Since modern weddings require several months of planning, what may unexpectedly unfold, in the choice of venue, the caterers, the guest list, the invitations, the flowers and not to forget the potentially volatile situation that may erupt through the seating arrangements for dinner, the image that may come to mind is of a poorly trained athlete undergoing an obstacle-course as opposed to the practised marathon runner moving in steady rhythm.
The lengthy pre-wedding process with all its pockets of stress and anxiety may end up a balancing act, teetering between success and emotional disaster, especially if the glowing bride turns up to her big day weary, an exhausted shadow of herself.
“Unless women really understand that the problem has to be fixed internally, whatever is applied externally, be it make-up or clothes, will be of little value and what many don’t understand is that there are a lot of symptoms and health issues which are addressed if you know how to eat better,” Richard Labaki explained. Labaki is a holistic therapist, a master herbalist in the making, an aficionado of health and fitness, and a man operating his “holistic therapy” initiative, RenYou, at Dermapro Clinics in Beirut’s eclectic Saifi Village, the city’s former Carpenters’ Quarter.
Clarifying the Holistic Approach
This holistic approach concentrates on three main pillars: the integration of therapeutic nutrition with herbal remedies and lifestyle modifications, an integrative system whereby all the facets of a healthy lifestyle are merged.
Therapeutic nutrition here is of utmost importance. Generally, steering away from junk food and towards more home cooked meals is the norm. Varying vegetable intake has immense therapeutic effects, reinforced by organically grown vegetables now available in all leading supermarkets, while Omega 3, derived from fish oils, is a superb agent for smoothing and hydrating the skin.
“Beauty begins in and emanates out. Today you can put the best creams on your face but if your body is deficient in the important nutrients, your skin will be pale no matter what you do,” Labaki stated.
Luckily for brides-to-be looking good and feeling good comes easier to women who naturally tend to care about their wellbeing and who are aware of the benefits of healthier living and of what they eat. They, more than men, are likely to follow a structured diet rich in superfoods rather than giving in to that extra portion of French fries.
However, what Labaki offers is more, especially in the long-term. His way is not the quick one-diet-made-for-all effort to slim down, just enough to squeeze into the wedding dress, and then back to overindulgence, but a true path of healthy eating ingrained into a lifelong habit where eating well and eating right can boost energy levels, clearly improve skin, hair and nails, and balance your daily moods. For simply, what you eat determines how you live and how long you live.
“The body has phenomenal powers to heal itself but you have to give it the right tools and these tools come in the form of the right therapeutic foods and nutritional supplements,” Labaki explained.
For internal problems maybe disguised, whether it is an imbalance of minerals, nutrients or vitamins, or the inability of body tissues to fully absorb these vital elements. It could also be an inflammation due to the body being continuously bombarded with the wrong types of food. Another cause is the accumulation of unwanted chemicals or heavy metals in the body due to environmental causes or pollution. Toxicity levels in each individual can be detected by the use of reflective light in the simple yet technologically accurate OligoScan, so all these imbalances can be addressed.
Fear not the supplements, Labaki argues. These are not medications and are easily purchased across the counter at all pharmacies or health shops, though, as Labaki explains, not all supplements are created equal in terms of quality and one needs to be meticulous in choosing the right brand.
Labaki advises on each supplement, all from reputable brands, studied and tested to correlate perfectly with each individual’s needs once these needs have been determined in the testing phase. And specific ones will provide an avenue for the toxins accumulated in the body to be excreted out of the system leaving you cleaner, healthier and more energetic.
For where the danger lies is that once a toxin, or various toxins, out of the 80,000 or so this generation has to deal with daily, accumulate on your insides, on the liver for instance, serious problems could evolve.
This is where, in Labaki’s opinion, today’s health problems rise to the surface, potentially leading to an acceleration in ageing, inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid ailments and even brain linked diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Just as good is that the integration of Labaki’s methods come in easy steps: a herbal infusion to help you sleep, a supplement to boost zinc or magnesium levels and a recommendation of appropriate exercises and fitness goals. He also recommends a change from cane to coconut sugar, from rice to quinoa, from normal potatoes to sweet, minor changes in lifestyle that promote major impacts on health, energy and subsequently on all aspects of living.
“It’s like coaching. I coach people to move from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthier one through the right foods and supplements,” he added.
When Patience Is a Virtue
The beauty of his programme is that the results always prove right. Whatever effort is put in the equivalent amount of benefits are derived, every percentage invested gives back the same percentage in results. All this, however, requires patience. There aren’t any quick fix solutions. You cannot expect to look good and feel good after many years indulging in bad eating habits or a careless lifestyle. Ill effects cannot be outdone in two to three weeks.
“You have to give yourself six months of eating healthier and making sure you are getting the right nutrients to allow the healing to set in,” Labaki confirmed. “If the wedding is six months down the road, then that is when the bride-to-be should start focusing on eating healthier and making sure she is getting the right nutrients.”
In the end, it’s all a matter of priorities. You can change your clothes, you can change your car, but this one body of yours can never be changed. It can, however, be improved and improved visibly. After all what’s more important at the wedding, Labaki argues, will it be your radiance, your wellbeing, or will it be the cake?
The Snooze Effect
But for the immediate future, for the run up to a successful wedding, sleep is the integral element to the whole process.
“Sleep is the most effective anti-ageing factor there is as most if not all the anti-aging hormones are produced while sleeping. Even if you wake up for one minute to go to the bathroom you’ve basically stopped the whole system of rejuvenation,” stated Labaki. “Brides need to focus on sleep, they need to have deep, uninterrupted sleep between seven to nine hours every night to fully enjoy the benefits gained from such sleep.”