Is Modern Life Hurting Your Health?

How often have you said to yourself, “I wish things would slow down”? “I wish life was simpler!”

Modern life can be taxing. Today we live faster, work more, and have less free time than ever before. In addition, our ‘conveniences’ often come at the expense of the purity of our environment.

It’s no wonder we are the ‘stress generation’. Did you know that you hear more news in one DAY that your great-grandparents heard in an entire year? One day!

Combine the stress caused by too much information with the changes in our environment and the food we eat and you end up with a losing combination.

What can we do to fight back against the unseen environmental factors that rob us of our health and peace of mind?

Plenty!

Here are the top three environmental factors that have a negative impact on your life and what you can do about each.

1. Air pollution

This problem can sneak into your home or office without you even noticing. And the problem is very real. From airborne pollutants to toxic mold, our breathing is under attack.

Many cities now routinely warn citizens to stay indoors during certain parts of the day, particularly in the summer, due to elevated ozone levels. Of course, summer is the time when our children and we often want to be outdoors.

The good news is that this is a problem with several solutions. Today we have a wide variety of air filters from which to choose. Ranging from those that simply filter our air to more expensive models that ‘treat’ the air, be sure you get a filter that traps super-small particles and defends against ozone as well. And change your filter often. Experts now recommend changing filters up to once a week.

You may not be able to change the air outside but you can make a difference in the air your family breaths when they are in your home.

2. Water pollution.

If you remember high-school science, you will remember that there is no new water. That’s right, the water you drank today is completely re-circulated from the clouds above. Makes air pollution take on a completely new meaning, doesn’t it?

Water is essential to life. When NASA speaks about the possibility of life existing on Mars or any other planet, what they look for is whether that planet has or has ever had water. The majority of the human body is made of water. We cannot live without it.

Like our air, our water is polluted with chemicals and toxins from various sources in the environment.

Thankfully, water filtration is sophisticated. Having an effective home water filtration system is within the reach of virtually everyone.

Whether you choose a ‘whole house’ filter or one that runs from the faucet, be sure that the particle size that it filters is sufficiently small. Look specifically to see that your filter will remove contaminants like lead, mercury, and asbestos.

3. Chemical Residue

If our air and water are both polluted, where does that leave our homes? By cleaning up the air we breath and the water we drink, we are on the road to providing a safer environment for our families. However, we’re not there yet.

Every surface in our home collects dust, dirt, germs, and grease that need cleaning regularly. That’s no problem, you say! You can just pick up your handy dandy bottle of all-purpose chemical cleaner and begin, wait, did you say chemical cleaner?

We filter chemicals out of our air and water and then put them right back into our home environment by cleaning every surface in our home with chemical cleaners, exposing our families to their vapors in the process.

Modern advancements come to the rescue in the area of cleaning as well. For the first time, we have easy access to methods of cleaning that will do a great job without bringing us the chemicals and toxins that we don’t want.

In each area of household cleaning you undertake, be sure to choose products that won’t leave a chemical residue or strong chemical odors in the air. Your health and your lungs will thank you.

By making a few simple changes, you can have a permanent impact on your life and the lives of your family members. Why not start today? Take back your peace of mind and begin the journey to happier and healthier lives.

Today, There Are Contact Lenses For Every Need: Vision, Colors, Health, and Style

New technology with computers, such as the introduction of the internet has really allowed people convenient and comfortable ways to shop. You can order just about anything over the internet, including ordering contact lenses online. Shopping on the internet is not only popular, but it is becoming more and more useful. Before you were able to purchase contacts online, one of the only ways to obtain your contacts was through your eye doctor. However, as wonderful and handy as it is to order your contact lens online, there are a few things you will want to take into account and remember.

Before you order contact lenses online, or anywhere for that matter, you must first ensure that you have an up to date prescription with you at all times. The only legal way to purchase contacts in the United States is with a valid prescription issued by your optometrist. It is not that you will be involved in any legal trouble if you don’t have a valid prescription and order contacts online, but you will be liable for anything that happens to your eyes. What could happen to your eyes you wonder? Well, if you wear contacts that are not fitted to the proper shape and size of your eye, you can cause damage to your vision; not to mention that they would feel most uncomfortable to wear. Remember, before you order contact lenses online and you haven’t had an eye examination in the last two years, see your optometrist first! You may find you need a new prescription.

