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Say Good-bye to Your Allergies this Spring

Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Say Good-bye to Your Allergies this Spring

Say Good-bye to Your Allergies this Spring

(Image: ‘Bee Collection Pollen’ by Tina Phillips / FreeDigitalPhotos.net) Spring is here!! The sun is coming out and the days are getting longer and longer. It’s time to take ourselves out of hibernation and enjoy nature. It’s the season to be active again: to go hiking, biking, kayaking and all other fun outdoor activities. Unless… you have spring allergies. Then, when it comes to outdoor activities, viewing friends’ and family’s pictures on Instagram is all you get. If this scenario sounds familiar we have some good news for you. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are proven to reduce and even eliminate all kinds of allergic symptoms. How does it work? Most allergy symptoms are characterized by hay fever manifesting in irritated, red, itchy and watery eyes; runny and congested nose; and skin rashes and hives. These symptoms are caused by an overreaction of the immune system which releases histamines to fight a substance which is usually harmless. According to Classical Chinese Medicine, all of the above are related to the organ/function called Liver (remember, organs in Chinese medicine are not limited only to the physical organ). The Liver in Chinese medicine is the organ in charge on the immune system, the eyes, and all the body’s mucus membranes.  Through the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies, the practitioner can affect the function of the liver and harmonize it. By achieving this harmony we see a normal and balanced functioning of the immune system which will not overreact to harmless substances. The wonderful results of such treatment (which is safe and natural) can be life altering to a person who suffers from allergies. So, interested in joining your friends on their next camping trip??       ...

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Nourish Your Life

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Featured, Health, Quotes & Thoughts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Nourish Your Life

Nourish Your Life

I’ve recently been reading a fascinating and enlightening book entitled “Healing Wise” by renowned herbalist Susun Weed. In it, she contrasts the Heroic and Scientific traditions with what she calls the “Wise Woman” tradition. The Wise Woman tradition heals by nourishing, and therefore its medicines are living foods (meaning unprocessed, whole, and wild). In the midst of our community Refresh at Source Centre, I am reflecting on the phenomenon of detoxing, and the greater paradigm in which such a practice is situated. Often, we approach detoxing, cleansing or dieting as a process of subtraction. We “cut” things out, usually things which we consider pleasurable (although guilt-inducing). We forbid ourselves the indulgence of these guilty pleasures–the complex carbs, the sugary treats, the fried or fatty foods–all of which give us pleasure through taste. I call this a deprivation model. There is a penitent element which constricts or even punishes desire, to achieve the higher purpose of purity. This is why, in my view, people find detoxing painful, difficult, and pleasure-less. This is why people “fail” at diets, or cannot sustain the shift in their physicality brought on by dieting or cleansing. This approach breeds resistance, rigidity and disempowerment. In other words, the deprivation model which holds subtraction as its primary action does not, and cannot, feed the individual in a meaningful and sustainable way. Of course, the foods these diets promote are often greatly nutritious and beneficial to the body. It is all in the paradigm and perspective one inhabits that determines the experience of such a commitment. We can impose change upon our external habits, but sustained transformation arises from within, from a paradigm of empowerment, abundance and resolve. (see last week’s Resolve blog). Ross Bridgeford, alkaline diet coach, recently touched upon this in a video posted on his website. In shifting ones diet towards alkalinity (meaning foods that are the opposite of acidic, and therefore promoting long term wellbeing) Ross advises that, rather than remove acidic foods from the diet, we instead simply add alkaline foods. By adding alkaline foods, such as organic greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, and alkaline water, the body increases its intake of essential nutrients without rules and restrictions. The yet more enlightening result, according to Ross, is that this process of adding nutrition provides the subconscious with the chance to “catch up” with the conscious mind, and become aligned with what really nourishes. The bodymind then gradually and voluntarily adopts alkalinity; the cravings for acidic foods are relinquished, and the hunger for nutritious, living foods enhanced. This result suggests that nourishment empowers, and deprivation weakens. A healthy diet however goes far beyond what we physically ingest. We can and do nourish (or deprive) ourselves with our thoughts, beliefs and actions . We are nourished by possibilities: of doing things differently, taking risks, experimenting, even “failing.” When we take a risk, we actually call something new into existence. When we nourish, we empower ourselves to be the answer to our own prayers. In the words of poet Galway Kinnel, “everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing”.  I hope that today and for all the days to come, you live this...

