Here, this month’s guest, L.A.-based nutritionist Elissa Goodman, writes candidly about one of the most crucial lessons she’s learned through her years of battling illness and treating those who were also going through health challenges: Your body wants to heal. It was designed to heal. And, if you tap into it, you can heal. But it takes the mind and soul to heal your body.
When this journey first started, in 1993, I was far from the poster child for good health that I am now. If I hadn’t changed my attitude and mindset around healing, I would not now be cancer free and completely off my thyroid medication.
We heal with mind, body, soul, and spirit. Your physical body is the vessel that will show the signs of illness, but you cannot ignore the whole you. Yes, I am a nutritionist, but I follow these four pillars of health as my guideline to healing and well-being, because they encompass this wholeness.
The foundation for good health is in the food you eat. I follow mostly a plant-based diet. My goal is to maintain balance, making room for an 80/20 ratio of clean eating/indulgences. If you’re a client of mine, I will advocate limiting animal protein to once daily and fully support you if you choose a vegan lifestyle.
Cardiovascular disease is a major concern for many clients around my age, so I recommend doubling up on dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, gluten-free whole grains, and fruits. I also drink a lot of turmeric and matcha green tea to protect against cellular damage.
Digestion changes in your 50s and beyond, because your stomach empties more slowly and your hydrochloric acid and enzymes are depleted can lead to acid reflux or constipation. To combat this, I make sure to eat probiotic-rich foods like coconut yogurt kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh. Also, I’m into making sure I get enough fiber by eating gluten-free whole grains, adding milled flaxseed into my smoothies, a liquid aloe vera into my green juices, and chia seeds into my lemon water.
When it comes to water, I stick with pure mineral water. I’m not about the hype of alkaline water; instead I prefer Mountain Valley Spring Water because it supplies natural minerals that our bodies are so deficient in. When I’m not drinking water, I’m probably having a green juice. This is the best and fastest way to pack in four to six servings of vegetables into my day. I limit the fruit in my juices, which maximizes the nutrients. Also, I drink a lot of adaptogen teas, like tulsi tea made from holy basil, which is considered the “elixir of anti-aging.”
Illnesses originate from within and are healed from within, and I believe that all illness originates in our conscious and subconscious mind. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your thoughts. They have the ability to change your life. They can create your mood and control your emotions. Thoughts have the ability to help you heal or keep you sick.
According to the law of attraction, thoughts emit their own frequencies, and because thoughts are magnetic, we will attract everything located on the same frequency. Positivity will bring positivity and negativity will attract negativity.
It’s hard to keep a positive mindset at times, and that’s normal, but it is important that we do not dwell in negativity. Remind yourself that nothing will change if you are angry, worried, sad, or hopeless. It will only ruin your present state of mind. The less time you spend in a negative state, the better your soul and mind will be.
When I find myself spiraling into a negative headspace, I give myself a time out. I follow along with a breath exercise to ease my mind. I write down five things I am grateful for. I visualize a time in my life when I was happy and re-create the moment. These are all little acts that can become habits, habits that become practice, and practice that will enable your brain to become a positive, healing machine.
Rest is required to heal. Good sleep does wonders for the body, and it’s healing for the mind too, especially for women. Get your sleep during the high-melatonin production hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., prioritize eight hours, and don’t be afraid to fit in 20-minute naps to recharge and reset.
If you find sleep to be difficult due to hormones or stress, this is where I can come in to help find the right balance of food and supplements to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Give yourself a rest from your phone, the Internet, social media, and texts as well. Our constant access to technology is doing us no favors biologically. Two hours of exposure to these light-emitting devices can reduce melatonin production and interfere with much-needed sleep. But mostly give yourself a rest from technology, because it can feel really amazing. You are free to create and reconnect with those around you when you give tech a rest.
Renew and Reconnect
Renewal is about tapping back into and reconnecting with yourself. When we reconnect, we release the baggage of what’s not serving us, find balance, and live in the present moment — all of which are crucial for healing. Renewing the mind with silence and space gives it time to recover and rejuvenate.
Practices of renewal help you tune into your inner voice and reduce the effects of stress. Take renewal seriously and schedule it into your life; if you do not take time to renew and reduce stress, it will manifest in your body in unwanted forms.
Restorative yoga for women 40 and beyond is a very effective renewal practice. Time spent in nature can also be therapeutic and renewing. In nature, beauty surrounds us, grounds us, and opens our eyes to the many blessings in our world. Meditation is another renewing practice that offers profound self-healing. In addition to being relaxing, meditation can train your mind and promote emotional stability.
These four pillars encompass my healing philosophy: You can heal anything if you believe you can.
Elissa Goodman released her first book, Cancer Hacks: A Holistic Guide to Overcoming Your Fears and Healing Cancer, last June. For more about Goodman, visit elissagoodman.com and read our profile of this inspiring lady.