The contact lenses online that you can purchase, are from a variety of popular brand names like Acuvue, Johnson & Johnson, FreshLook and Focus. Each of these brands have their own different contact lens product that they sell for the different conditions of peoples eyes. For example, you can purchase the contact lens online that is called toric. Toric contact lenses are for those who suffer from astigmatism. You can also obtain contacts online that are for bifocal correction, or that color your eyes. Colored contact lenses online come in many varieties of brands and colors. These are one of the most popular of the contact lens online to be ordered. The reason for this is because they are designed for everyone to wear; those who have perfect 20/20 vision can purchase them. It is for this very reason why you should have your eyes checked, even if your vision is perfect. Remember, wearing colored contacts that do not properly fit the shape of your eye can be damaging.

Be a smart shopper when you purchase your contact lenses online. Learn about all of the great discounts that you can receive. Use your critical thinking skills when ordering contact lenses online, and you won’t ever need to worry about what you wear in your eyes!

Bad Breath: Think You Don’t Have Bad Breath? Guess Again!

Bad breath can rule your life and what others think about

you. We’ve all spoken to someone with bad breath. Chances

are you looked away, smiled politely and tried to get away

as quickly as possible from the offensive odor. More than

likely you were embarrassed for that person, who seemed to

be clueless about their bad breath. Even the most stunning,

funny, charming person in the world can develop bad breath

(halitosis) and make people within range cringe and look

away. You could be delivering a speech on how to cure some

of the most wide-spread and growing diseases, but if your

breath smells, people will focus on that offense and not

the achievement you’re speaking of. This is a sad, but

true, reality of bad breath.

Don’t Have Bad Breath? How Sure Are You?

Do you have bad breath? If you answered no, how do you know

this? Did you cup your hands, blow into them and take a big

whiff? Blowing in your hands will keep them warm, but it is

a myth that it predicts bad or clean breath. So many

factors can lead to bad breath that just because you didn’t

have bad breath last week doesn’t mean you haven’t

developed it this week. For example, perhaps you have a

cold this week. Did you know that post nasal drip and

excess mucous, as well as allergy/sinus medications, can

all lead to bad breath?

Breath Mints Aren’t That Mighty

Most people are accustomed to adding “fresheners” to

anything foul smelling. If a room smells bad, we spray air

freshener. To keep bathrooms smelling good all day, we use

plug in fresheners. To keep old clothes smelling nice, we

use fabric softeners with strong fragrances. Sometimes the

freshener can be more offensive than the foul smell, or the

combination of the two makes the matter even worse. This is

true with breath fresheners. People think that a “mint”

will dissolve their bad breath, which is completely false.

Just because you have a strong “medicated” taste in your

mouth doesn’t mean your bad breath is gone. You can’t

“taste” good or bad breath. Makes sense, right?

Bad Breath Can Strike Anyone at Anytime

If you don’t suffer from this today, it can plague you

tomorrow. A great way to tell if you have bad breath is to

wipe a piece of gauze on your tongue and smell it. You may

even find a yellowish color on the gauze. Did you know you

can’t smell your own bad breath? The fact is, you can’t

smell your own bad breath, but others can.

Let Your Mind Decide Your Kind of Training!

There are thousands and thousands of fitness tips, training techniques, fitness equipments and experts that tell you how to gain fitness and what the best ways are to train your body. It’s easy to feel confused and to spend large amounts of money on things that later turn out to be disappointments. And then you might never want to try again.

You don’t have to follow other people’s ideas of fitness and training. There will always be new trends and fashions in all aspects of life. To gain fitness, the least important thing is caring about the latest outfit or expensive training equipment. The important thing is to ask yourself these few questions:

What makes me feel good?

What do I like to do?

When am I happy?

Make a personal choice!

