of skin’s building blocks—DNA—as well as its lipids and proteins. As such, it is identified as an “agent of longevity”. This amazing dipeptide also clears toxicity. When chromosomes are exposed to high levels of oxygen, carnosine is the only antioxidant known to protect them from oxidative damage. It rejuvenates connective tissue and speeds wound healing. Carnosine may eventually prove to be an important key to dissolving AGEs and destructive cross-linking of collagen after it has occurred, but it is too soon to tell for sure.

THE CARNOSINE PARADOX

water-loveCarnosine addresses the great paradox of life—the fact that the elements which support life—glucose, lipids, oxygen proteins and trace elements—also destroy it. This nutraceutical binds toxic metals so your body is able to eliminate them safely. Carnosine both supports life and protects from its destruction. It guards cells and protein tissues from oxidation damage. It prevents glycosylation—the process that produces AGEs to build up leading to collagen cross-linking, wrinkles and sags.
Research studies in Australia confirm that carnosine increases the longevity of fibroblasts—the skin cells responsible for producing collagen. It also extends the Hayflick limit—the maximum number of times a cell can divide before dying—by a remarkable 20 percent. Because of its ability to repair protein tissue, Russians use carnosine, with great success, in a special form called N-alpha acetylcarnosine—or NAC—in eye drops to eradicate cataracts. It improves your overall skin condition and is able to treat tough leathery skin as well as help prevent many age signs on the face. Used as an oral nutraceutical, the recommended dose is 50 to 200mg of carnosine a day taken on an empty stomach. In the case of carnosine, more is most certainly not better. Doses above this amount can actually be less effective.

BEAUTY’S GOLDEN THREAD

golden-threadThe last place you might expect to find a golden thread in the tapestry of living skin is in a special form of vitamin B3—nicotinamide or niacinamide. This form behaves quite differently than the well-known nicotinic acid which causes hot flushes when swallowed. As far back as 1968, Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling published research reporting success in the treatment of psychiatric patients using moderate doses of niacinamide together with ascorbic acid. Nicotinamide has long been used both topically and orally for its anti-inflammatory abilities. It has a stunning ability to reverse many aspects of skin aging when used internally and even externally when used as a component of skincare products:

  • As a precursor to electron carrier substances in living cells—NAD and NADP—nicotinamide enhances energy production within the living matrix. It takes part in many metabolic pathways including turning glucose into ATP making fatty acids important for skin beauty, and metabolizing proteins.
  • It increases collagen synthesis by stimulating the activity of fibroblast cells, prolonging their life, and protecting them from senescence.
  • It decreases skin inflammation by inhibiting the release of histidine, triggering the production of anti-inflammatory mediators.
  • It enhances the synthesis of lipids important for good cell walls and overall skin health and beauty.
    It diminishes wrinkling.
  • It repairs DNA when skin has been exposed to too much UV light, electromagnetic frequencies or chemical pollution.
  • It helps fade age spots and helps prevent the formation of new ones.
  • It plays a central role in blocking genetic messages that result in skin cell aging.

BANISHING FREE RADICALS

banish-free-radicalsIf, in addition to the three master nutraceuticals—MSM, nicotinamide and carnosine—you might want to use one more nutraceutical with first-rate antioxidant properties. You can’t do better than thiotic acid—also known as alpha-lipoic acid—ALA. The “universal antioxidant”, this sulfur-based, vitamin-like substance is an important cofactor in the production of cellular energy. When it is not in sufficient supply, muscle mass shrinks and skin’s energy is reduced. ALA protects DNA and mitochondrial membranes, inhibits inflammation and remodels collagen.

Thiotic acid is used as a drug in Germany because of its ability to enhance sugar metabolism. A unique free radical scavenger, thiotic acid is both fat- and water-soluble. This means it travels easily across cell membranes to quench free radicals, both inside and out. A very small molecule, ALA works together with other antioxidants to recycle them. When vitamin E quenches lipid peroxidation, a new free radical is formed. Thiotic acid reduces that new radical, turning it back into Vitamin E so it is ready to fight the battle for yet another day. It does the same with vitamin C. The usual internal dose of ALA is 100 mg taken twice a day with meals. ALA is an excellent nutraceutical. I use it when I am traveling or am under a lot of pressure from work. It’s great stuff. But it doesn’t hold a candle to the magnum force the “big three”—MSM, nicotinamide and carnosine—have to offer when used together. If you are going to explore the power of nutraceuticals for skin, I suggest you begin with this combination, then work your way down the list, adding ALA and others if you feel you need them. And what is so wonderful is this: Making use of the Big Three can not only transform the look and feel of your skin. Thanks to the power of the body’s living matrix, they can regenerate and rejuvenate body, mind and emotions as well.

Now Foods, MSM, 1000 mg

MSM (Methylsulphonylmethane) is a natural form of organic sulfur found in all living organisms. This natural compound, researched since 1979, provides the chemical links needed to form and maintain numerous different types of tissues found in the human body, including connective tissue such as articular cartilage. While MSM is a natural component of almost all fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat, food-processing methods reduce sulfur levels, making supplementation more important than ever. NOW MSM is tested to meet a minimum 99.7% purity level.

Order MSM from iherb

Paradise Herbs, L-Carnosine

L-Carnosine is a proton buffering neuropeptide consisting of alanine and histidine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine). It is normally found in the brain, innervated tissues, the lens of the eye and skeletal muscle tissue. Current scientific research suggests that L-Carnosine has the ability to protect cells against oxidative stress that can cause premature aging and cellular damage. L-Carnosine has heavy metal, free radical and active sugar molecule scavenging activity (helps prevent glycation of proteins).

Order L-Carnosine from iherb

Thorne Research, Niacinamide

The B vitamin niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is one form of vitamin B3. It acts as an antioxidant, inhibiting free radical formation, and has been shown to promote pancreatic beta-cell regeneration. Niacinamide has been found to stimulate GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) receptors without binding to the receptor sites, thus creating a sedative-like effect. High amounts of niacinamide have been documented as being beneficial in protecting joint cartilage cells. Niacinamide has also been used in support of several dermatological conditions.

Order Niacinamide from iherb

Doctor’s Best, Best Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a fatty acid that functions like a vitamin, although it is not classified as a vitamin. As a coenzyme, ALA plays an important role in the metabolism of glucose that produces energy in cells. ALA also has antioxidant properties and thus is important for controlling free radicals. Because it is soluble in both water and fat, ALA is sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant.”

Order Alpha Lipoic Acid from iherb

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Apple Detox http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/apple-detox/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/apple-detox/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 04:30:16 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2087 A few days on apples once in a while can eliminate retained water, revive flagging energy, make your skin look wonderful and your eyes shine. The apple fast for detox was taught to me fifty years ago by Dr Gordon Latto, a Scottish medical doctor who used nothing but food and breathing techniques and a few herbs to heal even the most complex and chronic conditions. Eating as much as you want – but only apples – in place of your regular meals, and in between too if you like, for two days cleans your body, helps clear away food sensitivities, and banishes the ravages of unnatural appetite. For two days all you have to do is to eat apples, and nothing but apples. Your body will do the rest. It’s a time to be luxuriously lazy and self-indulgent, to enjoy the process of getting rid of all those wastes you really don’t want hanging around in your system making you look and feel low.

No pregnant or breast-feeding woman should do an apple fast: neither should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint, for in such cases any sudden change of diet carries with it potential dangers to health. But if you are generally well, a short apple fast is a great way to clear away the cobwebs. Check with your doctor first if you have any doubts.