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Resolve

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Featured, Health, Quotes & Thoughts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Resolve

Resolve

A choice, irrespective of whether it is based on reasons why, comes from an individual resolve.  According to the the Vedas, the ancient spiritual texts of India, Sankalpa, or resolve, is the single most important element for an individual on their path. Resolve is the anchoring intention that holds one steady through the internal storms of confusion, doubt, resistance, rationalization and fear. I believe that resolve is beyond will power. Resolve is the confluence of universal and personal truth; it is awareness that strikes into action. Will power alone predicates itself on rules or restrictions, as in “I will not eat sugar anymore!”. These are external boundaries that emanate from the mind of the individual, holding them captive. When we make such declarations, we are exporting our power into external boundaries. Resolve on the other hand emanates from within, as a silent, but powerful choice: “I am honouring and celebrating life by nourishing myself.” Where will power can be severe, or constricting, resolve is an act of love. Resolve lives in the heart. Over the past few weeks as I have been ruminating on this topic, I’ve witnessed many inspiring stories of personal resolve from friends, and acquaintances. A common element that arose in every story was that none of these individuals committed to restricting themselves with rigid rules. They each held a personal intention, but also allowed themselves the freedom to act spontaneously. One friend whose intention was to quit smoking began noticing a subtle inner sense of repugnance for smoking, even when he indulged the urge. He increasingly began to identify with that quiet sense until he felt an unequivocal repugnance for cigarettes and quit successfully. Another friend had been practicing veganism for a little while, but allowed herself to indulge in KFC, after which she felt quite ill, and has not craved KFC since. Resolve extends from a paradigm of freedom and abundance. Creating external rules suggests that we do not trust ourselves with our choices. I’ve often heard people use language like “I’m not allowed,” “I can’t,” or “I’m not supposed to” with regards to lifestyles that they themselves have engineered. What I’ve also observed is that some folks are reticent about making commitments for fear of failure or mistake. Resolve has nothing to do with success or failure. Resolve weathers “slips” and continues to stand, to shine. Nor does it become dogmatic or punishing. Resolve empowers the individual with an awareness of their capacity for integrity, responsibility, resilience. It lives within each human being as a seed potential. It lives within you. As a gesture of my own resolve, I will share with you a recent commitment I have made. I have chosen to no  longer participate in factory farmed animal products. Because I made this choice from a place of love and reverence for life, I feel freer and more empowered when I contemplate it. It is my personal resolve to “be the change,” in Gandhi’s words. I share it with you as a gesture of faith in your own capacity for integrity, peace, and...

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Preparing for a Refresh

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Featured, Health, How-To's, Quotes & Thoughts | Comments Off on Preparing for a Refresh

Preparing for a Refresh

(Image: ‘fresh fruit’ by adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net) There was a time a few years ago when I was really keen on detoxes and explored and tried all sorts. This has been less so in recent times. To be honest, there’s a part of me that views a detox as a deprivation and I fear withdrawal symptoms – not just headaches, potential nausea and general fatigue, but even angst and restlessness at not allowing myself to reach out for my old standbys of comfort. This April, I’m going to give it another go alongside my Source community. It’s springtime, a natural time to clean out and we’re taking a new approach. No deprivation model here, it’s actually about nourishment and there’s a lot of information available in-office and on the web, including some great talks we’re hosting in April. In the meantime, I’d love to share my approach on getting started. So first, I like (need) to take a few weeks to prepare, and I pick a time period where my schedule is relatively light or where there aren’t too many outings planned. For us, this is going to be the week of April 15th. I begin to prepare myself mentally with the gentle reminders that we (the whole mind-body-spirit that composes this ‘Lana’ thing) are going to be undergoing a detox. This is a voluntary thing and the result is going to be positive. This is something we all want and it is a time-limited thing. We can totally do this. I also create some intentions around what I would like to achieve – this will consist of physical intentions (like sleep better, feel more energized, improve my skin’s glow, and sure, drop a few pounds 😛 ) and also something more spiritual & emotional (I would like to gain more peace, feel more love, and gain greater clarity around decision-making). The next piece is some practical planning around what I’m going to need. What is the detox itself going to consist of? What are the foods and equipment I’m going to need to have in place to make this work? Generally for me, I know that I need to have food and plans set for the next 2 days ahead; this also means setting aside time in my calendar every day (or other) to grocery shop and plan for the 2 days after that. And so on for the duration of the cleanse. Primarily, I will eat lots of raw food, say good bye to sugar, gluten, dairy, coffee, all fried and processed foods and add lots of water, herbal teas, seaweed, and supplements. Here I also consider my Achilles foods – coffee, chocolate (and sweets in general) and bread. What is the game plan for dealing with these cravings? In my nourishing cleanse, I’m going to drink green tea so that will provide me with a caffeine fix but do it with healthy antioxidant goodness (In most, if not every cleanse, we eliminate caffeine). For my sweet tooth, I’ll turn to fruit or a banana smoothie. For bread, I may just try out a gluten-free bread. Depending on the type of detox you take on, there may be satisfying ways of taking the sting out. The truth is, there is a lot of healthy culinary satisfaction available that I’m not even aware of. This is the fun part. I’ve checked out some books and have found some recipes I’m really eager to try. Our bodies thrive on proper nourishment. It’s never my body that craves junk food, is it? No! It’s my monkey mind that plays this...

