This will be a controversial post. I am not a nutritionist, dermatologist, nor any kind of medical expert. I talk to a lot of people, ask a lot of questions, and I have read and listened a lot. I have read studies, books, and reports and I know anecdotally what has worked for others and what has worked for me. Most everything I read and hear is opinion. The real science isn’t ready to report facts yet, only opinion. That’s why there are so many opinions on all the subjects below. That’s why I use the phrase “the experts suggest that. . . “ often in this article.
These subjects are so vast that it would be nearly impossible to condense them down to one coherent article. So in the post, you’ll get an overview of the four major fuels you use to energize and power up your body and mind. They are all important and the quality and quantity of these fuels are major factors in determining your health, fitness and personal energy.
AIR and BREATHING
Try going without oxygen for more than a couple of minutes. You die. To stay alive, you need to breathe. You use the respiratory system to get oxygen into and throughout your body. When you inhale (through your nose), the air is filtered and directed into your lungs. The lungs in turn put air into your cardiovascular system sending oxygen throughout your body. The deoxygenated blood returns to the heart to be sent to the lungs to be released as carbon dioxide.
The quality of the air you breathe is not nearly as important as the quantity of air you take in. Our internal ductwork has some pretty good filters built into it. Coal miners have problems because the outside air is too polluted for the filters to handle it, and taking raw smoke directly into your lungs can be deadly. But our bodies are designed to filter out most of the pollutants before they cause a lot of damage.
Most of us breathe barely enough to keep our body functioning. We need more. Our mothers, fathers and gym teachers in elementary school used to tell us to breathe deeply to be healthy. It was true then, and it’s true now.. They were right, so take deeper breaths when you think about it.
But Bob, my dermatologist told me that if I get out in the sun, I’ll get skin cancer and die. Yep. That can happen. But here’s the thing: Yes you can spend time in the sun uncovered by suntan lotion. Experts now suggest that you cover up with lotion or clothing after about a half hour of direct exposure, and to stay out of the midday sun.
The sun is good for you. You need the Vitamin D. The sun can help reduce depression, both clinical and seasonal. The percentage of people who die from skin cancer, particularly melanoma is small. I’ve had two occurrences of Melanoma and one Carcinoma, all removed successfully. I have very light skin and I used to have reddish brown hair, and I abused the sun as a teenager. Yet I drive a convertible and keep the top down as much as possible. I don’t have a death wish, I just understand the problem and can deal with it. I know I’m going to get battered over this, but I believe that if you treat the sunshine with care, you’ll benefit and the beaches will stay in business.
Your body is composed mostly of water. Different components of your body are composed of different percentages of water, but water forms a major part of our body’s structure. You can’t live for a long time without fluid intake. Most of us don’t drink enough. We know we should drink more water to stay hydrated but most of us don’t. How much? Experts suggest eight to ten 8 oz. glasses of water per twenty four hours, more if you do a lot of exercise. That makes sense. Experts disagree as to whether sodas and coffee are included in that amount. If your pee is dark, you probably need more water, if it is light colored or clear, you’re probably OK.
What kind of water is best? Water bottlers say theirs is best. Alkalized water sellers say theirs is best. In the United States, most tap water is OK. We use a standard Brita Filter at home and we’re still alive and kicking.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
We love to eat. We need to eat to stay alive. What should we be eating? That’s the question of the millennium. Go to the bookstore or the library and there are shelves loaded with books on advice about what you should be eating. How much is true and how much is opinion? I would suggest that 100% is opinion and none is fact. No one knows. There is probably no best diet. Nutritional science is still young. Actually the best diet for most people is probably a little less red meat and a few more vegetables. How about fruit? Experts argue about the quantity and the quality of sugars in fruit and which fruits we should eat and what fruits to stay away from.
I’ll bet most of you grew up on white bread and Pepsi. I age a lot of sugar and butter. I don’t do that now, but I grew up with it. There are huge arguments about merits of eating all organic. There was a major article in our local newsrag, The Washington Post, on April 8 of this year entitled “Is Organic Really Healthier?” The conclusion was that the jury is still out.
Here are a few bullet points that we should consider as you think about energizing with high octane fuel:
- Fuel is more than just food.
- What is the best diet? Nobody really knows. More veggies and less meat seems to be a good way to go.
- Yes, you need sunshine for health. Just be sensible and take it in moderate amounts.
- Breathe deeply.
- Tap water in the United States is usually OK to drink. Eight to ten 8 oz. glasses is will probably do the job.
Whoa! This post reached a thousand words, too many for a blog post. Like I said above, most of what I wrote is based on experts’ opinions and on anecdotal evidence. Make your own judgments. Just drink plenty of fluids, get some sun, breathe deeply, and don’t eat junk. You’ll probably be fine.
Thanks for reading.