Simple strategies for living well

Take a piece of string, measure your height with it and fold it in half, does it fit around your waist?

Waist to height measurement is a pretty good indicator of whether you really need that extra helping of… cake/pie/favourite foodstuff!

A balanced diet is made up (thanks to Paul Chek for this simplification) of food with eyes (protein and fats) and food with no eyes (carbohydrates). Avocados and nuts are exceptions to that rule but generally vegetables growing above ground like leafy greens will be less starchy than vegetables grown below ground: potatoes, sweet potato, beetroot, parsnips and carrots to name a few.

Why does all this matter?

There are a growing number of people that believe the gut is at the heart of most disease. Hippocrates got there first over two thousand years ago but a growing number of people alive today are also questioning the quality of the food we eat nowadays and are looking for simpler/less procesed foods to eat. Stuff that our bodies have evolved to digest over multiple dozens of millennia.

There are many different versions of the ‘Just Eat Real Food‘ sentiment. Eat food, not too much and mostly plants is the simple guideline given by journalist Michael Pollan in his book In Defence of Foods.

Food = Epigenetic information. Which is a new way to think of our morning break fast.

Every piece of food we eat ‘talks to’ the cells in our body. These conversations can shape how our bodies continue to exist in their environment. I think but am not fully read up on the research yet, that what we eat over time can impact how our bodies respond to everything around us. And our decendants!

Epigenetics is a fascinating area of research: A 2nd WW dutch famine had repercussions for the grandchildren of those who lived through it. Our DNA forms the building blocks of who we are but those building blocks can be shaped by the world around us, too.

This nutrition lark seems to be far from straightforward!

I attended an online summit called the Evolution of Medicine at the end of September 2014. In it a number of functional medicine experts and enlightened ‘regular’ doctors were interviewed and issues were identified that needed to and were beginning to change in mainstream medicine.

We have a slew of chronic disease – much of it could be considered to be mediated by the way we live. Type II diabetes is better dealt with by addressing what you eat and how you move now rather than waiting for a profoundly reduced insulin response to turn into heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, wonky eyes (my wording)… the list goes on.

We eat a diet so far removed from what our bodies have been designed to cope with, no wonder they’re ‘slipping up’ and creating disease in us. It’s not just GM foods that could be storing up trouble for us and our children. Food is just one aspect of how we can make our lives a little better.

Small changes to how and how much we move can have surprisingly satisfying results. Getting outside and going for a walk every day is good for the soul as well as our heart and lungs. I’ve been performing my own version of HIIT (high intensity interval training) on my exercise bike. I can’t walk very far and have a wheelchair for events that call for more walking than say, getting round a supermarket with a trolley to hold onto so it’s not often that I can achieve a change in my heart rate.

There are a wide variety of websites I visit and gather what I hope is useful information to me and I assume others including a number of strands of research from around the world. Change in my body (including not getting out of breath so quickly) seems to be happening… slowly but I think getting the heart rate up must get more blood pumping round the body and that includes the brain so, a handful of 30 second bursts on the static bike every other day with the resistance turned up is giving my brain a treat. It also has a happy side effect of warming perpetually cold hands and feet!

To a continually pumping heart the brain is just another extremity (like hands and feet) that the pressure and circulation doesn’t always reach. Gravity works against the brain here, unfortunately.

Always low blood pressure can be as problematic as high BP resulting in fatigue perhaps partly because the brain isn’t getting enough glucose or oxygen to function optimally.

I read this in a fascinating book Why Isn’t My Brain Working by Datis Kharrazian. He has used a similar functional approach to identify strategies to improve an underperforming thyroid.

It’s always a good idea to get an MOT from your gp to check that your body can cope with the changes you’d be asking of it with a new exercise regime. I never used to be much of an exercise person but I was also a smoker as a youngster so i wasn’t really caring what my body may have been trying to tell me!

Small things can make a difference and some simple strategies have got to be worth a go, no?

Author: deezll

I have spent half my life with a chronic disease and have spent a fair amount of that time addressing some of the common symptoms that a long term condition can bring. Living well is a smart choice and we all know it makes sense.

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