“Half the population of the industrialized countries has a magnesium deficit, which increases with aging. If normal or even higher levels of magnesium can be maintained, we may be able to significantly slow age-related loss of cognitive function and perhaps prevent or treat diseases that affect cognitive function.” -Guosong Liu, director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Alcohol does so much damage to our systems. Isn't it enough that we're aging?
Let's start with two things. Drinking alcohol interferes with our sleep and depletes our magnesium levels. There are p-lenty of studies that support these two facts. If you are, or were, a drinker, you know about the sleep issues. You may or may not be aware that drinking alcohol flushes your magnesium right down the toilet. It does.
Here are just a few reasons you need magnesium:
"Magnesium is an essential element found in some fruits, spinach, and other dark leafy greens. It is known to be important for the immune system. Consume less than 400 milligrams a day and you may be at greater risk for allergies, asthma and heart disease." -Nutritional Magnesium
I learned about Magnesium L-threonate a few months ago when I was reading about undiagnosed adult women on the autism scale. I was gabbing with an old friend who is a psychiatrist and he told me that he'd just been to a conference where a doctor from the Perelman School at Penn had given a presentation on treatment options for adults with autism. Those treatment options included the supplements NAC and Magnesium L-threonate.
There it is again, I thought. Magnesium.
Magnesium L-threonate is a new kid on the block. Developed by a scientist at UCLA, it is easily absorbed, readily crossing the blood-brain barrier, aids with memory and other brain functions and is currently being explored for Alzheimer's treatment.
Finally, there is nothing like a bath in Epsom Salts. More magnesium! Magnesium Sulfate.
I can't remember the last time I took a bath without Epsom Salts. I like to put a couple of cups in a bowl and then drop in whatever essential oils I might need at the time. Lavender. Eucalyptus. Juniper. Lemon. Depends.
Of course, it's always best to get your vitamins and minerals from real food. Unfortunately, because of our dramatically depleted soil,our plants are deficient in magnesium, too.
Read more about Magnesium and Women's Health.
I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist. I am, however, a life-long health nut trained as a child by two old school health nuts to follow a path of good nutrition, exercise and natural remedies. I research remedies for and experiment with my own health and these are the results I share. What works for me may not work for you. Always check with your doctor first, especially if you take pharmaceuticals, .
You need more sleep.
That's the name of a book on the shelf in my bathroom. It's a bunch of good advice to humans from cats. Plus, it's well written and funny and who doesn't need a good laugh now and then.
A lot of people experience problems sleeping in early recover. I certainly did. It's a problem because we really, really need both sleep and rest in general while we're recovering.
Have you ever been so tired that you cannot sleep? That's how I felt at least through the first ten days without alcohol. Like the walking dead. Though some things would revive me like talking, walking, and activities that forced my lungs into motion.
It did not help the quality or quantity of my sleep that I continued to drink coffee and that I binge watched just about anything on my laptop and iPhone when I climbed into bed. I kept telling myself, one thing at a time. However, my nervous system (amongst other things) needed healing from the coffee and screen time almost as much as the alcohol.
When you decide to go sober, refer to this brief sleep check list to help you get the much needed sleep and rest that your body, mind and soul need to recover.
Things to help you sleep.
Prepare to be brainwashed!
Did you know that, with a good night's sleep, your brain is actually washed? I forget where I first heard that but don't take my word for it, read this NPR article.
I'll bet you've had that common experience of going to bed with a problem and waking up with the solution. Well, that's a perfect example of it all coming out in the wash. The brain wash! (Just writing about it makes me want to conk out right now.)
Allow yourself to fall into dream land. Look forward to it. Breathe deeply and release the weight of the world. It's not your's to carry.
Everything will look different in the morning.
“Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. There are a great many food-like items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food. Stay away from these.”– Michael Pollan
Eat. Real. Food.
Why? Because you are a real human being.
What do I mean by real food? Vegetables and fruit and nuts and, if you eat animals, ones that enjoyed a good life and a good death as far as you can tell. Animals that spent their days outside with plenty of fresh air and sunshine, eating real food like grass (for cows) and all of the other stuff (for chickens).
Shop around the perimeter of your grocery store. Eat loads of vegetables. It's true. They're good for you. If you've been eating plastic colored and flavored with chemicals and highly processed sugar, vegetables will be an acquired taste. But give them a go. You'll adjust.
Vary your protein and remember the nuts, the beans. If you're eating meat, eat small quantities and not at every meal.
Eat organic whenever possible.
Why? Two good reasons. You will feel better because you'll receive higher nutritional value and fewer toxic chemicals and you will be helping to support people who work hard to preserve the natural ecosystems of the earth that you (and your children and their children, etcetera) need to live and feel good.