After asking yourself these questions you should make your own choice. You need to find your own personal ways to keeping fit. If you don’t want to go to the local gym or join the football club, maybe you prefer putting on some good music and creating a new dance of your own in your living room a couple of times per week? Or maybe you’d want to play hide-and-seek in the park with your next door neighbours every Friday? Let your mood be the driving force! Discover the feeling of joy and pleasure that comes with moving your body! The season offers lots of opportunities: Outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, swimming and different ball games are fun and easy and mostly they don’t require large investments. What makes you feel happy? Don’t ask yourself what others might like. Find your own way! Have fun! And be brave enough to try new things that may enrich your life!

My best fitness tips

These fitness tips will make your exercising fun! To be successful and reach your goals you have to choose a training technique that you really feel happy with. Exercise at home or in a gym, go swimming, biking, skiing, skating or whatever you prefer. Go for a long walk, dance, play a ball game. The important thing is not what you choose, but that you do choose. Exercising should make you feel good. Find your personal ways to health. Have a good time!

The Best Results ALWAYS Occur 1 Step Past Where Most People Give Up

I’m not sure about you guys, but getting to the gym is sometimes a pain in the butt, but we all have to do some things we don’t want to do, right…: }

At the gym I was doing bicep exercises and my goal was

12 reps each set.

Each set I did, I tried to increase the weight and make it a bit tougher.

It got much tougher.

So much, that by the 8th rep, I wanted to ‘throw in the towel’…but I didn’t!!!

I wanted to stop so badly, but I didn’t.

What I did instead was give just 5% more effort and I didn’t stop at 12 reps, I went to 15.

You see, we need to be reminded that the MAGIC doesn’t happen on the 1st mile, it happens when you go the EXTRA mile for yourself and for others.

Anybody who knows anything about weight training or dieting will tell you that you get most of your results from those last 2-3 reps you don’t want to do, or from those last few weeks that you really don’t want to diet.

But here’s the catch.

Most people quit on themselves and their dreams, right when it gets tough.

Unfortunately, they then never get to taste the MAGIC that could have taken place for them. That same magic that could have transformed their body from ordinary to extraordinary.

And that TASTE is so sweet, it really is unfortunate that more people don’t give themselves the gift of going the extra mile, so they too can enjoy living life in the body of their dreams.

(Shameless plug: Some of the best feedback I get from my ‘Living Health – Weight Loss Audio Program’, is that it shows you how to easily go that extra 5% and win.)

I’ve said it over and over again, but I’ll repeat it here one more time…you don’t have to be 50% or 100% better then everyone else when you diet or exercise.

5% is it.

Yes, that’s it.

Persist past your desire to stop dieting or exercising. Do a little bit more today.

Do one more rep.

Workout 15 minutes longer.

Drink one more glass of plain, fresh water.

Eat one more large bowel of salad (without a lot of dressing).

And encourage one more person to exercise with you.

Are YOU ready to give 5% more today?

I can’t tell for sure, but I really feel that you are ready.

Am I right?

Make your move.

P.S. In the last 30 days, over 1,012 individuals have used my Living Health Audio Program to quickly and easily add that 5% – 500% extra motivation into your life. Would you like to be next?

Are you ready? Learn More Now!

Enhance Your Flexibility:

When it comes to the Big Three of exercise – cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training – it’s pretty clear which one can get overlooked. After all, while we prize cardiovascular and strength training for their role in helping us lose weight, build muscle and get fit, the benefits of flexibility training are less immediately alluring.

However, as the population ages, more of us are learning to appreciate the rewards of stretching. Staying limber can offset age-related stiffness, improve athletic performance, and optimize functional movement in daily life. Research shows that flexibility training can develop and maintain range of motion and may help prevent and treat injury. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine has added flexibility training to its general exercise recommendations, advising that stretching exercises for the major muscle groups be performed two to three days per week.

How can you include an effective flexibility workout in your fitness program? Here are some guidelines:

Think in Terms of Serious Flexibility Training, Not Just Brief Stretching. Squeezing in one or two quick stretches before or after a workout is better that nothing, but this approach will yield limited results. What’s more, generic stretches may not be effective for your particular body. The more time and attention you give to your flexibility training, the more benefits you’ll experience. A qualified personal trainer, physical therapist or health professional can design a functional flexibility program specifically for you.

