Tuesday, June 13, 2006

4: Your physical body--stuff to add

I wish I could tell you to take a particular supplement or one of the panaceas that are promoted in multi-level marketing schemes--and then your body would start rejuvenating itself and your chronic complaints would disappear.

But I can't--not if I want to be fair to you and your pocketbook.

The obvious things to add--that won't cost you anything--are nutrition, exercise and rest. Let's look at these one at a time.

There is an acronym SAD; it stands for Standard American Diet. You deserve better than a SAD diet.

Buy a book called Eat Right 4 Your Type. The idea behind this diet is that you should slightly adjust your diet based on your blood type. We've found that, since people are so different, diet needs to be customized for each person. I don't believe that there is a diet that works for everyone. So I say, start with the diet for your blood type then customize it carefully. Let's say that the diet for your blood type says that you shouldn't eat tomatoes. But you love tomatoes! Wait until your fairly hungry, then eat a whole tomato. See how you feel. If you feel dull afterwards then maybe tomatoes aren't really for you. If you feel energized and ready to clean the garage then tomatoes are probably OK for you. Learn to sense your body's reaction to foods. The key is eating one thing at a time so that you can focus. At an ordinary meal we eat too many things to determine what made us feel dull or energized.

That's all I'm going to say about diet today. I'll write more tomorrow when I discuss what to leave out of your diet!

Get balanced exercize. Walking and swimming are balanced--you do the same stuff with the right side of your body that you do with your left. Golf and bowling are good exercize but they're not balanced; you twist your body counterclockwise if you're right-handed; you never twist clockwise. Tai Chi is perfect exercise that you can do alone or in groups. So it can become a pleasant social experience also. Doing exercise in groups has a spiritual dimension as well as a physical dimension. You're also more likely to be regular if you're in a group.

Exercize also improves your energy body which I'll talk about in a future blog.

Think about how our ancestors might have lived 30,000 years ago as hunter gatherers. Think of all the physical exercize, the walking, stooping and lifting. Your body hasn't changed one bit from the bodies of those ancestors. But we have more comfortable things to sit on. For your health's sake, move your body and avoid sitting. When you sit, don't use the back rest. Most chairs don't support your back properly and create spinal problems. So sit as if you're sitting on a rock with your back erect and a nice curve in your lower back--curving in toward your belly button, not backwards.

A lot could be said about exercise but some of it would probably not be true for you. You have an individual body--with a certain age, a unique history of gains and losses, operations and illnesses. What ever your situation, do more than you're doing now, start off slowly and gradually increase your ability, strength and range of motion.


It used to be (going back just 100 years or so) that life was seasonal. There was activity in the some parts of the year during planting and harvesting, and periods of rest after harvest or during a growing season. Today we go all the time, some of us working multiple jobs to earn enough money. What I'm afraid of is that you're using caffeine instead of rest. Coffee and cola makes it feel like you can keep going--so you do. What would be better is to close your eyes for a few minutes and meditate. What I see is people developing habits in their twenties that really don't work in their 40s and 50s. You can keep up the pace using caffeine but you're seriously taxing your body.

I hear different things about sleep. There's expensive beds that supposedly give you a better night's rest. They probably do help. If you can afford them fine, but if you can't then learn to control your sleep. You're probably eating too late. Personally I stop eating at 5PM and go to bed at 10PM after doing yoga and Tai Chi. I stop drinking at 8PM. So by 10PM there's not much digesting to keep me awake. Nor do I have acid reflux. I don't get hungry until 7 or 8am because my body is used to this pattern. So I'm truly fasting for 14 to 15 hours per day.

I realize that you might not get home until 6 or 7PM and have to fix dinner for the family so you might still be eating at 8PM. You could stay up later but you may have to drop off the kids in the morning and rush to the office. So you don't have the flexibility that I do. I understand.

Think about the principle of allowing your body to rest during the night by reducing as much as possible the digestion that is occurring. For instance, eat your heaviest, protein-based meal at noon, then have a salad in the evening. Avoid sugary fruits in the evening because it will increase your metabolism and make you hungry in the night. Experiment with what works for you but set a goal of sleep without digestion activity.

I think I'm done for today. We'll talk more on these topics later.

Take a deep breath,