Category Archives: Lifestyle

Why do the Amish rarely get cancer?

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The Amish way of life isn’t in any way modern. But when it comes to health and longevity, studies show that the Amish may be up to something very modern indeed.

A study published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control found very few instances of cancer among the Amish population of Holmes County, Ohio. Out of 26 000 individuals, only 191 cancer cases were identified between the years 1996 and 2003 (1).

The researchers were surprised to find such low rates of cancer. In fact, they theorized that the Amish would have higher instances of cancer because of their small gene pool, which should have increased the incidence of cancer-related gene mutations. Instead, this small gene pool, combined with a few lifestyle factors, may be responsible for their low cancer rates.

The secret to Amish health lies in their restrictive lifestyle. As you probably know, the Amish are a conservative Christian group that shuns conveniences of the modern world because they believe that modern technology negatively impacts humility, family, community, and faith.

While most Amish communities shun modern society as a whole, others are more open minded and may embrace technology as long as it doesn’t disrupt family and community stability.

1. They Lead A Humble Life
Amish families rely on hard labour to survive. In fact, Amish children quickly learn how to build homes and furniture as well as how to tend to the land. This constant exercise maintains their cardiovascular health and keeps their organs and tissues fueled with essential nutrients and oxygen. The Amish also don’t smoke or drink, aren’t sexually promiscuous, and keep their skin covered from the harsh sun. These habits reduce their risk of developing certain cancers.

2. They Make Everything At Home
Since Amish people shun modern conveniences, they don’t use the chemical-laden products popular in American homes, such as dishwasher soap, deodorant, fragrance plug-ins and toxic cleaning products. Amish people also aren’t exposed to cancer-causing EMFs in their daily life because they simply don’t own any appliances or electronics.

3. They Eat Organic Whole Food
Most Amish communities grow their own organic food and use heirloom seeds, which tend to be more biological compatible with the human body than GMO seeds. These communities don’t rely on herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizer and their meat and dairy products don’t contain any hormones or antibiotics.

4. They Believe In Modern (alternative) Medicine
Amish people experience fewer medical interventions throughout their lifetime than other Americans. When they do have a medical problem, most Amish families rely on natural remedies to get their health back on track. Some turn to traditional medicine, but many prefer reflexologists and chiropractors to conventional doctors. This approach limits their exposure to liver-damaging pharmaceuticals and the potentially devastating side-effects of conventional drugs.

The Amish people seem to have it right when it comes to living a carcinogen-free life. While joining them completely may be a bit of a stretch, it’s worth looking into following a more natural lifestyle to ensure better long-term health.

Read full article… 

Obesity in America is on the rise; what can we do?

We’ve been talking about weight and gut health, so let’s stay on that theme for one more post, with excerpts from a recent article by Fooducate.

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association presents stark figures regarding America’s obesity challenges. Despite heightened awareness in the last few decades, overweight and obesity rates are still increasing.

Data for over 15,000 adults aged 25 was reviewed. Since the early nineties, the percentage of overweight and obese men rose from 63 to 75 percent. The percent of overweight and obese women grew from 55 to 67 percent.

This means that 7 out of 10 adults need to lose weight, right now. While more men need to lose weight, women need to lose more weight. There are currently 68 million men that are overweight and obese compared to “only” 64.8 million women. However, 35.9 million women are obese vs. 31.8 million men.

If you are part of those statistics, don’t get discouraged. You can change your immediate environment to decrease your chance of falling to temptation:

1. Always have a bottle of water at hand so that you won’t be tempted to gulp soft drinks

2. Go to the supermarket after you have eaten, and stick to your shopping list

3. Buy less snacks at the grocery store. This means less temptation at home

4. Have fruits and veggies pre-washed, ready to eat on the countertop and in the fridge

Read full article…     More posts on Weight Loss…  We have a 30 day Jump Start program to put you on the right track to a new, healthy lifestyle (NOT a diet!) It’s called Transform30 … here’s the creator of the program, biochemist Dr. Mitra Ray:

Workplace Wellness

Today’s is a guest post by Chandler Stevens.

