2020 has been a year of insight, change, adaptation, growth, internal development…as well as fear, anxiety, depression, weight gain… How has this year, the pandemic and all the changes affected your life, work and connections? What has been good for you? What has challenged you? Here are some things I have changed, notably my decision to quit fooling myself and get my s$&# together and make the changes I knew I needed to make. I decided I would use this time to strengthen my immune system, not only survive this pandemic, but THRIVE through proper nutrition, sleep and exercise. I preach holism to my patients, but I was cheating myself. Health and Well-Being are a way of life and so I decided to fully embrace it. Here are some ways you can not only overcome the pandemic, but thrive during it. And now with the lockdowns happening again…how will you show up for thriving?
Let’s begin with the notion that inflammation the root of disease. Inflammation comes from stress, poor sleep, poor diet, processed foods, anxiety, depression, lack of movement and more. While the body maintains a low level baseline of inflammation to stay “on alert”, constant, moderate to high rate of inflammation is dangerous. Beginning with this in mind, let’s move forward…
What I know: Real food is organically raised, unrefined, and unprocessed, leaving all its nutrients intact. Whole nutrient complexes from fresh, organic, whole food help cleanse the body of toxins, which in turn helps prevent disease and allows the cells to function and regenerate correctly. The foods that grow naturally on this planet, may be known for certain benefits but it’s the whole food, the complete orange, that offers benefit, not the vitamin C for which it’s famous. Oranges have fiber, potassium, and hundreds of other nutrients. It’s the synergy of these nutrients that make the orange so good for you.
Eat organic fruits and vegetables; organically raised chicken, grass-fed beef, and fish; raw milk cheese and cultured products such as yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk; low-temp roasted nuts. The list goes on and on. Leave Junk Food at the store
Now is a good time to pay attention to junk food. Begin by noticing how you feel after you consume the processed foods. I have found I have hot flashes at 3am when I eat corn chips, even the organic ones. In fact any carbs, even lentils, wake me at 3am, so if I’m gonna eat them, I move them to lunch and make sure there is lots of fat and protein
in the meal. What happening in the body to produce those hot flashes? Endocrine imbalance… glycogen stores are out, the HPA axis is being called upon to generate sugar for the brain…there is a better way. I have removed chips as well as rice, pasta and my favorite food to bake, bread. At least for now. I want my body to not only survive COVID but to thrive! To help yourself THRIVE and not just survive look at how refined carbs increase glucose levels in the blood. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and supports weight gain. Why risk obesity, insulin resistance, and other cardiometabolic disorders when you can use this time to make changes to your lifestyle and diet that not only support your physical health but also support your emotional health?
Inspiration to Stop the Sugars and Sweets
Did you know that sugar is an endocrine disrupter? That means sugar interferes with the proper working of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is not just hormones, it also includes the liver, gall bladder and pancreas. These three organs work in concert with one another.
1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.
2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children and adults.
4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
5. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).
6. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function; the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you lose. yThis is better known as Flab! Are you flabby?
Refined carbohydrates, sweets, and sugar are associated with increased cardiovascular disease. There are links between high sugar intake and inflammation. Chronic, low grade inflammation is a key factor of cardiovascular disease because sugar intake increases fat production, fat deposition on the belly, and blood lipids. Soft drinks, fruit juices, fruity water, cookies, and candies have no nutritional value. Take them off your list!
I’ve had interrupted sleep since Dec 2000. It has wrecked my daytime energy, routine, workouts, sense of humor, and decreased my focus. I’ve been on a mission for the past
10 yrs to figure it out! Sleep is critically important to our health and development. Generally, the ideal amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours a day. But in reality, optimal sleep is not the same for each one of us. During COVID, I successfully learned many triggers and have removed them, somewhat reluctantly, I might add. However, because I feel so much better with 8 hours of sleep, its been worth it. I am now back on a routine and getting my life back on track to suit my needs and desires. It feels really good. Try enforcing a disciplined wakeup and bedtime. It has really helped me. Some other tips: Taking magnesium threeonate before bed along with myo-inostitol is quite helpful. If you are post menopausal woman, ask your health care provider if you can take bioidentical progesterone.
Oh, blessed water! Did you know that virtually every disease process can be improved or prevented with adequate water intake? The symptoms of thirst are many and often misunderstood. Feeling hungry an hour after your meal? You’re actually thirsty. Drink 12 ounces of water, wait 20 mins and see how you feel.
Hydration is one of the key factors in maintaining homeostasis. Our bodies are more or less composed of 50 percent fluids. We need these fluids to help our bodies perform hemodynamic functions, thermoregulation, and various other tasks across the body’s different systems.
Without water, we would shut down in just a few days. Undoubtedly, water is the most vital nutrient. But not all water is the same, so consider high quality filters on your home water. Not all water contains the most assimilable form of one of the most important minerals: calcium. The body uses ionizable calcium for so many health functions that we have a gland exclusively dedicated to it: the parathyroid gland. As Dr. Keppel explains in his important article on the relationship between calcium and immunity: “There is abundant research regarding ionized calcium and viruses. As a matter of fact, studies show that low ionized calcium levels are a predictor for the severity and hospitalization of COVID.”
Find Ways to Exercise and Play
You’re at home, again, so how can you find ways to move without a gym? I’ve never been a gym rat, only using it for the pool. But I know its a great place to connect with others and get a good workout. Try lunges and squats going up and down the driveway to get the mail. Toe raises on the steps before you go inside. Practice balance moves, push-ups and crunches every hour to warm yourself up while working on your computer. You have noticed that sitting still makes you cold right?
Online there are lots of yoga classes, dancing, pilates, Qi Gong, Thai Qi, HIIT routines and short workouts. My favorites are HeartAlchemyYoga.com , https://chicenter.com, https://www.innerdimensiontv.com/ and YoQi.com. Do your own research, try some, find what feels good for you and your body.
There are definitely limitations and downsides to these approaches. Nothing can replace the social aspect of certain physical activities or the one-on-one contact with a trainer or instructor. I do the pool with group workouts. But remind yourself this a temporary situation. You can go back later with greater appreciation and renewed knowledge of what you need.
While the pandemic may have disrupted your regular schedule, you can take advantage of the self time to create a life, schedule and routine that supports you, your health and your Well-Being. Health really does start at home, your heart. So take advantage of the slowdown. Connect to your heart. Get healthier, stronger, and in sync with a lifestyle that supports you, your needs, your way of being. How do you want to be anyway?