Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In the Jungle of Diets, Part 1

Central to all natural processes is the law of balance. It operates in the greatest as in the smallest. It ensures that stars and planets stay their course in exact orbits, by keeping their forces in balance, and on the atomic level it brings about equilibrium of forces of protons and electrons.

The law underscores the balance that occurs everywhere between giving and taking. The amount of air we breathe out corresponds to what we inhale. Blood pumped by the heart into the arteries cannot exceed the volume flowing back in the veins. The activity during the day must be compensated by a suitable period of rest, and in walking we keep our balance by compensating the movement of one leg with the other.

The law of balance also covers the nourishment of the body. Here it is necessary that a balance exists between what the body consumes, in the way of foodstuffs, the activity demanded of it, and what it eliminates as waste.

Our health depends on this balance, which has to be achieved over and over again, because we occasionally consume more food than we use or vice versa. The balance is ordinarily restored from one day to the next. But there are people in chronic imbalance, either out of a habit of eating too much, more than what the body would need, or eating too little.

In the case of overeating, illness follows from accumulation of waste products in the body. In the reverse situation malnutrition is caused by a deficiency of nutrients. In both cases the therapy must begin with the eating habits of the individuals affected to restore the lost balance.

How do diets work?

Diets are restrictive regimens where one or several foods are renounced. How severe the restriction is depends on the goal in mind. If the aim is to relieve the body it may be enough to consume less amounts of food than usual. For a profound correction the food intake needs to be less than the demand. Only by depriving the body of what is necessary for it does it commence to draw on the surplus resources stored in the deep tissues. This way the strain is relieved and finally disappears.

The most austere diet is fasting. Nothing but water is permitted. Burning up reserves and waste is at its utmost because the body receives no nourishment. But such fasting should never be done on a whim.

Monodiets are slightly less restrictive, because – as the name implies – only one food item is permitted. This can be consumed at every meal. Among the best known monodiets are grape diet, vegetable juice, macrobiotic rice, lemon juice, and maple syrup diet.

In addition to fasting and the monodiets there are a number of other restrictive but less austere diets, since various foods are permitted. As long as they are a step back from the usual eating habits they can also be effective. The possibilities are countless. Some diets rely on the number of calories, for example 2,000, 1,500 or 1,000 calories per day. Others cut down on fat, carbohydrate or protein, some have minimal salt intake, a balanced fare and so on.

The Hay diet belongs to this group. Here all foods are allowed, but may not be consumed together. Protein and carbohydrate foods are eaten at different meals. Lunch for example could be a fare of raw and cooked vegetables and a starchy food like potato, cereal or pasta. Dinner on the other hand might be raw and cooked vegetables with a protein of choice (cheese, meat, fish or egg). Separating foods simplifies and shortens the alimentary passage and digestive period considerably, which in turn shortens the absorption of nutrients from the partially digested food. The diminished assimilation is able to stimulate the body to break down surplus deposits.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do We Choose Our Family?, Part 2

The law of reciprocal action

Everything that emanates from the human spirit, whether in the form of intuition, thoughts, words, or deeds is in fact a seed which reacts on its environment and marks it with an indelible stamp.

A spirit sows the expression of its will, that is, it takes decisions with the help of its free will. Are these decisions good or bad?

The spirit will find the answers to this question sooner or later through the Law of Reciprocal Action, which ensures that every cause is attended by its corresponding effect. We can also say that it “makes him reap what he sowed”, as expressed in the biblical passage “You reap what you sow.”

The identical corresponding reaction always present between the seed and the harvest ensures that one who had imbibed and developed noble qualities in a previous incarnation will also find himself in situations whereby he will be adequately compensated in a later earth-life. In the same vein, one who indulged in violence and oppression will eventually be a victim of such. The spirit who consciously lives through the consequences of his previous deeds will learn to appreciate the difference between good and bad decisions, which latter he may decide to get rid of. Thus, a number of circumstances determine the incarnation of the spirit in a young body. These circumstances are provided not only through the educational, professional, cultural, or political environment in which the child will develop, but also through the family circle. Indeed, as a result of their personality, social status, place of residence, and so on, the parents provide the conditions necessary for numerous experiences needed by their child. There is also another aspect of the Law of Reciprocal Action which aims not only at giving an opportunity to assess former decisions but also to atone and compensate for any wrongdoing resulting from these decisions. Actors from previous earth-lives must therefore meet again to make amends on the one hand and grant forgiveness on the other.