There’s More To It Than Spin Class

The Data Are Clear

In this day and age you simply can’t do without a workplace wellness program in your business, large or small.

A healthy team is a productive—and economical—team. Conservative estimates place the ROI on wellness programs at just shy of $3 per dollar spent. Some programs bring up to 600% return on dollars spent. The benefits extend far beyond the financial. Healthy people are happy people, and a strong wellness program in the workplace can boost morale and keep your team motivated.

Workplace wellness is a no-brainer. This is your team, your tribe. It pays to treat them well. We all know that golden rule, right?

The Basics

If you have yet to implement in your business, you may be wondering: what goes into an effective wellness program? The most common components are:

-preliminary screening to identify risks

-interventions to address the screens

-promotional activities to facilitate healthy decisions

Most programs these days also add in group fitness or reduced-rate personal training for employees. Not rocket science, right? We simply test & retest, adjusting course as needed. Yet if it were this easy, every company would be implementing this on some level, right? What’s holding us back? By and large it has to do with…

Motivation

Many employers feel that despite the mountains of evidence, their business will be the ONE exception to tremendous returns. I understand. The most common fear is that employees simply won’t take advantage of the program’s benefits. I’d posit that this is more a matter of how we motivate (or fail to motivate) our team. The motivation to engage in these programs can’t be based on carrots and sticks (I encourage every leader to read more on the subject here). Motivation to participate must be internal. Our role as facilitators is to tap into this internal motivation, demonstrating wellness as way to grow as individuals and an organization.

Next Steps

If your group has no program in place, what are you waiting for! Go out, get healthy, and grow as a team. If you have one, evaluate its efficacy. Test, retest, and stay hungry for improvement.

Chandler Stevens MCT, FMS is passionate about the transformative power of movement: physically, emotionally, and socially. 

He works with private clients and organizations, helping them move better, get stronger, and be better humans.

Find him online at www.chandlerstevens.com

“Vitamin L” Is The Best Way To Prevent Aging

Excellent article by Dr. Joel Kahn.

A new vitamin, superfood, pose, exercise equipment, or workout that promises to restore our vitality and youth. In my opinion, we’re unlikely to find a single breakthrough that will dramatically alter the odds that we live free of chronic diseases and medications and perform at our maximum.

Rather, it is a multifaceted lifestyle supported by a number of large medical studies that holds the “magic” bullet. Vitamin L, or “Lifestyle,” is the special sauce we need, and it accounts for about 80% of our health promotion. Reviewing a few of the foundational research studies will acquaint you with best practices for a healthy life full of joy.

1. In 2001, the Harvard School of Public Health reported on a study of 84,941 healthy female nurses that were free of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

A low-risk lifestyle was defined as a body mass index of less than 25, a diet high in fiber and polyunsaturated fat while low in trans fat and glycemic load, regular moderate to vigorous exercise (at least 30 minutes a day), no smoking, and drinking at least half an alcoholic drink daily.

During follow-up, 3,300 women were diagnosed with diabetes. The single most important predictor of this was being overweight or obese. Only 3.4% of the almost 85,000 women fit all of the low-risk lifestyle markers. These women, however, had a 91% lower chance of developing diabetes compared with the other members of the study.

2. In 2004, the INTERHEART study group evaluated the factors predicting heart attacks in 52 countries.

They reported on 15,000 cases of heart attacks and chose the same number of controls. Researchers found nine risk factors which accounted for 90% to 95% of the cases of heart attacks. Those were smoking, elevated ApoB (think bad cholesterol) to ApoA1 (think good cholesterol) ratio, high blood pressure, diabetes, abdominal obesity (waist over 35 inches for a woman and 40 inches for a man), stress, low intake of fruits and vegetables, alcohol intake and lack of physical exercise. All nine risks for heart attack can be eliminated by lifestyle.

