Let’s face it. Health information is confusing. One day a study comes out and says one thing, two months later, something else. The supplemental calcium they were telling you to take in high doses last year, is implicated in increases in heart disease this year. Fit, long distance runners drop dead at 55, smokers and drinkers live ‘til 100. Organic, not organic? Whole grains were great in the 70’s now they are poison….It’s all so nonsensical.

As a human trying to live a healthy life, and do the best for your children and spouses/partner, and as young alternative healthcare practitioners trying to do best for our clients/patients, we find ourselves running from one health fad, to another. They all sound very convincing, seem to have research behind it, but wait, last decade it was candida messing up our digestion, the next it’s food allergies, now it’s gluten, although it’s morphing back into the bad critters with the emergence of small intestine overgrowth syndrome… AAAAAARRRRGGGHHHH.

Put down the supplement bottle, back away from the “Smart Energetic Waters”. It’s time to get back to some common sense. I recommend that you stop letting the marketing folks determine what you put in your mouth, and how you live your life. Even the marketing folks that disguise themselves as scientists or “natural” health folks. As someone who is interested in health, who loves nature, and wants to live a sustainable life, it’s time for you to take control and use your heart and mind.

One day a few years ago, I was preparing for a job interview. I wanted to define who I was and what my beliefs were, so that I could present myself honestly. Because I’m a physician, part of this exercise involved me defining what my idea of “health” was. I reflected on all of the patients I worked with, all of the discussions I’ve had with colleagues and students about this subject, my naturopathic philosophy, my understanding of nature and ecosystems. But really, in the end it came down to my grandmother.

My grandmother, Blanche Bennett, who lived 103 years, and was vital ‘til an ER doc punctured her lung. My grandmother, never knowingly ate a “health food”, never “worked out”, snored like a bear, had a non-optimal BMI and cholesterol levels, ate milk chocolate, hated dark chocolate and partook of cocktail hour (Southern Comfort) frequently. Yet she had the memory of an elephant, and the grip of a longshoreman ‘til the day she passed. She had love, sleep and poop in her life. In the future, I’ll share some stories about Grandma Bennett, and maybe Grandma and Grandpa Welliver, too, but for now, Love Sleep and Poop (LSP).

And that’s what it comes down to: Love, Sleep and Poop. The beauty of LSP is that it can be taken simply at the literal level (do you have love in your life, are you sleeping and pooping?) or developed more holistically. “Love” can represent nourishment on all levels, “Sleep” can be restoration on all levels, and “Poop” is discharge/detoxification on all levels. This paradigm grew out of the last 20 or so years of practicing and teaching naturopathic medicine, and reflecting on grandma. When I analyzed what it took to regain and then maintain health, it really came down to these three things!

I encourage you to reflect on your life. Is there love in your life? Love for yourself? For the unique and essential being that you are on this beautiful planet. What is the quality of your relationships? Do you give people a chance to know you, to love you? Do you love them, and joyfully come from a place of service, blessing, and gratitude in your interactions? Do you celebrate and appreciate them for who they are? Do you celebrate? Celebration is an act of the love of life! Does your life have meaning. Living out meaning in life is an act of celebration. Without love, celebration, meaning, it is difficult to maintain good health.

How about sleep? Restoration on all levels. We heal in parasympathetic mode. When we sleep we heal. When we relax, we are capable of healing. We do not have time to heal in “flight or fight” or sympathetic mode. Most of us live our day to day life running. That’s why good sleep is so important. Do you sleep 8-10 hours each night? Do you allow for rest during the day? Smiling, laughing, acts of love and compassion, meditation, love making, good food, all of these can put us into parasympathetic mode.

Poop. Discharge on all levels. Are you constipated, do you poop everyday? This is fundamental. Also, do you drink water, and urinate frequently. Do you sweat? Are your menstrual periods regular with a good flow? Everything that comes out from your body is a route of detoxification. Many of us “natural” folk want to “do” detoxes. Please realize that your body is detoxing every moment of your life. If you live naturally, there is no reason to “do” detoxes. We’ll discuss this topic in another blog when I talk about German Biological/Functional Medicine.

So those are the basics of love, sleep and poop. Next week, we’ll go more in depth about the love aspect. Have a great week! Here’s an exercise that hopefully will cause you to grin. In the morning look in the mirror and smile, notice how you feel when you smile, looking at yourself. Think about that, and smile often!!