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S2 EP216 – Secrets to Excellent Health

Episode Summary

Confused about what to eat? Do you find yourself resisting or procrastinating taking loving care of yourself? Are you oblivious of the physical and emotional effects of food in your body? Do you eat well and exercise, yet still find yourself lacking the health and vitality you want? 


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding Podcast. Today I’m talking about one of my favorite topics, which is what you need to do to have excellent health and fitness.

I was speaking with a friend recently who told me he had just had a biopsy for prostate cancer. My friend, who I will call Joe, said, “Not a big deal. This is just typical for men my age.” Joe is in his 70’s. “Joe,” I said, “Was this typical for men your age when you were growing up?” “Come to think of it,” he said, “I didn’t know any men my age who had prostate cancer.” “Right,” I said, “I didn’t either. So it’s typical today due to the toxicity in our food, our air, and our water.” “Oh,” he said, “I think you’re right.” I care about him, and I’ve been speaking with him on and off for years about eating better whenever he’s asked me questions about it. But I don’t think he’s done much to change his lifestyle. Maybe now he will.

It’s obvious to most of us that heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s have skyrocket in the last 50 years. Again, hardly anyone I knew as a child had these illnesses. 

Today, eating well is a challenge, not only because so much of our food is processed, devitalized, and filled with toxins, but because of the confusion regarding what nutritional lifestyle is healthy. So often we hear things such as:

“Eat more carbohydrates!”
“Eat more protein!”
“Be a vegetarian!”
“Vegetarians are not healthy.”
“Be a vegan.”
“Don’t eat grains!”
“Eat more grains!”

Are you confused about how to eat for excellent health? Even the research is contradictory!

Since my early 20s, I have been interested in health and nutrition. I was a sickly child and I hated being sick, so when I was 22 years old and still didn’t have the energy I wanted, I started to study everything available about nutrition. At that time, I threw out all my packaged foods and began buying fresh organic foods at the one little health food store in my neighborhood. It seemed simple then – just eat food as close to nature as possible and everything will be okay. My health improved dramatically, and I believed that I was on the right track.

Since then, study after study has come out regarding what creates excellent health. From all the reading I’ve done over many years, I’ve concluded that trying to find one nutrition plan to fit all doesn’t work. 

So what to do?

If you want to be healthy, then you need to learn to tune into your body to discover what makes you feel healthy and energized in the long run and what makes you feel tired and depleted in the long run. You have to go by the long run, because in the short run sugar and processed carbs can energize you, but in the long run they deplete you.

There are certain guidelines that I have found to be very helpful for promoting excellent health:

1. Limit or eliminate sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other refined, processed products. It is important to eat foods that are nutrient dense. Most processed foods have little or no nutritional value.
2. Notice whether you feel better with more animal protein or more vegetable protein.
3. Avoid all industrial seed oils, such as corn, canola, soy, sunflower, and safflower oil. These oils are very toxic and have been shown to cause brain problems such as Alzheimer’s. Stick to natural oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil.
4. Eat as close to natural as possible, choosing single-ingredient foods from regenerative farms. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
5. If you find that eating vegan or vegetarian makes you feel much better, then read about how to be healthy on vegan or vegetarian diets.
6. If you find that you need animal protein to feel energized, then look for the highest quality you can find. Studies have shown that eating grain-finished beef and lamb from factory farms is not good for anyone. The fat of grain-finished cows drastically changes in ways that can cause illness. The fat of organic grass-finished beef and lamb contain high quantities of Omega 3, which is not true of grain-finished meat. In addition, cows that eat grass sprayed with pesticides have a high concentration of the pesticide in their fat – also causing health problems. Animals raised on organic regenerative farms are treated humanely, while animals raised on factory farms are treated cruelly.

