How To Retrain And Detox Your Brain

Do you remember my first blog about the time I realized I could either look at my glass as half empty of half full? I told you that that changed my life and I just found out why. It is very exciting and I hasten to share it with you. I have been blogging about the new epigenetic science and how we can control how our genes activate and what happens to us. We can even influence how susceptible we are to disease.

On a recent trip to San Francisco I met a man Hank Keating who told me about a doctor who has studied the science of thought for twenty years and has reached some very helpful conclusions about how our thoughts affect our emotions and bodies. He sent me an article by Dr. Caroline Leaf that was published in JOY!MAGAZINE. It is full of information about how the brain can change and rewire and grow. She likens the process to renewing the mind that is spoken of in the Bible.

Twenty years ago scientists thought that the brain was hardwired from birth with a fixed destiny and that we were bound to a fate predetermined by our genes. But today there is hope. You can break the cycle of toxic thinking and reverse its affects. Once broken, you can expect to improve every area of your life, your relationships, and your health. Thoughts are measurable and influence every decision, word, action and physical reaction we make. They grow and change your brain and your body for better or worse.

All of your thoughts put together determine your attitude toward life, which, in turn, reflects your state of mind. As you think, your brain releases chemical secretions which cause either positive or negative attitudes. The chemicals “translate the information of your thought into a physical reality in your body and mind” that creates an emotion. Your mind and body are inherently linked by your thoughts. Your thoughts and emotions form your attitude which impacts your body. The impact can be either positive or negative.

Dr. Leaf writes that it is possible to retrain your brain and learn new habits. Your brain has many opportunities to reject toxic information in order to get rid of it before it becomes a part of you. I have a friend who says she was born to worry, but worry has a lasting negative effect on us. The Bible tells us it is a sin because it stops us from receiving God’s best for us. Worry distorts the natural flow of chemical secretions in a healthy mind. The interruption of this natural flow and the entrenchment of negative thoughts can lead to disease. You can learn to reject even long standing unforgiveness that is damaging your health. On the other hand, we have many opportunities to accept good information and make it a part of us, thus helping us to prevent receiving diseases.

“Negative thoughts shift your body’s focus to protection and reduce your ability to process and think with wisdom.” They lead to negative attitudes that produce stressed feelings within the depths of your mind. However, if you apply God’s advice not to worry, your brain responds by secreting chemicals that facilitate feelings of peace, positive thought building, and clear thinking. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but through good choices, you can control your reaction to your circumstances and keep toxic input from permanently settling into your brain. It is up to you. You decide which incoming thoughts will become a part of you.

A part of your brain acts like a library. It stores your emotional perceptions and communicates to your Endocrine System what chemicals to release to build either a healthy or a toxic memory. You can actually feel your body’s reaction to your thoughts and you can decide whether to keep them and mull over them or whether to reject them. If you feel a ‘warm, fuzzy’ feeling that makes you feel good all over, you can decide to think about that and a positive memory that makes you feel at peace with your world will be retained. Or you can choose not to dwell on something that makes you feel miserable and those negative thoughts will disappear and not affect your body’s health.

Have you ever had a negative emotional confrontation with someone? I have and sometimes I relive it over and over again in my mind, feeling the hurt of it over and over again. Now I know that I am building a permanent negative memory that will not only make me miserable for the present time, it will have a lasting negative effect on my health. When I feel emotionally rocked by a situation, I can decide to stop dwelling on the negative and search for happy thoughts connected with that event or the person who has hurt me or to simply put it out of my mind. The result is that my stress level will diminish. If, on the other hand, I choose to ruminate on that negative experience, the part of my brain that is vulnerable to stress will actually lose cells and shrink, affecting communication within my brain and keeping it from building good memories.

Have you or a loved one ever become ill after experiencing a traumatic event? I have been vaguely aware that I often wake up with a cold or a day of dizziness after a negative confrontation with someone. I now realize this is more than just coincidence. But I never knew my negative thoughts had such a direct affect on my health. Dr. Leaf says that toxic thoughts and emotions are directly linked to cancer and other diseases.

Toxic thoughts are like poison. They put extreme strain on your body’s systems that can result in everything from patchy memory to severe mental health, immune system problems, heart problems, and digestive problems. Research has determined that 80% of physical, emotional, and mental health issues could be the direct result of your thought lives.

What you choose to think about can restructure a cell’s makeup and create changes right down to genetic levels. This is how diseases are able to take hold of your bodies. But non-toxic, positive thinking releases feel-good chemicals that create a positive foundation in the neural networks of your mind and promote healing, memory formation and deep thinking. When these are combined together, they increase intelligence and strengthen positive reaction chains that release endorphins and serotonin into the brain environment that allows mental and physical health to flourish.

Dr. Leaf offers a four step process to detox your brain.

