2005-01-07 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Restore, Replenish, Rejuvenate
By Dr. Nancy Gahles

DR. nancy gahles
DR. nancy gahles Restore, replenish, rejuvenate. crash diets, no sack cloth and ashes, no repentance for overindulgences and dietary indiscretions. Simply move forward into the winter season of conserving energy and resources and nurturing your inner self.

First things first. Just as with any natural disaster we must begin by clearing out the debris. For detoxifying the body I suggest we target the detoxifying organs. We can start with breathing. Deep cleansing breaths can jumpstart the metabolism by delivering oxygen to all the cells and promoting circulation of waste products through the bloodstream and out through the lungs. We can add increased movements like climbing stairs instead of using the elevator or by taking brisk walks. This increases respiration, heart rate and excretion through the skin by perspiration.

Drink plenty of fluids. The kidneys are an important detoxifying organ and are especially dominant in the winter season. In Chinese medicine the kidneys represent the water element and are said to govern the storage of the life force in the bones and marrow accounting for many laments of being “cold to the bone” during the winter. Ginger and cinnamon are some herbs that support kidney function and have warming properties.

Replenish the dehydration of too much alcohol or refined foods with steaming bowls of nutritious vegetable or chicken broth. Add proteins like beancurd or legumes like lentils. Drink Knudsen Farm’s product called “Recharge”, an organic electrolyte replenishing drink.

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are used for the “fight or flight” response better known to us as STRESS. Replenishing adrenal exhaustion can be as simple as slowing down, relaxing and reflecting on your inner self. A balanced Water element bespeaks natural, rhythmic flow, the fluidity which endows us with the ability to work and to rest; to give and to take; to be compassionate and nurture others and to love ourselves unconditionally. And while I’m contemplating, I like to drink Alfalfa tea. This herb is a wonderful blood cleanser, has the natural ability to stimulate and feed the pituitary gland, has a high fiber content which aids in elimination of waste from the body, and has a high enzyme content that enables it to restore the body’s immune system. Alfalfa contains all the known vitamins and minerals for life although in trace amounts. Studies have reported decreased serum cholesterol levels with the use of alfalfa seeds. Please do not attempt to use this herb for that condition without the consultation of your regular medical doctor.

NOTE: Alfalfa is contraindicated in pregnancy, gout and systemic lupus. It may reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulants when taken concomitantly. Check with your primary care physician before self administering this herb.

Supporting the liver is another factor in restoring the system to health. A period of eliminating alcohol after the holidays is a good idea to give the liver a chance to detoxify the blood unimpeded. Drink plenty of water with fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper. Milk thistle is an excellent herbal hepato-protectant, that is, it protects the liver from free radical oxidation. I like to add all the other important anti-oxidants like organic blueberries and cherries, grapefruit seed extract and alpha-lipoic acid, which also helps with carbohydrate metabolism, a benefit while weaning off the “carbs” post holiday time.

The whole idea is to acknowledge the seasonal festivities that created the excess and begin to slowly repair the damage. Liken it to a natural disaster, the devastation of which we so unfortunately have become acutely aware. The rebuilding is a process that takes time. Much more time to restore than it took to create the condition. Be patient with yourself. The winter is a time to do just this. Restore, replenish and rejuvenate.

Oh, yes, rejuvenate. Not a return to youthfulness but a return to joyousness. Joy, the truth of our being. Joy, the purity of flowing completely with each moment, fully adaptable, becoming like a ceaseless river cascading from the very waters of life itself. Water is the element of winter. Joy, the harbinger of hope.

Joy To The World. Let Heaven and Nature Sing!

Wishing you Peace in the New Year.

May The Blessings Be!

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