Friday, June 6, 2008

Mind-Body Connection

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, The Bible

We attended a homeschool convention last weekend (I know, a wild group!!) and heard and excellent speaker on a topic I hadn't really put tons of thought into before. The title of her workshop was called "The Biology of Learning and Behavior." You know, I have a degree in Psychology, and one in education as well. I've been a Christian for years, reading my Bible lots (sometimes more faithfully than others) for many of them, but I had a "lightbulb" moment when I heard her speaking.

Much of what I'm going to summarize here is on this speaker's website, , but I still want to throw out what I brought away from the talks I heard.

Dianne wove together well the different parts of these bodies that we've been given, the different parts of us, spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and then broke it down even farther into chemical. I like her approach, because she didn't seek to excuse problems in learning, or in behavior, which is a pet peeve of mine: "I can't help behaving this way, _____ made me do it!!" She rather sought for an explanation so that parents can more intelligently, and more thoroughly, help their kiddos to become all of who God made them to be.

"Children act how they feel." Sydney Walker in The Hyperactivity Hoax

Many quotes and statistics dotted the workshop, and I just walked away feeling like I was a lot more equipped to take care of myself better, and also to train my kiddos to do the same.

One of the key pieces that we learned about was "upset gut", or digestive system, and how so many behavioral, learning, and physical issues are tied into an unhealthy gut. Another quote: "Over 95% of the calming neurotransmitter, Serotonin, is made in the Gut," Michael Gershon in The Second Brain. Some behavioral symptoms of an unhealthy gut: mood swings, spaciness, anger/irritability, inconsistent performance, depression, memory problems, inappropriate behavior, talking loudly, Sensory Integration issues, inattention, and Asperger and Austistic-like behaviors. Some physical symptoms: canker sores, stomach-aches, leg pains, sugar cravings, food and other allergies, enuresis, nervousness, sleep problems, cradle cap, lactose intolerance, thrush and athlete's foot, immune system disorders, and impulsivity. A histamine release is also triggered, which is a neurotoxin to our bodies, causing excess mucus, exis acid, stomaches, dark circls, cnifflin, snoring, excema, and asthma and bronchitis. Wow!

Serotonin is in the health news a lot. We know that it is the happy neurotransmitter in our bodies, relaxing us, helping us feel better, helping us handle stress better, focusing us, but it also reduces impulsivity, promotes good sleep, and actually acts as an antidepressant. Sooooo, if we have an unhealthy gut and that's where most of our Serotonin is made, that's not a good thing. Our body is not working in the way that God created it to. Scripture tells us to take care of the bodies that we've been given. So how do we fix this?
It really isn't too complicated - yeah!!

One of the big reasons for an upset gut is that the bacteria and yeasts in our gut, things that are supposed to be there, are just out of balance. Our culture is a sugar laden culture, and sugar grows yeast, lots and lots of yeast. Many of us have way too much yeast growing in us because we feed them way too often. The yeast can actually get a little overexcited and start making little holes in our gut wall. Things that we are eating that were never intended to enter our bloodstream, things that were intended to pass on through the body, are leaking through and causing all sorts of problems. We need to get rid of some of those naughty little yeasties and get balanced.

Three steps and that's it to get your gut balanced and clear the way for your body to work in the wonderful way that it was designed:

Take acidophilus (available at health food stores and online) 3 times a day for 3 months. This "plants" good bacteria in your gut. Capsules can be opened and mixed into food for kiddos.
After a week of the above, take grapefruit seed extract tablets 3 times a day for 3 months, if over 6, or 1/2 tab 3 times a day if younger. This is an antifungal, which will help weed out the "bad guys" in your gut. Garlic is also an antifungal.
Reduce sugar and empty carbs. Change breakfast menu to include more things like eggs and sandwiches, less empty carbs (cereals). Change snacks to more healthful ones, and add more raw food to your diet. Drink more water.
That's it. We are jumping in and giving this a try, so I'll let you know how it progresses. I've heard lots of success stories, and I figure that it can't hurt. God created our bodies to be his temple, He says. It's probably about time that I clean it up....