Putting it all Together: The Formula for Healthy, Happy Living

October 01, 2008

Putting The Puzzle Together:  The Keys to Better Living 

 Competency # 20 Lifestyles of the Long-Lived    Date:  10/08 

 The Dos: 1.Exercise every day for 30 minutes.  Find a reason to walk, play, garden.  It doesn’t have to be a gym.  Getting sweaty is better.  Breathing hard is best.  Using arms, legs and back with lifting and moving is additional bonus territory. 

          2.  Eat Well.  A little more complex a. Lots of vegetables and fruits.  Aim for a pound or so a day or 7-9 servings (1/2 cup each) each and every day.  (Lots of potassium and magnesium this way)  Perfection is to balance 3 servings of vegetables for each one of meat.  6 servings for each cheese serving. 

                b. Choose chicken and fish more than red meat.   Just 2 three ounce servings of meat will do. Lower your total animal protein sources. 

                c. Three servings of calcium every day: yogurt, milk, cheese 

                d. Add nuts to your diet three times a week.  More is better.  Almonds, walnuts are best. 

                e. Peas and beans a couple times of week are great.  More than meat. 

                 f. Avoid sugar: aim to get down to less than 1oz a day total: NO sugared sodas or fruit drinks.  Become a sugar detective.  Get used to less sweet. Become a HFCS detective and ban it. 

                 g. Avoid packaged, processed carbohydrates.  Make grain consumption from whole grains.  If it’s been made into flour, try and cut it out. 

                 h. Drink water instead of sweetened drinks.  Enough to have clearer urine. 

                  i.  Oils are fine if they are olive, walnut, grape seed, coconut. Avoid oils that are solid at room temperature.

                  j.  NO trans fats.  Become a watchdog to get rid of them.  Dairy topping, pie crusts, cookies, French fries, they are everywhere and not hard to find if you look.  “Partially hydrogenated” is code for a dangerous ingredient. 

                   k.   Cook at lower temperatures.  Fry less. 

 3. Keep your weight in check.  Goal: waist size below 37 inches for men, 31.5 for women.  Or else BMI under 25.  If you follow #2 above, your weight may not matter much as long as you exercise.  The weight will gradually shed, just like it got on.  What’s key is starting.  Your internal inflammation drops quickly. 

 4.  Vitamin D Strategy:  You need 15 minutes of sun twice a week if you are fair-skinned.  1 hour if you are darker-skinned.  And you must take a supplement from Oct 1 till April 1 when there is no sun.  Or, take 2000 IU year around if you work indoors, are older than 40, are overweight, have darker skin, put sun block on, don’t get out doors, have religious reasons to cover up.  This may go higher. 

 5.  Get your sleep.  7 hours minimum.  Learn good sleep hygiene.  Get restful in the evening.  Stay in bed.  Naps are great too.  Don’t eat before bed. 

 6.  Practice Your Path.  Learn spiritual growth strategies.  Meditate, pray.  Take an “Artist’s Date” with your passion.  Learn a hobby.  Grow your soul. 

 7.  Practice safe sex.  Bond with one a loved one.  Work on your relationships, friends, community. 

 8.   Drink some wine.  Red is better.  Two drinks is not better.  

Moderate The Don’ts 

           1.  Don’t smoke.  Get over it.  Quit.  Best Strategy.  Stay away from second hand smoke too.  Don’t chew either. 

            2.  Transportation Safety.  Wear a seat belt, always, or a helmet on a bike.  Bike on bike trails.  Take pride in driving like you were in driving school.  Obey the speed limit.  Stop fully at signs. No cell phone. It’s your life, and one other’s, that gets altered with one tiny error.

Column written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI (262-784-5300)