Is your goal to maintain good health? There are 3 things you must have… Imagine if there were a secret formula to get well and stay well! Would you want to know what it is? Would it be worth $1000? $10,000? $100,000? Well, here is the formula that has worked for me, my family and tens of thousands of my patients…..and I’ll give it to you for free! There are three things we must have in order to obtain and maintain good health. These three things are 1) a normally functioning nervous system, 2) a normally functioning digestive system and 3) a good nutrition plan. First, make sure that the nervous system is working. The brain sends messages down the spine, out the nerves to every cell in your body. There are about 80 trillion cells in your body. Every cell is controlled by the nervous system. So, if you have a bone in the spine out of place pinching a nerve, if you have a muscle spasm, if your hips are higher, if your spine is twisted, that could mean that you’re blocking the messages from getting from the brain to the body. So you have to make sure that’s working. There are some simple tests you can do to see if you have nerve interference. The easiest test is “do you have back or neck pain?” If you do, you have an irritated nerve. The best thing for this condition is to find out what is irritating the nerve and fix it. By far, the most common cause of back pain is a bone in the spine that has moved out of alignment. However, about 90% of your nerves don’t feel pain. For example, there is a nerve that goes to your pancreas, but you don’t feel your pancreas work. There are nerves that go to your heart, lungs, liver, spleen, colon, gallbladder and toe nails. If you don’t feel those organs (as well as many others) work, you also don’t feel them not work. (Well, initially, you might not feel them “not work”, but eventually you will feel some symptoms, but that is not until the later stages of malfunction). A qualified practitioner can test the nerves that don’t feel pain. Another test you can do is just look in the mirror. Is one ear, or shoulder, or hip, higher than the other? This can be an indication that there is an imbalance that can be putting pressure on nerves. The second thing we must have in order to obtain and maintain good health is a normally functioning digestive system. This is a complicated system, but we will discuss the basic needs of your gut. One thing the gut needs is plain old water. Let’s look at a child to learn how to fulfill our needs for water. When we were children, a part of our brain controlled hunger and a part of our brain controlled thirst. Anybody here have kids? What does a kid always want? Water. I want a drink. I want a drink. You can’t go anywhere without a little water cup for the kid. Most of us older folks don’t drink enough water. Why? Because as we get older, the hunger center and thirst center of our brain, that were once separate, grow together. As the thirst center and hunger center grow together, we think we’re hungry, but we’re really thirsty. And so you’re not thirsty anymore. You don’t drink the water. I have patients that come in saying: “I haven’t had water in years, doc.” How do you survive? So if we start out our day with 24 ounces, it’s going to give us three glasses of water to start with. A great way to start our day! You’re going to feel so much better. If you’re a coffee drinker, you’re going to find that you don’t need as much caffeine, as much stimulant, because many times when you’re tired, you’re dehydrated. And, back to the digestive system–the pancreas needs water to produce the bicarbonate to neutralize the acid food coming from your stomach and passing into your small intestine. If you’re dehydrated, you don’t produce enough bicarbonate, so the food stays in the stomach. If food stays too long in the stomach, it will essentially rot. It will give off gasses as it “rots” and these gases can cause bloating, flatulence, and belching. If your digestive system isn’t working, you’re not absorbing your nutrients and you are not passing out your waste products. This means you can’t produce many necessary components of life or excrete poisons and toxins that can be damaging to the body. One of the many things that we can’t produce properly is serotonin. Serotonin is a mood stabilizer. It makes you happy. It makes you calm. It makes you focus. If you or someone you know has ever had an emotional issue, they’ll give you medications in most cases to affect the serotonin in the brain, to have you absorb the serotonin better. If you’re not producing enough, you have to try to absorb what little you have. Why don’t we do it the other way and produce more? We do that by getting the digestive system working. Once you fix this, then the other stuff is easier to work with. So you’ve got to get the body absorbing the nutrients to produce the chemicals, specifically serotonin in this case, to get to the brain to make the body work and be happy. How cool is that? Most people that have emotional problems are also ticklish. What does that have to do with emotional problems? If you poke someone in the sides of the ribs and they are ticklish, they are protecting themselves. They’re protecting their digestive system. Stabilize this and their ticklishness improves. Oftentimes the main cause of digestive problems is the stomach pushing up against the diaphragm. This can cause the stomach to spasm, or in severe cases, push up through