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When the Body Talks


It`s unbearably hot in a press tent in Edmonton

It's unbearably hot in a press tent in Edmonton. Jane Siberry's smile is gracious but tired as she greets the last of a number of media representatives who have been vying for a few minutes of her time. The popular Canadian singer has only five more minutes left for scheduled interviews. But when she learns the subject is natural health, she adapts her plans.

"This is too important a topic to cover in five minutes," she says. She arranges a later meeting during a break in her grueling schedule, explaining that she takes health very seriously. "Bring a tape recorder."

Jane Siberry is one of the hardest working musicians on the Canadian scene. New York Trilogy, a CD box set of live recordings released in September, 1999, brings her body of recorded work to 12 CDs. She has also published two books and runs her own label, SHEEBA records an internet-only company. Add to this frequent touring, and it's not surprising that Siberry has devoted significant attention to maintaining her health.

Know Thyself

Central to Siberry's health regimen is an awareness of self. From the beginning, she has adapted her eating habits as a result of her body's reactions, not necessarily as an intellectual decision. For instance, although she eats chicken occasionally, for the most part Siberry has been a vegetarian for 23 years.

"It wasn't a decision I started falling asleep over my roast beef," she says. "It started with the denser proteins and ended up with eggs about five " years ago. My body did it for me."

Around this same time in her early 20s she began to read and understand health and started cleansing occasionally. The first was a three-day Master cleanse. And although she didn't have a "Paul Bragg" moment (a reference to a leading natural health writer who wrote of expelling mercury during a cleanse), she was excited about the transformation.

"I didn't realize that you could get toxins to come out of your body the concept was quite remarkable," she says. One of her adaptations to cleanses is that she sometimes doesn't stop drinking coffee. Her adrenal glands slow down too fast if she cuts out coffee cold turkey, she says, and it seems to interfere with the release of toxins.

She admits to having an addictive personality, which has led to a pattern of cleansing, alternating with junk food binges. Over the years this has happened less and less and she has become highly sensitive to her response to sugar.

"Now I have a happy fit for 20 minutes, then I get nasty," she says. "I can't imagine what I did when I was a kid and ate sugar all day long what kind of a state was I in?"

It's this kind of disassociation of person and health that concerns Siberry. She says that it seems that people are conditioned to live with a slight sense of ill health all the time. She believes that our society teaches us not to respect ourselves and not to listen to our bodies.

"That's why you can drink four Hawaiian Punches and eat bags of [salty] after school and not feel it," she says. "It's shocking!"

She also believes it has led to an epidemic of candidiasis (an overgrowth of yeast-like fungi that occur naturally in the body), which she calls the scourge of the 21st century.

"You can just hear the little yeasties hunkering down and doing a group mind thought of 'chocolate cake chocolate cake!'"

Maintaining the Equilibrium

After so many years of paying attention to her health, Siberry says she catches these voices more often than not. One of the therapies that has helped unlock her self-awareness is massage particularly cranial and deep tissue. She suggests that it would be feasible to train people to be able to give themselves cranial massages a step to tuning themselves into listening to their body.

Even though Siberry has made tremendous strides in her own health, she says sometimes it can be trying to deal with systemic obstacles. A common struggle is for the right to fresh air! Windows in hotel rooms often don't open due to liability issues. In some cases, there isn't even a vent or provision for fresh air.

"This blows my mind," says Siberry. "You have to argue with people about things that should be common sense!"

When she's not cleansing, Siberry maintains a balance by drinking distilled water, eating organic food as much as possible and eating the foods her body seems to need. This can include finely chopped salads with olive oil, greens and pasta. She knows a lot about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and says that her food needs sometimes follow the TCM categories, such as a need for red foods. It's always been butter instead of margarine. If given a choice, Siberry says she always opts for the food that is simplest and closest to nature.

She often takes vitamin E before bed and a B-complex for stress, but doesn't take multi-vitamins indiscriminately and no vitamins on Sundays, to give her body a rest.

Although she's familiar with many health philosophies, Siberry says that her approach is to do what is right for her. This may not necessarily be what is right for everybody else. It does mean keeping her eyes open and trying things she feels might be of benefit.

"It's a long adventure of trying different diets," she says with a smile.



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