7 questions about health you need to ask now

Are you “living life to the fullness” and if not, why not? What could you change to make that happen?

What does “health” mean to you?

Let’s continue exploring the heart of health by looking at a couple of interesting books. In another post we considered this definition:

“a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

World Health Organization
2 bandaids crossed on a world globe
photo from the Lightstock collection (affiliate link)

Or you could also say

“There’s a Lot More to Health than Not Being Sick”

There's a Lot More to Health than Not Being Sick by Bruce Larson

So, what is “a lot more”? 

I’m introducing you to two medical writers who believe  health is multifaceted and not centered around the presence or absence of disease.

Health- flux and adaptation

(Note: this post uses affiliate links to sites where you might make a purchase which will help fund this blog; your help is appreciated. )

book cover- The LUCKY YEARS by David B. Agus, M.D.

Enjoying life to the fullest

Despite the author’s  impressive credentials, I was skeptical about a health book called “The Lucky Years”, as if health is just a matter of the luck of the draw or throw of the dice.  

The author is David B. Agus, M.D. , Professor of Medicine and Engineering at the University of Southern California , , author of two bestselling books and a CBS News contributor.

In The Lucky Years- How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health Dr. Agus covers some hefty topics including

  • how the human body ages
  • Innovative cancer treatments with immunotherapy , DNA sequencing, and molecular targeting
  • The use of clinical trials to study new treatments for cancer and other diseases
  • How cancers metastasize (spread)
  • Potential uses for stem cells
  • New insights into the development of antibiotic resistance
  • Proteomics- study of the body’s proteins
  • The relationship of antibodies to common viruses to onset of chronic diseases

Rather than highly technical detail he offers a broad overview of these new technologies and how they may help treat and potentially prevent the main causes of death, that is cancer and chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

He recommends patients understand and use technology to maintain and improve their health and not rely solely on their doctor to do so and to actively participate in the healthcare system.

He believes that health data will be used to prevent, detect and treat disease and to prolong life.

Large quantities of such data, organized in a secure database, will help us predict risk and recommend preventive measures, such as already done with

  • Colonoscopy to prevent deaths from colon cancer
  • Aspirin and statin use to prevent cardiac deaths
  • Management of low grade cancers conservatively, avoiding the use of surgery or chemotherapy

The body is an incredible self-regulating machine. You don’t need to do much to support its health and optimal wellness.”

Health is in perpetual flux. 

I agree with Dr. Agus’ views on what health is, or rather what it is not.

“I don’t know what true health is, particularly on an individual basis.

For person A, health can be living totally free of illness and disability.

For person B, however, perhaps health means managing a condition well and enjoying life to the fullest despite some disability.

While we can certainly try to measure health in a variety of ways- weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, blood cell count, hormone levels, markers of inflammation, how you look, and how well you sleep, for example- none of those figures or generalizations will tell the whole picture.

And they won’t reveal how many years and days you might have left on this planet.”

He offers this advice –

“I encourage you to view your total health as a complex network of processes that cannot be explained by looking at any one pathway or focal point. Health is in perpetual flux.

book cover- FAST METABOLISM FOOD RX BY HAYLIE POMROY

A constant state of healthy adaptation

Nutritionist Hailey Pomroy, author of Fast Metabolism Food Rx, recommends using food as “metabolic medicine.”  

“Food integrates with your body to create health in a powerful way.”

She explains health using a formula E + M = H which means

Eating, Exercise, Environment  plus

Metabolism, Metabolic pathways, Me  equals

Health, Homeostasis, Harmony

In this formula, E stands for everything we put into our bodies as well as everything around us, including people, your job, the weather.

M is what is inside of you, including your genetic makeup, and what happens when your body processes (or metabolizes) food, nutrients, toxins, medications.

“Health doesn’t always mean you are disease free, It means your body has created a homeostasis or internal balance, …is a constant state of healthy adaptation or flux.”

So, what does HEALTH mean to you?

Considering their advice, think about what health means to you.

Use these questions to get started.

