Friday, 23 March 2012

Why I eat my apple seeds.

I have my boyfriend to thank for my critical and questioning attitude towards common nutritional beliefs and towards the information that the FDA releases. Apparently, now I personally have never heard of this before, but apple and apricot seeds are poisonous *gasp*! Some websites are even saying that if you consume the seeds that you should go straight to the hospital and get your stomach pumped, that they contain cyanide and are very dangerous. To me all of this sounded completely absurd. My boyfriend always told me to eat the seeds, so I did, I've actually been eating apple seeds since I was a little girl because I didn't like wasting the apple. I'm still here, still alive, no sign of cyanide poisoning, nope. The seeds contain vitamin B17, it has been said to effectively prevent and even cure cancer (I will include links to information about B17 at the end of this post, so you can make your own judgements).

"Vitamin B17 is inert and non-toxic to healthy human cells. However when it comes into contact with the enzyme beta-glucosidase, it produces two poisons in minute quantities, hydrogen cyanide and benzaldehyde. The important thing here is that the beta-glucosidase enzyme is only present in tumours, and nowhere else in the body. When these poisons are released, it is at the tumour site only, selectively killing off the cancer.We do not even need to know this science to appreciate that consumption of vitamin B17 will not harm you in any way, the evidence is in the world around us. Vitamin B17 is present in large quantities in the diets of many cultures. In particular the Hunzas of Northern Pakistan eat a diet containing 50-75g of vitamin B17 a day. In the 'West' with our modern diet we are lucky to consume this much vitamin B17 in a year. It is therefore no surprise to learn that cancer rates amongst these people are practically zero, and only occur when they come into contact with the 'Western Diet'."

(I highly suggest you read this).

So what the heck? I have learned that if a piece of information doesn't add up, then you need to follow the money. So who benefits from a society deficient in vitamin B17? None other than the 200 billion dollar (per year) Cancer industry of course (Yes, Cancer is an INDUSTRY). Now again, I don't want to tell you what to believe, I want you to make your own decisions, so do the research, figure out the truth for yourself. What convinces me though, are the Eskimos, the Hunzas, the Abkasians, all the cultures that consume B17 daily and have no reported cases of cancer. It is said by some that cancer could be a nutritional deficit, so I'm going to keep eating my apple seeds, and as soon as I get my next pay check (just got a new job!) I will run to the market and get a big bag of apricots, and I will eat those seeds as well.

This page tells you why B17 is illegal (I suggest you browse the entire site for other information as well).
What foods contain vitamin B17 and how much of it is recommended to consume.
A short little video explaining what actually happens to the "poisons" from the seeds when they reach your body.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

How I broke free from depression and anxiety without the help of doctors, therapists or medication:

I thought that it would probably be helpful if I told you guys the steps I took to break free from my vicious cycles of depression and how I got my terrible anxiety under control without ever seeking professional help or taking medication.

photo by harper smith

Why I didn't seek professional/medical help?
I grew up in a family where we very rarely went to our family doctor, only for the occasional check up and what not. I probably saw my doctor once from the time I was thirteen up until I graduated high school. No one in my family found running to the doctor for every little problem necessary. Western medicine isn't my cup of tea, I'm actually very opposed to it and I would never trust it or it's doctors. When I began developing depression and anxiety I guess it didn't even occur to me to seek help, for the first few years I didn't even think that what I was going through was a condition/disorder, I just thought everyone felt that way as a teenager and that I would grow out of it. When I realized that I was getting worse rather than getting better I took matters into my own hands, only then did the idea of seeing a therapist pop into my head. I didn't end up seeing one because it was way too expensive and I believed that I had enough power to help myself. When things got really bad I gave in and begged to see a therapist and decided that I wanted to take medication, but my parents wouldn't let me, and I'm so thankful for that. My dad grew up in the countryside where they grew their own food, milked their own cow and spent everyday out in nature, he has never taken medication in his life and sees it as a poison instead of a "cure". I only ever gave in that one time, haven't since, and I learned to fully trust nature and my own body's and mind's ability to heal itself!

Here's what I did instead:
1. Did as much research about the disorders as I could, it was really important finding out what was happening inside my mind and my body and why it was happening, it made the conditions concrete, almost predictable and not so complex and abstruse.

