Finding Your Way - Through Your Why ™

Category: Health & Wellness

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Five Books that Impacted my Self Development the Most

What is the difference between education and learning? Education is the process of being told what one needs to learn through the perspectives of society. Learning can be self-directed and often driven through the ambitions of the individual. It is often far more beneficial to the growth of the individual that they are empowered to seek learning and knowledge into aspects of life that most interest them. That was certainly the case in my life. I didn’t enjoy being “educated” in school. I much prefer to seek out information in life that intrigues me. There are certain aspects of life we need base education in, but I would much rather seek the learning that inspires and motivates me. With that in mind, here are the five books that impacted my self development the most in my life.

The Law of Attraction – How Life Works

In 2006 I came across the now renowned and infamous book, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. In this book the author speaks to her discovery of how the non-physical aspect of life works in conjunction to our thoughts.

Deep within I could feel this truth. At the time I was 26 years old and had begun successfully putting my life in order.

It was through the realization that our thoughts are connected energetically through our physical reality that hit home to me. The mind is truly more powerful than given credit for. It isn’t just responsible for intellectual intelligence and the functions of our body, it also acts as like a software program for the hardware of our lives. What we think and believe, eventually manifests itself into existence over time. Sometimes faster and othertimes times longer, but without a doubt we are programming our realities through each thought.

The Law of Attraction is real in my life and I’ve witnessed its authenticity so many times. As I often say, your truth will come through your own experiences.

Belief of a Higher Power – Or Not?

Shortly after discovering “The Secret” I began wondering more about the significance of a higher power. Does God exist? If so, what exactly is God’s purpose?

Did God just create us and then take a back seat in our lives, or is God more active in our everyday lives?

These are questions that we likely may not be able to 100% answer, but the point in asking them in my opinion is necessary.

In the book “Is Belief in God, Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?” – the lead singer Gregg Graffin, of Bad Religion, and his friend Preston Jones debate the terms of “God” and other religious aspects of life, their relevancy, and other big questions that many people ask.

This was one of the books that impacted my self development the most because it put into focus front and center, that our belief system doesn’t necessary matter. It opened my perspective to “Naturalism” and wanting to know more about “Universal Law.”

Non-Believer to Believer

Reading “Is Belief in God Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?” led me to “Proof of Heaven” from Eben Alexander.

The author is a neurosurgeon that was an atheist until he had a near death experience during a coma and bout with Meningitis.

While in his coma, he remembered specific awe-inspiring details of being reunited with his sister in the afterlife.

Eben Alexander awoke from his medically induced coma with a brand new “truth.” He had experienced the very real aspect of his spirt or consciousness leaving his body for a period of time. This differed in specific ways from a dream.

Because of this book, I began wanting to understand more about the non-physical aspects of life. What is the spirit? What is consciousness? Do either of these exist once the physical body ceases to exist? These are questions that demand more exploration.

Out of Body Experiences – Not a Myth

What Eben Alexander was experiencing during his coma was and OBE or “out of body experience.” People that have “near death” experiences often experience OBE’s. However, they are still very much alive, just not always in the physical sense. It is beginning to become more clear, that when the body dies, life continues. Just not in the way we are accustomed to.

In “Journeys Out of the Body,” Robert Monroe tells the story of his experiences of being able to “view” life while not “in” his body. Bare with me here…

This is not a new concept. During the Cold War, the CIA recruited “Mind Readers” to spy on the Soviets. The CIA declassified 12 million pages of records. The reveal from the CIA speaks to previously unknown details about a program, which eventually became known as Project Star Gate. The program was shut down in 1995. But the study revealed how psychics known as “remote viewers” took part in a variety of operations, from locating terrorists to helping free hostages.

This book led me to study how we get our minds and bodies into a meditative state that allows the consciousness to “experience” life in real time outside of the body. Through these practices, I have been able to discover the very real truth that our life extends beyond the physical realm we see each day.

Being Healthy in the Here and Now

Although there is much more to life than just the physical, we still need to tend to “our capsules” we refer to as bodies. Of all the books that impacted my self development, this one made the most impact in my health.

