Eat right, Drink right, Move right, Sleep right, Poop right, Think right, Talk right.
In conjunction with Clean Health Fitness Institute, we invited Dr Robert Rakowski from Houston, Texas to deliver a 3-day Functional Nutrition Course here in Melbourne.
Dr Rob uses natural and lifestyle medicine to treat people ranging from elite performance athletes, to patients with conditions like cancer and autoimmune diseases.
According to him, in order to have health, you must first earn it. And it starts with these 7 areas in our everyday life.
The first 5 are pretty straightforward, as I’m sure most of us are pretty familiar with them:
There’s the common saying, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
The “not too much” applies whether you’re trying to lose weight, or just want to be healthy. In fact, it has been shown that moderate caloric restriction prolongs our life-span!
Since your body is made up of 70% water, it makes sense that it’s important to stay hydrated. But the sad fact is that people are getting too many calories from fluids like coke, fruit juice, soft drinks…
The human body was designed to move often to hunt, gather and pluck out food. While you’re not expected to climb trees or chase after your next meal (rabbit, anyone?), we can all benefit from physical activity, regardless of age, gender of physical ability.
You’ve probably heard of melatonin – the ‘sleep hormone’ that helps you wind down and relax. But it might surprise you that there’s about 400 times more melatonin produced in the gut than in the brain! This sleep-gut connection highlights the importance of eating smart to sleep better. And as we all know, sleep is important for the body to rest, recover, and get stronger.
It’s necessary to go to the toilet at least once a day. Some recommendations even go up to 5 cups a day. (I’m sure you’ll never look at a measuring cup the same way again…)
There’s even a Bristol Stool Chart to help you analyze your poo!
The remaining 2 principles are less heard of:
Humans are unique due to our cognitive abilities. We are the only species to have developed a large prefrontal cortex that allows us to analyse and evaluate. As such, our brains are the most energy- and nutrient-dependent organ, but also the most vulnerable to toxins.
Our brains are the master controller of our bodily functions, whether consciously (through the prefrontal cortex) or subconsciously (through the hypothalamus).
The conscious control that the brain has over our actions has been an evolutionary advantage for our survival. In fact, our central nervous system and immune system are embryologically derived from the same cells. And if you think about it carefully, both systems have much the same role – the central nervous system helps monitors the external environment and elicits and appropriate response, while the immune system monitors our internal environment and elicits and appropriate immune response.
On the other hand, as an example of the brain’s subconscious control, there are neuropeptides like neuropeptide Y, and agouti-related protein (AGRP) that influence satiety signals in your brain, and have powerful roles in regulating your eating patterns.
This is not about how your words (and actions) are affected by your thoughts, and how important it is to think positively.
This is about the endocrine signals within your body, i.e. the cellular signalling that gets your cells ‘talking’ to one another, which mostly happens through circulating hormones and receptors, which are mostly found on your cell membranes. There are 2 important factors to consider:
- Our cell membranes contain large proportions of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, but most of us are deficient in them.
- The normal pH of our bodies is slightly alkaline (~pH7.35), which is the optimum pH for enzymatic activity and signalling within our body. But many people have too much acid in their body. In fact, symptoms like joint and muscle pains, chronic fatigue, dry skin… they can all be signs of an acidic body!
As you can see, the Magnificent Seven to optimal health are in fact very ordinary things in our everyday lives. As the saying goes, “Greatness is doable. Greatness is many, many individual feats, and each of them is doable”.