Seeking Truth

So many things on my mind in the midst of this global pandemic. I don’t mind staying home, because I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for several decades. Yet I find myself sometimes depressed, occasionally rolling my eyes, and often confused. The information and ordinances are designed to protect the public – but do they? Or are they false securities?  It seems nothing is clear anymore. I can’t trust my eyes because not everything that is visible is true.

I am troubled by the conflict of wanting to protect the people I know have underlying conditions that might put them at greater risk for this disease, and being forced to stay home to stop the spread to anyone. The social distancing rules assume that every person is a threat – and is at risk for dying – subjecting everyone to the stresses of isolation and fear. Stress is a huge strain on the immune system, which we need now more than ever. And not everyone is at risk of dying. Most are not a threat..

I have spent years studying and implementing health strategies for my family that have made our immune systems strong. In those same years, I’ve watched others live recklessly, and succumb to predictable lifestyle diseases. I am forced to stay home so both of us stay well, even though what would be a bump in my family’s road would tip my neighbor’s already foundering boat. I know that sounds prideful. But proper education, nutrition and supplements for my family prevent many expensive medical repairs.

The basis for health is in the terrain of the body itself. If your body is strong, insults don’t bother it. But if your body is weak and ill-prepared for war, any insult, bacteria or virus will topple it. A drug may kill the virus, but not necessarily save you. War isn’t a third party affair, with foreign invader and foreign solution fighting on the soil of your tissues. You are involved and have a stake in the outcome. It’s you that is ravaged whether you are fighting or not. Your personal strength and willingness to harbor any invasive substance make the difference in how much foothold the attacker gains on your soil. I prefer to build strength from within, so no pathogen finds my body hospitable to even set up camp.

There are so many unknowns. Like all of life. I am reminded that my own bathroom is statistically the most dangerous place I can be. It doesn’t stop me from going there, and I don’t have safety nets rigged for potential falls, or a lifeguard in case I drown or scald myself. I just shower and relieve myself with abandon.

I recognize that others have fears I don’t share, and it’s incredibly hard to find solid information. It’s difficult to know what’s true when the experts disagree. When I was studying for my doctorate three years ago, much of my research was done online. Historical remedies and records are no longer available on common search engines, but are officially debunked as non-scientific hearsay. I have trouble accepting that something that worked for an entire population, like Ayurvedic medicine or homeopathy, is suddenly non-scientific. How do we explain the observations that brought these systems into place? The scientific provings behind homeopathy are vast and well documented. It only makes sense that these systems would be maligned if competing interests were more profitable. Teaching proper nutrition and wellness practices – something the government went to great lengths to do in the early to mid-1900’s, teaching rural housewives about proper nutrition and how to safely can food to prevent botulism – was a major boon to our national health. Information on sterilization and proper temperatures was crucial to preventing disease and disseminated freely. Many of our home remedies were developed in a time when doctors were scarce and people were assumed to be capable. It’s tragic when disease outstrips the capabilities of the current system, that we no longer have the information available and must re-instruct people in basic handwashing. Our people have been duped into thinking that technology is their savior and that they cannot do for themselves.

Life is from God alone. We do not choose to come into this world, nor how we will leave. This body is a gift. All we can do is respect it as the most precious gift anyone will ever receive and use it according to its purpose. Stowing it away in a safe place wastes it, and filling it full of junk spoils it. We need to maintain it as if our life depended on high quality fuels and use it as a daily driver for bringing goodness and light into others around us.

In a world without the knowledge that God alone controls life and death, security against all threats is a fleeting goal. Legislation and technology can never prevent illness, injury or death. Subjecting every person to the lowest common denominator of wellness, as if, in protecting the weakest, all will be safe, isn’t the best use of our resources. Who determines what comprises health, or wisdom? Who is our protector? Does that protector have my best interests at heart? – or its own?

We have our eyes in the wrong place. We are so frightened by the giants in front of us that we forget the God who has carried us through much worse. The problem isn’t our neighbor; it is our own fear, and trusting in the world’s props to save us.

We can know God, the author of life, and we don’t have to fear death. It isn’t the final word. Disease may strike us, because it is a consequence of the Fall, but Christ has conquered the sin that brought death to our doors.

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

The basics of staying healthy when everybody is sick

Illness occurs, partly from bad salsa, but primarily because of the poor state of the body at large.

Everybody has something right now. It’s flu season, cold season, and basic communicative crud season. Those who aren’t sick are disinfecting like crazy, trying to keep from getting it all.

It seems like a good idea, but fighting to keep every germ away or dead is not overly effective. Honestly, if hanging hand sanitizer amulets around every child’s neck and every stroller handle were a real solution, why does illness still plague us?

The average person carries 39 trillion bacteria – for reference, there are about 30 trillion human body cells – and yet somehow most of us stay resoundingly healthy. There’s something else going on here than the stray dirty germ.

Susceptibility to disease has more to do with the strength of the person than the amount or virility of the attacking germs. The body needs bacteria for digestion and neutralizing invaders. Most of the bacteria we fear are everyday residents of our intestinal tract, essential to proper digestion and assimilation, which have just gotten out of balance.

Balance is key.  Just like a muscle must contract one side while relaxing the other, intestinal flora must have an equilibrium of forces. Germs are not terrorists that run amok under cover of anonymity until bombing an unsuspecting organ. If we seek to eradicate any germ of this sort, we may avert disaster to that organ, but we are simultaneously allowing that organ to become weak in its defenselessness.

The body is equipped with detoxification systems and an immune system to keep the person well. As long as those systems are functioning properly, disease is not  really a worry. Bacteria on unwashed vegetables are immobilized and discarded. Viruses are identified by the immune system, which then adapts to the current threat to appropriately overcome it.

But if the liver or kidneys are overworked by a season of eating rich desserts and overindulging in alcohol, the body has less ability to detoxify a bad batch of salsa.  Add some stress to those holidays, and the body’s pH level actually turns acidic – which makes a much more hospitable environment for germs to take root. The body has become a Petri dish of sorts, an acidic environment replete with sugar to feed the quickly multiplying intruders while the systems designed to keep this at bay are buried in work, unable to keep up. Illness occurs, partly from the bad salsa, but primarily  because of the poor state of the body at large.

This is where many believe that antibiotics are necessary. While there is certainly a place for emergency medicine and acute care, I like to prevent using them if possible. Antibiotics kill good antibodies as well as the invading bacteria. In essence, antibiotics work on the premise that once everybody on the battlefield is dead, the war is over. The patient goes home. But the next day, he comes in contact with another germ. Only now there’s nobody guarding the fort. He is completely undefended from invaders, and the inhabitants will be pillaged without another infusion of antibiotics. Anybody who’s had a toddler suffer 10-12 earaches in a year has seen this. It’s not rare.

So how do you stay well and promote wellness? Let yourself ride the next little cold. Don’t run to the doctor for antibiotics to get rid of the discomfort of the war within. Each time your body is allowed to run its course and triumph over the minor stuff, it gets stronger and there are fewer bouts with big league illnesses. Probiotics, either in capsule form or in naturally fermented foods, are the best way to rebuild the body’s defenses after a round of antibiotics. They are also helpful pre-season strategy, too, to build up the body’s strength before flu season or traveling.

Staying healthy is a combined effort. Proper handwashing keeps intruders at bay, and proper nutrition keeps the defensive lines strong. The body is a living organism, capable of adapting to new invaders and becoming stronger with each test of its abilities. Don’t give the bad guys the upper hand by submitting to fear.

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