We are still looking at 5 outstanding qualities of the body – the first of man’s 3 parts [body, mind, and spirit].
Quality # 4: The Body and Mind Have a Very Close Relationship
One author described this relationship as “mysterious and wonderful.” The condition of one greatly affects the other. The body is strengthened and built-up by what we eat and drink; how we exercise, rest, and more. So, because the body and mind have this close 2-way relationship, when we work at improving the body we automatically strengthen the mind. Or if we neglect or abuse the body, we are abusing the mind as well.
This is important since the mind [in the brain] controls our entire person including our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We are unique individuals because of our minds. The field of medicine that studies this fascinating connection is called psychosomatic medicine. Here are three examples of this remarkable body-mind relationship.
• One Way The Body Affects The Mind: Feeling irritable, fatigued, and even depressed can be signs of Vitamin B 1 [thiamine] shortages, caused by eating and drinking too many foods with too much refined sugar [like soda, donuts, cookies, etc]. Vitamin B1 keeps the nerves functioning well, helps make energy by breaking down carbohydrates, and helps to keep the mental health in balance.
How does sugar deplete B vitamins? First, all refined sugars [like white sugar and high fructose corn syrup] have no vitamins, minerals, or fiber. They are ‘empty’ foods and don’t provide anything the body needs. But refined sugars are in so many things [check labels]. Second, to break down refined sugars the body needs B vitamins, especially B1 and minerals, especially calcium. Since sugars don’t have these nutrients, each time we eat sugar the body has to pull B vitamins and calcium from its storage. Over time, this can result in deficiencies.
Note:Getting lots of sugar from foods and beverages also dulls and weakens brain function in adults and kids and decreases the ability to reason, understand, and figure things out.
MS Tip: I’ve finally learned not to use too many sugary foods and beverages – even over-ripe bananas! Sugar ‘fogs’ up my thinking and makes concentrating harder [also weakens my muscles; makes me sleepy; and makes it easier to get sick]. And twice, I was unable to stand or walk because of eating too much sugar. Scary! Since MS is a problem with the nerves, my foods [and yours too] need to be those that feed the nerves and not starve them. When I eat oats, brown rice, kidney beans, chic peas, Brazil nuts, sweet potatoes, kale, or collard greens; and drink wheatgrass juice [so awesome], I move better and have more energy. They all contain B vitamins including B-1.
Note: Eating a good variety of plant foods, as close to how nature grew them, will help provide not only Vitamin B-1, but all the other nutrients our bodies needs.
• Two Ways The Mind Affects The Body: The mind has tremendous influence on the body. Our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes can actually change the body chemistry. This can affect every cell in the body, making it easier for a person to be strong and healthy, weak and sickly, or even die. One example: A positive attitude, a clear conscience, faith, hope, love, and being thankful all begin in the mind, and help improve health. Second Example: Hatred, not forgiving, guilt, anxiety, a negative attitude, and grief – these also begin in the mind, but they break down health and invite disease and death.
Note: We can choose our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. They may enter our minds, but we can choose to keep them or choose something better. This takes time and determination, but change is possible.
MS Tip: I’ve learned that even with MS, living in hope is possible. I’m different than I used to be, and many of you too. We can still do things – but differently. Hey, we are differently-abled! We can hope, dream, and do – even if it’s done differently than we ever planned. And the mind is so powerful that when hope and will power focus on something positive, amazing things can happen!
We are still looking at 5 qualities of the body – the first of man’s three parts [body, mind, and spirit].
Quality # 3: The Body Can Heal Itself
As soon as the body gets sick or injured [cut, surgical wound, broken bone, etc], a silent alarm goes off. Responding to the emergency is a whole system of body parts. They immediately begin the healing process; pouring out their strength and energy to get the job done. And they are always ready – even before there is a need. Their ability and instructions are built-in, but their power to heal comes from God, the Creator. “All life-giving power is from Him.”
For every moment of our lives God works through these body systems, and nature’s simple remedies, to restore health and maintain life. What are these remedies? They are fresh air, plain water, clean surroundings, a healthy diet, sunshine, exercise, rest, and a strong trust in God. We will discuss these more when we get to Principle #7. Is anyone wondering, if God is always working to keep us healthy and alive, why is there so much disease? If so, hold on. We’ll answer that down the road.
