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July 2019 News
"Give up the thought that you have control. You don't. The best you can do is adapt, anticipate, be flexible, sense the environment and respond." Dr. Frances Arnold, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2018
We are all such good little patients, swallowing our horse pills, choking down ghastly tasting tinctures while denying ourselves what some might call the "good life" of wine, sugary treats, huge slabs of slaughtered cow and anything with gluten in it. I think the unspoken agreement here (Oh yeah? With WHOM is this "agreement", pray tell?) is this: In EXCHANGE for all of this heroic abstinence and caution with our health, we will EARN ourselves a longer healthier life with better eyesight, hearing, no aches and pains and fabulous lab values.
Yes, there is a lot of research and a thousand books written about how to have a healthier, longer life, and God knows, along with a few of my determined patients, I am up for doing most if not ALL of it. And what I have gotten in exchange for being a very good girl for the past 20 years or so are many, many rewards such as tons of energy, a capable brain and a sense of excitement about life. I am not depressed, look forward to every day and gravitate towards a more spiritual life.
To tell the truth, I don't think that it's possible to feel like I do unless you have the healthiest body possible. And, to do this, you have to have persistent commitment and consciousness around that. It's not hard for me since I have been doing it for so long, but I am here to tell you that it becomes more difficult to keep that healthy body as you age. The road gets narrower. Nonetheless, you are still what you eat, what you digest, how you think and feel and if you are constantly fighting yourself with bad food and thoughts, then yes, you will be depressed, suffer from lots of little illnesses, and not be excited about life. Even the Buddha said this: "To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."Now, look again at the quote by Dr. Arnold and rethink my first paragraph: There are no guarantees no matter how compliant you are. Your goodness does not mean that something might not come up and surprise me or you bite us in the butt, as it were. Like the random diagnosis that comes out of left field, the heart attack when you have a perfect lifestyle and labs or an aneurysm that has been silently expanding and takes you without warning - quickly and gracelessly - on a Tuesday at 3 in the afternoon while you are folding the laundry. No matter how much we do for our health and well-being, there is always, always that random event that is so far off of our radar that we haven't even thought to perseverate about it.
That's life. There are no deals. You do the best you can with the information you have and then leave the rest up to what? Fate? The Divine Spirit? Karma? Whatever? Life is just a process of letting go of the absurdity that we have control. All we have is this one very healthy moment now, now, now and now - and I, for one, plan to enjoy each and every one of these moments as long as they keep choosing to appear before me.
One of my favorite quotes from William Davis, MD who wrote Wheat Belly, Total Health and Ultimate Grain-Free Health and Weight-Loss Life Plan (2014) " Most modern people are boiling pots of inflammation: Hot, steaming, churning cauldrons of disordered, chaotic inflammatory responses, much of them due to food choices that conform poorly to human dietary needs." Start eating more polyphenols to reduce inflammation: Cocoa and dark chocolate, black raspberry, elderberry, red grapes, coffee, strawberries, flaxseeds, hazelnuts, black and green tea, nuts, red onion, just to name a few.
Older ladies! Only 4400 steps per day are needed for healthy exercise. That magical 10,000 steps per day thing is bogus. New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital showed that for older women, taking as few as 4,400 steps per day was greatly associated with lower risk of death compared to taking 2,700 steps per day. Risk of death continued to decrease with more steps, but leveled off at around 7,500 steps per day. (JAMA, 2019)
Pursuant to walking your daily 4,400 steps: Spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and well-being, according to a study by the University of Exeter, so do your walking outside in whatever weather the moment brings you. I am not a big fan of gyms or home treadmills, ski machines or ellipticals. Much of my pleasure in hiking is being in the outdoors surrounded and loved by all the nature angels and, it is in that special interaction where the health and well-being comes in, at least for me.
Speaking of mobility: You know how I bug you about taking your vitamin K along with your vitamin D? Well, new research from Tufts University (J. of Gerontology, 2019) says I'm right to nag. "Older adults with low circulating vitamin K levels were nearly twice as likely to develop mobility limitation compared to those with sufficient levels." Mobility limitation includes slower gait speed and higher risks of osteoarthritis, difficulty in walking ¼ mile or climbing 10 steps without resting. I like 3-K Complete by Thorne as a supplement and you can also get K from your diet from raw spinach, kale, broccoli and fermented dairy products.
About those supplements we are all swallowing by the fist full? I can really get snarky when someone says you can get all of your vitamins and minerals from your food. I will leave you with a quote from the very respected Mark Hyman, M.D.: "If people eat wild, fresh, organic, local, non-genetically modified food - grown in virgin mineral and nutrient-rich soil - that has not been transported across vast distances and stored for months before being eaten. . . and work and live outside, breath only fresh unpolluted air, drink only pure clean water, sleep nine hours a night, move their bodies every day and are free from chronic stressors and exposure to environmental toxins, then it is possible that they might not need supplements."
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