Consider Your Activities. Are you a golfer? Do you ski, run or play tennis? Do your daily home or work routines include bending, lifting or sitting for long periods? Functional flexibility improves the stability and mobility of the whole person in his or her specific environment. An individualized stretching program is best to improve both stability (the ability to maintain ideal body alignment during all activities) and mobility (the ability to use full, normal range of motion).

Pay Special Attention to Tight Areas. Often the shoulder, chest, hamstrings and hips are particularly tight, but you may hold tension in other areas, depending on your history of injuries and the existing imbalances in your muscle groups. Unless you tailor your flexibility training to your strengths and weaknesses, you may stretch already overstretched muscles and miss areas that need training.

Listen to Your Body. Stretching is an individual thing. Pay attention to your body’s signals and don’t push too far. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements to gain momentum; this approach can be dangerous.

Instead, slowly stretch your muscles to the end point of movement and hold the stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds. Older adults, pregnant women and people with injuries will need to take special precautions.

Get Creative. Varying your flexibility training can help you stick with it. You can use towels, resistance balls and other accessories to add diversity and effectiveness to your stretching.

Warm Up First. Don’t forget to warm up your muscles before you begin. Walking briskly for 10 to15 minutes is a simple way to do this.

Find a Flexibility Class That Works for You. Classes that include stretching are becoming more popular and more diverse. Some combine cardiovascular and strength components with the flexibility training; others focus exclusively on stretching.

Stretch Your Mind and Body. Did you know that your emotional state may affect your flexibility? If your body is relaxed, it will be more responsive to flexibility training. Listening to music and focusing on your breath can help you relax as you stretch. You may also want to explore yoga or Pilates. In addition to stretching, classes in these disciplines may include relaxation, visualization and other mind-body techniques designed to reduce stress and increase mindfulness.

It’s Not Just for Wimps. Forget the idea that stretching is just for elderly, injured or unconditioned people. Many Olympic and professional athletes rely on flexibility training for peak performance.

Do It Consistently. It doesn’t help to stretch for a few weeks and then forget about it. Integrate regular stretching into your permanent fitness program. For inspiration, look to cats and dogs – they’re dedicated practitioners of regular stretching and you rarely see them getting the kind of joint or muscular injuries that humans get!

Shoulder and Trapezius Stretch

** Stand upright with shoulders back, chest out, and feet hip-width apart.

** Clasp your hands behind your buttocks.

** Slowly lift your hands up and away from your body until they have reached the furthest comfortable position.

** Keep your chest out and your chin in without hunching over.

** Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your chest and anterior shoulders, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

Lying Quadriceps Stretch

** Lie face down on a mat.

** Lift your right leg up towards your buttocks.

** Reach around with your right hand and grasp your foot. -Slowly pull downwards, stretching your quadriceps to the furthest comfortable position.

** Hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

Shin Stretch

** Using a wall or chair as support, place your left foot behind your right foot, with the top of your left on the ground.

** Extend the bottom of your left shin as far forwards as possible. Slowly lower yourself by bending both legs.

** Once you have stretched your anterior tibialis to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.

** Switch legs and repeat.

Hip, Gluteus and Back Stretch

** Sit on the floor with both of your legs extended in front of you.

** Bend your right leg over your left leg, keeping your right foot flat on the floor outside the left knee.

** Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee, and extend your right arm behind you with your palm flat on the floor for support.

** Slowly twist your upper body to the right while looking over your right shoulder.

** Lightly apply pressure with your left elbow on the outside of your right knee as you twist. Be sure to keep your upper body straight.

** Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your hips, buttocks, and lower back, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

** Switch sides and repeat.

Calf Stretch

** Put the sole of the top half of your right foot against the wall. Slide your right heel as close towards the wall as possible.

** Slowly lean forward towards the wall stretching your calves. Once you have stretched your calf to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.

** Switch legs and repeat.

Reducing Blood Pressure

Recent research underscores the importance of a healthful lifestyle including a fitness regimen for both the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Often, changes in diet and exercise habits are enough to control blood pressure without medication, especially for people with mild to moderate blood pressure levations. Sometimes diet and exercise can even reduce the need for medication, and thereby reduce side effects and lower costs.