3. In 2006, researchers analyzed data from 43,000 men in the Health Professionals Study between the ages of 40 and 75 who had no heart disease.

Low-risk men were considered to have a BMI under 25, be nonsmokers, be physically active for more than 30 minutes a day, have moderate alcohol intake and have a diet comprised of more than 40% healthy plants. Over the 16 years of follow-up, a heart attack developed in 2,183 men, some of which were fatal heart attacks. Men who had five out of five low-risk characteristics had an 87% lower rate of heart attack.

4. In 2007, Swedish investigators studied more than 24,000 women after menopause who were free of heart disease.

There were 308 cases of heart attacks over six years of follow-up. A low-risk diet (high scores for fruits and vegetable intake, whole grains, legumes, fish, moderate alcohol intake), along with not smoking, walking or biking 40 minutes daily and maintaining a trim waist-to-hip ratio reduced the risk of heart attacks by 92%.

5. In 2008, Harvard scientists reported on more than 43,000 men, again from the Health Professionals study, and more than 71,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study.

The risk of stroke was assessed and evaluated in terms of lifestyle habits in persons with no history of stroke. Stroke risk was reduced 50% by not smoking, having a body mass index of under 25, exercising 30 minutes a day of moderate activity, having a modest alcohol intake and eating a diet in the top 40% of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

6. In 2013, researchers in the Netherlands studied almost 18,000 men and women without heart disease.

They followed them for up to 14 years, and in that time more than 600 of the group had heart attacks, including fatal ones. They found that if people followed four steps they were able to lower their risk of heart attacks by 67%: averaging 30 minutes a day of physical activity, eating a healthy diet in the Mediterranean style rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, not smoking, and enjoying more than one alcoholic beverage a month. People who added a fifth health habit — sleeping seven or more hours at night on average — lowered their risk of heart attacks by 83%.

7. In 2014, scientists in Sweden examined more than 20,000 men free of heart issues and followed them for 11 years.

They found that there were certain habits that lowered the risk of heart attacks, including: a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and reduced fat, not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption daily, thin waistlines, more than 40 minutes of daily physical activity. Men who followed all five of these lifestyle habits had an 86% lower chance of developing or dying of heart attacks than those who followed none. Only 1% of the Swedes studied followed all five habits.

As a university-certified anti-aging cardiologist, a rather small group worldwide, I’m tracking trends in research on aging and strategies to slow or even reverse damage done to our cells, our mitochondria and our DNA. I’m optimistic that we are going to see some important advances in this field which is attracting major investments by such prominent futurists as Craig Venter and Peter Diamandis. For now, the backbone of all strategies to preserve health and vitality are six or seven daily habits that run as a common thread through the studies above.

We can prevent or reverse the vast majority of strokes, diabetes, heart attacks, and now Alzheimer’s with lifestyle medicine, and it’s so simple and available to everyone.

You Wanted to Know: A Healthy Diet After 60

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Dr. Oz says:

It’s no secret that as we age, things change. While we alter our lives for many reasons, not all habits need to be modified. That is exactly the case when it comes to our diet, as one of my Twitter followers asked:

Should I be on a different diet once I turn 60?

The short answer is no. The same healthy eating principles that were important before you turned 60 are now arguably even more important. That’s because our health conditions tend to multiply as we age and eating well with regular exercise is the best way to stop this from happening. It doesn’t always take you back to your 20s, but sometimes it can stave off diabetes or high blood pressure for a few more years. So what are these eating rules? Here are a few to stick to.

