Living WOW Out Loud: Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases
By CallyRae Stone
Living WOW Out Loud: Thriving With Autoimmune DiseasesApr 22, 2022
Top 8 Interpreters for Body Language
Last week I promised you that I would introduce you to some interpreters for Body Language. The crazy thing is that you are innately equipped to speak fluent Body Language but just like any language you need to learn, practice, and refine your communication skills.
Living in the modern world with access to information and technology on a continual basis has in many ways stunted our development and understanding of Body Language. Continuous and often loud or conflicting messages can be overwhelming to tune out and go within to hear and feel what your body is speaking to you.
The conversation starter questions I introduced last week can be paired with these interpreters to plug in, practice, and develop fluency in Body Language.
Recognize that this is an ongoing process and resist the urge to get frustrated or feel like you are not “doing it right”. Remember that you are innately designed for this language. Just like you learned your native language in your home rapidly in the first 5 years of your life you have continued to refine and learn throughout your life.
If you don’t understand all of the nuances of Body Language immediately that’s normal. It’s not that you can’t. Find the modality that works best for you and build on it. You will likely find that as you become more fluent, opportunities will present themselves for you to go deeper and learn more and heal more. Life has a funny way of providing opportunities for you to learn Body Language. Recognizing and showing up in class to learn is the hard part.
I guarantee if you show up, your body will reciprocate and you will thrive as the expert in your body.
Although this list is not comprehensive, it is foundational and powerful. I specifically chose the modalities that are powerful, easy, accessible, and possibly already familiar to you. Again, don’t feel like you have to use all of them. Start with one or two and explore to see how it connects for you. Just like you had a favorite teacher in school you will likely find that you will find a favorite interpreter. As your skills or communication needs change you may choose a different interpreter that you aren’t ready for today.
Here are my top 8 Body Language Interpreters!
The Questions You Ask
One of the most obvious ways your body communicates with you is what you may recognize as a symptom. Your body speaks to you both negatively and positively but because of our human negativity bias for survival, you will likely focus on the pain in your back rather than the strength in your back. There is a natural tendency to focus on what is wrong rather than what is right.
Last week's episode introduced the concept that wholeness, health, and optimal vitality are the natural condition of the body. It is from that state of ease and flow that the body seeks to communicate. In other words, you are innately designed to thrive, seeking to maintain that natural state of health that has been sabotaged by the physical environment and human experience that the body navigates on a daily basis. You are also uniquely equipped to understand your Body Language as you remember the simplicity and truth that your body speaks.
Questions can be a powerful way to initiate communication and can help you maintain and deepen a conversation. Questions are essential to understanding and building a relationship. When you meet someone for the first time you may ask information-seeking questions such as "How are you?" or "How can I help you?". You likely ask and answer those questions throughout your day giving it little thought or effort because it allows for a superficial answer of "fine" or "I'm good".
If you have a relationship with your communication partner you may ask a deeper question such as "How was work/school?" "What would you like to eat for dinner?" The truth is that the time you spend asking questions and the depth of those questions is a direct reflection of your investment in the relationship.
Why is it so important to ask and not assume? Because everyone wants to be heard and know that they matter. Assuming automatically devalues the relationship putting it back to the superficial level of exchanges that you automatically sift through all day, every day without attention. Asking maintains and deepens the conversation, which in turn will maintain and deepen the relationship.
If you elevate this communication from an informal interaction to an intimate exchange it quickly moves from exchanging verbalizations to recognizing emotions and feelings. The door slammed with a longer than usual pause behind a locked bathroom door will surely lead to a different question and tone of compassion and concern. In contrast, when you notice the smile and spark in her eye and know exactly why she is glowing and can ask the question of how she wants to celebrate.
Here are 8 questions that you can start with. You may notice that each question correlates with one of the systems in the Framework to Becoming the Expert in Your Body. You'll also notice that the way that system speaks to you will be different and what you understand may develop as your relationship with that system within your body deepens and trust grows. Isn't that true in every relationship? The more you ask, the more you learn. The more time you invest, the more connection you create. The more you understand, the more you trust.
For more visit LivingWOWCenter.com
The Voice You Feel
In today's episode let's take a look, or really a listen, at what Body Language sounds like. You likely already have some familiarity just like you do when you see someone speaking sign language or hear a foreign language that you have familiarity with but not necessarily a personal understanding or use. You recognize some aspects but they don't carry any meaning for you because you don't have the pronunciation, vocabulary, or grammar to interpret them.
The amount you tune in to one of these foreign conversations is likely dependent upon your level of knowledge and interest. When you begin to study a language you begin to recognize the pronunciation or vocabulary and suddenly begin to listen or watch more intently to see if you can understand anything.
Body Language is interesting because it is not a language you hear or see but more accurately described as the voice you feel. Your body speaks through energy, emotion, feelings, thoughts, intuition, and sensations. The degree to which you tune in or recognize the language will increase as you develop more awareness and training with vocabulary and interpretation.
Another unique characteristic of Body Language is its innate nature. Unlike a native language that is learned based on where you were born and the language spoken in your family and community. You were born to speak Body Language which is universal to all humankind. Your Body Language is unique to you but it is a matter of remembering and understanding it, rather than learning the sounds, characters, and rules such as spoken and written languages.
Recognizing the simplicity rather than getting bogged down in the complexity of Body Language is refreshing as you learn this foundational skill for becoming the expert in your body. Starting from the understanding that health is the natural condition of the body, let's call it "ease". Any kind of situation, behavior, or experience that moves your body away from the natural condition could be called "dis-ease".
Because your body is constantly trying to maintain the natural condition of ease, it speaks to you and within you continually to monitor and adjust for circumstances. Your physical experience is the outward manifestation of what is happening with that internal dialogue and as a result can be simply adjusted by tuning in and being a good listener.
In a very noisy world, the question is who are you listening to? Referencing back to the 8 Systems Framework you'll recall that there is a driver who usually gets all of the attention because she is in your driver's seat on this journey but the navigation system is actually the smarts of the operation because it is programmed with a perfect knowledge of your specific journey.
The driver is your mind that is constantly surveying the situation and your surroundings to keep you safe so that you make it to your destination. It is programmed with a negativity bias that focuses on survival at all costs. This is the mental tape running based on your beliefs, knowledge, and the messages of the world around you. The driver is skilled at keeping you safe but is not necessarily using all of the information available to you.
The navigation system is your spirit that is programmed not only with your destination but also the entirety of the journey and all of the specifications of your specific unique vehicle, aka your body. Your navigation system is able to see beyond the conscious and unconscious communications of the mind. This is the intuition you feel when something is right for you and it resonates with joy or peace or when something is not right for you and you feel unsettled or confused.
Tuning in to the conversation within, between the driver and navigation system, is where you begin to remember your Body Language and recognize the language as communication that has been drowned out by the noise of life.
For more visit www.livingWOWcenter.com
Ignoring Your Best Friend
Last episode I introduced you to Body Language and invited you to take on learning the language that your body speaks to you. Did you do your homework? Did you learn to count to 8 in Body Language? If so you have a foundational knowledge of the communication environment of your body! Your binge listening and review of the 8 Lessons and the 8 Systems has created a communication-rich environment for learning.
If you haven't done your homework, you can still listen to today's language lesson but don't expect to become fluent if you don't practice. You must create an environment for learning and practice or you will never learn a new language. This Body Language series will build as we go so if you haven't yet, go back and binge a few hours of listening to get your learning environment primed for communication. 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me can be found in the Bonus Episode series and the 8 System Framework to Becoming the Expert in Your Body summer series is found in episodes 13-21.
So just like your Spanish teacher starts speaking to you in Spanish when you enter the classroom, I'm going to immerse you in Body Language terminology as I teach you how to understand and communicate with your body.
Before we begin to learn vocabulary and translation it's important to first learn the foundational skills of communication. Namely joint attention, turn-taking, and topic maintenance.
These foundational skills are required in any communication exchange and may include both verbal and non-verbal components. A breakdown in any of these areas will result in a communication breakdown and either a misunderstanding or the abandonment of the communication exchange altogether. Because they are an essential foundation let's break them down a little to make sure you are able and willing to be an active and willing communication partner.
Is it any wonder that as a culture of SAD (Standard American Diet and Lifestyle) the communication dyad with our bodies has been ignored and lost resulting in the loss of Body Language that was widely recognized and understood by ancient civilizations?
Your body is innately designed to heal. Health is the natural state of the body. The communication of your Body Language is the outward physical manifestation of what is happening inward that you cannot see or touch but you can feel and experience.
Now that you have the basics of communication it's time to start translating. Join me next week as we begin to introduce some core vocabulary of Body Language so that you can regain the relationship you were born to have with your body.
For more visit https://livingwowcenter.com/
Are you ready to learn a new language in 2023? Learning a new language is proven to stimulate new neural pathways and keep the mind sharp. While it is true that the younger you are, the easier it is to learn a new language, it is possible to learn a new language at any age.
The language I would like to introduce you to is Body Language. This is not the body language you probably already speak fluently which we professionally refer to as nonverbal and pragmatic language. Rather, I am referring to the language of your body. How your body speaks to you and how you respond to those messages.
Becoming fluent in your Body Language is the secret to becoming the expert in your body and that is the mission of Living WOW. I have spent the past 30 years studying and teaching the brain and oral mechanisms of speech and language development and rehabilitation. I have also spent the past 15 years studying and teaching nutritional healing and lifestyle medicine. So is it any wonder that I recognize this unique communication we have within us and recognize the need for a universal teaching of Body Language?
I’m going to wager that you are completely unaware of your Body’s Language and that this concept is probably as unfamiliar to you as any foreign language you could learn in school or with an app. As a result, I’m going to break down the process of learning Body Language in a new series here on the podcast throughout the month of December. Over the next 5 weeks, I will introduce you to your Body Language and give you the tools to translate while you learn to listen, understand, and eventually speak fluent Body Language.
So first some basics. You cannot learn any language without a model. You cannot learn a language without rules or some sort of universal understanding. You cannot learn any language without practice. While it is true that language acquisition is an innately wired skill, it is still something you were taught either informally (your native language) or formally (additional languages) and likely a little of both. Meaning that you likely learned the languages you speak both informally through your family and community as well as formally through education and training.
Along those lines, you probably are adept at the language of your generation, profession, and culture. Examples of these language nuances are demonstrated in what is known as code-switching. An example is the difference in how we speak to our parents versus our friends. The way professionals speak universal jargon such as technology, medical, and financial terminology with ease and understanding but persons outside the profession need to have it “interpreted” into common language. Even within our culture and communities, language is used differently creating an understanding between some and disconnection with others. Don’t believe me? Would you be at all uncomfortable if the same language was used in church that is used at the bar?
So why do I bother to go into all of these details? Because you need to understand why you don’t speak Body Language when everything in your mind is telling you that you do. At best, you have what is known as “functional communication” which is basic survival communication. Think of the vocabulary and understanding of a 1-year-old. I have functional communication in American Sign Language (ASL), German, and Spanish with formal and informal training in each of them but I am in no way fluent in any of them. Why? Because I did not regularly practice and communicate with others using those languages so I forgot much of the vocabulary that was beyond the primitive basics like counting, personal needs, and greetings.
This weeks Homework: Learn to count to 8 in Body Language
8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases (Bonus Episodes)
8 Systems Framework to Become the Expert In Your Body (Episodes 13-21)
An Attitude of Gratitude
As I record this podcast episode the house is brimming with the sounds and smells of Thanksgiving. The 3rd Thursday of November is celebrated in the United States as a national holiday of Thanksgiving. A traditional feast to celebrate harvest and friendship creates an opportunity for family and friends to gather around a table and reflect and give thanks.
Since Living WOW Out Loud airs on Thursday mornings, if you are listening in real time (maybe while the turkey is in the oven), then let me wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I pray you are surrounded by those you love this holiday and if the miles or circumstances separate may you be connected in your heart.
The topics of this month's podcasts have led us to this day. First, with the need for community and connection which is becoming more and more fragmented in our modern culture. Last week's topic was food for thought. No holiday centers around food quite like Thanksgiving. So today we bring it all together with gratitude, the heart of Thanksgiving.
It is no secret that a thankful heart is good for you. Like the power of connection and the power of food, the power of gratitude is often underestimated. Don’t believe me? What was your go to behavior when you couldn’t sleep the other night because your monkey mind was busy worrying about work, family, and finances. Common responses to sleepless nights are turning on the TV, scrolling social media, or taking a sleeping pill.
What about this alternative? A powerful antidote for a sleepless night could be to write a note of gratitude to someone you appreciate. The power of a paper thank you note has gotten lost in our modern society as emails and text correspondence have become the norm. There is something about a paper thank you that has permanence and uplifts. I personally cannot throw away a thank you note.
When was the last time you personally wrote a thank you note? Reflect for a minute about how you felt when you were writing it. Were you overcome with worry? Nope. You were overcome with gratitude and the process of writing, addressing, and giving consumed your attention squeezing out whatever monkey mind could have been busy worrying about.
This is a simple example of contrast, but the reality is that it takes awareness and intentional choice to change automatic habitual behaviors. This is a great opportunity to exercise the Living WOW philosophy of “filling it so full of the good stuff that there’s no room for the bad”. What I mean by that is that by creating a series of intentional choices the neural programming is actively reprogramming and crowding out the old habitual behaviors that are SAD.
Like connection and food, gratitude has been shown to have positive health effects including better sleep, less depression, and general well-being. Links between gratitude and brain structures were also tied to social bonding, reward and stress relief. Maybe that's why it is so easy for me to see the relationship between connection, food, and gratitude. They each feel inextricably linked.
So my invitation to you today is to take this annual ritual of Thanksgiving and extend it beyond today. What exercise of gratitude works for you? Can you make it a part of your daily routine? Is it part of power up in the morning as you set your intention for the day? Or is it a part of power down as you reflect on your day? What areas of your life can be a bit healthier by replacing overwhelm, stress, or burnout by implementing gratitude, thankfulness, or appreciation?
Food for Thought
The many roles of food, the versatility of food, the intimacy of food. Food is so much more than what you put in your mouth. The way you use food is the one thing that you can individually control. You can control what you put in your mouth or what you do not put in your mouth.
Food can be used to express compassion as we take food to those that are ill or in mourning. Food can be used as a way to punish yourself. When you are angry with your body for some reason you withdraw and refuse it nourishment. Food is a reward, a celebration, a connection, and an experience. There are few things as powerful as food.
Our awareness, understanding, and use of food has changed over the last century. I talked about this last week when we talked about food being communal and cultural. Food is brought as a dish to share at a potluck. Baked goods have been sold to raise funds at schools. Lemonade stands pop up in neighborhood as young budding entrepreneurs share their refreshment. Relationships are created and deepened across a table as you share food.
This kind of interplay and connection is diminishing because of fear of contamination or perceived time in preparation. As a society we are replacing tradition and connection with convenience and ready made for you experiences.
Consider what you are compromising or losing with that cultural shift as we lose the connection and caring that we are investing into that food preparation and sharing. There is an interplay that happens with food more than any other commonality among all societies and all people. The need for openness, compassion, and creativity to be able to love, share and heal with food.
Food for healing:
My personal favorite and foundation for keeping systemic inflammation down are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory foods and phytonutrients. The heavy hitters for these 3 healers are found in plants such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and seeds.
Foods with natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral properties are also found in plants. These foods differ from the pharmaceutical versions of antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals as your body is able to use it as needed in the quantity as needed without creating imbalances and side effects.
Foods that support organ function are herbs, berries, citrus, and root vegetables which are high in micronutrients that detoxify and eliminate damaged or senescent cells and replace them with healthier cells.
Foods that support energy and vitality with cell regeneration include nuts, seeds, and fermented vegetables providing prebiotic food and a probiotic environment for your microbiome diversity. These foods paired with the previously mentioned antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, phytonutrients, and micronutrients of plants keep your immune system primed to intercept any rogue cells or foreign pathogens.
Foods that encourage metabolism and balanced hormone function include cruciferous vegetables, fiber rich foods, healthy fats and protein to name a few. Eating good mood food and eliminating processed foods has been shown to be more effective than psychotropic medications prescribed for depression, anxiety, mood stabilizers, and stimulants. Similar to the natural antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals, good mood food stabilizes and heals without side effects or damage to the bodies systems.
How do you use foods to heal?
For more information check out the Living WOW Center
As I was preparing for this "connection" episode of the podcast the old television game show "Love Connection" came to my mind. So cheesy but really a fun memory around connection.
What happens in the body when you are isolated? Serious health conditions like anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, memory loss, aggression, insomnia just to name a few. Social isolation increases your risk for premature death as much as smoking and obesity. All of this due to the complex effects of neural, genetic, hormonal, behavioral and emotional physiology.
We came out of the pandemic isolation distanced and it has now become a social norm which is exacerbating the immune compromise. Rather than congregating and sharing our energy and immunity with a healthy immune response, we are isolating and in fear, which triggers the sympathetic fight, flight, or freeze response.
Is it a coincidence that as the social distancing and isolation of the past 3 years has become common, that anxiety and depression have skyrocketed along with many chronic diseases including autoimmune disease?
Again you find lifestyle having a significant and direct effect on your health and the SAD culture norms sabotaging health at the primitive level of connection.
Why do you do the things that other people do? It gives you connection. As human beings connection is healing. We all share energy so who you spend your time with and what your surroundings look and feel like, all have an impact on your overall health.
Going back to physiology, you find that humans are wired for connection with mirror neurons that read and reflect others emotions. The senses of touch and smell turn us on and off to others. The beneficial chemicals of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin upregulate well-being and happiness and are present when you feel physical connection.
Social isolation is compounding the effects of SAD. What happens when you isolate? Mental health with depression and anxieties are all interwoven and they are all feeding this negative health cycle that is trending in the SAD culture. It's important to break this negative health cycle and one of the best ways to break it is through community. It's through connection.
It's counter intuitive because we've been taught that distance is how we become more healthy but actually it's connection. Conversation, touch, hugging, kissing, love and sharing. Healthy relationships of loving and sharing are vital to thriving. I wrote about this in the final lesson of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases. The underpinning of healing is having connection.
If you are listening in real time we are coming into the winter season of the holidays in the United States. This time, more than any other time of year, brings people together in tradition of gratitude, love, and connection whether it be for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or New Year's celebrations. These are times culturally to come together and connect with each other and our heritage and traditions. It's a time of coming together in celebration.
Now is a great time to use some strategies to reconnect. I'm literally employing these in my own life right now and it's kind of the underpinnings of Grandma's Kitchen.
Grandma's Kitchen is a new resource within the Living WOW Center based on recipes, tips, and techniques for cooking. I know that you can get this information from anywhere all you have to do is google and there's the answer to whatever problem you have. But what I find is that is contributing to the disconnect.
Culturally we would learn these things from our grandmother's and mother's around pots and around ovens. Each culture is unique but the way that the skills of growing, harvesting, preservation, preparation, and consumption of the meals would happen was as a family. Our families look much different than they did 100 years ago.
That's What HE Said: Living WOW Men's Episode
Today's episode is the popular interview format with non-other than my better half, Joff. No one has been closer to the transformation from SAD to WOW and from surviving to thriving than my husband. I value his perspective as a man who has always been supportive of what I needed to do for my health but now recognizes the value and benefit of living WOW for his health. Listen to the end to find out his recommendations and plans for growing old. Of course, he's just as obsessed with personal protection and martial arts as I am with health and lifestyle so he's going to throw in some good advice no matter how you slice it.
For more about Joff check out functionalcombativesinstitute.com
For more about Living WOW go to livingwowcenter.com
What's Up With Fasting?
Have you noticed that fasting has entered into the mainstream of diet fads? You may have heard the term “intermittent fasting” or seen the ads for a diet program that helps you jump on the intermittent fasting bandwagon. You may also have heard me say that Living WOW isn’t a diet or a fad but rather a lifestyle of awareness and a series of perpetual choices.
So when I’m asked about intermittent fasting the reality is that it is an integral part of Living WOW but probably not for the reasons you might expect. When I examined the rhythm of Living WOW that helps maintain the structure for awareness and choice I realized that fasting has always been a part of my lifestyle and I learned very early in my life the benefits of fasting although I didn’t appreciate the far-reaching effects.
As with all things Living WOW, fasting is extremely individual based on your body and your journey but there are general truths that benefit anyone as you learn to apply the principle of fasting. As you internalize this external behavior you will find the rhythm that supports you best. For the sake of examination and education, I will share with you my knowledge and experience with fasting across the continuum in which I practice and benefit.
I was first taught to fast by my mother who was well ahead of her time with lifestyle medicine, which of course, I didn’t recognize or appreciate until I came into my own realization and study of health and the critical lifestyle component. As a family, we participated in a religious practice of fasting monthly and donating the money we would use for the food we were abstaining from to donate to the needy.
It was during these formative years of my life that my mother taught me that the physical act of fasting was a way to set aside the physical needs of the body to be more closely in tune with our spirit and connect with God. I witnessed my mother frequently fasting when she needed spiritual guidance or healing. Of course, throughout all time and religions fasting has been used as a conduit for prayer to connect with the divine.
As I fell into nutritional healing and became curious about ancient and alternative healing methods, the toxicity of our planet and lifestyle became strikingly clear to me. I recognized that many of the diseases that are rampant in our world are because of the toxins that are poisoning our systems. Our bodies are designed to offload toxins and keep rogue cells in check. However, I couldn’t deny that supporting the systems of detoxification made sense because of the sheer volume and novelty of these toxins in the modern world. As I began to be aware of toxins and strategically eliminate or minimize them in my lifestyle my health dramatically improved. As I began to intentionally support the systems of detoxification regularly I found that fasting and cleansing go hand in hand.
What's Your Excuse?