When ill or injured, the body changes its use of energy [for a while]. It pulls energy from regular activities, so it can focus on healing and getting rid of poisons. Two examples of this are digesting food and staying awake. Both use a lot of energy. But since healing takes priority over these, a sick person may not have much energy to eat, and they may sleep a lot more.
The body needs our help during these healing emergencies. First, we need to find the cause of the problem. And there is always a cause. Second, when possible, remove or correct the cause. And third, give the body what it needs to heal.
What does the body need? A few examples are: less or managed stress; stop destructive choices [like tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, street drugs, etc]; more rest so energy can be used for healing; more plain water to rinse out poisons, carry more oxygen [which boosts energy], and help control body temperature; more fresh air to help clean the blood, energize mind and body, and carry clean air into the sick person’s room; simple and healthy plant-based foods to help clean out toxins and provide energy; and to avoid sugar and animal fats.They slow down healing and cripple the Natural Killer Cells [NK-cells] ability to recognize and destroy any invaders [like bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, etc].
When we give the body what it needs, it gets busy. But nature works slower than medications. So, don’t give up. Keep doing all the right things, and little by little improvements will be seen.
MS Tip: I’ve learned that, generally, medications treat symptoms. But to really deal with illness and disease I must get at the cause. It’s like killing weeds: pull up the complete root or that weed will grow back. In the U.S., lifestyle choices are the main cause of disease and death. So, to find a cause I can begin by examining my daily choices to see what is not helping me feel better and stronger, then correcting it. No doctor, medication, or insurance company can do that for me or for you. We each have a personal responsibility to take good care of the only body we will ever have. What do you think about all this?
We are continuing our look at the body – the first of man’s three parts, and five of its outstanding qualities.
Quality # 2: The Body Organs are Closely Related and Work Together In Unity
All the body organs are different [skin, brain, heart, etc] and have their own special work to do. But they are all closely related and are supposed to work together in unity to keep the body in balance, and keep us alive.
But because of their close relationship, each organ is influenced by the condition of the others. For example, if one organ can’t do its job well, the regular work of the body is thrown off-track, and sickness and disease are not far behind. The whole body is strained as other organs try to help do the weak one’s job, while doing their own work at the same time.
The body was designed to be active . So, exercising regularly helps the brain, muscles, bones, organs, blood vessels – and even the spiritual nature, to get stronger and do their jobs better. But less physical activity weakens the whole body and all of its functions, moving it towards decay, disease, and death.
Little or no activity also slows down blood flow, slows oxygen being delivered, slows down waste removal, decreases energy, and dulls the thinking. And over time the muscles will decrease in size and strength. Here is the bottom line: being active and healthy are not just about looking good on the outside, but helping everything on the inside to be strong and run well.
MS Tip: Because the body was designed to be active, if I’m not doing much or anything, there is a price – like “use it or lose it”. I’ve learned that exercising 3-5 days a week is an absolute must for helping me not just to live, but to live better with this disease. The less I do, the less I can do. But regular exercise helps me feel better, do more, and think clearer.
My usual exercise is using the elliptical bike for 3-7 minutes, walking with my walker around driveway for 10-20 minutes, then doing arm exercises with 3 pound weights – while sitting in my scooter. On days when my walking is not great, I’ll hold my scooter and do 20 squats [builds strength and helps balance], or march in place for 100 steps. *Other favorites are rebounding [holding the stabilizing bar], and pretending to jump rope in the swimming pool. Both are major fun and great workouts!
Last year, for some weird reason, I didn’t exercise for several months. Dumb! After a while I noticed that my muscles were very weak, bladder and colon issues were showing up, and my memory and concentration were extremely poor. I was moving like a slug and my energy was ‘below sea level’. When I began exercising again those problems went away.
All people, including those with MS, need some form of enjoyable exercise that they can safely do [check with your doctor], several times a week, and especially outside in the sunshine and fresh air [when possible].
We are continuing our look at the body – the first of man’s three parts, and five of its outstanding qualities.
Quality # 1: The Brain Controls The Body
The body has one huge communications system. It’s called the nervous system, and it comes in two parts: 1) The Central Nervous System [CNS], which includes the brain and spinal cord, and 2) The Peripheral Nervous System [PNS], which includes the nerves that run from the brain and spinal cord throughout the body. The PNS also comes in two parts.
