Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Live a Long, Disease-Free Life

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the LongestHow do we begin to learn about living long, healthy, disease-free lives?  Well, naturally, we should look to those who are successful at it already.    There are several people groups in the world that have many healthy centenarians and rarely, if ever, suffer from the degenerative diseases we are so plagued with here in the U. S.  The Hunza people of the Himalayas are widely recognized for their longevity.  In his book The Blue Zone, Dan Beuttner examines the following groups also noted for their longevity: the Sardinians of Italy, the Okinawans of Japan, the Seventh-day Adventists of Loma Linda, CA, and the Nicoyans of Costa Rica.  I compiled a list of items that all these people groups have in common to some degree or another.  

1. Plant Based Diet: The above mentioned people groups all subsist on a plant based diet.  Their food is minimally processed, organic, and in as close to a natural state as possible.  Some of these societies do not have access to power and do not cook their food.  Therefore, their food has many live enzymes which aid in digestion and slow the process of aging.  If they eat meat at all, it comprises less than 5% of their diet.  They also eat a light dinner which means that their bodies do not have the heavy task of digesting food at night, which allows their physiological systems to focus on repairing the body during sleep hours.

2. Exercise:  People in these groups generally exercise regularly.  What surprised me is that their exercise isn't high in intensity whatsoever.  Their exercise is moderate.  They walk, garden, and get their heart rates up while busy with their daily activities.  So much for  busting my rear at the gym!

3. Strong Social Networks:  We all have a need to be connected with other people and feel that others care about us. (Reminds me of  the 80's show Cheers - "where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.")  Long-lived people groups have strong family bonds and make family a primary focus in life.

4. A Positive Attitude: Longevity champions have a positive outlook on life and can laugh about situations to help deal with their stress.  Laughter is powerful.  Physiologically, it helps our bodies deal with hard situations.  Having a good sense of humor, learning to see the glass half full, and being grateful for the blessings we enjoy can go a long way toward promoting longevity.

5. A Sense of Purpose:  We all need to feel like we have a purpose - to know that our existence makes a difference during our sojourn on this planet.  This is another characteristic of the above mentioned groups. 

50 Secrets of the World's Longest Living People6. Sun Exposure:  The people groups known to live longest get vitamin D while taking their walks outside, working the fields, and gardening.  Sun exposure can help enhance sleep and ward off depression.  Despite the bad press it has gotten lately, sun exposure at the right time of day and of reasonable duration is healthful and can even help prevent cancer. Ironic, huh? (More on that in a later post). 

7. Meditation: A final quality of the groups known for  longevity is their habit of taking time to meditate.  Leaning on their faith helps them deal with the normal stresses of life.

Interested in reading more?  Pick up a copy of these excellent books: 

The Blue Zone by Dan Buettner 

Have  a great day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Different Approach to Health

The statistics in the United States are staggering.  Billions of dollars are spent annually on pharmaceutical drugs and yet victims of disease are at record numbers.  One in three Americans will get cancer at some point in their lives, Russian roulette has better odds than that.   I am sure that everyone who reads this knows someone who has died from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or some other lifestyle related disease.  The numbers are black and white on paper but they represent fathers, mothers, siblings, children.  It is so heart-wrenching to go to a funeral and witness children saying goodbye to a parent or vice versa.  Something has to change.  We cannot continue in this way. 

What if we made a paradigm shift and began to look at disease in a different way?  Suppose we look at the cause of disease and focus on prevention?  Most drugs are developed simply to treat or counteract symptoms.  In addition, they have a long list of side effects and place a heavy burden on the liver which must process and eliminate them.  Drugs do not heal the body.  I side with Hippocrates when it comes to healing, "Let Food by thy medicine."  He nailed it when he made this statement 2,400 years ago.  Remove the causes of disease,  fuel the body with the highest grade nutrition and watch the miracles happen.  People, it's that easy!

I sometimes hear arguments against preventing diseases like cancer by lifestyle change.  One of them is that there are too many disease-contributing factors to contend with.  I say examine all the factors, strip them down so that they are as naked as the noon day sun and knock them out one by one. 

Some say that the required lifestyle changes are too extreme.  I think that changing a lifestyle can be fun, but chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are extreme.  I think spending a lifetime of savings on medical bills is extreme.

Don't be a helpless victim when it comes to healing and don't become a statistic!  Take charge of your health and keep your money in the bank!  Give your body the chance to heal itself.  You will be amazed at what it can do given the opportunity.  In this blog I will be exploring things that harm health (e.g., the Standard American Diet), and what you can do to achieve the most amazing, powerful health possible.  Depending on how far you want to take it, you may even be able to reverse signs of aging!  The sky is the limit, folks!  Buckle up your seat belts, it'll be a fun ride!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

President Clinton Goes Vegan

I had an organized plan in the way I would share my thoughts and ideas for this blog. However, as relevant news develops I feel it is important for me to pass it along. Recently former President Bill Clinton decided to become a vegan.  As you may remember, he had a very poor diet and lifestyle which eventually took its toll on his health, especially his heart.  He has since teamed up with Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.  They have helped him transition to a plant based diet and consequently he has shed "two dozen pounds" and his health is improving.  You can see the YouTube video here, but with some browsers the link may not work unless you right-click on it and open it in a new tab or new window (don't ask me why).   CNN conducted an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and  President Clinton.  It will air on Saturday, August 27, 8 and 11 p.m ET on CNN.  I don't want to miss this!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Living to the Fullest

Remember being a kid and wanting nothing more than to grow up?  I remember when I just couldn't wait to be older, but time seemed to move like molasses.  When I finally reached those coveted high school and college years, I never gave youthfulness a second thought.  At that point in my life, aging mattered nothing to me because in my mind I would be young forever.

As time passed, I got married and had children.  Then a funny thing happened.  Time, that old bugger, changed on me.  What once moved so slowly, now accelerated to a crazy pace.  Youthfulness, being fresh and young -- you take it for granted when you have it, but when it begins to slip away you realize that time waits for no one.

I just turned 40 this past spring.  Now more than ever, I want to be in control of my destiny, my health, and my youthfulness.  I've heard people say, "You gotta die of something!" and promptly take a drag from their cigarette.  Yes, we all die eventually but we don't have to rush the process.  I want to focus on living, and living to the fullest.  

In the past decade and a half, I have begun a journey toward better health.  I have become excited about a way of living that promotes vibrancy and youthfulness.  I want to share that information with as many people as possible.  We all make choices daily that impact the quality and longevity of our lives.  Once armed with information, we can make a decision about how we want to live.  I don't know about you, but I honestly don't ever want to come to the point where I have to take a myriad of medications and need a little plastic drug container organized by day.  I want to be healthy, strong and lean for years to come.  To be able to live with  zero fear that I might succumb to disease.  Disease prevention, and many times reversal of it, is so possible. I want to look younger than my age -- to have smooth, clear skin.  I want to feel good, light, and contented.  I want to have a sharp, clear mind.  I want positive relationships, positive emotions and thoughts.  This is how I choose to live.  I invite you to join me on this journey.  No matter where you are in life or what your circumstances are, no matter what your age or your health may be, it's never too late to improve the quality of your life and increase your longevity.  Join me in my quest to live beautifully!