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Take charge of your health

 There’s an episode of Golden Girls in which Dorothy goes to several physicians hoping for a diagnosis to a mysterious, 5-month mystery illness. Each doctor spent a few short minutes with her, ran some tests, then–when the tests came back negative–dismissed her as simply “depressed” or “aging”. A frustrated Dorothy finally finds a doctor who agrees that just because he can’t make a definitive diagnosis, doesn’t mean she’s not sick. He suggests that the condition is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and gives her some advice on how to deal with it.

I mention this episode because it made a statement about the lack of compassion in many doctors, largely due to the absence of good doctor/patient relationships. We live in an age when doctors are so rushed that they shell out anti-depressant prescriptions for any ailment they can’t view under a microscope, rather than learning more about the patient. Considering all this, it’s important to take charge of our own health and educate ourselves on preventative medicine, nutrition, and symptoms of common medical conditions.

I personally define health as not just the absence of disease, but as maintaining one’s physical, mental, and emotional wellness. My formula for good health (though grossly simplified) seems to work for me:

1) Follow the general diet portrayed by the food pyramid (or myplate.gov), and limit your simple carbs (sweets, sodas, any carbs that aren’t whole wheat). Don’t make yourself suffer through a diet; fad diets don’t work and they are unhealthy.

2) Move for at least 30 minutes daily (you don’t have to be a bodybuilder or triathlete, just do something you like–that doesn’t involve t.v. or internet).

3) Have a love and appreciation for yourself and others. Try to see others for who they are (an amazing human being just like you), and not what they can or can’t do for you. And start seeing yourself as inherently valuable, instead of comparing yourself to others based on looks, popularity, accomplishments, or salary.

4) Don’t smoke or drink. Simple as that.

To achieve good health today, I did the following:

  • Ate a breakfast of oatmeal with flaxseeds, raw honey, blueberries & blackberries, and cinnamon (for fiber, ALA omega-3s, vitamins, antioxidants, and cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Drank coffee-milk (many studies have indicated coffee wards off dementia)
  • Took a complete multivitamin
  • Called my mom
  • Caught up with friends through social media
  • Ate a snack of strawberries, cantaloupe, and banana (for vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium)
  • Swam outside for 30 minutes (getting vitamin D and the sun’s other natural benefits, plus my exercise quota)
  • Cuddled my dog (pets lower blood pressure, love you unconditionally, and give you someone else to love)
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