Liz had a dirty little secret. Well, maybe not so dirty to others, but to Liz it was embarrassing so she kept it hidden from her family and friends. Sometimes she even denied it to herself.
Liz was a gourmet chef, working in one of the finest destination spas east of the Mississippi. She took pride in her reputation for having a keen appreciation of gourmet sensibility and nutrition, yet she had a personal vice. A clandestine act. A shameful indulgence that, if discovered, could taint her professionally. . . well, she thought so anyway. Liz was addicted to Twinkies.
This was no ordinary craving. Liz bought Twinkies by the case. . . literally. She had them stashed above the Viking refrigerator in the spa’s expansive kitchen, in the glove compartment of her car for snacking during commutes, and at home she concealed them in the bedroom in her underwear drawer. She indulged in her secret sin in the mornings, when she felt overworked, and worst of all when she was exhausted, which was happening more frequently of late.
At first she saw the irony, and even humor in her choice of addiction, but her weight had been increasing steadily for the last few years and she was shaky when she tried to abstain. Recently her heart had been doing acrobatic flips in her now ample chest. It was no longer a laughing matter. Liz recognized she needed help but disdained drugs.
Instead, she turned to homeopathy, a medical method her physician grandfather had used when she was growing up in Germany. She learned of a homeopath of fine repute from one of the investors of the spa. He told her that this homeopath had helped him with his pre-diabetic condition. So she scheduled an appointment for herself.
When Liz confessed to the homeopath her awkward sugar addiction, she fully expected a snicker. But the homeopath didn’t find it odd. She merely listened compassionately as though she, too, had experienced the same covert compulsion.
“My intellect tells me no, but my stomach and salivary glands give me the OK,” Liz explained. She also described her sleep habits, the details of the indigestion she sometimes suffered and at one point revealed the nightmares she used to experience. All of these features of her personality were of interest to the homeopath since homeopathic treatment is tailored to the unique aspects of the person as a whole, rather than to the disease. The practitioner explained to Liz that the remedy chosen for her would be specific to her, represented by her characteristics and symptoms. The homeopath added that despite Liz’s best efforts, she might indeed find it difficult to abort the sugar cravings without a little help. Homeopathy has a reputation for stimulating the body’s ability to bring itself to homeostasis, so as the pancreas becomes balanced, the cravings can diminish, clarified the homeopath. Your body will find its best way to respond.
“What way could that be?” Liz wondered.
Liz went home uplifted with renewed hope. The following day after eating three packages of her secret snack and a cup of cappuccino she started taking the remedy, Argentum nitricum. Then, she permitted herself the usual ration after lunch and two more upon retiring that night.
The next day was a repeat of her routine, but by day three she found herself longing for a refreshing drink instead of the Twinkies. This was noteworthy since she rarely experienced thirst. At first she considered chocolate milk, but resisted and instead found a glass of kombucha to be quite satisfying. “Hmm,” she thought, “I wonder if it’s the remedy making my body respond in a new way as the homeopath described?”
That night she settled into bed, counting. She had grown accustomed to measuring her day by the number of Twinkies she’d consumed and she realized that she had eaten only one packet over the entire day. “I’ll just watch as this unfolds,” she reflected.
This routine repeated day after day until a week passed and she noticed she hadn’t eaten more than one package of the little morsels in all that time! She also couldn’t help noticing that her fatigue had faded and her thinking was more brisk, the way it had been in culinary school.
Two weeks into the first dose of Argentum nitricum, Liz discovered that her waistband was loose and her hands no longer ached when she worked the cool dough on the marble surface. But an unexpected dividend was that her heart had stopped fluttering. She had nearly become accustomed to this alarming sensation many afternoons while slicing vegetables.
“How could this be?” she wondered, as she sipped her newly beloved kombucha. “I’ve eaten these all my life. Could they really have been the cause of all these maladies? And have all these changes really occurred after only weeks of the little homeopathic pills?!”
It took a loss of ten pounds before she was thoroughly convinced of the reformation. The evidence was clear. . . . Liz appeared no longer to be a Twinkie junkie!
It was at this time that she made a prominent decision in her life. She threw out all the concealed little cakes. The cubbies in the big kitchen, the stash in the car, and even the store in the undies drawer were emptied once and for all. No remorse, no longing, no Twinkies. Liz was satisfied . . . she was gaining the health and figure she had always longed for.
And the other part of this story? Liz was so taken by her transformation that she implemented a sweet-free day at the spa once each week. On that day, sparkling kombucha is served in tall, frosted glasses with a twist of lime, instead of dessert. It’s promoted as a refreshing aid and balance to digestion. And what a splash it has made among the employees and patrons! They affectionately call it “Fizzy Lizzy.”
FINE TUNING THE REMEDY TO THE PATIENT
Unlike other medical modalities, homeopathy is a method of treatment that is specific to the individual, rather than to a pathology. It is holisitic as it incorporates the aspects of the entire person, including the way the sufferer thinks.
Argentum nitricum is a powerful yet gentle remedy with a reputation for aiding people who suffer an extreme addiction to sweets and who show a marked inability to resist impulses in general. This can be seen as a desire to succumb to temptations on both an emotional as well as physical level. Since homeopathy treats the person and not the disease, when choosing this remedy for sugar addictions, these other components must also be considered. Otherwise, the remedy choice will be incorrect and the desired results will fail to materialize.
Interestingly, other remedies also address sweet addictions. Sulphur, for example, is useful for someone who also experiences sweet cravings, yet people who need it are those who suffer discomfort from heat accompanied by odorous perspiration. Had Liz been experiencing menopausal hot flashes attended by perspiration as well as her sugar addiction, the remedy choice might well have been Sulphur. But here is an interesting twist to the story and remedy choice. A person who is keenly aware of trying to avoid an ordeal is one who ought be considered for the choice of Argentum nitricum. This is because this idiosyncrasy is a specific characteristic of this remedy picture. And it has been historically shown to be useful for many maladies associated with this personality trait. Other sugar addicts might not have considered this an issue, yet Liz found her addiction to be embarrassing and even shameful. One who might require Sulphur wouldn’t have this concern. Hence, only Argentum nitricum would do for Liz.
These considerations underscore just how person-specific the remedies tend to be. This is the reason remedy choices for chronic illness ought to be made by a seasoned, credentialed homeopath.
Having said this, however, homeopathy indeed lends itself to self-prescribing in situations such as colds, indigestion and other self-limiting maladies. For this reason, the study of homeopathy is a perfect match for those who enjoy medical freedom via personal responsibility.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2009.