Chocolate or Vanilla? CHOOSE
We exercise choice in nearly every instant of our lives. By choosing to play The “Is It Healthy?” Game, we transform our connection to ourselves and to our planet. ~ Siri & Gurumantra Khalsa
Choice is a fundamental power of the human experience.
Is It Healthy?
How Often Do You Ask Yourself This Question?
What Does It Mean To You?
Imagine How Asking It Could Change Your Life.
Read More and Consider Playing A Game You Can't Lose.
Is It Healthy?
For many of us, this question occurs as “Is it healthy for me?”
The more involved we become with the question the more likely it is that we will take it beyond ourselves, asking, “Is it healthy for my family?, …for my friends?, …for my pets?, …my home?, …my yard?, …my neighborhood?, …my community?”
And, ultimately: “Is it healthy for the planet?”
Ten years after introducing the “Is It Healthy?” Game, we look again at 5 common areas of life within the context of “Is it is healthy?”
Then, because we believe that personal health is the first step in achieving lasting effectiveness in the world, we go back to the basics. We discuss exercise, diet, and a general supplement program.
Bringing Health to All You Survey
Our lives are organized around the people, places, and activities that give us meaning. Five areas occur naturally. We’ll call them domains. Each of these domains gives us an opportunity for the expression of health. The domains are 1)Ourselves; 2) Relationships; 3) Home; 4) Finances; and 5) Contribution.
1) SELF: Our body, mind, and spirit. This is the domain of personal well being. It is our most intimate domain. It’s highly personalized, completely unique, and ever unfolding—just as we are. This is the domain that generates our interest in playing The “Is it healthy?” Game.
2) RELATIONSHIPS: Family, friends, acquaintances, and associates,even strangers Health in relationship depends on maintaining love and affinity; of being able to express ourselves with authenticity and integrity. And, in the context of health, power within relationships comes from expanding the quality and quantity of the conversations we have around having a healthy life
3) HOME: The opportunity to organize and create our immediate physical environment At home, who we are is expressed and reflected back to us and to all who visit us. This isn’t just about HEPA filters, green cleaning products, and buying organic flannel sheets. When we bring “Is it healthy?” into our home, it becomes a nurturing space that supports us in all our domains and gives us a powerful base to recharge and revitalize.
4) FINANCES: A representation of how time is spent, commitments are kept, and choices are made. Work is here as are investments, savings accounts, and even budgets. Asking “Is it healthy?” can be an exercise in evaluating the health of our Financial domain. For example, consumer choice is a powerful tool for creating change in the world.
5) CONTRIBUTION: Giving freely of our opinions, time, money, and resources to create something for others. It’s bigger than ourselves. Putting energy into this domain is an automatic. “Yes” to “Is it healthy?”. From self care to care for others, these five domains are a sequence of outwardly expanding networks of conversations.Within them, we serve as the common denominator.
Domain No. 1: Self Health
How you care for your body helps determine your state of mind. In turn, this supports your spirit. The three cornerstones of physical health are 1. Exercise 2. Diet 3. Nutritional Supplements
Exercise – Move It Or Lose It
Over the past several decades, research on the benefits of physical exercise has delivered three new concepts: 1) People who are usually inactive can improve their health and well-being even with moderate activity on a regular basis. 2) Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to deliver significant health benefits.3) Greater health benefits can be achieved by increasing the amount (duration, frequency, or intensity) of physical activity.
One big paradigm shift is the realization that physical exercise is good for the mind as well as the body. At the Mayo Clinic, improved mood is considered the number one benefit of exercise. Exercise stimulates the release of various brain chemicals. These leave us feeling happier after working out. With regular exercise, they help to lift depression.
Six more benefits are discussed on the Mayo Clinic website. One is lessened risk of chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Another is weight management. Also,increased energy, better sleep, and enhanced sex life1 Lastly, the experts remind us that exercise can be fun!
How much exercise do we need? Both the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that healthy adults younger than 65 get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days a week (think brisk walking or swimming) or at least 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week (such as running). Strength training exercises twice a week are recommended.
For adults over 65 and those with chronic health conditions, practice balancing exercises in addition to aerobic and strength training. At any age, gentle stretching is also important for flexibility and to maintain joint health (such as yoga or Pilates). If you can’t make time for a longer workout, try 10-minute chunks through out the day.