Although it wasn't one of the 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me that I wrote about directly; PREVENTION definitely feels like a topic that needs to be addressed because too many of us are lulled into complacency. I didn't address it in the book because I had missed the proverbial boat and was in full blown crisis. I know I was complacent and thought I was doing ok when really I just didn't realize that pain and fatigue ARE NOT NORMAL. Taking medications IS NOT NORMAL. 50% of adults have a chronic condition. 80% of diseases are preventable. Staggering facts that most adults would rather ignore than face...until they have to. Like I did.
My book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases was written for those like myself who are in crisis and need to reverse the disease process and heal their bodies. What I am now passionate about is all the rest of you who have the opportunity to PREVENT a crisis but you're too complacent or arrogant to do so.
My experience is that it is more likely complacency and priorities are just in the wrong order. Now hear me out before you start thinking I have no business in your priorities. I do address why health MUST be #1 priority in my book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases Lesson #4 because I learned early on in my journey back to health that without your health you have nothing. It doesn't matter if you have family responsibilities, they will be taking care of you! It doesn't matter if you have an important, indispensable position at work; they will have to do without you because you are unable to work while you are sick in bed or worse at the hospital (or heaven forbid, dead). It doesn't matter if you have money to live out your dreams, because you are sick and will be spending it on medications, doctors, and hospitals. It doesn't matter if you have all the time in the world because you have no health to live your life with. I've both lived and watched others trapped in this priority lie over the past 25 years in health care. I know that most people, given the opportunity to turn back the clock and start over would make health priority #1. If they just knew how.
Healing IS Natural After All
It is time to wake up, return to your roots, and realize that you are the expert in your own body. Over the past 50 years, there has been a startling rise in the number of autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases in the United States and around the world. Just as startling is the realization that we have brought it on ourselves.
Why in the world would I say that? Because it is true. As was learned with the human genome project and further supported by the ongoing microbiome research, these diseases are not hereditary as once thought. In fact, more than 80% of ALL diseases are linked to lifestyle. Statistically, medical accidents or injuries are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. This can include anything from a surgical mishap to a medication interaction oversight. Despite these alarming statistics, we continue looking for solutions in the wrong places.
As a society, we have come to depend upon our medical community to provide care for chronic diseases when it was designed to be an acute care system. We look at a system that is bloated and broken with frustration but don't want to take responsibility for our contribution to it. You take your medication like your life depends on it but really it may be doing more harm than good.
After being both a provider and a participant in the healthcare system, I have seen the ravages and faults of both sides. I am not here to point fingers or name blame but rather to provide an alternative perspective. What if the science really is true and we can prevent disease by the lifestyle choices we make? What if SAD (Standard American Diet & Lifestyle) is the underlying reason for the skyrocketing autoimmune diseases? What if we only utilized the medical system for emergencies rather than maintenance?
Going even one step further, what if we not only prevent new diseases but is it possible to reverse disease processes once in motion? Again, I am not here to make claims of miraculous healing, but I have witnessed the power of healing in my body and many others that lead me to believe that our bodies are extremely resilient and have an innate power to heal if given the environment to do so.
When I began to understand the power of cell regeneration this point was made clear. It is a fact that you are going to replicate cells, replacing old cells with new ones. Do you want them to be healthy cells or sick cells? What do you feed them? What environment do you provide for them? Those simple truths are the genesis of the Living WOW Center.
The first thing I want to clarify is that lifestyle is just a series of perpetual choices you make throughout each day, most of which you make ocmpletely unconsciously. We do what we do because everyone else is doing it. This autopilot is what I refer to as SAD (Standard American Diet & Lifestyle). Lifestyle in this context is not dependent upon the money you make or the city you live in.
In fact, research studies of the few remaining indigenous cultures around the world reveal that they do not suffer any of the maladies and diseases of out modern societies such as autoimmune disease, cancer, or other chronic diseases. They live a wild and simple life with no western medicine and are studied to determine what they have that we don't They have healthier bones, organs, and microbiomes just to name a few.
What could you do differently that might create healthier, stronger new cells instead of diseased or rogue cells? What might it look like if you had a turnover of healthy cells replacing sick cells? What might happen if you took 100% responsibility for the lifestyle choices you make and the results of those choices rather than taking a pill to mask a symptom or running to the doctor to give you an answer that he doesn't have (but you do)?
Check out Supercharge at Living WOW Center to see how easy it can be!
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Where will you be in 15 years?
If you would have told me 15 years ago what I would be doing today, I would have told you that you were crazy! At that time, I didn't know what I didn't know. I was running on autopilot. I was doing what I needed to do because it was what needed to be done. Sure, I was tired, but who wouldn't be keeping the schedule I kept? Sure, I had chronic pain, but I had rheumatoid arthritis and nothing helped so I just lived with it. Doesn't everyone hurt? It's part of getting older. Sure, I was overweight, but everyone is overweight.
It wasn't until I started eating produce in capsules, a product called Juice Plus+, that I learned what I didn't know. My pain was GONE! My energy was back! Over time my weight fell off. I went from a negative health cycle that I was oblivious to because it was my normal life of 20 years, to a positive health cycle that was mind-blowing to me because it was counter to everything I had experienced over the previous 20 years despite thinking I was healthy.
The first thing I realize looking back now and realizing how ridiculous it was to miss how sick I was, was the calibration of my world. Compared to my patients and family members, I was a pillar of health, or at least I thought I was. I didn't take it for granted. I truly gave thanks that I was dealing with what I had instead of what they had. "It could be worse" was always my mantra.
Until I began to feel amazing and then I realized THIS is how we are meant to live! Health is not the lack of disease. Health is the vitality and energy to LIVE full out. Pain and weight gain are not normal, nor are they a part of the aging process.
I am a product of the SAD (Standard American Diet) Lifestyle. I ate well, which just meant I ate a lot and I ate out a lot. I was good at food! What I wasn't so good at was understanding the POWER of food. I never would have dreamed that food could replace all of the medicines in my cabinet over time. Stomach meds, gone. Pain meds, gone. Allergy meds, gone. Skin meds, gone. Antibiotics, gone. Antifungals, gone. Prescriptions, gone. Food truly is medicine!
But if you would have told me this 15 years ago, when I was a pill-popping clinician treating patients for their symptoms, I would have thought, "How nice for you, I'm glad you had a good experience. I'm fine." I wouldn't have seen the relevance because I was so entrenched in the SAD life.
I tell you this because I believe that if I had received my diagnosis 3 years earlier before I had experienced the healing from nutrition and felt how amazing it feels to be healthy, I would have taken the medications they recommended for my cluster of autoimmune diseases and I believe I would be dead today. At best, I would be in and out of the hospital like so many others I watch suffer with Lupus and autoimmune or chronic disease.
I tell you this because I am you. I know how hard it is to have hope when you are so sick of being sick. I know how easy it is to be hopeless when nothing helps and you think you are just losing your mind. I know how hard it is to get up in the morning when your give a damn is busted. I know how easy it is to get trapped in autopilot because you are just trying to keep it all together.
I tell you this because if you do nothing else, just try adding Juice Plus+ consistently into your diet every single day for at least 4 months, It may not be a miracle cure but it surely is a catalyst that will help change you from the inside out. Food is the most powerful medicine you can put into your body and not all food is created equal. Food is your foundation and it matters.
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How Are You REALLY?
My heart is heavy, and I feel like it is necessary to speak about mental health here on this platform in a way that is quite raw and real. The Living WOW Lifestyle was created as an alternative to the living SAD lifestyle that we default into with our culture and beliefs.
It has evolved as an awareness of the choices you make on a daily basis from the foods you choose to consume or not, the self-care you make time for or don’t, the priority you give to your health and ultimately thriving. It’s learning to speak the language of your body so that you can become the expert in your body and provide the environment to heal.
I think that maybe you think it’s always making the “right” choice or doing the “right” thing. I want to be very clear that life is not that way. You can’t change something you’re not aware of and that is why I make a point of teaching and supporting you so that you can find the hope to live your best life.
Last week here on the podcast, I was honest about my struggle with the season of fall as it historically meant the season of illness for me and the infections and flares would morph and linger for months. Living WOW was born out of the transformation and look back across 2 decades of my life where this cycle was rampant.
During those decades I was trapped in the negative health cycle of chronic pain, depression, and anxiety but I didn’t recognize those labels because it was all I had known as an adult and so I believed it was normal. I worked in healthcare where my patients and their families were all in crisis, and compared to them, I felt healthy and blessed.
When life would get overwhelming with work, finances, relationships, marriage, parenting, and pain there were times when I wanted it all to end. I thought it would be better and certainly easier to die than live. I was completely hopeless and felt like I was drowning in a whirlpool. I wanted the world to go away.
I’m not sure that anyone knew I felt this way because I certainly wasn’t proud of it. In some way I was ashamed that I could feel so bad when others around me were obviously suffering so much more than I was. The lies that I told myself of the world being better off without me and my family appreciating me more if I was dead were spinning in my head.
Despite long sobbing drives to nowhere parked in contemplation and reflection, the phone calls to check in at just the right time, and a hug that you didn’t know I needed. I always came back home, went back to work, and put the smile back on my face for everyone around me.
I’m sharing this extremely painful time with you now in case you are feeling that way at all. I want you to know that you are worth it and that you matter. As the ripple of suicide again crashes into my life with the loss of a family friend I realize that I need to speak this to you.
I want to be transparent that there is hurt and pain and challenges everywhere, even when you are Living WOW. It’s ok to talk about it. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok sometimes to just survive.
I think that maybe that is part of why I have living WOW. I feel like when we are making choices that support our mental health, our physical health; we are more true to who we are and more true to who we were born to be. That makes us less likely to suffer. It doesn’t take it away and I certainly don’t want anyone to feel shame because they are dealing with depression. I have been there and it has hit me too close to home too often.
Autoimmune disease can really mess with your chemicals, hormones, digestion, and moods. They are all interrelated. Just don’t believe the lies in your head. You matter and we need you on this earth. We love you and we care about you and you matter.
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Taking Cues From Nature
As we transition into the Autumn season the cooler temperatures and fall harvest cue us to begin transitioning and preparing for winter. Autumn is the season of change and preparation. Spring is a time of planting, Summer is massive growth, and now in the Fall you get to reap the benefits of all your hard work. Of course, that doesn’t mean the work is over, rather it is changing. We can take cues from nature and do the exact same thing in our lives.
For me personally, this transition season has always been the most difficult season for me. I love fall, but traditionally, it has been the season where I go into illness and I’m usually in it until spring. Maybe that is why spring is my favorite season because I am usually coming out of that illness cycle.
But I’ve learned a few things and I’m going to share them with you because you may be able to relate. My experience is personal and obviously different for me than it will be for you, but maybe it will help you recognize your seasons differently. As you think about your life and the seasons, see if there are any patterns. Do you have a favorite season that you feel comfortable and set or do you have a season that feels uncomfortable, maybe change or growth?
