Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for December, 2009

Safe & Healthy Year Ahead

Billy, my cat, is sick. He has urinary tract infection so he has been having difficulty peeing. When he tries, blood comes out. There are bloody spots all over the floor. He vomited several times a couple of days ago and he’s too sick to eat or even drink. We have to hand-feed him. For a sick kitty, he puts up quite a fight. Andrew, my husband, has the battle scars to prove it.

It’s all our fault that Billy’s ill. Cats are fussy about cleanliness, and can make themselves ill simply by refusing to use the litter box when it’s not clean enough for them. The cat litter should have been changed on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but we were so busy with the festivities that we waited longer than we should have to put in fresh litter. We were so caught up that we didn’t even notice that Billy had been having trouble relieving himself.

It breaks our hearts to see Billy so weak, and in pain, now. He’s so weak that he’s been soiling himself, so he’s often wet with urine. Cats hate to be dirty, so this must be so revolting for Billy. Of course, we wipe him clean several times a day. Poor baby.

Every time something like this happens, I am reminded that it could have been prevented. Had I taken more care, had I not been lazy, or procrastinated, had I been more observant, had I not been complacent …. You know how it goes.

Let’s try our best to make 2010 a safe and healthy year for our loved ones and ourselves. Don’t let a slip-up cause you grief. Be blessed!

Manage Weight With Mindful Eating

Christmas is over but we’re still in the midst of the holiday season with all its parties and festive gorging – um, I mean eating. Another week to go of playing hide and seek with calories. I just survived several parties and I’m happy to say that I got to enjoy various Christmas delicacies without putting on any weight. How did I do it? Little did I know that I had been practising mindful eating, a weight management
approach which I’ve only just heard about.

Mindful eatingAccording to a recent article in the Washington Post, mindful eating is a spin-off from a lifestyle practice called mindfulness, which is about slowing down to savour life’s details, noticing small things and appreciating every sensation. Mindful eating is not a diet. Instead, it focuses on the way you eat, rather than what you eat. So, instead of eating haphazardly and mindlessly at meals, shovelling food into your mouth, you:

- Decide in advance how much to eat, and what to eat. Rather than piling food on your plate, be selective about what you choose to put into your body. Brian Wansink, author of the book “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think”, goes further by suggesting that you make half that amount vegetables and fruit, the other half protein and starch. Psychologist Susan Albers advises that before taking anything, you should ask yourself whether you really want to eat that item. Would you really enjoy it? Are you really so hungry? Take only what you really, really want.

- Before you start eating, pause and soak in all the sights, sounds and scents of the gathering. If it’s a holiday party, enjoy the atmosphere. Train yourself to use all your senses to relish the food.

- Take your time to savour your food. Appreciate how every morsel smells and tastes. Notice the temperature and texture. Put your cutlery down while you slowly chew each bite, enjoying every moment.

- After you’ve fully savoured each bite and swallowed, then pick up your cutlery again and enjoy another bite.

- Try to be the last to finish eating. Eat slowly. Don’t rush the experience.

- By the end of the meal, you will not only be full, but truly satisfied.

Some tricks to help you remove obstacles to healthy eating include not arriving at a meal hungry, as that may cause you to wolf down more than you should. Another one is using small plates rather than large dinner plates. Your food portions will then seem more substantial. Using tall, thin glasses instead of short, squat ones will also help control your fluid intake without reducing the pleasure. Thin glasses hold less liquid. If your host presses you to take a second helping, take a teaspoonful rather than a full serving. This way, you satisfy your host without sacrificing your waistline.

Eat mindfully, and you’ll probably enjoy your meals and the company more than ever before, and without weight gain too.

Complacency Can Kill

I don’t believe it. I was looking forward to seeing some old family friends in the next few days at their annual Christmas party. These friends are an extended, loving family and their parties are famous for fabulous food, gorgeous Christmas decorations and interesting guests. Children, dogs and adults alike wander through the sprawling house, filling the place with happy sounds of play and conversation.

This year we expected more of the same except, of course, some heads would be a little grayer and the children would be a little taller. We will gather together again, indeed, this week, but not to celebrate Christmas. We’ll be gathering for the funeral of the family’s only child, a 10-year old boy. Tragically, he died of a heart attack during the weekend, while on a family holiday. He had been an active, boisterous child, with no apparent health problems. Everyone’s still in shock. How could a seemingly healthy child die of cardiac arrest?

A couple of years ago, some relatives also lost their only son. He was 20 years old, physically fit and a competitive sportsman. In fact, he had been competing with his team in a rowing competition overseas when their boat capsized when they had completed the race and were making their way to shore. Four other young men drowned together with him. Had they followed the safety rules which included waiting to be towed back to the banks of the river, rather than attempting to navigate the unfamiliar, raging river themselves, they might still be alive today.

We still don’t know what caused our friends’ 10-year old boy to have a heart attack. Perhaps the strain of mountain-climbing was just too much for his little body to bear. There must have been some warning signs that he was unwell. Perhaps he was pushed to take on more than he could handle. Of course, we’ll never ask our friends’ these questions. They loved their son dearly and they’re already drowning in guilt.

We can do our best to eat healthily and exercise regularly, but all our efforts will come to naught if we’re complacent. Let’s always take precautions wherever we are, especially when engaging in potentially dangerous activity in unfamiliar territory. Let’s not ignore that strange growth on the body. Let’s always heed warning signs, including the still, small voice within us which sometimes causes us to feel uneasy about something we’re about to do. Let’s never fail to ask God for protection for ourselves as well as our loved ones. I bless my husband in the name of Jesus every time he leaves our home, and pray for his wellbeing. Whenever any of my family members travel, I always pray for their protection.

Let’s never make the mistake of taking what we have for granted. Complacency can kill.