For those of you who need animal protein but have a hard time with the issue of killing animals, you might want to listen to Temple Grandin, an autistic professor who can talk to cows. Apparently, the cows have told her that they don’t mind being eaten – that they know they serve people this way, but that they don’t like being scared. Temple Grandin has instructed many farmers in how to humanely bring cows and other animals to slaughter. And you might be interested in watching the movie “Sacred Cow,” which shows how ruminants are essential for reversing climate change with regenerative farming.
7. Dairy: Many people are allergic to dairy and do best without it. However, some people who cannot tolerate pasteurized dairy do fine on organic raw dairy. I raised my three children on organic raw milk and other raw organic dairy because it was legal to buy in California. All of them did very well on it. The claims of people getting sick from organic raw dairy are unfounded when purchased from reputable dairies, perpetuated by the pasteurized dairy industry!

My rule of thumb is to eat as close to natural and local as possible. If people didn’t eat it 300 years ago, it probably isn’t good for us now!

I find it interesting to explore the issue of major health issues and obesity in terms of intention.

When a person eats too much or eats junk, the intent is likely to control their feelings. The person might be using food to suppress pain – to have control over not feeling painful emotions. Our wounded self always wants control over avoiding pain, and often uses various addictions to do this, including an addiction to sugar, carbs, and over-eating.
While most people would say that their health is important to them, and they might even say that without their health they have nothing, often something else is even more important, which is having control over avoiding emotional pain.

Health problems can certainly come from a variety of causes other than eating badly or indulging in other substance addictions, such as heredity, extreme childhood abuse, polluted air and water, or accidents. But the chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases, are often the result of the abuse of food, nicotine, drugs and/or alcohol.

If a person says he or she wants to be healthy, but continues to eat badly, drink too much, smoke or take dangerous drugs, then obviously the part of this person who is in charge of their choices is more interested in avoiding painful feelings than in being healthy.

Our wounded self is always more interested in avoiding pain than in loving self-care. This is who the wounded self is – the part of us that wants to have control over feeling safe from pain. One of the reasons that we have such a high rate of obesity and chronic health problems is because, with many people, the wounded self is in charge.

As I said, I was a sickly child and I hated being sick. In my early twenties, I began to attempt to eat in a very healthy way. But because I didn’t have a loving adult in charge of my eating, eating well was a huge challenge. I would write down everything I ate in the hopes of gaining control over my sugar and carbohydrate addiction. I would go from one diet to another in the hopes of losing weight and staying thin. I went from weight doctor to weight doctor to find the magic pill that would give me control over my weight and health. I would eat well for a while, and then suddenly I would binge on sugar and junk. I just couldn’t seem to find the will power to consistently eat well.

This went on for years, until spirit brought us Inner Bonding and I began to develop my loving adult. Now I know that a consistent and devoted practice of Inner Bonding will eventually develop enough of a loving adult to truly care more about health than about avoiding pain. Now I know that learning how to manage and learn from painful feelings is the key to weight loss, weight maintenance, and health.

It is not about will power. The wounded self tries hard to have control by exerting will power, but always eventually fails. It IS about true power – the power of your higher self that comes through when you have a deep intent to learn about what creates health and wellbeing.

Each of us needs to decide which is more important – avoiding pain through our various addictions or striving for excellent health. When you make the deep decision that creating a healthy body for your beautiful soul to live in is vitally important to you, you will discover the power that comes from your higher guidance, the power that enables you to let go of substance addictions, eat clean healthy food, and get daily exercise.

Ask yourself now which is more important to you – avoiding pain or creating excellent health? If you find yourself continuing your substance addictions, then you might want to explore why avoiding pain is more important than health and wellbeing.

I assume that everyone wants to be healthy and fit. Who wouldn’t want this? But are you always motivated and willing to do what you need to do to create health and fitness?

  • Are you motivated to regularly do the workout or exercise your body needs to get and stay fit?
  • Are you motivated to eat the foods you need to get and stay healthy?
  • Are you motivated to avoid the foods and other substances that erode health and fitness?
  • Are you motivated to keep on learning about what creates health and fitness?

