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  • Jan Palko 9:11 am on December 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: kidneys, water, winter   

    Winter – Season of the Water Element 



    This post will focus on the Water element which is associated with winter.

    The organs in the Water element are the kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands and bones.

    Winter is the most “yin” of the seasons. It is a time for storing and conserving energy. A time to slow down, rest and rejuvenate. It is about inner quiet, creating and finding the time for stillness and reflection. It is an opportunity to regenerate, to build the will and ambition for the energy we will need to move into spring. Animals who hibernate know this well.

    The kidneys are thought of as the root of the body’s energy – or chi. Water soluble toxins, waste and minerals are eliminated by filtering of the blood through the kidneys. The filtered blood becomes urine and is stored in the bladder.

    The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys. These powerful little glands help us to respond appropriately to the stresses that we undergo each day. They help to regulate blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and respiration.

    Our bones and teeth depend upon our kidneys, mineral availability and absorption, whole body pH and weight bearing exercise for their strength. Vitamin D plays a huge role in bone health. In the winter months – when the hours of daylight are less – our body levels of vitamin D tend to be lower. Supplementation is suggested.

    The following foods are supportive : herbal teas with nettle, ginger and cinnamon; soups with lots of veggies, barley and beans; turnips, broccoli, kale; quinoa, amaranth; walnuts; sea salt; tahini; hummus; and figs. And most importantly – good clear water. The general rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces over the course of the day. This is something to strive for to keep the kidneys healthy.

  • Jan Palko 9:00 am on September 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: fall, large intestine, lungs, metal element, skin   

    Fall – Season of the Metal Element 



    Long before “modern medicine” native peoples on this planet focused on balancing the natural healing energies in the whole body (body, mind, emotion, spirit) – they knew that an imbalance in any of the areas would result in an illness. The Chinese culture worked with the Five Elements – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. The Five Element Theory holds that the earth and it’s creatures are composed of the same energies that turn the wheel of the seasons. The seasons shape human nature and energies of the seasons nurture and sustain us in different ways. Fall is the season of the Metal element.

    The organs in the Metal element are the lungs, large intestine. These organs govern the skin.

    Oxygen enters the lungs, is picked up by the red blood cells which carry it through the blood stream to every cell in the body. Cells need oxygen to perform to their full potential.

    The large intestine (with the help of the billions of bacteria that live there) absorbs water and minerals from the remnants of food which has been digested in the small intestine.

    Our skin helps us adapt to changes in temperature in the environment, shields us from external organisms and helps to convert the UV rays from sunlight into vitamin D.

    If we have an imbalance in lung energy we may be more prone to eczema. Imbalance in the bacteria in the gut may show up as acne, boils, redness, psoriasis or eczema. Dry skin may be linked to a deficiency in essential fatty acids.

    Fall is an ideal time to: restore depleted minerals; do dry skin brushing and hot/cold showers;eliminate bowel toxins (including parasites and yeast); start a sauna detoxification program; enhance immunity before the winter flu season. A healthy body has it’s own innate defense system against virus’.

  • Jan Palko 9:09 am on June 18, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: blood vessels, fire, heart, small intestines, summer   

    Summer – Season of the Fire Element 



    Summer – the the season of walks on the beach, outdoor living, fresh local fruits and vegetables and the fire element. The heart, small intestine, and blood vessels are the organs that are dominant at this time of year. Also associated with the fire element are the tongue, gums and blood.

    Health (homeostasis) is balance. Imbalance can lead to disease. An excess of fire may manifest as: a red face; high blood pressure; chronic inflammation; intestinal problems; heart disease; atherosclerosis. A deficiency may appear as: poor circulation; pale face; emotional coldness; poor assimilation.

    Western medicine now acknowledges the connection between atherosclerosis, chronic inflammation, periodontal disease and heart disease. Keeping the gums healthy is paramount for heart health. Vitamin C is most helpful for the gums – look for a complete C that contains bioflavinoids.

    Our body contains over 60,000 miles of blood vessels. Our blood carries oxygen to the trillions of cells that are “us” and brings carbon dioxide and waste materials away from the cells. Keeping these vessels healthy is paramount to health. Regular exercise, fiber, fish/ flaxseed/coconut oil, complex carbohydrates (fruit and vegetables), nuts and seeds are most helpful to the blood vessels.

    This is the optimal time of year to take care of the small intestine. Eliminate foods that are the most aggravating to the gut lining – wheat and cow dairy. Eat lots of fresh, locally grown berries, fruits and vegetables. It is best to eat organic – especially celery, strawberries, domestic blueberries, apples, peaches and cherries. A more complete list is at:

    Late summer – between summer’s heat and the fall’s coolness – is the season of the Earth element and the stomach, pancreas, spleen and muscles. This is the time to continue benefiting from all that summer has to offer while preparing our upper digestive organs for fall.

  • Jan Palko 9:00 am on April 11, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dairy intolerance, food elimination, inflammation, wheat intolerance   

    Inflammation – a different perspective 



    It is more important to know the person who has the condition than it is to know the condition the person has.” Hippocrates

    The human is body has the innate potential to be self-healing and self-regulating.   We have come to believe that inflammation is a “bad” thing that must be controlled.   Anti-inflammatory medications are one of the biggest selling over-the-counter products. However, if we look at the work of H.H. Reckeweg a German physician, we get a different perspective.

    Reckeweg developed a table of homotoxicology (the intoxification of man). This is now called the Disease Evolution Table. There are many adaptations of this table available – however they all follow the same basic format. There are 6 phases – or progressions – from health to overt disease. In other words we do not “get” a disease, we develop it over a period of time. I am only going to address the first 2 phases in this article.

