Yesterday, a patient took me by surprise (doesn’t happen that much after 14 years of clinical practice!). She asked, ‘what do you do for your own health?’
I was flattered that she asked and thought that I represented a model of good health. Many doctors don’t. I’ve always wondered how you would take advice to change your diet from an obese/overweight cardiologist.
My answers were pretty quick and simple, as I really believe health does not have to be super complicated, and there are some pretty simple health principles to live by:
1. I nourish my body with mostly unprocessed, whole foods. I eat a ridiculous amount of vegetables, because I really like them. Some raw, some heavily roasted in olive oil. Yum. I eat meat a few times a week, if it looks good or I am in the mood. I really try to avoid eating things out of packages. Yes, that includes “health” (NOT) foods like granola bars, energy bars, fake-healthy crackers, etc. I really try to eat mostly…food. I don’t drink soda. I enjoy celebrating every now and then and try not to be overly rigid.
2. I take a daily multivitamin and a high dose vitamin D supplement. I monitor my vitamin D levels a couple of times a year as vitamin D levels, as a fat soluble hormone, can go too high and produce toxicity. Sometimes I’ll take iron or other supplements on an as-needed basis. There are a few immune-boosting things I’ll take in times of stress.
3. I move my body as much as possible, in as many ways possible. In winter, think snowshoeing, skate skiing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, back-country skiing. In winter, when able I’ll ride my snow bike to and from work. I wrestle with my kids, get out for walks, throw in some strength training at the gym and occasionally make pitiful efforts at stretching or yoga.
4. I try to do a little daily ‘stress reduction’ in the form of meditation, deep breathing or quiet sitting. For me this is usually 2 minutes, but something is always better than nothing.
Keep it simple!
1. Eat well.
2. Targeted vitamins and supplements in moderation.
3. Move your body.
4. Stress reduction, prayer or meditation.