Thank you everyone for coming today to this month’s Lunch and Learn. My name is Kathi Fox. I am the partner in Total Healthfx.com. I am a Naturopathic Practitioner and as such I give health consultations to people who are interested in taking care of their medical needs in a non-toxic, non-invasive manner, which is more effective, gives longer lasting results and is cost effective.
When talking to people about improving their health, most tend to focus on food. That is a good portion of taking care of ourselves, but I will show you other elements that affect our health.
Don’t know what to eat? Here is a very simple rule of thumb and way to remember and build a habit to follow: Eat the rainbow.
You will insure consuming a wide variety of vitamins by eating foods in a wide spectrum of colors. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at every meal, but certainly if you are mindful each day, to get your reds, your green vegetables, yellow and orange, white and brown foods, etc. you should do well.
The second tip is this: Keep It Fresh. The best way to do that is to shop the perimeter of the store. That is where the perishable foods are located. Bread and bakery items, dairy products and produce, ie. fruits and vegetables. The majority of grocery items on the inner aisles are the packaged, canned, boxed, bottled and bagged foods, which are products meant to last. Sometimes what is on the shelf lasts for years. Which means they probably have chemicals and not much nutrition. Which brings me to the next two points.
You notice I didn’t mention meat. Meat department in grocery store is also on the perimeter. Plant based diet has been shown to be of a better quality and more conducive to good health. Anything over 5% animal protein has been shown to contribute to debilitating disease.
Limit ingredients. When you pick up a mango you don’t have to ask what is in it. In the prepared items, stick to 5, no more than 8 ingredients. The more ingredients combined to produce a food-stuff, chances are the worse it will be for your health.
And the next one is like it: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it – or if you don’t know what an ingredient is, why it is in the product, more than likely it is a chemical, which means you don’t want it.
Another tip: try to eat organic as much as possible, according to availability and what your budget allows. “Organic” is terminology indicating that food is grown with as little toxic chemicals, or none at all.
What you do want is to get plenty of water. Most people think in terms of liquid intake, but not all liquids are the same. Drinking plain water is like recharging your battery. Every cell contains water, and is bathed in it. We need to replenish every day by consuming 8 ounces for every twenty pounds body weight. That means a person 120 pounds needs 6 glasses of water. Someone 200 pounds should drink 10.
There has been so much focus on weight, losing weight, looking good and conforming to a particular physique. In that quest, so many diets have been devised, to lure souls struggling to fit an image. Eat only protein, eat only starch, quit eating for a prescribed time, buy this plan, join that gym, guarantees that may or may not deliver. Take these pills, wear this garment, use this equipment and still the problem exists, and in some cases, increases after we achieve our goal then go back to our “comfortable” or “normal” way of life.
In addressing some of the designer diet fads: gluten-free. Only in the case of celiac diagnosis is staying away from gluten, necessary. No scientific study to support. We do need carbohydrates as our form of fuel.
Weight, in most cases, boils down to calories in versus calories out. Calories are the units of energy provided to our body from our food, designed to keep up functioning. If we eat a lot of calories, and don’t expend very much through physical exercise, over time, our bodies store the unused portion as fat. In terms of a balance sheet, you want the debits to equal the credits, to maintain a stable weight.
To maintain your current body weight, your calories should be ten times the number on the scale. For a person who is 200 pounds, they should be eating 2000 calories a day. No one should limit caloric intake to under 1500. If the weight you are at is too much, unhealthy, the way to go about losing is to decrease amount of food. A pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. That means in order to lose 1 pound in a week, you need to have 500 calories less per day.
Conversely, if you are over-weight because of a sedentary or lethargic lifestyle, and you don’t want to decrease what you eat, then you can increase the amount of activity. If you burned 500 calories a day more than you are now, in a week’s time you will have lost 1 pound. I know that doesn’t sound like a very quick weight loss program, but the pounds have been creeping up and slowly been added on. They don’t just jump onto you over night. So, 1 to 2 pounds per week is a healthy approach. If you have 10 pounds to lose, at that rate, you will be 10 pounds lighter in 2 1/2 months. And going gradually will help in maintaining changes made.
What you eat does matter. Where the calories come from makes a difference. If you are eating the proper amount of calories to maintain your body weight, but it is coming from all the wrong sources, (junk food, with no nutrition), your body may be hanging onto weight because it is feeling starved. It is like being in the desert with no food available. Our brain tells the glands and fat cells and such to hang on to what it has, because it thinks you are in starvation mode. That is applicable to low-calore diets or extensive fasting and why they are not recommended as a standard way of life, or as a quick means to an end.
The same holds true for lack of water. Not enough water will cause body to hang on to water weight. Drinking fresh, pure water flushes the body’s tissues.
I like to stick to the 30:30:40 plan. 30% of our food should be protein, no more than 30% should be fats, and 40% should be carbohydrates.
The Total Health Fox recommended plate: Half should be “dry” food ie. grains, seeds, nuts, beans. And half should be “wet” foods such as fruits and vegetables. Within the produce section, half will want to be raw, the other half cooked. Ten servings a day of vegetables, serving size being 1/2 cup.
If we have 90% good and 10% bad, our physical needs will be met, as well as satiating the emotional component.
This is natural health, simplified. There are extenuating factors, such as side effects of medication, some disease process or other. Also, consuming products that contain toxins will also contribute to poor health. Avoid stimulants: coffee, caffeinated drinks, alcohol. Stress causes the release of cortisol which adds to the picture. Reduce stress by saying no more often, stop worrying, engage in aerobic exercise frequently, which stimulates the feel good endorphins. Include fun activities in your life, that gives emotional release and brings about a sense of well-being. Spend time in nature. If you are not able to get away from man-made environment, spending time looking at nature pictures lifts our mood.
Having beauty around us gives health benefits. Even better, being creative is healing, especially for the brain. Creating art stimulates serotonin, which is the relaxing, sleep-inducing feel good neurotransmitter. That is why I paint and why I studied art therapy.
Another stress reliever is developing a hobby, that doesn’t relate to your work. As does owning an animal. Petting a furry friend lowers your blood pressure, and theirs as well. Caring for a living thing brings a sense of peace and well being. If you are able, growing plants indoors gives a connection to the earth, which is grounding. Plants satisfies that need for beauty, and some even help in detoxifying our home.
Beneficial Exercise – Doesn’t need to be all consuming. Don’t have to spend hours. To create an impact on the body, you need to raise your heart rate and breathing rate. A good test? If you can talk, but not sing. If you can sing, you are not putting out enough effort. Increase the activity, not until you are out of breath, you should still be able to talk.
20 to 30 minutes exercise, 3- 5 days per week.
When there is ill health, acute or chronic, I recommend first, food as medicine. Then homeopathics, which are gentle and non-toxic. Herbs, essential oils and external treatments can all be effective and curative. Only after applying natural means, should traditional medicine be pursued, seeking simple, as non-invasive as possible cures, with drastic measures being a last resort.
I believe that our bodies are constantly repairing, and when they are given the pure building blocks, they will come back into balance. In summary, a balanced, whole foods diet, clean water, fresh air, sunshine, positive attitude, avoiding pollution and toxins as much as possible. Having meaningful work, close relationships, and engaging in beneficial exercise regularly, having enjoyable hobbies and activities all contribute to creating a healthy lifestyle.