  1. Do you use any type of technology to manage your health and medical care? If so, is it helpful, or just more busy work?
  2. What is your relationship with your personal physician? Do you rely on your doctor to tell you what you should do, or recommend what you should do to stay healthy and treat ailments?
  3. Do you know what  medical conditions you are at risk for, and what you can  do to prevent them?
  4. What health measures are important to you, like blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, BMI, mammogram, and why?
  5. Are you “living life to the fullne” and if not, why not? What could you change to make that happen?
  6. How do you use food?
  7. What factors make up your E and your M? Do they add up to the Health that you want to create?

exploring the HEART of health

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Here are some affiliate links you may find helpful. Thanks for considering and using, which helps me fund this blog’s mission-to share the HEART of health.

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How to use watercress and other greens-and why you should

Greens are a superfood because they are so nutritious, are inexpensive to grow, and come in many varieties with a broad diversity of flavors and textures.

Despite the name, this blog isn’t about watercress, but is like watercress-unique, peppery, bright and nutritious. And as a physician blogger, I want to know more about the health benefits (and possible dangers) from watercress.

So while searching for information about watercress, I found an intriguing book,

the book of greens-a cook’s compendium

More specifically, it is

“A cook’s compendium of 40 varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with more than 175 recipes” from the title page

The authors

Jenn Louis has competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs,” and has earned two nominations for the James Beard Foundation Award of Best Chef: Northwest. Her debut cookbook, Pasta By Hand published in 2015, was nominated for an IACP from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and this, her second book, debuted in April 2017 and won an IACP award. The book was also nominated for a James Beard Award.

She has owned and operated three restaurants and a catering business in Portland, Oregon. Jenn is actively involved with nonprofits including World Central Kitchen, Alex’s Lemonade and Share Our Strength.

Kathleen Squires is a food and travel writer from New York City. She has coauthored The Coolhaus Ice Cream Book, The Quick Six Fix, and The Journey, which won an IACP award.

Why write about greens?

The Book of Greens is about 40 different varieties of greens; some you probably already know and use-

  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • lettuces
  • spinach

Others are less known and used, at least to me-

  • agretti
  • chickweed
  • mache
  • mizuna
  • seaweed
  • succulents
  • wild and foraged greens
Greens are a superfood because they are so nutritious, are inexpensive to grow, and come in many varieties with a broad diversity of flavors and textures. Jenn Louis

green leafy vegetables
image from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, stock photo site, an affiliate link

What’s in The Book of Greens?

This book is a cookbook, not a textbook on greens, so it features recipes, some simple, some complicated, but all incorporating some variety of greens. She starts by covering some cooking basics as it applies to greens-

  • How to buy greens-fresh, in small quantities
  • How to prepare-clean and handle them gently
  • How to cook-which methods work best for each variety
  • Storage of greens
  • Tools to use in prep and cooking
  • Notes on common ingredients used in cooking greens-oils, spices, salts, stocks, vinegars
  • Seasons-when to buy

Watercress basics –Nasturtium officinale

an ultrapeppery, strong-stemmed green, one of the oldest documented greens, dating back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia page 271
  • most often used in salads and sandwiches, and pureed as a soup
  • used in sandwiches for British afternoon tea
  • prescribed by Hippocrates (an ancient Greece physician, considered the father of medicine)
  • used by Captain Cook’s crew to prevent scurvy

This last point was likely due to its Vitamin C content; a deficiency causes the disease scurvy. It also is rich in other vitamins- A, B, E, K, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. Some experts call it the most nutrient-rich vegetable.

How to use watercress

Watercress grows in the spring and fall in North America. She calls it a tender green which can be eaten raw or cooked. Best cooking methods are

  • lightly sauteed
  • wilted in soups
  • quickly steamed
  • quickly stir-fried over very high heat

Watercress recipes in this book

  • Chicken and pork belly paella with watercress
  • Slow-roasted pork tonnato with watercress and tomatoes
  • Watercress soup with creme fraiche and za’atar

Wild watercress-Nasturtium microphyllium

This watercress relative grows wild, rather than cultivated. It has a “more intense peppery and piquant flavor.” It grows in any watery terraine-streams, lakes, ponds. (Edible wild greens must be chosen carefully, so as not to confuse them with poisonous plants.)