The meeting of people linked by karmic threads can occur in various circumstances and social environments, but the family circle proves to be most ideal. The love that naturally blossoms between family members – parental love for the child and filial love for the parents – is a powerful help for inner change and forgiveness. Those concerned need not, at the present time, be conscious of their past lives or be aware of their past relationships, that is, if they had been parents, neighbours, colleagues, and so on. Only the present time matters and it suffices that in reacting to events they modify their behaviour and inner stance positively so that atonement and forgiveness follow their actions. Through their combined workings these Laws ensure no arbitrariness when placing children in their parents’ homes.

Choosing our family

The incarnation of a spirit is an indication that its sojourn in the beyond has momentarily reached its term and it becomes necessary for it to pursue its developmental journey on earth to avoid stagnation. Based on the karmic threads and the personality of the soul concerned, the Laws guide it to the precise place suitable for it and to the parents it deserves. The number of eligible parents is not unlimited since very many specific factors must be taken into consideration.

A spirit is not in a position to freely decide which parents to choose so as to satisfy his likes and dislikes. More important factors which affect the overall development of the spirit are decisive and they exclude his personal wishes. The Laws ensure strict observance of these factors.

Parents whom we “reap” are the fruits of our past decisions and their resulting karma. There is a choice in that sense, albeit an indirect one since the choice depends on the decisions rather than their results: the parents correspond to the karma in question. There is therefore no conscious and thought-out decision as alleged by the expression “I have chosen my parents.”

In any case the workings of the Laws follow the greatest wisdom and total justice. Every child always gets the parents it deserves and the parents the child they need for their experiencing on earth.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do W Choose Our Family?, Part 1

A number of people claim that we choose our parents. However, many parents and children faced with recurring conflicts really wonder if they had indeed chosen each other or whether their being together is a product of chance. Since we are endowed with free will, can we really choose which family to belong to?

Some children are very grateful for the parents they have because of the love and care they enjoy from them.

Some others, however, are resentful as their parents have many faults and exhibit character traits and upbringing principles which strongly inconvenience them in their childhood and youth, and some­times mar them for life.

On the other hand, some parents suffer a lot from their children’s behaviour. Often, either parents or children ask themselves questions like: Why do I have such children? Why do I have such parents? Or, still, spitefully “What did I do to deserve this?”

The latter question clearly reveals that the protagonists sense that to a certain extent they must have made a decision at some point in time that led to their present situation. In actual fact the composition of a family does not depend on chance but on the workings of two important Laws: The Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species and the Law of Reciprocal Action. Our former deeds and past decisions determine our present family.

The law of attraction of homogeneous species

Science, in its materialistic approach, states that genes determine the entry of a new member into a family and that its personality develops from the genetic baggage of the parents. The child has therefore no choice in the matter and its development is a function of the coming together of genes from the mother and the father.

From the spiritual viewpoint man is not only a physical body but an immaterial spirit incarnated into one. The spirit pre-exists the body and is just one of the numerous other spirits still in the beyond striving to incarnate on earth in order to pursue their development and mature. So, among all these spirits in the beyond which one will eventually incarnate in the little body growing in the womb of an expectant mother?

The Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species actually does the selection and ensures that similar kinds attract each other and come together.

The spirits of the parents attract in accordance with what emanates from them. The radiations of their spirits will have a well determined “colouring” reflecting their weaknesses and qualities, as well as their character. Among all the spirits ready to incarnate they will selectively and strongly attract the spirit with a similar colour; in other words, the one who possesses a combination of characteristics closest to theirs. It is the reason why children have so much in common, whether good or bad, with their parents. The similarity in character is due to the attraction of what is spiritually homogeneous and has nothing to do with genes.

