Often, there are many things I want to talk with patients about who are determined to live healthier that they can easily take home and put to use. So here is a list of lifestyle changes for people to easily refer to.
1. No stressful activity during or directly after meals. That means no eating while driving, working, watching news, reading, studying, having stressful conversations, etc. I routinely walk out of restaurants that play the TV while I am trying to eat for this reason. I also refuse to have conversations about politics or religion with people I don’t agree with during my meals or to discuss stressful activities. This ultimately diverts blood flow away from the intestines/stomach and impedes digestion. Also, no standing or walking around while eating. We should be relaxed and stress free during and after meals and allow our digestion to happen under optimal conditions.
2. Chew your food more. The more we chew, the less hard our stomach has to work to mechanically break down food and the faster and easier food breaks down into easily absorbed components our bodies can assimilate. “Chewing effects article”
3. We should consume no more than 6 oz. of liquid 10 minutes before and 45 minutes after meals, and never cold temperature beverages (with or without meals). Those that have had a basic chemistry class should remember from chemistry that when you dilute a reaction or reduce the temperature, the reaction takes longer to happen. So cold and too much dilution have the same effect on your body’s digestion (with HCl and enzymes) also.
4. Sitting for long periods of time or standing for long periods of time both are damaging to the body’s life force. If you have a desk job, get up and move a little bit every hour, and vice versa for occupations where you are on your feet for too long.
5. Throw away your microwave. Microwaving food damages the nutrients in the food and creates toxins if overcooked or leached from plastic containers. Also, the non-ionizing radiation your microwave gives off is harmful to you and every other life form near it… the greater the distance you are from it while it is operating, the better. Do not especially microwave foods in plastic as this can cause Bisphenols and other toxic chemicals to leach out of plastic into your food. Switch to toaster ovens. I know some workplaces provide no alternatives, but a toaster oven is fairly cheap… if your boss won’t obtain one for the workplace, get your co-workers to chip in. Thrift stores often have used ones very cheap. Microwaved popcorn is about the worst food you can eat. If you can’t give up your microwave, at least only cook things in glass, porcelain or ceramic containers. “Microwave information and data”
6. Do not eat corn or soy if conventionally produced (only organic). “Soy is arguably unhealthy” even if organic unless fermented AND organic (tofu, tempeh, etc.). Both are genetically modified at this point and sprayed with toxic weed killers (Roundup/glyphosate) that are showing up in peoples’ urine in studies and pesticides. I would also avoid all genetically modified foods.
7. Refined sugars are not good for you in any amounts. Sugar causes inflammation in the body. High fructose corn syrup is the worst and has been found in some studies to contain trace amounts of mercury (which is not good for you in ANY amount). Stevia is a healthy alternative if it is not extracted with toxic chemicals. I also recommend locally produced, raw honey, but that still needs to be consumed in moderation. Also, raw honey should be avoided with children younger than 2 years of age.
8. Avoid all artificial sweeteners, but especially aspartame and sacharin. “Aspartame is a neurotoxin” that breaks down to wood alcohol, or methanol, a known carcinogen. It is found in most diet sodas and almost all chewing gum. It is the blue packet marketed as nutrasweet. Sacharin (the pink packets) has caused cancer in lab rats in one study, although the data is inconclusive to prove this connection. Splenda is still too new to tell, but I wouldn’t take any chances with my body if I were you. Stevia is arguably safest, yet the extraction processes used industrially leave residues of the toxic solvents used in trace amounts in most non-organic sources of Stevia.
9. Avoid all food dyes. Food dyes have been linked to health problems in studies including cancer in animal studies as well as ADD/ADHD in children.
10. Avoid cow’s milk. Milk transforms to phlegm in terms of Chinese medicine and is not at all in alignment with human nutritional needs. Butter, cheese and yogurt (from healthy, grass fed and organic sources) are ok in moderation. Perhaps there is a benefit to local, organic, unpasteurized and unhomogenized milk that is from organic grass fed cows, but that is the only possible exception. A recent Harvard study confirmed many issues with industrial produced milk products.
11. Avoid MSG (monosodium glutamate) in your diet. It is also labeled as autolyzed yeast and some other names. Read ingredient lists. MSG is a neuro excitatory compound that causes nerves in your tongue to be more sensitive. No telling what other effects it has on our nervous tissue, but I doubt it is good. “MSG article”
12. Eat mostly organic, but pay special attention to the annually released dirty dozen of foods tested which have the highest found concentrations of pesticides. For instance, apples, strawberries, corn, celery, spinach, and lettuce are all foods found to be laden with toxic pesticides and should always only be eaten organic. Broccoli, kiwis, and pineapple are ok to eat conventional produce. “Dirty Dozen link” And yes, organic food has more nutrients in it contrary to what you have been told, as well as significantly lower levels of glyphosate (Roundup) and pesticides.
13. Eat food when it is ripe and fresh, local as well if possible. Eating local supports local farmers, reduces the carbon footprint of your food production, and tastes better when it is fresh (also keeps longer in your refrigerator).
14. Avoid processed meats that contain nitrites. These include lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon, beef jerky, pepperoni, etc. Some stores offer nitrite free options… You have to read the label to make this determination. Nitrites are a known carcinogen (cancer causing substance) and should be avoided for that reason. Organic options do not contain nitrites and more and more brands are available that do not contain nitrites. It is usually listed on labels as ‘sodium nitrite.’
15. Consume alkalizing foods and detoxifying substances. Green Magma, chlorofresh, wheat grass, lemon juice, lime juice, and (organic) apple cider vinegar are all good mild alkalizing substances that should be consumed on a daily basis for optimal health. “How to Get Well” by Dr. Paavo Airola is a good book on the topic of acid/alkaline food consumption. In our modern age, we are inundated with toxins and have to do things regularly to support our body’s functions of detoxification. Children are always at greater risk when it comes to toxicity.
16. Limit your exposure to “dirty electricity” and non-ionizing radiation. This is given off by numerous electronic devices: fuse boxes/circuit breakers (about a 4 foot radium circle), fluorescent light bulbs, dimmer switches, wifi, microwaves, and cellular phones are a few examples. For more information on the growing data in support of this danger, please see the article linked here by Prevention Magazine. To see information on how to protect yourself from “dirty electricity” or electromagnetic fields, see this article by Prevention Magazine.
17. Consider doing Qi Gong. Qi Gong is basically Chinese yoga, or exercises that move and gather Qi/energy into your body and improve your health. My favorite system to encourage people to do is Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, which the videos of how to do are found for FREE on the Web here, at this link (I have linked to the English speaker portion, but if you go to www.falundafa.org there are links to information in other languages for my non-English speaking visitors).
18. Don’t buy clothes that require dry cleaning. If you must go that route, or there is no other option for you, please try to find a dry cleaner that doesn’t use PERC. The chemicals used to clean dry cleaning are highly toxic and very volatile (diffuse into the air easily). At the very least, leave your dry cleaning on a patio or outdoors (with the plastic covering them removed) for 3 days prior to bringing them in the house so they aren’t diffusing into your home air and polluting the air you and your family are breathing.
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