With the New Year upon us, it is time to reflect on what we can individually do to make positive changes in our personal, familial, social and global lives.
The Mind There’s no question that what we think and feel about ourselves and our lives, relationships, work, school and play, more than any other aspect of life, is crucial to our performance and enjoyment of life! The mind is a vast subject and how to use it a highly personal matter. Change your Mind / Change your Life! “Carpe Diem” — Seize the Day.
How are You Sleeping? Check your mattress. If it is greater than 10 years old and uncomfortable, it may be time for a replacement. A comfortably firm surface is best. Turn your mattress every three months. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as the head is turned off center. While this can be tolerated for some time, most of us get in the habit of sleeping with our head turned the same direction all the time.
Your Pillow One thin pillow is adequate. Feather pillows are good because they can be molded to fit under the neck when sleeping on the back or between the head and shoulder when sleeping on the side. More than one pillow under the head pushes the head forward and over time forces the normal curve out of the neck.
Food and Drink Since we eat what we buy, buy foods as close to the source as possible.
The Food Pyramid…
Whole grain breads, cereals…6-11 servings…Daily. Beware…Wheat products and gluten containing grains can be allergenic…Avoid refined carbohydrates such as pasta, white rice, white bread, baked goods, chips, white flour bagels.
Nuts and seeds go rancid easily and peanuts are often rancid and they can also be allergenic.
Fruits and vegetables, fresh, raw, organic…5-9 servings each…Daily! Among other things, the fiber in fruits and vegetables, besides being good for colon health, will make you feel “full” so you’ll eat less, and probably lose a few pounds.
Dairy and or meat groups, includes legumes…2-3 servings…Daily!…preferably fresh and organic. Dairy products are very rich in nutrients, but they can come with their own set of potential problems and are a very common allergen. The milk pasteurization process, designed to kill harmful organisms, also kills all the enzymes and beneficial bacteria present that you need in order to digest milk properly. Milk also has poor calcium to magnesium ratio which makes it a poor source of calcium for building bones.
Oils…use sparingly…We need fats, including cholesterol containing fat, in our diet to build and maintain many aspects of our physiology, including cell membranes, nerves, and hormones. An imbalance of fat sets up an inflammatory situation in our bodies. Unstable or unsaturated oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and other nut and seed oils easily become oxidized and promote blood clotting, inflammation, immune depression and histamine production. This leads to hardening of the arteries, heart disease, arthritis, allergies, cancer growths and other consequences you want to do without. Good fats: butter – avoid margarine spreads.
Sweets…sparingly…When sweetening, it is necessary use the real thing like sugar, honey, or fruit juice.
Remember, everything has sugar in it, in the form of high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
Beverages…water, water, water…Ideally, we should drink half of our body weight in ounces of water everyday. Drink natural fruit and vegetable juices, but watch for sweeteners, additives, preservatives, etc. Most fruit and some vegetable (carrot and beet) juices are naturally high in sugars, so don’t drink too much of these.
Soy…May block the absorption of needed nutrients like zinc and will disable enzymes your body needs. Soy directly blocks thyroid function and protein absorption and is allergenic. Some women who are extremely sensitive to estrogens of any kind may react negatively to them. The traditional Asian processing methods used to make fermented soy products – tofu, tempeh, and miso – get rid of most of the toxins and make the beneficial phytochemicals (plant chemicals) more available to the body.
Organic Foods…are grown in uncontaminated soil without pesticides of any kind (including herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides), without chemical fertilizers, and additives, and without sewage sludge. Also, they are not genetically engineered. Organic farmers have found over the years that healthy soil produces healthy plants, which contain an abundance of natural substances that allow them to better resist diseases and pests.
High carbohydrate / lowfat diets…most people are always hungry and turn to refined carbs such as candy and baked goods to satisfy their cravings, so they often end up overweight and malnourished and have frequent dips in blood sugar (especially women).
High protein / high fat diets…mostly meat, seafood, eggs, high-fat dairy products and occasional vegetables, make most people feel sluggish and a little ill. It acidifies the body and then minerals are pulled from the bones to buffer the extra acid which can lead to osteoporosis!
Processed Foods…are the enemy! Beware of lowfat or nonfat foods. Low or non fat means high salt or sugar!
There is no one diet that is right for everyone…Please use this as a guide, find the foods that you and your family like and tolerate within each category and try new things.
Vitamin and mineral supplements…incorporate fish oils with omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants such as Vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc which counteract free radicals in our body. Include antioxidant containing foods into your diet.
Ideally, the activities you choose should be things you enjoy doing, that way you are more likely to keep exercising. It will be something you look forward to doing as opposed to something you have to do. Another consideration is convenience. Find activities you can work into your schedule, while at sports practice and music lessons, for example, with the kids. Instead of sitting and watching the kids practice, go for a walk or run or help out the coaches, or volunteer to coach the team and run with the kids! Get bored running every day? Change up your routine. Have a few different trails or routes you can take. Go mountain or road biking, or go swimming instead.
Vices Too much caffeine, alcohol and/or smoking…why? Figure it out and take some proactive steps!
Life and health are not always nice, neat, organized and scheduled the way we might wish they were. If we can be good to ourselves, then Life will be good to us, all the time.
Hopefully, this information will be useful to you and your family, and be something that you can use as a framework as well as a point of reference when you get off track, as we all do.
Dr. Vince Overland, D.C. is the owner of the new Aspire Wellness Center located inside Aspire Health & Fitness at 2410 NE Twin Knolls Dr. in Bend near Costco. He has a 15 year history as a Chiropractor and has excellent patient skills and clinical knowledge to show for it.