In “Super Human,” David Asprey brings attention to how important healthy functioning mitochondria are in our bodies. All the physical aspects of our bodies rely on healthy cells.

For all the attention we place on the outside image of our body, we neglect the internal workings. Much of the degeneration that occurs as we age is due to the cellular breakdown we endure. However, there are many natural supplements that aid our different cells in slowing the break down that occurs as our bodies get older.

When we learn how to supplement and eat a more balanced diet, we can begin to “age backwards” or slow the aging process. David has a life goal of living to be 160! In this book, he speaks to the many different tactics that can be put into place in practical ways.

With proper health, supplements, and modern science, the only thing that keeps us from living vibrantly past 100 is typically our belief and mindset.

Let Your Intuition Guide You

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We each are walking our own path and journey in life. The books that impacted my self development might not be the ones that you need the most to impact yours. The key in our individual journey’s are to pause and reflect with our intuition. Where does your intrigue lead you? What topics in life inspire you to learn more about?

So many people are simply “moving through” life. They often don’t pause to discover needed personal awakenings. When you do pause and generate the questions you seek, pay attention to what life puts in front of you. That is how it has worked for me. One discovery leads to the next, and then the next, and before you know it you’re well on your way to finding your specific answers.

What has been your path? What self-awakenings and discoveries have you had? Which of these left the biggest lasting impacts in your life?

I’d love to hear from you and your experiences in personal awakenings and self discoveries. All of us walk different paths, but all our paths are unique and beautiful in their own ways.

Let your intuition continue to be your life guide…if you pay attention, you will see it is taking you to the discoveries you need for your own personal awakenings.

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The Effects of Excitotoxins on Our Brains

How would you respond if someone told you chemicals you consume are causing physical and mental damage to your brain and body? What if you knew that these chemicals were affecting your children’s nervous systems and emotional development? Would you continue to consume these chemicals if you found they could cause and exacerbate conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Austism, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS? Paying attention to what we put in our bodies is important not only for physical health, but mental health as well. This post will detail the effects of excitotoxins on our brains, and thus the connection and impact to the body.

What we don’t know about Excitotoxins

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Not many people have heard of the term “excitotoxins,” let alone know their effect in our lives. However, most of us have heard the saying “we become what we eat.” Excitotoxins are additives in food and drink such as artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is a taste enhancer that has been added to food in the U.S. since after World War II. Few suspected that “taste additive,” would cause any harm in humans, but by the end of the 1960’s, research data had begun to surface dictating the harm in the human body. Until this time, neuroscientists had believed that glutamate supplied the brain with energy.

Upon the learnings of the harm of MSG, food producers began adding a substance known as “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” instead of pure MSG. However this substance is proving to be even more dangerous than MSG, as it contains even more excitotoxins (glutamate, aspartate, and cysteic acid) in addition to added MSG.

A test in 1957, conducted by Lucas and Newhouse, tested MSG on infant mice. When they examined the eye tissue of the mice, they discovered that MSG had destroyed all the nerve cells within the inner layers of the retina. Ten years later, Dr. John W. Olney, a neuroscientist, also discovered that MSG destroyed parts of the brain in the hypothalamus after only a single dose. Despite the discovery, MSG as well as other artificial sweeteners continued to be added to food, cookbooks, and even recipes for baby food.

More and more diseases of the nervous system such as brain damage, seizures, and migraine headaches, are being linked back to excitotoxin build up in the brain.

How Excitotoxins Work

Excitotoxins such as MSG, NatruSweet, and aspartame increase the natural levels of glutamate and aspartate found in our brain and spinal cord. When these levels rise above natural levels, they become deadly toxins to the neurons in our brains and body.

These neurons then become extremely “excited” and if provided in large enough doses, the neurons can degenerate and die.

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As these neurons break down, a destructive chain reaction process begins. Particles, known as “free radicals,” begin to form that damage everything they come in contact with. Our cells and genes within our body begin to be attacked and broken down from these free radicals.

