Healthy Lifestyles and Happiness is All Linked in The Body

For thousands of years learned and knowledgeable people have spoken of the importance of healthy lifestyle habits to wellness and happiness. Hippocrates, for instance, is known to have said “The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine”. Also Socrates stated "eat to live not live to eat"I’m sure you have all heard someone saying at some stage things like “you are what you eat”, “every journey begins with a first step” or even “a man who is too busy to take care of himself is like a builder who is too busy to take care of his tools, neither is worth having round”.  One of my personal favourites and one I certainly live my life by these days is “my body is a vessel carrying my spirit, if I don’t look after the vessel my spirit won’t ever get to where it needs to be”. So what do all these sayings have in common? In some way they are all talking about the important mind-body-spirit connections that exist and mediate our wellness.

Well before science became a field of knowledge, humans were aware that health, happiness and wellbeing were interlinked.  Many indigenous societies have forged strong cultures around understandings of the connectedness of mind, body and spirit and the natural world around them. Many Eastern societies have forged strong cultural values around ancient understandings of wellness that very much reflect similar mind-body-spirit connectedness as a priority for wellness.  An integral part of Chinese medicine is the understanding of Qi (or life-force) and how it is produced, spread and mediates wellness.  Qi is said to be acquired daily through what we eat, drink and the air we breathe. Qi is then transported throughout the body along internal lines known as ‘meridians’.  Chinese medicine believes that imbalances in the Qi as can be caused through eating “poisoned” food, water or air, or blockages in the flow of Qi along the meridians that can be caused by toxic build ups resulting in physical and/or mental illness.  Even the Old Testament which is heavily founded around ancient Middle Eastern ways of knowing and being, and the New Testament with its Roman Catholic and Anglo Protestant influences suggest many examples of greed and gluttony as sinful, leading to lapses in wellness for perpetrators. Happiness in the same teachings happiness is spoken of as being achieved through giving and expressing gratitude. While many societies globally have lived by this knowledge for hundreds if not thousands of years, the west and western science has only recently acknowledged the benefits of such ways of being. 

Western science has traditionally seen the wellness of mind and body as separate and often forgotten spirit all together however, in recent years, western science has opened up to take on a more holistic view of wellness. More and more healthy lifestyle is being spoken of as multifaceted. Academic literature is being published supporting the long held and practiced understanding of Indigenous and Eastern philosophies. Science has shown that certain foods assist with improving mood and that excessive alcohol consumption causes not only physical health problems but a gamut of mental health concerns also. Science is also now showing that disconnection from spirituality, friends and family are mediating factors in experiences of psychological distress and that ongoing psychological distress is linked to both the formation of mental illness and chronic disease. The biggest movements in western psychology of recent funnily enough have been in the areas of positive psychology and the practice of mindfulness. One of the strongest practices of mindfulness advocated for in terms of producing increases in positive mood and wellness is that of expressing gratitude. It is suggested that showing gratitude for what we have each day lessens us thinking of what we don’t have in turn increasing our appreciation for and happiness around that of which we do have. Be grateful for time with your family and friends rather than only drinking with them, be grateful for the beautiful food that earth provides that we have access to and appreciate the time it takes to prepare it yourself, be grateful you can exercise in whatever way works for you and most of all be grateful for life.   

So, as a culturally strong Gamilaroi man, father, psychologist, and researcher what is my perspective on all this?  It is simple. Wellness is multifaceted, it requires us to be attentive to all that is important to us and to make our lifestyle choices based on the impacts it has on those we are connected to.  While we cannot control the thoughts and actions of others, when we live well we can influence those close to us to live well also and that’s deadly (meaning awesome). By increasing our activity, watching what we eat and drink, building and maintain connectedness, we can live longer happier lives for ourselves and those we love.

I really appreciate the steps you have all taken on your Fabruary journeys and working towards living well!

 

Warmest regards

 

Clinton Schultz

 

                                                                                                                                                                      

 

                                                                                                                                                                                             

Why Is Your Health Important

The obesity and diabetic epidemics that have taken hold of our society over the last 30 years need to be confronted. 

We must realise that perhaps the conventional and current advice offered by doctors, dieticians and sports trainers may be incorrect. 

I would like to make three statements:

  1. nothing will change in your current situation unless you do something differently
  2. a small amount of discipline becomes a habit and becomes easier over time
  3. I challenge anyone who is wanting to be healthier or who wants to lose weight over February this year, to completely cut out or drastically reduce all sugar (including fruit juices and hidden sugar in pre-prepared foods - read the labels) and carbohydrates.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the real culprit in obesity is carbohydrates and not fats such as eggs, full cream milk, cheese and butter.