In addition to the authors, the photographer, Ed Anderson, deserves special recognition. His photos of the greens and the finished recipes make this a “coffee table book”, even if you never try a single recipe.

Also by Jenn louis, pasta by hand

Other posts on this blog about watercress

powerhouse vegetables

“A 2014 research study tried to determine exactly which fruits and vegetables were most likely to keep us healthy.

They defined  “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” as those  highest in nutrients, specifically the minerals potassium, calcium, iron and zinc and vitamins A,B,C, D, E and K. ” continue reading at the link above

exploring the HEART of healthy cooking

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

These are affiliate links that you may find helpful and which help fund this blog and it’s mission to share the HEART of health around the world.

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7 health habits that will make your life more satisfying

Sometimes what we need to simplify is our life, our daily habits. Do you ever feel you’ve been busy all day, and didn’t accomplish anything you really wanted to do? Maybe decluttering, simplifying, and changing our priorities will create a more satisfying -and healthier- life

Do you ever feel you have too much stuff ? Do you spend more time than you want dealing with clutter? Do you organize only to find you still don’t have enough room for your belongings?

If so, maybe you need to discard stuff, not organize it better. This process goes by different names- decluttering, simplifying, minimalism- with a goal of less stress, more peace, and more time to enjoy activities that truly give us pleasure and satisfaction.

Sometimes what we need to simplify is our life, our daily habits. Do you ever feel you’ve been busy all day, and didn’t accomplish anything you really wanted to do? Maybe decluttering, simplifying, and changing our priorities will create a more satisfying -and healthier- life.

Here are some habits that we often neglect and fail to prioritize, but medical science now recognize as vital to optimal health and well being. I’ve illustrated each with a link to an affiliate service or product that you might find helpful (and through which you can help support this blog), but feel free to develop your own ideas on how you can make these a consisent part of your life.

sleep

SLEEP– Too many of us treat sleep like a luxury or a waste of time rather than as the necessity that it is. Some of us need more quality sleep; many people are chronically tired due to undiagnosed sleep disorders  such as obstructive sleep apnea which aren’t recognized without medical evaluation.

Natural Bedding

eating

FOOD– We need  to eat more nutritious food- a whole food, plant based diet with fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, dairy- anything that isn’t processed or full of unnecessary sugar or excessive fat.

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connection

CONNECTION– We need to spend more time with our family and friends, keeping in touch physically and emotionally. Parents and children connect when they read together. Family vacations create connection through shared activities and memories.

Free Baby Board Books!

giving

GIVING– We need to cultivate generosity and give more, whether it’s of our money, time, talent or possessions. Every community offers ample opportunities to volunteer and serve others.

physical activity

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY– We need to move more often , including sports, exercise, chores, walking, even just standing up more than we sit. Here are guidelines recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

mental activity

MENTAL ACTIVITY– We can read, learn new skills or improve established ones,  start or resume a hobby like photography, learn another language, maybe start a blog.

Digital Photography School Resources

conversation

CONVERSATION– We need communication with other people often and authentically. Social media, phone calls, text and email messages substitute when necessary, but they shouldn’t replace face to face time with others. Book clubs, hobby groups, classes, church groups provide safe places to share ideas and learn from others.

2 women talking over coffee with open bibles
Conversation over coffee can be therapeutic. graphic from the Lightstock collection of stock photos, graphics, and other media, an affiliate link

I am indebted to another physician blogger Vania Manipod, D.O. a psychiatrist who believes “it’s stylish to talk about mental health.” A post she wrote in 2015 addressed these ideas and prompted me to explore them in a previous post here.

Please take time to read Dr. Manipod’s post and others on her blog-

“New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Enhance Your Mental Health”

exploring the HEART of healthy habits

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

 

                              Dr. Aletha 

This website is owned and operated by Aletha Oglesby, an Arbonne Independent Consultant, and is not endorsed by Arbonne. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by and the responsibility of the Independent Consultant and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of Arbonne.
Arbonne makes no promises or guarantees that any Independent Consultant will be financially successful, as each Independent Consultant’s results are dependent on their own skill and effort.
You should not rely on the results of other Arbonne Independent Consultants as an indication of what you should expect to earn. The annual typical earning statement is contained in the Arbonne Independent Consultant Compensation Summary (ICCS) available iccs.arbonne.com.