The Effects of Excitotoxins on Babies

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The developing brain is one of the most sensitive and vulnerable of all the organs. While the baby is still in the uterus, it is facing the greatest levels of sensitivity.

The undeveloped enzymes that protect the developing brain are not yet in place while the child is in utero.

Could this be some of the cause of learning disorders such as autism and other psychological problems?

Based on experimental studies in animals, it can be assumed that when pregnant women eat and drink foods such as MSG, hydrolyzed vegatable protein, and other excitotoxins, they are passing potential risk onto the developing brain of their child that can last into its adolescence.

Testing and the FDA Argument

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There are many contradictions in the testing involving of effects of aspartame and other excitotoxins. Before the official approval from the FDA in 1981 to allow aspartame in food and drinks, studies by companies such as NutraSweet aimed to prove there were no considerable harmful effects of aspartame in humans.

One such study conducted by NutraSweet, G.D. Searle, studied the effects in rats. 320 rats were fed a diet containing aspartame and 120 rats were fed a normal diet and used as the control. The results showed 12 of the aspartame fed rats developed brain tumors while none of the control rats did. This represented a 3.75% increase of brain tumors in the rats fed aspartame, which was 25x higher than the incidence of random brain tumors developing in rats. The test divided the rats receiving an aspartame diet into “low dose” and “high dose” groups. In the low dose group, five rats developed brain tumors. In the high dose group seven rats developed brain tumors. This showed the higher the dose of aspartame, the better the chance of brain tumors in rats.

When Dr. John Olney pointed the FDA to the test findings, he was told that the high incidents of tumors in the rats were the results of “spontaneous” development of brain tumors. The same way that humans randomly develop brain tumors.

Dr. Olney reviewed the rate at which rats spontaneously develop brain tumors and found that in seven studies using a total of 59,000 rats, only 0.08% developed brain tumors. The aspartame fed rats had a 47% higher incidence rate.

In 1975, the drug enforcement division of the Bureau of Foods investigated the NutraSweet G.D. Searle subsequent testing. It found “apparent irregularities in data collection and reporting practices.” The director of the FDA at the time stated that they found “sloppy” laboratory techniques and “clerical errors, mixed-up rats, rats not getting the drugs there are supposed to get, pathological specimens lost because of a variety of other errors – all to conspire to obscure positive findings and produce falsely negative results.”

It appears, understandably so, that NutraSweet was desperately working to protect their potential billion dollar payoff and ensure that the FDA gave them positive approval to sell to the market.

While these tests don’t 100% prove that aspartame causes brain tumors in humans, it is interesting to note that from 1973 to 1990 brain tumors in people over the age of six-five have increased 67%.

Conclusion on Excitotoxins

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When MSG and other excitotoxins were first being added to foods for taste enhancements, glutamate receptors in the brain had not been discovered or fully understood. It was not known or understood that side effects could cause the death of brain cells.

Just as the market within the United States was becoming more health conscious, companies like NutraSweet were aiming to bring sugar substitutes into the markets. It was perfect timing. Americans and many others around the world began throwing back sodas they believed to be healthier with sugar substitutes rather than actual sugar. It wasn’t until later in time with more research, the harmful effects of MSG, aspartame, and other excitotoxins began to become known.

We live in a world in which there are so many contradictions and “pay to play” deals. It can often become hard to distinguish fact from fiction and right from wrong.

I have learned one thing in my self-discovery and search for truth and meaning in life – there is often so much more than lies beneath the surface. We need to do our own research and form our own conclusions. Much of the content of this post was pulled from the book “Excitotoxins – The Taste that Kills.” For much more insight, I highly recommend reading the book.

I believe the research shows the effects of excitotoxins on our brains has a far more harmful impact than what most major institutions want us to know.

Feel free to make your own conclusions upon doing your own research.

Please feel free to drop a comment, ask a question, or offer your perspective. There is much to gain from some “healthy” dialog in relation to this topic.

For now, please think twice before you reach for that diet soda or the “Equal” sugar substitute for your coffee. Your brain and your body will thank you in the long run.

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