What I learned when I really started to understand the energy system (if you missed system 1 in the 8 systems framework summer series it’s worth going back and reviewing the role of energy in the body) I realized that my physical health was a manifestation of what was happening on the inside. All the things that I could not see. My emotions, my energy, and my mindset are all physically visible in my health. When I realized that, I looked back and I had experienced a lot of loss in the fall season. So that transition, for me, was so difficult. I had never understood why I had such a hard time with that fall transition.
This is what I want you to look at in your own life, not that you are going to have the same experience, but what you may have is something in your life that you can identify and recognize as the underlying trigger. Because you can’t change something you aren’t aware of, right?
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Living WOW Framework: System 8~Driving Conditions
As we wrap up the 8 Systems Framework series it is worthwhile to point out that this final system is both external and internal. I include it in the 8 Systems Framework because it is impossible to separate yourself from or ignore the driving conditions completely. Additionally, for the most part, you have very little, if any, control over the driving conditions. With that said you must be aware of what they are and how they affect your vehicle and the journey so that you don’t end up in an accident or breakdown due to unsafe or undesirable conditions.
I’ve alluded to driving conditions in other examples throughout this series. The first one I shared with you during System 1 when I shared the example of my teenage daughter and the Transmission Control Unit that was the underlying cause of many malfunctions in the electrical system of her vehicle. The car had been driven at high speeds drifting, burning the rubber off of the tires, and creating an extreme vibration in the car. We were aware of the damage done to the tires, brakes, and alignment but not to the electrical system. This was an example of driving conditions that were outside of the car’s capacity but completely avoidable.
I also shared in System 6 the need for my reliance on the Garmin GPS system as I navigated through an unexpected spring snowstorm with my young children completely unprepared for the conditions both for the car and for the passengers. I was focused on getting the little kids packed and ready for the 6 hour road trip and planning on meeting up with my oldest daughter and her high school tennis team at the tournament the next day. I had only checked the weather at home and at our destination for packing purposes. I had no thought given to the road other than the route as it was unfamiliar to me. This was an example of driving conditions that were unavoidable at the time, but fortunately for me, I was more prepared than I realized.
Driving conditions in a vehicle are everything from traffic to weather, overdue maintenance, and fuel levels. Traffic and weather you have little to no control over. Maintenance and fuel you have control over if you have the knowledge of what to do and when and you plan accordingly. How you respond to these conditions is the result of your beliefs and experience. Do you avoid heavy traffic, night driving, and inclement weather or keep on trucking? Do you top your tank off frequently or run on empty? Do you rotate your tires every 3,000 miles or when they have to be replaced? Do you run premium gas and oil or get by with the cheapest option to keep you on the road?
The metaphor of the driving conditions directly ties to the lifestyle choices we make and the SAD culture we live in. The societal norms, cultural beliefs, political and economic conditions are largely outside of our control much like weather and traffic. Learning how to optimize your body’s health and performance with lifestyle choices is completely within your control if you have the knowledge of what to do and when and then you plan accordingly.
Also like the driving conditions, the circumstances around us are continually changing. Some you may be able to plan for and some will come out of nowhere completely derailing your journey. Living WOW was created as a framework for lifestyle awareness, education, and resources to optimize health and vitality recognizing that we live in a SAD environment, much of which we have no control over. You do have complete control over how you respond and prepare for the circumstances around you. There may be times when you are blindsided with a diagnosis but know that as you learn to listen and understand the language of your body and become the expert in your body you will recognize how all 8 systems work individually yet intextricably together.
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Living WOW Framework: System 7~Indicator Lights
Your body is telling you what it needs. Are you listening? Are you too busy to hear it? Do you know the language of your body?
Are you experiencing deep fatigue? Irritable bowels, diarrhea, bloating, constipation? Headaches? Brain fog? Rashes? Do you have pain? Where at and what kind? Some symptoms may appear universal but actually can be specific and telling with your autoimmune disease. When you begin to understand what is happening in your body it speaks the answers that can help lead you to the underlying trigger.
A personal example for me is an infection that I am prone to that I get on my face and nose. That infection is related to my Lupus. I know what is happening with my immune system when this infection blossoms. I have learned that I can look back and see the trigger event usually 2-5 days prior. It is usually an emotional event that triggered a stress response in my body. Then that stress response cascades in my body shutting down my immune response which sets the environment for this opportunistic infection to kick in. This in turn sets my immune response into hyperdrive as it rebounds and begins attacking its system of choice (lungs, brain, skin). Having this infection reoccur year after year I've learned what it means and how to get in front of it.
I also have specific symptoms of my rheumatoid arthritis. These are more related to my diet. When I eat foods that are inflammatory, such as sugar or processed foods, I then feel more stiffness, swelling, and pain. I know that the emotional triggers that trigger my lupus flares are different than the dietary triggers that trigger my arthritis flares.
These are my personal examples of what I call the indicator lights because they are most familiar to me. I know you have your own indicator lights. This is also the reason that I say that I love my autoimmune diseases and I feel blessed to have them because my body will give me early warning signs. Not everyone is so fortunate, but you are if you learn to recognize and heed the warning.
Most inflammation, systemic inflammation, you don't feel. Oxidative stress, free radical damage, and inflammation throughout your body are unrecognized in our SAD lifestyle perpetuated by high stress, high fear, and low to no rest and recovery. Because it is so common it has become normalized to be sick and tired so you push on. If your symptoms become intrusive enough you may go to your doctor who gives you medication to relieve the symptom. But without relieving the symptom entirely you find yourself with a new set of symptoms from what is affectionately termed "side effects".
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Living WOW Framework: System 6~Navigation
I spoke briefly of the navigation system during the introduction of the Driver of System 5. Remember that the driver does what it is told with the purpose of getting you to your destination safely. But how do you know where to go? Your navigation system!
Of course, you will see navigation helps all along the journey. This may be in the form of signs, maps, or even other drivers giving you information that was useful to them. What is unique and personal to you, however, is your personal navigation system.
Your navigation system is beyond high-tech! Your navigation system knows not only where you are going but also all of the side roads, detours, and re-routes that you may need to encounter on your journey.
It is critical that the driver tunes in to the navigation system because it can easily be drowned out by the noise of the journey and the driving conditions.
Every time I think of this system I reflect back to when I first learned to TRUST my navigation system. I was on a quick weekend trip to watch my oldest daughter play tennis in a community 6 hours from our home. I was somewhat familiar with the route but had not driven the road before.
It was spring so I packed accordingly for myself and my other 2 children, ages infant and 11 years, for our fun weekend getaway. We left after my son got out of school but most of the drive would still be in the dark. I had my reliable atlas with me because I wasn’t completely sure of the route details and I always made sure I had it with me for road trips.
My husband had bought a Garmin GPS and thought this would be a great opportunity to use it. We had played with it a little around town with lots of “rerouting” and buffering and funny pronunciations of some local roads. This new technology was mostly entertainment at this point but a road trip was the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
So I set my hotel address as the destination in my GPS, kissed my husband goodbye, buckled up the kids, and off we went! Everything went as planned until we were about 2 hours away from home, darkness had set in, and as we started into the mountain pass we were greeted by an unexpected snowfall.
Initially, I talked to the kids about the snow and how it was not in the forecast. It was dark so we really couldn’t see the beauty of it and the kids fell asleep.
I had not prepared for snow. I had only considered the weather at home and the weather for the tennis tournament. What I thought was a spring flurry became a white-out. Zero visibility. On a mountain road that I was unfamiliar with I was beginning to get nervous. If we ran off the road we were not prepared for these conditions. If I pulled off the road it would be just as dangerous potentially causing an accident because there was no shoulder and no visibility.
I then begin to realize that not only did I have zero visibility, but the signs were completely covered with snow. They offered me no anchor as to where I was, how much farther I had to go to get to civilization, or what kind of help may be ahead.
After what felt like an eternity, I heard a somewhat familiar voice tell me to turn left in 10 miles. That was when I realized that my GPS was still navigating and could “see” through the storm what I could not. It had been quiet for hours because there was nothing to tell me as we navigated over the pass with no turns or stops required.
I started watching the map on my GPS to give me information about where I was on my journey, when I would be able to stop and get gas, and what my ETA was. Despite being on a mountain pass with no cell phone coverage, the GPS navigation system worked!
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Living WOW Framework: System 5~The Driver
Who is driving your vehicle? Well, your mind of course! Your mind is an interesting character because it is made up of both a physical organ, your brain, and an energetic intelligence that is eternal. I think of the mind as the bridge that connects the physical body and the energetic/spiritual body so that the 2 realms cross over and communicate in their respective roles.
Now before you check out because I'm getting too woo-woo on you, consider "opening your mind" to the concepts, capabilities, and limitations of your mind as the driver of your car in the 8 systems framework. When I refer to "mind" I am referring both to the physical characteristics of the brain (the way the chemicals and neurons send and receive signals in the physical space in your brain) as well as the energetic/spiritual/intelligence characteristics of the mind (the conscious and subconscious thought processes).
Let's start with the physical brain because it is the most easily recognized and understood. The brain literally tells you how to drive the car. The physical characteristics of starting the car, shifting gears, understanding and using safety features like seatbelts and turn signals, and checking your mirrors for other vehicles are completed by the brain as it tells your arms, legs, and head how to perform the physical actions necessary.
Your mind takes over as it looks over the environment around you searching for threats to getting to your destination. Your mind recognizes the light turning from yellow to red and makes the decision of whether you should stop or go depending on the risk assessment of how much time and traffic you have to stop suddenly or speed up to make the light. Maybe you have been sitting at a red light with no other cars in sight and your mind says "just go, there is no reason to sit here and wait for it to turn green, there is no threat".
Similarly, your mind tells your brain when the conditions are dangerous to "be alert!" Send more adrenaline to keep the senses and reflexes sharp because you may have an accident and not get to your destination if you don't pay attention. This is the activation of the sympathetic nervous system which you likely recognize as the fight, flight, or freeze response.
Everything the mind does is for the purpose of getting you to your destination. Your mind is constantly analyzing and processing the conditions, threats, opportunities, and vehicle function. Your mind follows the directions it is told whether it be from the signs, other drivers, or the navigation system. It functions similar to a computer processing data to provide a particular outcome.
What happens when you drive distracted? Sometimes nothing. Have you ever been driving and you suddenly realize that you don't remember driving the last mile or two of your journey? Your mind "checked out" and went onto autopilot with your brain running the physical aspects with muscle memory while your mind processed something else it recognized as more important or interesting than your boring drive that you have driven a million times.
What happens when you drive distracted? Sometimes nothing. Have you ever been driving and you suddenly realize that you don't remember driving the last mile or two of your journey? Your mind "checked out" and went onto autopilot with your brain running the physical aspects with muscle memory while your mind processed something else it recognized as more important or interesting than your boring drive that you have driven a million times.
In the past 5 miles of your journey, the driver has gone from autopilot, to threat detection and response, to threat detection and worry, to threat recognition and response. How your driver processes and responds to those environmental triggers is dependent upon your age, experience, beliefs, and vehicle.
