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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Preventing Disease and Staying Healthy

Preventing Disease and Staying Healthy
Dr. Christopher Bray MD PhD

1.       Exercise is critical for all ages. See the YouTube video “23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?” - http://youtu.be/aUaInS6HIGo. You should try to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something that gets your heart rate above your normal range. Typically a normal heart rate is 60 to 100 bpm. Exercise is one of the main ways the body grows new blood vessels – for example to bypass blocked arteries. It also helps to prevent diabetes, protects from anxiety and depression, reduces chronic pain conditions, and improves mental focus and mental endurance. Sleep quality is often much improved with regular exercise. Have fun with your exercise. Try to exercise outside in nature. Play sports with friends. Go dancing. Go skiing. Go mountain-biking. Listen to uplifting music or an audio book while you exercise indoors. Take your young kids with you while you exercise – whining, sniffling, hungry, and all.
2.       Eat a diet rich in unprocessed and minimally cooked foods created by nature, not a chemical factory. One aspect of this is seen in a short video on YouTube: “Minding Your Mitochondria: Dr. Terry Wahls at TEDxIowaCity” - http://youtu.be/KLjgBLwH3Wc. Avoid genetically modified foods. Eat a diversity of nuts or seeds (there are lots of great nut / seed “butters” out there now). Try to eat local foods (from Wards or various farmers markets: 441 on Saturday AM, Haile Plantation on Saturday AM, Downtown Gainesville on Wednesday PM, Tioga on Monday PM). Also check out websites: eatwild.com and localharvest.org. Try to eat foods exposed to as few toxic chemicals as possible. Don’t be overly concerned about cleaning vegetables that were grown in clean environments. Sometimes this means eating organic, sometimes, this just means growing some tomatoes or strawberries out in the back yard. Items in grocery stores designed to last for 2 to 100 years on unrefrigerated shelves are usually not good choices for your body.
3.       Drink plenty of clean water. Your water needs depend on how active you are and your medical conditions. Men usually need about 2 liters (64 oz) of water a day, women usually need about 1 ½ liters (48 oz) of water a day. You should put out about 1 (32 oz) to 1 ½ liters of urine per day (to filter out metabolic toxins in the urine and allow enough fluid for your bowels to stay healthy). Avoid bottled water if possible – the water quality is usually poor and they are horrible for the environment. Use reusable glass bottles (such as those made by Lifefactory or Takeya; glass VOSS water bottles can be reused). Use glass cups at home or the office. Municipal water / well water that is appropriately filtered is usually fine. Tea is a great addition to water (green tea, white tea, chamomile tea, etc). Coffee is fine for most people (without artificial additives). Juice is good when made fresh and excessive sugar is avoided (like daily orange juice) [http://gerson.org/gerpress/faqs-juicing/].
4.       Surround yourself with a diversity of people and engage them in conversation. Be patient, be a good listener, and be understanding of different views. But don’t be afraid to challenge their views and opinions. Talk with people face to face. Give people hugs. Shake people’s hands. We are not designed to sit in front of a computer and stare at a light box while tapping our fingers on a keyboard. We are not designed to walk while tapping out texts on our phones. We are not designed to vegetate in front of a television or game system for hours on end.
5.       Interact with children on a regular basis. They will do more for keeping your mind sharp and “young” than any medicine in the pharmacy. Answer their questions thoughtfully.
6.       Have stable relationships. When things go sour with friends or family, forgive them and work with them to try and form a compromise. Life gets messy and complicated; don’t expect people to be perfect.
7.       Make time to physically be involved with nature and animals. Plant a tree or grow some herbs. Go for a walk in a park. Go camping. Float down the river. Go fishing. Get a dog, cat, or even a pet fish.
8.       Listen to music. Music, like art, should be beautiful. Music should stir our soul. Have high standards for music and don’t accept what is given to you free with commercial radio.
9.       Learn new ideas or skills regularly from birth to death. Learn a new instrument. Learn a new language. Learn about a foreign culture. Learn about a historical period. Don’t accept defeat or frustration or failure as an option – just keep trying to learn these new things.
10.   Spend 90% of your time, thinking about where you are now and where you are going tomorrow. Spend the other 10% of your time thinking about where you came from – only enough time to help avoid future mistakes and build on past success. Don’t get fixated on pride, anxiety, or frustration about who you WERE in the past.
11.   Be a problem solver, not a problem reporter.
12.   Be content with what material things you have in your possession and figure out a way to use those things efficiently and creatively. Fix things that are broken. Don’t feel the compulsion to buy new things. However, if you have to buy something, buy things that will last and are not going to break or be useless in a year.
13.   Avoid toxic chemicals in the home (ewg.org). Avoid eating or drinking out of Styrofoam and minimize use of plastics – both substances leak hormone disruptors / carcinogens and degrade poorly in landfills. Pay attention to paints, carpets, and furniture (even children’s pajamas) when buying them as these are sources of toxic volatile organic compounds and flame retardants which off-gas into the home. Use simple cleaning products like baking soda, vinegar, borax, olive oil, and water. Open the windows whenever possible. Use the A/C or heat as little as possible and change the filter often. Try and tolerate some of the seasonal changes within your home. Use as few pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides inside and outside of your home as possible. Insect baits are preferable to sprays. There are many times natural alternatives to toxic chemicals (pouring boiling water on an ant mount).
14.   Cleansing of toxic chemicals can be helpful for the body. Apples and freshly juiced apple juice can help with detoxification. Sweating gives the body a chance to remove toxic substances including heavy metals.
15.   Supplements can be an additional source of contamination and heavy metals. Unfortunately, our government is not as proactive about ensuring quality and purity of supplements (like Germany’s Commission E). For now, keep your supplement list to a minimum of what you need and only use high-quality supplements. My universal rule is that food sources are usually superior to supplemental forms of nutrition. The website consumerlabs.com gives a balanced and fair review of specific brands for various supplements. In general, I am a fan of New Chapter, Integrative Therapeutics, Xymogen, Thorne Research, and Metagenics. I also have success with Jarrow, Irwin Naturals, Garden of Life, Barlean’s, Solgar, and Gaia. Stores in Gainesville include Wards, Earth Origins, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Sunflower Health Foods as well as many of the pharmacies.
16.   Be happy with your physical features. Wrinkles, bumps, dimples, and spots make you, you. Let other people see you and not a façade. It’s their addiction to pop-culture that makes them not appreciate these features.
17.   Physicians and psychiatrists are finding that patients with healthy spiritual connections have fewer chronic health problems and mental illness. If this is a direction that interests you, then search for spiritual ideas that have a long history and have survived “the test of time”. Search for guidance from experienced people that are not hypocrites – those who are and have been practicing exactly what they preach. They should feel warm, balanced, and peaceful when you talk with them or are around them.
18.   Take time every day to close your eyes, ears, and mind to the intense, addictive, and overwhelming man-made and highly commercialized world around us and instead turn inward for 15-30 minutes a day and allow some silence back into your life.

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