The Tuesday 10
It’s easy to get lost in the details – organic or local? wild or farmed? fresh or frozen? – and to me it seems like the majority of health news out there is just obsessing over the minutiae. No wonder we give up and go back to our old habits.
The little things can matter, but on balance, it’s the consistent application of a few simple lifestyle changes that count. Make a few very basic – but significant – healthy changes, and the little things tend to take care of themselves. Or no longer matter so much.
Here are ten simple steps to better health that you can implement, starting right now:
10. No More Rules
First things first: no more worrying about the so-called Holy Grails of Health. Here’s what I’m talking about: Water. Coffee. Breakfast. Sleep. Following the pyramid. Fat. Sunlight. These supposed hard-and-fast rules of health cause more stress than the actual things. How about trusting your body enough to know what’s right for you? You’re up for the challenge, I guarantee it.
9. 90/10 or 10/90?
A lot of us focus on rules, numbers or specific amounts in an attempt to lose weight and feel healthier. We vow to eat a certain number of calories, for example. Even Uncle Sam falls for the magic of numbers (the failed 5-a-day vegetable campaign that is now being retired). But getting healthy is about being healthy. 90% of your regular habits and 10% of healthy habits added to that is just not a recipe for health. It’s got to be the other way around.
8. Eat something green at every meal.
Pretty easy! It should be at least half of the portion size, plate, cup…
7. Absolutely cut out the sodas and sugary drinks.
Yup, they have to go.
6. Don’t eat anything that comes in a box, bag or package.
I’m not talking about a bag of frozen broccoli or a jar of almonds. I’m talking about processed, packaged, preserved foods. This is a big commitment. It is tough. But there is just no way you can be as healthy and fit as you want if you don’t stick to this most of the time. You can cheat (we all do). But keep that 90% in mind. Keep it fresh.
5. Eat meat that isn’t so processed.
Vegetarians don’t have to worry about this too much (unless you’re eating lots of processed mock meats). Fresh, clean, lean chicken and fish is going to do wonders for your health in the long run – you’ll help prevent cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. Sausage, bacon, deli meat, processed meats, on the other hand? Carcinogen special.
4. Eat a salad – every day.
So, I’m a little obsessed with my daily salad. But it’s such a no-brainer! You can even enjoy some goodies on it (nuts, a little cheese, dressing). Who said humans were meant for burritos and sandwiches?
3. Fight stress.
Whether it’s with a run, meditation, yoga, prayer, or a hot bath, find something that makes you feel completely relaxed, and do it a lot. Think of it as your 20-minute love insurance – as in loving your own life! Do this consistently for two weeks – most of us don’t commit to making ourselves feel great on a long-term basis. Try this out, and you will feel flat amazing. It may be the most important thing for your health.
2. Rethink the workouts.
Don’t do it if you even remotely dislike it – you won’t stick with it (who would?). My secret? Just put those sneakers on – that’s literally 90% of the battle. So, don’t think “I have to work out!” Instead, think, “I have to put my shoes on!”
1. Don’t worry.
Most of the stuff circulating in the media is old news with shiny new sprinkles on it. Or it’s based on a press release or a biased study. I’m not saying you should ignore information – by all means, educate yourself. But the general idea with a lot of “news” is to frighten the living daylights out of you so you’ll buy something. You’re doing pretty well, actually. So don’t worry – just keep learning and doing new things. It will all add up.
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!
Times, they are a-changin’.
This week’s Aaron’s Additions brings you news and tips about the spring time change. If you’re feeling a little bit behind this week (I know I am!), there’s a very good reason: the time change throws off everyone’s circadian rhythms, and work productivity and sleep habits can suffer temporarily. The extra sunshine feels great (don’t forget the sunscreen), but it’s not without a few temporary drawbacks.
I aim to bring you the latest health tools, tips and blogs from Web 2.0 (that handy term for the growing personalized, community nature of the internet). Since we’re all in this time change together, I think some helpful resources are in order!
Here are some helpful and humorous tools and links for you to get yourself back on track:
Psych Central brings us a great article explaining the benefits and drawbacks of Daylight Savings Time – as well as a very helpful review of how this affects the mood, mind and body. It won’t put you to sleep, but it will help you understand the important relationship between sunlight and snoozing.
If you’re feeling a little off this week, you’re not alone. Evidently everyone is feeling a little out of sorts! Grumplestiltskin at Woulda Coulda Shoulda doesn’t mince words about the off-kilter antics everyone seems to be involved in. A little comedic relief is good for everyone!
Maynard Clark offers some very helpful tips for adjusting to a new sleep and work schedule. Check it out!