If you are already taking medication for hypertension, it’s important to discuss your lifestyle changes with your doctor, and continue taking your medication as prescribed. If lifestyle changes result in improved blood pressure, your doctor will want to work closely with you to reduce your dosage in a safe and effective manner. Following are some of the most important things you can do to prevent and control hypertension.

Reducing your sodium intake is a major factor. Many people with hypertension find that reducing sodium intake reduces blood pressure as well. Learn which foods are high in sodium, and avoid them as much as possible.

Regular exercise is the most important hypertension-prevention habit for three reasons:

First, it helps prevent and control hypertension. Formerly sedentary people who begin exercising regularly experience, on average, a drop of six or seven points in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Second, active people have lower death rates than their sedentary friends, even when they have the same blood pressure. Research has shown that exercise reduces risk for cardiovascular and other disease. Exercise also helps prevent obesity, another hypertension risk factor.

Third, regular exercise provides the foundation for successful behavior change programs. Exercise makes you feel good and feel positive about yourself. Stress reduction is one of the greatest benefits of exercise. Stress not only raises blood pressure, but it makes you less inclined to stick to your positive eating plan, your

smoking cessation program or your decision to cut down on your alcohol intake.

Eating more fruits, vegetables and grains increases your intake of important minerals such as calcium and potassium, not to mention vitamins and fiber. One study found that volunteers consuming a diet high in these foods and low in fats (such as the diets created by our on-staff nutritionist) reduced systolic blood pressure by four points, and diastolic by three points. This small but significant reduction was accomplished with diet alone. Add exercise, stress management and weight loss for people who are overweight, and blood pressure reductions often improve much more.

Eating well and exercising regularly are the cornerstone.

Deprivation programs are out! Don’t focus on weight loss; focus on a healthy lifestyle. A little weight loss may occur by cutting down on “junk food,” eating more fruits, vegetables and grains, and increasing physical activity. Even a relatively small loss, such as 5 to 10 pounds, can reduce blood pressure. The most important goal is the development of healthful habits that stay with you for a

lifetime, so that the weight stays off. Weight cycling (repeatedly losing and regaining weight) may raise your blood pressure and be harmful to your health.

Reducing stress is another lifelong task. Take a stress management workshop, develop your sense of humor and read some good books. Develop coping techniques that increase your resistance to stress related illness. And don’t forget the importance of exercise for stress reduction.

Limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake will make a profound difference in your health. You should strive to drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation, if at all.

Benefits of Lavender Green Tea

In Health

Organically grown Green Tea is rich in polyphenols and anti-oxidants that fight free radicals that damage cells and tissue. An 8 oz. Cup of Green Tea has as much potency as a cup of blueberries, a best source of anti-oxidants and as much vitamin C as a lemon. It also contains magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, folie acid and potassium.

Larch Arabinogalaetin (AG) is a good source of natural dietary fiber. Women who increase fiber from 12 to 24 grams absorb 90 fewer calories from fat and protein. Men who increase fiber from 15 to 36 grams absorb 130 fewer calories. Larch (AG) moves waste through the digestive tract promoting intestinal cleansing, making it the safest dietary supplement. Unlike psyllium, larch increases mineral absorption, and like our green tea, it contains no sugar, sweetener, seasonings or colorings.

AG provides us with healthy bacteria that fight free radicals in the digestive tract. The digestive tract is the site of the vast majority of free radical production. A healthy digestive tract directs nutrients to the organs of the body and eliminates waste.

Skin Care

We eliminate toxic materials through the digestive and urinary tract. Should these organs fail, toxins will attempt to exit via our skin, decreasing the quality of our skin. Green tea, larch, and lavender are frequently used in skin care products.

Weight Management

Green tea has been sold in health food stores as a safe way to reduce weight. Green tea is thermogenie. That is, it bums fat. If we don’t burn fat, we will soon wear it.

Weight Management & Stress

Does stress causes you to reach for comfort food7 Comfort foods are often used to deal with emotional events. Lavender is emotionally balancing; that is, it picks us up when we are down and helps to calm us when we are tense. Possibly reducing our desire for high calorie sweets. Long before Lavender was used for fragrance, it was considered a culinary delight. Enjoy the taste of Lavender Green Tea with Larch and profit from the many nutritional benefits without the calories.