HEALING DISCOVERY

apple-fastIt was the apple which first led the great Swiss physician Max Bircher-Benner to develop his system of treatment based on living foods. Bircher-Benner was himself ill with a liver ailment, which made it virtually impossible for him to digest anything. One day, as he lay in his bed unable to rise or eat, his wife slipped a piece of fresh raw apple between his teeth. He tasted it, and to his surprise he found he could tolerate it. Several days – and many raw apples – later he found himself well again. He never forgot the humble apple or what it could do to detoxify the body and to help restore normal functioning to digestion, cells and the circulation. He used apples regularly in his dietary treatments of obesity and other illnesses. In fact, they formed the basis of his Bircher Muesli, which has become world famous.

WEEKEND RETREAT

weekend-retreatMy two day apple fast is designed to be done over a weekend is not even a fast, for you can eat as much as you like – but only apples. The reason the apple fast is done over a weekend is that the process of elimination can use up a lot of energy, so it’s a good idea to do it over two days when you are not working. The apple has long been known as a health tonic, medicine, cosmetic and bowel-regulator all wrapped up in one skin. When eaten, it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices. It contains natural substances that help prevent digestive and liver troubles. Where unsweetened apple juice is the traditional drink among country people, there tends to be no incidence of kidney stones. The simple apple is traditionally used for eliminating obesity, as well as being a folk treatment for skin problems, bladder inflammation, anemia, insomnia, intestinal parasites and bad breath.

QUEEN OF CLEANSING

apple-cleansingThe adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is not just an old wives’ tale. The apple is quite rightly known as the queen of fruits. In its natural whole state, it supplies valuable fruit sugar and vitamins in a superb balance to ensure that your body can efficiently digest and use them. The apple is our richest fruit source of vitamin E and also provides a good supply of biotin and folic acid – two B-complex vitamins important in preserving energy, emotional balance and in keeping your digestive system clean and functioning well. It is also a fine source of vitamins A and C, which are both natural antioxidants – powerful anti-agers – not to mention more than a dozen minerals including sulfur, potassium, iodine, silica, magnesium and calcium, and even essential amino acids in small quantities. Apples are low in acidity to help balance stored bodily wastes which tend to be acidic. They stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth, and clear away debris from the teeth. Eating a raw fresh apple stimulates circulation in the gums too. Finally, apples are rich in a very special form of soluble fiber called pectin which helps to clear out the dangerous heavy metals such as lead and aluminum that we all pick up from our city air, food and water.

OUT WITH THE UGLIES

heavy-metal-toxinsHeavy metals in your body are something you want to get rid of. These elements, the concentration of which has increased dramatically in our air, foods and water since the Industrial Revolution, can seriously interfere with your body’s metabolic functioning. Mercury tends to suppress the levels of white blood cells in the immune system. Cadmium displaces the essential element zinc needed for a great many of your body’s enzyme systems, and renders them inefficient and even inactive. In the West we now have a concentration of lead in our bodies some 500-1000 times that of our pre-industrial ancestors. High levels of this heavy metal age us prematurely, interfere with our mental processes, suppress immunity and contribute to depression. Aluminum, another heavy metal, detrimentally affects the central nervous system. The presence of all these elements in excessive quantities (and their concentrations in the human body appear to be increasing with each passing decade) generally interferes with your body’s metabolic processes. The ability of apples to remove heavy metals from your system is one of the best reasons for doing an apple fast, particularly if you live in a city.

RADIANT FIBER

apple-fibre-pectinThe fiber that apples contain really is remarkable. In addition to cellulose (the most common kind of fiber, which binds water and increases fecal bulk), the apple is also rich in pectin – a very special kind of fiber with quite exceptional detoxification properties. So different in texture and character is pectin from other forms of fiber that it is sometimes surprising to think that they are classified in the same group. Unlike cellulose, pectin does not bind water, it is water-soluble. It has no influence on fecal bulking, but it appears to be an excellent substance for lowering cholesterol. It may also help eliminate bile acids from the intestines, thus short-circuiting the development of colon cancer and gallstones. It is also useful as a natural chelating (binding) agent which is why it is so good at mopping up unwanted heavy metals, such as aluminum, from the tissues and eliminating them from the body. This can be very important when it comes to detoxification for weight loss.

READY SET GO

apple-detox-startGet yourself a big bag of the freshest apples you can find – perhaps three or four different kinds for variety. If you don’t like the look of your apples you won’t want to eat them, so be picky. Buy a box of apples if you like, your greengrocer might give you a discount. On this pre-cleanse day it is a good idea to get your system ready. Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks. Steer clear of bread and cooked carbohydrates such as pasta and cereals, and make your last meal of the day a large raw salad made of fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t have anything else to eat after your salad, except perhaps a cup of herb tea before bed. This will give your body a good 12 hours head-start on the elimination process and it will thank you for it.

THE APPLE FAST

apple-detox-wondersThere’s really nothing to it. Over the two days you have chosen, tuck into your apples. Eat as many as you like at any time of the day or night. You must eat the whole apple including the peel, the seeds and the core. Don’t worry about the belief that apple seeds are poisonous. Any expert in natural medicine detox will tell you they are not only perfectly safe but an important part of the cleansing process. Chew well, until the last drop of flavor has been extracted from the fruit. The only part you throw away is the woody stem.

  • You must eat your apples raw. You can munch them whole, or grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.
  • You can even put them in the blender with spring water to make a drink.
  • Eat nothing else during this two-day period, but eat them whenever you are hungry.
  • Do not drink tea or coffee.
  • You may have a herb tea or two such as peppermint, lemon balm or chamomile with a few drops of the best stevia if you wish.
  • Drink lots of pure filtered water, but nothing else.

BLISSFUL RELAXATION

blissful-apple-detoxBe lazy and luxurious.  During these days indulge yourself doing whatever is pleasurable for you. Many people find their sexuality is heightened during these days. If so, enjoy it. Apples are great to munch in bed. In many ways, the most useful thing about the apple fast is the way you can call on it when you most need help to get you back on the rails again. We all slip up sometimes – we over work or over indulge and live to regret it the next day. A two day apple fast, or even just a day spent eating only apples, is an excellent ‘quick corrector’. Spend even just one day munching apples and it will help set all to rights again, so that when you awaken next morning you feel more like your old self and ready to face the day full of energy.

RENEWED VITALITY

the-gift-of-apple-detoxApple fasting gives you the chance to step back regularly and take a look at your lifestyle, instead of mechanically going on day after day without being aware of where your energy is going. Set aside two days, three or four times a year – a weekend is best – for an apple fast. This will spring clean your body from the inside out.

Even apple fasting for one day a week is a great boost to vitality and good looks, because it helps detoxify your body of wastes accumulated as a result of drinking or eating too much, or consuming the wrong kinds of foods. It can also help calm the ravages of an over-enthusiastic appetite, which many people suffer as a result of food sensitivities or over-stimulation of the digestive system. Furthermore, it is an excellent discipline: such a practice helps you break through ingrained habit patterns, which can make us largely unaware of how we are eating.

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The Sacred Feminine http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/sacred-feminine/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/sacred-feminine/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 08:08:56 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2071 It is not easy to live in our 21st century world full of suffering and confusion for many. The challenges we now face worldwide have come about from the long-term rejection and degradation of the Sacred Feminine. The Sacred Feminine is the mysterious source of all life, the wellspring of all creation, and we have forgotten this. Its creative power exists in men as much as it does in women. The Sacred Feminine carries great wisdom, sensitivity, and a tender love for all life. It respects the need for suffering and vulnerability, for deaths and rebirths. It asks that we embrace life and preserve it. In all its wildness, the Sacred Feminine brings to us the ability to unify body and soul, spirituality and politics, the human and the divine. Yet most of us have lost touch with the Sacred Feminine. It’s time to regain it, and there is no better place to begin than to move into the world of women and see what we find there.