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Pain – The Good, the Bad and the Chronic

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Featured, Health | Comments Off on Pain – The Good, the Bad and the Chronic

Pain – The Good, the Bad and the Chronic

Tell me if this sounds familiar or if you can relate: Peter is having a down day. His back is aching really badly, more than normal. There’s no will to get up from bed. Before she left their apartment for work, Peter’s wife Jackie gave him the daily pep talk, “Oh, come on, I know you can do this!” When Peter looked away, she told him it’s all in his head, and to “just deal with it.” As Jackie closes the door behind her, Peter angrily throws the pillow in her direction. Peter took his last pain-killer last night. He can barely hold the thought to get a refill at the pharmacy. It just hurts too much. As a chiropractor in downtown Toronto that works with people who suffer from chronic pain I hear personal stories like this all of the time. People who suffer from chronic pain may look fine – they don’t necessarily have an obvious injury like a broken arm or leg but their pain is very real and constant through every moment of their day.   Do you know someone who suffers from chronic pain or know someone who does? Unlike acute pain, chronic pain can last for months or even years. Chronic pain can stem from an obvious incident such as a motor vehicle collision, infection or arthritis, but not always. Chronic pain can affect all aspects of life, causing strain on families and relationships and make home and work responsibilities a challenge. People suffering from chronic pain often deal with anger, frustration, depression, mental fog and social isolation. Some venture into drug abuse and even contemplate suicide.   What’s the positive side of pain? Pain can be an incredibly useful signal that we are living out of balance. For example, consider an office worker who cradles the phone in his shoulder for hours and feels pain in the very same area at the end of the day. Here, the body is speaking up about the misalignment. Where in life do you experience pain? If there was something out of balance, what would it be? How would you address it? For a short-lived aches and pain, dealing with the imbalance could be simple. “Stop doing whatever you were doing” is an obvious answer and works really well for the office worker example above. Stop putting your body out of alignment and the signals will stop too – genius! It’s a simple example of how a healthy lifestyle choice can dramatically affect pain. For the chronic pain sufferer, life is not so simple. Rather than an unhealthy lifestyle being the source of pain, it’s often the other way around. Chronic pain itself can be the primary source of an unhealthy lifestyle. Find this hard to accept, even contradictory? Just like Peter’s wife Jackie, most people are in disbelief or are simply unaware that chronic pain is widespread. Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from chronic pain according to a recent survey (click for link).   For individuals, families, workplaces and communities dealing with chronic pain who is making a difference? The Toronto Chapter of the Chronic Pain Association (http://www.chronicpaintoronto.com) has created a place where people with chronic pain can gain better understanding of their treatment and management options. It’s a place where caregivers, families, friends, employers and co-workers can access resources and education for chronic pain. It’s where people find hope and meaning to their life. Chronic pain is a very real health challenge for Canadians. It directly impacts the quality of life of individuals and their families and has ripple effects on the workplace...

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Brighter Days Ahead

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Featured, Health, Quotes & Thoughts, Short Entries | Comments Off on Brighter Days Ahead

Brighter Days Ahead

As we walk through the last few crisp days of the cold season and our bodies yearn to stay warm and cozy in hibernation mode, there lie brighter days ahead.  The sun arises a couple of minutes earlier each day and the possibility of new growth blossoms.  The promise of spring fills the air. It is now a time for cleansing, detox and new beginnings.  It’s a wonderful time to start a new activity, do more things that nourish us, and come out of our cocoons and become social again.  It’s your chance to try something novel and have something to talk about.  So let’s go!  Soon it will be all blue skies and new buds growing.  What are you doing to spring clean your body? We have some suggestions here at Source Centre and the team is excited to do some detoxifying for the month of April.  Whether it’s eating smarter, ramping up the exercise, cleaning out the closet, renovating and being creative, or simply doing more of the things that make you happy, we want to hear!  Share with us what you plan to do to get that spring back into your step! Yours in good health, Dr. Anita Rajan  Image courtesy of [Sura Nualpradid] /...

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