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Natural Living Mag

Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.
B.K.S. Iyengar

Doesn't the above says it all? Getting healthy isn't just about getting healthy. Getting healthy comes from a healthful lifestyle, and leads to not only good physical health, but good mental and emotional health as well. And getting healthy isn't just about eating your vegetables and running around the block a few times. Getting healthy comes from a variety of sources. The obvious, such as eating natural, nutritious food and exercising. And the less obvious, such as finding a means to sleep well if you have insomnia, getting out for some good entertainment if you're working too much, clearing your skin if you suffer from acne, and many other things. Natural Living Mag strives to be your online magazine that discusses all these factors — the obvious and not so obvious — that lead to living naturally and getting the most out of life.

 

Should The State Be Involved In Our Food Choices?

New York's decision to prevent meal ticket holders buying soda has caused a lot of people to write that everyone should be free to eat what they want.

Some commentators have pointed out that it's not necessarily possible to fully choose your food because of the power of supermarkets and the availability of fresh or locally produced food. This is a valid point, but to be honest most people can find most types of food available in their local vicinity. Food freedom is not a reason to criticize supermarkets. There are other reasons to do so.

In an ideal world, someone's food choices would effect only themselves, and their families. In such a world, if you choose to live off McDonald's, then the health outcome from that would only effect yourself and your family. That's the outcome of the choices that you make.

food choices

Unfortunately, today's world is far more interconnected than that. The reality is that we all have to pay health insurance to cover the health outcomes of everyone. Even if you eat well, to some extent your health insurance premium will increase to cover the risks of the overall population. Hence as America becomes fatter, health insurance premiums for everyone will increase to cover that risk.

This is true in countries with universal health care too. Often this cost of healthcare is not covered by tax increases, but more rationing of care and a reduction in the availability of service.

I do not believe that any society today is ready to deny care or put people on a waiting list solely because they have made bad health choices. Therefore, we must ask ourselves the question: if people's health choices impact all of us, do we all have the right to contribute to those health choices?

If the answer is yes, and we as a society act through government, then the government has a responsibility to intervene in people's health choices. That would mean the government having the responsibility to make foods, such as soda, that make us ill, a more difficult choice. It means pricing in the increased health risk of junk food into the price of that food.

We need as a society to radically change how food is priced, moving from subsidizing the raw ingredients of junk food, such as industrially produced corn and soya, to ensuring that fresh unprocessed or lightly processed foods are an economically wise choice.

Arguably, this economically wise choice should also make supermarkets, restaurants and caf├ęs want to offer a good selection of healthy foods, which, as pointed out previously, is not always the case today.

The other argument against this of course is that the state does not often make good choices, especially where food is concerned. In the past, the state has often shown a preference for protecting food manufacturers and "BigAg" over and above the health of citizens. Yet, the government knows that healthcare is going to be a bigger problem than job changes through restrictions on BigAg's activities.

The reaction to New Yorks' soda restriction shows that society as a whole is far from accepting this necessity, but it will have to in order to prevent a wholesale breakdown in the health care system in the near future.

Spirituality and Mental Health: Nurses Know Best

The next time you feel the need to call your therapist, think twice. A nurse may be more understanding of the effects religion has on your mental health.

A recent study found that religious and spiritual concepts are measured more frequently in mental health nursing journals than in psychology and psychiatry journals. In their analysis of three nursing publications, researchers found that 10 percent of studies published between 1991 and 1995 examined a religious variable. Such variables included coping strategies and suicide rates among patients who rely on spirituality, as well as stress management in religious families.

Psychiatry journals, on the other hand, only explored religious components in 1.2 percent of studies. 2.7 percent of psychology journals included a religious variable, according to the study, which was published in the May/June 1998 edition of Issues in Mental Health Nursing.

Study coordinators suggested that the reason for the discrepancy between nursing and psychiatry/psychology research dates back to the disciplines' respective founders. They noted that Sigmund Freud, the father of present-day psychiatry, refused to account for religion's impact on mental and physical well-being in his teachings, while nursing's Florence Nightingale strongly believed that "spirituality was intrinsic to human experience and compatible with scientific inquiry."

Nightingale's inclusion of spirituality in her work falls in line with modern findings about the relationship between religion and mental health. As the researchers noted, the nursing journals found that religious patients and their families were better able to cope with illness and less likely to commit suicide.

Managing Your Life: A Primer

People have addictions, in part, because they don't have the power to run their lives the way they want. The only control they feel they have is over what goes into their bodies, as in food addiction.

Food also carries with it powerful associations from our childhood. Some people, who did not receive the emotional attention they needed when they were children,will look to food for comfort. It is important to confront these issues, as they help determine whether or not you can make lasting changes in your life. We need to re-examine our belief systems. These are the ways in which we make the decisions to run our lives. Taking an honest look at ourselves will help to avoid disease and transform our destructive belief patterns into constructive ones.

Balancing Our Belief System

Very simply, health is balance. When we are living a balanced life, we feel good. When our lives are out of balance, we begin to feel uncomfortable. Over time,if we don't correct these imbalances, our chronic discomfort becomes acute and we may not be able to express our emotions appropriately or we develop disease.

Most people in our culture have developed negative attitudes and false belief patterns. Frequently we don't even know what we believe in and have no ideals to which to aspire. Knowing yourself can help you avoid frustrating and even dangerous consequences.

