As fall approaches, it seems that everyone is in a state of preparation. We see it in nature, with birds preparing to fly south for the winter. We see it in our children, as we help them prepare for another year of school. We even prepare our lawns and gardens for the cold weather that will be here before we know it.
These months can be very busy and hectic. But while we are in this state of preparation, what could be better to prepare for than our health? Just as we get our homes and gardens ready to face the elements, we need to prepare our bodies for the same. With fall allergies and winter illnesses fast approaching, we need to equip our bodies with the proper tools necessary to fight them off and keep us feeling well.
So, how do you do that? Here are a few steps to follow—the “how”—in order to make sure your body is ready for the upcoming months.
Step 1: Get A Blood Test
If you can, have a blood test done or get your annual physical. With this information, you will be able to determine what course of action is needed in order to equip your body with the proper nutrients. There are four primary blood tests that I recommend:
- 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 test—to determine your level of vitamin D.
- ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) test—to determine the inflammatory activity within your body.
- Omega-6 to omega-3 ratio test—to determine that you have enough Omega 3’s (the anti-inflammatory omega).
- Lipid profile test—to determine your cholesterol levels.
By taking one (or all) of these blood tests, you will be able to determine what your body actually needs to improve the numbers, as opposed to playing a guessing game when supplementing.
Step 2: Monitor Your “No Foods”
As difficult as it may be, especially with the holidays approaching, learn to just say “No” to those unhealthy, inflammatory foods. These inflammatory foods (or “no” foods, as I call them) include the white food group (sugar and flour), and all processed foods such as store baked goods, boxed food, soda, chips and crackers. Excessive grains, even popular “whole grain” foods (which are good for fiber), need to be limited. Also, alcohol, dairy, and caffeine need to be limited. All these foods cause an inflammatory environment within our bodies, which we always want to avoid.
Step 3: Measure Your Waist
Believe it or not, measuring your waist is the number one indicator of your risk for developing lifestyle illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, to mention a few (it’s also the best way to monitor your risk). If your waist is greater than 40 inches in men, or 35 inches in women, you are at a higher risk for developing these illnesses. Therefore, to reduce your risk, exercise needs to be year round. If you are not in a regular exercise routine and are just starting, I recommend 15 minutes of exercise, 7 days a week. If you’ve already been doing some exercising, 30-40 minutes of working out 4-5 times per week is ideal. The reason we work out is not only to lose weight, but also to increase our muscle mass, which can lead to a host of benefits for our body.
Step 4: Stay Tuned for Part 2
If you don’t understand the reasons behind these steps, it’s ok. For now, we’ve just given you the “how”. In part two of our post, we will give you the “why” and explain the benefits of following these steps. Remember, the goal is to prepare your body for health, so stay motivated and check back with us soon!