Monthly Archives: December 2014

Do You Have a Case of Dry Lizard Skin?

My skin is DRY.  Dry, dry, dry.  And I mean dry.

I am a low maintenance woman, trucking through my days, minding my own business.  I never look in the mirror, and I’m doing good to coordinate my clothes from one day to the next.  I just don’t have time for it.

But every now and then I notice my legs are flaking, my feet are cracked, and my face is dry like the Sahara.

One of my 20 year old colleagues in nursing school showed me her hands one day and they did look like dry cracked desert ground.  They were to the point of bleeding.  She was using a generic cleanser that had lotion in it with mineral oil (besides constantly using hand sanitizer at our clinical site. One time we were in post conference and I pointed out to her that while we had been sitting there she had sanitized her hands 3 times–serious overkill).  And she was using a lotion with mineral oil in it as well.  She had been putting the generic lotion on at night with socks on her hands to try to keep the lotion in, but she didn’t realize that mineral oil actually robs the skin and causes a dependence on the lotion (even though the lotion isn’t really helping–nice marketing strategy eh?).

I brought her some organic, beeswax based Badger Balm for Hardworking Hands and told her to start using a basic nontoxic soap like Dr. Bronner’s (diluted).  She started using the Badger Balm on her hands at bedtime with socks on them and 4 days later I asked her about it.

Badger Balm Body Butter
Badger Balm Body Butter

She said, “Oh my God, I wanted to text you guys (our clinical group) a picture because, look at my hands!  They are so much better.”

It has been my experience that organic, natural, basic products work better than mainstream products created by large chemical companies.  Don’t get sucked in by the pretty packaging and the unsubstantiated claims.  Your skin needs edible products, not shelf stable chemicals.

Want a recipe for an amazing home facial?  Go here to read about our facial post.

In the meantime, if you are ready for your skin to be well cared for, come in to see us and we will cleanse, exfoliate, mask, and moisturize you so that you can once again face the brutal cold that is winter.

And yes, we carry Badger Balm, Eminence Organics, and other clean products that you can trust.  Come on in and play with the samples.

Make an appointment for a massage and a facial: 479-251-7422

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Let’s Get Real About Food Addiction

I’ve had a lot of people say to me that, “Eating raw is easy for you.  You’re different from me.  I’m just not that disciplined.  I could never do that.”

Let’s get real for a minute.

I smoked cigarettes from the time I was 16 till I was 24.  Smoking was the first thing I did every morning and the last thing I did every evening for 8 years.  Craig had to wrestle the cigarette out of my hand at our wedding.  I even had to quit for basic training in the Air Force for 6 weeks, but did I take advantage of that opportunity?

Hell no.  The first day I was out I defiantly bought myself a pack of Marlboro Reds in a box and proceeded to be sick for three days reacquainting my body with the toxins of cigarettes.  I’d be damned if anybody was going to tell me I couldn’t smoke.

I spent the next 4 years on the flightline at Langley Air Force Base smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and eating Rally Burgers (remember those).  Oh man, those were good and I loved them.

Actually my diet was so bad, and I drank so much Crown Royal and Michelob that I was Hypoglycemic.  I made a great victim too with my hypoglycemia.  Not to say that I didn’t feel faint, and weak, and unable to focus or keep from shaking.  But nobody told me (or if they did I was to ornery to listen) that all I had to do was eat better and stop boozing so much and I wouldn’t be hypoglycemic.  In my mind I had a condition and it just couldn’t be helped.  Something was wrong with me.

I didn’t quit smoking till I was pregnant with my first son and my midwife, Kate Conway, told me she wouldn’t deliver my baby if I didn’t quit.  Even then I had to get the help of a hypnotist to quit.  I couldn’t do it on my own.

Every day before my hypnosis session I would be out in the parking lot with my “last cigarette.”  I can still vividly see myself in my red Ford F-150, sucking that cigarette as if my life depended on it.  Every night I would listen to my hypnosis tape as I went to bed.  My hypnotist guaranteed I would quit in 3 sessions.  It took 5.  That was over 20 years ago.  And I still breathe really deep whenever I think about cigarettes.  That was the replacement behavior that she programmed me with.

Even after I quit smoking and drinking and had my first child, I still had beliefs that were keeping me from eating healthy.  I believed that because my mom cooked things from our farm, and that she believed her cooking was healthy, that it was healthy for me.

That’s a big one.