A WOMAN’S LIFE

moon-powerSo great are the demands on women now—many of them self-imposed—that we are often in danger of losing track of our own soul and of burning ourselves out. There is no place for the old female rituals in our lives. In other cultures—among the Native Americans, for instance—women would leave the tribe for a few days each month to enter the soul realms and experience the Moon Lodge during menstruation. There, in the presence of other women, they gave themselves permission to enter altered states of consciousness, to restore their energies, and to express the wildness of their own creativity—a creativity which, at the dark moon time of menstruation, has nothing to do with nurturing or relating to men or to children. We in the Western world have no such opportunity. Instead, many women, unaware of the value of venturing into the soul realms where dreams, instincts and wild energies abound as a way of reconnecting with personal meaning, choose to “control” their moods and cycles by taking hormones—not only to avoid unwanted pregnancies but even to regulate events so that a business meeting doesn’t come up in the middle of a menstrual period, when they might not be as rational or socially acceptable as at other times. Then, sooner or later, every woman gets moonstruck. When it happens, the ordinary world in which she has been living is rent asunder. She is being initiated into the wild and wonderful mysteries of the Sacred Feminine. Menopause has arrived.

A LOST WOMAN

lost-woman“Isn’t it wonderful?” the editor of the woman’s page of a national newspaper said to me one day, “Science has finally conquered women’s biology.” “What are you talking about?” I replied.

“Oh, you know,” she went on, “It’s great. We don’t have to menstruate anymore and we don’t have to have babies thanks to the Pill. We don’t even have to go through menopause or get old now that we have HRT. At last, women are set free from their biology. I’d like you to write a piece on it.”

It took me a few seconds to recover from the shock of hearing an intelligent woman voice an opinion so far away from my own sense of what the nature of the Sacred Female is about. I knew there was no point in even discussing the issue. I said that the idea didn’t grab me and walked out of the office literally stunned by how carelessly this poor frazzled and confused woman could dismiss a million years of inherited female creativity, wisdom and blood. She had done it with the wave of a hand and the swallow of a pill. Then, almost as an obituary, she had proposed a 750 word article on modern women’s new-found “freedom”. At the door I turned to look at her. There sat a haggard 35-year-old who looked 50, hunched over her computer smoking cigarettes. Three years later someone told me she had just had her womb removed.

SUFFERINGS OF THE WASTELAND

empty-insideThe editor’s sense of freedom, like much of the so-called “freedom” we hear about, is certainly of a very limited kind. Since all freedom is won at a price, I cannot help wondering how high a price we are paying and if it is real freedom at all—or is it a new form of slavery dressed up for make-believe? I know too many dynamic, successful women who appear to have everything. Yet, when you sit down with them alone—away from the glitter of their busy lives—they describe feeling out of sync with themselves. A sense of sterility and stagnation permeates their lives, and they carry a feeling of emptiness and even of betrayal, yet from what and by whom they rarely know. Many have aimed for the top and arrived. So now what? Where is the next challenge, the next battle to be won, the next social occasion? Like the editor, they tend to pack their days with duties and appointments, always uneasy that if they stop for a moment they might let somebody down or their lives might fall apart.

PERILS OF LOGIC

logical-deathJust as our mothers and their mothers before them embraced the expectations of their culture that fulfillment would come through being a good wife, a good mother or good servant, women now have taken on another cultural stereotype. We have learned to do things logically. We have largely bought into a male stereotype based on the attainment of academic, financial or artistic success. We have thrown ourselves headlong into the male world, and many of us have “made it” within that world’s terms. Yet in the wake of our success, we often find ourselves pursued by a confusing sense of barrenness and despair that further achievement in the world, new love affairs or the prospect of a facelift can do nothing to cure. It is at this point that many women, myself included, first hear the call to adventure. It comes as a powerful challenge to leave the ordinary world in which we have lived decades of our lives and set out in search of answers: Why did this happen? What was wrong? What secrets have we forgotten, and what connections had we lost, in our obsession with doing things and our tendency to opt for chemical control of our body’s cycles? And what are we missing out on?

BACK TO SOURCE

feminine-mythsHow could we, as women, continue to buy into values and ways of living which not only didn’t serve the coming to fruition of our own talents and our capacities for joy, but were inexorably destroying the earth? Where had all our real freedom gone, and our power—not power in the masculine sense of power over, but in the feminine sense of power to?

I delved deep into the past in search of archaeological findings and archetypal connections that might give clues to just what as women we had lost, and how any of these lost treasures might be rediscovered. This led me into the realm of myth and ritual. I discovered that the two worlds—the world of science, with all its shifting biochemistry and rising and falling hormones, and the world of myth, peopled with archetypes, symbols, goddesses and rituals—not only met, they are blended within a woman’s body and psyche. And where they meet is a cauldron of blood.

SACRED BLOOD

sacred-bloodAccording to written records, since the beginning of human history, the power of creation was believed to reside in the holy blood that pours forth from a woman’s body. It ebbs and flows with the waxing and waning of the moon. Blood has always been credited with magical power and with containing the essence of a person’s soul—”one’s lifeblood”. Medieval physicians believed that a woman’s menstrual blood could cure leprosy and act as an aphrodisiac. For centuries, both male and female rituals for receiving the gifts of the Sacred Feminine involved ingesting menstrual blood: It was mixed with red wine and taken as an alchemical drink. Ancient Egyptians, Celts, Persians and Taoists in China all held similar beliefs about menstrual blood, and carried out similar rituals. In Ancient Greece during planting festivals, women mixed their menstrual blood with corn seeds, then spread them upon the earth for fertility. In the 17th century, when William Harvey wrote his famous scientific treatise on circulation, he referred to the flow of blood through the body as the coursing of spiritual power. Even our word “blessing” is derived from the Old English bloedsed, which means bleeding.

HARMLESS AND FREE

harmless-and-freeMenstrual blood and the blood of childbirth are the only kinds of blood given freely—that is shed without wounding. Not only metaphorically but speaking strictly from a scientific point of view, human life cannot be created without the blood in a woman’s womb. So profoundly did an awareness of the power of a woman’s blood touch the lives of primitive people that native words for menstruation carry connotations of spirit, divinity and magic—of the supernatural and of the sacred. Ancient Hindus taught that all life is created out of the congealing of Great Mother’s menstrual substance, which had been worked and thickened to form curds or clots from which the crust of solid matter emerges. Their goddess of creation, Kali-Ma, “invited the gods to bathe in the bloody flow of her womb and to drink of it; and the gods, in holy communion, drank of the fountain of life and bathed in it, and rose blessed to the heavens.”

INSTINCTUAL SEXUALITY

female-sexualityThe sexuality of the genuinely free woman is the sexuality of sheer instinct—the wildness of the Sacred Feminine set free. It is she that calls a woman into the secret places of the woods and provokes her to dance naked in wild abandon. Hers is a sexuality to be used in any way she chooses—in union with another; as power to heal the earth and all its creatures in need of healing; or alone to generate the alchemical meeting of male and female within her own body. She will be what she is, she will have what she wants. She is neither passive nor submissive, and her sexuality also has nothing whatever to do with bringing physical children into being. The Sacred Feminine’s eroticism is sheer ecstasy, lived for its own sake, and sheer creativity. She creates in an uninhibited, animated, fiery way, which emanates from the soul of a woman or a man. Such sexuality is the fuel for all creative powers in the world. It carries with it the energy of regeneration and of healing for the world. It is the kundalini power—the rejuvenating cosmic illumination, the power of the serpent, the sacred fire which heals.

LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS

light-femaleAs the Sacred Feminine gains entrance into the body and psyche of a woman or a man, it illuminates one dark corner of his or her psyche after another, lifting away all that is old and dead and without meaning, the way kundalini energy rises up within a body to illuminate each of the chakras. Their power becomes the power to leave behind what is dead and useless to make way both for personal rebirth and renewal to the natural world. It is the indomitable creative power that lies sleeping in the consciousness of both men and women. Perhaps more urgently than ever before, the Sacred Feminine now calls to us to remember who we really are, and all the creative blessings we have, which the world around us needs so very much. Never in human history has it been more urgent that we listen and respond, for our own sake and for the benefit of all beings and all living things on the earth.

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Sacred Creativity http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/sacred-creativity/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/sacred-creativity/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 04:26:18 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2054 Deep within you lies a font of endless creativity. The most powerful force for freedom and fulfillment in any life, every human being has literally been made in the image of creation. How freely we are able to allow this sacred creativity to pour forth determines how rich our lives can become. It may even decide the future of our planet. This most sacred creative force can provide us with whatever we need to meet the challenges facing us in a world which increasingly appears to be edging towards chaos. And, just in case you think that when the gifts of creativity were being passed out, they bypassed you, think again. Sacred creative power is by no means only available to those who can write a book or paint a picture. It shows itself in how you think and function, in how you relate to others, as well as how we are able tocreate for ourselves the lives we long to live. Why is creativity sacred? Because, set free, it permeates every aspect of your life, lighting it up with wonder and possibility. Discovering and releasing your unique creative power enables you to turn difficulties you face on their head, transforming them into opportunities.

YOUR BIRTHRIGHT

embrace-lightFew of us come anywhere near to tapping our creative potential. Too often it is burnt out of us by education, or parental and religious training which teaches us to trust outside authority, undermining our abilities to trust in ourselves. It is time to reclaim our creative birthright. When we do, we discover a sense of purpose. Then we can call forth the support of the Universe to fulfill it. Health improves. We come to look upon our life as a great adventure which goes on expanding, year after year, towards greater fulfillment and satisfaction.

Let’s now take a short journey through the mysterious labyrinth of sacred creativity. Hopefully it will inspire you to discover some truths about your own creative potential in all its magnificence. Doing so can carry us out of a life of dry responsibility and duty—sometimes tinged with disappointment, addiction and compromise—towards a pathway to authenticity, personal power, and freedom.

SACRED CREATIVITY REVEALED

beethovenFifty years ago I first became fascinated by the creative process. I spent 4 years writing my first novel, Ludwig: A Spiritual Thriller. In the middle of the night, I would sit for hours on the floor in a corner of my little study listening to every piece of music Beethoven ever wrote, over and over again, always asking the question, “Where was his consciousness when he created this?” During that period I read a dozen books a week. In the beginning, they were biographies of Beethoven. I took a course in harmony and counterpoint since I knew little about either, and I felt I needed to understand more about how music is constructed. Then, for reasons I could not figure out, I found myself immersed in researching shadow governments and what was really going on in the world behind the façade of mainstream media.

I kept saying to myself, “Why on earth are you learning about all this stuff when it has nothing to do with Beethoven?” What I did not realize then was just how incredibly complex and multidimensional every human being’s creative processes are nor how they work to expand and inspire our lives and our goals. For, by the time I finished the last page of my novel, every scrap of information I had amassed from my research, including what I had learned about the shadow world of political control and deceit, had all come together in ways I could never have imagined within the book to make it whole. The experience of all this brought new meaning and purpose into my own life. The bottom line is this: Once you decide to commit yourself to what you long to do or be or make in your life, and then follow it through thick and thin, this not only releases creative energies from within; it transforms your life in wonderful ways you could never have imagined.

CREATIVITY: LESLIE’S PRINCIPLES

creative-earthHere is a short list of what I’ve discovered about the creativity within each of us:

  • Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative vitality.
  • Our creative dreams and yearnings come from the very core of our being. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.
  • There is an underlying in-dwelling creative force seated in the body which infuses all of life— including ourselves.
  • When we seek the creative core within allowing its energy to permeate our body, we call forth sacred
    gifts and bring their transformative power into our lives.
  • Creativity is the Divine’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to the Divine.
  • The refusal to be creative is counter to our true nature and the greatest impediment to a fulfilling life.
  • When we open ourselves to exploring creativity, we open ourselves to the unending support of universal energy. For creativity is always aligned to universal creative power so we can receive its endless gifts.
  • As we open the sacredness of our creativity, many gentle but powerful changes start to take place in us and in those around we love.
  • It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.

Cross the threshold into your creative world, and you enter the realm of the imagination—the place in which intention can create reality. In this magical place, most of the day-to-day rules and reassurances that help us feel safe and comfortable fall away to reveal life of a different order—wilder, deeper, more authentic and unpredictable. Here’s how the adventure begins.

DOORS OF PERCEPTION

creative-dance1Human beings are, first and foremost, creators of their own lives. We do this either consciously or unconsciously. When we create consciously, we envision something close to our soul and then dance with it until out of the union—more like a love affair than anything else—our creations are born. When we create unconsciously, our creations come from a view of life that has been distorted and polluted by conditioning. The secret is to cleanse the doors of perception so that you are able to envision clearly and create what, from the deepest levels of your being, you want in your life. It is the simplest, the most challenging, and the most satisfying thing any human being ever does. What do you want to create?

MEET THE DAEMON

daemon-fireTake one part vision, mix it with methods for shifting consciousness, and a willingness to meet your Daemon and dance with it. Enter this dance of fire in a state of rapture, sometimes ecstatic and others daunting, but always exciting. In ancient times, the daemon—indispensable to creation—was considered to be a spirit of genius. Like the muse, he or she acted as an interface between you and the divine. Like nature herself, the daemon is neither good nor bad. The Greeks believed each of us was given a daemon at birth as a guardian spirit, useful in connecting earth with heaven. Through your daemon, the transcendent becomes the commonplace. A vision is tempered, honed and shaped. You are asked to fall in love with whatever you want to bring into being. Artistic visions take form. Relationships find new birth. So does everyday life. What do you love enough to want to bring into being?

DANCE WITH YOUR DAEMON

embrace-of-the-daemonA willingness to do this, initiates a delicate, all encompassing, erotic process of transformation. It asks that you surrender to the dance, and at the same time maintain awareness of your separateness. This is not a loss of self, it’s a kind of cellular metamorphosis—a remembering through your subtle body who you really are. It touches your bones, your flesh, your muscles and your heart. Out of the depths of this union, destructive energies can be transformed into sheer power for creation. It’s a fascinating process—one to carry you back and forth from the very depths of your soul to the lofty heights of invention. Living it transforms an ordinary existence into a life of passion.

WASTE DISPOSAL

humanity-in-chainsOK. So each of us comes into this life with the natural capacity to create. Indeed, that is what we are here for and what makes us unique. But our educational system, our parental and religious training—the very hierarchical structures of work and society—too often pollute our consciousness with destructive notions, lack of self-belief and an imprisoning sense of limitation. These things teach us not to be creative, not to listen to our inner voice, not to trust our visions. It is authority we are taught to bow down to. All these false notions distort our natural creative powers and truncate them, leaving us frustrated and often not knowing what is wrong. So we collect more money or lovers, crave more status and long for more holidays—none of which can fulfill the deep longing in every human being to exercise his or her birthright: To create one’s own destiny and realize our deepest dreams.