  • Eat a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies have consistently been associated with decreased death from a variety of diseases, not to mention you’ll feel a lot better on a diet high in both.
  • Get your fiber. Constipation and digestive troubles plague many older adults. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are a great way to get enough fiber in your diet.
  • Get enough calcium and iron. Anemia and osteoporosis are common in older adults. Meats, beans, eggs and green veggies are all high in iron. Dairy, green leafy vegetables, bony fish and soy are good sources of calcium.
  • Lower your salt. There’s been a lot of news about how much is too much, but most will agree that high amount are bad for you and salt is hidden in pretty much everything we eat. The CDC recommends you aim for less than 1,500mg.
  • Vitamin D. This vitamin is a key player in making sure you get enough calcium in your diet to keep your bones healthy. Additional research has shown that those who are severely deficient are also at risk for dementia. Eggs, oily fish and fortified soy and dairy are all good sources.
  • Get enough to drink. Dehydration can lead to dizzy spells that might lead to deadly falls in older adults. Aim to get 1.2L per day in non-alcoholic beverages, preferably water.

To Juice or to Blend?

Years ago we juiced a lot. We still own a juicer (it sleeps in the kitchen cabinet, like most of them), but now we blend every day, sometimes more than once.

So this Fooducate article caught my attention and was worth sharing.

juice or blend

Fresh liquid nutrition is really big these days. Cold pressed juice stands are popping up all over metro areas. Jamba Juice and competitors have hundreds of branches nationwide, and companies like Vitamix and Blendtec are selling $500 machines like hot cakes.

The allure of juices and smoothies is easy to understand. First and foremost – they are tasty (for the most part). They are also very easy to consume – no chewing required, just gulp and go. Or go and gulp, which works for many rushed Americans on their way to work.

Lastly, if the ingredients are healthy – fruits and vegetables for the most part – the liquid version must be healthy as well, right? We’ll get to that in a bit.

What you need to know:

Juicing and blending make it easier and faster to add more and varied produce into your diet. But there is a difference between the two methods.

Most people are familiar with the standard multi-speed blender used at home to create smoothies. Blenders are effective at chopping virtually anything into smaller and smaller pieces resulting in a smooth liquid. All of the original content of the fruit or vegetable is maintained in the liquid – including the healthy, fibrous pulp.

Juicers, on the other hand, separate the juice from the pulp, seeds, skin, and anything not liquid in the original fruit. The juice is much smoother, easier to drink, and contains no bitter fragments such as seeds. Juicer nutritionists will extoll the resulting elixir as a the ultimate concoction of nutrients available for immediate digestion and use by the body.

However,  the high amount of sugar from the fruits will also be absorbed very rapidly, spiking blood glucose. Another problem is the loss of all the beneficial fiber from the fruits and vegetables. One of the most important reasons for eating fruits and vegetables is their fiber. This is lost when juicing.

Both blenders and juicers change the original form of foods, and as a result you may be “unlocking” more nutrients, according to the brochures and salespeople. However, some of the nutrients are instantly lost when liquifying – contact with oxygen (air) instantly “evaporates” the likes of vitamin C and some antioxidants.

Before rushing off to make your morning shake, keep in mind that there’s a benefit to actually chewing your food. It sends signals to your digestive system that food is about to enter. Various enzymes and acids that improve digestion are activated as a result. You don’t get the same effect when drinking your food. Properly chewing your food will also limit your portion intake, something that is hard to do with liquid calories.

That’s why, if you can find the time and pleasure, your best nutritional bet is to eat your vegetables and fruits, not drink them. Think salad, not juice. That’s not to say a smoothie loaded with veggies is bad for you, but it should not be the only way healthy fruits and vegetables enter your body.

When it comes to money, owning a quality juicer or blender is not cheap. Beyond the initial investment in a machine, you need to buy a ton of vegetables and fruits just to make a single cup of juice. It’s also a pain to clean up the contraptions, juicers even more so than blenders. In various hygiene surveys, blenders and juicers were the most contaminated areas of American kitchens, with high levels of mold, salmonella and e. coli found on the rubber seals.


Our daily shake/smoothie, made in a Vitamix, always includes our Juice Plus+ Complete drink mix – it’s foundational.

Be encouraged … take heart … encourage others!

Ever feel stuck or discouraged concerning your health, your weight, your shape … your life?

I want to encourage you that what you put in your body today counts.