We grow up with great trust in our parents and our food traditions and we can’t possibly fathom that there is a distinct possibility that we are not eating as well as we think we are.

We did eat good, farm raised, local foods.  But come to find out, I had severe wheat and peanut allergies, and you just can’t know those things until you pare back your food and figure out what is causing problems.

Just because it’s farm food, doesn’t make it the right chemistry for your body.  Especially when we’re talking about bacon (yeah, I said it), butter (oh, now you’re hating me), and lard (I know.  Sacrilegious).

I watched my dear friend Martha go through her full pregnancy with her twins, Leif and Roald, on Raw Food and asked her all of the same questions that people ask me now.  Do you get enough protein?  How do you do that?  I could never do that.  Don’t you think your kids should eat SOME of the ‘normal’ food so that their bodies don’t completely reject it when they go to a birthday party where they are serving cake and hot dogs?

I was honored to assist her for the home birth of those beautiful boys.  They thrive on a raw food diet.

I didn’t believe it until I ended up in a doctor’s office, depressed, crying all the time, no energy, didn’t care if my kids hurt each other–or not that I didn’t care, I was aware that it was a possibility and I was not motivated to act on it, and 25 pounds overweight.

The doctors said I was stressed and I needed to rest.  One doctor treated me as if I was hysterical and actually rolled her eyes at me.  I was convinced something was wrong.  I knew it probably had to do with my food.  I suspected it was food allergies and knew some of the ones I was allergic to, went to the Allergy doctor to get tested, thinking he would give me a comprehensive list of what I was allergic to, and found out that I had a ton of severe food allergies.

I started out thinking about eliminating what I couldn’t have.

I don’t recommend that approach to anybody.  I spent all my time in the store looking at ingredients and getting more depressed because when you look at it that way it seems as if you can’t eat anything and that is simply not true.

When I discovered Raw Food it was a huge relief, because instead of thinking about what I couldn’t have I could focus on everything I could have.  When everything you buy comes out of the produce section or the bulk section there are no limitations and you can eat as much as you want to without worry.

The cleaner my body got, the more I valued feeling great.  It was no longer worth it to ‘indulge’ in crappy food.  I wasn’t depressed and crying anymore, I wanted to be involved with everything, and I could be the parent I wanted to be.

It changed my life.  I cringe to think what might have become of me and my family if I had continued drinking Dr. Peppers every day, eating bread at every meal, and eating processed meats and other food like substances.

My life is amazing because of clean burning food.  But don’t think that I just walked into healthy eating as if it were a walk in the park.  I’ve been in the trenches with my food trip and I don’t envy anybody going through that right now.  Change is hard.  But if I can do it, so can you.  Don’t give up.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Running with my Sons

It’s Christmas break in between semesters of Nursing School at the University of Arkansas and my boys got me running in 30 something degree weather at 10:30 at night.

Midnight Run with my Two Middle Sons
Midnight Run with my Two Middle Sons

My life is amazing and I am so grateful for these two guys and that I live in a town where we can run late at night and not be afraid!

Where do you like to run?

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

 

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Grateful Year in Review: 18 Things Remembered

This has been an amazing and busy year.  I wonder if I’m normal because I take on so much work.  Does everybody do that?

There are so many amazing things I want to get into and so little time.

My Stroller makes it possible for me to run everywhere I go
My Stroller makes it possible for me to run everywhere I go

My year in review:

  1. Completed 3 semesters of nursing school with a 4.0 gpa (not sure that matters to anybody but me, but there it is).

    My Clinical Group 2014
    My Clinical Group 2014
  2. Fed my family mostly vegan, mostly raw, most of the year!
  3. Ate lots of veggies out of my own garden (which was a miracle because I had zero time for gardening).
  4. Kept my business going for a whole year while I simultaneously attended nursing school.
    I.M. Spa Store Front
    I.M. Spa Store Front

    Also didn’t think that was possible.  There are amazing people who work at I.M. Spa, that’s all there is to it.

  5. Took my work crew to Dallas spas and raw food restaurants.

    I.M. Spa Crew
    I.M. Spa Crew
  6. Traveled to Disney World with my family over Spring Break.

    Ben Wins the School Spelling Bee
    Ben Wins the School Spelling Bee
  7. Watched my kids:  win the school spelling bee (Ben), play soccer and baseball (Zach and Ben), march in band (Sean) and go to Disney with the Band, sing a solo in the St. Paul’s Christmas Pagaent (Ben), take crazy courses in college like Calculus 3 and chemical engineering (Levi), attend their first homecoming dance (Sean), and fall in love with drumming (Zach).
  8. Floated the Buffalo River with dear friends.

