Now, I’m starting by saying this isn’t my headline. It’s a bit of a shock headline designed as clickbait, written by the author of the article below. It’s a bit deceptive, but there is a kernel of truth to it.
This is an interesting article. There is something to this, in that the body needs vitamin D to boost immunity. Your body makes vitamin D from sunlight. So, spending time in the sun, outdoors is the best way to boost vitamin D intake. Have a look at the article below to see why this Doctor makes this claim!
Hello all! Forgive me as I write this on my phone. My better half is telecommuting and has my computer at the moment.
Before I share the article, I wanted to give a quick update on some scheduling changes during this covid-19 crisis. I’ve decided to cut back to blogging to just one day per week, for the foreseeable future, until things get back to normal. This is a significant cut back from my current schedule of 4 days per week.
Each Monday, I’ll post 2 articles, one from this blog and one from my recipe blog, The Purple Almond Wellness Kitchen. Since my better half and youngest son are both home everyday, I find myself in a unique opportunity to spend quality time with my family, thus the reason for the cut back. Once things are back to normal, I’m hoping to go full time on both blogs.
Onto the main article:
Many of you find yourselves in a unique situation of working from home. This poses many different challenges, one of which is access to more food than normal. Trust me, as someone who works from home all the time, I understand this challenge all too well….the penchant to snack, mindlessly, all day. How do you stop this? The following article from Fox News gives a few tips on how to resist snacking and eat healthy when working from home.
Here are a few tips from the article:
plan ahead- make snacks ahead of time and place them in clear containers
make unique snacks – like fruit skewers with pineapple cubes, orange slices, strawberries, etc
Use low-fat, plain yogurt or cottage cheese for dips or breakfast.
change work locations if you’re prone to stress eating
take a 15 minute break- get some fresh air, chat with friends or play a game on your computer/phone
got cravings? Figure out possible reasons and look for solutions
If you fall off track don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. Just hop back on the healthy eating bandwagon. At the end of the day, it’s overall healthy eating that matters, not one little bad snack.
With the current scare with COVID-19 (AKA-CoronaVirus), we need all the help we can get to boost our immunity. Next week, I will do an in depth, thoroughly researched article on immunity and boosting your immune system.
However, for today, I am posting this wonderful article by Mama Natural, which gives some great tips on natural ways to boost immunity. (It’s my better half’s birthday today, so I am spending the day with him, which is why I’m posting this today) Follow the link below for the main article.
“Desperately trying to ward off a cold? Up your chances of staying healthy by learning how to boost your immune system naturally.”
This week, I’ve been discussing longevity and places around the world with the most centenarians (100 year olds). Okinawa, Japan is one of those places, as discovered by bluezones.com. Just how much healthier were the people of Okinawa than those of use here in the good old USA?
As you can see in the chart above, made with data from 1995, the people of Okinawa were much healthier than individuals here in the USA or even their counterparts in mainland Japan. If you’ll notice I did say “were” healthier. Sadly, as our western culture has infiltrated this beautiful island, the younger generations have forgotten the ancient and healthy food culture of the Okinawan people. But just what is that culture and it’s benefits beyond that of longevity?
What is the Okinawa Diet?
The Okinawan Diet is an ancient way of eating for the people of Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa is located in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.
The life expectancy in Japan is 84 versus the USA life expectancy of 78.8. With that said, Okinawa has more than 5 times as many centenarians as the rest of Japan. So, what is the secret? What is so different about the Okinawan way of life? How do Okinawans differ from the rest of Japan or the world for that matter? It all boils down to the Okinawan diet and lifestyle.
The Okinawa Diet is a whole food, plant based diet, rich in leafy greens, as well as yellow and orange vegetables. While they do eat rice, their main source of starch is purple sweet potatoes. They eat only small amounts of meat, mainly pork, and dairy. Legumes and soy are also emphasized in this anti-aging diet. The Okinawa diet contains relatively little processed food.
Health Benefits of the Okinawa Diet
Large amounts of anti-oxidants
naturally calorie restricted
low fat and low sugar
improved brain health – not only are Okinawan people among the longest living, they also have some of the lowest rates of dementia in the world!
lowers risk of heart disease
lowers risk of cancer
improved bone health
How you can eat the Okinawa Way
Practice Hara Hachi Bu – this translates to “eat until you are eight parts out of ten full.” This is a practice from Confucius that reminds us to stop eating when we are 80% full
Eat mindfully – In the west, we scarf down our food as if we haven’t eaten in weeks. It’s not uncommon to gobble up our food on the run or while driving. This is opposite of the Okinawa philosophy. Take your time and think about what and how you are eating. Think about your “satiety ” or fullness level.