1 Men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise, especially as they get older.
Diet – Eat Real Food
“Is it healthy?” is likely applied to food choices more than to any other area of our lives. The rules are very succinct. Eat foods that are close to the earth, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep in mind how humans ate for most of our time on the planet, and eat simply more often than not. When you can, Buy Local. When you can, Buy Organic.
According to the USDA, we eat a mere 7 percent of our daily calories as produce (including beans). Of the 7 percent plant foods we do eat, most is potatoes, commonly eaten as fries and chips. A whopping 51 percent is highly processed carbohydrates and oils. The remaining 42 percent is fiberless animal foods. (Think meat and cheese.) We would do well to take our government’s recommendation to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies daily. (This is 2.5 – 4.5 cups of produce, the size of one large salad.)
In Laos, where 90 percent of calories come from plant foods, only five percent of deaths are from heart disease and cancer. Here, where only 7 percent of the diet is plant-based, over 66 percent of all deaths are from degenerative disease. In his book Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman, MD, makes the case for a fresh food diet. He gives chapter and verse for food as medicine. In just one example, he writes, “Substances in beets, peppers, and tomatoes fight cancerous changes in cells”.
Because Food Is Not Enough
Nutritional supplements are a good idea.2 Studies involving thousands show the difficulty of getting the nutrient protection we need through food alone. Even the AMA has suggested that everybody could benefit from a daily multi vitamin formula.
A personal supplement program has two parts: general and specific. “General” supplements are needed by most people. “Specific” supplements target particular needs. For example, both a multi- formula and fish oil fit into the first category while people who have trouble sleeping might take a target supplement such as the amino acid tryptophan to help them sleep.3
General supplement recommendations include a multivitamin-mineral formula with additional vitamins C, D, and E as well as the mineral magnesium. Also, we add a bone building formula, additional zinc for men, and chromium for everybody. An omega-3 (DHA/EPA) supplement is essential, and, if you are over 40, add quality CoQ10, and the hormone melatonin.
Because life feels hectic to so many of us, we recommend adding an adaptogen, such as ginseng, holy basil, or ashwagandha. Adaptogens are herbs that help our bodies adapt to stress.4
- Multivitamin-mineral formula. Ingesting a formula of this type is not an option. Each vitamin and mineral has essential jobs in the body. Death is the result of not having any one of them. A concise overview of what these nutrients are and what they do can be found in Nutrition News, “Because Food Is Not Enough”.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin literally keeps our bodies together. Also a powerful antioxidant, C’s main job is in the production of collagen. The body’s most important structural substance, collagen is a glue that supports and holds the tissues and organs together. Without C, the body actually disintegrates. This is the result of scurvy, the vitamin C deficiency disease. Without vitamin C, one would die within a year. Take at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily, in divided doses. (I take a gram/1000 mg of a buffered, highly absorbable product.)
- Vitamin D. The connection between insufficient vitamin D and degenerative disease is very strong. D influences bone health, heart health, diabetes (normal insulin secretion depends on vitamin D), cancer prevention (not a typo), and relief from autoimmune diseases. The most potent steroid hormone in the body, D signals the genes to make hundreds of cruicial enzymes and proteins. Our bodies make D when exposed to sufficient sunlight. Unfortunately, many of us get very little sunshine. Rickets (very weak bones) is the vitamin D deficiency disease. Take at least 1000 IU/d. (I take up to 5000 IU in winter – and I live in California.)
- Vitamin E. There are over 50 known uses for “Vitamin Everything”. Among them are heart health, preventing premature aging, reducing cancer risk, immune health, curbing cataract development, relief of leg cramps, increased male fertility, wound healing, detering AIDS, improving skin health, and more. Current research at the National Institute of Aging involves the connection between vitamin E, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative nerve diseases, such as Parkinson’s.
Vitamin E occurs in nature as a family of eight compounds (not just the usual alpha-tocopherol). Alpha, beta, gamma, and delta types occur in both tocopherols and tocotrienols. The smart money is on “complete vitamin E”. Take 200 IUg or at least 400 IU of alpha-tocopherol.
- Bone building formula. Look first for magnesium. It should be at least half the quantity of calcium. Minerals are used in enzyme processes in the body. Magnesium activates at least 300 different enzymes. It influences B vitamins; plays a role in protein synthesis; regulates the absorption of calcium and reinforces the integrity of bones and teeth. It is required for the transmission of nerve impulses; and is integral to muscle function, including the heart muscle. Plus, the brain needs it to make serotonin (the happy-making neurotransmitter) important in mood regulation. 300-500 mg are recommended.
