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Quantum Vitality
by Susan Smith Jones, PhD

 

 

 

 

In an organic walnut nutshell, my philosophy, with the help of Ralph Waldo Emerson, is “Health is our greatest wealth.” If you think about this sage advice, I’m sure you’ll agree. It really does begin with taking loving care of yourself. Fortunately, regardless of your age, current level of well-being, and present diet or living habits, you can choose differently at any moment. Your new, better choices will lead to a healthier and happier life than you ever thought possible.

If you’re a “baby boomer” like I am, keep in mind that changes that were once labeled milestones of growing older — such as high blood pressure, fragile bones, significant memory loss, wrinkles, reduced vision, and lack of energy and libido —are no longer considered inevitable. The diet and lifestyle choices that I practice myself, recommend in my private practice, and write about in The Joy Factor: 10 Sacred Practices for Radiant Health will help you look and feel vibrantly alive at any age. I feel as young/exuberant as I ever did--you can, too!

Your level of health, right this moment, is the result of the countless decisions you’ve made regarding your diet, exercise, what you think about consistently, your beliefs, and expectations. Undoubtedly, many of these choices have been poor ones, but you can use your past mistakes and learn from them. However, you must start with a commitment. Specifically, are you willing to make a commitment to your health? Great health is the foundation of a happy, joy-filled life.

Such dedication begins with appreciating, respecting, and loving your magnificent body. One of the most important things you can learn in life is to appreciate yourself. As you open your heart to your own self-worth and to the divine essence of all humanity, you access the most powerful healer of all, the healing power of love. And the human body is, indeed, a miracle of love’s creation. The more I study about how the body works, the more I am amazed and in awe at how beautifully it is designed. Clearly, it’s a fantastic creation that deserves reverence and respect.

Your body is a remarkable feedback machine. If you listen, you’ll discover that it actually talks to you. When you get a headache, for instance, your physical self is trying to tell you something. But you must receive its signals with health, balance, and peace as your goals. The key here is your willingness to listen and act. Start today to tune in more to what your miraculous body is trying to communicate with you.

Most people think that the way to handle a headache is to reach for a bottle of aspirin. They believe that it’s normal to experience such discomfort, but they’re mistaken. While headache (and the countless other aches and pains that people experience) are certainly common, health is the truly normal state. Disease is the aberration, caused either by harm you’ve done to yourself or that others have done to you.

Collectively, Americans have been making some very poor choices. Just look at all of the commercials on television and the advertisements in magazines and newspapers. Whatever you’re suffering from —headache, constipation, sleepless nights, diarrhea, indigestion, skin rashes, high blood pressure, impotency . . . fill in the blank — the advertisers have a miracle pill, powder, or potion for you. We’ve come to believe that things outside ourselves are the keys to health and well-being. We’ve become a self-medicating society because we don’t really understand how beautifully robust the human body is. Each of us needs to be reminded that we’re magnificently equipped to meet life’s problems when supplied with the simple and easily obtainable requisites of health.

I have some astonishing news for some of your listeners: It’s normal to be able to go to sleep at night without taking a pill. It’s normal not to have headaches, sinus problems, hemorrhoids, constipation, and shaky hands. It’s normal to be well. We just need to stop doing the things that cause the problems in the first place. When you live more from inner guidance, closer to nature, and follow the guidance in my books Walking on Air and The Joy Factor, you can enrich the quality of your life and the life on this planet. It’s simply a matter of choice. And it all begins, as mentioned previously, with respecting and taking loving care of your body. The body reflects the mind, and the mind reflects the spirit, so choosing to make positive changes with your miraculous body is a good place to start.

I get asked if I ever splurge on treats like chocolate or foods with white flour or white sugar in them. I have found that if you got to a natural food store, you can find alternatives that taste just as good as or better than other health-destroying foods. For example, instead of fat-laden dairy ice cream, I get “ice creams” made with coconut milk (and with now sugar added).