Do drink water. I, personally, have been drinking filtered water for decades because I don't exactly know what is happening at the source or in the pipes. I do not drink bottled water because most of it is packaged in plastic which leaks into the water and because the source of the water could easily be (and often is) some city water supply. Also because packaged fluids need to be transported which costs large amounts of oil and gas and rubber and road. The closer to you that your food is grown and your water is sourced, the better.
I'm going into detail on the water thing because I want you to think about your food, the source and the quality of your food. It is a step on the road to regaining consciousness.
That being said, don't become neurotic. If you rummage through a bag of Cheetos once in a while, it is not the end of the world. Still... garbage in, garbage out.
You can worry about specific nutrition, calories and carbs later. Just start eating real food now.
You are healing. Your body is designed to integrate with our home, Mother Earth. Our Mother provides us here with all of the yummy nourishment and taste delights we need. Take advantage of it. Eat an organic apple and relish the experience.
Oh, and one more word on the subject: Chew. Masticate, munch, chomp, crunch, savor. Chewing thoroughly is what your teeth and jaws and saliva are designed to do. The rest of your digestive system will thank you.
"If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy. -Thich Nhat Hanh
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
If you want to change your life, chances are that you are not entirely happy with the way your life is going now. So let's take a minute to consider what we have to be grateful for.
I can only speak for myself so I'll begin by saying that I have a lot to be thankful for. There are so many good and wonderful things and people in my life. A lot, if not most (all?) of my problems can be traced to what's happening directly between my ears. I'll be addressing that in more depth at another time.
Also, of course, a lot of my problems stem from the ingesting alcohol and how that affects my thinking and emotions. Finally, I am in a set of habitual negative patterns of thinking.
One sure way to break out of habitual patterns of negative thinking is to stop for a minute and take stock of everything we have to be grateful for.
Here's a quick list of what I have to be grateful for today:
Okay. that's a quick list.
Now it's your turn.
I am sort of an expert at changing my life. Since the age of 21, from time to time, I've picked up and moved myself lock, stock and barrel across the country and back again and up and down the coasts and through Europe and the American South. I've seriously changed career course on several occasions.
Way back when I was eighteen or so and at a loss and in between and without guidance, I sat myself down at a giant desk that was parked at the bay windows inside my rented room across from Haverford College. I made a decision that, having no idea how to plan my life or what steps to take next, I would go out and experience life fully, madly, deeply and then settle down and write about it.
Now would be about that time I'd planned to settle down and write.
In my mid-30's, I was out rowing on the Charles in Cambridge one morning. I was miserable and at a loss and confused. I made a decision that, by the end of two years I would be earning my living as a singer and fulfill my duty to the beautiful voice I was born with and realize my true identity as a musical artist. I knew that if I did not act right there and then, I'd be filled with regret at the age of 65.
I did it. By the end of two years I was performing at my first CD release concert. I became a professional performing songwriter, produced five recording projects and toured solo all over the US and Europe. Early on, I discovered that the touring life was not healthy for me so turned to teaching music, drawing and watercolor and freelanced as a visual artist and teacher. I’ve been teaching drawing and watercolor, doing life and creative coaching for the past 21 years.
About six years ago, I went through a situational depression, was prescribed a psychotropic drug which I took against my better judgement and, as a result, started drinking after many, many years sober. I made some less than wise decisions, experienced a series of losses, exceptional stress, problematic eye surgery and other blows. All the sturm und drang of course was colored dark by drinking alcohol too regularly in response to stress which created more stress and mess, I might add.
It also has not helped that I’ve been teaching drawing and watercolor live in a situation that is simply not good for me. I have bent over backwards trying to make it work but at the end of every set of weekly classes, I have felt like I’ve just returned from the front. Emotionally slain. A regular cause for going unconscious.
Of course, there have been high points and successful creative projects throughout these years but overall, I have aged, gained weight and just felt less and less like my optimistic, healthy self. I’ve lost my joie de vivre. I’ve victimized myself with habits of self-criticism, regret, and negative thinking in general. While the world was changing so much that it was becoming unrecognizable, I was, too.
Time for a change.
A dear friend once told me about a visit to her shrink during which she unloaded a ton of problems. When she finished, her shrink looked at her and said, "That's great! Now what are you going to do about it?"
This project, Healing for Recovery is what I am doing about it.
Over the past few years, I've also been teaching live healing courses and am always left feeling elevated, good, thrilled that people have been really, really helped.
I am changing my life again.
Here are some ground rules.
I am making other changes, too. It's confusing and scary because the path is not clear and I am doing a lot of course correction. But change is literally vital.
To err is human. To forgive, divine. The trick is to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes. The solution is to love myself unconditionally. Still working on that but getting better every day.
The temptation is to build this project around sobriety and, certainly, it goes without saying that that is absolutely required. However, there is more to this game than alcohol. I have to embrace autism, too. The common thread is healing.
I'm building this project around healing, evolving and becoming fully conscious. It's going to be great fun and fascinating..
Game on. Come along if you'd like to join me, heal and change your life, too.