2. Changed my diet! I began eliminating different foods for a set period of time and seeing how my body responded. I found that eliminating gluten and yeast helped me the most, I felt lighter, had more energy, craved food less, experienced less anxiety, felt happier. I also stopped eating junk food and fast food, I was quite the fan of In N Out and the Carls Jr dollar menu when I was living in California, thinking about setting foot in either now makes me a little nauseous. On top of that I stopped drinking sodas, anything that looked artificial, replaced sugar with natural sweeteners. Began eating organic food, began incorporating things like hemp seed oil and hemp seed hearts into my diet, but more on my diet changes in later posts!

3. Began moving more! I found that once I forced myself to move: walk, run, jog, jump, even just get up and clean my room or go grab some tea from the kitchen, it got my blood circulating a little better and lifted whatever gloom I might of been feeling. I now make sure I take breaks every twenty minutes or so if I'm working on the computer or sitting down for extended periods of time. It also helps my creativity, and after a good exercise I feel on top of the world, no matter how awful or lethargic I was feeling beforehand. Once I built up enough courage, I even joined a gym!

4. Began repeating positive affirmations in my head, as well as using other thought techniques. If I had to choose the one thing that has helped me take control of my life the most, it has been positive thinking and affirmations. I'm a strong believer in the power of our thoughts, I had a pretty incredible experience with the law of attraction when I was fifteen and ever since haven't questioned it's power. I have since evolved my understanding and knowledge of it and have moved passed The Secret (what opened my mind to thought power in the first place) and have been studying and researching it extensively. My thoughts are now my greatest tools.

5. Figured out how to balance my time. I had two major problems: I would get REALLY excited about a project or idea and spend every hour of the day, for several days, putting all my time into developing the idea or working on the project. Then, out of nowhere I would drop it, unfinished, I NEVER finished anything I started. I thought I was doomed for life, that I was forever going to be the girl who didn't finish what she started. It made me feel terrible about myself, like I was incompetent. I later realized this was happening because I would get excited about something entirely new and project all my energy onto it, and give none of that energy or attention to the previous project/idea. At the same time, I would forget to exercise or eat healthy or do homework. Giving ALL of your attention to one thing is a recipe for failure. I now make sure that I dedicate time to everything that is important to me. I've always known that this was the way to live, but my passion for that one thing always took over my day and I didn't know how to just drop it and move on to something else, I felt like I was always forcing myself to do other things instead of wanting to do them. I learned ways of finding that passion for every task. Now I can easily put a project aside and go to the gym, or focus on a lecture in class instead of daydreaming, or even find motivation for three different project in the course of a single day. It makes me feel so good about myself and for the first time in my life I'm actually putting my goals and ideas into action and not dropping them halfway through.

6. Quit smoking and stopped drinking coffee before/during social interactions. I started smoking when I was fifteen, smoked half a pack a day until just recently. People say that cigarettes relax them, I never understood what they were talking about, cigarettes always made me more anxious, but I was so dependent on them that I didn't care. I can only imagine what all those toxins and carcinogens were doing to my body and mind, they definitely weren't helping my depression or anxiety. I love coffee, but I am extremely sensitive to it, I can feel it's effects after just three sips. When I knew I was meeting with someone or hanging out with someone I needed to have something in my hand, to feel like I was busy, for something I could hide behind or use as a crutch, I felt naked without a cigarette and a cup of coffee. Both over stimulated me, my social anxiety was amplified and I'd spend a lot of time beating myself up for it afterwards. I now replace coffee with herbal tea, unless I'm at home, I love the rush of inspiration coffee gives me when I'm writing.

7. Began leading a more spiritual existence. I don't associate myself with a single religion, western religions make up very uncomfortable, organized religions in general make me very uncomfortable although I'm profoundly drawn to eastern practices and teachings. I meditate, practice yoga when I can, get in tune with the energy field of my body and the earth, emanate love for all things, practice mindfulness, practice ways of reaching a higher consciousness, expand my understanding and knowledge of the universe, of life. Leading life this way has brought peace to me, I don't feel as lost as I used to, and it's no longer just a "belief" either, it just is, it's truth, I don't doubt my any of it for a second.

photo by harper smith

And voila! A year later I'm depression and anxiety free and have my life under control for the very first time. It shouldn't take you a year to rid yourself of these burdens, it only took me that long because I was experimenting and gaining new information as the months went on. I had spent six years trying to change myself and failed miserably every time. It was only when I took control of my mind that everything else came with ease. I have so much more I want to say about all the steps above and all the things I did in between. I think I'm going to write a step-by-step, detailed guide that everyone can follow and that everyone can relate to. I'm going to separate it into three parts: 1. For the mind. 2. For the body. 3. For the spirit. I strongly believe that achieving true health and happiness is only possible when you tend to and nourish all three.