When is a Nursing Home Appropriate for the Alzheimer’s Patient?

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be a huge burden. When it becomes too hard and too time consuming for you to take care of your loved one, it may be time to look for a nursing home.

When you feel comfortable, then you can start planning ahead which will help avoid crisis situations later. You may not ever need a nursing home, but act in a proactive manner just in case the day comes. It is well known that making decisions in a crisis situation can be very difficult and stressful on everyone, so make sure you plan ahead of time.

You may find information and a list of nursing homes in your area from your local Alzheimer’s Association, or an elder law firm. They are most likely to have a list of facilities that offer dementia care or at least a dementia unit.

When you find the nursing home that will be the most appropriate for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, make sure you check the following:

  • What is its appearance? When was their license accredited?
  • Is the facility location convenient for you and your family for frequent visits?
  • How does the staff react to questions — are their greetings warm and welcoming, do they interact with your loved one?
  • How well do the resident participants socialize with other people?
  • Are visits allowed and are they encouraged?
  • What is the staff ratio per patient? It should be at least 1 staff member for 8 persons.
  • Is it possible to take a tour of the facility and the rooms?
  • If there is a waiting list, how long will it take before your loved one can be accepted?
  • Do they have a single room or do they share with another patient?
  • Are these rooms furnished or unfurnished? If unfurnished, you will be able to bring your own furniture and decorate your room as wanted.
  • Are there elevators? What kind of emergency plan do they have if a patient needs to be evacuated promptly?
  • How do they handle patients that wander and what kind of security do they have?

These are some of the questions you can ask on your first visit. You can always come back later or give them a call later if you have other questions.

Another aspect of the nursing home to take into consideration is the financial issue. Most insurance companies will not cover these costs. When your loved one is being admitted in the nursing home you selected, the admittance staff will be able to assist you and discuss the payment options with you.

Make sure to ask what is included in the fees or contract:

  • Is there an ongoing process for assessing a resident’s need for services and how often are those needs evaluated?
  • What additional services and staff are available if the resident’s needs change?
  • Is there an agreement available which discloses healthcare, accommodations, personal care and supportive services, all fees, and admission and discharge provisions, emergency services if necessary?
  • Is there any government or other programs available that may help covering the costs?
  • What happens if funds are used up and full payments can no longer be made. Does the facility accept Medicaid?

You want as well to have a good knowledge of the environment and the type of healthcare your loved one is going to receive:

  • What type of healthcare and personal care are available? Do they have routine exams available, like vision and dental?
  • What is the qualification of the staff members?
  • Is the staff available to assist residents who experience memory loss or disorientation, and how do they handle it?
  • Does the staff take care of the doctor’s appointments? Do they drive them over there and wait for them?

There is one more thing to consider when deciding if the nursing home is appropriate for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Will he/she be happier than at home? Many people do quite well in nursing homes.

Once your loved one enters the nursing home, he/she can still leave for short trips to sleep over at family and friends. If he/she is unhappy, a transfer to another facility or a return home with assisted living may be an option.

You may also doubt how beneficial a dementia care unit can be for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s. If the dementia unit is developed and staffed correctly, it can be very valuable. The idea of a dementia care unit is to provide specialized care. This includes staff training specifically for dementia, smaller units to ease feelings of being overwhelmed, a quieter environment to prevent over-stimulation, and a locked unit safe for wandering and pacing. Wandering and pacing are symptoms that most Alzheimer’s patients experience. Instead of trying to stop them from this behavior, dementia units let them continue it in safe surroundings. Most facilities for Alzheimer’s care have their own activity director and many times the direct care staff are also trained to participate in activities with the residents with dementia.

To obtain more information on facilities in your area that offer dementia care units for Alzheimer’s patients, contact your state’s Department on Aging.

Health, Vitality, and Courage

During the dark years that followed my diving accident, I deviated from my wholesome eating habits. This deviation was partly due to my limited control over my diet, as I lived in a hospital or a group home. It was also due to my reduced health-consciousness. Largely disgusted with life, I was proportionally hedonistic and suicidal. I sought consolation in gustatory pleasure at the risk of undermining my health. To be more precise, I often overindulged my fondness for fatty and savory foods or sweet ones, with the result that I gained weight and lost my edge – that is, part of my vitality. This loss was ominous. It took a wealth of vitality to accept and overcome the difficulty of attaining happiness. The more I was devitalized and consequently weak, the more I was likely to be daunted by this difficulty.