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Lesson 8~ All You Need Is (Unconditional) Love
Bonus Episode 9! The final episode in the 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving To Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases bonus podcast series. This episode includes both the final Lesson 8: All You Need Is (Unconditional) Love and also (bonus within a bonus) the final chapter Closing Thoughts to wrap up the book.
This final lesson 8 is the most personal and difficult, even now. Maybe because it's the most important or maybe because I'm still refining. As I reflect, I think I first learned this lesson very close to home in my marriage. I share personal insights and the process of recognizing that I was, although unaware and well intended, building walls and taking hostages when it came to my heart and my love.
Fortunately, I continued to be taught this lesson of forgiveness and not only did it start with me, but I needed to forgive myself. I had to learn to love and accept myself. Not just lip service but truly love myself in spite of my imperfections. This included my body that I was very angry and frustrated because it had betrayed me. I had to unconditionally love ME. That was hard because I didn't really know how.
Learning to forgive and love myself, as I am, with all of my faults and weaknesses was the most difficult project I've ever had in my life. It could only be done with the divine love from above. Feeling that acceptance, love, and worthiness came as I remembered who I was born to be. When I remembered that I am a daughter of God, and He created a being with potential to be exactly what I needed to be.
When I was truly honest with myself, I found the pattern of criticism, blame, shame, guilt, and complaint all took the responsibility off of me and put it on others. I realize that is not accurate and it certainly isn't love.
I found that when I released criticism, blame, shame, guilt, and complaint and owned my reaction of acceptance, benefit of the doubt, compassion, forgiveness, and compliments I generally end up with a different end result. It certainly feels more like love.
What I have learned on this journey is that our bodies are amazing and that two-thirds of our life is not tangible. Two-thirds of our body's existence and experience are not visible. We must tune in and recognize and maintain our mind and our spirit just as much as our body.
My body is my barometer that lets me know how well I am doing at caring for my mind and spirit in addition to my body. I now look at my autoimmune diseases as a blessing. They help me recognize and get my lifestyle choices back into check before I am too out of balance.
Daily meditation, prayer, and energy work along with recognizing and being just as aware of what I put in my mind as I am what I put in my mouth are critical. I now recognize that toxins are not only in our physical environment but also in our energetic environment and the world that we live in. It is my responsibility to take care of the gift that I have been given in my physical experience and to respect the mind and the spirit as well.
I am blessed to be thriving with Autoimmune Diseases. These were important lessons for me to learn and I hope that they in some way can tough your life or be the insight you were looking for on your journey. Hope, peace, joy, and love were not what I found online when I googled Lupus but that is what I have found in my autoimmune journey. May you have similar findings on your journey.
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Living WOW Framework: System 4~Oil
System 4 Oil relates to supplements in the human body. This is a system that is kind of a subsystem because it is related to your fuel but it's not the same as your fuel. You have to have oil to keep your engine working properly. It’s also part of maintenance because you have to change it routinely and which oil you use depends on your vehicle, much like your fuel and other required maintenance.
Systems 2, 3, and 4 all have an interconnectedness but I break them out because they each have a different purpose, schedule, and focus.
Oil is what I refer to as supplements. It supports the fuel system and it helps the engine to work optimally. Good oil and clean oil really help your system run well. If your oil has leaked out and you keep driving it, your engine has the potential to burn up.
That is the analogy I use for supplements. Can you run without supplements? Yes, for a short time but you can’t have optimal performance.
Not all oil is created equal. Not all supplements are created equal.
Supplementation is important because our food does not provide us with all of the nutrients that our bodies need. We have greater demands to offload toxins because there are more toxins in our modern society. Additionally, because a lot of the foods are nutrient deficient it takes a greater amount.
As your life season changes (teen versus adult versus a senior) your bodies metabolize differently and absorb nutrients differently. Therefore, you need more of certain things at different times of your life. Additionally, if you are sick you are going to benefit from supplementation. It’s not meant to be something that you do all the time, like fuel. That’s where understanding what you need and when you need it to build up a system is important.
The reason that over the counter, run-of-the-mill, traditional multivitamins (think Flinstones or Centrum) don’t work is that the body doesn’t absorb them. Is it better than nothing, yes. Is it optimal, no. Of course, with Living WOW, you want everything to be optimal because you want to heal systems that are broken down, maintain them and thrive, not just survive.
When you are looking at supplementation you want to make sure you are addressing bioavailability. Can that supplement get into your system and do what it is designed to do? The problem is that so often when we take the 15 vitamins that we know are good for us and isolate them, it fractionates them. I talked about the importance of the whole food matrix back in System 2 Fuel. Food has thousands of nutrients in a single apple, or in a single broccoli, or in a single leaf of spinach. Those foods offer different benefits and when they are eaten as a whole food it works like magic in your body.
Not only is it bioavailable but YOUR body uses the whole food matrix to support it exactly where it needs it, you don’t have to guess what nutrient you need to support your brain or your heart or your liver. The whole food matrix is again like magic in that it knows and supports what you need, not just what is recommended.
Science has tried to recreate that benefit by extracting the most recognized vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, or beta-carotene and putting them in the optimal recommended daily allowance into a multivitamin. So convenient. You take them and think you have your bases covered.
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Living WOW Framework: System 3~Maintenance
What maintenance equates to for the human body is self-care and movement because that is how we keep our systems in tip-top shape. It's less intense or focused than nutrition because it's more routine and honestly easier to make excuses or let it go.
If you think about your car you do routine maintenance every day. Your maintenance schedule is different based on the make, model, or age of your car. You wash it, you take the trash out, and you drive it within the parameters it was designed for. If it is an older model you may need to replace some hoses or have some systems flushed to maximize performance.
If you are getting ready for a road trip you might top off all of the fluid levels, have your tires rotated and checked, and get new windshield wipers before you set off on your journey. Similarly, we have to take care of our physical body the same way we have to take care of our car. It requires routine cleaning (inside and out), daily maintenance, and scheduled maintenance. Routine cleaning includes not only your physical cleaning but also the energetic cleaning (remember System 1).
Moving your body is important just like it is for your car. I don't know if you have ever had a situation where your vehicle has had to be stored for a long period of time but it's not good for it. It drains the battery, the fluids settle and can create problems in the engine, and the the hoses and seals can dry and crack.
Interestingly, the same is true for your body. Have you ever noticed how sitting around scrolling or watching TV drains your energy and you aren't motivated to get up and go to the gym? For me, extended sitting gives me the "stiffies". When I try to get up (especially quickly) my body reminds me that the joints have settled and I need to move a bit before I get my actual movement in gear. It's amazing to me how quickly atrophy sets in when you are down sick or out of your routine and not regularly moving your body the way it was designed to be used (walking, bending, lifting, squatting, throwing, catching, jogging, running, etc). We are designed to be active beings.
So you know what routine maintenance looks like for your car, and you know that sometimes it gets put off or moved down the priority list. How about your routine maintenance?
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Lesson 7~ The Chrysalis Period
Bonus Episode 8!
I use the butterfly to symbolize the transformation in my coaching practice. For me, the butterfly is symbolic of transformation. As I selected the butterfly for symbolism, I still felt very much like a caterpillar surviving, going around munching on leaves and crawling on the ground, literally just trying to survive.
That period with my autoimmune diagnoses when I realized what I was dealing with and that the strategies that I had employed throughout my life for survival were in fact sabotaging me and making my health worse. That is when I realized that I needed to do something differently. That was the beginning of my chrysalis experience; when I went into a great deal of study of nutrition and of mindfulness, alternative healing with energy work, meditation, and spirituality with my Father in Heaven. I was digging deep into all the aspects of my life because my physical challenges created an opportunity for me to study and immerse myself in all the different aspects of my life; physical, mental, and spiritual
For more information go to https://livingwowcenter.com/
Living WOW Framework: System 2~ Fuel
This is episode 2 of 8 in the Framework Series:
The second system in the framework to become the expert in your body is far more obvious and familiar to you. Fuel. However, I’ll preface with just because it is obvious and familiar does not mean that you have a healthy understanding of this system. Why would you? The information that is fed to you, to all of us, in the standard American diet (SAD) is founded on old science, enormous marketing and lobby efforts from the food industry, and cultural norms and beliefs.
Do you feel like you are constantly being told different facts and studies about what is or isn’t healthy to eat? Fat is bad, no some fat is good… Fructose is bad, wait, fructose is the natural sugar in fruit and I thought fruit was good… Drink milk for strong bones, no dairy causes cancer… You need to increase your protein to build muscle, eat more meat.
To add insult to injury you get drug into the dogma of certain diet programs and the vilification of their “non-approved foods”. It’s the all-or-nothing approach that gets results for the short term but isn’t sustainable so you rebound back with a vengeance, right back to SAD. I’m thinking of diet camps like Atkins, Vegan, Keto, Paleo, Raw, Carnivore, etc.
Yes, it is true that more and more is being understood about the nutrients of certain foods and therefore the benefit to the body. Yes, it is true that more and more is being understood about the way the body interacts with and uses the food you eat. So as I go into this system I ask that you empty your cup (remember lesson 5 from 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me?) and be open to learning how it applies to YOU as you become the expert in YOUR body.
I ask for permission to remind you of things you may already know as well as things that may be new to you or challenge your beliefs. How do you know your beliefs? Look at what you are eating (or not eating) and you will get a glimpse of your beliefs about food.
Framework to Become the Expert in Your Body: System 1~Battery & Electronics
This is episode 1 of 8 in the Framework Series:
Even though food/fuel was the catalyst for my initial change and is certainly foundational for healing. I really didn't understand energy until a lot farther down my transformation journey (in fact, it was one of the later lessons learned). As I put together the framework for thriving, I realized that energy needs to be addressed first. It is your batteries and your electronics using the analogy of the vehicle.
If your battery is dead you're not going anywhere. Even if your battery is not dead, it can impact your function because of poor energy movement. I now understand that all disease starts with some sort of energetic beginning. Whether that is a block, a disruption, or a leak, it all stems from some sort of energetic foundation.
I know when we talk about energy it can sound very woo-woo and nebulous and so some people may avoid the topic. In fact, I think I avoided the topic of energy early on in my transformation because I wasn't aware of the significance and also because I felt like it was "off limits".
I was raised in a traditional Christian home and very much find the power of God to be sacred. To me, things like moving energy or playing with energy were blasphemous or "not my place" to be messing with energy. Maybe that was supernatural or magic? There were a lot of negative connotations, so for me, I think I avoided it, not really understanding what it was.
When I really recognized what it is, and how central it is, to living. Whether you are comfortable with it or not. Whether you are aware of it or not. Whether you choose to understand it or not. It's still there. Much like gravity.
So to understand my beginnings in energy work exploration and understanding of energy fields is in the book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases. But here, for this purpose, now that we are beyond learning the lessons, it's really for you to understand the practical application.
The practical application is that if you understand anything about energy, you understand that it needs an open transmission to be effective. In our bodies, we have different energy systems, just like we have different physical systems. I make these basic comparisons to help you understand something that you cannot see but rather feel subjectively. I by no means am a skilled energy worker, but I do have a basic understanding that enables me to troubleshoot and provide routine maintenance for my energy systems much like I would my physical systems.