There is a simple explanation to that fact. A gene, which is a particle belonging to gross matter, can only transmit hereditary characteristics of the same species of physical matter, such as the colour of the eyes, the shape of the face, and so on. It is incapable of transmitting immaterial and psychic characteristics because they are of a different species from it. The Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species would prevent that from happening since it upholds the attraction of similar species only. Consequently there is no spiritual heredity, unlike physical heredity which certainly exists. As a matter of fact, no gene responsible for psychic heredity has ever been found in spite of extensive research in that field.

The workings of the Law provide tremendous help as parents understand children with whom they have affinity. For example, a child with musical talent will blossom forth with parents who appreciate music rather than with those who have no interest and cannot therefore provide him with the necessary support.

Affinity between parents and children due to faults and weaknesses is also of great help as these shortcomings can be a foil to the child. The suffering caused by their manifestation can spur the child to strive in a radically opposite direction.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How do we Manage the Water Needs of our Body?, Part 2


Thirst is the body’s alarm that goes off when it starts running out of water. It not only incites us to drink, but to drink enough in order to correct the hydrous deficit.

Some people admit to not feeling a thirst sensation and consequently drink very little. Quite often this results in them not drinking in spite of the thirst signals emitted by the body, which in turn begin to manifest in an increasingly discreet manner and end up almost completely disappearing.

Thankfully, as with all physiological functions, a dormant thirst sensation can be reawakened. It is sufficient for such a person to force himself to drink normally, even if he does not feel the need. After a few days he will then notice, with surprise, how thirsty he is in spite of all that he drinks!

What should we drink?

The ideal drink for human beings is water, as it is the only one offered by nature. In order to drink approximately two litres a day it must taste good. Tap water is usually good, but if this is not the case there are three possible solutions.

Water filters can be used that rid the water of excess chlorine and other impurities. Also filling a jug with water and leaving it in the refrigerator will evaporate the chlorine and give the water a better taste.

The third solution consists of drinking bottled spring water or slightly mineralised mineral water. It makes no difference if the bottled water is still or sparkling; it is simply a question of personal taste. It can likewise be drunk cold, warm or hot.

It is preferable physiologically to spread our water consumption over the day rather than to “fill up” once or twice a day. In this latter case the volume ingested in one single lot would be too great. It is normal to drink a little at meals because it helps to humidify and dilute dry foods, but the larger part of drinking liquids should be done in between meals.

The rule of thumb: “drink every time you feel thirsty” is therefore relevant and the best way to follow this remains by drinking water!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How do we Manage the Water Needs of our Body?, Part 1

Contrary to popular belief, the body is not a composite of solid organs in which fluids circulate but rather a composite of fluids in which solids can be found. The adult human body consists of 70% water; a newborn is 80% water; and a 4-month-old fetus is 93% water. Most of our organs are composed of about 75% water, the brain with the highest percentage at 83%. The skeleton on the other hand holds the least at 22%. The fluids in the body are held separately and distributed throughout different chambers or layers situated more or less deep within. The fluid that is closest to the surface is the blood. It circulates inside vessels and represents approximately 5% of body weight. Directly beneath the blood is the extracellular fluid, of which the lymph is a part. As its name indicates, it is found outside and bathes the cells, filling the tiny interstices that separate them. Its volume is equivalent to 15% of the body’s weight. The deepest chamber holds the intracellular fluid, which is found inside the cells. Although each cell is extremely small in volume, added together they constitute a very large volume: the intracellular fluid represents 50% of body weight. The liquid components of our body are the connecting link between our cells and the outside of the body. They carry nutrients and oxygen to the cells and in turn take away the toxins that these produce. Without water, our body could not function. The organism’s water needs
We eliminate approximately 2.5 litres (L) of water daily: 1.5L of urine, 0.5L of perspiration, 0.5L through the lungs (in the form of vapor) and through the intestines.

