I mentioned yesterday that these interviews are going to inspire you in all different areas of your life. Since my word of the year is NOURISH, I felt it fitting to kick off my interviews by talking with a naturopath, who also happens to be my friend, my mentor and a woman who has taught me an awful lot about this little thing called life.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Chris Wave:
What is your title?
Wife, mom, grandma (Nanie), cook, artist, entrepreneur, author/writer, Naturopath, RN, Flight attendant, recently added: business advisor for start-up entrepreneurs, real estate tycoon, gardener, cafe owner, ...you name it, I've tried it. I subscribe to Leo Busgalia's premise (paraphrased): happy is the person who loves many things. Genius comes from focusing on one thing but geniuses are often very unhappy people. If that doesn't explain me away, I say, I am a Renaissance Girl. I have 22 more careers I need to engage in before I go home to glory. So I have to keep busy.
How did you go from practicing traditional medicine to practicing natural medicine?
I like to say now I practice natural health. My goal is to never take medicine or give it to my family. I spent 14 years in the modern medical system; having worked in a few premium Chicago and suburban hospitals. When I was in nursing school, we were shown a movie on a child with autism and told, "you will probably not see this in the duration of your career so we are showing you a movie of what autism looks like." today, we are one-in-three children who develop autism. Autism in the late 70's was still something a child was born with.
As student nurses and even into the early 80's as a staff nurse, we didn't generally follow up on any woman under the age of 50 with a breast lump. Those anomalies were never a cancer issue in those days.
From that front row seat I watched the health of our nation decline as if in free-fall over the next decade and a half. With the birth of my first child; a chronic ear infection kid, I realized I had become what we secretly in the profession called a GOMER (get-out of-my-emergency-room). Too many visits with an "unsolvable problem." I resolved to find another way and over the last 22 years that has evolved into a practice of natural health.
How can a person who is interested in learning more about natural health and organic foods begin? Where should they start?
I really believe if a person "prays, sits and listens" the path appears. Notice when you feel a little hitch in your gut. For example: I feel like this constant running to the pediatrician is not the path I want to take...I feel like I should not be taking so much antibiotic...something is bugging me about taking an antidepressant...I wish I didn't drink so much diet soda. Start there. What is bugging you? I really believe we have a God-given sense of what is right and wrong, what nourishes life and what is killing life.
A naturopathic person is a good place to start if you are clueless and have lost your intuition (which often happens in our state of un-wellness. We no longer hear the still small voice). But a naturopathic doctor has a different goal than most people are used to if coming from the gridlock of modern medicine. Naturopaths know that there is no pill or potion that can overcome a bad diet. So natural health is a choice for the long haul and it takes a ton of discipline to re-orient your palate. When food is your medicine it is a slower process than pill-taking. Cooking is harder that doing the drive-up window. Often I hear, "I can't afford it." Whole foods, even organic whole foods are cheaper than processed foods. If a client of mine really commits, really changes the family diet, they end up saving money.
What are some very simple changes we can make this month that will improve our bodies and our quality of life?
I have a list of ten free things to improve your health immediately. Three of these will, overnight improve your outlook, health and wellness.
1. Breathe! Most of our breathing is very shallow and done improperly. Go outside everyday. No matter how cold! No matter the rain! Breathe with deep inhales and slow exhales to start. This is a great Candida fighter which I find most people now have in overgrowth. Candida hates oxygen.
2. Drink water! your body craves good water. Much of our overeating is our body's attempt to get moisture. It is actually water we are craving. Divide your weight in half and drink that in ounces every day.
3. Stop drinking with your meals. Your stomach wants a pH of 2.0. A very acid environment to break down your food. In this proper pH environment e.coli is killed off, salmonella is rendered harmless. Drinking with your meal raises your pH to an alkaline state which does not kill of these harmful organisms and does not aid in the breakdown of food.
What are some examples of things that have grown widely accepted that are actually very detrimental to our health?
Oh this is a bad question for me. I might have to rant! I am seeing the most damage done by those who follow the food pyramid; The Standard American Diet (SAD) which promotes liberal use of grains (which are a day-long story in themselves!) and low fat.
This diet is completely lacking in healthy fats and is wildly out of balance with nature. Infertility is rampant, autism (which I believe and have witnessed as being totally curable), heart disease has increased despite our vast knowledge, cancer rates sky-rocketed in the last 20 years. When I was a child growing up in a large city, I knew one child in 18 years to develop cancer. Our children are depressed, sick, foggy-headed...don’t get me started. I love my Saturday classes because I can rant unchecked! (Chris offers natural health classes at Fraiche Café in Winnebago, Illinois)
In what ways do you think young(ish) women can nourish themselves? Do you often see women abusing their bodies?
I wish young moms and young women would throw out all the magazines to start. Those are not normal women you are looking at. I would stake my life on this fact, that every one of the magazine models is literally starving. Your body, when you ingest something unnatural; diet pop, Jolly Ranchers, a sugary Latte says, " Oh no, what is this? It's foreign. I don't recognize it." SO in the wisdom of our Creator, the body was designed to isolate that foreigner by imprisoning it into a fat cell. When you then try to lose weight the body refuses to let go of that fat cell because it knows inside there is a harmful toxin. If you dumped it too quickly you would get sick. This is a detox reaction. Stubborn weight is body wisdom. By eating an organic apple instead of drinking a Latte you will slowly release those toxins. Patience is called for to exact lasting change!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were in your 30’s?