Fear of Change

What happens to people who find their value system in conflict with that of the majority of people? They are perceived by society as hostile activists who are agitators to the larger belief system. For instance, there was a major effort made to destroy Ralph Nader when he was exposing large corporations that were concealing health and safety hazards. Likewise, whistle blowers in the Pentagon are shunted to some obscure post and shunned by their peers. Therein lies the paradox. Those who make an effort to help the suffering end up suffering themselves. For this reason, many people are afraid to think independently and take a stand.

fear

Most people, to avoid being punished, will give up their beliefs and ideals and let themselves be controlled and dehumanized. We give others the power to validate or invalidate our feelings about ourselves. What matters is our response. Do you really need someone else's approval before you can live your own life? If we are always negating ourselves, we may end up with disease. On the other hand, If we empower ourselves, we can live fulfilling lives.

Expectations

We are often limited and held back by expectations. Many people are not more active in doing things for themselves because they are afraid of not doing the right thing, not succeeding, or not knowing what to do. To enjoy life, one must be flexible and spontaneous. Living a predictable, stagnant life is dull. Try leaving yourself open to interesting, creative experiences. Expressing your freedom and asserting yourself are healthy ways to grow. Ask if you allow yourself to be open and interested or are you living a repetitive existence? Many of us have grown up in restrictive environments and have not learned how to express ourselves appropriately. In the end we are invalidating ourselves, all our dreams and aspirations, and the hero within us all. Examine your life honestly to see what your expectations are so you can begin to change them.

When we acknowledge that we are the power and center of our life, the hero/warrior/healer that creates our own reality, then there is no reason to harm ourselves.

Making Time for Yourself

Over the course of the day, give yourself the time you need to stay in balance. Work at things you enjoy and engage in constructive relationships. Most vital is to learn what you need to do to gain better acceptance of yourself, unconditionally. Then you will radiate confidence and not feel limited by the thousands of support systems that tell you you're only all right if they say so. You won't feel limited because someone says you're too old, or female or poor.

Everyday you should work to reaffirm balance, order and joy in your life. It's up to you to decide that you want to be free to express yourself.

Next decide why you want to be free. Determine what your values, goals,ambitions, and desires are. Measure them by your own standards, not someone else's. Be aware of the way you state your needs and desires; words are powerful. For everything you want to do use powerful, positive words. Say I will, I can, It is possible, I am going to,I trust, and I love. Through this you will embrace the expression of your own life.

The final and most difficult step is to sustain the changes happening within ourselves. At the first sign of a roadblock, many people give up and return to their former lifestyles. Maybe you've been physically inactive and you've decided to change that. You might begin going out every Sunday to run with the goal of running a marathon. For three months you comply and start seeing positive changes. You lose weight,your lungs and brain feel clear. Then one Sunday, you don't go out and you feel guilty and angry about it. Then you miss another Sunday and decide to stop running altogether,denying there was ever any value to it. At this point, you have lost your self-confidence.

The key is in finding happiness in the process of life, not just a distant goal. It's important to acknowledge yourself for all the small changes taking place, knowing the process itself is the reward.

Learning to love what you are doing and to love yourself unconditionally, even though you are not absolutely perfect and occasion-ally have setbacks, is the only secret to success.

Are Genetically Engineered Foods Bad For Your Health?

Is it a science fiction story or is it reality? Scientists are toying with mother nature. They mix flounders' genes with strawberries and tomatoes. They mix jelly fish with rabbits. They mix bacteria with corn. They feed genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH) to cows to squeeze all the milk and life out of them in the shortest period of time possible.

Scientists create plants that make their own pesticide, so that pesticide poisons end up in every plant cell. These foods have no blemishes; they have excellent shelf life AND they carry their poisons to everyone's palate. Scientists also design plants that can survive being treated with high concentrations of pesticide poisons. The corporations selling these plants get the government to allow three times greater concentrations of poison and pesticide residues in and on these foods. These foods, of course are blemish free, have good shelf life and bring three times more pesticide poison residues to our dinner tables and to the fast food restaurants.

The corporations who control these genetically engineered foods and crops, control most university research in this area. Only research that will benefit the corporations bottom line are allowed funding. Any research or study that gives results critical to the corporations will be totally dismissed. Public and private universities are heavily supported by these corporations who also have great influence over the university's voices.

Corporations and the government, working together, put products and foods that have not been adequately tested on the market. The American public are guinea pigs for anything corporations want to sell. If you think you are safe, you are mistaken. This is not the twilight zone or some science fiction thriller. It is the United States today where 70% of all processed food on the supermarket shelves contains genetically engineered ingredients.

Monsanto's genetically-engineered BGH (bovine growth hormone) is not allowed to be used in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Greece and 17 European Countries including, England, France, Germany, Spain Sweden and Denmark. Rats who absorbed this BGH hormone developed immunological reactions, thyroid cysts and prostate abnormalities. Cows given this BGH give milk with elevated levels of the hormone 1 GF-1, which has been linked to increased cancer risks in humans. In Europe people are not buying these genetically engineered foods. Why should we?

In the U.S., Corporations don't want you to have the choice. Genetically engineered foods are not required to be labeled, so you must beware of these freaks of nature, educate yourself as to who is poisoning what foods and support local organically grown foods from family-owned farms.