You can create healthy habits that will continue for a lifetime, and although you may face challenges at times, your body and those you encourage by your success will thank you for it.

Yes, you WILL encourage others!

Stress or Success?

In my last post we looked at the wellness benefits of taking all your Paid Time Off:  vacations and other opportunities to recharge  your batteries and generally lower your stress levels.

Now for some more help with Stress that can lead to Success – in all areas of life.

Stressed? Author and speaker Denis Waitley shares three guidelines to transform negative anxiety into positive success. Follow these rules and take action now to let go of your stress.

1. Accept the unchangeable

Everything that has happened in your life to this minute is unchangeable. It’s history. The greatest waste of energy is looking back at missed opportunities and lamenting past events.

Grudge collecting, getting even, harboring ill will and vengeful thinking do no good. Success is the only acceptable form of revenge.

By forgiving your trespassers—whoever or whatever they are—you become free to concentrate on going forward with your life and succeeding in spite of those detractors. You will live a rewarding and fulfilling life. Your enemies, on the other hand, will forever wonder how you went on to become so successful without them and in the shadow of their doubts.

Action idea: Write down on a sheet of paper things that happened in the past that bother you. Now crumple the paper into a ball and throw it. Really. This symbolizes letting go of past misfortunes.

2. Change the changeable

Change your reaction to what others say and do, and you can control your own thoughts and actions by dwelling on desired results instead of the penalties of failure.

The only real control you have in life is your immediate thought and action, and because most of what we do is a reflex—a subconscious habit—it’s wise not to act on emotional impulse. In personal relations, it is better to wait a moment until reason has the opportunity to compete with your emotions.

Action idea: Write down one thing you will do tomorrow to help you relax more during and after a stressful day.

3. Avoid the unacceptable

Go out of your way to get out of the way of intolerable or perilous behaviors and environments.

Take these examples: When people tailgate you on the freeway, change lanes. When there are loud, obnoxious people next to you at a restaurant, change tables or move locations. When someone is being a Debbie Downer, complaining about this and that, excuse yourself and walk away.

Always be on the alert for negative situations that can be dangerous to your health, personal safety, financial speculation and emotional relationships.

Action idea: What is one unacceptable habit you or others have that you will avoid starting tomorrow?

A little stress is good, too much stress is bad, and understanding it can be everything. Learn about the upside to stress and how you can harness everyday anxiety.

How Are Time Off and Wellness Connected?

Since being self-employed (well, in truth, since our business became highly successful!) Jenny and I have taken all the vacations (long and short) that we wanted. Even during my 23 years with IBM I always took ALL my vacation time – and in Europe we had plenty of that!

So this headline made me sit up and take notice:

40 Percent of American Workers Will Leave Paid Vacation Days Unused

The summer is over and I hope you, my readers, took ALL the vacation you were entitled to and used it well.

Unfortunately, all too many of us could be on vacation but choose not to be. That’s the striking finding of an important new study released by Travel Effect, an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association. Entitled “Overwhelmed America: Why Don’t We Use Our Paid Time Off?,” the study found that 40 percent of American workers will leave paid vacation days unused.

Even more revealing are the reasons respondents gave for leaving paid time off on the table. The four reasons cited the most are the dread of returning from a vacation to piles of work (40 percent), the belief that no one will be able to step in and do their job for them while they’re gone (35 percent), not being able to afford it (33 percent) and the fear of being seen as replaceable (22 percent).

“Americans suffer from a work martyr complex,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “In part, it’s because ‘busyness’ is something we wear as a badge of honor. But it’s also because we’re emerging from a tough economy and many feel less secure in their jobs. Unfortunately, workers do not seem to realize that forfeiting their vacation time comes at the expense of their overall health, well-being and relationships.”

In fact, not taking time off from work also comes at the expense of our performance at work. This study shouldn’t be an alarm bell just for workers but for employers too. Recent years have brought us a mountain of science about both the costs of burnout and overwork and the benefits of unplugging and recharging. In short, the long-term health and well-being of a company’s employees is going to impact the long-term health and well-being of the company’s bottom line.