the diaphragm. If the stomach does push up through the diaphragm, we call this a hiatal hernia. If the stomach is in spasm, or if it does actually push up through the diaphragm, there is a very simple technique where we massage the stomach and try to pull it back down to its normal position. We essentially pull the stomach back away from the diaphragm and get it to relax. If my arm was in spasm, what would I do? I’d massage it. If you’re stomach is in spasm, you massage it. A lot of times you get a bloop, bloop, bloop feeling. Using this technique, the stomach can actually drop down to its normal position, allowing the stomach to return to normal function in many cases. There are many health conditions that affect the digestive system. Some of the more severe conditions might include irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and colitis. Some of the less dramatic symptoms might be gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. All of these are warning signs telling you something is wrong. Treating the symptoms might give you temporary relief, but treating the cause is what will help you achieve long term healing. So far in this series, we have discussed the importance of a normally functioning nervous system and a normally functioning digestive system. The last part of our “trilogy of health” is good nutrition. When it comes to nutrition, it is just as important to avoid certain things as it is to eat certain things. The “Seven Deadly Sins of Nutrition” (the foods you want to limit, or better yet, avoid all together) are alcohol, meat, sugar, dairy, coffee, soda, and artificial sweeteners. The following is a VERY brief reasoning as to why these are so bad. There are several “evil runner ups”, such as gluten, food additives, dyes, chemicals and a host of others, but in order to keep this simple, we will cover the big seven. Alcohol destroys brain cells. Your brain controls everything. Destroy even one brain cell and your body cannot function at its peak ability. There are also additives to certain alcohols, such as sulfites in wine and formaldehyde in some beers that have other damaging effects. Alcohol is also a diuretic, which will dehydrate you. Meat is very difficult to digest and uses up large amounts of energy to try to break it down. The older we get, the harder it is to even partially break down meat. This includes chicken and fish. (Yes, chicken is meat…Have you ever seen a chicken tree?) Most commercial meats are loaded with steroids, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and tranquilizers, all of which have adverse health side effects. Meat is also a strong acid, and your body will use up its calcium stores, along with other alkaline minerals, to neutralize the acids from meat. We need calcium for normal nerve and muscle function as well as strong bones and teeth. If you are going to eat meat, at least eat organic meat. Processed sugar will weaken the immune system, rob the body of vital nutrients, give you unnecessary calories, can lead to weight gain, rot your teeth, create an abnormal reaction in certain chemicals in your brain (That’s why we crave sugar.), stress your pancreas and adrenal glands and affect your blood flow. (Do you get the idea that sugar is not good for you?) Coffee is loaded with caffeine which speeds up your nervous system and will eventually cause the nervous system to wear out. Your nervous system controls everything, so if your nervous system is not working, you cannot experience normal health. Coffee has other chemicals similar to caffeine which act similarly to caffeine. It is a strong acid and will rob your body of calcium and other alkalizing minerals in order to neutralize the acid. One cup of regular commercial coffee will give you more synthetic pesticides than if you ate non-organic fruits and vegetables for an entire year! Soda is loaded with sugar (see above) or artificial sweetener (see below). There is about one teaspoon of sugar in one ounce of soda! Cola sodas have an additional ingredient called phosphoric acid, which is a very strong acid that will rob your body of calcium and other alkalizing minerals. In fact, cola sodas are so strong that they can eat through car paint. (Don’t try this on your car, trust me on this!) Artificial sweeteners are the worst of all the seven deadly sins of nutrition. Adverse effects of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame (the blue packet) are 92 official, recognized side effects. From headaches to death, all of the side effects are not fun. Studies suggest that aspartame will lower your serotonin levels. Serotonin, as you might recall from the first part of this article, is a mood enhancer…it makes you feel good. Other studies link it to brain tumors. Sucrolose (the yellow packet) has been linked to affecting your estrogen levels. Just because it is made from sugar, it is a whole lot worse than sugar. For more information on artificial sweeteners, go to dorway.com. So, now you know what it takes to get well, stay well by doing what matters to maintain good health. There are other factors that play into your health as well, such as exercise (which is good if all the bones are straight, but can cause problems if the bones are out of alignment), genetics, environment, happiness level and several other factors, but for now I wanted to give you nuts and bolts that you need to start to get well and stay well. Maintain good health!