  1. Understand that thoughts are real and have an actual anatomy. They have structure in your brain and occupy space. Thoughts are the same as memories. As information comes in from the five senses, you process it in certain structures of the brain. Thoughts are the results of what you hear and read and see and feel and experience. As you read this, you are growing thoughts that create your attitude and influence your decisions.
  2. Increase conscious awareness of your thoughts and how you are feeling. Analyze incoming information and thoughts constantly. Never let a thought roam chaotically and unchecked through your head. Examine every thought and ask: is it good for me?
  3. Do something once you have analyzed the thought. Make a conscious decision to actively accept the thought if it is good for you or reject the thought if it is bad for you. Thoughts have as much control as you give them.
  4. Build new memories over the old. Accepting or rejecting the thought will change the neural circuitry of your brain. Your brain is growing while you think and you have control over the process.

Let’s go back to the issue of unforgiveness. It looks like a thorn tree and it will hurt you. Be consciously aware of this thought, where it comes from and how long it has been there. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you use your free will to make the wisdom decision to reject unforgiveness and forgive. Picture the unforgiveness disappearing as hot air. Now build a dethorned memory to replace the thorny unforgiveness with such things as praying for that person, quoting a favorite Scripture, or singing a worship song. You are on your way to a healthier body and mind!

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on Heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live. –Deuteronomy 30:19

We refute arguments and theories and every [thought] that sets itself up against the knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose captive into the obedience of Christ. –II Corinthians 10-5

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things. –Philippians 4:8

 

 

All of the ideas in this blog are taken from “The Science of Thought” by Dr. Caroline Leaf as published in JOY!MAGAZINE. If you want to know the specific areas of the brain where all this happens or if you want to study this issue in more detail, you can explore her website and/or order her book Who Switched off My Brain at www.drleaf.com.

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Field of Daisies Available For Purchase!

What fun I’m having as early buyers tell me what reading my book Field of Daisies has meant to them! Some with tears in their eyes say it has changed their lives. One said it was the best testimony he has ever heard. Many have said they stayed up most of the night and read it straight through–they couldn’t put it down. A high school friend from another state bought it and said she loved it and was proud to know me. One said she is giving it to a friend and hopes she will learn more about God’s goodness and ask Him into her heart. Several ladies who are going north shortly said they would recommend it to their northern book clubs.

This month I want to attach my Press Release which gives you the main facts about my book and where you can buy it. I encourage you to order a copy. You can easily see all the places it is available. It would be so helpful if those of you who want to order a copy and are used to ordering from Amazon.com would all order on the same day. I will suggest Friday, April 13. It will help me so much with my ratings. Below is the link to Amazon and my book.

Amazon Book

Amazon Kindle Ebook

Today I spoke before our church Book Club. Everyone agreed it was both a good love story and a good read, but they found so much comfort and instruction of many kinds as well. They surprised me with how many subjects in addition to dealing with Alzheimer’s they found help for in the book. Here is a list of some of the things they mentioned:

1. Multi-generational issues—there is something in it for every generation alive today.

2. Marital issues in times of crisis—models of marriage that are inspirational to others.

3. Parent-child relationships at various stages of life.

4. Issues dealing with care of older family members.

5. Ways in which Christians effectively deal with difficulties in their lives, regardless of age or season of life.

I NEED YOUR HELP

I thought my work was done when I finished writing and proofing the book, but I realize it is just beginning. While our publishers help and I am very pleased with all OakTara has done, new authors today must market their books and develop their own following. If you enjoy reading the book, it would be a great help if you would put a short review on Amazon.com.  Also, if you are a friend on Facebook, please consider sharing my latest post about the book on your home page.

I so hope you enjoy reading Field of Daisies.

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The Release of Field of Daisies

My debut novel Field of Daisies has just been released! It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle and will soon be available on all the sites listed on the New Release sheet.

Many people have asked me how I started writing fiction and why I choose this topic.

After years of writing occasional articles for magazines, Huntington House published my first full length work Don’t Touch That Dial . A research book in layman’s language, it contained the findings of the country’s top 25 researchers on the harms of sexual and violent media on children and the family. It was at that time that I began thinking how many more people would read a work of fiction on the subject than would plow through a research book.

I was fortunate to know the very successful author Davis Bunn. He encouraged me to try my hand at writing fiction and urged me to spend the time needed to fully learn the craft of writing. After completing one novel, he urged me to set it aside and start another. Field of Daisies, recently released by OakTara Publishers, is that novel.

A very strong personal experience with Alzheimer’s motivated me to write this story. Three generations of my family suffered from the disease and I experienced the terrible fear that many people have that I would be next. I have written this book to bring hope to people like me who battle that fear.