Low fat products are often full of sugar and do not have the health benefits or satiety factor that full fat, sugar free products do.

Studies have shown that sugar itself acts in a very similar way on the brain as other drugs of dependence.

Like other addictions it stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain and sets up a vicious circle of craving and over-indulging. Thankfully this sugar addiction can also be broken quite quickly over a few weeks.

I would recommend that all those interested and open-minded people who realise that they need to change something for the better in their lives look at the following resources: 

  • The real meal revolution
  • The Banting eating plan
  • Low carb down under
  • Cereal killers
  • That sugar film

It will change your lives.

Basically as one ages one tends to become less sugar (carb) tolerantand the equivalent calories of fat and carbohydrate do not end up doing the equivalent things to ones body. 

In fact "a calorie is not always a calorie". 

We as humans actually do not need any carbohydrates to survive at all. We are perfectly capable of producing all the energy we need from fats and protein.

Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin, promote fatty deposits in the liver, increase bad cholesterol , cause drastically fluctuating energy levels and are "pro-inflammatory". 

There are many products marketed as healthy which are in fact so high in sugar that they are much more detrimental than one realises.

Examples would include fruit smoothies, fruit juices, low fat yoghurts, muesli, energy drinks and bars and things such as "gluten free" cookies or other deli products.

A small amount of good fat in one's diet promotes a feeling of saiety (fullness) and one does not tend to over-eat.

Some of nature's perfect foods include eggs, avocados, nuts, full-cream milk, cheese and fish. 

Another common fallacy is that one must eat three meals a day, even if you aren't hungry and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

This is no longer accepted as being correct.

In fact it is very beneficial to one's health to have intermittent periods of fasting.

This could be in the form of fasting until midday and then only eating from midday until 8pm.

One can have occasional full days of fasting as well.

This will at first be difficult for those "addicted" to sugar or carbohydates but as one becomes more accustomed to an eating plan with mainly fats, veggies and protein, then one's body is easily able to fast for periods of time.

This is believed to be particularly valuable in those over-weight and obese people who are on the cusp of becoming type 2 diabetics or glucose intolerant.

Exercise is also extremely valuable in making one feel more energetic and reduce cravings.

To feel more energetic one needs to expend energy.

Exercise also promotes an increased muscle mass compared to fat mass. This muscle is more metabolically active and burns more calories than the same weight of fat. 

Psychiatrists are now quite often "prescribing" exercise as medicine for low mood, depression, anxiety and addiction problems. The natural neuro-transmitter dopamine is released into the brain and circulation and promotes feelings of well-being , confidence and calmness. It actually also reduces ones appetite and cravings so has all-round benefits besides the pure fun/play/social advantages : )

Exercising outdoors and engaging with mother nature is good in so many ways - not least of all for your soul !

In particular my son and I have re-discovered tree-climbing as our favourite pastime : )

Give it a try... 

Lastly I would like to embrace and encourage those who are over-weight and challenge them to change a few things in their lives.

Things can change dramatically.

Striving to be healthy includes weight control and will help prevent heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancers (particularly breast, uterine and colon) and reduce your chance of developing depression, anxiety and fatigue.

Take up the challenge - cut out sugar, drastically reduce carbs and see where it leads you by the end of February.

And don't forget to enjoy outside play, exercise and sports.

 

FAB Medical Doctor,
Nicci Drew

 

Zesty Lemon and Coconut Protein Balls

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops (40g) Natural Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup ABC spread
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • Additional desiccated coconut for rolling
  • ¼ cup lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Place the protein powder and almonds in a food processor and blend until a crumbly texture is formed
  2. Add the coconut oil, lemon juice and ABC spread into the processor and blend until combined
  3. Lastly add the pumpkin seeds and coconut into the mixture and blend for 10 seconds.
  4. Once the dough has formed, pour the mixture into a bowl. Using 2 tablespoons of mixture at a time, roll the dough into balls and repeat until all the mixture has been used.
  5. Combine the additional coconut and lemon zest on a plate. Roll each ball through the mixture and store in the fridge for 10 minutes
  6. Enjoy

 

Heart of a Lion

Heart of a Lion

Heart of a lion. Those are the words we want to hear from our doctors.
After all it's our hearts that we need more than any other organ to live healthy, happy lives.

Your heart beats about 100 000 times in one day.
35 million times in a year.
And a remarkable 2.5 billion times during an average lifespan.

If you have had or witnessed an echocardiogram ( heart ultrasound) you will have felt a deep sense of awe at this tireless, loyal little muscular organ always working and always beating to keep us in the game of life. It is truly a miracle.