I am often asked what can one do that really improves one’s health. More and more research is showing that healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking and eating a plant-based diet, combined with moderate exercise, adequate sleep and good stress management techniques make a difference in living well. The jury is still out on living longer; the bottom line is that we are going to die when as we say in Chinese medicine we have used up our Qi. Everybody makes lists and resolutions, so here are five easy changes, all evidence based, which can transform your health.
1. Eat Local. Frankly, in most circumstances it is more important to eat locally produced fruits and vegetables than to buy organic from a distance. All food is seasonally based. Not eating grapes in the winter means I can look forward to eating them in the summer with anticipation. Travel requires picking fruits and vegetables before they are ripe, and often requires processes such as waxing so they can be transported. California, the nation’s breadbasket, has toxic air and water in the valley where these fruits and veggies are grown. Worker’s health is being affected because of the poor water quality. So the bottom line is organic fruits and vegetables are exposed to the same water and air as conventionally grown produce.
2. Join a CSA. I love my mystery basket of local produce. You will cook more at home, eat more of a plant-based diet, learn to cook things you never thought of buying, support your local economy, reduce pollution…..
List of CSAs in Austin area
3. Eat Fermented Food Daily. Look in my refrigerator and you will likely find kombucha, lacto-fermented saurkraught or Kimchee, and miso. We live a swamp of bacteria, yeast, viruses, parasites and processed/dead foods. The only way to deal with the swamp is to have a really healthy immune system, and healthy gut function. We need to constantly replenish or re-inoculate our gut flora with good bacteria. Some MDs will tell you primary immune deficiency is one of our major health problems. Too many antibiotics destroying a healthy gut flora? Many cultures celebrate fermented foods so in modern America we have ample choices.
Antibiotic Overuse – Healing the Gut
4. Get a Complete Yearly Blood Test. Are you getting information about your health needs from the Internet? Your friends? Discover what YOU NEED from a complete blood test. How can you make an informed decision without the right information? Don’t settle for a few items cherry picked to suit insurance billing needs; I offer complete blood work and pass on my doctor’s discount to you.
5. Move your Body I did not say exercise, I said MOVE. Sitting at a desk and watching too much TV take years off one’s life. As a species we need to move. Get a standing desk, take a break every hour and just stretch or walk down the hallway if you have a desk job. All the veggies you eat can’t compete fix this problem.