1200 calories per day – I highly doubt the ancient Okinawa people actually counted calories. However, when you base your diet on plants, you will naturally eat fewer calories. The main concept here is our 2000 calorie diet here in the west is far too much. There is more and more research showing the longevity and anti-aging benefits of a calorie restricted diet. For more information on calorie restriction, see my article on the CRON DIET.
Eat the rainbow – Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, of all colors. The colors of plants is what gives them specific nutrients not found in other foods. The more varied your diet, the more colorful your diet, the healthier it is.
Start eating sweet potatoes – they don’t have to be purple. Okinawan people eat all colors of sweet potatoes. These tasty gems are filled with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, vitamin E and potassium.
Limited amounts of HIGH QUALITY protein – stay away from CAFO and mass produced forms of protein. Since you will be limiting the amount of protein, you’ll want to go for quality over quantity. Aim for wild caught seafood, grass fed beef, pastured chickens/eggs, and organic pork.
Limit grains and dairy – While the Okinawa diet does include dairy and limited amounts of rice, these foods are greatly limited. In fact, if not for the legumes, the Okinawa diet could be considered largely paleo in nature.
You don’t have to jump in with both feet, as we often try to do when changing our diet. Start gradually by implementing mindful eating. Add a few vegan meals to your week. Slowly begin to cut back on processed foods. You don’t have to go from eating the Standard American Diet 100% of the time to eating the Okinawa diet 100% of the time. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Use the 85/15 rule. Gradually work up to eating the Okinawa diet 85% of the, and allow yourself some fun foods 15% of the time.
The life expectancy in the USA is 78.2 years of age. However, there are individuals all over the world that live to be 100+ years. What do they do differently than the rest of us? What are their secrets?
The people from Blue Zone, together with National Geographic set out to find these answers. They found and studied the world’s longest lived people. Studies have revealed that only 20% of life-span is genetic, which leaves the remaining 80% down to lifestyle and diet. Knowing this, Blue Zone and National Geographic researchers worked with demographers (people who work with statistics) to find places around the world with the highest life expectance, or highest numbers of individuals who reached 100 years old. They found 5 places which met the criteria:
Barbagia region of Sardinia
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Seventh Day Adventists
The Power 9
This team consisted of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers and epidemiologists. These scientists sifted through the data and found 9 common denominators among all 5 places, which they called “Power 9”. Here are the 9 things most of the world’s centenarians do to live long and healthy lives.
Move Naturally– This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym everyday, although you can if that’s what you enjoy. It means find natural ways to be active everyday. It may surprise you, but blue zone centenarians don’t lift weights or run endlessly. According to Blue Zones, all of these 100 year olds had one thing in common-they “moved naturally”. These people grow gardens or walk. They don’t have the modern conveniences that we have here for gardens and yard work.
Have a purpose – What is your reason for waking up every morning?
Down shift – Blue zone centenarians all have a way to deal with stress, something we aren’t good at here in the west. Do daily yoga and meditation – Research from India suggests that daily yoga and meditation have anti-aging properties. In other words, they help “turn back the clock”. Studies show that they help reverse cellular aging. Researchers think this is because it reduces the body’s stress response.
The 80% rule – Here in the west, it’s common for us to “pig out” or eat until we feel like we’ll burst. However Blue Zone centenarians eat until they are 80% full, which could be the difference between losing weight and gaining it. Eat smallest meal in the evening. They then don’t eat for the remainder of the day. In a way, this is a form of intermittent fasting, which research has shown to have anti-aging effects on the body.
Plant slant –Blue zone centurions eat a plant based diet. Beans, are the main aspect of centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on approximately five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.
Wine at 5 – Almost all blue zone Centenarians drink alcohol in moderation. In fact, it may surprise you to know that those who drink moderately actually outlive those who don’t drink at all. Limiting drinks to 1 or 2 glasses per day, preferably wine, seems key.