Devitalization was the worst form of impoverishment. In a state of weakness, it was tempting to deny that happiness was possible or worth the effort and choose the easy option: idleness and carelessness or death. I never gave in to this morbid temptation, but my overindulgence in fatty and savory foods or sweet ones caused my vitality to lessen and my depression to worsen, thereby reinforcing my hedonistic and suicidal tendencies. I had entered a vicious circle, or rather a downward spiral that led to hell.

Fortunately, before it was too late, I became disgusted with my way of life, as opposed to life itself. I was less a victim of circumstances than a fool who brought about his own misery, on account of his negative attitude and self-destructive behavior. I began my uphill journey to wisdom and health.

Health is the basis for every human achievement, even when it is poor, in which case it provides a lot less vitality and longevity than when it is good. I pledged to do everything possible to be healthy to maximize my potential to live and love.

In fact, health is not just a matter of vitality and longevity; it is also a matter of sanity. A sound mind is a complement to a sound body. Furthermore, the one is dependent on the other. This dependence had dawned on me with dazzling clarity a few months after I had moved into my apartment and improved my diet. By then I had studied many health books. They had helped me define and meet my nutritional requirements much more wisely.

My body needed a balanced and moderate amount of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins to function well. Correlatively, the foods containing these nutrients had to be properly chewed to aid digestion and absorption (this did not apply to fiber: a type of carbohydrate that the body can neither digest nor absorb). Proper chewing reduces foods to mush and proportionally increases the effect of the digestive juices on them or the availability of the nutrients that are ready for absorption. I thoroughly performed this simple chore, at the center of life.

To start with, carbohydrates are simple or complex sugars that I generally obtained from fruit, honey, milk products, beets, rutabagas, potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, or peas), nuts, seeds, whole grains, and the bread, cereal, or pasta made from these grains. Simple sugars and digestible complex sugars serve as an energy source and participate in the synthesis of DNA and RNA molecules: the genetic information and the genetic messengers that enable the organism to regenerate and reproduce. Indigestible complex sugars, better known as dietary fiber, are capable of promoting the elimination of waste through the intestine. Refined foods are depleted of this fiber, without which constipation is a predictable outcome that bodes ill. Except on festive occasions, I resolutely avoided them.

Lipids include two main subdivisions: saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fats (with a phosphoric component in some of them – i.e., in phospholipids versus triglycerides that are pure fats) and cholesterol, which is a singular fatty compound. Like simple sugars and digestible complex sugars, saturated fats and monounsaturated fats serve as an energy source. In addition, they contribute to the integrity of the body tissues. Polyunsaturated fats and cholesterol also contribute to this integrity and are used for a variety of vital functions involving the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, and immune systems.

A distinctive feature of polyunsaturated fats is their instability. When exposed to heat, light, or air, such as in processing, intense cooking, or prolonged everyday use, they can suffer damage and become harmful. In view of this fact, I was careful to eat the foods that contained them – for example, walnuts and seeds, and the oil extracted from either – in their most natural (unprocessed and if possible uncooked) form and fresh (unspoiled) state. When cooking was necessary, as in the case of fish or tofu, which numbered among these foods, I resorted to steaming or baking in preference to frying and proceeded with caution, while avoiding the pitfall of undercooking. I applied the same basic principles to the foods that contained monounsaturated fats, like peanuts, almonds, olives, and avocado, and the oil extracted from any of them, though these fats are less unstable than their polyunsaturated counterparts. As for cholesterol, found exclusively in animal products, and saturated fats, found mostly in land animal products, they have a reputation for causing arterial blockage and organ dysfunction if consumed without restraint. I limited my intake of them by following a largely vegetarian diet where animal flesh was the exception, not the rule. Actually, I exercised restraint in my consumption of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats as well. The opposite, like any lack of moderation, is a health hazard.