For example, in your physical body, you have a nervous system that is comprised of your brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, and peripheral nervous system. You also have organs such as your lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, etc that all have a specific function in your body. You have bones, muscles, and skin that give you the structure of your physical body and protect your body as you interact with your environment.
To me, the correlation to the energy systems is simple and I'm giving you a very basic run down because really that's all you need at this level. If like me, you find interest or want to dive deeper into a specific energy system you can do that but for this purpose, it's all about a simple introduction to understanding that it is a foundational consideration to understanding your body.
For more information visit https://livingwowcenter.com
Lesson 6-How Do You Eat An Elephant?
Bonus Episode 7! This chapter of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases reflects on my progression from autopilot urgency of control, perfection, and busyness. As I share a couple of experiences that gave me the realization that prioritization, delegation, and excellence were better choices that I would, over time, come to appreciate and demonstrate. Running mock 10 with my hair on fire had taken its toll on my health. In order to thrive with autoimmune disease it's necessary for me to prioritize 3 things each day and let the rest go. Listen to find out how I do that.
For more information go to https://livingwowcenter.com
Introducing the 8 System Series
After realizing that I was once again surviving with my autoimmune diseases, I made a decision. Feeling literally like I had been transported back in time 12 years, I made the choice to once again take my life back. More specifically, my lifestyle. I knew that I had transformed my health with lifestyle choices once, so I could do it again.
In the fall of 2020, I set out on transformation 2.0. I could no longer deal with the pain, flares, exhaustion, fear, and hopelessness. So I started with three steps:
1) I set the intention. I knew that I had successfully transformed from surviving to thriving before so logic would tell me that I could do it again. I literally re-read my own book! 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases.
2) I put into action the mechanisms necessary to get back to thriving. (What now is put together as the framework to get results, Living WOW)
3) I re-engaged and finished what I started. We were in the middle of a 50-state book tour the year I turned 50 to share the message of thriving with autoimmune disease and doing the Change Your Story presentations and book signings. When the shutdown happened we were of course grounded from travel and unable to complete our southern route or cruise to Alaska. I did not do any book promotions or speaking, even online, because I just didn't feel like I could share thriving in the middle of a global pandemic.
As spring emerged and I was making progress with my transformation, I had a realization that it was more important than ever for me to get back out there, whatever it had to look like. So we scheduled and rescheduled the remaining states, rerouting and adjusting as schedules, precautions, closures, and such permitted. Finally, in June it was time to go and we knew there would be no live presentations or book signings but we could still share hope. Somehow we completed 24 states in 21 days and shared informal hope sessions with people all across the country.
Following transformation 2.0 and all of the country we covered, I realized that you need this lifestyle program more now than ever. You need the structure and support more now than ever. Most things coming at you from the media and social media, from family and friends are at a rapid rate, a lot of fear, and a lot of survival.
I realized that you not only needed hope but you needed how. I set out to make a system that was universal for all autoimmune diseases yet individual and simple enough for anyone to learn to be the expert in their body. This is the framework that Living WOW is built on.
In the next 8 episodes we will dive deep into each of the 8 systems in the Living WOW framework and the fun metaphor that helps you understand, remember and apply it to your own body and lifestyle.
As I have re-transformed and navigated these familiar paths yet in very different circumstances, I have defined and refined living WOW to be a simple, effective, and fun framework that you can understand and replicate no matter your situation. I promise it won't hurt and it just might help.
For more information visit https://livingwowcenter.com
Start Here...Where You Are
Episode 12! Lifestyle changes can be so overwhelming that most people won’t even begin. We rationalize it’s not a good time. I have _________________ coming up (holiday, birthday, event). It’s too hard. I don’t have that kind of willpower. What will people think? My family won’t do it.
Unfortunately, in my experience, most people will live in either the River Denial or on Someday Isle until something brings some unpleasant reality and needed perspective that brings a level of desperation that transplants them to I AM and I’m Possible.
I am no exception. I was living with chronic pain and obesity and didn’t even realize how limiting it was because I was just surviving. It was normal. Everyone has pain. Everyone is overweight. Everyone is exhausted. It’s part of getting older. Until I had a wake-up call with a bonus baby. I realized that given my family health history I had a very good chance of having a premature death at worst and a really crummy quality of life at best. I realized that this baby deserved to have a mother and her children deserved a grandmother.
As I approached my 40th birthday with a 3-year-old, I was desperate to get off Someday Isle and out of the River Denial. When you are ready the teacher will appear. This was the beginning of my transformation and ironically the catalyst for change that carried me through my autoimmune journey which you can read about in my book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases.
Today I want you to get out of the river and off the isle! Don’t wait for a crisis. Unfortunately, so many wait until it is too late (like my Dad and oldest brother) and never get a second chance. Use someone else’s crisis if you need motivation. Use my crisis if you need to! Just get out of the SAD life before it’s too late.
So that sounds very dramatic but what you are hearing is my passion and absolute knowledge that there is a better way and it is so worth it! It is so much better to have vitality and energy than pain and fatigue! It is so much cheaper to eat whole foods (even the expensive ones) than prescription medications, medical procedures, and surgeries. Maybe you can’t prevent it all…but what if you do? What if you just prevent heart disease or diabetes? What if you can eliminate half of your meds? What if you get to see your grandchildren grow up and can take them to Disneyland and keep up?
An effective strategy to begin a new behavior and have it become a new habit is to replace it with something else. If you try to just eliminate or change a behavior it is very difficult, but if you introduce a new behavior with the intention of replacing an old then you are much more successful. Every time you trigger the old behavior you replace it with the new behavior and you do it repeatedly until it then becomes the desired effortless behavior. It’s then a new pattern.
Here are my tried and true hacks that I use daily...
Here's the link for Juice Plus I referred to in the episode https://stonehouse.juiceplus.com
For more information and resources visit https://livingwowcenter.com/
Lesson 5~Empty Your Cup
Bonus Episode 6! This chapter of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases is based on the philosophy of Bruce Lee in martial arts. You empty your cup of knowledge so that you can take more in. If you are so sure that your way is the right way or the only way or that you are an expert and don't need to learn any more; your cup is full and you are not able, or should I say willing, to learn more knowledge.
I have found that this applies in two ways for me in living with autoimmune disorders. First, I've learned to open my mind to many types of healing and to learn something from each of them. Second, I've learned that it's important to empty my cup daily to touch base with my mind and my spirit so that I am connecting my body and allowing new knowledge to fill my cup.
This chapter introduces you to the concept of your energy body and energy healing as it was experienced and grew throughout my transformation culminating with the lesson to empty my cup daily and to fill it daily. This lesson is still in progress. As I mentioned, I still have a great deal to learn and understand about the energetic part of my body, but I love it and have learned to respect it and value the messages and interaction it has with my physical body. I am grateful now for my autoimmune diseases because they give me a physical warning that something is off with my energy. I now recognize the warning signs and do not have to be incapacitated to recognize that I am out of sync. Best of all, I now have the tools to be able to not only recognize it but also manage it. For me, it is the best prevention I know to date.
Visit https://livingwowcenter.com/services-page/ for more information and support for thriving with autoimmune diseases.
3 Things You Probably Never Thought About Food
Episode 11! What to eat to thrive with autoimmune disease is definitely the question I get asked the most. Food as medicine was definitely what got my attention and started me on the transformation journey from surviving to thriving.
Although it's not everything, food is by far the essential foundation in healing your body. It can be the catalyst to move from a sick cycle to a healthy cycle. There is so much more to food than meets the eye, it's understandable that most people don't recognize the potential that is in that bite you are taking.
1. Biochemical Individuality
One thing that I have learned is that one diet doesn't fit all. Moreover, your own personal diet needs change throughout your life so it's not as easy as 'set it and forget it'. This personal observation is supported by research coming out about the microbiome, genetics, and lifestyle medicine.
Have you ever noticed how some people can pack away whatever they want and remain thin? Some people thrive on a vegan diet while others thrive on a keto diet. How is it that in a family where you have the same environment, same genetics, and same diet you can have different body types and energy levels?
The answer is your unique individuality within your microbiome, your genetics, and your lifestyle. None of us are the same which speaks to the necessity of understanding your biochemical individuality in nutrition.
2. Lifestyle Implications
Another consideration is the process of eating and digestion. Did you know that HOW you eat could be as important as WHAT you eat? Mindfulness has gained traction in the mainstream over recent years but most people don't apply it to eating. Rather, a grab-and-go or chug-and-chuck economy is driven by the SAD life. The problem is what happens inside when you are fueling up in an on-the-go situation.
Digestion begins to occur even before ingestion. Take a minute to think about what you are planning to eat at your next meal. Immediately you can feel the changes in your salivation and mood as you anticipate ingesting the food, yet you haven't taken a single bite. Your digestion starts with thinking about the food, seeing the food, and smelling the food.
Once you take the first bite, the system continues to break down the foods by biting, chewing, and swallowing the foods releasing information to the esophagus and stomach that there is 'ín-coming' for the preparation of acids and chemicals to breakdown the food into fuel. This transport system running the full length of your digestive tract is extremely intricate, interconnected, and automatic delivering the nutrients into your bloodstream and throughout your systems to power your body.
Until it's not. Because you didn't think about what you were going to eat. You didn't begin the process. Then, you didn't prepare anything. Instead, you grabbed a packaged meal, had it delivered, or stopped for take-out. Finally, you sat down in front of the screen of your choice to escape and eat your meal.
3. Don't Eat Poison!
Most people think of poison as a toxic substance that leads to death. The internet defines poison as a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.
It took me a while to understand WHY my body would react when I ate processed foods. It wasn't until years into my research of nutritional healing that I finally made the connection. Not all poison is obvious. If you have ever wondered why rodents or pests would eat poison in traps, it's because it is laced with smell and taste that is enticing. By the time they feel the effects of what they ate, they are dead.
Sadly, but no less damaging, the same thing is happening to you when you are consuming processed foods.
For more information and resources visit livingWOWcenter.com
Growing Up On The Journey of Living WOW with Jenna Rae
This inaugural interview episode is with my guest Jenna Rae. Being an integral part of my Living WOW life she shares her insights as a child living the journey of surviving to thriving with autoimmune diseases. Today, on her 17th birthday, she reflects back on the challenges and benefits of stepping out of SAD and embracing WOW.
Visit https://livingwowcenter.com/ for more information, support, and services.
Lesson 4~Health is #1
Bonus Episode 5! This chapter of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases debunks many of the pushback and excuses about making health your #1 priority. The reality is if you don't have your health you really have nothing. This chapter gives you the facts and experience to take the guilt out of taking time for your health and embracing the ripple of healthy living versus the whirlpool of chronic disease.
Visit https://livingwowcenter.com/ for more information and support for thriving with autoimmune diseases.
See You On The Road!
