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Five Ways To Take Charge Of Your Health

CC photo courtesy of Hieu LaVoce
CC photo courtesy of Hieu LaVoce via Flickr

A few years ago, I discovered that my body wasn’t responding well to the same ol’ slap-it-to-me prescriptions for my recurring sinusitis, bronchitis and strep throat. Since I had built up a tolerance for those drugs, they just weren’t working for me anymore. I started wondering about all the residual effects the drugs were having on my body, and if I had been damaging myself by simply treating symptoms without addressing the root cause. The proverbial straw (that broke the proverbial camel’s back) was having to take my then-infant son to see the doctor for his second ear infection in a few months’ time.

I thought to myself, “There has to be a better way to deal with this.”

Thus began my foray into proactive wellness and all the natural things I could do on my own to boost immunity, clear out toxins and fight against illness. I’m not making any medical or scientific claims here (so do your own research and consult your doctors), but there are so many things you can do to take charge of your own health. Here are the ways I’ve been able to do just that.

5 Ways to Take Charge of Your Health in 2014:

1. Probiotics

Your intestines require good bacteria to function properly. Sometimes that bacteria—or “gut flora”—gets out of balance and can lead to illness. In fact, I keep reading more and more that almost every known illness and disorder has some sort of link to the lack of good bacteria and overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut. Antibiotics kill flora in your gut—ALL flora, whether good OR bad. So, when you take an antibiotic medication, you are helping your body kill off the bad stuff (yay!), but you’re wiping it clean of the good guys too. Antibiotics are not evil; they are necessary in many situations. However, to regain optimal function and health, you need to replenish the good guys. Probiotics can do that. You can ingest probiotics through cultured foods like yogurt, kefir and kombucha, and also through a dietary supplement in pill or powder form.

Brands I have used:

2. Elderberry Syrup

One of the most effective remedies against the flu and flu-like illness is the elderberry. There’s a ton of research that praises the healing properties of this berry and ranks it as a more effective treatment than Tamiflu. Like I said, I’m not making scientific or medical claims. I’m just repeating the things I’ve read and letting you know about my own experiences. When our family gets hit with the flu, we take elderberry syrup four times a day until the symptoms are gone. And in our experience, it has eased the symptoms and cut the duration of some nasty bouts with influenza. I’m definitely a believer, and I always have a bottle in my medicine cabinet.

Brands I have used:

3. Whole, Organic and GMO-Free Foods

If you do much research on the foods available to us in the USA, you might be slightly disturbed at your findings. For awhile now, we have been eating pesticides, toxic chemicals, genetically re-programmed crops and sickly pseudo-meat. I can’t help but see the connection to our epidemic of cancer and declining health as a country. I’ve made some pretty drastic changes in the way I shop and eat over the past few years, and I’ve noticed a marked difference in my health. I found my waistline again, and my cravings for junk food have subsided enormously. I challenge you to think critically about what you buy and eat: Where did it come from? What is in it? Has it been genetically modified? Are there other additives and chemicals besides what should be in it? Even small steps in reducing the toxic load on your body will be steps in the right direction. Do yourself a favor and quit supporting the big-bucks food industry that doesn’t care what it sells you as long as it sells.

Great resources for understanding whole foods:

4. Essential Oils

There has been quite a buzz about essential oils lately, and for good reason. They are nature’s medicine chest! I have incorporated therapeutic-grade essential oils into my daily routine, and I’m a huge fan because they deliver on their promises. I first tried a mixture of oils on my daughter when she had a sore throat during an intense time of  ballet performances a couple of years ago, and I was overjoyed when they worked. After that experience, I dove into the deep end of homeopathic wellness using Young Living’s essential oils products. The human body is an unfathomably amazing system, so complex and intertwined. And when you combine the body’s natural ability to heal with the strength of pure essential oils, what you get is truly remarkable. At our house, we have gotten rid of the stomach virus, strep throat, sinus congestion, chest congestion, flu, headaches, nausea and many other sicknesses simply by using these oils. You can use them topically on your skin (bottoms of feet is very effective), internally by ingesting them (ONLY if they are therapeutic-grade, like Young Living), and by diffusing them into the air with a special oil diffuser. Again, do your own research, but I highly recommend essential oils for taking charge of your health.

Oils I use:

Young Living  

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5. Positive Thinking

Positive people are generally healthier than bitter, angry, negative people. Your thought patterns affect your physical body. If you habitually find the negative side of every situation and chime in with the worst possible outcome in every conversation, you are killing yourself word by word. The thoughts you think determine who you will become. And the words you speak are containers that carry power, either to bring life or to bring death. Speak life! Think about the good things, the blessings, the positive side of your situation. Set a guard on your lips and only let out the words and thoughts that are good, lovely, noble, pure and praiseworthy. (I’m pretty sure that’s a Scripture.) This doesn’t mean that you can’t be honest and discuss difficult things, or share negative emotions with your trusted inner circle. Just decide that you are going to look for the positive things in your life and make a bigger deal out of them than the negative things.

Some good reads on thoughts and positive thinking:

There are so many things you can do to get your health on track this year. Maybe you need to adopt some of the things on my list. Maybe you have some other ideas of your own. Let’s do all we can to make this a healthy, happy 2014. I pray the Lord will give you wisdom and that you will follow His leading on your own personal journey to health.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are that of the author, who is not a medical professional. We are not attempting to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition; this article is for educational purposes only.

About Crista Ashworth

Jesus-follower, worship leader, writer, foodie and professional laugher are the skills listed on Crista's resume. She is passionate about sharing tangible expressions of God's love and seeing people's hearts made alive through an encounter with Jesus. She is married to Tim and is mother to Claire and Graham, and currently resides in Berlin, Germany.
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