New Year's Resolution
The New Year is here. What do you plan to do in the new year to make it better for you than last year?
Would you like to raise your own income taxes by 10%?
Perhaps you'd like to be sued.
Or how about getting mugged and going to jail?
How would you like to have surgery or perhaps just take more costly medicine?
Despite the fact that this is the best of all possible world that we live in, it's a jungle out there, and you have to be careful.
And you are careful in so many ways. You brush your teeth. You wear your seatbelt and drive near the speed limit. You shower, change your underwear and seldom pass gas in public. Generally, you are very careful.
But there are still 40 million smokers, 20 million excessive drinkers, and 200 million overweight Americans - all risking pain, facing surgery, and taking significant quantities of expensive medications with potent side effects, etc.
How about you and me? Are we so perfect? These issues are not raised to be judgmental or cast the first stone. The issues are raised for several reasons. The fact is we can be and do better. The cost is minimal and the benefit may just be the "Happy, Healthy New Year" we will routinely wish to all.
Here's how to begin:
- Tell the truth to yourself, possibly even find it out first. You may not know, so read on.
- Make changes in yourself - the intent is to make this as easy as possible. You should be remarkably comfortable making the necessary changes.
- Eat cooked soft and warm vegetables, brown rice/barley, beans, with some fruit.
- Don't completely stop eating meat or chicken and dairy products all at once, but try to limit them to special occasions or have them only in restaurants.
- Don't buy or bring home foods you know you should not eat.
- Treat yourself to health-smart cooking lessons. Call to locate classes close to you.
- Cook more soups with lentils and chickpeas while avoiding meat or fowl, butter, cheese, oil, and grease. No frying and no dairy.
- Get a good cookbook, like Kristina Turner's The Self-Healing Cookbook or Julia Ferré's Basic Macrobiotic Cooking. Take one of these cookbooks with you to a natural food store. After choosing one recipe that appeals to you, find the food items familiar to you in that store but ask a store clerk to find for you the items you are unfamiliar with. Go home and make the recipe, following the directions exactly--change nothing. Next week, repeat, that is, try to add one new recipe to your repertoire each week.
- Exercise. Begin with a five-minute walk out the door and five minutes back. Do this five days in a row and take two days off. The following week walk 10 minutes out and 10 back. Increase each week. The goal is to walk 3-5 miles a day/5 days a week - or, for the same effect, you can use a Nordic Track or a Health Rider for 10-30 minutes 4 days per week.
- Limit your smoking to fewer than two cigarettes every other day.
- Be optimistic and acceptant of reality.
- Drink fewer than 4 glasses of wine or bottles of beer a week or 4 shots of whiskey. Your correct liquid intake should be water or weak herbal tea such as chamomile or green tea.
Conclusion: If you need help, call. But go ahead and start on your own.
H. Robert Silverstein, MD