Besides vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium, bone builders may include vitamin K2 and the minerals boron and strontium. If your formula doesn’t contain these latter nutrients, I recommend you purchase them separately.5
- Zinc. Often called the man’s mineral, zinc is imperative to good prostate and reproductive health. Commonly deficient in the diet, it is essential to several hundred enzyme systems, including antioxidant enzymes. Zinc impacts growth, wound healing, and our sense of taste and smell. Take 12-15 mg.
- Chromium. This mineral is needed to help insulin carry glucose (blood sugar) into the cells, making the glucose available for energy production. Chromium is crucial to both blood sugar utilization and cholesterol metabolism. Resolving a deficiency may result in weight loss. 200-600 mcg are recommended.
- Fish oil. An important source of omega-3 fatty acids, we need it as well as omega-6. But, we need them in a balance from 1:1 to 1:4. Instead, many of us average 1:40! One reason is the universal presence of omega-6 corn and soy oils in processed foods. Out of balance, omega-6 interferes with the body’s ability to use omega-3. This imbalance is thought to account for the growing prevalence of degenerative diseases, mental disorders, ADHD, and accelerated aging. Take 3-6 grams of EPA/DHA daily. Vegetarians can take 1T of flax, perilla, or hemp seed oil. Microalgas (blue-green, spirulina, and chlorella) are also rich omega-3 sources.
- Coenzyme Q10. This “miracle nutrient” is needed for energy production in every cell. Beyond energizing the body, CoQ10 can strengthen the heart, revitalize the immune system, control periodontal disease, normalize blood pressure, overcome infertility, and reverse the effects of aging. However, as early as our twenties, our bodies begin to lose the ability to make CoQ10. When this happens, we experience a decrease in energy and a general deterioration of our health. This is the time to supplement Coenzyme Q10. Also, it is very important to supplement with CoQ10 if you are taking a statin drug.6
Healthy people need 30-60 mg of CoQ10 per day. As a preventive in cardiovascular or periodontal disease and for patients using statins, take 90-120 mg. (I take 100 mg.)
- Melatonin. Over 40? We recommend you make melatonin a part of your daily supplement regimen. Beyond sleep, this OTC hormone helps keep the brain young, modulates the immune system, has antioxidant properties, and works against depression. Interestingly, it is found in amounts 100s of times higher in the gut than in the brain! In one experiment, just 3 mg of melatonin taken before bed completely resolved GERD after 8 weeks. Most people find that 1-10 mg taken ½ to 2 hours before bed works for them.
2 Each of the nutrients in this section either has a complete newsletter devoted to it or is discussed more deeply in issues on a single topic, like “MInerals”.
3 Nutrition News has published newsletters on many common health complaints as well as preventable degenerative diseases. each of those issues contains specific supplement recommendations.
4 See Nutrition News, “Get In Balance With Adaptogens“. Free Read.
5 Take these as follows: K2, 90 mcg; boron, 3 mg; strontium, up to 50 mg.
6 Statins have been found to reduce the amount of CoQ10 in the body. Because coenzyme Q10 plays a role in muscle cell energy production, some researchers have proposed that supplementing CoQ10 might reduce the risk of muscle-related side effects. Statin drugs, such as Lovastatin, are prescribed for lowering cholesterol levels.
The “Is It Healthy?” Game
Optimal health is part of nature’s design. Alas, we’re the only creatures on Earth that can choose to “opt-out” of nature’s success plan for us. Let’s face it, if we don’t have health, we’re in decline. This is a very good reason for choosing to play The “Is It Healthy?” Game.
In our lives, we’re all dominated by something. Some of us are dominated by resisting. Choosing what will dominate us from moment to moment is a powerful act. We created The “Is It Healthy?” Game to give you the option of being dominated by playing to be healthy. We play the game most powerfully by playing it in all of our domains.
When our behaviors are filtered through the context of playing “Is It Healthy?”, our actions result in miraculous and unpredictable consequences. As a result, more health starts to show up in our lives. We win every time we ask, “Is It Healthy?” and answer, “Yes.”
As Darth Vader said, “Resistance Is Futile” so let’s get started. We’re there for you and with you,
♥ Siri & Gurumantra Khalsa
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