The goal of the first step of Living Fully Nourished is to find out the causes of the disease: food intolerances, sources of toxicity, negative emotions, stress, nutritional imbalances (physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, etc.), areas of conflict or trauma, negative beliefs, etc. As a part of achieving this goal, functional laboratory tests may be conducted on blood, urine and stool samples, and saliva.
Illness is an alarm raised by the human body to indicate that something in our lives must change. It is important not to switch off the alarm and continue as if nothing has happened. Rather, every effort must be taken to discover what triggered the alarm in the first place, to resolve the underlying problem by restoring health – ensuring that the alarm will not go off again.
In order to highlight how important it is to locate the source of a health problem, consider the following example. Imagine that a person doesn’t know or believe that drinking alcohol is harmful. He starts drinking alcohol at night, and begins to wake up with a in the mornings. Instead of reflecting on what he ate or drank the previous day, or examining his current lifestyle, he just takes a headache pill and continues with his usual life. This is what we are accustomed to doing: when a new health problem surfaces, we just medicate ourselves and continue with our daily lives without trying to locate the source of the problem.
The body, mind, and spirit are closely related. It is often difficult to discover if the root cause of the problem is related to the body, the mind, or the spirit. The most powerful of these three is undoubtedly the spirit, which can heal both the body and mind from illness. However, when someone is not very spiritual, it is necessary to cure their illness from a purely physical or mental point of view.
The causes of an illness are usually multi-factorial, and several circumstances tend to coexist, such as stress and lack of physical activity. It is common for one condition to lead to another: emotional conflict can cause lack of sleep, for example.
It is necessary for a person to remain well-balanced at every level of their being. Most people focus on a specific aspect but neglect others. For instance, some people take care of their spiritual health, but neglect their diet or their rest, while others pay great attention to their nutrition and physical exercise, but abandon all concern for their spiritual life.
This state of balance does no entail being perfect in every aspect of life. In the modern world it is almost impossible for a person to get optimum levels of physical exercise, follow a healthy diet, eliminate all sources of stress, get adequate sleep and rest, experience emotional stability, and have a rich spiritual life, etc. However, it is not impossible to reach the minimum standard in every area, while excelling in some. The section that addresses the third principle of Living Fully Nourished (coaching), contains suggestions for making all these areas of activity compatible.
Weakening, strengthening, and triggering factors
The body is capable of healing and detoxifying itself, provided we don’t exceed its limits (see Appendix 4). If this were not the case, we wouldn’t survive the vast number of agents attacking our systems daily. When there is an onslaught, usually a chronic one, from which the body is unable to recover, an alarm is raised. The symptoms of an illness show that there may be a danger that exceeds the defence capacity of the organism.
A significant emotional, mental or spiritual strain can remain unnoticed for a long time and thus render a person more vulnerable to other surface-level, secondary factors that exhibit more obvious symptoms. As a result, when these symptoms appear, the person may mistake them for the cause of their disease, while the real, underlying problem remains hidden .
For instance, a person with poor sleep patterns and/or chronic stress could suffer from digestive problems, which may in turn cause another illness – a migraine, for example. This person then focuses all his efforts on following a healthy diet, and he discovers – thanks to a food intolerance test – that he has several food intolerances which cause headaches. By adjusting his diet accordingly, he succeeds in avoiding the migraines. However, this only lasts for a few months… until he develops a new food intolerance, and his headaches reappear. This process will repeat itself until he deals with the root of his problem: the stress and disturbed sleep patterns which are the origin of his increasing food intolerances.
The opposite is possible too, in the case of a person who doesn’t pay much attention to his diet but is very aware of the effects of stress on his health. When his stress increases, he starts suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), stomach ulcers, bloating, etc. He blames his boss and his family for raising his stress levels, but he doesn’t realize that if he had better nutrition, he would be able to withstand these periods of increased stress without suffering from any of these ailments.
It is generally thought that one life event provides the trigger for a disease. Upon closer investigation, however, it is usually found that the person already had several pre-existing imbalances in other areas which have weakened the person’s system, providing the basis of a predisposition to a certain disease.
People tend to identify the specific life event as the cause, while the real cause of the illness is the underlying complex of imbalances that were already present, and which gave rise to chronic vulnerability. A disease manifests when there is a predisposition to it, and a subsequent event triggers it. The predisposition has been established due to the weakening factors, and the impulse is given by the triggering factor.