Or do you find yourself:

  • Procrastinating going to the gym or doing other forms of exercise?
  • Eating sugar and other junk food?
  • Avoiding even knowing that you are responsible for your health and fitness?

Procrastinating and resisting are ways that you might have learned to avoid your feelings that you are afraid you cannot manage.

Many of us grew up with parents or other caregivers who did not know how to love us in the way we needed to be loved. Not feeling loved is deeply lonely and heartbreaking to a small child. These feelings of loneliness and heartbreak, along with feeling helpless over getting the love we needed or avoiding the disapproval or punishment or abuse we could not handle, led us to learn to protect against these very painful feelings. We all learned many ways of protecting. You might have learned to protect by:

  • Withdrawing, numbing out, dissociating
  • Getting angry, blaming, having temper tantrums
  • Turning to food, alcohol, or drugs
  • Turning to TV, the computer, gaming
  • Turning to sex and pornography
  • Turning to over-achieving
  • Becoming a “good” child – complying, giving yourself up
  • Judging and shaming yourself
  • Resisting and procrastinating

These are just a few of the many ways you might have learned to protect against pain. Stop for a moment and think about what you do to avoid pain in your life.

One of the major experiences that many of us had as children is that numerous adults tried to control us. Parents, teachers, religious leaders, siblings, friends – there may have been many people in your life who tried to control you with their judgments, criticisms, punishments, threats, withdrawal of love, invasiveness, or violence. You might have experienced various levels of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse that were deeply hurtful, terrifying, and traumatizing to you.

Or, you might have had parents or other caregivers who tried to be kind to you but were unloving to themselves. They might have treated themselves badly – being addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, TV, anger, compliance and so on. For better or worse, they were your role models for self-care.

The problem is that all the ways these people treated you or themselves, and all the ways you learned to protect against pain, got programmed into your lower brain – your wounded self.

Let’s say that you wake up early, having decided the night before that you will definitely go to the gym this morning, but you end up not going – again.

What’s happening here? What may be happening is that one part of your programmed wounded self – maybe an adolescent part who believes that it can control you through judgment – has been saying in a determined and parental voice, “I HAVE to get to the gym this morning,” or “I SHOULD go to the gym right now!”

Another part of your wounded self may kick in – a younger part who learned to resist being controlled by your parents or other important adults in your life. This younger part says, “I don’t have to do what you say. You are not the boss of me.”

Now you have an internal power struggle, with one part of your wounded self trying to have control through a strident voice and another part of your wounded self resisting being controlled. This inner power struggle creates a sense of immobilization, resulting in you not making it to the gym, and then perhaps feeling even more judgmental toward yourself.

The way out is to develop your loving adult self through your Inner Bonding practice. As a loving adult, you would decide what is in your highest good, rather than letting your wounded self be in charge of your health and well-being. The loving adult is who you are when your intent is to learn about loving yourself with a personal source of spiritual guidance – which your own higher self, your concept of God, a guardian angel, a spirit guide, an energy of love, or an inner wise self. Practicing Inner Bonding teaches you how to connect with your personal source of guidance and develop your loving adult.

When your loving adult is in charge rather than your wounded self, then you are able to take the actions that support your health. Instead of telling yourself that you HAVE to or SHOULD go to the gym, you tune into what you WANT to do and what is loving to you. Perhaps you really like going to the gym but you just don’t want to be controlled by your judgmental wounded self. Or perhaps working out at the gym is not something you love to do, and you would much rather dance or skateboard or play tennis or walk or run or bike or hike. It is far easier and more loving to yourself to do what you love to do, rather than what you think you have to do.

If you are resisting or procrastinating, you might want to establish a devoted Inner Bonding practice to learn how to develop your loving adult, so that you can stay on the path of being healthy and fit.

If you are a junk food junkie or eat mostly processed food and fast food, and are unconcerned with health and nutrition, why is this? Every day we read about or see on TV how sugar, soft drinks, industrial seed oils, fried foods, factory farmed foods, devitalized, packaged, and processed foods, pesticide laden foods, and other kinds of junk food cause illness. What causes you to ignore the research and go right on eating badly?