HONOR THE WHISPERS

listen-to-the-wispersUncovering and making use of your own creative energies brings a willingness to witness what is happening to you and around you, without passing judgment and without negating whispers from your soul. Each thing you create exists in some form in consciousness before it is ever made—within your own mind to be sure, but also in the collective unconscious. This is what Plato described with his forms, and what Michelangelo knew when he chiseled a hunk of marble to allow the form he insisted was hidden within it to emerge.

Creativity demands an abundance of life energy, clarity of mind and emotion, and the stamina to see something you really want to happen right through to the final moment when it does. This energy depends not on age but on aliveness.

EMBRACING CHAOS

universe-creativityAll creativity demands that we enter the realm of chaos. Here the creative intention coupled with a sense of compassion for yourself and for all life, can be used to harnesses chaos and bring to birth what we you dream of creating. Good science (and, these days, little that is called “science” can claim to be valid) has much to teach about the process: Bohm’s explicate implicate order, the quantum leaps of physics, Prigogine’s bifurcation points, open systems, and dissipative structures. These visionaries have themselves made new maps of the mysterious creative process, and can help you make quantum leaps to higher orders of being, greater power, creativity and authenticity.

PATH TO WHOLENESS

enso-creativityCreativity at the highest order bursts forth from that part of your being in which you are most whole—aware simultaneously on an intellectual, instinctual and physical level. It embraces the presence of the rational thought, but it insists that reason not overstep its boundaries. With active intuition and a feeling of wonder, you enter the passionate creative dance that can become fruitful beyond your wildest dreams. Every time you choose to do this, you gain greater skills in making this fecund state of consciousness a familiar and bounteous part of everyday life. Such is the splendor of the mysterious and sacred power of your own creativity.

 

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Eat Fat And Thrive http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/eat-fat-thrive/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/eat-fat-thrive/#comments Sun, 13 Apr 2014 21:12:27 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2038 In the so-called civilized world, the population continues to grow sicker by the year, while food manufacturers, government bodies and the mainstream medical profession keep telling us that we need to eat more low-fat-high-carb foods as well as lots of unsaturated oils and stay away from saturated fats and oils if we want to stay healthy. So people go on buying convenience foods chock full of carbs and sugars, the golden oils and products containing them all the while believing that they are doing the right thing if want to protect themselves from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and all the other degenerative diseases that plague the Western World. Well, my friends, all such advice is not only untrue. It is positively dangerous. To stay healthy, protect yourself from obesity, degenerative conditions and early aging, you must dump the starchy carbs and hidden sugars, all those highly processed unsaturated oils and the packaged convenience foods which contains them. It’s time to get savvy about the right kind of fats and introduce them to your meals. They can bring energy, beautiful skin, and real protection from early aging and chronic illnesses. By the way, they can also make your meals taste great.

STOP BLAMING YOURSELF

fat is not your faultIn case you think it’s your fault that you happen to be suffering with a chronic condition or you are overweight, think again. Like most conscientious human beings, you have only been trying to follow the guidelines that doctors, governments and the media tells us will keep us well, slim and protected from heart disease. Here’s the truth: The guidelines we have been given ever since World War II have not only been all wrong, they have been truly dangerous to our health.

The powers-that-be have instilled in us irrational fear of fat, largely as a result of the poor research and conclusions drawn back in the 1960s—when Ancel Keys and others were trying to figure out how to prevent heart disease. One group of so-called experts jumped to the conclusion that dietary fat was the culprit. Before long, their rash assumptions were turned into a quasi-religious dogma that has stuck. The low-fat, high-carb-and-sugar eating propounded by them, instead of protecting us from heart disease, obesity and other degenerative conditions, has made us highly susceptible to all of them.

LIES CONTINUE

Trans Fat Are Bad Here’s another common fat fallacy: “The Western diet has increased in saturated fat over the last century.” Just the opposite is true. At the turn of the last century, most of the population still got their fatty acids from saturated animal-based sources, such as lard, butter, and tallow. They were better off for it. Then, from 1910 to 1970 in the United States, the proportion of animal fats eaten declined from 83% of all fats eaten to 62%, and butter consumption went from 18 to 4 pounds per person per year—all because of the invention and promotion of margarines. Meanwhile, what did increase exponentially was the quantity of fats we began to take in, in the form of chemically refined unsaturated vegetable oils, margarines, trans-fatty acids and junk fats. The results of all this? Our health has continued to decline.

By the way, it’s worthwhile taking a look at how well we’ve fared in combating heart disease and obesity since we began shunning animal fats and eating the masses of the carbs they recommended. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that, since 1980, obesity alone has grown to epic proportions, right from the very year the government’s guidelines were published.

THE SKINNY ON FATS

low fat fraudFrom the 1960s onwards, governments worldwide have been telling us to eat less fat and more carbohydrate which they figured would make up for the fat we no longer ate. Low-fat foods began to appear on our supermarket shelves for keen and hungry consumers; they quickly became a major financial success story for food manufacturers. We ate baked potatoes instead of fries with our meals, and thought that we were taking the healthy option. We ate low-fat foods thinking that these were good for us, without realizing that food manufacturers, in preparing their low-fat menus, had replaced the fat with sugar. Meanwhile, we were warned against all saturated fats, told that they are dangerous, and urged to eat more polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil—all those golden oils that still fill our supermarket shelves. These oils and margarines were held up as beneficial for protecting us from heart disease. Both of these directives turned out to be big fat lies.

BEWARE PROCESSED OILS

beware the golden oilsPolyunsaturated fats and oils—which we have long been urged to eat—turn rancid quickly when heated. All the golden oils most people still believe are good for them turn into health-destroying sources of free-radicals that can do the body a great deal of harm. They attack our cells and damage our DNA. Recent, reliable scientific studies show a link between consumption of these processed polyunsaturates and cancer as well as heart disease.

DUMP THE GOLDEN OILS

  • Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed Oils all tend to be badly processed, using all sorts of unpleasant chemicals. Avoid them.
  • Canola oil, which fills many of our ready-made food products, has been associated with fibrotic heart lesions. It is high in sulfur and turns rancid easily.
  • Margarines are full of trans-fatty acids. Shun them.

There’s something else we now know about these oils that will probably surprise you. Analysis of the fat in clogged arteries reveals that only about 26% is saturated fat. The rest is made up of polyunsaturates. So here’s the bottom line: The heart’s preferred source of food when under stress is good old “unhealthy” saturated fat.

OMEGA 3 BENEFITS

omega 3 good fatsOmega-6 and omega 3 fatty acids, when in the right balance, help your body in all sorts of ways. They increase your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, helping your body regulate its blood sugar. They increase metabolic rate and fat metabolism, so more of your stored fat can be burnt as energy. Natural foods rich in the omega-6 oils include avocados, nuts, flax seeds, and spirulina. Paleontologists have discovered that our ancestors consumed them in the ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 (omega-6 to omega 3 fatty acids). However today, in our Western diets, the balance between these two fatty acids has become all screwed up. Modern diets contain a ratio of about 22:1—far too high for optimal health. This excess can cause all sorts of problems, from weight gain to cancer. What can we do about it? For a start, you never have to worry about getting enough omega-6s. They’re everywhere. What you do need to do is increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids]. A great way of doing this is to start taking a good-quality fish oil supplement.

EAT IN ABUNDANCE

coconut oilHave no fear of the saturated fats found in meat and butter from grass-fed animals, and tropical oils like coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil is great for salad dressings. Eaten on their own, or together with protein, but without an abundance of starchy carbohydrates, good quality natural fats alleviate hunger and act as an excellent source of energy throughout the day. Eating too little good fat cab lead to the experience of sitting down to a meal and, no matter how much you eat, still craving food at the end of it. Good natural fats let you know when your body is satisfied. Introducing the right kind of fats to your meals also helps balance hormones while significantly enhancing how you look and feel.

MEET THE GOOD OILS

good fats olive oilCold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed walnut oil, cold-pressed fax-seed oil, avocado oil, sesame oil and coconut oil are all excellent for salad dressings. Eat them and thrive.

  • Olive oil is monounsaturated rather than polyunsaturated—one of the safest vegetable oils you can use. It is well-suited to dressings and can be heated, but only to moderate temperatures. Make sure the Extra Virgin Olive Oil you buy is cloudy (not filtered) and a golden-yellow color.
  • Sesame oil is reasonably stable and can also be used on salads as can cold-pressed walnut oil and avocado oil.
  • Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil/fat and is the safest, healthiest choice for cooking, because it remains stable even at high temperatures. It also boasts antiviral and antibacterial properties.

DON’T FORGET BUTTER

good fats butterMillions of shoppers buy margarine in the belief that it’s “better for you than butter.” This is another baseless opinion, forced upon us by bad science and multinational food manufacturers. The process used to turn out margarine, known as hydrogenation, does horrendous things to the already-rancid vegetable oils it is made from. Margarines also contain all sorts of additives you wouldn’t want in your body. It is not surprising that they have now become associated with the development of both cancer and heart disease.

Butter on the other hand contains many essential nutrients. Look for butter made from the milk of grass-fed animals if you can find it. Experiments comparing the health of margarine eaters with butter eaters continually find in butter’s favor. In one study, the risk of developing heart disease for butter users was half that of eaters of margarine. Infants and children especially benefit from butter, which fosters normal growth and development. Use this delicious stuff liberally—and without guilt—in the knowledge that your body will thank you for it.

THE LAST WORD OF ADVICE

The Randle EffectFats and starchy carbs like pasta, bread, and pizza do not mix. Eating them together bring about what is known as the Randle Effect: When lots of fat and carbohydrates are eaten together, as they often are in the standard Western diet, the fats get burnt as fuel, while the carbohydrates are converted to glucose. The glucose in turn is converted into more body fat, throwing any overweight, insulin-resistant person into a terrible vicious circle, where hunger and carbohydrate cravings lead to overeating, followed by an inevitable increase in blood sugar and insulin levels as well as body fat deposits and yet more cravings. The irony is that, for a long time, we have been blaming dietary fat for this, when this phenomenon is actually caused by a high starchy carbohydrate intake, especially in the presence of the junk fats found in margarines, golden oils, and convenience foods.

Natural fats eaten on their own or together with protein, but without an abundance of carbohydrates, do not cause the laying down of fat in the body. Nor do they cause insulin resistance. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to grasp for those of us who have been highly schooled in the high-carbs-low-fat approach to weight loss and age protection. Yet, when it comes to staying well it is essential to understand.

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http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/eat-fat-thrive/feed/ 0 not-your-fault trans-fats low-fat beware-golden-oils omega-3-good-oils coconut-oil good-fats-olive-oil good-fats-butter the-randle-effect
Rhodiola – Renew Body And Life http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/renew-body-life/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/renew-body-life/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 20:57:35 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2018 “Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners”
Shakespeare

One of the most powerful healing plants in the world originates in the dry, hostile environment of Siberia. For eons it was prized as a source of strength for Viking warriors, Russian cosmonauts having to endure the demands of space travel, and Olympic athletes. A beautiful perennial plant with pink, red or yellow flowers, it is called “Arctic Root” or “Golden Root.” Its proper name is Rhodiola rosea. If you don’t already make use of this incredible gift from nature, you don’t know what you’re missing.

QUEEN OF ADAPTOGENS

RhodiolaRhodiola is the most versatile adaptogenic plant in the world. An adaptogen is a plant or herb which acts in non-specific ways to improve health and increase resistance to stress, without upsetting the body’s biological functions. Numerous studies carried out in France, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Russia confirm what has been known for centuries by shamans and wise woman healers: Rhodiola brings endless blessings to anybody using it. Here are just a few of its benefits.

  • restores normal menstrual cycle in women
  • prevents and clears fatigue
  • increases vitality
  • enhances immunity
  • improves athletic prowess
  • supports heart strength
  • promotes improved wellbeing
  • protects muscles when exercising
  • helps endurance
  • increases the metabolism of fats
  • increases work capacity
  • reduces stress and damage from stress
  • supports thyroid function
  • improves sexual function in men

Whew! I could go on and on. The scientific research into this beautiful plant is voluminous and inspiring. I first learned of Rhodiola many years ago when Professor of Medical Science, Israel Brekhman—the much celebrated Russian research scientist in organic medicine and biologically active substances in Vladivostok—visited Britain. Brekhman’s career focused on the genetics of plants and herbs, and on improving health and wellbeing. It was he who first coined the word adaptogen.

NON-TOXIC HEALING

rhodiola-redOne of the wonderful things about Rhodiola is that it has a very low level of toxicity and very few side effects. (Since safety issues are as yet not available for pregnancy and lactation, however, it should be avoided in these circumstances.) There are many ways in which Rhodiola—which now grows in Greenland, Iceland, Canada and Alaska—as well as its native Siberia, can be used. One of the most surprising is this: If you can get hold of the plant itself (unfortunately in some countries, Rhodiola plants are not available because of agricultural import regulations), it will thrive in your garden. You can cook its shoots and leaves which are edible, prepare its roots as you would any starchy vegetable, serve its leaves raw in a mixed salad, and even serve its shoots prepared as you do asparagus. More about Rhodiola in a moment. Meanwhile, there are some important things you need to know about using herbs of any kind.

NATURE’S MEDICINES

rhodiola-teaPlants hold powerful medicine for men and women. To state such an obvious truth seems absurd, since every culture in the world from the beginning of human history has turned to herbs, trees, and other plants as medicine. Yet in our post-industrial world, we find ourselves in the absurd position of having to rediscover our medicinal and health-promoting heritage—not only by unearthing long neglected local practices, often passed on verbally from woman to woman, but also by investigating herbal traditions from other parts of the world: Tibet, China, India, Japan and Native America. The benefits of making nature’s medicinal plants a part of your day-to-day life becomes obvious when you realize that the origins of most drugs lie in plants.

Using plants and herbs for strength and healing offers many advantages. First, their powers for enhancing wellbeing go far beyond their ability to alleviate symptoms. For centuries, women healers preferred to use the whole of most plants. They had no belief in the practice now propounded by today’s mainstream medicine which chooses to use isolated ingredients and make them into patented drugs.