Can't wait to get started!

Monday, 19 March 2012

How accepting my introversion GREATLY improved my social anxiety!

Today I want to talk about introversion and extroversion and how discovering some crucial facts about the two reduced my social anxiety significantly, and changed the way I now see myself.

photo by mary robinson

What's the first thing that pops in your head when you hear the word "introvert"? Quiet? Unfriendly? Selfish? Stuck up? Withdrawn? maybe even Boring? And what words pop into your head when you hear "extrovert"? Loud? Outgoing? Healthy? Friendly? Competent? Interesting? It's incredible how different introverts and extroverts are regarded and treated in North America where extroversion is looked at as the only healthy way of being. I knew that I was an introvert from a very young age: I was at my happiest when I was reading, writing, drawing, painting, making crafts, building imaginary worlds, and making little movies and plays. I was never much of a talker either, I talked a lot with people I was comfortable with, but was fairly quiet with everyone else. When I got to the eighth grade I began to view my introversion as a flaw, I didn't understand why being at school with all those people completely drained me, why everyone around me seemed to be so at ease while I was so uncomfortable. I began to deny my introversion, I thought that it was a choice and not a part of my already developed structure, more than anything I wanted to be like everyone around me: an extrovert. I did everything I possibly could to try and transform myself into an extrovert, it was my top agenda. That's when my social anxiety began, and year after year it got worse and worse.

Recently I came across three very fascinating facts about introversion that completely changed the way I now regard it:

One. Introverts naturally have busier and more active brains than extroverts and require less stimulations. Extra stimulations overwhelms their already active brains causing them to feel anxious and unable to concentrate.

Two. The blood flows through different paths in introverted and extroverted brains. Introverts have more blood flow, but the blood takes a longer, slower path. The blood flows to parts of the brain focused on internal things like planning, remembering and solving problems. The blood in extrovert's brains flows to parts of the brain that process external experiences, this is why they focus more on what's happening externally.

Three. "Introverted and extroverted brains have different chemical balances.  The activities of our brains are catalyzed by neurotransmitters, which are chemical substances that transmit nerve impulses.  Extroverts require greater amounts of dopamine, a central neurotransmitter in the sympathetic nervous system. It is produced when people are active and in motion. As psychologist and author Marti Olsen Laney writes, "extroverts feel good when they have places to go and people to see," probably because they are flush with dopamine.  Dopamine takes a short path through the brain and, in stressful situations, produces an "act and react" response.  It can be credited for extroverts' ability to think and speak quickly and to thrive under pressure.  It also helps them access their short-term memory more rapidly, so their data-processing circuit is shorter and faster. Introverts, on the other hand, require less dopamine, and when our brains have too much, we can feel anxious or overwhelmed.  Our brains rely more on another neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system, which conserves and restores energy, producing a "rest and repose" posture.  It produces a pleasurable sensation in introverts when we are thinking and reflecting. Acetylcholine, however, cuts a longer path through the brain, which explains why introverts may have difficulty accessing words or memories quickly and why we may be slow to react in stressful situation.  Introverts often prefer writing to speaking, because writing uses a different neurological pathway in the brain than speaking does. Additionally, the slower acetylcholine tributary may produces a posture of calmness in introverts and cause us to move more slowly than extroverts, which may explain why we are often less expressive with our bodies." (source: multiply)

How did leaning these facts help my social anxiety and changed the way I began to see myself?:

Learning that what I had previously considered a "flaw" (anxiety in high stimuli environments, liking solitude, preference of writing over speaking, not being able to form well thought out responses on the spot) was actually a part of my biology was a huge relief. I spent almost seven years believing that there was something wrong with me, but turns out, nothing is wrong with me, I'm an introvert. With this knowledge I also got to the bottom of my social anxiety. Society's preference of extroverts made me believe that it was the only way to live, I wrongly believed that all happy, healthy and fulfilled human beings were loud, outgoing, chatty, active and loved being around people, all the time! Wanting to become a "happy, healthy and fulfilled" human being, I forced myself to live like an extrovert: I didn't let myself sit at home on weekends, I was constantly out, I forced myself to talk to people, I forced myself to join groups and clubs, I scolded myself when I just wanted to spend time alone. By doing all that I continuously depleted myself of energy, I constantly placed myself in environments where I was drained of my creativity, where I couldn't thrive even if I wanted to, the only thing that thrived in these environments was my anxiety. After reading those facts I began to understand myself a lot better, I now knew why I was the way I was. I also realized that introversion isn't a bad thing, that there were so many positives to being an introvert: we are active thinkers, we naturally have a better and richer understanding of life, we're creative, it might take us longer to process information but when we do it's deeper, without introverts we wouldn't have progressed as much as we have as a race ;)