As you may know by now, I am not afraid of the sunlight. Although most dermatologists suggest that we might be better off living in caves and covering ourselves head-to-toe whenever we venture out, my own evolutionary perspective leads me to believe we were designed to get sunlight almost every day and that our health suffers if we don’t get enough.
In fact, recent studies show that, as a result of our shunning the sun, many of us suffer from Vitamin D deficiency and a resulting loss of bone density and immune function (to name a few effects). Some researchers opine that more people die from lack of sun than from too much sun! But, I digress.
I came across an article the other day that piqued my curiosity since it dealt with the combination of running and sunning.
It basically showed that marathoners (of which I was once one) tend to get skin cancer at higher rates than other people. The more they ran, the higher the incidence of skin cancer. My take on what’s happening is that not only are the runners exposed to more sun (which can cause DNA damage in skin cells leading to cancer), but they are also bathed in more free radicals overall from the excessive oxidation of glucose and fats. We know that sun exposure does deplete the skin of the antioxidant Vitamin C.
Moreover, the act of running tends to divert blood flow away from the skin, starving it of additional important antioxidants that could neutralize the free-radical damage in the skin tissues. Add to that the enormous amounts of cortisol marathoners pump out doing this unnaturally high steady-state oxidative work and we not only get the DNA damage, we get the immuno-suppressive effects of the high-stress activity.
So: more DNA damage and a reduced ability to recognize that damage and take steps to eliminate those cells and/or repair the damage. That’s one reason (among many) that I have doused myself with antioxidants inside and out for over 20 years now. That’s also why one of my newest mantras is: a little running is OK – a lot is bad.
This article also brings up other points of discussion, such as whether the reliance on inferior sunscreens was another cause. It appears that for the past 30 years so-called sunscreens have been good at blocking UVB rays (the ones that burn) but not UVA (the ones primarily responsible for DNA damage and skin cancer). The effect is a generation of gung-ho health fanatics (yes, I was one) slathering on sunscreen and running 40, 50 or 100 miles a week. The fact that we didn’t burn only lead us to believe we could stay out even longer. Little did we know that the burning of skin might have been a great first warning to get the hell out of the sun.
Unfortunately, the sunscreen gave us the false notion we were invulnerable. More on that later….
Here’s your challenge:
Develop one really healthy habit this week. It doesn’t take long to form a habit, good or bad. Here are a few suggestions: floss, exercise, drink less alcohol, double your vegetables, eat a daily salad, lift weights, practice gratitude, be generous to someone. Report back, Apples!
(Carlo Winkelmann photo)
Psst…have you signed up for my free weekly health tip? Click “Join” above to receive my weekly email newsletter that includes recipes, deals, contests and great health tips to get your week off to a positive start.
5 easy tips to feel healthier now:
1. Each morning, drink a tall glass of water with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. You’ll feel noticeably less “puffy” within two days. (Warning: if you also drink a morning jolt of java, the acidity may get to be too much, so eat a little breakfast and consider skipping coffee.)
2. Stop what you’re doing and take ten deep breaths. Concentrate on drawing the breath up from your kidneys; visualize pushing it down into your stomach as you exhale. Feels great.
3. Don’t get overwhelmed – think in terms of “relative nutrition“. This is my term for putting health information in perspective. Getting healthier can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out or are recovering from an illness. Yes, hitting the gym, meditating, and eating organic, raw, pure food all day long and tossing out the microwave would probably be ideal (in some universe). Instead, think in terms of healthy as it relates to your current habits.
I suggest that you concentrate on taking 4 or 5 steps and applying them consistently. You can change and add more healthy habits as you progress, but even a handful of simple modifications can do a lot of relative good. I’m not advocating a “make half your grains whole” approach like the Food Pyramid – that’s irresponsible public health guidance when we know that refined grains are so unhealthy. But, don’t expect immediate perfection of yourself – it’s unrealistic.
The important thing is to work gradually towards that paradigm shift (moving from merely accenting with healthy foods or behaviors to practicing health as a lifestyle – the “cheats” become the accent, as they should). You’ll get a lot of healthy mileage out of just a few basic changes: for example, tossing the sodas, switching to salads for lunch every day, and making a point of going on a walk after dinner each night will improve your mood, help you drop a few pounds in just two weeks, and help you sleep better. Who wouldn’t love all that?
4. Toss the sodas! (And the sugary lattes, “juice” drinks, and milk shakes…) Don’t drink your calories. Craving a sweet beverage? You may simply be dehydrated.
5. When you dine out this week – as most of us do at least 30% of the time – just say no to the starchy sides and bread basket. Ask for vegetables as a substitute. You’ll cut hundreds of calories, lower your blood sugar, and actually be less hungry later on.
© 2013 Mark's Daily Apple | Design By The Blog Studio