Health & Wellness
Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life
The elements that create or exhaust good health are first and foremost the ordinary parts of life – food, rhythms, environment and relationships. This means that both health and disease are largely the result of the little decisions they make every day: you can eat the most pristine diet on earth, but if you feel cut off from family and friends, or routinely exercise until you fall , true wellbeing can escape you.
As a doctor I use conventional and functional medical practices as well as acupuncture to treat patients. What I do sometimes is called integrative medicine, but I like to call it simple, good medicine.
My philosophy, developed in three decades of practice, uses a wide lens to look at health. She looks for underlying causes of weakness and imbalance before throwing medication and medical intervention into a problem. It raises many questions: what do you eat? How do you sleep? Do you wake up every day to go? How sedentary is your working day? Who cares about you and how do you feel when you are alone?
In my opinion, the best way to achieve the greater goal of wellbeing is to think small first.
A tiny success or a positive new habit paves the way for the next one. Slowly and steadily wins the race, because with every healthy change you gain some energy, clarity and self-confidence, which drives you to develop the next healthy habit.
In addition, when you improve your health through even the smallest positive changes, it creates a rippling effect that soon touches the people around you and inspires them to make positive changes as well.
While maintaining good health can seem like a pretty serious endeavor – because it does – it’s important to relax, take it slowly, and be patient. Robust well-being is a process that starts with a single step that leads to another and another.
These are the main steps that I recommend that my patients get up first. They can all lead you in a healthier direction no matter where you are. Consider this as a field guide.
Food: Compose the perfect record
If you’ve ever obsessively counted calories to stay healthy, give yourself a break. Instead, put that effort on a simpler system: the Perfect Plate. It is a fail-safe visual guide that guarantees a healthier meal. It works because it helps you focus on quality over quantity. Healthy whole foods supplant the problematic or even downright bad stuff, countering the root causes of weight dysregulation: too much starch, sugar and flammable ingredients, whether from factory-made or processed foods.
Choose the best quality whole-food ingredients that you can, then combine them in a ratio that gives vegetables the bulk of the plate. Make protein a smaller, palm-sized component and be sure to add a healthy dose of good fats – either as a seasoning or as part of a high-fat protein source. The plate may be large in volume (of all these vegetables!), But with these proportions you are less likely to overeat.
Aim for this Perfect Plate breakdown:
50 to 70 percent non-starter vegetables
Dark leaf greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage), summer squash, onions and garlic.
Vegetables provide vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients. They give you increased energy and glowing skin, and support better natural detoxification. They help to cool inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer. Fermented vegetables are a great source of good bacteria that support a healthy microbiome.
10 to 15 percent high quality proteins
Raw and refined meat and organic or pasture poultry, wild fish, pasture or organic eggs, organic dairy products (if tolerated), nuts and seeds and bone stock.
The amino acids in the protein are the building blocks for your body; they give you strong muscles and support a good immune function.
20 to 30 percent healthy fats
Coconuts and coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocado, nut butters, pasture butter and ghee.
Not only is it unnecessary to fear good fats; it’s healthy to hug her. Fat helps to balance hormones and to absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. It nourishes the skin, supports the brain, lubricates the digestive system and helps you to feel satisfied after a meal.
Sleep: Close your eyes, cleanse your brain
The next time you’re about to short on sleep, keep this in mind: research is the finding that slumber can be crucial to avoid early mental decline.
Like your body’s lymphatic system, your brain’s glyphatic system flushes the cerebrospinal fluid through its gray matter to remove proteins that are by-products of normal neurological functions that accumulate during the day.
This system keeps your brain clear and healthy, but it only works when you sleep – it’s like having a brain cleaning crew that only works the night shift. If you are deprived of your restful sleep and are not doing your job, it is like celebrating a party for one night and neglecting to eliminate the chaos the next day. And then another party. Waste begins to accumulate and the house begins to deteriorate.
Studies have linked this structure to the loss of neurological function. You can experience brain fog, poor memory or absenteeism in the short term. Over time, studies suggest that this “trash buildup” can be a factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s.
That means that sleep is not a luxury; It is an essential act of daily maintenance, your ally in maintaining your brain sharp and nimble. Do not miss it.
If you have difficulty getting good quality slumber, adjusting your exposure to light and dark is one of the most powerful ways to recover a harmonious sleep pattern. Practice these daily protocols to restore your rhythms.
- Expose yourself to the light in the morning. Take a morning walk every day. Her internal clock is especially sensitive to the energizing effects of light in the first two hours after waking up. (For more information on circadian health, see “Get Your Groove Back.”)
- Go outside several times a day. Short exposures to natural light maximize alertness. Sometimes leave the sunglasses off, so that your brain registers the full intensity of daylight; This helps to reset the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the “master clock” of the brain.
- Add a lightbox. If you can not get enough outdoor time, spend 30 to 90 minutes a day in front of a full spectrum light that is used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other circadian rhythm conditions.
- Simplify your evenings. Make your nights darker as they were before artificial lighting prolonged the day. Turn off the screens a few hours before bedtime, use low watt amber lights after dinner, and save on demanding morning tasks.
Movement: Get active (as much as you can)
Mechanics is designed for many activities: often on foot and for a certain distance; to change physical levels (by standing, sitting, panning, turning and lungs); and pull things regularly, push and lift. These actions keep joints lubricated and tendons sturdy, and ensure that skeletal and muscular systems move freely. They are also protective because exercise causes muscle tissue to produce proteins called myokines, which have important disease-preventing and anti-inflammatory functions.
Modern life is not designed to make the most of your mechanics, but you can find more ways to move throughout the day. Below are a few to consider.
