Thursday, February 5, 2015

2015 - Ten Recommendations for Wellness

A Basic Beginning to Better Health in 2015
Mark Fredericksen, N.D., M.Div


Introduction: A Change of Course
The journey of health happens whether we are managing it or not.  The journey of health is the journey of growing older, which all of us must do.  We can let life take its course and let our bodies respond in whatever ways they will with the random occurrences, habits, environmental and emotional exposures, and genetics we’re given.  Or, we can direct the flow of life toward longevity, less illness, and reduced experiences of “just getting old.”  Good health requires intention and attention.  If you are ready to begin applying more attention and intention to your life journey here are a few beginning places.  They are not arranged in any particular order.  You do not have to do all of them to change your health course.  Start somewhere.  Think of each one as a small course change toward being healthier.  This is not a comprehensive list of basic health needs, but a place to start.  If you’re already doing all of these, then you’re ready for next steps.

Basic Integrative Health Elements:
(1) Sleep:  The minimum amount of sleep needed is 8 hours.  Ideally, more than half of It should be before 2:00 a.m.  Adequate sleep contributes the following benefits: weight loss, skin health, and more stable mental health.  Sleep is a strong indicator of adrenal health.  If insomnia is a problem, adrenal support is probably needed.

(2) Water: Adequate water is typically 6-8 glasses a day, this would be a minimum of 64 fluid oz.  A gallon a day is an admirable health experiment.  Most of us walk around in dehydrated states.  This impairs our ability to detoxify.

(3)  Intermittent Fasting: Begin with doing a twelve-hour fast once or twice a week.  Do not eat for 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.  Gradually add more days until this is a daily pattern.  Once it’s daily then once or twice a week go for 16-24 hours.  Water, herbal tea, supplements are permitted.  Intermittently fasting stimulates your body to grow more adept at using fat stores for energy.

(4)  Basic Diet Change: (A) No refined sugars/sweeteners of any kind including sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, pasteurized honey, maple syrup, agave, sugar alcohols and all artificial sweeteners.  Small amounts of stevia and black strap molasses are okay.  (B). Avoid white processed flour and foods. (C). Increase the amount of vegetables you’re eating – more of your plate should be occupied by vegetables than any other food group.

(5) Supplementation:  A good quality multiple vitamin containing fruit and vegetable extracts, such as Alive, Furhman, or Juice Plus.  A multiple vitamin is working if your appetite seems more reasonable.  One teaspoon of coconut oil twice a day, 3 fish oil capsules twice a day.  A whey protein powder can be helpful in bumping up protein intake or for bridging a gap between meals.  Some helpful weight management products are also available in my virtual online dispensary.  You can access it through my clinic website, www.natureworkshealthclinic.com

(6) Breathing:   Fat is processed predominantly by breathing.  The body breaks down fat into carbon and water.  Carbon leaves the body with carbon dioxide.  The “Pranayama ap” is a good directed breathing exercise available on iPhone.  1-2 minutes of deep breathing done 8-10 times a day is a good start.  The more deep breathing you do the better.  Exercise supports deep breathing (and fat processing.)

(7)  Exercise: The goal should be 30 minutes a day.  If you haven’t been exercising, begin with a 30-minute walk. Buy a pedometer.  A good daily goal is 7,000 steps.  10,000 steps is better.  12,000 steps you get an A+

(8) Tracking: “Fitness Pal” is an iPhone ap that helps you keep track of your daily caloric and exercise details.  This is a significant part of maintaining attention and intention every meal.

(9) Journaling.  Journaling or keeping a diary where you reflect on how you’re feeling and how things are going, as well as what’s working will prove invaluable for reviewing later if you lose your way.

10.  Prayer/Meditation: Spiritual health supports the physical and emotional health and vice versa.  Prayer and Meditation take you into the exploration of meaning and the deeper understanding of the whats and whys of your life.  Richard Rohr says that perhaps the greatest sin is that life is nothing but superficiality.  Prayer and meditation practices infuse depth in your life.  

Protection Against Breast Cancer

Before you read this, I'd like for you to pause and close your eyes.  Think about a time when you have felt really good about yourself and how you looked.  Then say to yourself, "I can have that again."  Say it to yourself several times like Dorothy did with her ruby slippers to go home in the Wizard of Oz.  "I can have that again."

Now you can read on:

If you're looking to give yourself an edge against getting breast cancer, there are a number of interesting studies going on right now engaging some natural approaches.  In order to get a scientific study funded, up, and running there generally has to be pretty strong indicators from previous science work that the hypothesis has a good chance of proving true.  Further, it often takes several repeat studies to prove the legitimacy of one study's results.  That being said, I think it makes some pretty good sense to adopt the following approaches that are presently being tested into your daily health regimen.  In a way you are participating in the study through the backdoor.  The main advantage being that you don't get drawn to be in the placebo group when you volunteer yourself to run your own experiment.

Three Solid Approaches to Improve Your Breast Health:

  1. There have been a number of pretty strong studies that show being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer (and others as well.)  So, the first recommendation is lose weight if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25.  The current study going on in Kansas is aimed at helping women lose 10% of their body weight in six months and then maintain it.
  2. Fat cells tend to be great little manufacturing plants for estrogen.  Estrogen is a known high powered fuel for cancer.  The other way fat figures in is in the inflammation picture.  Inflammation is also a huge fuel for cancer.  So reducing the number of fat cells (weight loss) and changing the composition of fat cells could remove two of the principle fuels for cancer.  The study in Kansas is using roughly 3 grams (3,000 mg) of fish oil/day with high profiles of EPA and DHA - two principle Omega-3 fatty acids that have been studied a lot.  In addition to it reducing inflammation, it has other benefits including: clearer thinking, less reactive nervous system, improvement in good cholesterol, improved cardiovascular health, and mild blood thinning.
  3. Work on your spiritual and emotional health.  Experiencing awe, compassion, joy, love, forgiveness, calmness & relaxation, and other positive emotions have been proven to reduce your production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.  As their name implies, this would further reduce your inflammation levels.   

You will lose absolutely nothing by embarking on these three changes.  If you are already doing these then you're some laps ahead on the wellness journey.  Look for a separate post where I share my 2015 suggestions for improving overall wellness.  Remember weight loss follows wellness - not vice versa!