In every medicinal plant, there are two kinds of compounds, each of which has an important part to play in treatment. The first are the active ingredients—these are what capture the imagination of chemists and drug producers to make the biochemically twisted molecules that Big Pharma turns into patented drugs. The second are the compounds and substances which drug manufacturers ignore altogether—even seek to eliminate—but which good herbalists insist play a vital supportive role in the healing a particular herb can bring to the body. These compounds work synergistically with the active ingredients, making them more easily accessible to the body or dampening the effect of what are often very potent plant chemicals—helping to protect the body from side-effects. Some even help protect from overdose by causing nausea if the body’s safe level of tolerance is passed. It is the synergy of these primary active ingredients and their secondary helpers that makes herbs work so well. There are many different substances and compounds in plants and herbs which offer health-supporting abilities. The volatile oils for instance, the tannins, phenylpropanoids (like those in Rhodiola), alkaloids, bitters, glycosides, and flavonoids.

WAYS AND MEANS

tinctureYou can take herbs in many different ways—as infusions, decoctions, syrups, tinctures, suppositories, capsules, and in baths, ointments or creams. You can grow your own herbs or buy them in bulk dried. Using the dried plant is by far the cheapest way to use herbs, since you can buy a large amount at a time very cheaply and make up your own infusions, decoctions, suppositories and ointments, as well as tinctures. You can even buy empty gelatin capsules and fill them with dried herb yourself. However, it is often easiest if you are a complete beginner to rely on good quality ready-made herbal products from a good supplier—whole herbs, herbs in capsules, herbal extracts and tinctures. Tinctures are made by using water and or alcohol to draw out a plant’s chemical constituents and preserve them. They are taken in a little water. These are best either bought ready-made from a reputable supplier, or left until you have mastered the use of herbs in other ways, as each herb demands a specific ratio of water and alcohol to plant material.

MEET THE SOUL OF A PLANT

soul-of-a-plantIt is worth remembering that, just as people have different personalities, so do plants. Once you get to know the actions of various herbs—and the best way of doing this is to use them or to watch them work on other people—you begin to develop a feel for the character or soul of each plant. Eventually you develop a skill that enables you to call on the right plant or plants when you need their help. But it is important to remember that plants, such as Rhodiola, are slower acting than drugs, so you need to be patient. It is necessary to use most herbs for a few weeks before you come to experience its full benefits. That being said, I sometimes find a plant can will bring almost immediate relief too. One big advantage of using herbs is that many herbs, when taken steadily over a period of time, will do the job for which they were being taken so well that you no longer need to use them. Another important thing to remember when using herbs is that some work well in combination.

Whatever herbs you are using, they need to be fresh, clean and either well-crafted or grown organically. Some herbs on the market today have been grown in countries where pesticides and herbicides are sprayed heavily. Others are not fresh or have been irradiated or are contaminated with chemicals. Often suppliers themselves are not even aware of how the dried plants have been handled.

BACK TO RHODIOLA

aaron-rod-yellowThe active constituents of Rhodiola root are many. This is one of the reasons that this plant acts so powerfully in so many ways to benefit your health. The most important ingredients it contains include Rosin, Rosavin, Salidroside, and Tyrosol.

Although Rhodiola can be prescribed by an herbalist as a tincture or extract, for many reasons, this plant is usually best taken in capsules. In no small part, this is because its taste in tincture form is far too intense for most people. For those of you who, like me, love to know the minutiae: A typical dose in tablet or capsule form for long-term administration is 360-600mg per day when standardized for 2.6 Rosavin, 180-300mg when standardized for 2% Rosavin, or 100-170 when standardized for 2.6 Rosavin. Some products list the Rosavin in milligrams, such as 6mg of Rosavin per 120 mg of Rhodiola root, or 12 mg of Rosavin per 240mg of Rhodiola root. These formulations are an even more robust 5% Rosavin content. Even so, such products provide a large margin of safety.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Always read labels carefully. (This is one of the reasons I order almost all of my nutritional products—including capsules of Rhodiola—from iHerb, where they provide both clear in-depth ingredient information as practically no other company does, and they ship DHL incredibly fast worldwide.)

Always check out where any herb such as Rhodiola has been sourced. Make sure the raw materials it contains are the most active and desirable ingredients. Use products only from a first-rate manufacturer who relies on high-quality processes and extraction methods. Reject nutritional supplements of any kind that contain flow agents like magnesium stearate, which is made from stearic acid. It can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients via the digestive system.

Thanks to Rhodiola rosea’s stunning versatility, it is able to nurture the nervous system, cardiovascular system, hormonal system, immune system and musculoskeletal system all at the same time. It’s little wonder, given its wide spectrum of therapeutic benefits, that in this time of physical, emotional and financial pressures, demands and work loads, growing exposure to environmental stressors and increasing costs of health care, this unique inexpensive herb with its excellent safety profile is gradually becoming better known. Most people see an improvement in energy levels, mood, mental clarity, memory, stamina and endurance within 2 to 6 weeks of using it. I for one wouldn’t be without Rhodiola in my family herb cupboard. Personally I take it twice daily as does my son Aaron.

You want to choose the very best Rhodiola you can buy. I’ve investigated a good dozen readily-available products, so 2 of my personal recommendations below:

Gaia Herbs, Rhodiola Rosea

Gaia Herbs, Rhodiola Rosea

This is a wonderful product in no small part because of the way Gaia encapsulate it as a liquid which is rapidly absorbed. Each capsule contains the equivalent of 2,000mg of the dry herb. I keep mine in the fridge once the bottle is open.

Order Gaia Herbs, Rhodiola Rosea from iherb

Eclectic Institute, Rhodiola

Eclectic Institute, Rhodiola

Another excellent Rhodiola 100% fresh freeze dried.

Order Eclectic Institute, Rhodiola from iherb

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http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/renew-body-life/feed/ 0 Rhodiola rhodiola-red rhodiola-tea tincture soul-of-a-plant aaron-rod-yellow GAI-40170-1 ECL-35904-0
Kill Death Curses And Live! http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/kill-death-curses-live/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/kill-death-curses-live/#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:01:21 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2002 Everybody’s heard of death curses. Literature is laced with accounts of how Aboriginal witch doctors have brought about the death of the young and healthy by cursing them. No sooner do these people learn about the fate which has been cast for them than, inexplicably, they begin to sicken and die. Through complex biological processes, their simple belief in the curse foisted upon starts to bring about their downfall.

MODERN-DAY DEATH CURSES

curseIn civilized society we look upon such phenomena as anthropological curiosities—products of primitive superstition which can’t touch us in our “enlightened age”. What we don’t know, however, is this: We in the so-called civilized world are, more often than not, living under our own brand of “death curses”—most of which we are not even aware of. They are subtler than those issued by witch doctors, yet every bit as deadly in creating the physical and mental decline that we have been taught to associate with aging.

Common charged words and phrases associated with aging like “retirement”, “middle-age”, “It’s all downhill after forty”, and “At your age you must start taking things more easily” are widely voiced. They can exert a powerful effect on the process of aging for all of us by creating destructive self-fulfilling expectations of age decline. Then, instead of facing our future full of confidence and excitement about what lies ahead, optimism gets replaced by anxiety as we are warned to “Be careful”, or “Never take chances on a new career at your age.”

The list of such frequently proffered “sensible” advice is a long one. Such suggestions often lead us to make changes in the way we live that actually encourage physical decline—like decreasing the amount of exercise we get, or altering our eating habits away from fiber-rich natural foods towards “softer” foods and “convenience foods”. We may even limit the amount of social and intellectual stimulation we have been used to. What’s worse, this kind of advice tends to undermine our self-image and destroy our self-confidence. This in turn interferes with the proper functioning of the immune system, which plays such a central role in protecting the body from aging. An essential ingredient in healthy aging is becoming aware of just how powerfully our emotions, state of mind, and unconscious assumptions influence susceptibility to illness and the rate at which we age. Once this awareness penetrates your consciousness, you can begin to make use of a few powerful techniques that quite automatically banish death curses from your life, and help you live healthy, decade after decade.

