This is your body talking. Hello? Hello?

This is your body talking. Hello? Hello?


Last week, when I stopped in to get a book at my l local independent book store, the owner was there. We talked for a minute about the book (Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life—a wonderful book!) and the discussion group I was joining; we talked about my horses (as I brushed hay off my sweatshirt). At one point, she mentioned she’d been under the weather for a couple of weeks. Her sinuses has really been giving her fits. She’d recently been to the doctor, who admitted to having no idea what was causing the problem; nevertheless, he’d suggested surgery.

The surgery involved scraping the sinus cavities. It might give her some relief, but then again it might not. And even if it did, there was no guarantee that the problem wouldn’t return.

She had initially been very skeptical about the surgery, had passed on the suggestion, but now she was having second thoughts. She was going back to the doctor that afternoon.

I found it interesting that she was sharing this with me. Although I have taught a couple of workshops in her store, we don’t know each other well. And this was pretty personal stuff. I could have just said I was sorry she was in pain and wished her well, but anyone who knows me knows that’s not my way. And I was especially concerned because she was in such discomfort that it seemed she might be seriously reconsidering the surgery.

So I asked if she had considered removing dairy products from her diet. She seemed puzzled by the question. I told her that I, too, used to suffer from debilitating sinus pain, but that a friend of my sister’s had suggested I cut out dairy just for a couple of weeks, to see what happened. Voila! No more sinus problems. That was 15 years ago.

I told her that if removing dairy solved the problem, she could add it back into her diet once a week in small amounts if giving up dairy made her feel deprived.

“Give up dairy?” she said. “I don’t know . . . .”

I told her that we crave those foods we’re allergic to. I don’t understand the science, but that’s the claim. And I told her that a huge number of people are allergic to cow’s milk. It’s not at all uncommon. (And I’m talking about allergy, not lactose intolerance.)

I told her about almond cheese and rice cheese (and to stay away from soy cheese). She was happy to hear that almond cheese melts well. For a minute, she seemed to be coming around.

But she still wasn’t sure.

OK, now here’s the kicker: She told me that when she eats real cheese, dairy cheese, her stomach always blows up like a balloon. She held her hands three or four inches away from her stomach to make her point.

Well, there you have it, I thought. But, no, she still wasn’t sure.

And then, because other customers were coming up to the counter, I said goodbye and left with my new book.  My parting words to her were these:

Your body knows. Listen to your body.

A few days later, I saw her in the grocery store. (Interesting because in the five years that I have known her we have never run into each other in the grocery store.) I said hi. She said hi. She didn’t mention the doctor’s visit. She didn’t say anything about giving up dairy for a little while. It was as though our previous conversation had never happened. I wondered when she’d scheduled the surgery.



My mom had a malignant tumor removed from one of her breasts this spring.

She used to be very health conscious. She and her husband and my brother moved to the country when the other children had left home. My mom had a gigantic organic garden; goats, whose milk she made cheese and yogurt from; chickens, who were fed vegetable scraps in addition to chicken feed and were allowed freedom to scratch for bugs during the day; and one steer at a time that they raised for meat. She also baked her own bread (whole grain) and canned many of her vegetables.

But when my stepfather and brother were killed in a fire one Sunday morning 20- some years ago, she gave all of that up. She started eating processed foods, commercial baked goods, lots of trans fats, lots of sugar. She didn’t gain weight; maybe that’s how she convinced herself she was healthy.

But she had to have knee surgery and then a quadruple bypass. She started having a lot of pain in her lower back and legs. Her balance isn’t very good, so she can’t take the long walks she used to take. She’s 84 now, so she likes to blame age for the problems. But the bypass surgery was 10 years ago; the knee surgery was well before that. And her diet just keeps getting worse.

A few years ago, she developed a persistent cough. And she was forever clearing her throat. She blamed this on a tube that was put down her throat during the bypass although no damage was ever confirmed.

When I learned about proper food combining (, I shared the information with her. The plan is based on the fact that certain foods can’t be eaten together because they won’t digest efficiently. The result is an acidic pH, which can contribute to a lengthy list of health issues, including cancer.

I had been following the plan for about a year (it’s not a diet; you can eat what you want and as much as you want), and I had experienced the positive results. I explained to my mom that the coughing was a result of the mucous being created from all of the acid in her system. The doctor gave her a prescription for drugs, which she didn’t want to take. So she tried the plan.

The cough disappeared in one day. One day.

But after a week, she started drinking coffee again and having a glass of wine in the evening, and then she added a muffin in the morning, a cookie in the afternoon (all acid producing), and she combined her foods in such a way that created even more acid.

And the cough came back.

I reminded her that the cough was the result of excess acid in her system.

I reminded her that tumors cannot live in an alkaline environment; they can only live and thrive in an acidic environment.

I assured her that after a couple of weeks on the eating plan she would no longer crave the processed foods that were making her ill.

I reminded her that she had asked for my help.

But she refused to listen me. Worse, she refused to listen to her body.

I don’t understand this.


Our bodies are stunningly intelligent. Are you listening?





If you have received this post via email, just click on the title to respond. I hope you will be moved to share your thoughts.







8 Replies to “This is your body talking. Hello? Hello?”

  1. Great post, Pam. In some ways, I’m guilty of similar behavior, although I do try to keep my transgressions to minimal amounts and frequencies. However, I see this sort of thing all day, every day at work. It boggles the mind …. But it is just not a life priority for some people.

  2. And yet they are coming to you for assistance with making their lives better . . .

    I am guilty of this as well, of course. I think it boils down to the human fear of change. Each of us fears change for a different reason. I think it’s beneficial to examine those fears in ourselves.

  3. Well, that is true, sort of. But when the diabetic walks into the office in kidney failure with a diet soda and McDonald’s bag in her hands, a chiropractic adjustment, is .. well, to be blunt, like pissing in the ocean. Many patients come in just for pain relief, without making the commitment to change their life, and health, for the better. They continue with the same lifestyle choices that brought them there in the first place!

  4. This is an excellent blog post, as usual. Pam, I am so sorry that your Mom is making some less than optimal choices, and can empathize with how distressing that can be to you. Thanks for sharing the stories, and what you have learned on dietary effects on health. By the way, a very profound saying crossed my path yesterday and I thought of you when I read it. It was on a sign in front of a church, and said “Each day is a gift. That is why it is called the present”.

    1. Thank you for reading, Jeanie.

      I’ve seen that quote; it’s a good one. Thank you for thinking of me 🙂

      I think it’s true that when we get upset with someone else’s behavior, we’re really upset with something out of alignment in ourselves. So I’m going to be spending some time looking at that.

  5. This is an interesting post. My belief is that, unfortunately, a person’s first plan of action is to search for some external cause to blame for any sort of problem, whether it be physical health, financial, emotional, or otherwise. It is very possible that the majority of people in our lives – those who come to us asking for help and then do not take our suggestions, or who do and then fall away again – are searching for that easy solution that makes it “not their fault,” “out of their control,” etc. You are fortunate, Pam, to be able to recognize when something is out of alignment internally and to be blessed with the drive to change it; many people are still struggling with that sense of responsibility and initiative to fix themselves. Thanks for sharing these stories; they really make you think!

    1. Thank you, Rachel. I agree with you completely, that humans tend to look outside themselves for answers–and to place blame. This is a profound observation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *