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HangryHippo and Health

December 5, 2011

I have not been feeling so well recently. For the past year, my personal health has hit lows and highs that I could never have imagined, and it’s been quite the roller coaster journey. Without getting into an outrageous amount of details, I’ve seen specialists from every background with a spectrum of ideas as diverse as the rainbow, and much of what I’ve been trying has been trial-and-error and certain things work splendidly while others fail miserably. Determining how to become healthy is a journey, a process, and a never-ending one at that. It is a commitment, requiring dedication and patience. And this is where I have been failing recently.

It is frustrating to struggle with your own body in any sense. To struggle with daily aches or chronic pain or body image issues or disease is a tumultuous and trying experience that can affect any and all areas of your life. For a while, I made my health the #1 priority in my life (as it should be), but once I started to feel better, I let some of my dedication slip. And now I’m paying for it. It’s almost as if when you feel well, you forget what it’s like to feel sick…and vice-versa. My body feels heavy, weighed down not only with the physicality of what I’m dealing with, but the stress it has taken on my mind and my spirit. But I can’t give up. I won’t give up.

There are an incredible amount of resources on ways of becoming healthy or maintaing good health in natural, powerful ways. And many of them incorporate food as the ultimate weapon against health issues. What we put into our bodies become our bodies. And we need to treat our bodies with the respect and care they deserve, or we will pay for it dearly later on. I was reading a fascinating article about spices recently, and how “Modern science is beginning to uncover the ultimate power of spices and herbs, as weapons against illnesses from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.”

…In India, where spices tend to be used by the handful, incidence of diet-related diseases like heart disease and cancer have long been low. But when Indians move away and adopt more Westernized eating patterns, their rates of those diseases rise. While researchers usually blame the meatier, fattier nature of Western diets, Aggarwal and other experts believe that herbs and spices-or more precisely, the lack of them-are also an important piece of the dietary puzzle. “When Indians eat more Westernized foods, they’re getting much fewer spices than their traditional diet contains,” he explains. “They lose the protection those spices are conveying.”

Cinammon to help stabilize blood sugar. Parsley to help inhibit breast-cancer cell growth. Sage to help preserve memory. Although some may argue that there is little scientific proof or evidence (which is a long-time coming but finally happening, by the way…but when you don’t have ginormous drug corporations to provide the finances for research, it’s difficult to get done) backing this, there has been plenty of independent and individual experience to back this and…why not? Whereas taking a prescription drug will inevitably have side-effects, who is hurt by putting some cinammon in their evening tea? My wish for our society is that we begin, as individuals, as a movement, to place our personal health above all, to get back to the earth and allow it to heal us. It begins with each one of us, and right now, it begins with me.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. jenmarie permalink
    December 5, 2011 8:47 pm

    I’m really thankful for this post today. I have also felt that over the past few months I haven’t been taking good enough care of myself…not respecting the most basic needs of my mind and body. It’s too easy to let other, less important things distract us from the journey toward true health. Becoming (and remaining) truly healthy in the Western world can feel like a constant battle (and yes, this is most definitely a first-world problem). It seems like there are many more ways to fail than succeed. We are faced with a food industry that wants us to keep pumping ourselves full of processed, corn-derived foods. Most of us have jobs that force us to sit at computers at least 8 hours a day, so exercise becomes something we have to schedule…another line on a never-ending “to-do” list. But I still have no doubt, even at my most frustrated, that fighting the battle is worth it. Just like you said Hangry, when we place the utmost value on our individual health, we can subsequently start to heal the earth around us and inspire others to do the same. Health is not an end goal in itself; it is a daily commitment to loving ourselves and loving the world that makes these selves possible 🙂

  2. Sexy Curmudgeon permalink
    December 5, 2011 11:09 pm

    This post was incredibly inspiring, thank you Hangry Hippo! I think that the benefits of herbal supplements, spices, acai, you name it, is in part so vehemently contested because people only base whether or not it “works” on its physical make-up, and how these substances chemically interact with the body. I read this article a few months ago, noting that part of what is so great about holistic medicine is that the entire way it is implemented brings about a whole wealth of benefits that are not easily quantifiable.

    So in conclusion, I support Indian spices and all of positive, healthful things that come with them.

  3. December 7, 2011 1:54 pm

    Off topic, but this is too awesome not to share:

    I am tempted to look for LaToya’s on ebay or craigslist!

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