I decided to place the story on a farm in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania. The farm is a real place. I spent many happy summers there and experienced many of the delights described in the book. I have dedicated the book to my grandparents who, for a time, were caretakers on the farm. Their characters are real. Many times as a child, when I arrived at the farm, I ran into my grandmother’s  outstretched arms. Two homemade apple pies always sat cooling on kitchen window sills. The enticing mélange of cooked apples, cinnamon, and sugar welcomed me as had her warm embrace. Homemade noodles drying on wooden racks covered every free space on the kitchen counters and promised me that Grandma would prepare my favorite dinner: beef noodle soup. Unfortunately the skill was lost with her, but I am happy to have recorded it for all my children and grandchildren to savor.

Before going to bed, Grandma and Grandpa always sat at the kitchen table and had a piece of pie and a cup of coffee together while they reviewed their day. Sharing those special times is one of my fondest memories. Having grown up with parents who traveled much of the time, my grandparents’ marriage was the model I most admired and wanted to copy.

The romance between Andrea and Lans Mulder is pure fiction, but writing about their enjoyment of the farm as they were falling in love allowed me to relive those happy days and to experience again the fun of jumping in the hay loft, of swinging on a rope into the middle of the winding creek that encircled the farm, of visiting the shaded woods to pick long stemmed daisies of many colors, and of galloping through the field of daisies as they sparkled in the sun.

My horse Dolly was real as well. Originally I began the book with Andrea discovering her in the barn on her ninth birthday, just as I had done. But a friend told me it seemed like a child’s book, so I deleted that chapter and started with Andrea and Lans in the middle of their lives.

The generations of Alzheimer’s were drawn from my family experience. It is a sad subject, but very real to ever increasing numbers of families. I have tried to mix the delights of the farm with the more serious scenes of debilitating Alzheimer’s. My purpose in writing the book was to give hope to people, not only who have Alzheimer’s in their family, but who have any number of recurring generational problems: other diseases, physical and emotional abuse, addictions, even recurring divorces in generation after generation.

The most exciting discovery of my life was that the Bible tells us that it is God’s pleasure to pass on blessings from generation to generation rather than the terrible curses that came upon the people of Israel when they disobeyed Him. It is my hope that that truth will remain with my readers long after they have set aside my book.

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A Change in Eating Habits

His doctor told my husband he would have to go on insulin for life. His medications were no longer keeping his sugar level in check. If he failed to bring it within a healthy range in 5 weeks, she would put him on insulin. That propelled him to consult a blood specialist who magnified his blood and showed him that it was so full of clots, it looked like a heart attack waiting to happen. He started the very next day to follow the recommendations of the blood analyst and change his eating habits.

Five weeks later his doctor looked at the tremendous drop in his sugar and said, “This is a miracle. How did you do it?” By now she had cut two of his diabetic medications in half and discontinued one altogether. She encouraged him to just continue what he was doing.

He had been experiencing shortness of breath on the tennis court as well and had scheduled a heart catherization. In two more weeks his breath had improved so much, he canceled the operation. He has continued his new life style for well over a year, is almost down to his college weight, feels good, and plans to continue it indefinitely.

Impressed with his success, I started plant-based eating in January of 2011. I have lost 35 pounds without even trying, without ever feeling hungry—if I do, I just grab a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit. I sleep better because I never have that uncomfortable full feeling that I often had when I ate too much. Some of the critters in my blood have disappeared altogether, others are diminished, the heavy metals are greatly reduced, the Candida and fungus are 98% gone, and I feel good. Both of us have improved our tennis games!

Have you seen the movie Forks Over Knives? Scientific studies and top research doctors recommend a diet that is 80 to 90% based on plant food. For me, having had a major bout with cancer in 2004, the fact that cancer was very prevalent in Norway before World War II and that the number of cases during the war plummeted when meat, dairy products and cheese were no longer available caught my interest. That the incidence of cancer after the war rose right back up when these things were brought back into the diet of Norwegians was very convincing.

Just last month 60 Minutes aired a program entitled Monastic Life on Mount Athos in Greece. It told the story of monks who have lived for centuries on an island in Greece and have grown all their own food. For 400 years they have eaten a plant-based diet featuring their home-grown fresh vegetables and fruits and they have never had a case of cancer, heart disease, or clogged arteries.

An FDA release announced that The America Cancer Society has determined that the leading cause for cancer is an overload of protein. Too much protein can lead to many of the major causes of cancer. You don’t get clogged arteries from zucchini or Brussels sprouts. It comes from animal protein.

We eat primarily alkaline vegetables and fruits avoiding meat, seafood, dairy, grains, sugar and all processed foods. While eating flour, rice, eggs, cheese, milk and corn are discouraged, Quinoa, Millet, and Aramanth can add a great deal of variety to your meals as can dried beans, peas, and lentils. Using healthy oils is very important.

