Wellness - 8 Steps to Lifelong Wellness and Vitality

  • Date : 25 Jul 2014

    1.  Do your FATS right!  This is the most powerful nutritional strategy available to protect your health!

    o    Strictly avoid trans fats: partially hydrogenated oils (everywhere in processed and fast foods), stick margarine, and shortening.

    o    Minimize saturated fat: fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, whole dairy products, butter, palm and coconut oil.

    o    Consume the majority of your fats from the monounsaturated oils: extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, nuts/seeds, and avocados.

    o    Strive to have a serving of omega 3 fats daily: oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines), walnuts, canola oil, flaxseeds, omega 3 eggs, wheat germ, and small leafy greens (arugula, watercress, etc.).

    o    If you do your fats right, you will:

    o    Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke

    o    Lower inflammation in the body

    o    Improve neurologic/mental health

    o    Reduce the risk of some cancers

    o    Decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol

    o    Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

     

    2.  Do your CARBS right!  This is the second most powerful nutritional strategy available to protect your health!

    o    Minimize consumption of the highly refined, high glycemic index “bad”, white carbs – white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, sugar, and products containing them.

    o    I refer to these foods as the “Great White Hazards” because they promote obesity, increase your cardiovascular risk, promote type 2 diabetes in susceptible individuals, promote certain cancers, and lead to rapid fluctuations in blood glucose that aggravate the brain.

    o    Consume the majority of your carbohydrate calories from the following 4 categories: whole grains, beans/legumes, fruits, and vegetables (the “right carbs”).  These carbs improve and protect your health!

    o    If you do your carbs right, you will:

    o    Lower your risk of heart disease

    o    Improve your gastrointestinal health

    o    Lower your risk of cancer of the stomach, mouth, colon, gall bladder, and ovary

    o    Protect against type 2 diabetes

    o    Have greater success with a healthy weight

    o    Lower inflammation in the body

     

    3.  Eat as many and as much a variety of fruits and vegetables as possible – this is the simplest strategy of all!

    o    Strive to have 7 servings (about 4 cups combined) a day – but any improvement counts!

    o    The phytochemical power in fruits and vegetables is extraordinary – your “magic bullet”

    o    The superstar fruits – berries, cherries, plums, any whole citrus, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, red grapes, and apples.

    o    The superstar vegetables – all cruciferous (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards), carrots, garlic, onions, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, winter squash, asparagus, and red/orange/yellow bell peppers.

    o    If you do your fruits and veggies right, you will:

    o    Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke

    o    Protect against high blood pressure

    o    Improve your gastrointestinal health

    o    Prevent age related vision loss (cataracts and macular degeneration)

    o    Have greater success with a healthy weight

    o    Reduce your risk of a host of cancers

    o    Make meals beautiful, delicious, and exciting

     

    4.   Do Your PROTEINS right!

    o    Consume them in the healthiest packages

    o    Healthy protein packages – fish (oily fish best), shellfish, skinless poultry, beans/legumes, wild game, soy, omega 3 eggs, nuts/seeds and low-fat dairy products (yogurt best).

    o    Limit the unhealthy protein packages – red meat (especially processed and fatty cuts) and whole dairy products.

    o    Restrict red meats to 2 servings or less a week.  Choose lean cuts when you do.

    o    Strive to have some healthy protein at each feeding/meal.  Protein is nature’s diet pill.

     

    5.   Drink the “make-me-healthier” beverages.

    o    Clean water (should be your primary beverage)

    o    100% fruit or vegetable/tomato juice (avoid fruit juice if weight an issue)

    o    1% or skim milk or soymilk

    o    Freshly brewed tea (green, black or white)

    o    Coffee (in moderation)

    o    Alcoholic beverages in moderation – 2 drinks or less for men, 1 drink or less for women.  Best for those >age 50 and/or those at high risk for cardiovascular disease.  Strictly avoid if medically contraindicated; red wine is best.

    o    Just say “NO” to soda (including diet), fruit drinks and sports beverages.

     

    6.   Maintain an optimal weight (BMI <25; waist size <31.5” for females; <37” for males). This is the single most powerful means to protect your health.  Overweight/obesity is a significant risk factor for almost all forms of chronic disease.  BMI, weight gain after age 20, and belly size are the relevant aspects here.

    o    Exercise daily the rest of your life

    o    Consume the right foods (see steps 1-5)

    o    Eat mindfully – become a “defensive” eater

    o    Control your portions

     

    7.   Take Your Supplements.

    o    Comprehensive multivitamin/mineral daily with food – check it for:

    o    400 mcg folate

    o    400 IU vitamin D

    o    15 mg of zinc

    o    2 mg vitamin B6

    o    6 mcg vitamin B12

    o    no more than 5000 IU of vitamin A (palmitate)  

    o    The “USP” symbol. 

    o    No iron (Fe) - males and post-menopausal females should not take iron from supplements unless directed by physician.

    o    Long chain omega 3 fatty acids from pharmaceutical grade fish oil: 

    o    Dose – approximately 1 gram (combined DHA/EPA) daily. 

    o    Those on blood thinners consult your physician first. 

    o    If you take pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements.

     

    8.   Exercise regularly the rest of your life!  An absolute for any wellness program.

    o    Benefits almost too numerous to count.

    o    “Perfect program” – what you know you can do on most days of the week the rest of your life.

    o    “Idealized program” – 30 minutes or more of aerobic activity on 5 or more days a week, combined with 10-20 minutes or more of resistance exercise (weights) 2-3 times a week.

    o    Use of a pedometer is an invaluable tool for objectifying your aerobic activity – strive for 10,000 or more steps per day.