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Nutrition and Lifestyle Guidance

AKA "Prevention is the Best Cure"

 

Aging is as inevitable as the seasonal change, but did you know that conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer are not the natural result of growing old? Simple and enjoyable lifestyle practices can add decades to your life and prevent the need for serious medical intervention. Regular care is important for preventing and treating disease, however, the little choices you make each day have a tremendous impact on your overall health. There is no magic pill that can overcome the damage done by poor a diet and lifestyle.

 

With the sea of healthcare advice out there, it’s hard to know where to start, especially if you don’t have time or training to sift through all the research. I will show you specific changes worth incorporating into your daily routine. If you’re already struggling with a disease process, these practices will accelerate your return to health.

 

The most important principle is also the least understood. When you think about your body, you likely think about your organs, bones, and muscles. You might also consider things like blood vessels and nerves, but do you ever think about the connective tissue that holds all this together? As it turns out, until recently most doctors haven’t given much thought to connective tissue either. This is unfortunate because it’s incredibly important! This tissue, also called fascia, is continuous from the center of every cell in the body to the surface of the skin. It provides the structural architecture of the whole body, and even influences cell function. In healthy tissue, the fibers glide past each other as the body moves. When it becomes damaged, as it does with any injury, fibers stick together to form what we call fascial adhesions. Adhesions are present to varying degrees in everybody. Some are subtle, like the stiffness felt upon rising in the morning, others are more severe, like surgical scars. Adhesions impair the function of any structures passing through the area. Capillaries are small and easily crushed, so blood flow is impaired. Sometimes nerves even get compressed, as anyone that has ever experienced sciatica knows all too well! The bad news is that we accumulate adhesions throughout life, especially if we tend toward sedentary activities. The worst news is that resultant circulatory problems are one of the underlying causes of all disease.


The body is constantly rebuilding, and with discipline much of the damage is repairable. The more we move, the more easily our connective tissue moves. Incorporating stretching and other physical activities into your daily routine will have a more substantial impact on your lifelong health and vitality than anything else!

Despite this fact, you might be confronting some resistance. Maybe you spend hours sitting at work and barely have time to manage all your responsibilities at home. It may seem like there is no end of your To-do list. For most people “urgent and important” responsibilities continue to arise. We become adept at ignoring the little physical discomforts while we continue to focus on other things. When we live with a symptom long enough it can even begin to seem normal. Our symptoms are important messages that tell us how things aren’t working in our body. By responding appropriately, we can correct the problem before it gets out of hand.

 

Without question, the people I have seen making the most remarkable recoveries are those that have committed to improving lifestyle and dietary habits. Rather than judging it as indulgent, set aside time for self care every day. It makes a huge difference! Don’t wait for a cancer diagnosis to find your motivation.

  • Add it to your calendar

  • Find a class you enjoy

  • Enlist a friend to join you

  • Start small - you don't need to do 100 things, pick a few and do them consistently


Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Delight in your body. If you enjoy dancing, dance. If rock climbing offers you a thrill, do it often. Find the activities that bring you joy and make time for them as if your life depends upon it. Your future self will thank you.


  2. Walk often. This simple movement, especially in the presence of trees, offers myriad benefits. It invigorates respiration and microcirculation. It mechanically stimulates the veins in the legs that pump blood back up to the heart. Walking stimulates lymph, thus promoting detoxification. It also calms the nervous system. You could start by taking a short walk every morning or after meals. Regular walking, especially in the early morning, is one of the simplest and most important things you can do to support cardiovascular health and prevent cancer.  


  3. Stretch. Whether you enjoy yoga or something less formal, regular stretching is essential for connective tissue function.


  4. Taiji and qigong. Like yoga, these ancient practices unite mind and body while promoting strength and circulation. A simple taiji standing practice will release adhesions throughout the body. 

  5. Bone broth. I often recommend bone broth for building blood and strengthening the body. It provides readily absorbable minerals and the amino acid building blocks of ALL connective tissue. If you have any body pain or injury, bone broth is essential. For the most benefit, ask the butcher for joints because these contain more collagen. An instant pot can make broth preparation quickly and you can freeze what you won’t use right away. If homemade broth is impractical for your daily use, consider supplementing with an organic grass-fed collagen powder. It dissolves easily in warm water and provides many of the same benefits. One of the secret benefits of broth is that it heals the digestive tract. The same nutrients that repair connective tissue help repair the mucosa of the intestines. This also improves nutrient absorption from your food and strengthens your immune system.


  6. Eat Seaweed. What if you're vegan or vegetarian? Rich vegetable broths made with seaweed, like kombu, offer tremendous benefits. I typically recommend additional supplements for vegans that are working to heal connective tissue injuries, digestive distress, or hormone dysregulation.

  7. Food is enjoyable medicine. Whatever diet you choose, you can tip the scales toward health by reducing empty carbohydrates and filling your plate with brightly colored produce and healthy fats. These foods provide essential nutrients and combat inflammation. Sugar and refined carbohydrates promote inflammation and disease. If sweet treats brings you joy, and your body tolerates them, indulge occasionally. However, it's important to be selective. Sugar is hidden in most processed foods and sweetened beverages hit the body hard. 



If you’d like support with any of this work, let’s talk about it. I’m happy to help you at your next appointment. I would love to help you tailor your diet to support your particular health goals!

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