    Float the Buffalo
    Float the Buffalo
  9. Saw Boston in concert.
  10. Revived my meditation practice.
  11. Ran to school and work regularly.
  12. me and my momMade dreamcatchers with my mom and just always love being with her.

    Made Dream Catchers with My Mom
    Made Dream Catchers with My Mom
  13. Watched Craig pour a concrete slab for a Hot Tub that we have not yet found.  Watched Craig do amazing things in personal growth, change his food, and get his blood pressure under control with meditation.  He amazes me.  And he bikes 60 miles round trip to nursing school in Bentonville.
  14. Took my neice (Bella) to the Nutcracker.
  15. Picked blueberries with my family from Texas.
  16. Maintained my gratitude practice with my Gratitude Partner via email.  For that I am eternally grateful 🙂
  17. Snuggled with my boys a LOT!  It’s a favorite.
  18. Blogged a little.My Family

I am so grateful to be here and can’t even begin to imagine what kinds of things we’ll be getting into this year.  I’m glad to have survived a year of nursing school while being a working mom, and I am constantly amazed at all the opportunities and experiences that we have.

What are you grateful for this year?

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Reduce Your Blood Pressure with Meditation

We got our neice a medical bag with a stethoscope, ice pack, and wound care gear.  Craig makes an excellent patient!
We got our neice a medical bag with a stethoscope, ice pack, and wound care gear. Craig makes an excellent patient!

If you have been following Craig’s (my husband of 25 years) story you know that he was able to get his Low Density Lipoprotein levels from 148 (high) to 117 (almost normal) after 4 months of raw and vegan eating.  But his Blood Pressure remained high.  Often it was 150/90 which is Stage 1 Hypertension.

Don’t be fooled by the “Stage 1” part of Hypertension.  There are only 2 stages.  150/90 is not good. 110/70 to 120/80 is normal.

We weren’t sure where to go with the meditation at first.  I guess the concept of meditation doesn’t feel weird to me.  Just sit and breathe and let your body slip into Alpha state.  But to do it with somebody who wants guidance or a method hadn’t occurred to me.  Also during this time many of my clients have been asking me pointed questions about meditation, how to do it, and where to go for resources.  There are tons of resources for learning how to meditate.  Here in Northwest Arkansas there are classes all over the place.  Classes are a great way to experience many different types of meditation to find one that works for you.

I looked into Transcendental Meditation and the Silva Method of meditation.  They are both expensive but well reviewed and researched methods.  I did not take the TM course, because as a starving nursing student it does not fit into the budget.  But a long time ago a friend of mine gifted me some Silva Method recordings and they are fabulous, especially if you need a step by step method to feel like you are doing it right.

Turns out Craig was okay without a method and it works pretty amazing whether you pay somebody $1000 to learn or not.  You can see his results after just 14 days of meditating once a day for 15 minutes.

Date Blood Pressure Time
12/4/2014 150/90 4pm
12/4/2014 135/88 11pm
12/5/2014 138/90 6:40pm
12/10/2014 124/80 pre-meditation
12/10/2014 108/77 post-meditation
12/10/2014 118/66 at Drs. Office later
12/17/2014 120/74 post-meditation
12/17/2014 118/60 post-meditation
12/18/2014 110/68 pre-meditation
12/18/2014 108/70 post-meditation

He went from 150/90 to 108/70 in 2 weeks.  Yes I know my method for recording is not daily.  But it was finals at Nursing School and I did the best I could.  The numbers speak for themselves.  You just can’t make that up.

One of the questions people always ask me is, “Is he exercising?”  Yes Craig rides his bicycle from Fayetteville to Bentonville and back (60 miles round trip) once or twice a week, and all over Fayetteville recreationally the rest of the week.

Another that I always hear is, “I can’t get my mind to stop so that I can meditate. I never feel like I’m doing it right.”  I always hear that there is no right way and no wrong way to meditate.  That being said there are times when I don’t “get there.”  Usually when that happens it’s because of interruptions.  I get a little irritated but I have to forgive myself.  I think this might be key to people who criticize themselves so much they can’t let go and sink in.  Forgiveness and practice are the key.  Show up to your practice every day.

