10 things I learned about balance from an herbalist turned MD

Simple tips to heal our bodies and gain physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Eat berries for your healthEast meets west in Life Is Your Best Medicine, following the story of an alternative herbalist turned certified MD on her path to attain optimal health and happiness. Tieraona Low Dog takes us on her intrepid life journey filled with valuable teachings surrounding integrative medicine. Her practice is built on science-based medical examinations as much as it is listening to patients’ worries, daily struggles, and their lifestyle choices. With over 30 publications to her credit, Dr. Low Dog is determined to break down the divide between modern medicine and ancient healing methods in an effort to unite both worlds.

Even though medical science has made tremendous strides, 50 percent of Americans are still plagued with chronic illnesses and here in Canada we’re in a similar state. It’s clear that much of our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is engrained in the choices we make. With this guide, women of any age can heal their bodies simply by studying the ABC’s of life.

Keep reading to discover the 10 most important takeaways on life being your best medicine:

1. Don’t forget to breath. Our lives today are so hurried and filled with stress we literally forget to breath. Mastering a slow, soothing, deep breath not only helps alleviate stress but can also guide us through child birth, calm us from an upsetting fight, and most of all, allows our mind to focus on the present.

2. Follow a Mediterranean diet. Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, the Mediterranean diet is comprised mainly of colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats – all foods that can be found when shopping the perimeter of your grocery store.

3. Movement is key. The human body was designed to walk, jump, twist, turn, run, stretch and dance. Yet, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 19 percent of adults 18 years and older meet the daily recommendations for physical activity. Healthy bodies are necessary for healthy minds so let’s start moving before we lose both.

4. Supplement with vitamins, minerals and omega-3’s. In addition to making good food choices and regular physical activity, it’s important to ensure your body is receiving plenty of nutrients and minerals to function properly. If you’re low in a particular vitamin or mineral, eating foods rich in that vitamin/mineral is a good idea in addition to supplementing with capsules.

5. Before taking prescriptions, go herbal. Dr. Low Dog says that many of life’s common ailments including headaches, colds and allergies can be remedied with herbal supplements. So, next time you feel a headache coming on try eating some ginger before flooding your body with prescription drugs.

6. Get your zzzzz’s. We’ve all heard the studies, and yes, you should be getting your eight hours every night, but what’s a girl to do when she can’t shut her brain off? Try a warm bath, sleep in comfortable clothes, spray pillows with lavender or jasmine oil, and don’t forget to start dimming the lights and shutting down all technology two hours before bedtime.

7. Savour sensory experiences. Touch, taste, sight, smell and sound are all sensory experiences we take for granted. Often times we are experiencing multiple senses simultaneously and go through sensory overload. This causes “noise” and sends our mind into a tailspin – yikes! Take time to experience each sense by itself by indulging in a relaxing massage, a satiating meal, or listen to the sounds of your favourite musician.

8. Be one with nature. Go outside. Experience what nature has to offer: fresh air, lush trees, and beautiful flowers. Our everyday routines don’t allow for much time outdoors since we tend to move from our sedentary desk jobs to sitting in a car to relaxing on the couch.

9. Laugh out loud. LOL doesn’t count. The old adage “laughter is the best medicine,” rings true. When we laugh, dopamine, the neurotransmitter of pleasure, is released – those feel good transmitters light up in our brain proving that these positive signals not only ease our mood, but improve our health too.

10. Pursue your own medicine path. Above all else, listen to your body. You are your first alarm in sensing if something is off or doesn’t feel quite right.

Life is Your Best Medicine

Photo: Random House Canada













Life is Your Best Medicine, $30, Random House, available now.

Have you recently journeyed through your own medicine path? What  discoveries did you find?

Get Chatelaine in your inbox!

Our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers. Delivered a couple of times a week.