Some examples of weakening and triggering factors
|Factor debilitante||Factor desencadenante||Enfermedad|
|inadequate nutrition that weakens the immune system||exposure to the influenza virus||flu|
|inadequate nutrition that disrupts neurotransmitters||relational conflict with a person||depression|
|inadequate nutrition that weakens bones||fall||bone fracture|
|inadequate nutrition that generates inflammation||sleeping in an uncomfortable bed||back pain|
|inadequate nutrition that generates inflammation||awkward sitting/sleeping position or neck muscle spasm||torticollis|
|inadequate nutrition that weakens the immune system||tick bite||Lyme disease|
|inadequate nutrition plus weak spiritual values||the loss of a loved person||depression (not to be confused with the appropriate sorrow)|
|repeated antibiotic treatment plus chronic exposure to tobacco smoke in childhood||exposure to allergens||allergies|
|chemicals that harm the skin or mucosa protection||exposure to human papillomavirus||plantar, hands, genital warts|
|inadequate nutrition, plus chronic stress, plus lack of physical activity||dismissal||heart failure|
In the example of the consumption of alcohol, this is a weakening factor for headaches. The triggering factor can be loud noise, or simply waking up in the morning.
In the case of immunological hypersensitivities, the triggering factor is the allergen; in sensorial hypersensitivities, the triggering factor can be noise, the sun, a smell, etc.; in hypersensitivities relating to the nervous system, triggers can be stress, intellectual effort, worries, etc.; in the emotional ones it can be relational conflict – a separation, or a critical comment, etc. In all of the above, the weakening factors are all the different aspects of a person’s lifestyle, all the emotional and physical traumas, as well as toxins the body has been exposed to, both past and present.
One way to isolate an illness’ trigger is to review the few months prior to the start of the disease to identify an important change in that period. These changes can include an emotional conflict, an accident, an extremely stressful situation, a change in diet, a vaccine, etc.
However, if someone has been suffering from an illness for several years, or since their childhood, it can be difficult to remember what could have triggered it. The illness could also have started very slowly, getting gradually worse over a number of years; it could even have existed from birth.
Whatever the case, it is possible for a person to improve their overall lifestyle to ensure that the impact of the disease is as low as possible. Even if the disease is genetic, the expression of the genes (epigenetics) depends on several environmental factors, ranging from nutrition to the emotional state. A weakening factor can switch on a gene, so when the triggering factor occurs the disease is declared; a strengthening factor can switch off a gene, so that even if the triggering factor occurs, the disease doesn’t manifest.
For example, an allergy to nuts, pollen, or any kind of allergy may be activated or de-activated depending on nutrition and lifestyle choices.
The many vicissitudes of life make it difficult to avoid or prevent the triggering events, as they are beyond our control. The same applies to inherited genetic predispositions. When we suffer from an illness, we usually blame external factors, such as other people, or unfortunate events (a fall, a divorce, an epidemic outbreak, etc.). However, we are the ones who need to assume responsibility for what is happening in our lives. As many great thinkers of our time believe, each person creates their own reality, and attracts positive or negative events with their thoughts. If we work on being internally balanced and physically, mentally, and spiritually strong, not only will the forces of the universe be on our side, but we will feel fortunate, and will have the necessary strength to deal with challenges and unpleasant events as they arise. It is best to work on avoiding the weakening factors, knowing that prevention is better than cure, rather than blaming an unfortunate event for any adversity.
There are tests to determine some of the possible causes of a disease: microbiology and parasitology tests; tests for food intolerance, fatty acids, heavy metals, organic acids, etc. These are functional tests, differ from the conventional ones ordered by medical doctors. Tests can help in some cases, but they are not always conclusive. The relationship between price and usefulness should be carefully studied in each case.
Tests and consultations with a holistic therapist can help identify the origin of an illness. However, due to the countless factors involved in a person’s overall health, and the limited ability of a therapist to become familiar with all aspects of a person’s life, it is necessary for the person to gain a deep knowledge and understanding of themselves in order trace the origin of an illness. The second principle of Living Fully Nourished is to know yourself; we now turn to practical ideas to help with this process.