MIND-BODY CONNECTIONS

mind-body-stressThe notion that your state of mind can influence your health and the rate at which you age was once something that had to be taken on faith. Now it’s been scientifically proven, thanks to a scientific discipline with a tongue-twisting name: psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI has established that the body’s immune system, that bulwark of defense, is undeniably affected by your unconscious assumptions, your emotional states and your behavioral patterns. They lead either to a significant resistance to rapid aging on the one hand, or to an increased susceptibility to decrepitude and degenerative diseases on the other. The happier you are, the better you feel about yourself and the more positive are your expectations about the future, the more likely is it that you will age slowly and gracefully, and the less likely you will be to fall prey to illness of whatever sort—from a common cold to a chronic life-threatening disease.

LIVE LIKE ZORBA

zorba-the-greekNo area of what I call “ageless aging” is more fun to explore than this one. I always think of positive aging as “Zorba the Greek” consciousness. It makes possible the most amazing physical and mental feats by quite ordinary people living ordinary lives. Take the man who is able to work eighteen hours a day, drink whisky by the tumblerful, dance on tables until the early hours of the morning and still live to be 110, thanks to the sheer joy of his passion for living. (I had a grandfather like this whom I absolutely adored!) You also find this positive vision of ageing amongst saints and holy men who carry out their day-to-day activities, from writing letters to peeling potatoes, in a state of bliss—samadhi. Take a look at their superbly unlined faces. Many could as easily be thirty as seventy.

Mainstream medicine has long acknowledged that emotional states such as anxiety and depression can make some illnesses worse. These include asthma, diabetes, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, migraine and cardiovascular problems. But until the advent of PNI, it has paid little attention to examining the power—both positive and negative—of their psychological components, nor has it explored ways and means of improving these conditions by altering a patient’s mental state or behavioral patterns. Meanwhile, it still ignores psychological components in the vast majority of other illnesses—from lung disease and cancer to rheumatism and allergic reactions—choosing to treat them instead as nothing other than physiological conditions, little affected by whether the patient experiencing them felt good or bad in himself. Western medicine, bound by the Cartesian notion of a split between mind and matter, fails to consider the people it treats as psychobiological beings, whose feelings, thoughts, expectations and perceptions are intimately bound to their physiology and biochemistry. They never bother to ask the question: Why do some people who smoke forty cigarettes a day for 20 years end up with lung cancer, while others following exactly the same pattern don’t?

TIME TO TRANSFORM

mind-body-connectionJust as prolonged unmitigated stress, depression and anxiety suppress immune functions, a positive frame of mind frees us from death curses. It brings us a sense that we can cope with whatever comes our way, offers potent protection from illness and age-degeneration. Those of us who succumb to anxiety, depression and a sense of helplessness when life difficulties arise invariably show suppressed immune functions. The Zorba-like people who feel they can deal effectively with whatever comes their way most often have good immune functions, even when faced with major life changes. In a well controlled study of women suffering from breast cancer who underwent mastectomy, British researcher Dr Steven Greer reported that women who react to their diagnosis by denying that they are seriously ill or with a determination to conquer the problem are far more likely five years later to be free of the disease than those who stoically accept a diagnosis while feeling hopeless or helpless.

MAKE AGE WORK FOR YOU

age-wisdomWhat can you do, starting right now, to develop your mind as a tool for positive aging? Begin by exploring the benefits of mind/body techniques that alter your mental attitudes and emotional states from negative to positive, therefore encouraging good immune functions and slowing down the rate at which you age. There are many. Some 40 years back, Dr Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School developed a simple meditative technique, called the Relaxation Response. It consists of sitting with your eyes closed for 15 or 20 minutes morning and night and repeating a single word—say “one” or “peace”—over and over again silently. Practiced regularly every day, it not only counters the immune-suppressing tendencies of stress, but even brings about major psychological shifts in belief systems that gradually change a self-defeating sense of helplessness into a free spirit who, like Zorba himself, can dance on tables just for fun. I recently wrote about Benson’s amazing work. You’ll find it here. I’ve even posted a video so you can learn the technique and practice it with me every day if you like. Finally, there is an excellent video by Benson about working with the Relaxation Response and the amazingly positive benefits research shows it to have on those who practice it daily.

HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT AGING?

aged-joyExplore how many negative expectations you have unconsciously connected with aging. Then you simply and methodically go about changing them. Start right now: How many of the following notions would you agree with? They have been adapted from a questionnaire designed by gerontologist Erdman Palmore from Duke University Medical Center in the United States.

TAKE THIS QUIZ

Then check your answers at the end. (Just mark “T” for true or “F” for false.)

  1. The majority of old people (past age sixty-five) are senile (i.e. defective memory, disoriented or demented).
  2. All five senses tend to decline with age.
  3. Most old people have no interest in sex.
  4. Lung capacity tends to decline in old age.
  5. The majority of old people feel miserable most of the time.
  6. The majority of old people are seldom irritated or angry.
  7. At least one-tenth of the aged are living in long-stay institutions (i.e. nursing homes, mental hospitals, homes for the aged, etc).
  8. Aged drivers have fewer accidents per person than drivers under age sixty-five.
  9. Most older workers cannot work as effectively as younger workers.
  10. About 80 per cent of the aged are healthy enough to carry out their normal activities.
  11. Most old people are set in their ways and are unable to change.
  12. The majority of old people are working or would like to have some kind of work to do (including housework and volunteer work).
  13. It is almost impossible for most old people to learn new things.
  14. The reaction time of most old people tends to be slower than reaction time of younger people.
  15. In general, most old people are pretty much alike.
  16. The majority of old people are seldom bored.
  17. The majority of old people are socially isolated and lonely.
  18. Older workers have fewer accidents than younger workers.
  19. Older people tend to become more religious as they age.
  20. Most medical practitioners tend to give low priority to the aged.

NOW CHECK YOUR ANSWERS

The even-numbered questions are true. The odd numbered ones are false. How many of your own answers are correct?

AGE REBORN

running-for-joyContrary to popular opinion, a mere 2 or 3 per cent of old people are institutionalized because of psychiatric disorders. The vast majority of older people do not have memory defects. Most people over sixty-five continue to be interested in sex, and sexual relations often continue well into the eighties between healthy men and women. Studies made of morale and happiness amongst the elderly show no difference between their enjoyment of life and that of younger people. Meanwhile, people over sixty-five have fewer accidents per person driving than younger drivers do. They also have fewer accidents at work. The majority of old people are not “set in their ways” as we have been taught, although it can take them longer to learn something new than their younger counterparts. Studies show that very few old people suffer from boredom. Neither are they socially isolated or lonely. More than 10 per cent of older people work and two-thirds of those who don’t would like to. Finally, older people are seldom irritated or angry. This has been established by three separate studies.

VISUALIZE AGE ANEW

live-joyBecoming conscious of any false assumptions you make about aging is a good first step. The next is to create for yourself a new vision of what it means to have time passing. Make use of creative visualization techniques where, in a state of relaxation, you allow your mind to play on positive images of yourself five, ten, thirty years from now. It is only a matter of letting yourself indulge in positive daydreaming. Or practice a meditation or deep-relaxation technique once a day, and finish off by repeating silently to yourself Coue’s formula for personal growth and healing: “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.” It is exquisitely simple, yet enormously powerful when practiced daily in a deeply relaxed state so that it is your imagination rather than your will which is brought into play.

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