I love traditional MD’s — they’re my best friends, family, and trusted colleagues, but do they truly know how to get healthy?
They save lives and perform medical feats beyond imagination. So why am I insulting them in the title of this piece? Read on, it’s not always as it seems. Although many doctors are smart, well-intentioned, and caring, they may not be trained to optimize health, which is a completely different skill than performing life-saving surgery or cancer chemotherapy.
The good news is there are many professionals out there (including some forward-thinking MD) who can guide you to supreme health. But, until you find that person, I urge you to become the CEO of your body and try some (or all) of the steps below. Go ahead! Get healthy!
1. Get extended blood testing.
Some of these tests may be ordered by your doctor but many are add-ons. You may be denied at first if your doctor is a minimalist. However, it’s worth pursuing even if you must go to an outside lab like Wellnessfx, CanaryClub.org, DirectLabs, or AnyLabTestNow.
You’ll want to order a complete blood count, which will give you information about your blood and can help pinpoint issues with fatigue and infection. It’s also a good idea to order a complete thyroid and lipid panel. Getting this data will give you a complete assessment of your health and help identify areas for improvement.
2. Get enough sleep.
If there’s one thing I would suggest, it would be adequate sleep. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to prioritize our Dreamtime, let alone figure calculate the hours we need for optimal health.
Here’s the easy way: just sleep for 3 to 5 days without an alarm to find out how many hours of sleep you need, in order to feel rested. For most of us, this is somewhere between 7 and 9 hours. It’s simple, want to get healthy, then get rest!
3. Manage your stress.
Too much stress disrupts your hormones, your sleep, and makes you gain weight. But there are worse things that can happen due to stress. This chaos can lead to adrenal burnout. That’s why meditation, yoga, or other spiritually nourishing practices, every day, is essential.
If you need some help, try vitamin supplementation.
• Vitamin C (start with 1 gram three times a day and increase until you have loose stools)
• Fish oil (1 to 4 grams a day)
• Phosphatidylserine (400- 800 mg/day)
• Ashwagandha (300 mg twice a day) or Rhodiola (200 mg twice a day).
4. Track your movement.
Whether you use a pedometer, FitBit, FuelBand or pencil, and paper, tracking your movements during the day is important. Aim for 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day. (That’s about five miles per day). Physicians do not always tell you the exact amount of exercise that’s needed for a healthy lifestyle.
5. Check your resting pulse.
Finally, here’s an easy one! Check your pulse when you wake up before you even get out of bed. An ideal resting pulse is 60 beats per minute or below. (Athletes are routinely in the 50s.)
6. Focus on your hormones.
Hormones are an area that many general physicians feel uncomfortable discussing because it’s such a complicated topic. The ranges are so dynamic depending upon the time in your life or even the time of day. On top of that, the “normal” ranges of these tests are so wide that you might get a “normal” reading but be faced with a significant problem.
Men should try total testosterone testing, which is available at many outside labs such as wellness fx or Genova. They provide reference ranges and offer the option to consult with a professional. Alternatively, you can take the results to your primary MD.
Women typically need three tests drawn during their 28-day cycle. This is because levels change (or should change) throughout the month. Women can get their hormone levels checked at the same places above.
7. Live creatively and with purpose.
What do you do to unwind? This is an area many of us neglect. Some ideas to explore are volunteering, writing, painting, drawing, or cooking. You would be amazed at how you can get healthy by getting creative.
Why? “Getting in the zone” with an enjoyable activity lowers stress hormones, increases your happiness, and gives you something to look forward to every day. Aim to start having fun 15 to 30 minutes every day.
8. Understand the truth about processed foods.
Whether you decide to go Paleo, vegan, or follow a Mediterranean diet, there is one amazing thing these diets have in common: they all emphasize, whole, unprocessed foods. Did you know overly processed foods are designed to make you crave them? Bottom line, although it’s really cliche: Eat the foods your grandparents would recognize.
9. Avoid hormone disruptors.
We use and ingest chemicals that throw our hormones off-balance, and we do this without even knowing. Although it’s hard to remove all the offenders, taking it one step at a time allows progress and shows permanent results. Stay educated, reading materials and researching online articles, in order to understand what’s in your food.
10. Get tested for your inflammation markers.
Interested in your heart and overall inflammatory markers? Check your cholesterol, LDL particle number, and size, homocysteine, lipoprotein a, hbaic, fibrinogen
11. Get tested for your food intolerance.
It’s possible that you have food intolerance. For many, it can be the missing piece of optimal health. The perks of getting tested for food intolerance is that it’s totally free and you can do it yourself. Here are a few offenders that you might recognize.
The common criminals?
• Cow’s milk
• Wheat (gluten)
• Tree nuts
• MSG (and countless other preservatives)
12. Practice gratitude.
In the wise words of Oprah Winfrey,
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Of course, this list doesn’t include everything you can do to improve your health. It’s just meant to be a starting point you can use to improvise and move ahead.
As you take this natural journey to get healthy, consider moderation and compromise. Although your MD may not have all the intricate details, they will be your doorway to health. Appreciate your physicians while joining in the fight for your well-being!
I would love to know what you think!