We know, for instance, that, according to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses around $300 billion per year. Sleep deprivation tacks on another $63 billion.

Living a life in which we work all the time and never prioritize recharging simply isn’t sustainable — not for individuals, and not for companies either. As Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Projectputs it, “the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less.” He cites a 2006 internal study of Ernst and Young employees that found that for every additional 10 hours of vacation an employee took, his or her performance ratings went up by 8 percent — nearly 1 percent per day of vacation. That means companies where employees are leaving two and three and four weeks of vacation on the table are foregoing an enormous productivity boost. The study also found that employees who took regular vacations were less likely to leave the company.

This shouldn’t be that surprising. Humans are wired to perform and then to recharge. “The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology,” Schwarz writes. “Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.” And that means on both the smaller, hour-to-hour scale and the larger time frame of week to week and month to month.

Of course, many of the changes that we so badly need in our workplace culture will have to come from the top. As we can see from the reasons employees give for not taking their paid vacation, employees do not seem to be getting a strong message from management of the importance of vacation and renewal time. This was also borne out by the Travel Effect study, which found that even though a whopping 95 percent of senior business leaders say they know the value of taking time off, 67 percent of employees say their company is either silent about taking vacation, sends mixed signals about it or even actively discourages it. And a third of senior leaders say they either never or rarely discuss taking vacation with their employees.

That’s DUMB business leaders!

Paid time off for employees – and encouraging them to use it – is a business strategy and investment with proven returns and has a direct connection to employee health and wellness, and productivity.

Convincing Doctors to Embrace Lifestyle Medicine

This powerful article is by .

I talk a lot about numbers and statistics, but as the Director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center Dr. David Katz put it in an editorial in the American Journal of Health Promotion, to reach doctors, our fellow colleagues, maybe we need to put a human face on it all.

We have known, for at least a decade that the “leading causes of both premature death and persistent misery in our society are chronic diseases that are, in turn, attributable to the use of our feet (exercise), forks (diet), and fingers (cigarette smoking). Feet, forks, and fingers are the master levels of medical destiny for not just thousands of people on any one occasion but the medical destiny of millions upon millions year after year.”

We as doctors, as a medical profession have known—Ornish published his landmark study 23 years ago. “We have known, but we have not managed to care,” writes Dr. Katz.

At least not care deeply enough to turn what we know into what we routinely do.” Were we to do so, we might be able to eliminate most heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.

But saving millions of lives is just a number. He asks doctors to “forget the bland statistics of public health, and ask yourself if you love someone who has suffered a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or diabetes … Now imagine their faces, whisper their names. Recall what it felt like to get the news. And while at it, imagine the faces of others readers like you and me imagining beloved faces.”

Now imagine if eight out of ten of us wistfully reflecting on intimate love and loss, on personal anguish, never got that dreadful news because it never happened. Mom did not get cancer; dad did not have a heart attack; grandpa did not have a stroke; sister, brother, aunt, and uncle did not lose a limb or kidney or eyes to diabetes. We are all intimately linked, in a network of personal tragedy that need never have occurred.”

Which leads to what he is asking doctors to do about it: put a face on public health every chance you get. “When talking about heart disease and its prevention—or cancer or diabetes—ask your audience to see in their mind’s eye the face of a loved one affected by that condition. Then imagine that loved one among the 80% who need never have succumbed if what we knew as doctors were what we do.”

Invoke the mind’s eye, he advises, and then bring a tear to it.

I think I’ve only profiled one other editorial (Ornish’s Convergence of Evidence), but this one really struck me (so much so I used it to close out my latest live presentation (More Than an Apple a Day: Combating Common Diseases).

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org

We, in Juice Plus+, are privileged to work with many forward thinking doctors like Dr. Greger, who are at the forefront of the Lifestyle Medicine ‘movement’. You can meet a few of them here.