Our protein comes from adding 4 T of Hemp Hearts (these have a delicious nutty flavor and are very pleasant to eat) to a large dish of cooked vegetables with 1 T of coconut oil and Himalayan salt for breakfast and another 4 T to a large green salad for lunch. In addition to a variety of lettuces (other than iceberg), 1 to 2 ripe avocados, chopped celery, red pepper, cucumber, we add a variety of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts and limited pecans and hazelnuts) and seeds ( pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, chia), preferably fresh fruits in season or dried fruits( cranberries, Goji berries, raisins). The dressing is 2 parts grape seed oil to I part lemon juice and Himalayan salt. For dinner we usually have a combination of cooked vegetable, vegetable stir fry or soup and a few raw vegetables, perhaps with hummus. It is fun to plan meals with eye appeal. Fresh vegetables can make a beautiful display of the rich colors of the rainbow.

Each week we eat 3 oz. of wild salmon and 3 oz. of quality white turkey meat. Three oz. is roughly the size and height of a deck of cards. When we go out to dinner, we order wild salmon (or haddock in Maine) or a vegetable plate with a salad. We have found restaurants to be very cooperative.

It takes a year to clean the body of toxins and a second year for the body to repair. After that we may make more exceptions in social situations. What has surprised us both is that we don’t miss meat at all and we are quite happy with our regimen. The hardest part for me, other than missing shellfish in Maine in the summers, is learning a new style of cooking which my Health Coach assures me is ever so much easier once you master it. The book mentioned in the next paragraph will help you greatly.

The point is to avoid having an acidic environment inside you. Cancer and disease thrive in an acidic environment, but both decrease and die in an alkaline environment. The first Raw Alkaline Cookbook has just been published by Chef Salomon Montezinos. He is receiving orders from all over the world. The title of the book is Discovering Raw Alkaline Cuisine, One Chef’s Journey and it can be ordered online at www.evolvewithflavor.com. The foods above may sound rather limiting, but Chef Sal puts them together to make them look exciting and taste delicious. (Call me if you want to attend his last two cooking classes in Naples on Feb. 12 and March 11.  239-594-7754)

While much of the food is made from raw ingredients, Chef Sal cooks foods like Quinoa and serves it with dried fruit, nuts and Coconut Milk or he cooks it and heats chopped vegetables with it. He “cooks” many foods very slowly in an Excalibur Dehydrator so it seems like we are eating cooked meals. In any event his recipes are always full of flavor and include both super foods and super spices like curry, cumin, ground cloves, turmeric, and ginger.

Drinking a great deal of quality water is important. Reverse Osmosis removes 99% of the metals found in water. Exercising your body helps, too. As we eat healthier foods, some of the pains of old age diminish or leave altogether. It is exciting to learn there is something we can do to decrease the danger of growing old too fast. As toxins and foreign bodies build up inside us, we are more susceptible to the diseases of advancing age. We have talked about epigenetic science showing us that we don’t have to succumb to the illnesses that are programmed in our genes. With a vibrant relationship with God, a healthy lifestyle, and a positive life outlook we can avoid many of the crises that accompany old age. The sooner we start, the more likely we will be to succeed.

“The Lord knows the thoughts of man.” Psalm 94:11a. My friend Joe Certa recently wrote me that “we are what we entertain in our minds. Our inner thoughts eventually manifest themselves in our external behavior.” When we pray for healing, we can cooperate by rewarding our bodies with a healthy internal environment that fights diseases. If we do our part, perhaps the Lord will grant us many healthy years to enjoy our grandchildren.

Chef Sal – Twitter – twitter.com/chef_sal

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A Visit with Mary C. Crowley

“A person really believes something when he acts as though it were so.”   –Seneca

I have been excited to share with you articles about a new science that is finding that a strong faith and an optimistic attitude can not only change the direction of our lives and the outcome of disease, but even the way our genes function. Such positive results, however, did not have to wait until epigenetic science made headlines. I recently had the pleasure of reading the personal story of Mary C. Crowley in her book You Can Too. Mary is a wonderful example of a woman who was able to live every day of her life to the fullest.

Mary was born in 1915. Her mother died eighteen months later. Until she was 6 ½ years old, she lived with her loving grandparents who taught her to depend on the Lord for everything and told her that Jesus was her friend and would always help her and make good things happen for her.

At age 6 1/2, she was sent to live with her father and a very cruel stepmother. During the next seven years, her life was very hard. At age 13 she was returned to her loving grandparents, but they had moved from their farm and she never felt at home in high school. Too soon she married a nice man who was ill prepared to support a family during the depression. She realized that if she wanted to provide a happy home for her two children, it would be totally up to her. As she struggled to educate herself and to support her children, she gave the pieces of her broken heart to God. He mended them.  As she prayed to have every trace of bitterness removed from her heart, she learned to delight in the Lord and to rid her life of anxiety.