I have spent a lot of time in my car and on the road! I learned to drive at a very young age in the fields on the farm in tractors and equipment too small to even reach the pedals on my dad's lap. For me, driving has always felt like a sense of freedom and independence. It's probably no coincidence that I find a lot of answers and symbolism in the vehicle and the journey. Today's message carries the metaphor of the vehicle I spoke about in episode 5 into our individual journeys. Today we share the road in a journey metaphor.
Visit https://livingwowcenter.com/ to experience an oasis thriving destination stop on your journey.
What the Junk?
The first place I go to work on improving my health is always my diet. I know that what I feed my body is critical to how I feel. I know that putting fuel in my mouth rather than junk is super important for how I thrive. It took me a while to figure out the rest of the story…
In my book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases I chronicle this journey in recognizing first the foundation of nutrition to heal my body and then the recognition of how important my mind and spirit are to thriving in my body. This is really where the WOW lifestyle was born recognizing that we have been given divine guidance about how to thrive in this world in our bodies and recognizing how far we as a SAD culture have drifted away.
So what the junk? How does it happen? It’s what I call autopilot, but it really isn’t. Maybe I should call it autoprogramming. The process an individual goes through from conception to death.
Have you ever watched a young child with pure joy sing at the top of their lungs or dance on stage waving at the audience because they are just so danged excited to be there they forgot that the music was playing? Have you ever seen a 2 year old worry about if their cheeks are too chubby or hair too curly? What happens to that young child as they are told that they can’t sing or dance as well as Suzy? Or maybe they hear ” I could never do that, it’s so scary!” At some point that 2 year old turns into a 12 year old and suddenly is consumed with looking and acting like everyone else and is disgusted at how they look. We’ve all heard it and we’ve all done it. In our families, in our schools, in our churches, in our communities, and in our cultures we judge, conform, teach, and limit based on our experiences and beliefs. Everyone is doing it so we do it too…human nature.
I think that’s the key. Stepping away from human nature and embracing our divine nature. Recognizing that we are created by and in the image of God. Many years ago I heard this saying that resonated to my core. “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
As I went through what I refer to as my Chrysalis Period I began to really recognize the effect of our thoughts on our health. I realized that junk thoughts are even more toxic than junk food because it is MUCH harder to filter what goes into your mind than your mouth. Likewise, once it is in your mind it is nearly impossible to get it out. Just stop and listen to the track that has been playing in your mind all day today…and playing…and playing…and playing.
When you wake up with a stiff neck do you bemoan the pain and focus on how bad it hurts trying to find a position that is comfortable and taking a pain reliever or do you focus on every other part of your body and organ systems that are functioning flawlessly without any effort or thought? When someone cuts you off in traffic do you cuss and complain about them or do you focus on the other 500 drivers that are courteous going on the same route as you today? Are the headlines of the news the one political scandal that was dug up or the stories of hundreds of unsung public servants doing their hero work honorably every day?
It takes a bit more effort but I have found it key to thriving. I have implemented 3 key behaviors that help keep me mindful of junk thoughts and I thought they just might help you too on your journey to thriving and living WOW!
For more information and support check out https://livingwowcenter.com/
Bonus: Lesson 3~Who Were You Born To Be?
Bonus Episode 4! This chapter of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases was a lesson that taught me about learning to listen to my spirit...something that had gotten lost in the noise of the world with expectations and beliefs. A huge 'ah-ha' occurred when I realized that living in conflict with who I was meant to be was creating an internal conflict that presented as autoimmune flares. Who were YOU born to be?
Visit https://livingwowcenter.com/ for more resources for thriving with autoimmune diseases.
WOW Summer Experience
A blast from our past!
I LOVE summer! I am definitely a sunshine girl and love the opportunity summer gives for increased outdoor activity. I always feel like I’m waking up in the spring and I’m fully engaged in summer!
So at our house with changes in school schedules and activity schedules, it’s the perfect time to lay down better habits because we have more together time. More time for fun and family recreation. As some family wagers began to emerge between different family members, I saw an opportunity to capitalize on their motivation!
My daughter then took it one step further and decided to not only make it a Stone Family Summer Challenge but to make us all accountable with a VLOG and invite you all to join us! You can see the original challenge and videos at Living WOW Stonehouse Style on YouTube.
Here’s the deal. June 21 – September 22 we are going to be as conscientious as possible about embracing the WOW Life to increase our vitality, energy, power, focus, endurance and shedding the SAD Life pain, fatigue, weight, distraction and time-wasting.
The goal is that by the time we FALL back into school, activity schedules, and the holidays we will have some new tastes, habits, and routines that will support all of us with a happier healthier transformed LIFESTYLE.
Don’t tell me it’s too hard. Don’t tell me you can’t afford it. Don’t tell me you have too much resistance from your family. Please refer to Lesson 2 from my book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases if that is your gut reaction.
The primary tenets…
1) Eat real food. If it comes from the earth, good. If it comes from a factory, bad.
2) Drink more water. All hydration is not created equal.
3) Move your body. Just do it.
4) Engage your mind. Junk thoughts are as destructive as junk food.
5) Listen to your spirit. Can you hear it among the noise?
So what’s the big deal? Why do we need a challenge and timeline to live WOW if it’s so amazing? Well, because most of our culture here in the USA is living SAD (hence Standard American Diet) and our grocery stores (all stores for that matter) and digital world all entice us into the factory food and continual stimulation and distraction. Old habits die hard so intention and structure help us realize permanent change.
Find out more details and information at https://livingwowcenter.com/
Have You Ever?
You may be familiar with the game where you draw slips of paper out of a hat with various “have you ever ________________?” questions. I just saw a similar type of activity, a meme that had a list of activities you have done in your life where you score how many of the activities you have done in your life and share it with your friends having them do the same.
Why is this activity so fun and interesting? Because it helps us relate and learn something about the other person. It helps us connect.
This week I have had several experiences that have reminded me that we have life experiences sometimes for our own learning and growth and sometimes for others. In my personal experience, I can see where it has been for both although certainly at the time it may be unclear.
I think this perspective is one of the reasons I feel called to change my career path of 26 years from treatment to prevention. In the past 6 months, I feel an even greater urgency to spread the news. The good news! The news of hope and healing. The news of transitioning from surviving to thriving. The news of living WOW.
It’s interesting though, physiologically we are programmed to focus on the bad news. That is the survival instinct in our primitive brain. Change is a threat to our survival because it is unknown and unfamiliar which equals fear and run away if left to our primitive brain. Bad news feeds the fear and endorphins and in a stimulating way, just like sugar, we crave it. It’s why we, as a society, feed off the media and can’t look away from the latest disaster, crime, or scandal. We are self-protecting by recognizing the danger and avoiding change.
Until we can’t…
Because ultimately life will have real danger and we will be forced to change. This is where the “have you ever” comes in handy. This is where we look for similarities to other experiences we have had and usually, if this is a repeat danger, probably didn’t change enough to prevent the situation from happening again. So we look to others for their guidance and experience to help us successfully navigate the danger. Sometimes we need an electrician, sometimes we need an attorney, sometimes we need a doctor; it may be any expert or individual who has understanding and knowledge in our problem area.
The trick is to get out of our primitive brain and into our rational brain (much easier said than done) where we can recognize change as growth and reach out to others who have similar experiences before it becomes a true danger and certainly before it becomes a repeat danger. Having your oil changed and car serviced regularly, new tires and wipers as needed, and a car wash are good examples that aren’t too threatening but if neglected, wow, disaster could easily strike.
Find more information and resources at https://livingwowcenter.com/
Lesson 2: Eat Your Fruits & Veggies
This chapter tells the story of how I learned the power of whole food nutrition. My accidental encounter with Juice Plus whole food supplements was the catalyst to go from a negative health cycle to a positive health cycle. This was also the lesson that taught me the power of nutrition becoming a self-proclaimed anti-oxidant junky with a secret weapon against aging. This early lesson was powerful and I continue to eat and recommend Juice Plus products 13 years later. You can get more information about Juice Plus here https://stonehouse.juiceplus.com/us/en
A Simple Metaphor
Do you have a detailed understanding of the complex systems of your body? Do you consider yourself the expert in your body? Do you understand the language of your body and how it speaks to you?
Most people I talk with will answer "no" to these questions. Most people rely on an outside expert, often a doctor or specialist, to explain their body to them and very few, including the doctor, can speak the language of your body.
As a speech language pathologist, I am constantly reminding mothers that they know their babies best. They know their routines, they know their behaviors, and even though an infant doesn't speak, they are able to effectively communicate their needs with their mother. She is able to know whether the cry is a hungry cry or a pain cry.
She is able to know how to soothe and care for the baby not because someone taught her the intricacies of infant communication but because she has spent time with her baby and speaks her baby's language. She also knows when something is off, even if the baby isn't crying. She is in tune with the baby's nonverbal communication and behaviors and can determine when she needs further help understanding what is happening with the baby.
She may call her mom, google it, or go to the doctor. How does a mother know? We all know that babies don't come with an instruction book. She certainly doesn't ignore it. She can't. It's a nagging certainty that something isn't right and she will usually stick with it until she determines what is off.
How does she know? It's instinct. A mother and baby have an instinctual bond and understanding that makes it possible to meet their needs without formal training. Yes, she may seek help and guidance along the way but ultimately she knows her baby best and gives the information to the expert to understand what is off and be able to give guidance.
This is exactly why you are the expert in YOUR body! This understanding of what your body feels like and how it operates is innately programmed into each of us but we forget it, or even worse, discount or ignore it because we are busy with other things.
This is common with what I refer to as SAD, the standard American diet and lifestyle. We are so busy and distracted that we don't even realize that our bodies are trying to communicate what is needed. When they break down we get frustrated and angry at them because they are limiting what we can do. We go to the doctor and get medications to treat the pain and symptoms.
A Simple Metaphor
I want to introduce you to the simple metaphor that takes complex systems and intricacies of our bodies and helps you tap into your innate understanding of those systems that you likely have never been taught to recognize.
From Shit to Compost
I learned a lesson recently that will likely find its way into the new updated version of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving With Autoimmune Diseases. Because I know you are likely experiencing many of the same challenges, I'm going to share here and now rather than wait for the next book.
If you are wondering how this inside work is relevant to a lifestyle program, nutritional healing, and thriving with autoimmune diseases, you can remember that our physical health is an outward manifestation of what's happening on the inside. You must begin to understand and hear what your body is telling you about what is going on inside your heart and mind if you are to heal physically.
As I wrestle with doubt and fear (once again), I had 2 experiences culminating in a lesson that blew my mind and gave me hope during dark times. Maybe you will gain insight and hope as well. Maybe you'll even be inspired to take action and do some internal gardening.
One morning I had a glimpse of my heart. Much to my dismay, I recognized that a wall was again being built around my heart. I am familiar with this wall (maybe you have one too). It's a coping mechanism where I take the things that are said or done that have the potential to threaten or hurt me and make them into boulders that stack up with each new insult or hurt until they create a wall that protects my heart from the perceived hurt. I learned to recognize this behavior years ago and had done the work to tear down a lifetime wall around my heart.
