In my four-plus decades of practicing medicine, I’ve learned that all the little things you do each day eventually add up, and can “make or break” your health. That’s why I recommend these six foundational practices – my “pillars of optimal health” – as long-term lifestyle choices to help you get healthy and stay healthy.
1. Follow a Balanced, Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Most people go on diets to lose weight. And, sure – maintaining a healthy weight is very important – but so is avoiding foods that cause chronic, low grade inflammation…like those with chemicals, sugar and bad fats.
For this reason, the anti-inflammatory diet I recommend over all others to get healthy and stay healthy is the Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean, or “PAMM” diet. Essentially, PAMM is:
- 40 to 45% low-glycemic carbs: fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and some whole grains. Low-glycemic means that eating them won’t cause raise your blood sugar too high.
- 20 to 25% high-quality protein: wild-caught, migratory fish, organic chicken, grass-fed meats, organic soy, dairy, eggs, beans, and nuts.
- 35 to 40% good fats: olive oil, avocados, fish (omega-3s), coconut, nuts, and flaxseed.
This anti-inflammatory diet works for pretty much everyone. People love it because it allows them to eat a variety of delicious foods that keep them feeling satisfied and never deprived. And healthy weight loss is often a natural result!
2. Avoid Toxins by Eating Organic
Besides balancing your diet with healthy carbs, proteins and fats per the percentages described above, it’s also important to eat organic, or sustainably produced, foods to stay healthy.
I’m convinced that part our high incidence of overweight and disease is associated with the hormone-loaded meat we eat, as well as the pesticides and chemicals used on our fruits, vegetables and grains. For this reason, I recommend eating organic as often as you can, or purchasing from local farms or food suppliers that you know for sure aren’t using synthetic pesticides to grow their crops.
By eating organic, you also are saying “no” to GMO (genetically modified organisms). Many genetically engineered crops were created to be much more tolerant of pesticides, so you’re getting even more vibration-lowering toxic chemicals when you consume foods grown using them. In most cases – with food, the closer to Nature, the healthier it is for you.
3. Get Physical
Regular physical activity is the absolute best thing you can do to protect your health and heal your body. Studies have repeatedly shown that exercise reduces the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. It also protects against cancer, depression, cognitive decline, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. And of course, it bolsters endurance, strengthens muscles, and boosts immunity.
The best exercise for you is the one you will actually do and stick with long term. I personally love walking and dancing. I also do yoga to stay flexible and Pilates for core strength. Find something that you enjoy and do it often. (Remember, if you have not been active for a while, talk to your doctor before beginning a rigorous program.)
4. Get Some Sun and Supplement with Specific Nutrients
In a perfect world, everyone would get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their food. But most people don’t, which is why I recommend taking a good multivitamin/mineral supplement every day to get healthy and stay healthy. I also highly recommend taking omega-3 fatty acids (fish or squid oil) for their heart protective and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as extra vitamin C and magnesium, both of which support the health of artery walls. And for those who don’t get a daily dose of sun exposure, 2,000 to 5,000 IU Vitamin D3 daily. Especially in this day and age, you want your blood level of vitamin D to be at least 31 ng/ml, and optimally between 50 and 70 ng/ml.
Finally, I’m a huge fan of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant supporter of heart health. It is made naturally in the body, but production declines significantly with age. Most everyone, especially those over the age of 40, would benefit from taking CoQ10 daily.
Daily detoxing, as opposed to here-and-there cleanses, has become a survival strategy, as we all carry an enormous toxic load. It’s tough to escape chemical exposure in our current environment!
The best ways to detox and stay healthy involve a double-down approach: avoid toxins in the first place, and help your body get rid of the toxins you can’t escape through a variety of regular detox strategies.
Eat organic, choose and use the most natural personal care and household cleaning products you can find. Filter your water. Don’t treat your lawn with chemicals. You’ll help your body’s natural detoxing mechanisms do their thing by limiting your toxic load.
The very BEST ways to detox are to eat lots of fiber-rich foods and to break a sweat through exercise or sauna use every day.
While traditional saunas – which heat the air around your body – can certainly help you detox, I prefer far-infrared (FIR) saunas. Reason is, FIR saunas directly penetrate the body with infrared heat, a beneficial type of electromagnetic radiation. FIR heat is much more efficiently and directly absorbed, and may also improve circulation. With both exercise and sauna use, remember to drink plenty of filtered water before, during, and after to mobilize toxins and prevent dehydration.
6. Keep Your Stress In Check!
Many people find support by talking to friends or a trusted professional such as a psychotherapist. There’s no shame in therapy. In fact, seeking help is a sign of strength.
Another great stress reliever is meditation, which is known to lower high blood pressure and anxiety – yoga and Tai Chi too. Anything that gets the blood pumping, really, should also work to stabilize mood and help you de-stress: walking, dancing, tennis, biking, weight training, kick boxing, etc.
Finally, one of my favorite de-stressing techniques also happens to be my last pillar…
7. Energize With Earthing
When you walk barefoot along a wet sand beach or on a field of dew-moistened grass, do you ever feel tingling or warmth rising up your legs? That sensation is the result of direct barefoot contact with the surface of the Earth.
The Earth is an electrical planet, we are bioelectrical beings, and our body functions electrically. Emerging science reveals that direct contact with the ground allows you to receive an energy infusion, compliments of Mother Earth. “Earthing” or “grounding” is making that direct connection with the earth’s surface to absorb natural earth energy to get healthy and stay healthy.
Shoe wearing has disconnected most of us from the Earth’s surface energy. For this reason, I encourage you to go barefoot for 40 minutes outside every day and see what a difference it makes on your health, energy, and stress levels. If you can’t get outside, use an Earthing device while indoors.
From my heart to yours,
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