- Move the way you work. Get a headset and a pad of paper and pick up your phone calls while moving. Walk During Meetings: Walking and other body movements stimulate the exchange of information between the hemispheres of the brain.
- Refresh your social life. Try going for a walk, doing sports or going yoga with friends instead of catching up on coffee, happy hour or dinner.
- Go every day before lunch. This not only takes you outside for some natural light; It will decompress your digestive system and reset your nervous system in preparation for your meal. It also makes you more alert, and therefore less likely to crave pick-me-up sugar.
- Hug micro-sessions. Do any kind of exercise for five to ten minutes, at least once or twice a day. Ten minutes can completely change your state of mind – and it’s as easy as dancing to three songs on a pop playlist. (If you think you have less than 10 minutes, sacrifice your social media feeds and pay back that time.)
Protect: Address your toxic load
We live in an environment of stressors that our body has not mastered. Our detoxification systems exist to quench as many toxins as possible, but they are taxed to the maximum when we deal with the thousands of chemicals, carcinogenic compounds, and invisible electromagnetic frequencies that we experience in one day.
We are only beginning to understand the effects of chronic exposure to these multiple stressors, and no one has yet studied how they interact in our bodies. What we do know is that this prolonged exposure to low-dose chemicals is almost certainly playing a role in increasing chronic disease, from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to cancer.
Remove as many of these harmful influences as you can. Replacing them with simpler, cleaner alternatives gives your body more of the conditions it needs to be good. This is my manifesto for successfully dealing with today’s toxic environment.
- Follow the precautionary principle. If something is not completely certain, whether it’s a chemical in your shampoo or a habit of carrying your phone in your pocket, take no chances with it. (For safety ratings for personal care and household products, visit the Environmental Working Group website: www.ewg.org.)
- Avoid GMOs in everything you eat. Although there is a big public debate about the safety of GMOs, we know that they have not been proven to be harmless.
- Think of epigenetics. The environment around your cells affects whether pathogenic genes are turned on or off. Toxins and poor nutrition create one of the worst environments, but eating clean and reducing toxic exposure will give your body the best chance of keeping pathogenic genes off.
- Educate yourself. Find information about common hormone disruptors like phthalates. These plasticizers have been linked to birth defects and are found in artificial fragrances that are everywhere. Read the short and long term health effects of these and other chemicals.
- Release the doubters. Others may despise your efforts to reduce and replace the toxins in your environment. Ignore them and carry on.
- Demand change. Consumer action is changing the market. Worry about toxins in products known to manufacturers and regulators.
Discharge: Use your breath as a way to peace
Most of us live in a permanent state of “on,” by necessity, if not by choice. The demands on work, relationships and debt as well as the pressure to fulfill, produce and perfect ourselves have never been higher. The powerful “attention economy” keeps us online and is embedded in endless streams of information. It can be challenging to find points of silence, to relax, to touch peace.
Relaxation is central to health care in many wellness traditions, including meditation, mindfulness, breathing work, and soothing touch. It is imperative to have our nervous system regularly stopped or we run the risk of running ourselves into the ground.
However, you do not have to escape to an exotic spa or Zen Retreat Center; Just make it a daily priority to carve moments for relaxing, restoring and being. As night follows the day, silence follows activity – they are two sides of a whole.
Breathing is a sure way to calm your mind and relax your body, though most of us take it for granted. True, breathing is a bodily function that is both voluntary and involuntary, but this action takes on new power and meaning when you use it intentionally.
Try these two breathing exercises the next time you need to relax.
- Place both hands on your stomach, just below your lower ribs.
- Rest the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth.
- Take a slow, deep inhalation through the nose.
- Draw your breath all the way into your stomach, past your chest. Note that your diaphragm is moving downwards and you feel that you are expanding your abdominal and rib cage.
- If you can not breathe, slowly exhale through the nose until your lungs are empty – you will feel your stomach fall under your hands.
- Repeat this for 10 cycles.
- If you continue, you will see if you can extend the exhalation until it is twice as long as the inhalation. Breathing in this way helps quietly spinning thoughts and brings you back to your body in the present moment.
The 4-7-8 breath
The next time you get carried away by anger, anxiety, anxiety, extreme sadness, or other strong emotions, try using Breath 4-7-8 to activate your built-in calming system.
- Place the tip of the tongue behind your front teeth on the gum line.
- Purse your lips as if you are going to blow a candle, then exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing or sighing sound.
- Close your mouth and breathe through your nose for four counts, hold your breath for seven counts, and breathe through your mouth for eight counts.
- Repeat this for 10 rounds.
Connect: Practice appreciation for your fellow human beings
We tend to look at the connection only with people we know well, but small acts of kindness towards acquaintances and strangers also offer great health benefits and make us safer. These gestures are more than just a blessing to the recipient: they create a momentary connection between you and the world in general, a moment of intimacy that supports you while showing compassion for others.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of friendliness is that from a one-point perspective, where it is easy to be consumed by personal problems and obstacles, it can shift you into a shared life experience. For now, remember that we are all together. Kindness is a universal language that transcends perceived boundaries, and it’s one of the easiest things to swap – no background story, explanation or complex social dance required.
Random file of kindness
Make a daily act of unsolicited friendliness one of your health habits. That’s how it’s done:
- Surprise someone with an authentic compliment about how he handled something.
- Listen closely to a friend who needs to be heard.
- Give a hand to a stranger.
- Say a real “thank you” to the conductor on the train or the cashier in the grocery store.
- Have another driver cut in front of you with a happy wave.
- Check in with your older neighbor and share coffee and a laugh.
- Smile and make eye contact with a stranger.
With a random act of kindness after another, we help each other become more present, more connected, and healthier.