I am reading a book on health and nutrition right now (another one!). The author is a bona fide M.D. (versus a self-styled “expert”), the sources he references are well-respected ones, and, as a sweeping generalization, his basic dietary program strikes me as sound and inspirational. But the devil is in the details, it seems. Our doctor-author has additional guidelines, some of which are pretty cumbersome and, um, well, kind of out there. And along with the more difficult guidelines comes a heavy dose of philosophy, probably designed to inspire his readers, that rather makes me wonder if he foraged the wrong kind of mushrooms.
Before I set down the book last night before bed, I thought that someone really needs to write a book entitled: How To Be a Health Nut Without Becoming a Nut Job. Because, despite the aforementioned author’s good intentions and promises of flawless health, most of us (even the healthy ones!) will one day wind up in the nursing home. And if you’ve been a tediously food-rule-obsessed wacko for most of your adult life, ain’t no one gonna visit you there. I’m not up for writing the book, but I’ll gladly take a stab at a pithy little step-by-step guide. Here goes my take on the matter:
- Don’t get all preachy about your dietary regimen. Why? Because there are many paths to the top of the mountain, Little Grasshopper. What’s working for you, might literally cause anaphylactic shock in someone else. You may certainly share your secrets with anyone who asks why you seem so vibrant, but don’t become an evangelist for your specific diet.
- Make your breakfast 80% fruit. Of course you can have a little of grain or protein or dairy to round things out, but there is no finer way to kick-start your body in the morning than with a heavy dose of Vitamin C. And sorry, but orange juice alone just doesn’t cut it. You need the whole fruit with all of the cell-supporting collagen and fiber.
- Eat a couple vegetarian dinners each week. You don’t have to commit to a lifetime of “rabbit food”, but it really gives your system a break if you keep meals light and fresh from time to time. It’s like the system-flush they do on your car when you get a tune up. It just keeps you running clean.
- Choose food that hasn’t been messed with. Choose produce that wasn’t hosed down with some DDT-like chemical. Choose beef that didn’t spend its life propped up by hormones and antibiotics. Make sure your other supplies don’t have an ingredient list a mile long, too. You should already know to steer clear of fast food and processed packaged food. You don’t have to be zany about it…just try to make the better choice most of the time.
- Get some fresh air and sunshine. Not everyone is cut out to be a gym rat or yoga guru. But everyone absolutely is cut out to get outdoors and work out the kinks. Physiologically, almost all of us truly need a little Vitamin D sunshine and some fresh air in our lungs. If you think I’m making this up, go have your MD check your D levels. Most of us, especially in cloudier climes, are woefully short on the stuff.
- Sleep more. I hear you laughing at me. I know it’s hard...24 hours doesn’t give most of us nearly enough time for all of our obligations and a good night's rest. But 24 hours is all that any of us has, so we’ve got to figure it out. If you can inch your bedtime backwards by just one half hour or grab a 20 minute catnap after work, it will do great things for your constitution and immune system.
- Bakery and booze are for special occasions. Sorry. Please know that it hurts me to write that as much as it hurts you to read it, but it’s the truth. Despite the odd antioxidant in wine, most of these trappings of the good life have to be filtered out of your body like a pollutant. If you make your filter organs sluggish from too many num-nums, they will undoubtedly have a harder time beating off real enemies to your health...like disease or environmental hazards.
A mere 7 steps would make a reasonable start to a healthy lifestyle without having to subscribe to any extreme philosophies. If you followed only these steps to a “T”, I would gander that a lot of things would fall in line. It's quite possible that this guide could be enough for many people, but you can always expand on it once you've gotten the basics down pat.
So that's my non-nutso guide to health...just 7 steps... because I know life is already nuts, why should you be, too?