There's more to health than a good diet and regular exercise. The importance of health to satisfaction and success in life has always been known. As early as 300 BC, Herophilies wrote, “When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot become manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth is useless and reason is powerless.” And in a recent Gallup survey, 75% of respondents rated an optimistic attitude, clean environment, stress control, good relationships, and satisfying work as very important to health. People who enjoy what they do and who feel a sense of control over their lives tend to be healthier.

Start today and become the CEO of your own body and health. When people ask what you do, proudly say: “I’m now the CEO of my body and life.” You see, taking charge — stepping up to your position of CEO of your body and life — means acting positively. Start with eating right and exercising regularly. These two elements can do more than add a year or two to your life span; they can improve the quality of life, especially in later years. And Americans are living longer than ever before. At the end of this decade, the average life expectancy in the United States is projected to be over 86 in some areas of the country. And if you eat and live the way I describe in The Joy Factor, you will out-live that for at least a decade or so.

BOTTOM LINE: Begin with your diet and exercise programs. Always do your best. Live closer to nature — eat a rainbow of colorful, natural foods and stay active. And while these two practices are essential ingredients to living fully and celebrating life, there’s more to radiant health than a good diet and exercise. Extensive research in the field of health and wellness over the past 35 years indicates to me that there are at least 20 paramount factors that must be integrated and balanced in our lives, if radiant health is what we want. These include fresh air, plenty of rest and sleep, avoidance of addictions, exercise, wholesome nutrition, sunshine, detoxifying, deep breathing, a clean body, a balanced life, systematic under-eating, a deep respect for life, high self-esteem, daily respites of solitude and silence, a positive attitude, a sense of belonging, and an awareness and trust in God or something bigger than your life. Also, get out into nature as much as possible.

Our health is negatively affected when we’re always indoors and surrounded by synthetic fabrics, electronics such as computers, buildings, traffic, etc. To balance out our body, we need to get out into nature. This might mean to take a hike, walk by the ocean, go to a place where there are lots of trees and flowers. Maybe you can take a walk at a local community park, or even in your backyard. If you can take off your shoes and socks and simply walk on the grass, or at the beach, or anywhere in nature barefoot — all the better. My grandmother taught me the importance of walking barefoot on the grass as I breathe deeply to reduce stress and reconnect with the essence of life. I’m fortunate to live in the Santa Monica/Brentwood area of SoCal; I’m often at the beach where I walk, jog, bike, skate, do yoga, or just sit and watch the waves and listen to the sounds of nature. The ocean is one of my favorite places in nature.

If you need more motivation to engage in a regular exercise program, here are other reasons, besides weight loss, that exercise benefits body, mind, and spirit. I have gone into this topic in much greater detail in The Joy Factor so I will give you some of the high points here and it has to do with alleviating depression and quelling stress and anxiety.

“A sound mind in a sound body” is a traditional Latin motto. Researchers are finding, however, that there’s much more to the adage than might first appear. It seems that much of our sense of happiness and well-being depends on how much exercise we get. Malcolm Carruthers, head of a British medical team, believes that “most people could ban the blues with a simple, vigorous 10-minute exercise session 3x a week.” He came to this conclusion after spending 4 years studying the effect of norepinephrine on 200 people. Norepiephrine is a depression-destroying hormone, “The chemical key to happiness,” according to Carruthers. And just 10 minutes of exercise doubles the level of norepinephrine in the body.

Enkephalin is another spirit-lifting chemical produced in the brain during vigorous aerobic exercise. Enkephalins are the source of the feeling known as runner’s high among the long-distance runners that have been studied often. Enkephalin is a type of endorphin, morphine-like chemicals that serve as natural opiates, increasing pain tolerance and producing euphoric feelings. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital found a rise of more than 145% in endorphins during 1-hour of vigorous exercise. So you might want to . . . “Walk your dog every day, whether you have a dog or not.”

