If he or she is munching on a McDonald’s hamburger during your initial medical consult – you might want to think twice about what they’re advising. I believe I practice and represent the style of living that I promote to my patients.
At 54 years old, I’m still wearing the same size clothes I wore as an all-state lacrosse player in high school. I’m not on chronic medications. Full disclaimer later as I am not fully un-medicated. I’m currently rock climbing at or above the same grade I was in my mid-twenties. Rock climbing would be the equalizer for the state of physical fitness if there was one. When you’re strong, light and relaxed you can get up things. At other times, or in the wrong state of mind, it will always be a “high gravity” day. For the time being, my ongoing chronological aging is just a state of mind.
The greatest intervention I put into my health is my diet.
As the primary cook for the family, I realize it takes a lot of work to keep fresh foods and produce in the house and the preparation time of your everyday meals. Truthfully, it’s relatively easy – it’s simply a question of making it a priority.
Creative cooking can be a challenge. I post meals we eat on my business Instagram page in hopes to offer some considerations, inspirations or possibilities. Follow us on Instagram for ideas by clicking on the link below:
Health Intervention #1:
Think. Interact. Listen. Plug into the world and people around you. Take a walk. Look at the stars.
Too many of us spend our time staring into the television. We’re mesmerized by the latest singing craze, engineered foodstuff, or new car. All packaged to stimulate our dopamine, our appetite, or jealousies. I prefer to spend my free time with calming music, or the sound of the afternoon breeze coming through the kitchen window as I prepare our meals. Life’s too short to continually veg out on the television! We age better when our minds are active.
I understand settling down to relax in front of a show may be a part of the family evening dynamic. Change this. I recommend some relaxing…or rocking…music, candles with dinner, cloth napkins, and family time. It’s amazing how much we reconnect and learn about one another over a home-cooked meal.
Occasionally if you get take-out food, take the time to eat off ceramic plates and recycle the plastics and papers. I think a family TV night every now and then has value. I just don’t think it’s the best for our bodies and our minds if we spend hours doing this every night.
Health Intervention #2:
Only take the needed vitamins and supplements. Utilize good, quality manufacturers and labs.
I take the following:
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I use this small selection of supplements, supplementary to my diet. I only try to take the things my genetics and biology mandate with most of my nutrients coming from foods. In earlier posts I have referred to a collection of supplements that I call my “big four” including: vitamin D, fiber, magnesium, and omega three fats (fish oils). I use three of the four, choosing to obtain by omega three fats through fish consumption.
Follow this link to revisit the blog on the “Big Four”:
I use about two tablespoons of psyllium husk with a touch of juice in the morning for the last ten years. In the past year or so I’ve been adding a scoop of amino acid powder with the psyllium. Delicious, healthful and a great way to start the day. The health benefits go on and on. Most of all, I appreciate the bowel regularity I have when taking the fiber consistently.
For genetic reasons, namely the presence of a MTHFR trait, I was born with deficiencies in my abilities to modify and activate my folic acid – vitamin B9. I need to supplement with a high-dose B vitamin to keep down my homocysteine. This amino acid derivative is associated with cardiovascular disease and dementia. I take my B complex regularly (B6, B9, B12 and Trimethylglycine), and have lowered my homocysteine to ideal values. It’s easy. I just must keep up with it..
Health Intervention #3:
Learn sleep hygiene. Practice sleep hygiene. Sleep.
My sleep, of equal importance to food, is the other important focus of my health. Sleeping has numerous positive contributions. A few examples include: clearer thinking, faster muscle tissue repair after a hard workout, good energy throughout the day and (in my case) my testosterone levels are maintained. Everything hits the fan when I hit a period of poor sleep. I need to focus to return myself to a state of wellness and sleep, where supplanting all other possible distractions takes priority. The times I don’t sleep well are mostly in times of stress when I allow my mind to run wild at night. The first thing I must do is recognize this and tell myself to stop thinking – easier said than done.
My sleep health begins when I recognize the need to enter “shut down” mode. I actively speak less, speak more softly, and move more slowly as the night wears on. As much as I would like to stay up until midnight writing, all things are turned off by 10:00 pm. I’ve never been a big drinker, but a glass of wine can worsen things for me when I’m in that sleepless cycle. I am better off drinking a non-caffeinated herbal tea instead.
I also use a variety of supplements that I think help calm my brain. Typically, this is a combination of Relora, 5-hydroxytryptophan, and GABA taken about 1-2 hours before bedtime. These supplements may serve to offset my excitatory neurotransmitters and decrease potential cortisol spikes that I have allowed to develop. I can feel the “awake” button being readied…I actively choose not to push it. This is a good example of the power of developing some insight into one’s health. Being aware of the importance of sleep, and the factors that influence it. I can choose to make an intervention (behavioral or supplemental) before I get “sick.”
Here's the disclaimer I alluded to earlier. I maintain a small stash of Ambien, a prescription sleeping medication, which I nibble off occasionally when I know I’ve not kept up my sleep hygiene. A month’s prescription usually lasts me around twelve. I’m not a drug nihilist – I think modern medicines all have a time and a place. Personally, at some point in my life I would like to manage my sleep organically, supplementing only with my B vitamins and psyllium.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not there yet.
Health Intervention #4:
Meal prep healthy, wholesome food. Allow food to be your medicine. It works.
The steps I take to maintain my health are pretty simple. Focus on food, good nutrition, and spend quality time with family. Maintain a balance between an active mind and the time required to be in silence to allow it to rest. Consciously make time for my body to sleep and heal. Finally, I do use some supplements in a directed and limited fashion.
My self-care is far from perfect, as with many things in life, it’s a process. I do my best and try to have compassion for all people around me -- including myself.
Dr. Scott Resnick
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