Over the many years of study, practical experience and application in the area of mind-body medicine I have come to the realization that wellness, optimal health and longevity are influenced by many controllable and definable factors. It is true that our genetic code and DNA, which are preset, and determine how we experience life, impact this outcome. Researchers have to come a new understanding that our DNA, brain and overall physiology are integrated and interrelated and can change in response to many internal and external factors. We are the product of our choices, thoughts and beliefs, behaviors and actions. Beyond our DNA and genetic code, we can impact our wellness journey and longevity. In addition, studies show that even our DNA can be altered in either a positive or negative way through various mind-body techniques and factors. Building a functional and integrated mind-body relationship – one can undo faulty genetics and family history, re-program the brain and body, allowing the individual to manage and overcome many internal and external stresses as we age.
The decisions we make early in our life profoundly influence how we experience life in our later years. The cornerstone of this investment are exercise, nutrition, sleep and mindfulness training. The brain, much like the body, needs to be challenged and stimulated. The old adage still holds true: ” Use it or lose it”. The better the mind-body connection and integration, the better they will function over time. Listed below are several important factors that influence this outcome. It is vital to understand that it is NEVER too late implement these strategies and that some results come faster and easier to some individuals and that some changes are more difficult to feel and experience than others.
What we put into and how we stimulate our bodies, also affects our brain. Conversely, what we don’t do has an equal and even greater impact. Regular and challenging exercise, healthful nutrition, restorative and proper sleep and mindfulness techniques build the mind and body from the inside-out.
1. Needs to be regular and preferably scheduled.
2. Build in variety and challenges.
3. Functional in nature and include a combination of aerobic, strength, balance, agility and flexibility training.
4. The body is as strong as its weakest link. Address your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
5. Vary your routines ( walking, running, cycling, strength training, yoga, pilates, martial arts, individual and team sports, etc…).
6. New challenges benefit the brain ( creating new neural pathways, slowing down brain degenerative processes) and the body ( building muscle, stimulating the cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine and immunological and metabolic systems).
7. Make exercise a priority. If necessary, hire a personal trainer or find a training partner to develop accountability and consistency. It takes at least 30 days to build a new habit. It takes discipline and commitment to keep it going.
1. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!!
2. Your body, brain and mind are directly impacted by your food choices. Food sources are critical as well. When possible select organically certified vegetables and fruits, raw nuts and seeds, grass fed meats , cage free chickens and eggs, wild fish.
3. A balanced diet consists of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, quality proteins. Not all carbs, fats and proteins are created equal. It is not just what we eat, but also how and when we eat.
4. Water, preferably spring or filtered, needs to consumed daily. Add a slice of lemon ( it’s great for digestion and builds alkalinity). Water should be consumed throughout the day but NOT during meals ( interferes with digestive enzymes). It is essential for neurological, cardiovascular, endocrinological, immunological and respiratory function.
5. NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST. It is essential for stimulating the metabolism and body energy systems.
6. Ideal meal breakdown: ( breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner).
7. Dinner should be preferably eaten before 8pm and at least 2 hours before bedtime.
8. Moderate alcohol and caffeine use. If you drink coffee, use organic coffee and add whole milk /cream to aid in digestion. Red wine is best since it is high in polyphenols which are potent antioxidants that bolster the immune system.
9. Before breakfast: 2 oz of Aloe Vera Juice (Lilly of the Desert) mixed with water of freshly squeezed juice. 1000-1500mg of Omega 3 fish oils (Nordic Natural Ultimate Omegas). Acidopholous probiotics – important for digestive health of stomach, intestines and colon ( Jarro-Dophilus) 5-8 capsules
1. Take a multivitamin.
2. Avoid refined sugars ( cereals, breads, juices).
– Omelet w/ tomato, spinach, onion, cheese and chicken sausage or turkey bacon
– Greek yogurt w/ fresh berries or apple, flax seed, walnuts.
– Smoothie ( almond milk, fresh berries, banana, flax seed, whey protein) Or use fresh fruits like papaya, mango, apple and mix with cucumber, kale, spinach.
– Steel cut oatmeal w/ fresh berries or banana.
Lunch and dinner options:
– Grilled chicken w’/ salad ( add in cranberries, walnuts, apples.
– Grilled chicken or tuna spinach wrap w/ avocado, tomato, cheese, sprouts.- Turkey burger w/ sweet potato or brown rice.
– Turkey Chili w/ mixed greens and veggies.
– Meatball marinara w/ spinach pasta
– Home made tacos w/ rice chips.
– Chicken or Lamb kabobs w/ veggies and basmati rice.
– Grilled fish w/ brown rice or couscous and salad.
– Pesto chicken or shrimp salad ( add walnuts, goat cheese, cranberries, pine nuts, garbanzo beans w/ balsamic dressing)
-Lean meat or pork loin w/ baked potato.
– Kind energy bars.
– Veggies w/ hummus.
-Manna Bread ( Whole Foods) w/ almond or sunflower seed butter.
– Trail mix ( walnuts, cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds- preferably raw, cranberries)
Rice chips or seaweed crackers.
– 7-8 hours per night.
– Try to get to sleep and wake at same time.
– Minimize stimulus before bead time ( i.e TV or computer use).
– Use a supportive mattress and pillow.
– Deep breathing and relaxation techniques ( meditation, visualization and guided imagery)
– Puzzles or word games.- Nature walk ( pay special attention to your breathing and your visual surroundings)