Exercise can also work in conjunction with psychotherapy to alleviate depression, according to work done at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. It’s not a panacea, but it’s a useful adjunct for treating depression. Exercise boosts self-image by changing an individual’s worldview from that of passive bystander to active participant. People who exercise believe they have control over their health and the quality of their lives.

And finally, exercise works better than tranquilizers to eliminate symptoms of tension and anxiety. A classic study of tense and anxious people (of course none of your listeners) was conducted at USC. As one part of the experiment, the research team administered to the subjects a 400-milligram dose of meprobamate, the main ingredient in many tranquilizers. In the 2nd part, he had the same group of people take a walk vigorous enough to raise their heart rates over 100 beats per minute. They measured tension levels by monitoring the amount of electrical activity in the subjects’ muscles. Measuring electrical activity (EMG machine -- electromyography) in muscles is the most objective way to measure a person’s nervousness. They found that after exercise, electrical activity was 20 percent less than the subjects’ normal rate. But after being dosed with meprobamate, the subjects showed little change in the electrical activity in their muscles.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Movement is strong medicine.

BONUS:
By releasing tension and promoting relaxation, exercise alleviates those tension-related bodily malfunctions, such as ulcers, migraine headaches, asthma, skin eruptions, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Exercise also leads to a good night’s sleep, a key to mental well-being.

How does breath and breathing fit in to feeling more relaxed? Breathe more deeply every day. If you only remember only 2-3 things from this interview that will immensely enrich and enhance your life and health immediately, one should be to breathe more deeply throughout the day. You see, your breath is the greatest tool you have to help you know exactly where you are. The quicker your breath, the more agitated you are: the deeper and slower you breathe, the more relaxed you are. Therefore, to relax in any moment, take 7 long, slow deep breaths in and out. Do it now.

Your inability to pay bills causes you to gain weight. Literally and figuratively, you are empty on the inside when you struggle paying bills or supporting yourself, and this causes you to eat too much and especially of nutrient-poor junk and processed foods. You are trying to fill the emptiness that you feel inside.

Stress packs on the pounds with a cortisol increase, too. Then, it’s a vicious cycle. And if you don’t sleep enough, this will add more to your feelings of low self-esteem, lower energy, and cause your body to store all of your calories as fat, and even cause you to crave unhealthy foods – because of lack of ZZZZ’z and sleep.

Health comes from the Farm and not the Pharmacy. Here are some superfoods, herbs and spices that, individually, are like high octane for the body. Put them all together, and you’ve got a surefire tonic that will enhance all the cells and organs of the body.

Turmeric – an excellent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and helps lower cholesterol
Cayenne – revs up the body’s furnace, super-charges metabolism, curbs appetite, and prevent overeating.
Ginger – supports circulation, warms up the body, and boosts immunity.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – rich in potassium and excellent for digestion, muscles and joints, allergies, sore throats, blood pressure and more

There's a benefit to eating more raw foods. Healthy, raw foods such as colorful fresh fruits/veggies, raw nuts and seeds, and sprouts are some of the healthiest foods you can eat.

1)
First off, they help hydrate your body because all of the natural water has not been removed through cooking. Cooked food dehydrates you and slows down digestion. Everything you put in your stomach needs to be turned into liquid to be digested.

2) Raw foods are rich in enzymes; these are catalysts, the spark plugs of life. They are protein molecules that facilitate chemical reactions in virtually every cell, organ and system in our bodies, from digestion to elimination.

3) Raw foods are also richer in vitamins. About 45-55% of B vitamins are lost in heated foods, as well as 70-80% of vitamin C and 50% of vitamin E. Cooking doesn’t not improve the nutritional value of food. It destroys or makes unavailable almost 85% of the original nutrients, according to some researchers.

4)
Raw foods are also a valuable source of available electrons, and help prevent physiological damage from free radicals, and they are rich in oxygen. Heat reduces the oxygen found in fresh food, oxygen we need to resist disease. Oxygen stimulates digestion, promotes better circulation in the body, promotes clearer thinking, protects against anaerobic bacteria, and nourishes every cells in the body. Without sufficient oxygen in the blood, the metabolism and digestion become sluggish.

