While slowly absorbing and incorporating the 20 dietary guidelines recommended by Sally Fallon Morrell and the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) into my life, I always found the final guideline totally astonishing—“Practice Forgiveness.” But isn’t forgiveness related to some form of spiritual or emotional work?
Not that the other 19 guidelines hold any less importance in maintaining optimum health, but I really had to take a second look at number 20. How would practicing forgiveness help me with my latest and greatest batch of bone broth or kefir? Due to my overactive sense of curiosity, I began my quest to find out more. As it turns out, we’d need a book to write down all of the benefits of practicing forgiveness—but hopefully I’ll manage to state the major reasons in this post. And while I’m at it, I’ll include the other 19 guidelines that Sally engineered into easy, commonsense steps that can lead us to a truly vibrant lifestyle.
Before we go any further, let me define the actions of these two individual words.
- Practice: To do something regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life.
- Forgiveness: To cease blame and resentment.
As long as we blame ourselves or someone else, we’ll be angry and resentful. We desire to punish, get even, or even hurt ourselves or others. What we get in return is the onset of disease—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But once we give up blaming and forgive instead, we relieve some of the pressure we’re under, and that can be life-giving.
Yes, that’s the promise of forgiveness!
The Negative Impact on Our Physical Health
Holding an unforgiving or blaming attitude toward ourselves or others—or even political, religious, or commercial institutions—poses a serious stress on our health. Left to fester, it can eventually transfer into the body as disease. Those feelings, even if we are not totally conscious of them, can lead to numerous issues, including hormone imbalance and a depletion of the brain chemicals we require to feel happiness. Such negative feelings not only have a damaging impact on our immune system but are also associated with cardiovascular disease and even a decreased lifespan. Is blame and resentment really worth all that?
An Interesting Study
The attitude of forgiveness means accepting a negative circumstance and relinquishing negative feelings surrounding the event. This can be learned, and it can lead us to better mental, emotional, and physical health. Over six weeks, the Stanford Forgiveness Project trained 260 adults in forgiveness. As reported here, the results showed that 70 percent of participants reported a decrease in their feelings of hurt; 13 percent experienced reduced anger; and 27 percent experienced fewer physical complains (for example, pain, and gastrointestinal upset).
Other studies have shown that forgiveness has more than just a metaphorical effect on the heart; it can actually lower our blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
Some Suggestions from Larry Welsh, MAc., MA
I recently heard Larry Welsh speak at a Standard Process seminar, and I thought his input regarding the heart was exceptional. In relation to the need to forgive, Larry tells us that in the tradition of Chinese medicine, health and wellbeing arises from cultivating the free flow of our vital life force—our chi. Chi flows through our whole body, mind, and spirit, providing nourishment and warmth. The free flow of chi fortifies our health. When our life force becomes stagnant because of chronic stress, characterized by emotions that stay too long, we experience illness in body, mind, and spirit. As some say, the body is the house of our emotions. In this day and age, it’s essential for human beings to learn how to relax the body and mind on a daily basis, in each moment. Disciplines like t’ai chi ch’uan, yoga, centering prayer, and mindfulness-based practices bring body and mind together on the dot, and they can lead each of us to the self-empowerment of knowing how to let go and relax, transforming stress into intrinsic health.
My own personal method of practicing forgiveness and enhancing my health perspective can be found at my website, The Traditional Cook.
Now let’s take a look at the 19 other guidelines recommended by Nourishing Traditions and WAPF. If we make a concerted effort every day to include number 20 and practice forgiveness, we can also improve the odds that the other 19 guidelines will make a serious difference in our lives.
I visually demonstrate many of the following guidelines in my Cook Your Way to Wellness DVD and booklet.
- Eat whole, natural foods.
- Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do.
- Eat naturally raised meat, including fish, seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, game, organ meats, and eggs.
- Eat whole, naturally produced milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as whole yogurt, cultured butter, whole cheeses, and fresh sour cream.
- Use only traditional fats and oils, including butter and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame and flax oil, and the tropical oils—coconut and palm.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, in salads and soups or lightly steamed.
- Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting, or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients.
- Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, and condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
- Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb, or fish and use liberally in soups and sauces.
- Use herb teas and coffee substitutes in moderation.
- Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
- Use unrefined Celtic sea salt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
- Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and expeller expressed flax oil.
- Use natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice, and stevia powder in moderation.
- Use only unpasteurized wine or beer, in strict moderation, with meals.
- Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass, or good quality enamel.
- Use only natural supplements.
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and natural light.
- Think positive thoughts and minimize stress.
- Practice forgiveness.
Editors Note: In SRP’s opinion, the following additions to the guidelines will provide even higher quality nutrition:
11. Use spring water or filtered water for cooking and drinking.
17. Use only whole-food supplements. (The Traditional Cook recommends supplements from Standard Process.)
Photo from iStock/GlobalStock