Step 1: Exercise
Group exercise is great for those seeking accountability.
I was asked to write an article without all the fancy scientific words and research. I welcome a challenge, and here you go.
People frequently want to talk with me about diseases (that maybe they or a family member have), treatment options, herbal information or advice. And it's really understandable- I am required to fit all that information in there. The only problem, because I truly do want to help people, is that "diagnosing or treating" is something that only a doctor can do for a patient. Providing that information without having that relationship gets me into hot water.
So, here's a mini-series (I'm guessing only two, so a "very mini" series) on what I'm seeing as the top things that doctors, public health officials and medical researchers are saying to do for your health.
Step 1: Exercise.
It appears to matter less what type, or how much, or for how long. As long as your moving on a regular basis, those in the know say that may experience such "side effects" as weight loss, mental clarity, more stable mood, better digestive functioning, less fatigue, improved heart health (and pretty much every other organ as well) and decreases the effects of most types of chronic diseases- just to name a few.
So, move your way to health. And watch the below video for some animated inspiration.
When it comes down to it, most people just want to know how to be healthy. And, of course, we all have our unique set of medical concerns- but exercise can help most of those (and has been shown in research). Now, 30 minutes of walking as suggested in the above video will be easy and doable by most readers here, but consult a doctor if you're considering a drastic change to your exercise routine (or beginning one for the first time). I won't be held responsible for anyone's kick boxing-induced injuries.
If all of the above information is still not convincing, then either find what works for you. Some healthcare practitioners are great at helping folks make positive changes to their daily routine (I like to think of myself as one in training).
For yet further information about exercise and research-based recommendations, check out Harvard's School of Public Health article "The Benefits of Physical Activity."
Sugar: the mouth and brain crave it, the guts do not.
I don't know where this phrase originated, but it sure contains a lot of wisdom:
"Sweet to the tongue, bitter to the stomach. Bitter to the tongue, sweet to the stomach."
The first part refers our society's love affair with all things sugary. Now, don't get me wrong, I like my sweets every now and then. But in the face of societal epidemics heavily relating to lifestyle choices, we could all benefit from realizing and acting upon the common knowledge that too much sugar in the diet wrecks our body in many ways. A few examples of this are blood sugar mishandling leading to diabetes, an overabundance of inflammatory reactions (see my earlier article on inflammation), insidious damage to the liver leading to many metabolic issues such as high blood lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides) and a weakened immune system. Sweets just aren't that sweet to us.
Arugula is a good bitter appetizer.
Now there's a million and one ways to combat the amount of sugar in one's diet, most of that being through diet change. Along with a healthy exercise regimen, including botanical, vitamin and pharmaceutical intervention when necessary, we can do a lot to counter the effect of our diet being "bitter to the stomach."
So what does tasting bitterness have to do with helping the stomach? Well, when the tongue receives bitter signals (herbal bitters before meals, or with other botanical or food choices) this starts the digestive fire, and sends messages all over the body to expect a meal. The stomach then starts firing up, and all the other digestive organs (gall bladder, pancreas and the intestines further down the digestive tract) get clued into what's going and are then prepared for the digestive process.
This whole cascade of processes is greatly helped by preceding each meal with a small amount of bitters. This idea complements and builds upon my preceding article on being a food connoisseur. When the whole body, from brain to guts, has gotten the signal to be expecting a meal, then one's body is primed to optimally digest that meal- the way it was intended to function.
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Thank you for reading, I appreciate all my readers' feedback!