The story of her rise in business in the era when women had little confidence they could succeed in selling products or to advance in the corporate world was fascinating. She started selling more than all the other sales people from her first day on the job by offering a penny off on three spools of thread with every purchase. Eventually she started her own business, Home Interiors, which grew into such a successful corporation she became a generous philanthropist and was able to bless many individuals and causes. That story makes the book well worth your reading, but what I want to share with you is how beautifully her positive attitude fits in with what research is learning today.

When she had cancer and had to take cobalt treatments, she wore a bright pink dress and a polka-dot scarf to the treatment center. There, instead of focusing on herself, she reached out to other women who were in the same predicament. She calmed their fears and gave them hope for recovery. She wrote, “Somehow, even though I was to be nauseated after that cobalt treatment as usual, I felt better that day for having helped that woman. As for myself, I always knew that I was going to get well. Even when the doctor had diagnosed my ‘fatigue’ as a malignancy, even after I underwent radium implants and cobalt treatments, I knew I was going to get well.

“The Bible verse I claimed was: Being confident of this very thing, that He which had begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6). Had not God begun a wonderful, mighty work in Home Interiors and Gifts only a year before? Wasn’t I really needed to bring dreams to fruition? God would heal this illness. . .  I won’t say that I wasn’t concerned. My family and friends were plenty scared. But when I prayed to be cured, I never expected not to get well. Often I found myself praying, “Lord, give me patience. Let me be Christian and a good patient and not be depressed. Let me be somebody You’ll be proud of through this experience . . . .

“I wanted to be positive and optimistic throughout my illness. I always dressed up and tried to look my most cheerful when I went for cobalt. . .  A platform of prayer supported me. I could literally feel the Home Interiors people, my Sunday-school class members, church friends and many, many others praying for me. Not all of them told me of their prayers. But I could feel some great power that I knew was not myself comforting me and removing my anxiety. I can only attribute this feeling to their prayers.”

She concluded with “God does take care of us but He expects us to believe in His goodness and promises, and act accordingly.”

Years later she became a speaker at seminars sharing how to make your dreams come true in spite of difficulties: “Begin with the dream. . .     See yourself as an achiever, a queen. Reject the fact that you’re handicapped in any way. Imagine yourself as a co-worker of God.” She went on to say, “There is magic in belief, but 90 percent of all people utilize this magic the wrong way by believing in the bad things that can happen—instead of imagining and expecting great things to happen.”

The slogan that Mary kept on her desk was, “Attempt something so great that it is bound to fail unless God is in it.”  She looked on difficulties as “tunnels to new opportunity” and encouraged people to commit everything to Jesus and expect great things to happen.

She described her remarkable ability to rise above her difficulties, and accomplish more than most women of her day could even have imagined, simply as surrendering and “abiding in Him. I am strengthened as a person—all my powers are heightened; a plus is added to everything—a divine plus that heightens my abilities—O the joy of knowing that though I slip—God does not fall—and little is much when God is in it!”

All quotes have been taken from the book You Can Too by Mary C. Crowley, ISBN: 0-8007-5028-4

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More About Epigenetic Science

MORE ABOUT EPIGENETIC SCIENCE

“Don’t spend time fearing the future. Live in the present.” –Thomas Hudson, MD

In the soon-to-be published book on breast cancer that we discussed in my last blog, Dr. Thomas Hudson suggests that the medical community puts too much emphasis on “genetic determinism.”  In Journey to Hope, he states that the prevailing view of Western science is that cancer forms from “bad genes;”and, since cancer is largely inherited, there is little you can do about it.  But research studies have found that 75 percent of all breast cancer occurs in women who have no known risk factors and there are many risk factors that you can do something about: diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, chronic stress, and recent traumatic life events. These risk factors dispel the notion that breast cancer is predominantly an inherited disease, which is good news, not only for cancer patients, but for all who face the possibility of contracting diseases that run in your family.

Dr. Hudson states that the development of breast cancer has more to do with the interaction between your genes and the environment. Epigenetic science is the study of this interaction. Scientists have learned that people can carry a gene in their DNA for a trait that is never expressed during their lifetimes. Each gene has a corresponding “mark,” which is cellular material that sits directly on top of the gene, which controls its expression. It can turn it “on” and “off.”

MRI brain scans show that healthy interaction with the environment, like regular meditation, turns on certain genes that produce more brain tissue. This implies that “genes respond to a healthy environment by producing healthy cells.”

Dr. Hudson believes that not only can the environment affect how our genes behave in our own lifetime, but healthy results can be passed on to the next generation. This means that if you respond to the environment differently than your parents did, the genes that were turned on in their generation can be turned off in yours. This is incredibly good news if you come from a family that has experienced a recurring disease or condition through successive generations.