Oh so many things; That I didn't have to have PMS, acne, anger issues, bloating... That soy is not a health food! I fed my family tofu, soy drinks, soy soy soy soy. Soy is big business. Not health business. Soy has a high concentration of phytates. These substances are found in grains as well. They bind to minerals and don't allow absorption. Soy robs you of nutrition. I am still working to undo the damage I did to my family with all the soy.
What are the most important vitamins and how can we get them?
All the vitamins are important, in the proper ratio. Taking A without D can cause problems. Quality food will give you much in the way of enzymes, vitamins, minerals. Sadly, due to our farming practices today, our soils are almost devoid of nutrients. I used to say eat right and you don't need to supplement. I have had to retract that statement. When supplementing it is important to be an awake consumer. Cheap vitamins are not good and good vitamins are not cheap. Look first for a supplement that doesn't use cyanocobalamin in it. This is a cheap form of B12 using cyanide which your body must detox. If a company is willing to go cheap here, it calls everything into question.
Tell me a little about the food we find in the grocery store
I have only one recommendation here. Watch the movie FOOD, inc. Amazon has it on download for .99 right now. Then call me for sources of good food. I rarely go to the grocery store anymore. (*Interjecting to say Food, Inc. is nominated for an Oscar this year. One worth checking out!)
What about fast food?
AAAAAggghhhhh! Watch FOOD, inc! Or read Fast Food Nation
If you had a serious sweet tooth, what would you eat?
I use Stevia, honey, molasses and pure maple syrup. I don't get cravings for sugar anymore. This used to be such a bad problem with me that I would consume a whole jar of Mrs. Richardson's chocolate fudge sauce or a can of sweetened condensed milk. Can you imagine? I was the worst! The poster child for hideous diet.
How can a young mom with work and kids and house and husband possibly hope to find time to nourish herself? What advice can you give her?
The transition is hard. We are so used to grabbing a pop tart or putting chips in with a sandwich. We have to change the way we think about meals and cooking. There really is no way around it. Some use one day a week to make enough to have a base all week to add to. I really believe starting as soon as you get up thinking about dinner is the key. I put the crock pot on with just beef bones in it sometimes, not having any idea what to make later. The smell will jazz me up enough to finish a soup off at 5 pm.
I think when a mom starts to feel better she has a little more energy to think and prepare. We are a sick nation and we have been so long this way that we don't even know what feeling good is anymore. I know when I am "off my feed" as my farmer uncle used to say, I can't think of one thing to make for dinner. I only want to lay on the couch.
We need to shake it up and that is hard to do if we don't' have energy.
Energy gives birth to inspiration.
Breakfast for instance. Eggs are great but we get sick of eggs every morning. I was recently at a Weston Price conference and they served a rich homemade beef broth with every breakfast. It was so good, so warming and we found we were not a bit hungry, didn't even want coffee or tea. We weren't dragging like most conferences we attend. I have started to heat broth in the morning when I have it. I made brussel sprouts yesterday, ha ha. That didn't go over well! But they will have a little broth.
Still, after all these years my son will come home, open a refrigerator full of apples, home-made yogurt, celery, good cheese.. and say, "We never have anything to eat." Real food is easier after you get used to it. And so much cheaper. I had to change my thinking on food and make it art so I didn't resent cooking and preparing. After years of changing this thinking pattern I can tell you I love cooking. I look forward to it every day.
I started by making a plate for my kids and have it on the counter when they came home from school. If I didn't have anything they would open the cabinet and complain about how they can eat dried beans ya ya ya. I cut up fruits and vegetables and while they are eating that, I pop organic popcorn for them in coconut oil with tons of butter poured on top (butter is a healthy fat!). Or I might put a mild hummus on pita chips. If they get the carb first they won’t eat the fresh veggie. If the fruit and veg tray is all they see they gobble it up! I lie and use tricks. I am a mother with a mission. "Eat this raisin and you can have a piece of chocolate (not a candy bar but a piece of chocolate the size of a quarter).
My two-year old granddaughter actually ASKS for cod liver oil so she can get that little piece of chocolate every day. It can be done. It takes firm resolve to nourish your family. To seek their greater good. I don't keep non-foods in the house other than bribe food. No chips, no pop, no juice boxes, no snacks. I keep real food.
Use ear plugs. They'll get over it eventually if you don't give in. When you see the drop in doctor bills, grocery bills, it will spur you on.
How can I get my kids to eat/drink healthy? What about my bread-addicted husband?
Husbands are another matter. Adults have to be enlightened. I do think that healthy food has been so poorly prepared for so long most husbands rebel for good reason. Real food can taste good with a little bit of effort.
The bread-addicted among us. This is usually a candida issue gone-wild. Candida is a tenacious yeast/fungus that will cause a person to crave what it needs to survive to the exclusion of good food. Carbohydrates like breads, pastries, candy, break down into simple, non-nutritive sugars quickly and feed the candida, Candida wants to live. If you start starving the organism by eating food the way God made it, candida will rebel and howel all the more for its food; white flour and sugar. It takes some discipline to force your palate into a new direction. When I was breaking my sugar addiction the thought of fruit or vegetable was repulsive to me. I had to literally gag it down for weeks.
Tomorrow I will post the FUN questions I asked Chris, which I think are equally as enlightening.
Have questions for Chris? I'm betting she'll answer. Post them in the comments section and let's talk about natural health!
ETA: Come back tomorrow for a very healthy, very EASY recipe any cook (even me!) can make! :)