So now when I'm out or at school or work, I embrace my introversion and I no longer push myself to be something that I'm not. It was really the cherry on top of my battle with social anxiety. I greatly reduced it with nutrition and thought pattern changes, but it was still there in a softer form, and I would always beat myself up after each conversation where it appeared. With this new found self-acceptance I feel at peace, my confidence is repairing itself and I no longer fear communication. Sure I still experience slight physical anxiety symptoms, but they no longer bother me, at all, and most importantly, they no longer drain me!

"Being a 'conscious introvert' will transform your life"
photo by mary robinson 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Plato's Allegory of the Cave...

I was watching a documentary last night in which a reference was made to Plato's allegory of the cave and I couldn't think of a more perfect first post for my new blog! If you aren't familiar with the allegory, here's a summary:

"The allegory describes a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. (Plato called this state of mind ‘eikasia’. An ‘eikon’ is an image or likeness. Plato uses the word in connection with the lowest level of understanding. The prisoners take the images at face value.)
One of the prisoners manages to break free. The experience is uncomfortable. The prisoner is torn between looking beyond the fire and returning to the comfort of the shadows projected against the back wall. The journey out of the cave is not without its hardships. Once outside he finds it difficult to focus. It takes time but eventually he is able to see things as they actually are. For the first time in his life he realises that what he has seen up to that point is not reality but merely poorly cast shadows. Much of what he has understood as being reality is really folly. The conversations he had had with his fellow prisoners were meaningless nonsense, guesswork at what the shadows could be.
The prisoner feels compelled to return and tell his fellow prisoners what he has seen. However, on his return he finds it difficult to adjust to the darkness. The poorly lit shadows appear worse than before. His fellow prisoners laugh at him. They point out that his journey beyond the fire has in effect made his ability to see the shadows worse. They have no incentive to escape and see the outside world for themselves. The prisoners, ignorant of the world behind them, would see the freed man with his corrupted eyes and be afraid of anything but what they already know. Philosophers analyzing the allegory argue that the prisoners would ironically find the freed man stupid due to the current state of his eyes and temporarily not being able to see the shadows which are the world to the prisoners."

I thought this topic would be perfect for a first post because I feel like a huge part in my journey has been waking up and seeing the world we live in from the side. The prisoners in Plato's cave spent every second of their lives in the confinement of that cave, their field of "view" was narrowed to a wall and all they saw were the shadows on that wall. They didn't know any better, to them that was what the world was, what it looked like and there wasn't anything beyond it. Now lets take a look at us...sure we might not be chained and held prisoner in the literal sense, but societal views, beliefs, rules, laws, have greatly constricted how we experience life and have completely hid away knowledge about the true nature of reality. Once I began watching documentaries and reading books and articles that challenged our societal understandings, I began to step out of the cave. I was so curious and hungry for more, I kept reading and reading, listening and listening. In the beginning it was too much for me, I didn't want to believe in the information that was seeping into my nearly set mind, eventually I decided that "ignorance is bliss" and set it all aside. I didn't want to alienate myself from the people around me, and besides, who knew if the information that I was reading/listening to was even valid? That was my biggest obstacle, trying to decide what the truth was. But some good advice changed my mind...

I was talking to my boyfriend one day on the phone and told him that I didn't know what to believe in anymore, I was reading about alternative history, medicine, beliefs, and spirituality that to me felt much, much more pure than what I was continuously hit over the head with since I was a kid, but there seemed to be so many people arguing against it all. My boyfriend told me to tune out all the sceptics and to believe in what felt right to me. That's when I knew what beliefs I was going to adopt and what topics I was going to continue exploring. I believe that we have two layers: the shallow, society conditioned outer later and the natural, pure layer in the very core of our "selves" that no conditioning can puncture or effect, that's where we feel the truth even if we don't know what the truth is. It was with that inherited, natural inner wisdom that I knew exactly what was right.