One of the things that Craig and I have learned about our meditation practice is that it is not a good idea to wake up from a dead sleep and start meditating.  That might have been a no brainer, but at the time it seemed like it might be a more efficient use of our time.  NOT.

We also discovered that we prefer 15 minutes to 10.  Ten minutes is okay, but we just barely sink in and start floating before the timer is going off.

I aspire to meditate 3 times a day for 15 minutes each time.  Morning, noon, and night seems like a good recipe.  I’ll keep you posted about how it is going for Craig.  It’s scary coming into your 40s and staring those numbers in the face.

Do you have methods you use for keeping your blood pressure down?  What types of meditation do you practice?

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

 

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Life Alive Warm Bowl

The Most Important Decision You Make Every Day

The most important decision that you make every day is what you decide to put in your body.

Your food has the power to transform your physiology, your health, your local economy, our medical institutions, and our environment.

What you choose to put in your body determines your energy level, your ability to do the things you want to do, and the length and quality of your life here on the planet.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Nursing School Finals

My butt is numb. My low back hurts. I have been sitting in front of the computer nonstop for days and days and days studying for nursing school finals.  Tomorrow is my last one.

By the time I get done with this degree program I will have zero muscle mass because all I do is sit in my room and study.

Yes, I run to class and to work but that is it.  No other movement.  But after tomorrow I will have three weeks to move about freely!

So far I have an “A” in Clinicals, Older Adult, Foundations, and Pharmacology.  Last test is in Health Assessment.  Sure hope I can pull off another “A.”

In between studying for hours, I take breaks to look at my next projects.  I’m all fired up about writing a couple of books, touring the world’s best institutional food places and figuring out how to do good food institutionally here in Arkansas.  I don’t think that is a nursing job, but hey you never know.  It’s possible that somebody could hire me to be a diplomat and negotiate better food systems that represent health in health care settings.  A girl can dream, right?

The first place I’m going after this exam tomorrow is the chiropractor.  I’m a mess.

Then I’m going to do some Christmas shopping (yes, I know it’s crazy to do Christmas shopping the week before Christmas, but I’ve been a little busy).  Then I’m going to do a massage for a client.  And then I’m going to sit down and prioritize my next three weeks so I can get as much as I can done on my ‘to do’ list.

I’m taking my neice Bella to the Nutcracker Ballet on Sunday, and then my 9 year old son Ben is ‘Joseph’ in our church Christmas Pageant this year.  I love to hear my boys sing.  It’s the best.

Today my back aches, my butt is numb, I’m exhausted, frustrated, and down right ‘tarred.’  A little chiropractic, a few yoga sessions, some fun with my beautiful family, and hopefully I’ll be raring and ready to go for the next semester.

Right now I’m going to bed.  Wish me luck on my test tomorrow.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Tea Tree Sanitizer

Flu Season is Coming!

As soon as my kids started back to school they started bringing home the germs.  Ben, my 9 year old just recovered from an upper respiratory infection that knocked him down for 3 days.  Yuck.  And all the girls around me in nursing school are sniffling and sneezing.  Flu season is coming!

One of my teachers was actually teaching a section on proper procedures and systems to help employees be able to go home sick without consequences to keep from spreading contagious illnesses in the nursing home.

She taught this class while she was so sick she couldn’t even talk.

I was sick this semester and didn’t want to contaminate the patients at the hospital and stayed home for one day, but I probably should have stayed home 2 days.

Sometimes it’s hard to go home when we should.

You may have heard me say it before, we are 10 times more bacterial cells than we are our own cells.  We need those little buggers.  But we don’t want to get those germs that make us get sick and have to call in.

I have a bad attitude towards the toxic hand sanitizers that are all over our kids’ schools, hospitals, and in the checkout lanes of the major stores.  The ones that are alcohol based are just fine.  The ones you want to watch out for are those containing TRICLOSAN. It is a thyroid and estrogen disrupting chemical that is also related to an increase in food allergies.  It is found in hand sanitizers and toothpastes and has been banned in Minnesota, and is being investigated by the FDA.

When we are looking at products we can put our name behind here at the spa we look for products that do the job, but don’t make you sick in the process.

We carry a hand sanitizer at I.M. Spa that uses Tea Tree Oil and we love it.  So if you feel like you need a hand sanitizer this flu season and you don’t feel like damaging yourself in the process, come by and pick some up.

When I took Microbiology at the University of Arkansas, we did a lab test on different kinds of antiseptics to see which ones were most effective, and tea tree oil outperformed all the others.