I should have recognized the tell-tale signs of the wall going up... fear, disappointment, frustration, defensiveness, hypersensitivity, apathy, anger, resentment, and disconnection. Honestly, I did feel the change in my heart but life was hurling so many hits so quickly that I fell into autopilot. This autopilot behavior is to begin to fortify the walls to protect the heart because it just can't take another hit. So the boulders start accumulating and before I realize it there is a half wall completely surrounding my heart. Comments that would normally run off my back cut deeply. Circumstances that normally would fuel me instead became crippling. I just become more sensitive and more defensive and more critical and more resentful.
That very night I was watching a gardening show. They were talking about the soil and how important the soil is for growing. The gardener ran a soil analysis on the new property that she had recently purchased in the Skagit Valley. The soil was so depleted because it had been overworked. Such harsh chemicals had been used on it for so long that the nutrient profile was non-existent.
Because of the depletion the diseases, the powdery mildew, the spider mites, and the aphids were wreaking havoc because the plants didn't have what they needed to grow. So the diseases came in and were running rampant. They had to treat it more aggressively. And of course, they didn't want to do it with chemicals they needed to do it with nutrients to support the soil.
Take out the retaining wall. It's not protecting anything; it's just making it so that it's harder for the good stuff to get in because you've got this barrier. Finish taking it down or don't let it build anymore. And then, instead of leaving the shit piled up all around the edges of the wall, nurture it and turn it and recognize it as beneficial compost and spread it. Spread that compost all over and work it in to loosen that hard clay soil.
Lesson 1~ Your Genetics Are Not Your Destiny
Bonus Episode 2! This chapter of 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases was a foundational lesson that taught me that what I had been taught, both formally and informally, that diseases run in your family due to your genetics was incomplete. The fear of those dreaded family genes is shared in this chapter as the journey begins. Beliefs and programming run strong through family patterns and can be changed by lifestyle choices.
The Power Within
Episode 3-Season 1-Spring! Why is it that a wellness center that focuses on natural healing with food as medicine spends so much time on mindset?
As a speech language pathologist, I was part of a brain injury rehabilitation team that consisted of physiatrists, neuropsychologists, neurologists, occupational, physical, and recreational therapists, and counselors. Each of us brought in our area of specialty and focus that was critical for the recovery of the patient following a brain injury whether it was due to a trauma such as a car accident or an acute condition such as a stroke or a degenerative disease such as cancer or ALS.
As you can imagine, these patients were ALWAYS in crisis. One cannot experience a brain injury without it completely upending your life. Very few patients can even recall their hospital stay and rehab experience because the brain’s protective mechanism is in survival mode.
Despite the incredible insult to the brain, the relatively short window for ideal recovery, and the massive amount of skill and resources that go into this type of intervention; do you know what the best predictor of outcome is? It is universal and incredibly independent of these things. It is mindset or belief.
Do each of these specialists, the timing of intervention, and the severity of the injury matter? Of course they do! Are caregivers, families, and community important? Of course they are! Do the medications and foods matter? Of course they do! But what is so incredible to witness is that they are not the most important piece.
The PATIENT is the most important factor! Remember, we are talking about a brain injury…your hardware if you will. Your brain is where we think, regulate, initiate, and comprehend. Yet, somehow, the mindset seems to supersede that with an innate override.
Here’s what I’m talking about…
More examples than I can count, in fact, as I reflect I can’t think of an instance where the outcome was correlated to the severity, intervention, and circumstance as much as it was the patient’s desire to heal. The belief and tenacity of better days ahead and the fight to regain lost skill is inspiring and creates a momentum of change within the person.
But the opposite is also true, and sadly, as I reflect I can’t think of an instance where the outcome was correlated to the severity, intervention, and circumstance as much as it was the patient’s fear of not healing. Specifically the fear of not living the way they used to live or being a burden to those around them. In every instance, recovery was not achieved and they eventually died although often after a long and arduous battle being dependent and limited in function.
The point is that the same diagnoses, conditions, and circumstances would often yield completely different results depending on the patient’s mindset, even with a broken brain. INCREDIBLE.
Despite the crisis, the diagnosis, or the condition those who have belief and tenacity of better days ahead always seem to be healthier and happier. Likewise, those who have fear of not living the way they used to or being a burden to those around them often end up being limited and experiencing the very loss and burden they are afraid of.
Incredibly, the belief or mindset seems to be the greater indicator of outcome than any other factor. Again, it’s the INDIVIDUAL that determines the outcome. Healing really is an inside job!
Understand that mindset, belief, love, energy, faith, and healing are all words that you will hear in programs or services at the Living WOW Center intertwined with nutrition and self care. Because it is my experience both personally and professionally that they are all co-existing. If we feed our bodies, mind, and spirit well, healing and thriving in your best life is inevitable not impossible.
Introduction: My Story from the book 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Disease
8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Disease was the story of transformation and the foundation for what is now known as the Living WOW Lifestyle. Although it has been 4 years since publication and what feels like a lifetime of change and chaos with the events in the world since 2020, the lessons and hope found in this book are more timeless and true than ever.
CallyRae reads the Introduction: My Story in this bonus episode of Living WOW Out Loud. Here is the summary from the book cover...
Written as a narrative short story, CallyRae shares her candid insights as she journeys through surviving with autoimmune diseases. Suffering from chronic daily pain, infections, and extreme fatigue, her outlook was one of frustration and hopelessness. As her life journey down the autoimmune highway took twists and turns, she learned to read the signs and listen to her body, mind, and spirit.
CallyRae continues on the journey but has replaced pain with vitality, infections with health, ad extreme fatigue with immense energy. Her outlook is now one of hope and happiness. She considers herself blessed to live with the autoimmune diseases of rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and oral lichen planus. She no longer suffers and survives but rather thrives and shares hope and inspiration with those who are looking for a better healthier way to live.
Let's start at the very beginning...
Episode 2-Season 1-Spring! Autoimmune disease doesn't strike overnight. Although, if you live with an autoimmune disease you know it can feel like you were run over by a freight train overnight and you woke up wondering "what the hell just happened?"
Generally, when this happens you run to the doctor because you feel sick. The doctor looks you over and sends you home with medicine based on your complaints and symptoms. Depending on how many times you've been to the doctor, the severity of your symptoms, or the competency of your doctor, labs may be ordered to support the medication recommendation and look a little deeper.
When was the last time your doctor asked about your diet, relationships, work, education, finances, stress, exercise, and self-care? Probably never! Crazy because we know that ALL of these things collectively add up to your health and are impacting the dis-ease you are seeking answers for.
The question(s) that should be asked is “why?” “What is the underlying cause of _________?” with a whole lifestyle assessment with a lookback period (more than yesterday). What if you were asked lifestyle questions and included a lookback period? What if you were prescribed good mood foods? What if you were prescribed to get outside in nature for an hour a day? What if you were prescribed to move your body doing your favorite activity every day? What if you were prescribed to spend in-person time and surround yourself with the person(s) that make you the happiest? What if you were prescribed to take a vacation and truly unplug from work every 3 months?
Would these prescriptions solve everything? Maybe, maybe not. Would they have toxic side effects of organ damage, drug interactions, and possibly death? Absolutely not! Would they cover up your symptoms or give you new symptoms making it more difficult to get to the underlying cause of the dis-ease? Nope.
Of course, there are times when it makes sense to visit your doctor but after 25 years in healthcare and 30 years of learning to understand my own body, you can bet I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned that medicine is almost always toxic and misused. I’ve learned that medicine is almost always unnecessary. I’ve learned that everything we need to heal our bodies has been provided by nature but we probably don’t recognize it or know how to use it. I’ve learned that creating an environment to heal is up to me, not my doctor. I’ve learned that I don’t need permission to be the expert in my body (but I do need to learn how).
Start with Low Hanging Fruit
Just because you know it, doesn’t mean you do it. We all know that we should be eating healthy food, exercising regularly, and sleeping well. The reality is that few of us actually do because life happens, the SAD life to be exact. The standard American diet and lifestyle is the underlying cause of most diseases, including autoimmune disease, that is epidemic in our society.
What if you decided to stop the SAD and embrace a new life, a WOW life? What if you ate good mood food? What if you started moving your body by dancing in the kitchen listening to uplifting music while you prepared food that was delicious AND nutritious? What if you sat down at the table and ate that good mood food with the people that matter most to you? What if you listened to a podcast or watched a video that inspired you or taught you something new instead of listening to the news or getting caught up in the drama? What if you journaled the wins and desires of the day before going to bed?
What does WOW mean to you?
Episode 1- Season 1-Spring! Thriving with autoimmune disease starts with challenging your beliefs and uncovering the truths of living on autopilot SAD (Standard American Diet & Lifestyle). Healing is natural and the startling rise in the numbers of autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases in the US and around the world requires us to be accountable for our culture stepping away from that understanding. 80% of ALL disease is linked to lifestyle. Medical accidents or injuries are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States.
As a society, we have come to depend upon our medical community to provide care for chronic diseases when it was designed to be an acute care system. We look at a system that is bloated and broken with frustration but don't want to take responsibility for our contribution to it. You take your medication like your life depends on it but really it may be doing more harm than good.
When I began to understand the power of cell regeneration this point was made clear. It is a fact that you are going to replicate cells, replacing old cells with new ones. Do you want them to be healthy cells or sick cells? What do you feed them? What environment do you provide for them? Those simple truths are the genesis of the Living WOW Center. You can visit the Living WOW Center here https://livingwowcenter.com/
WOW is a feeling of amazement, vitality, inspiration, energy, fun, and real. The experience is universal yet individual and is why it is used to describe the intentional choice-driven thriving lifestyle that is WOW. Contrast the autopilot surviving SAD (Standard American Diet) lifestyle that is busy, tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, confused, and fake.
When you have a WOW experience don't you want to share it? This is exactly what CallyRae does as she shares Living WOW and thriving with autoimmune diseases with you. After her first transformation, she wrote 8 Lessons Lupus Taught Me: From Surviving to Thriving with Autoimmune Diseases. After experiencing a second transformation in the middle of the pandemic and worldwide chaos she is compelled to bring you the framework for Living WOW through the Living WOW Center and now to bring a voice to thriving with autoimmune diseases through Living WOW Out Loud.
It's time to step away from the autopilot survival of SAD and embrace the thriving WOW lifestyle. It's time to heal naturally. You too can thrive! Join the Living WOW Challenge!
Your host CallyRae shares what the Living WOW Outloud podcast is all about. Living WOW Outloud is a safe space of inspiration and hope, giving a voice to thriving with autoimmune diseases. This is a place where you can come as you are with no label or judgment needed. You'll find a mixed format of variety across physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of lifestyle. Living WOW Outloud is intended to empower you as the expert in your body as a counter-culture to SAD living. This is a new narrative designed to help you thrive. "The next generation of lifestyle awareness that will transform your life significantly. The premiere episode is available May 5th, 2022. More information about Living WOW can be found at livingWOWcenter.com or join our next challenge here.