In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of t ...View Article
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Health by Design Overview
Health by Design is our wellness program. The following is intended to be a brief introduction to the program. It is based on the idea that the design of our body is a very old design that showed up thousands of years ago in a time when our world and subsequent lifestyles were very different from what they are now. Our bodies were designed perfectly for that time and lifestyle but years later our world and subsequent lifestyles are very different and we are not built for the lifestyle most of us lead today. When I refer to lifestyle I mean basically 2 things: how we spend our time or our activity patterns and what we consume or our dietary habits.
Activity Patterns Our bodies are designed to be active not sedentary. We should be on out feet most of our waking hours not sitting behind a desk, P.C. or motor vehicle. So many of our systems and collectively our entire body rely on this upright posture moving around in a gravity environment for normal function and ultimately our overall health. Our organs literally "hang" in place for an upright top to bottom gravity assisted system. Our mouths are higher than our rear ends for a reason. The maintenance of normal posture requires the stimulation of neural pathways triggered by movement in gravity. Proper posture aids the rib cage and lugs in normal full inspiration/expiration and proper oxygenation/elimination of gases. These are just a few examples. The most important issue for being active is that our nervous systems are designed to be powered by the neural stimulation we get from movement in gravity. This neural stimulation is the electric "fuel" used to operate the entire nervous system. Without this stimulation it cannot function optimally and control all of our systems wee enough to maintain health.
Some symptoms of a nervous system not being stimulated properly include loss of normal upright posture, weak core muscle strength, neck pain, low back pain, increased rates of degenerative joint conditions and arthritis, poor balance, poor coordination, increased incidence of injury in athletes, low level of energy or feeling run down all the time, frequent illness, poor sleeping patterns, reduction in mental acuity, reduction in recall/memory, inability to concentrate/focus, reduced ability to handle stress to name just some of them.
Nutritional Patterns We are built to consume vegetation and animals that eat vegetation. In my opinion about ¾ vegetation and ¼ animal tissue. Also we should eat smaller more frequent meals. In ancient times we were hunter gatherers eating frequently in smaller portions. Our diets consisted mostly of plant matter we could gather and to a lesser degree the meat of animals we could catch/hunt. Our bodies have 2 important processes that occur with the metabolism of our food. One is the concept of our body being a fixed acid producer. This refers to the idea that all the metabolic activity that occurs with just being alive have by-products are acidic and must be buffered by our dietary intake. The primitive eating style produces a diet that is very basic and can buffer our acid production. The second is the idea that modern man has a problem with high levels of internal background inflammation. The primitive eating style is largely anti-inflammatory.
What are some of the symptoms/diseases produced by an acidic/inflammatory diet? Cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, virtually all painful conditions and anything that ends with "-itis" to name just a few.
The Problems Let's compare the typical day of ancient man vs. modern man. *We will assume 7 hours sleep for both to ease the comparison.
Ancient Man: *sleeps 7 hours
Sits to eat/rest 3 hours
Upright 14 hours hunting/gathering etc.
Modern Man: *sleeps 7 hours
2 hours in car/commute
9 hours seated at work
5 hours spent watching TV, at home P.C., etc.
1 hour spent getting from car to house etc.
Ancient man has 14 hours of activity compared to 1 hour for the modern man. Do you see the problem? If we are designed to be active then how can this lifestyle be in any way shape or form good for us?
Next we will compare the dietary patterns of ancient and modern man. We will assume the water intake and quality is equal for both.
Ancient Man: eats 5-7 times per day with 75% vegetation and 25% meat/fish
Overall effect is a basic/anti-inflammatory diet
Modern Man: eats 2-3 times per day
40% processed meat/fish
55% processed grain products (pasta, bread, cereal)
The overall effect here is one that is acidic/inflammatory resulting in
precursors of disease and ultimately disease.
1. Appropriate Activity Patterns - The easy answer to the problem of inactivity is more activity. For those of us who cannot quit our sedentary jobs and ditch our commutes there is a specific kind of exercise that provides the greatest stimulation to our nervous systems. It is exercise performed on an unstable surface such as a balance board, slant board, BOSU ball, balance ball or any number of other tools. This kind of training is collectively referred to as core training.
2. Appropriate Nutritional Patterns - The easy answer to the problem of an acidic/inflammatory diet is to consume things that are basic/anti-inflammatory. Unprocessed vegetation and animals that eat vegetation. Grains are not included in the vegetation category due to our inability to digest them unless they are processed. We are not made to consume them and they are very acidic/inflammatory. The next thing would be to use supplements to increase our intake anti-inflammatory items including a variety of health products to be discussed more later.
3. Self Care - Even if you do your best to follow the above recommendations you may need help to "undo" the damage you have already done to yourself. Most will need help to learn the appropriate exercises they need to perform, learn the dietary approach in more detail and require some "tuning up" of their body frame so that they may re-enter "the land of the active". Fare Chiropractic provides all this within our wellness program.