I explored this issue with some of my clients and friends, and this is what they said:

  • “I don’t believe it. My parents didn’t eat well, and they lived long lives.” (Albeit not healthy long lives!)
  • “I don’t feel any different when I eat junk than when I eat well, so I don’t think it’s harming me.”
  • “It’s worth it for a few years off my life.” (Forgetting that many of the years lived may be spent in illness and pain). 

What are you not noticing?

What I have seen over and over is that many people are not sensitive to the profound effects food has on them, so they are not motivated to eat well. They don’t notice that their energy may be a little lower, or that they might not be as clear-headed. But the real thing they don’t notice is what junk food and devitalized food is doing to their organs and immune system.

The sad thing is that suddenly, one day in their 50s or 60s, they notice it – big time. This is when they might start to have health problems. While the health issue seems to be sudden, it has been happening for all the years of poor self-care. But they didn’t notice because they didn’t pay attention to how they FELT when they ate sugar, refined carbs, other processed foods, and factory-farmed foods – both physically and emotionally.

They didn’t notice that their mood, or their ability to sleep, or their stamina, or the level of pain in their body was affected by the food they were eating. Often, they just took a pill to take away anxiety or depression, or to sleep, or to take away pain. Or they drank more coffee to give them the energy to get through the day.

Comfort food certainly works to make us feel better for the moment, while covertly doing its damage in the body.
Until you are willing to learn to be present in your body and notice the effects food has on you physically and emotionally, you might not be motivated to eat well. Until you desire a high level of health throughout your life, instead of spending your later years dealing with illness, you might not be motivated to eat well.

If high energy and excellent health are important to you, then start noticing how you feel if you eat fast food, processed food, and factory farmed food, as opposed to clean, organic food. You might be very surprised at the difference.

If you think you can’t afford the healthy food, think about how much you will be saving on doctor bills and medications. See where you can cut down spending in other aspects of your life. After all, what is really more important in life than health?

By staying in touch with my body, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. Everything I eat I make at home from very healthy ingredients.

Obviously, all this takes time. I’m a very busy person, so how do I find the time? I don’t really know! I suppose when something is important to you, you find the time. It’s not like I have extra time on my hands! I generally go to bed by 9, get up at 5, and do two hours of work – answering email, administering the website, and doing social media. Then I take a 30-minute walk with my dog while I do my morning Inner Bonding process. Between clients, courses, email, web admin, social media, writing articles, and creating my podcast, as well as writing my books, I work about 60 hours a week. In between, I find the time to make my food and do creative things, as well as play fun games with my Golden Girl best friend, Erika. I also read a lot. There actually is time for all of it! Even with all the hours I work and sleep, there is still a lot of time left. One of the reasons I have the time is that I don’t watch much TV, and I don’t spend much time on social media or the Internet.

You will find the time to make healthy food if it’s important to you.

If you really want to get healthy, you might want to read a fairly new book called “Super Gut,” by William Davis, MD. If you are not healthy, following what he recommends in this book could turn your health around.

Most people who want to be healthy know that what they eat, getting enough exercise, and getting enough sleep are essential for good health. But what about if you are doing all of these things and are you are still not healthy?

Chris Kresser, one of the health experts I follow, wrote in 9 Steps to Perfect Health, (p. 34

(Quote)”And here’s the thing, you can eat a perfect diet and take all the right supplements, but if you’re not sleeping well and managing your stress, all bets are off. I see this every day in my private practice.” (Unquote)

I also see it every day in my private practice. I work with people who work very hard to be healthy. They eat all organic foods. They tune into what kind of eating plan is right for them. They exercise regularly. They might even sleep well most of the time. But they are still not healthy. They still hurt. They still have low energy, fatigue, and low immunity. What is the problem? 