It is imperative that this considerable fluid loss be compensated with an equivalent intake in order for the body to continue functioning. The law of equilibrium, which governs every physiological phenomenon, demands it. Just as periods of activity must be balanced with rest periods, burning energy with equivalent nourishment, and so on, so too, must fluid elimination be compensated through water intake.

Where does our organism find the 2.5L daily water needs? Some water is contained in food (approximately 1 litre), the rest in drinks (1.5 litres). These numbers correspond with eating generous portions of fruit and vegetables due to their rich water content. However today, in general, our nourishment consists mainly of foods poor in water content: grains and meat. Also, they contain too much salt and are filled with toxins, which only increase the need for water. In fact, the more waste there is to eliminate, the more liquid support is necessary for the elimination.

Taking the different factors into account, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends an average daily intake of 2 litres of water.

How does our personal fluid intake compare with the 2 litres? Is it less or more? Or does it correspond with this figure?

In order to know one must measure each volume of fluid intake during the day. The intake can vary from one day to the next, therefore it is a good idea to take these measures over three or four consecutive days. An important point: water and herbal teas (unsweetened) count for a full measure but it is not the same for coffee, tea, chocolate and commercial drinks, as well as wine and beer, which count as only half measures. These latter drinks are not as hydrating as the first set due to their high content of sugar, alcohol and other substances. A portion of the liquid they contain is used to neutralise and eliminate the undesirable contents.
Because man, at least in the Western world, has abundant water always at his disposal, he does not realise how brief is the time that can elapse between not drinking and dehydration and death.
It is calculated that grave dehydration problems arise after 3 days of total deprivation and death results 3 or 4 days later. People lost in the desert or shipwrecked, trapped miners, reach this point of no return. Besides such extreme cases, there is also chronic dehydration where the water deficiency is never severe enough to become critical but suffices to cause health problems.

What happens when the body does not receive sufficient fluid? First of all the blood loses volume. It is constantly filtering its water content to the kidneys, the sweat glands and the rest of the excretory system. Its volume cannot, however, diminish very much. The body then reacts by drawing fluid from the extracellular matrix. The blood volume is restored but the extracellular liquid is reduced, affecting efficiency of the exchange between the blood and cells.

In order to remedy the extracellular fluid deficit, the body draws fluid from inside the cells, which in turn dehydrate and diminish in function. The body becomes deprived of water within the deeper and deeper layers.

Two major resulting metabolic disturbances will occur and originate from all the troubles of dehydration. The first is a slowing down of enzyme activity. Enzymes, which are responsible for all biochemical reactions within the body, work less efficiently when the organic fluids are thick and viscous. Energy, hormone secretion and reparative substance production, all necessary for proper functioning of the organism, decline rapidly.

The second major disturbance is an autointoxication of the organism. Toxin excretion continues but with a reduced amount of fluid. Urine becomes thick, sweat more concentrated and stools are drier. Under these conditions toxic elimination is forcibly less efficient.

Specifically, chronic dehydration can cause the following: fatigue and listlessness (through the slowing down of enzyme production), constipation (stools become dry and hard), digestive problems (through insufficient fluid to produce digestive secretion), hypotension (through lack of blood volume), gastritis and stomach ulcers (mucus deficiency that protects the gastric lining), respiratory problems (through the drying up of mucus), eczema (skin eruptions due to sweat that is heavily concentrated), cystitis (heavily concentrated urine leading to micro-lesions, which allow bacteria to grow). Excess weight can also result indirectly from dehydration. Some people confuse thirst with hunger. True, eating can get rid of thirst because of the fluids in foods, but this fluid intake is accompanied by a calorie intake that in the long run leads to weight gain.

An overweight person should therefore drink a lot more water to curb false hunger sensations, but large fluid intake also forces the body to burn calories.

Fatigue and a lack of energy remain one of the biggest symptoms of dehydration. Resurgent energy and liveliness is the first effect to manifest in someone who starts to drink sufficiently.