Now that our resolve for our New Year’s resolutions have come and gone. I thought I’d once again crack open the book that I was reading at the time. In 2009 Patrick Holford, a leading nutrition expert, wroteThe 10 Secrets of 100% Healthy People based on his analysis of the UK’s largest health and diet survey of more than 55,000 people. Holford’s practical guide has ten “to-dos” if you want to become healthy like the healthiest people in the survey. It’s neat and enlightening. Today, I’m presenting five of the ten in a different order than the book.
1. Get Your Past Out Of Your Present – Let Go And Learn From The Past
I interpreted this as, among other things, finding out how you feel today about what happened yesterday. Holford offers up some exercises to achieve this, but I think his explanation is just as important:
“Only recently, through developments in neuroscience, can we measure emotion to any extent, and see its effects on both mental and physical health. It is becoming increasingly clear that no thought occurs without an emotion, and that emotions, positive or negative, have a massive effect on our health and the way our bodies operate. The whole basis of our memory, which is how we hold the story of our lives, depends on emotion. Emotions are the basis of the subtlety of human relationships, and relationships are as important to us as water is to fish…
Positive emotions, such as love and joy, and the ability to resolve negative emotions is the ninth secret of being 100 percent healthy.
Our task, as healthy adults, is to flush out and let go of the emotional patterns from the past that mess up our lives and no longer serve us. As Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, often said, ‘The only way out is through.’ It’s not easy, and the vast majority of people deny the symptoms or anesthetise themselves through work, TV, food alcohol or some kind of drug. By discharging negative emotions attached to past memories we become more able to respond spontaneously in any given moment, allowing us to be more present in our relationships and to the gifts of the world around us.”
2. Finding Your Purpose – Becoming Clear On The Bigger Picture.
Holford emphasizes that we all need a purpose in life and for most of us it’s serving others. Holford uses the example of meditating monks to connect to a higher purpose and stay focused on your goal:
“The Dalai Lama‘s religion, as such, is simply kindness. The practice of being kind to yourself, and to others – both those you like and those you don’t – is another way to connect to spirit. The Buddhists have a simple meditation called the ‘loving kindness meditation’ to awaken the sense of connection to others. This is what was put to the test in the research at the University of Wisconsin. Its purpose is to awaken the feeling of compassion and kindness towards yourself, towards those you know well, to people you don’t like, and even to a stranger…
As the research on meditating monks shows, we can literally hardwire our brains for connection and compassion. Your thoughts make your mind, while your food makes your body. By becoming the master of your thoughts and feelings, and eating good food, we literally become hardwired for health and happiness.”
Perhaps our ideas of kindness differ but meditation seems to help no matter what.
3. Get Connected – How To Sharpen Your Mind, Improve Your Mood And Keep Your Body’s Chemistry In Tune.
Holford says Eat your lentils! and more:
“The most critical biological process that helps achieve this is called methylation. By adding or subtracting tiny molecules, called methyl groups, your body can fine-tune your chemistry to help keep you feeling good. There are an estimated one billion of these methylation reactions every couple of seconds…
It takes 30 days to experience a noticeable effect on your mood, memory and motivation as a result of improving your methyl IQ…
Here’s what to do: Have a serving of beans, lentils, nuts and seeds every day. Have two servings of green vegetables every day…Exercise, but don’t over exercise. Supplement a multivitamin every day containing at least 20mg of vitamin B6, 200mcg of folic acid and 10mcg of B12…
Test your homocysteine level.”
Your local pharmacy may carry a H-level tester. Holford also says that your H-level is the best predictor of developing dementia and a better predictor of heart disease and strokes than your cholesterol level.
4. Perfect Your Digestion – Discover Your Best And Worst Foods.
Holford says it best:
“Literally every molecule in your body comes from what you put into your mouth, so it’s not so much as case of what you eat but what you digest and absorb. With the exception of oxygen, all the nutrients your body needs are delivered through your digestive tract…
Our ‘inside skin’ — a 9m (30 ft) long tract with a surface area the size of a tennis court — is only a quarter of the thickness of a sheet of paper and is easily damaged by the wrong foods or drinks. Amazingly, most of the billions of cells that make up this barrier between us and the inside world are renewed every four days.”
The book has questionnaires and a 30-day action plan to help you discover which foods are best for you.
5. Balance Your Blood Sugar – The Key To GainingEnergy And Losing Weight.
Holford uses the analogy of controlling your blood sugar as to controlling carbon dioxide emissions. How very Electric Eclectic of him! (Even though he published his book before I started writing this blog):
“Much like cutting carbon emissions in the environment, you need to cut your intake of high sugar, refined and deep-fried foods, as well as excess stimulant drinks and alcohol – also, you need to increase your level of exercise and reduce your stress…A low glycemic load (GL) diet is the perfect diet for the 21st century, both preventing and reversing the symptoms and diseases associated with metabolic syndrome…Eat 40 GLs to lose weight, 60 to maintain it.”
According to his chart, 66 grams (2.3 oz) of cooked white rice or 78 grams of pasta has a GL of 10. This is the same GL number for a small banana, 20 raisins, one sweet potato, or ten French fries.