Like many of us over 50, what I used to get away with in my 20s and 30s (health-wise), has now been swapped for good, or maybe, better habits. I am enlightened.
I have organic eggs in my refrigerator. I try to buy my vegetables from organic markets. My family laughs at the assortment of prescriptions and supplements I take for the usual middle-age conditions, such as high blood pressure and arthritis. And yet, I still learned, if not, relearned a lot from Dr Vendryes' book.
Popular science tells us that habits are easier to make than to break. Breaking a habit is a lot more complicated, because, while parts of those worn-in pathways can weaken without use, they never go away. I surmise that is why there are still so many smokers and why obesity is at epidemic proportions. We know why we shouldn't smoke and why we should eat correctly and get plenty of exercise, but as humans, we still fall back into our old habits. The good news is that there is the belief that if you repeat a (new) behaviour often enough, those new, synaptic pathways are going to get worn in. New health-and-wellness habits can be formed and incorporated into our lifestyles.
Form new patterns
The secret is to form a new, parallel pattern, like exercising when you feel stressed, rather than indulging in a cigarette. One of the principles I learned from Dr Vendryes' book is how to incorporate new habits while eliminating old ones. An Ounce of Prevention is an easy read and almost more of a reference guide. Broken into six sections with sub-chapters within each, Vendryes' book covers the following topics: Wellness Concepts; Healthy Agents & Practices; General Problems; Female Issues; Danger Areas; and Weight Management. Not surprisingly, there is redundancy in the information gleaned in each section. That is because these are fundamental wellness habits Dr Vendryes wants us to incorporate into our lives. Make these our good habits. I am reassured that the author has endorsed many of the supplements that I already take daily, such as fish oil and multivitamins. I forgot the great benefits of green tea and started a new habit this week of drinking at least one cup each day.
As a cancer survivor with a history of Alzheimer's disease in my family, I read with great interest the benefit of exercise and diet relative to these two diseases. I now reflect on my late mother's life and realised she had terrible eating habits caused by poor planning around a difficult work schedule, while never exercising. Perhaps she would be with us today if health-and-wellness knowledge was as readily available in her lifetime as it is today.
Dr Vendryes' book explains the cause of many health problems while offering safer and more natural interventions. Additionally, he devotes a whole section to 'Danger Areas', such as the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners, cellphones, microwave ovens, MSG, mercury, sugar and trans-fats.
The final section is devoted to 'Weight Management'. Here, he gives the reader a commercial for Herbalife because he believes in that programme's benefits. But I think that every reputable wellness programme can improve weight management and overall good health.
Dr Vendryes articulates that the foundation of health is rooted in four pillars: nutrition, exercise, detoxification and stress management.
While these simple but powerful processes form the basis for his approach to health and wellness, here are the key reminders that will go a long way to bolster one's constitution : 1) Don't smoke; 2) Have a balanced nutrition with an emphasis on natural high fibre. Eat more plants and less animal proteins. Avoid sugars and trans-fats; 3) Take more nutritional supplements (specifically fish oil, and the antioxidant ACES (Vitamins A, C and E, and Selenium); 4) Drink more water; 5) Go into the sunlight and get your Vitamin D; and 5) Lose the excess fat.
Dr Vendryes also adds quotes, proverbs and reflections that reinforce the invaluable and resounding message of his work. They are all very interesting, but the one axiom that italicises An Ounce of Prevention is found on page 165. It states, "Knowledge is Power. Put this knowledge to work for you." Now off to have a nice glass of water while I make myself a cup of green tea. New habit formed.
Rating: Highly recommended
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