Over the years, I’ve dealt with thousands of people who at any given point of time were sick in one fashion or another. This sickness could be as common as allergies or as severe as cancer. Regardless of the degree of sickness, one things is for sure…it’s a bother. I don’t know of anyone who ever enjoyed being ill. So what do you do to avoid the common cold, seasonal allergies, or even disease? Well, it’s not an exact science and certainly your genetics – like them or not -play a roll. The good news is that my TOP 5 GUIDELINES FOR LIVING A LONG & HEALTHY LIFE are easy to follow and available to almost anyone. Without further delay…
#5 – Avoid corn – of all kinds – at all costs. Surprised? Well, you wouldn’t be if you knew how bad it was for you. First of all, if you don’t know already, corn is a grain and not a vegetable. Corn, like most grains, contributes calories to the diet with little nutrition. As Americans, we certainly don’t have a problem taking in calories (part of the reason over 30% of us are obese), so we have to make them count when we do. The largest amount of harmful corn consumption comes in the form of corn syrup. Take a look at the labels on the various foodstuffs in your house. I bet you’ll find “high fructose corn syrup” on many of those labels including ketchup, Cheerios, yogurt, and other foods you may think are “healthy.” High fructose corn syrup has been shown repeatedly to contribute to many conditions of ill-health such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, premature aging, osteoporosis, and arthritis. As a kicker, most of our corn consumed now is GMO (genetically modified organism). It’s not even the real stuff!
#4 – Move your body. Of course, as a personal trainer, life coach, and gym owner for almost 20 years, I’ve preached exercise probably more than any other topic since I was born. Fortunately, it hasn’t fallen on only deaf ears and many of those I’ve influenced now consider exercise an important part of their life. They see the benefits of it. They feel better and look better, even if they’re just getting a walk in for 20 minutes a day. I don’t care what type of exercise you do, just that you do something daily for a continuous period of time (20 minutes at the absolute minimum). I prefer vigorous exercise and even weight training. But, you really have to find something you enjoy in order to stick to it long-term. The benefits you don’t see is how this movement is impacts your ability to detoxify, digest & eliminate, and regulate hormones properly. It’s positive changes to these bodily processes and others that help you think more clearly, sleep more soundly, feel more confident, and overall, happier and healthier.
#3 – Eat a healthy diet. What’s really healthy for any given individual could be discussed over multiple posts. Shoot, thousands of books have been written on the topic. It’s not necessary however, to go too deep into nutritional guidelines to make a huge difference. First, eat as little sugar as possible. Sugar adds up quick with sweets, sugared sodas & juices, alcohol, and processed foods. Second, eat organic whenever possible. The benefit is two-fold: less toxins and more nutrients are consumed. Lastly, and this would be easier if we passed legislation for labeling, don’t consume GMO or GE (genetically engineered) foods. The best way to do this without proper labeling is to steer clear of the Big 4 – corn, canola, soybeans, and cottonweed.
#2 – Drink pure water. There’s nothing more important for our existence than water except air. You can go weeks without food, but you won’t make one week without water. We’re made up of over 70% water and ALL our bodily processess depend on it. If you’re dehydrated, there’s no telling what may not be working properly within you. When things aren’t working properly internally we’re headed down the disease process. Not good! So, drink 1/2 your body-weight in ounces of water per day. Reverse osmosis is best (with a pinch of Celtic sea salt). There are spring waters and other filtered waters that are OK. Stay away from tap water unless you like the idea of consuming toxic chemicals, including some related to prescription drugs (i.e., birth control and anti-depressants).
#1 – Last but not least…breathe deeply. As mentioned in the point above, nothing is more important to us than air. Without it you’ve got a matter of minutes before you’re a gonner. That’s obvious, but what isn’t obvious is that the difference between breathing deeply (diaphragmatically) and the more common way, chest breathing, is night and day as it relates to how your body functions. Watch a baby breathe. You’ll see that a baby’s stomach rises and lowers with each breath. Does your stomack pooch out when you inhale? We’re born knowing how to breathe properly. Then, for a number of reasons (stress, to look thin, etc.) we become more upper respiratory breathers. The negative impact of this is far greater than you probably realize. Where do I start…? Lack of deep breathing results in the overuse of upper respiratory muscles that can lead to postural stress, headaches, trigger points in the neck and back, and other musculo-skeletal issues. Deep breathing relieves tension, pain, and improves posture. Shallow breathing is more taxing on the heart and inhibits digestion & detoxification. Diaphragmatic breathing strengthens the lungs, the heart, the immune system, and delivers more oxygen and nourishment to all your organs, muscles, and glands. It also contributes to mental clarity, improved mood, and fat-burning. Are these enough reasons for you? I sincerely hope so.
These guidelines aren’t difficult to follow. At a minimum, you should aim to follow them 80% of the time to see a real difference in how you look and feel. Hopefully, you’ve been dealt good genetics and with the help of these guidelines you’ll make the most of your predisposition. That said, keep in mind that even those genetics that may predispose you to health issues are influenced or “turned on” by the environment you provide for them. Aim to live in a healthy environment in your daily life, and use my TOP 5 to help create a healthy environment inside of you. The combination of the two gives you a great shot at living a long and healthy life.