    The healthiest place to be is on the far left side of the table – phase 1. This is where the body recognizes what it needs to maintain balance (homeostasis). Examples: something gets in your eye and your body produces tears to flush it out; a bacteria or virus is in the lungs and your body responds with a cough to help flush out the organisms. This is called the excretion phase.

    The second phase is the inflammatory response. This will happen if the body is not able to take care of things by itself. Inflammation wakes up the immune system to respond to the toxins. This is a natural and physiological attempt to remove toxins from the system. Suppressing the inflammatory response will drive the toxins deeper into the body – not a good thing.

    The first two phases take place in the extra-cellular compartment (outside the cells). Again, these are healthy, self-regulating responses and should not be suppressed. We need to change our outlook and regard the inflammatory response as a gift from our body.

    The big question should be: what is causing the inflammation. The most likely place for an inflammatory condition to begin is in the gut. The intestinal tissue is exposed to the most toxins – from our foods, food additives, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, genetically modified foods etc. Eating locally grown, organic foods is highly recommended. The two most common aggravants to the human gut are processed wheat and cow dairy. It was stated that over 80% of the population has an intolerance to wheat which leads to chronic, low grade inflammation. As for cow dairy, it is my understanding that there is an antigen/antibody reaction on the surface of the gut lining between the cow dairy protein and human gut protein. This reaction does not happen with goat and/or sheep dairy. Sub clinical chronic inflammation has been linked to: allergies; adult onset diabetes; depression; arthritis; anxiety and obesity.

    Prevention is best. However, if you already have a condition, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much it improves with the elimination of processed wheat and cow dairy. Experiment for yourself by eliminating these foods and see if your symptoms improve. Start with the one that you use the most and eliminate it for a minimum of 3 weeks.

  • Jan Palko 3:39 pm on April 7, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: blood cells, platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells   

    Blood – our vital and dynamic life force 




    The human body is fuelled by the approximately 5 litres of blood that circulates through the system approximately once every minute. Blood is composed of 55% plasma and 45% cells. The plasma component is biochemically equivalent to sea water. There are 3 major kinds of cells: red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells. Blood cells are produced in the bone marrow.

    Red blood cells live for 4 months in the circulation. They are the most abundant cells in the blood. They carry oxygen via the arteries to nourish all the cells in the body. During their passage through the capillary bed (the tiniest blood vessels) they release the oxygen and pick up carbon dioxide to be returned to the lungs via the venous system. The red cells also pick up food that has been digested, absorbed and assimilated. They carry the basic nutrient components to the myriad of cells in the body so that our organs and tissues are nourished.

    Platelets are the tiniest cells in the blood but are the second highest in number. These tiny dynamos are responsible for blood clotting. Their life span is 2 weeks.

    White blood cells are the circulating immune system. There are 5 types of white blood cells. They do most of their work in the tissues and use the blood stream as a means to getting to where they are needed. The neutrophil is the most predominant cell in the blood – it is the first cell to respond to an infection and it lives for 2 weeks. During it’s life span it will keep the blood and the tissues clear of bacteria, virus’ and fungus. The second most abundant white cell is the lymphocyte. This type of cell that takes care of long term immunity and can live up to 20 years. There are 3 types of lymphocytes – T and B cells and natural killer cells – antibodies are produced by the lymphocytes. Also present in the blood are monocytes (they clean up what the neutrophils can’t handle), eosinophils (numbers may be increased with allergies and/or parasitic infections) and basophils (these cells release histamine).

    How wonderful that every 4 months you have a new blood supply! By doing small things each day you can ensure that the blood is healthy – drink lots of water; eat your green veggies and breathe slowly and deeply all the way down into the abdomen.

  • Jan Palko 2:07 pm on April 7, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: detox, liver, spring   

    Spring – Season of the Wood Element 


    It is spring – the the season of rebirth and the wood element. The liver and gallbladder are the organs that are dominant at this time of year. When the liver is deficient there may be pain, weakness and/or stiffness in the joints, muscles and tendons as these are governed by the liver.

    The liver, the major detoxification organ in the body, is responsible for many functions including: transforming proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy; producing bile; protecting the body from parasites, bacteria and viruses; hormonal balance; and detoxification of harmful substances.

    Poor dietary habits, frequent antibiotic use, alcohol, processed foods, prescription and recreational drugs all help to place burden on the liver.

    Signs of a sluggish liver may include: blood sugar imbalances; high blood pressure; allergies; difficulty losing weight; skin disorders; digestive difficulties; PMS; and emotions such as anger, resentment and bitterness.

    This is the best time of year to do a “detox” program. It is wise to choose a program that addresses the whole body so that any toxins that are eliminated from the liver and gallbladder will be able to be removed from the body via the urine, sweat, lungs and bowels.

    Foods that support the liver are: apples, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, turmeric, garlic, whole grains, spirulina, oils (olive, flaxseed, fish), salad greens, sprouts, sauerkraut beets, carrots, onions and the brassica family (cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli – they should be lightly steamed before eating).

    A sluggish liver may be helped by: mustard greens, leeks, strawberries, peaches, cherries, raw veggies, horseradish, mint, fennel and dill.

    Other helpful foods to assist in a whole body cleanse: apple dicer vinegar, lemon, lime, asparagus, citrus peel, kelp, seaweeds, celery, cucumber, chlorella and spirulina.

    Foods to avoid: alcohol, margarine, cheese, eggs, butter, rich nuts, red meats, cream and vegetable oils.

    And remember to keep your water intake up. For most of us that equates to half our body weight in ounces per day.

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