This new science establishes that everything you do matters. Rather than passively expecting to receive what came upon your parents, you can actively work to alter your own experience and to pass it on to your children. A cell recognizes no difference between toxic chemicals and toxic emotions. Both affect your risk of disease and your ability to heal. Dr. Hudson has found evidence that what you eat, what you think, how you feel, and even what you believe affects your risk of disease.

He believes that disease prevention will be the focus of the future and that we must take charge of our health rather than depend solely on doctors. Often pharmaceuticals mask symptoms without addressing the root causes of disease. Alternative medicine does not depend on drugs and focuses on healing the whole person. This sometimes results in the regression of the disease. Dr. Hudson envisions Alternative Medicine and Conventional Medicine working together in the future to produce a more effective healthcare system.

He encourages us to choose those things that will keep us healthy. He shows us how to empty our minds of negative thoughts and worries and fill them with positive, healing thoughts. He instructs us to focus on health, not on disease. To effectively do this, he offers a program of self-care which is really what the book is all about. Self-care is attending to our physical, emotional and spiritual needs; making good choices in our eating and exercise habits; lessening our stress by positive attitudes even when we can’t change a situation; and working on our coping skills in order to remain at peace even in difficult circumstances.

Part of the self-care program is to engage in meditation and centering prayer on a regular basis. Journey to Hope contains a very interesting chapter on these subjects and includes Dr. Hudson’s personal experience. After reading the book, I found it most interesting to talk to people who make this a daily practice. If you have had experience with meditation, please share it with me, and I will make it the topic of a future blog.

More and more articles are appearing that assert that while a negative and unhealthy life style can activate genes that will lead to disease; a healthy life style, a positive attitude toward life, faith in God, and a serious prayer life can overcome “bad” genes. It is exciting that what God’s word has told us for centuries, scientists are recognizing as effective for healing.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies an opportunity.” –Albert Einstein

 

This material has been taken from Journey to Hope by Thomas Hudson, MD. After Oct. 8, Journey to Hope will be available on Dr. Hudson’s website. Proceeds from each book ordered from his website will be donated to a variety of cancer-related charitable organizations. The book will also be available on Amazon.com

Link to Dr. Hudson’s website: www.yourjourneytohope.com

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About Tom Hudson

One of my readers has drawn my attention to an excellent book that will be released on October 1:  Journey to Hope by Thomas Hudson, MD. Dr. Hudson is a diagnostic radiologist specializing in mammography and breast imaging. He is also on the faculty of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. He has become an advocate of alternative medicine which takes a mind-body approach to health through meditation, guided imagery, nutrition and exercise, Chinese medicine, and group support. He conducts small groups where patients “share their feelings about their work, their experiences, their hopes and fears,” and their attitudes toward disease, treatment, death and dying. He believes that patients, who mine his book for the new information and wisdom he tries to impart and put it into practice, will “live longer and better.”

What Dr. Hudson has learned is applicable to diseases other than cancer, which is his specialty, and it lines up with the findings of epigenetic science as well. Cancer and Alzheimer’s both have a genetic component, but both are “more than just a genetic disease.” Instead of being diseases which you can do nothing about, he believes you can do something about them through paying close attention to your “diet, exercise, stress, attitude, and social support.” James Gordon, MD, the founder and director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, writes that the book is full of practical information and “is a reservoir of understanding that can help women (and the men who love them) find strength and healing in the face of the most daunting challenges.”

While written primarily for women, the book is an invitation to all of us to walk with Dr. Hudson on our own journey—whether it’s one of prevention, cancer treatment, or “to a deeper experience of life.” He believes “prevention knows no boundaries” and that there is much that we can do for ourselves both to prevent succumbing to a family disease and to increase our survival chances if we already have one.

Journey to Hope is a unique book that is to be enjoyed. “It is meant to be healing, rather than merely about healing  . . . to be experienced rather than just read.” It is “about learning how to think differently.” Dr. Hudson believes it “will give you a new way of understanding the world, and your place in it.”

As Dr. Hudson’s emotional involvement with his patients deepened, he explored many avenues in an effort to help them take better control of their lives. First he learned “how profoundly diet affects our health.” Then he discovered the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and learned that our attitudes toward life and what we meditate on and imagine in our minds adds or detracts from our healing. Relational stress has an even more dramatic effect on our health. A marital argument can suppress the immune system which protects against cancer and disease. If we have a close relationship that has an overall pattern of underlying stress, this can degrade our health faster than anything else. Finally, he learned that the element of spirituality was all important, that there is a Supreme Being whose “Spirit is interwoven with everyday life.”

“Awakening to spiritual reality,” he writes, “often requires a crisis. For me it happened to be a relationship crisis; for many it’s a health crisis. The details of the crisis are not important. What’s important is that crisis can lead to a deeper experience of life. . . Ultimately, Journey to Hope is about rediscovering who we are. On the surface it’s a book about breast cancer: how to prevent it, and what to do if you have it. But on a deeper level it’s about how to live life fully, come what may—something that cannot be done without understanding the power of the human mind and spiritual reality. When we add these to our everyday awareness, a one-dimensional life becomes a three-dimensional life—with benefits that are astonishing, far-reaching, and immediate. In living on the level of physical reality alone, we’ve been leaving two-thirds of our assets on the table.