Now for proteins. They are various macromolecules that comprise a large number of amino acids (nitrogenous molecules that occur in twenty-two different forms). In the course of digestion, these macromolecules are broken down into these molecular components, which act thereafter as raw material or building blocks to produce new molecules or new macromolecules (polypeptides, smaller than proteins, or proteins) that suit our physiological needs in many areas: the metabolism, the blood, the mucous membranes, the skin and the tendons, the muscles, plus the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. These molecular components act so if the body has enough carbohydrates and fats to satisfy its energy requirements. Otherwise, they are stripped of their nitrogenous part and mobilized into satisfying these requirements. This constitutes a waste of precious amino acids and a burden to the kidneys, in charge of eliminating the free nitrogenous part after the liver has transformed it into urea. As it happened, my main sources of protein – namely, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and the bread, cereal, or pasta made from these grains, together with milk products and eggs – were also rich in carbohydrates or fats. Here the fats that mattered were saturated or monounsaturated, whereas the polyunsaturated ones were not a favorable means of satisfying my energy requirements, given the many other important roles they played.

Lastly, minerals and vitamins are a group of some thirty substances that complement carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. A deficiency in one of them can hamper a bodily function and jeopardize in so doing the health of an individual. Collectively, as precursors or components of useful agents, or as useful agents themselves, they assist in numerous processes: vision, nerve impulses and neurotransmission, muscle contraction, digestion and absorption, regulation of blood sugar and of the metabolic rate, respiration, energy production, regeneration and reproduction, formation and maintenance of bones and teeth, coagulation, protection against free radicals (noxious atoms or molecules), and immunity. My usual sources of carbohydrates, lipids, and protein already supplied me with minerals and vitamins, all the more since they were unrefined. Refining is a terrible refinement that depletes fibers and nutrients in foods. Nevertheless, to make sure I got enough minerals and vitamins, I rounded off these usual sources with additional vegetables: carrots, radishes, cauliflower, red cabbage, green vegetables, leafy or non-leafy, garlic, and onions. I drank plenty of water to boot, though not during or immediately after meals lest I interfere with my digestion by flooding my stomach. Drinking water typically contains a minute quantity of minerals. Much more importantly, it has the ability to replenish the bodily fluids and cleanse the system of undesirable substances.

The best thing about my improved diet was that in a few months my state of mind had taken a turn for the better in a big way. Never before had I thought so clearly and felt so enterprising. I was brimming with vitality and soon became immersed in the writing of my book on “vital efficiency.” It appeared I was a lot more capable of rationalizing and embracing the challenge of leading a fulfilling life, because I was a lot more alive. My energy level had risen dramatically. I could sleep three hours, rest another two hours, and go about my business for the remaining nineteen hours. In conjunction with this rise, my morale was unusually high. Circumstances alone could not account for this boost. My relationship with my girlfriend (the extremely kind and gentle, and rather pretty nurse) was in the doldrums and on the brink of termination. My new apartment, on the other hand, was a significant improvement; but what changed for the better during the few months in question was primarily the condition of my body, which impacted my state of mind. I was vibrant with health, notwithstanding I still experienced bladder problems that somewhat weakened me on occasion. This health was both physical and mental. I had a vigorous and joyous sense of purpose that kept me going and especially writing.

In the effort to be healthy, a reasonable diet is not everything. Fresh air and regular exercise ought to form part of this effort. There are two types of exercise; both require stretching, before and after, plus warmup and cooldown periods, to avoid injuries.

The first type of exercise is anaerobic, not dependent on the intake of oxygen. An example of anaerobic exercise is weightlifting. Done frequently, in vigorous workouts, it strengthens muscles and bones. The second and most beneficial type of exercise is aerobic, dependent on the intake of oxygen. An example of aerobic exercise is jogging. Done every day or a few times a week, for at least fifteen minutes (enough to markedly and sustainedly increase the activity of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, responsible for delivering oxygen to the body tissues), it yields numerous health benefits. Besides strengthening muscles and bones, it raises endurance, improves the handling of stress, promotes good mood, boosts the immune function, reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, and helps to prevent obesity together with disorders like diabetes and hypertension that often accompany this condition. In a nutshell, fresh air and regular exercise are important aspects of a wholesome lifestyle. They result in someone being stronger, feeling better, and probably living longer.