Some Thoughts on Digesting Health Advice

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A few years ago, someone recommended I pick-up a copy of YOU: The Owner’s Manual. I was told that it had practical advice, and included a handy calisthenic / dumbbell routine. I’m always looking for more of both of these, so I put the book to the head of my mental list, and coincidentally came across a nice copy in a used bookstore a few days later during a road trip.

I consumed the book, and was immediately able to digest much of its advice. But within a few months many of the new habits the book had helped me to create had already faded away. That’s often how things go with me. It takes a lot to get a new habit to get traction in my life.

So I was happy to recently discover that the book’s authors are doing quite well, and have a blog which is regularly updated (RealAge), and some follow-up books. So now I scan their blog daily, and occasionally find some very good (at least to me) morsels of new advice.

Recently, I read an article from the RealAge website with some specific health advice, targeted toward increasing energy. Since I’m the type of person who wakes up each morning feeling pretty tired, and who often has an extra serving of coffee in the office afternoon to (fruitlessly) try to get my mental energy back, I thought I would try to incorporate some of the advice. I’d like to tell you a little about my initial thoughts on this, since I think human habits are a very personal thing, and it seems important to put publicly distributed advice into context for individuals, since not all publicly distributed advice is really very useful to all people, in my opinion.

For me … in general, I’d say that the sorts of advice which tell me to eat specific foods because it contains such-and-such nutrient or chemical – well, that advice usually tends to get ignored, simply because I can’t keep it all straight. It’s too specific for me, and I always do better with general guidelines rather than overly helpful specifics. That’s just my thing.

So the article on increasing energy (which is really an article about increasing the output of your little power factories called mitochondria) – it gives specific advice to increase my intake of something called quercetin and something called resveratrol. Trouble is, I am never going to remember which foods have these compounds. Secretly, I wonder about the value of mentioning such specifics since I see how some people get so focused on them that they start to ignore some of the (to me) much more helpful guidelines like “avoid stress” and “love more”.

Avoid stress. Love more. Go. Do it. Now.

But I trust the RealAge doctors, so I trust that they know what they are talking about when they recommend I eat more apples, berries, kale, red wine, and some other items. There’s just a “RealLimit” to how much I am going to be able to get that advice into my life any time soon.

The more helpful advice for me in this little “How to Boost the Efficiency of Your Mitochondria” article is:

  • Sweat a little every day.
  • Eat less.
  • Take more B vitamins, and space them out across your day.

Why are these the right advices for me?

Note: Yes, I know “advices” is not a word. But, hey – now it is. 😉

First, I always feel better when I get some exercise that makes me sweat. It’s just the way I’m wired. To me, it’s a no-brainer, so let’s not try to make it a “brainer”, okay?

Second, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, one of my personal measures of my fitness level is whether I can remember the last time I was starving. If I can’t, it’s probably because I’ve been just overflowing the stomach barrel at each meal. Even though my metabolism generally keeps me thin (again – just the way I’m wired), I am probably doing a disservice to my mitochondria power factories by constantly shoveling onto them more dripping calories than they can ever know what to do with.

Finally, although I’ve never really felt a direct positive impact from taking daily vitamins, I still (kind of) believe that it is a good thing to do. But I can tell that it might be better to space my vitamin B over the entire day instead of just at one meal because I, well, let’s just say that I can tell that my body is not getting a chance to assimilate all the B which I take in a day before throwing it off as waste. If you don’t know what I mean, you can Google it. 🙂

That’s all, about how I feel about my initial thoughts on this health advice. Of course, it’s advice I’ve heard before, and it is advice I will hear again. But for me the interesting part is the process, and the figuring out about how to get things going on a consistent personal level that makes me feel happy in a stress-free and loving sort of way.

After all, as many of us have heard before, “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Socrates said that, apparently).