Poor sleep, poor nutrition, stress, and inadequate exercise are common in the medical community among hospital workers. I have carved out a commitment to personal health and wellness during my training and practice years. I always felt I could not represent myself to patients and the community as a health expert if I was not committed to the effort myself. I list some observations and tips that may assist you in maintaining your health.
1. Nutrition: Jack LaLanne, the exercise guru, was fond of saying that “Fitness was the King, Nutrition the Queen, and if you put them together you have a Kingdom”. While I agree with him, I believe nutrition is the first order of personal health business. While there are many areas of disagreement in nutrition there are common themes that a practitioner of medicine should embrace. These include 6-10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily. I prefer organic products as the toxicity of modern farming is so high and the consequences of fat storage of pesticides and herbicides so profound that I would not take the risk.
Easy ways to achieve this many servings is to prepare a 5 minute smoothie at home on leaving for work with dark berries (often called brain berries for their beneficial effect on memory) from the freezer, “green” powders that have vegetable grasses, spirulina, chlorella and other protein sources such as rice and pea protein powders, some kale or spinach, and some fresh orange juice or rice/almond/oat milk. Lunch should always include a salad, vegetable soup and a piece of washed organic fruit. Dinner again should incorporate vegetables known to promote health and reduce cancer risk such as the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower). Spices are important with turmeric, cumin, sage, ginger, garlic, and hot peppers all having established medical benefits.
At all costs trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup should be banished. Alcohol and caffeine should be moderated. Green tea should be the stable drink. The health benefits of green tea and its active catechins including EGCG on inflammation and oxidative stress leading to lower blood pressure and cholesterol are benefits to be enjoyed. Avoid all artificial sweeteners and all soda drinks. Stevia, a plant based sweetener, may be a safe choice and is what I use.
I have chosen a plant based food selection based on the work of Drs. Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Furhman, Neal Barnard and others. Animal products if chosen should be moderated in quantity and insist on quality and lean cuts. Avoid cured meats such as hot dogs, sausage and bacon at all costs as the association with rectal cancer is strong. Generally good quality fish can be incorporated into the diet but large fish such as shark and mackerel may be high in mercury and frequent sushi eating can lead to high mercury levels in the body and consequent blood pressure and neurologic symptoms. Drink a lot of water. I would recommend a complete home reverse osmosis water filtration system to limit the toxicities including fluoride present when we drink or bath in city water.