The brain is a delicate organ that can be easily injured. Helping to protect it are the skull bones, 3 membranes [meninges], and cerebrospinal fluid. It does a lot of work, but it’s not that big. It weighs between 3 and 4 lbs for average adults. And it’s wrinkled like a walnut. But this funny-looking organ is literally at the ‘head’ of the body’s complex nervous system.
The brain is the ‘master computer’ that controls the entire body, and our ability to have quality of life. By its nerve cells [neurons] information is collected from all parts of the body and brought to the brain. Then instructions, for how the body is to respond and function, are delivered back to the various areas.
Brain cells speak to each other through chemical messengers [neurotransmitters]. There is also constant communication going on between the brain and the body by high-speed electrical and chemical messages. This allows the brain to be always aware of what is going on both inside and outside the body.
We only get one brain and it controls everything in our bodies, including our thinking and personalities. We can’t afford to have it damaged in any way, although some of our choices do. So, how do we take care of the brain? By taking good care of our bodies. What we do for our bodies – either care or abuse, automatically affects our brain power.
Here are 4 basic things the brain needs to make energy, work well, and stay alive: 1. Constant fresh air [for oxygen]; 2. Constant glucose [sugar] that comes from high fiber, plant-based, complex carbohydrates like apples, pears, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, brown rice, whole wheat, and much more; 3. Regular exercise pulls in more oxygen, increases blood flow, and gets rid of wastes; 4. Enough water [for faster nerve transmissions].
MS Tip: I’ve learned that how I treat my body has a direct effect on how my brain works. For example, when my thinking is foggy, dull, or slow, or I’m dizzy or too sleepy, it’s not always cognitive impairment from MS.
I can usually [and quickly] trace problems back to eating foods with too much sugar [dulls thinking] or saturated fat from animal products [slows nerve transmissions]; eating gluten [I have a sensitivity]; not drinking enough water; or not getting enough sleep or exercise. Cutting out or correcting these wrong choices usually brings improvement. But relief also comes in minutes when I drink wheatgrass juice, or eat 2 Red Delicious apples, or eat salads with Romaine Lettuce [salads also help me sleep better].
Stay tuned for the next Post when we look at Quality # 2.
Here we are at the first of the 7 Principles of Health. For me, this material is so fascinating. But I hope that you will enjoy it too, and find something useful for your life or for someone else’s. Here we go.
Man is a Combination of Body, Mind, and Spirit
Human beings are a combination of three parts – body, mind, and spirit [also called spiritual nature]. Each part has its own specific work to do [function], but they are all closely related and cannot be separated. They work together in harmony, and with order and regularity, to keep the whole body well. If one part has trouble, the other parts feel it too. Afterall, they do share the same heart, brain, and blood. And their cells communicate with each other electrically, chemically, or by hormone signals.¹
Being healthy is not just about drinking enough water, eating more fruits and vegetables, or exercising regularly. We need to do these things every day. But good health is more. It involves taking care of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Each of these parts has a tremendous influence on the others. And it is only when all 3 of them are strong and energized and able to do their jobs well, that a person truly has good health.² As we go along we will share some of the things a person can do to strengthen each part. So, let’s get started and look at each one.
The body is the structure that contains the brain [where the mind is], all the other body parts [like heart, lungs, kidneys, etc], and the spirit or spiritual nature. Today we know more about the body than ever before, but there is still a lot to learn. The body is so amazing and has lots to explore, but for this Blog we will only take a simple look at 5 of the body’s outstanding qualities.
And just like watching a television series, please tune in to the next Post for the rest of the episode on The Body.
¹ Pathophysiology For The Health Professions. Barbara E. Gould, MEd. and Ruthanne Dyer, PhD. (Saunders Elsevier 2011). Page 96.
¹ Human Anatomy and Physiology,7th ed. Elaine N Marieb, RN., PhD. and Katia Hoehn, MD, PhD. (San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings. 2007). Page 9.
² 8 Secrets Of A Healthy 100. Des Cummings Jr., PhD, Monica Reed, MD., and Todd Chobotar. (Maitland: Florida Hospital Publishing. 2012). Page 24.