"For the first time in his life he realises that what he has seen up to that point is not reality but merely poorly cast shadows. Much of what he has understood as being reality is really folly. The conversations he had had with his fellow prisoners were meaningless nonsense, guesswork at what the shadows could be." This perfectly describes what I'm currently going through. Maybe I haven't yet stood directly under the entirety of this "light", but I do feel like I've "seen" enough of it to feel a space between our society and myself. I was afraid that I was going to feel alienated, but instead I feel grateful.

Wake Up!

Friday, 16 March 2012

We are stardust, we are golden. An Introduction!

Welcome to One The Road: Back to the Garden! (Yes, I love Kerouac and Joni Mitchell!). I am a nineteen year old (turning twenty in two months) with a huge passion for health, nutrition, spirituality, alternative medicine, thought power, healing energies and just about anything and everything else that has the power to transform and improve our lives. Especially in the toxic filled, stressful and disconnected society that we live in today.

Let me tell you my story and explain why I decided to make this blog!:
Since I was around eleven years old I began experiencing blinding migraines, I also had frequent stomach pains. Even though the migraines didn't occur every day, I did experience headaches along with the stomach pains practically every single day until just about a year ago. That's eight years! My real problems started at fourteen, I began suffering from depression and social anxiety, I never had any energy, I was always irritable and unhappy and couldn't leave the house without my bottle of Tylenol. I found solace in alcohol, it was the only way I could communicate with people without feeling drained and anxious. By the end of the eleventh grade I was drinking every single day, by my senior year I was a complete internal mess. My social anxiety got so bad that even alcohol stopped working. I would go out and take things too far every time, some nights I remember doing three or four different drugs on top of the alcohol just so I could feel something different, I was incredibly impulsive. By the end of my senior year my depression and anxiety was at a whole new level, I couldn't form clear thoughts or sentences, I couldn't think straight, I locked myself in my room for days because nothing seemed possible or doable, I began to feel anxious about everything, not only social interactions, but every single thing, from sending a text message to reading a book to brushing my teeth. That's also when I began to feel extremely disconnected from my family and friends, I thought that my mental health was failing and I was terrified. I tried explaining to my parents and my close friends what was happening to me, but no one understood and no one knew how to help me, I felt so lost and alone. I moved 1,300 miles away to attend college, I'm not sure how I survived a whole semester, I was blowing all my money at the bars, I wasn't going to class, I was ordering pizza every other night and eating at Denny's in between, I got fired from my hostessing job, my roommate hated me, and I didn't do laundry for two months. All I wanted was to live a productive and put together existence, I did, but my mind was ruining my life. After the first semester I moved back home, that's when I finally got some answers. For the first time I found out that I was and had been suffering from social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder all those years. I literally cried from happiness once I finally had a name for it, it was such a relief knowing that I wasn't going crazy and that I wasn't alone. I began doing cognitive behavioral therapy at home which helped my anxiety tremendously, but I never ended up finishing the program, life threw some pretty tragic obstacles my way (I'm still not comfortable discussing the events that took place, but I knew that my life would forever change). Instead my family and I were forced to sell everything we owned and move to a different city where we had to start over. I was completely heartbroken and devastated, I watched my entire life get sold off and boxed up, we only brought one or two suit cases each. That's when I knew that I only had two choices: I could let the pain take over and destroy me or I could take charge once and for all. I chose the latter. That was a year ago and since making that choice I've been on an incredible journey of both ups and downs. With trial and error I finally took control of my mind, I no longer suffer from depression, my generalized anxiety is completely gone, my social anxiety is under control, I no longer experience headaches and stomach aches, I can think clearly, I have ten times more energy than I ever remember having, I am doing things that I used to run away from, I am discovering myself, getting to know my nature and for the first time in my life I feel genuinely happy. I still have a long way to go, but the difference from a year ago is unmistakable.

I couldn't have began healing myself without realizing that...

1. The society that we live in is TOXIC, and it's disconnecting us with our true nature.
2. The only way to live to our full potential is naturally and organically. 
3. And that we all have full control of our minds. 

Which brings me to why I started this blog: During my long research into depression and anxiety I came across an alarming amount of people who felt hopeless, who thought that they were incurable, who didn't know what to do, who trusted doctors and therapists and took prescription drugs. I know first hand how depression and anxiety can debilitate a life, and now I know first hand how possible and simple it is to move past it. Every single human being alive deserves to experience life with a pristine body and mind, with their natural state of health, so they can reach their full human potential! I am so excited to finally be starting this blog, all I want to do is raise awareness, spread my knowledge and help you on your journey to health and mental wellness. Join me on the road, back to the garden!