Belong – Most of the blue zone centurions interviewed belonged to some kind of “faith-based” community. Denomination was irrelevant. Attending a faith service 4x per month added, on average, 4-14 years of life.
Loved ones first – Blue zone centenarians kept aging parents or grandparents near by, or in their home. They also commit to a life partner and invest heavily in time and love for their children.
The right tribe – Centenarians lived with people who supported healthy behaviors. Research suggests that behavior, good or bad, is contagious. A social network can affect your behavior, so choose wisely.
We in the west love our modern conveniences and our technology. We like to make things as easy for ourselves as possible. It turns out that may be harming us more than helping us.
We are also beginning to live longer here in the west, However, not because of lifestyle, but due to advances in the medical industry. We aren’t healthier though. In fact, it’s just the opposite. We are heavier than man has ever been in history and plagued with chronic disease. As we age, we are plagued with chronic disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. All of these were rare just 100 years ago. We are living longer in spite of this and in spite of our fast food, and technology laden lives. Medicine cabinets filled with prescription bottles has become the norm for people in the west as we age.
We need to take a long hard look at how we are living and how we want our lives to look as we age. Do we want lives filled with chronic disease and handfuls of pills? Or do we want to live happy, healthy productive lives that are disease free? For me the choice is easy. We need to take a step back and learn from the centenarians in the blue zones.
There are two quotes that keep me going as I age, as my kids get older, and as the days fly by on the calendar:
“You’re never too old for anything.”
~ Betty White
“You’re daily choices determine how your future will unfold.”
~ Dr. Joe Dispenza
This photo really hit home with me, the first time I saw it, and the importance of healthy living ALL your life. The comparison of these two women, both 80 years old at the time of the photos, is like night and day. I was floored by the huge difference in their health.
The woman on the left is 83 year old Ernestine Shepherd, the reigning Guinness World Record Holder for the oldest female body builder.
Here is “The Remarkable Story of Ernestine’s Shepherd”:
Like many others, I’m inspired by Ernestine. What really encourages me is the fact that she didn’t start exercising and body building until she was 56 years old. She is a walking example of what can be accomplished, even during the middle-age and elderly years, if determination, dedication and discipline are in the picture.
Ernestine is the reason I decided to focus my wellness education on middle-age individuals, and the motivation behind this new monthly series “Middle-age Wisdom”. The two quotes from the beginning of the article: “You’re never too old for anything” AND “Your daily choices determine how your future will unfold.” are the foundation for this new series, which will focus on making the right choices NOW, so you’ll be healthy to enjoy your golden years.
Ernestine emphasizes the 3 “D’s”. She says if you’re “Determined, Dedicated and Disciplined” you cannot fail. If you’d like to learn more about her life, exercise routine and diet, you can read her book: “DETERMINED, DEDICATED AND DISCIPLINED TO BE FIT” .
Ernestine, like most body builders, has a very strict routine. She wakes up at 2:30 every morning, and prays. Then she eats 10 egg whites, some walnuts, and 16 ounces of water. She runs 80 miles a week. Her diet, which is 1700 calories per day, is high protein, low carb, low fat. It consists mainly of boiled eggs, chicken whites, vegetables, liquid egg white drink and much more. She also consumes a glass of raw egg whites three times a day. This is what works for her. What does she recommend?
Here are a few health tips from her book:
Go for walks
Lift weights to build muscle and keep the body “tight”. Her book highlights 20 of her favorite weight lifting exercises
Drink water – aids digestion, circulation, and nutrient absorption to name just a few benefits
Get rid of junk food and replace it with lean protein, yams and potatoes
Watch your bread intake because “Carbs can weigh you down”
Keep a food journal – keeps you honest, and helps identify bad habits
Pray or meditate everyday. You can’t do it alone
Work up to 45 minutes of your favorite cardio. Ernestine does this 6 days a week.
Do weekly meal preparation for greater success – her book includes 5 sample meals to give you inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this first edition of Middle-age Wisdom, which will be posted the fourth Tuesday of every month. In this series we will discuss all the maladies and diseases that plague us as we approach the middle-age years and beyond. We’ll discuss the causes and the life style choices that can combat and prevent these diseases.
Ernestine is an inspiration to everyone. She is a reminder that it’s not too late to start your journey to better health. Remember your daily choices will determine your future. The right choices will make you the picture of health. Which picture do you want for your golden years?