“When we embrace our three-dimensional nature, all of life changes. . . The journey is surprising, at times even disconcerting—but it’s worth it. The voyage to self-discovery always is.”

All quotes have been taken from Journey to Hope by Thomas Hudson, MD. The book will be available after October 1 on amazon.com or www.yourjourneytohope.com. Proceeds from each book ordered from Dr. Hudson’s personal website will be donated to a variety of cancer-related charitable organizations.

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An Amazing Recovery By Doug Landeau

I am indebted to Doug Landau for sharing the testimony of his journey into despair and his remarkable recovery. It beautifully illustrates the powerful combination of attitude, faith, and medicine that can lead to unexpected positive outcomes.

AN AMAZING RECOVERY

By Doug Landeau

The great Welsh Christian preacher Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones was a successful medical doctor before his acclaimed preaching career.  Jones penned a seminal work entitled: “Spiritual Depression”. In Spiritual Depression he advances the idea that the human body is made of three parts: body, mind and spirit. But he departed from conventional medical practice when he expressed the thought that western medicine concentrates on the injured or diseased part exclusively. He advances the idea, that while all due diligence should be focused on the poorly functioning part, strengthening the other parts may significantly contribute to increased all around good health. His proposition was that by building up the healthier parts they in turn would bring up the weaker member.

I was desperate.  Undiagnosed Lyme’s disease multiplied by undiagnosed diabetes had ravaged my life. Neurologically impaired, I could not remember if the red traffic light meant one should apply the car brake. I slowed for every traffic light with the strong assurance that if I guessed wrong the proper encouragement would come from the cars behind me!  A neighbor found me one day sitting in my car in my driveway, crying.  He said he had watched me for over two hours before he decided to investigate.  I told him I was lost and didn’t know how to get home. I was in my own driveway.

My face drooped in a fashion similar to a stroke patient. My left arm hung immobile at my side and my withered left hand had curled inward and was frozen. My crippling headaches would float all around my head but the softest pillow was like concrete and I could not sleep.

I had been a successful young chief executive at the top of my career and able to seek help from among the best medical specialists in the world. They uniformly declared that they had no idea as to my illness and offered no hope of a recovery. No Hope.

Subsequently, I lost my home, my business, my ministry and family and all my worldly possessions. All the attendant feelings flooded in as with any profound loss. I knew Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. I was in depression. Then I read Martin Lloyd-Jones.

If this illness was going to be my demise I would spend it in the presence of the One with whom I would soon spend eternity.  And if Lloyd-Jones was correct, I might get better!  One is desperate when there is no hope. I prayed and exercised my spirit and my mind.  I read Scripture and devoured every significant Christian writer.  I prayed. I played praise music and the classic old hymns of the faith and sang along.  I prayed.  Not for myself, I prayed for others especially in my support group but mostly for God to be glorified. And I asked Him to join me as I watched funny black and white movies. In my original research I discovered that endorphins, the body’s own pain relievers are released by exercise, sex, ice cream and laughter. Well at least I was still able to laugh.

At the same time my local physician was trying an experimental treatment of magnesium injections.  In my reading of Katherine Marshall’s book, “A Man Called Peter” that in facing her own premature death she had written to everyone she could recall asking for their forgiveness and granting forgiveness to all she could recall having offended. She outlived her husband by over thirty years. If it worked for her then it could work for me and so I began to write to everyone God brought to mind. Especially, those I had offended.  I had read Pilgrim’s Progress and the main character Pilgrim is asked that if his knapsack is so heavy carrying around all those rocks why doesn’t he just take the rocks out? We carry around grudges, hurts and slights….

In a rare occurrence, because my church was faced with so much illness, we held an uncharacteristic healing service. During the healing service my crippled deformed left hand felt a slight warming tingling sensation. I panicked.  This healing business was new to me and not at all part of my experience or consistent with my rational thinking.   When the pastor asked if anyone had been healed I sat in an embarrassed silence thinking the warmth was imagined.  Three days later at mid-week service the pastor demanded if there was anyone healed they needed to tell the congregation. He said: “You Owe us the Hope!”

Was the key to recovery the struggle to build up the spirit by spending time with God? Yes. Was the key to recovery the magnesium injections?  Yes. Was the key to recovery the healing service? Yes. Was the key to recovery the asking for forgiveness and the extending of an unmerited forgiveness called grace? Yes. How can one accept grace without giving mercy?

I rose up out of my wheelchair and with the help of wonderful friends seven years later climbed one of Idaho’s glorious mountains and did a little “Rocky” praise and victory dance on the summit.

