Confused by conflicting health advice? Not sure if you should cook your kale in coconut oil or sweep it all in the rubbish bin. Coconut oil is nice and slippery like that.
The shocking truth is it’s actually not that hard or confusing. There is more agreement and good science than confusion and shades of grey.
I realise this is not what some social media platforms or celebrities selling you snake oil to put up your hoo-ha at the full moon would have you believe. See any recommendation by Gwenyth Paltrow or Pete Evens … ever.
So here are some science-based tips that could just change your life.
- Eat loads of fresh fruit and veg
- Eat red meat in moderation, or better not at all
- Minimize mercury in fish
- Enjoy dairy if you are not lactose intolerant. Although the environment might not thank you, your body will.
- Eat whole foods. Go for variety, lots of colours and types. Sure enjoy ‘superfoods’ if they turn you on, but don’t obsess over them or eliminate perfectly good alternatives. Can’t afford chia seeds? Eat a banana and a strawberry and smile at yourself and your savings. What about carbs some will say? There is some emerging science that for some people and situations low carb is helpful. However good carbs are not the devil and don’t go down this route without good support or reason and certainly don’t swap your carbs for bacon!
- Prioritize good quality oils. While the saturated fat debate rages, I’d focus on vegetable oils.
- Avoid the foods you have issues with BUT be careful avoiding stuff for shits, giggles or food fashion.
- Chew well and enjoy.
- Enjoy tea and coffee if you like it.
- Minimize crap.
- Have less than 10 teaspoons of sugar a day. This is more difficult than you might think, given how much is hidden in foods. No need to get all obsessed and high-and-mighty about your #AMAZing-sugar-free-life. Unless it makes you happy, in which case, fill your sugar-free-boots.
- Enjoy alcohol in moderation, if your personal and genetic risk profile allows it. Don’t kid yourself about what moderation actually means. Check the guidelines.
- Get fit, stay fit. This could be one of the best decisions you make
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing
- Be connected to others and do stuff for them
- Meditate or pray or whatever turns you on
- Do stuff you love
- Get some nature time, forest bathing is a thing that might even have science on its side.
- Understand your personal values and live a life aligned to them
Protect, Check & Avoid
- Protect yourself from the sun (slip, slop, slap)
- Practice good dental hygiene
- Get your regular (gender and age-appropriate) screening tests
- Get the vaccinations you need
- Don’t touch cigarettes or illegal drugs
- Try and avoid smog and unnecessary chemical exposure at home and work
- Manage your stress
- Use your brain or lose your brain
- Don’t believe what you read on the internet and never read the comments!
Live … a little
- Just sometimes ….. eat doughnuts, drink champagne and stay up late …. just to know you have free will and your life is your own.
My blogging career started with a health-based hobby blog, while writing a PhD, and also very ill. I consumed a lot of science on health. Something I had been warming up to for several decades prior. Along the way, I feel I got a solid sense of some basic science-based principles re health and lifestyle stuff. During the same time, I was horrified to see many ‘food and lifestyle fashions’ moving in the wrong or opposite direction to the science.
This list is a bit of a compilation of that time updated to account for new research. I thought hard about backfilling references on each one – and it was time to get a life. Maybe that can be my retirement project in a few more decades.
For now, as at 2020, I am confident this list, if followed, will serve you well. Updating it has reminded me of some large gaps that need attention in my life.
Yours as Ever,