Living sprouts, such as alfalfa, broccoli, red clover and lentil sprouts, are a superb raw-food superfood that you can actually grow in your own kitchen. They are one of nature’s gems, teaming with nutrients. I have been growing sprouts since I was a teenager and my grandmother taught me how to do this. Of course, you can buy them at the natural food store or the grocery store, as I discussed mentioned in our previous radio show that we did all about The ABCs of Sprouts and how to grow them, but you never know how fresh they are on the shelf and they can also be pricey. It only takes about 4 days to grow a quart of fresh broccoli sprout and it would take about 55-70 days to grow the mature broccoli plant in your garden. And it costs only pennies to grow them at home and takes about 5-6 minutes of your time spread out over a few days. Kids also love to participate in the sprouting process.

We live in the real world and it’s difficult to eat a 100% raw diet. So I recommend to add in extra raw foods, whenever possible. Clients often come to me to custom-design for them a detox/rejuvenation program. That always entails adding as much raw food as is comfortable for them to eat.

When I eat more raw food, my skin looks younger, I have more energy, I sleep better, and I recover from exercise quicker. I also notice that the whites of my eyes are clearer, I have more mental focus and clarity, and I simply feel more positive about my body and optimistic about life. I hear these comments from everyone who adds more raw foods into his or her diet. In fact, eating more raw foods is a surefire way to quell depression and enervation, and to experience more passion for life. Refer to the chapter entitled Nourish Yourself with Living Foods from my book The Joy Factor and in a few sections of my book Walking on Air for more detailed info on the healing benefits of raw foods.

Today, begin discovering yourself and all the beauty, splendor, and wonder housed within you. You are the only person you can ever know intimately. You are the one with whom you must live eternally. Imagine living as though you are the most special person on planet earth because you really are to you. Who you truly are deep in your heart is so much greater than anything you’ll ever achieve in life. Indeed, as Anwar Sadat, former president of Egypt, said, “I have realized that my real self is a greater entity than any possible post or title.” Your real self — divine self — is a deep river that connects with God and with all life. At this moment, your real self may be hidden or unexpressed, but it is always available to you, with all its profundity, joy, and wisdom. When attuned to this inner self, we are, in the words of mythologist Joseph Campbell, “following our bliss.”

When you celebrate yourself and life, you find yourself doing what you love to do. Strength, confidence, joy, and peace are the basis of all your experience. Of course, you will encounter some pain and challenges along the way – and maybe lots of them; these are an inevitable part of being human. But when you are living fully, hardships, when they occur, are short-lived, and you can learn from them and grow and change.

Always remember that your radiant body responds to the blessings of love, praise, and gratitude. Take time each day to bless your body temple and acknowledge your oneness with spirit. Celebrate your magnificence.

 

 

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About the Author
 
With three of America’s most ordinary names, Susan Smith Jones, PhD, is hardly ordinary.  She’s made extraordinary contributions to the fields of holistic health and how every person can unlock their highest potential. For 30 years, she taught students, staff, and faculty at UCLA how to be healthy and fit. A much-sought-after motivational speaker, Susan is one of the world's foremost experts on how to use natural remedies, live a balanced life, look younger, shed extra weight and create high-level success and happiness.  An author of over 25 books on these topics, her latest books include Walking on Air: Your 30-Day Inside and Out Rejuvenation Makeover, The Joy Factor: 10 Sacred Practices for Radiant Health, Nature’s Superb Superfoods, Recipes for Health Bliss and The Curative Kitchen. Selected as one of 10 Healthy American Fitness Leaders by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, Susan is also founder and president of Health Unlimited, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm dedicated to the advancement of wellness education and peaceful, balanced living. For more information on Susan and her work, visit: www.SusanSmithJones.com

 

 

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