Time and again, I discover that the main problem is how they manage stress. Research indicates that a major factor in good health – more important than genes, food, or exercise – is how we handle stress.

In our current culture, stress is inevitable. We can’t completely do away with stress, but we can learn how to manage it in ways that promote our health rather than destroy it.

Our bodies are equipped with a “fight or flight” mechanism that enables us to mobilize our strength when necessary. This mechanism allows us to fight or flee from real and present danger. However, this mechanism is also activated when we BELIEVE there is danger, even when no actual survival danger exists.

For example, it is appropriate for the fight or flight mechanism to activate if you are being physically attacked. When the stress response is activated, blood is taken from our brain and organs and put into our arms and legs to enable us to fight or flee. Our immune system shuts down to give us more energy to physically protect ourselves and ensure our survival in the moment. Once the danger is over and we have discharged the stress through fighting or running, our bodies go back to normal, and blood again flows to our brain and organs.

But what if your thoughts are creating the stress? What if you are imagining being attacked, or being rejected, or losing money, or losing your job, or losing a loved one? In this case, there is no actual real and present danger occurring in the moment. Yet the body does not know the difference between something that is really happening and something that you are thinking about. The body goes into the stress response the moment you think scary thoughts. But instead of being able to fight or flee, you are stuck with the anxiety caused by your thoughts. The blood is in your arms and legs with no way to be released. You can’t think very well due to a lack of blood in your brain, your organs are being robbed of necessary nutrients, and your immune system is not functioning properly. Strenuous exercise may release the stress response, but if you keep thinking the scary thoughts, it will just come right back. People who allow the challenges of life to constantly stress them out often have health problems, even when they eat well and get exercise.

One of the very best things you can do for your health and wellbeing is to practice Inner Bonding – becoming aware of the thoughts from your programmed mind that create anxiety, and practice thinking the truth from your higher guidance that creates inner peace.

I used to be one of those people who didn’t manage stress well. I would get anxious a lot. I often felt angry or down. I carried a lot of tension in my body. And I was not well.

I read everything I could find on health. I ate really well – all organic, no processed foods, no sugar. Still, my health was going down – until I started to practice Inner Bonding. 

I discovered that my stress came down to a couple of things:

One was trying to control that which I could not control by being a caretaker and giving myself up.

The second was judging myself and putting a lot of pressure on myself to say and do the right thing.

However, even when I realized that I was trying to control how others felt about me, how they treated me, and the outcome of things, I struggled with giving up the control. I finally realized that even though I intellectually knew that my control tactics – not only giving myself up and caretaking others, but also getting angry, parental, and judgmental – weren’t working to control others and outcomes, they WERE working to temporarily control feelings that I didn’t want to feel – helplessness over others, and the loneliness and heartbreak that we all feel when others are unloving to us or to themselves.

By avoiding these underlying existential painful feelings of life through my various forms of self-abandonment, I was causing myself enormous stress. The pain I was causing myself was definitely worse than the pain I was trying to avoid!

When I learned to bring kindness, compassion, and gentleness to my existential painful feelings of life, I stopped needing to avoid them with my controlling behavior. When I stopped trying to control that which I can’t control and, instead, control what I can – which is my own intent to love myself or avoid my pain, my stress level went way down – and my health went way up. 

Practicing Inner Bonding is what did it for me and continues to do it for me.

Learning to lovingly manage the painful feelings of life – rather than continue to give myself up or get angry or judge myself – and to fully accept my helplessness over others and outcomes, has completely changed my health.

I still eat really well; I still exercise, and I sleep well. And now, it is rare for me to feel stress, and even rarer for my body to be in the stress response of fight, flight, or freeze.

I see it over and over with my clients – the more they eat well, get enough exercise, get enough sleep, and the more they stop judging themselves and accept their helplessness over others and outcomes and learn to stay present with their feelings with caring and compassion, they healthier they get.

I invite you join me for my bi-monthly masterclass and receive my live help, which you can learn about at

And, I invite you to join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books and from our website at

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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