Tea Tree Sanitizer
Tea Tree Sanitizer

I think the future of medicine is going to involve more development of healthy bacterial biomes and environments, and less attempts to wipe out bacterial populations.  In the meantime, this hand sanitizer will help you maintain your bacterial biome without threatening your hormonal balance, your potential for food allergies, or your risk for getting the flu.

Can’t wait to see you at the spa!  Happy shopping!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Vaccines and Evidence or Fear Based Practice

I get a little irritated at health care professionals and health care educators who tout Evidence Based Practice in the same breath as proclaiming that everybody needs to get vaccinated against everything, and if you don’t get vaccinated against everything you’re just not educated.  Poor uneducated stupid people.

Vaccinating is just one issue of this point on Evidenced Based Practice that I want to make.

Evidence based practice means questioning with a critical mind and evaluating ALL the evidence.  Just because there is research on something doesn’t mean the method is sound.  Evidence based practice means evaluating all the research, evaluating the client’s history, the need for the intervention, as well as the culture of conformity in which it exists.

I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t get vaccinations.  I am saying that if you really wanted to make an educated decision about whether to get them you would evaluate the disease, the likelihood of contracting it here in the States, whether you will be traveling to a region where that disease is prevalent, the percentage of adverse reactions associated with that vaccination, who did the research, as well as the size, duration, and efficacy of the trial period of that particular vaccine.

We have a polarized cultural climate around vaccinations.  This does not help us reach an educated decision about whether and when to vaccinate.  It’s understandable that the government would prefer that everybody get vaccinated in the interest of herd immunity.  It’s also understandable that they would want people to be afraid of getting sick or losing a child to an illness to encourage compliance with immunizations.  But the truth of it is, it’s your body and nobody can force you to alter it.  Well, unless you get Ebola or Tuberculosis.  Then all bets are off.

In opposition to the government stance on vaccinations are the families who have suffered losses from adverse reactions to vaccinations.  Some have lost children.  Some have children permanently damaged for the rest of their lives.  Their experience is real as well.  It is understandable that they would want to shout from the rooftops how evil and horrible and scary immunizations can be.`

In the middle of it all are the pharmaceutical companies.  They stand to gain billions every time a new vaccine is mandated.  Why not come up with a vaccine for everything and anything.  People don’t want to suffer from common colds.  Get a vaccination for it.  After all, the payoff is HUGE.

On the other hand, it’s good for healthy people to get sick.  Not small pox or polio, but colds and the flu and the chicken pox–there are a lot of illnesses that are part of life, and developing natural immunity, allowing your immune system to do its job is a good thing.  It makes us stronger and it might mean better immunity than a vaccination.

The person who gives you your vaccinations is required to give you an information sheet about the vaccination, but I’ve never seen anybody read the sheet or try to understand it.  Not even the person giving the vaccine.  If they did read it, seriously, they would see that there are some very real adverse reactions that could jack up your life when you get that vaccination.  And the reality of it is that we don’t really have good data about how often adverse reactions occur or how severe they are because in this culture of conformity and Fear Based Practice we are bullied into believing that we would be stupid to even question if a vaccination is safe, much less to believe that we should report an adverse reaction to the VAERS (what is that anyway?).

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a very personal decision.  Most people just trust the health department, and for the most part that works out just fine.  I’ve been shot up with everything, probably multiple times.  And while I did not see the point of vaccinating my infants at the ripe old age of 2 months, now that they are older (my youngest is nine) they are all up to date on their vaccines.  Well, except for Ben.  He had an adverse reaction to the MMR vaccine and we applied for a medical exemption to keep him from having to get the second shot.

I know people who have suffered from Guillain Barre syndrome after a flu vaccine-losing the ability to walk for several years, and people whose children were sick for months after receiving vaccinations.  I don’t know anybody who ever reported an adverse reaction, and I’m pretty sure there is no benefit to the doctor, financial or otherwise, to report a reaction.  It’s just more unnecessary paperwork.

I did not live through the polio epidemic, but I do know people whose children survived pertussis at a young age.  It’s got to be difficult watching your children coughing so much that they can’t breathe and they are losing weight because of the coughing and gagging and inability to get air.

Whether or not to vaccinate is a heavy decision if you take it seriously.  But people on either side would do well to reconcile to the middle.  We need vaccines.  We also need to look at each of them critically.  And we especially need to advocate for education and not bully people into making decisions because our culture allows it.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment 479-251-7422

 

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Eat Your Colors

Lower Cholesterol with Raw Vegan Food

my bag of goodies
Bag of Veggies from Farmer’s Market

I always knew from other people’s stories, as well as from my textbooks on pathophysiology, that raw and vegan food could lower your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.  This summer Craig, my husband, was donating plasma when his blood clogged up the machine with lipids (fats).  Too many of them.  So he went to the VA hospital and asked them to analyze his blood.  This is what they found:

Before Raw Food

Initial Results

Normal Range

Total Cholesterol

243

118-200

Triglycerides

118

<=200

HDL Cholesterol

71

>=40

LDL Cholesterol
148
<100

The reason I put the LDL Cholesterol in red is because it’s the “bad cholesterol” that is supposed to be less than 100.  It’s bad because it can clog arteries and, according to the Mayo Clinic, “dramatically increases your chance of developing heart disease and having a heart attack.”  They say it is also the “main way you can lower your risk of heart disease.”  Craig’s LDLs were high at 148.

Red Bell Peppers
Red Bell Peppers

I’ve been eating mostly raw vegan food for over 3 years now, and what propelled me there was my own deadly food allergies.  My family eats mostly  raw vegan too.  They have to.  There is nothing else in the house.  What Craig was eating when he was home was clean burning fuel, but what he was eating when he was out and about was undermining what he was eating at home.

He decided to get serious about what he was putting in his body.  Brutal honesty.  No more pizza on the fly, muffins on campus, creamy coffee,  Thai food sauces with coconut milk, or fast food breakfast sandwiches.  He started packing Green Smoothies, raw cashew dip with veggies, and fruits for lunches and snacks.  He refused to eat anything with meat, cheese, eggs, or oils it in.  We do still cook rice and vegetables, or baked squash, and other vegan dishes at home.  And we haven’t had bread in the house since I went raw three years ago, so it just wasn’t an option.

4 months later this is the result:

Craig’s Transition to Raw Vegan Food

Initial Results

Normal Range

4 Months Later on Raw and Vegan Food

Total Cholesterol

243

118-200

196

Triglycerides

118

<=200

89

HDL Cholesterol

71

>=40

61

LDL Cholesterol
148
<100
117

Take a minute to really look at that graph because it is a really big deal.  His LDLs dropped 31 points in 4 months time.  With raw vegan food.  Nothing more, nothing less.

When the nurse at the VA looked at his numbers she said, “Did the doctor put you on a statin?”

A ‘statin’ medication is a drug that inhibits the production of cholesterol (fats/lipids) in the liver.  They are very effective at getting your lipid levels down if you have high lipid levels like Craig did.  The doctor did not put Craig on a statin.  Craig put himself on a vegan diet.  He got brutally honest about what he was eating and changed it. That’s impressive.

Those numbers are impressive.

Beautiful Kale
Beautiful Kale

He rides his bike several times a week, and rides it up to Bentonville and back at least once a week (60 miles round trip) whether it’s 15 degrees out or 60.  His blood pressure is still high at 130-140/70, so we’re planning on getting a meditation routine going together, and looking at other strategies as well.  We’ll let you know how it goes.

Craig is still trying to change his food ratio even more.  He wants to get those LDLs down under 100.

One of the things I tell people when they are trying to transition to raw or vegan food and away from bread, meat, and cheese, is to allow yourself to eat lots of nuts, seeds, and avocados to get that full feeling that you are used to.  Once your body adjusts to clean burning fuel you can think about changing your ratios to more veggies and less nuts.  That’s where he is now.

It’s so much fun watching him go through this transition.  Now he says things that I’ve been saying for a while that you can’t relate to unless you have done it.  Things like, “that cooked oil smells gross,” and “I feel so light now when I’m riding/running.  Before I transitioned I felt so heavy.  It’s like I was fighting my body to get it to move.  Now when I exercise I feel like I could fly.”

Garlic

About a week after Craig found out how great his lipid levels are now he got a phone call from a friend in the hospital who had just suffered a heart attack.  He was 48 years old.  We’re 44.  Our own mortality is staring us in the face.

I have high hopes for Craig’s health.  He’s doing an amazing job at making this change, and I hope that we will continue to see his lipid numbers, and his blood pressure numbers improve.  We’re only a few months into this particular science experiment, but the prognosis is good.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment 479-251-7422

 

 

 

 

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