*Excerpted with permission from “The First & Last Songs” all rights preserved by Landex2012 Publishing.

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Epigenetic Science Explains Hereditary Change

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

   –Helen Keller

The science of epigenetics helps us to understand the mysterious inner layers of the genetic onion that is our brain. While DNA variations are permanent, epigenetic  changes over time can turn our genes on and off like a light switch, therefore controlling the way our genes behave. They can affect not only our emotional well being, but such things as how much we eat, even the diseases we develop. The mother’s diet can determine whether a gene is switched on or off.

We have all seen families where excessive weight seems to be a problem for grandparents, parents and now is showing up in their children. But we know that for any individual in that family, changing his or her eating and exercise habits can help that individual break out of that mold. Similarly, depression often runs in a family, but this new science is confirming that an individual can change that dynamic. Biblical faith explained this process long ago. When a person finds a passionate faith in God, he becomes a “new creature.” The old man dies and the new man emerges with a new self image, a more positive attitude that frees him or her  from being a victim of circumstances to one who,  through prayer and a changed lifestyle, can look forward to conquering old negative attitudes and leading a much more victorious life.

Epigenetics explains it in scientific terms. The word epigenetics means “above genetics.” They are like tags or beacons that sit on top of the DNA. What we eat, how we live, and how we love alters how our genes behave. Science Daily reported in 2005 that “single nutrients, toxins, behaviors or environmental exposure of any sort can silence or activate a gene without altering its genetic code in any way.” It explained that the process is like putting gum on a light switch. The switch is not broken, but the gum blocks the function.

“We’ve always known that the genes of our ancestors are passed on through generations, but could they pass on more than their genes?” Scientists now believe that epigenetic changes can also be passed down from one generation to the next. Dr. Maryanne Demasi suggests that “our children might be able to selectively erase the epigenetic memories shaped by our lifestyles.”  We know that the quality of maternal care can affect many later behaviors of a child. It is, therefore, quite possible that our behavior can affect the chemistry of the DNA.

This new science offers so much hope to people who experience recurring problems through generations of their families. They are not helpless to repeat the problems in their own lives but can actively seek to alter what has happened to preceding generations. “The way our lives unfold and the quality of life that we experience individually is directly related to cellular-memory which we have both the ability and the choice to change.” Previous understanding was that we could not change what was passed down to us, but scientists now believe that we can change cellular memories that are counterproductive to living the quality of life desired.

When it comes to generational disease, epingenetic science affirms that “if diseases are passed down through your hereditary tree, you do have both the ability and the choice to shift that ‘probability’ from becoming a ‘reality’ to you.” Those who believe that nothing is impossible for the God of the Bible, believe that “miracles” of change are possible. Now modern science is explaining that when we pray, we can be an intentional co-creator with God by deliberately choosing a path that will enable us to overcome the tendencies of our hereditary make-up and experience the kind of life that Jesus came to offer us: a life filled with love, joy, fulfillment and inner peace.

Ideas taken from
Catalyst—ABC Television discussion among scientists of epigenetics reported by Dr. Maryanne Demasi and edited by Chris Spur

Science Daily, October 27,2005—Materials provided by Duke University Medical Center

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A New Science Offers Hope

The old debate between heredity versus environment has a new twist. Epigenetic science has found that environment can overcome our hereditary tendencies. This revolutionary science has proven that each of us has the potential to radically alter our genetic make-up.

So when we think in terms of living every day of our lives to the fullest, we don’t have to expect to receive the negative experiences and illnesses that have been the lot of our parents and grandparents. This new science is telling us that we even have the creative potential to influence our genetic code. How can we do that? Not by taking mind-altering drugs or even new FDA approved and highly advertised pharmaceutical drugs. We can alter our DNA by an active, sensitive spiritual life, by living a healthy lifestyle, by adopting a positive rather than a defeatist attitude, and by changing our beliefs from life-draining to life-thriving.

Wow! Who wouldn’t like to live every day in such a positive environment? It means we have to give up looking on the dark side, expecting the worst, believing what others tell us, sometimes even what our well-meaning doctors tell us. We need to explore these new concepts for ourselves. Do it with an aura of excitement. You may be embarking on one of the greatest adventures of your life. And don’t think you are too old to start. God may have a whole new assignment for you, a better way of life than you have lived to date. Perhaps he wants you to share it with coming generations.

I don’t recommend embarking on a journey like this in your own power. I encourage you to begin by focusing on the God of the Bible. Read His word with new expectations. I started with a study of the word “blessings.” The Lord may lead you in another direction.

Let’s explore this exciting new science in further detail in future blogs. I hope you will share with me what you learn.

Ideas taken from “Research shows health can be affected by how we live our lives” by Nori St. Paul in Listening to Life, Naples Daily News, 3-19-2010.

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