Health blogs you should read- blogs by docs (part 1)

These blogs open a window into the medical community. You may be surprised that physicians have the same concerns about health and medical care as you , and some that you are unaware of. Most importantly, you will find they are on your side; they care about you,their patients, probably a lot more than you care about them.

Why read Health, Fitness, and Medical blogs

Since I started blogging I have reviewed many health, fitness and wellness blogs. I find most of them interesting and/or entertaining. I find a few of them informative, stimulating ,and valuable.

  • health bloggers who write about their personal experience dealing with a particular medical condition, which I think can be powerful and helpful.
  • bloggers who discuss and promote a particular lifestyle or product that they believe has value to health and/or fitness.
  • blogs written by people with training and experience in some aspect of medical care, wellness, fitness and/or nutrition (all of which I define broadly)

I think all of these blogs have a place and all seem to have their audience. One of the first things I check when I read a blog is the “about” section, or its equivalent. I want to know who writes the blog and what their credentials are. Anyone who writes a blog about a particular topic should clearly and accurately state their credentials for that topic, or lack of, if that’s the case. (I state my credentials on the page “Meet Dr. Aletha”)

Health blogs worth reading

In this blog series, I tell you about health blogs that I think are worth reading. Most of them are written by physicians, medical scientists, other health professionals and affiliated professionals. Persons who spend the majority, if not all, of their adult life studying and pursuing a discipline, likely know that subject well.

I recommend these health blogs because they

  • offer valid medical information on a variety of topics.
  • offer sound advice without quick fixes.
  • discuss common everyday health concerns
  • discuss the healthcare system, how it works well and how it doesn’t.
  • offer insights on healthy living, both as individuals, families and a society.
  • show you how physicians think , feel and act , both as persons and professionals
  • will educate and challenge you.

These blogs open a window into the medical community.  You may be surprised that physicians have the same concerns about health and medical care as you , and some that you are unaware of. Most importantly, you will find they are on your side; they care about you,their patients,  probably a lot more than you care about them.

These bloggers’ viewpoints often surprise and challenge me; I don’t always agree with them and you may not either.  By recommending them, I don’t endorse their opinions, nor do I benefit financially.  

“Alert and Oriented”

the progress notes of Michel Accad, M.D.

(Doctors write progress notes  in the charts of hospitalized patients to document medical treatment and response each day)

Dr. Accad is a cardiologist and internist in solo private practice and teaches at the University of California San Francisco.

” ‘Alert and Oriented’ is a medical phrase that describes the mental status of a patient who, despite being in serious shock from trauma or disease, maintains clarity of mind and focus of thought.

EKG tracing of heart activity on a cardiac monitor.
Based on the heart rhythm, this patient is likely alert and oriented.

Sadly, the medical community enmeshed in today’s health care system is like a patient in acute shock. The only chance to survive is to remain alert and oriented.” (quote from the blog introduction)

Dr. Accad blogs about the healthcare system, the doctor-patient relationship, medical ethics, medical economics, and health care policy.

In this post he explains the

evolution of the food pyramid to the healthy plate nutrition recommendation.

healthy plate of vegetables , pita bread and hummus

In another interesting post, he explains

why mammograms may be over diagnosing breast cancer.

Breast cancer screening and treatment: One size doesn't fit all. bras hanging on a clothes line

The Accad and Koka Report podcast

Dr. Accad has joined Anish Koka, M.D. in a weekly medical podcast, The Accad & Koka Report. In their own words,

We discuss current topics in medical science, policy, economics, and ethics, always with an eye toward safeguarding the doctor-patient relationship .

Their conversations are aimed more at physicians than patients, but if you want to know what some physicians really think about the U.S. healthcare system, you might find out here. Here is an episode anyone might find interesting-what happened when a 90 year old patient of Dr. Koka was told

“You’ll be dead in a year”- A Patient’s Journey though the Healthcare System

exploring the HEART of health

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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