In the past decade I've spent lots of time researching how each of us can maintain our health and energy. I have seen that a properly fueled body is actually a disease prevention machine. What we eat, coupled with how (and if) we exercise, sleep and yes, even think, can provide the vitality needed to live full, healthy and disease-free lives.
Reliable studies have demonstrated the can-do realities of disease prevention and our power to shape not only our own wellness but to endow healthy genetic destinies to the next generations. Prevention is always better than a cure. Our food is our medicine and our medicine is our food.
There's been an alarming increase of chronic diseases in the past decade. This is the result of sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary choices, prolonged levels of stress, obesity, smoking, and substance abuse. These diseases include the metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of medical disorders that when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Today, over two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, which can be the cause for the onset of diabetes, various cancers, heart disease (which is the leading cause of death in the U.S.), and many other chronic conditions including colorectal cancer, kidney ailments and even memory problems.
Creating a healthy lifestyle starts with small daily steps which involved what you eat and how you exercise. Within weeks sleep will improve and energy levels will be sustained each day. Astounding too is the clarity of how your brain and memory can work. Our amazing bodies have inherent self-healing properties that function when they are provided with the right fuel.
Metabolic syndrome can be reversed and even prevented by eating a low carbohydrate diet free from sugary drinks and soda, sugar, pastries, bad fats, processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and refined white flour breads and pasta.
In the past decade people around the world have rediscovered whole foods: foods that are raised and grown without pesticides, growth hormones or antibiotics.
Whole foods contain high amounts of nutrients providing our bodies with the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential ingredients we need to thrive. Diets filled with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish and limited portions of beef, chicken and other meats (that preferably are free of hormones, antibiotics and nitrites) not only maintains health but weight as well.
Stores like The Natural Market in Groton buy many of their products from local providers because they want to be sure that these small local sources stay in business. They carry Stillman's milk (Lunenburg, stillmansfarm.com), Coll Farm's eggs (Jaffrey, NH, collsfarmllc.com), Annie's Gluten Free bread & goodies (Shirley, on Facebook, anniesglutenfreebakery), Chunks of Energy snack squares (Charlemont, chunksofenergy.com).
We have the ability to control our health destinies by what we eat and how we exercise. Start this year right, get off the couch and out of the frozen food aisle. This is the year of can and will do!