Office parties and festivities with family and friends have come to another close. Airports and mall parking lots are beginning to take on the look of sanity. And that last bit of dried up turkey has been discovered in the back of the refrigerator and given a proper send off. We are beginning a new year. Now is a great time to change the focus from the people, obligations and events that have been surrounding us these past few months and re-focus on ourselves. Taking an honest look at where we may be in our present state of health and recovery. We know that successful recovery and a sound vibrant state of health is a Mind, Body, Spirit issue. So where do we stand and what can we do today to begin to improve? Let’s take a look. We’ll call it the New Year Health Recovery Check-up.
What is the quality of your water and how much water do you drink per day?
Your body is approximately 70% water. The brain cells and blood are a bit higher, about 80%. Under average conditions you lose about 2 quarts of water per day due to normal body respiration and excretion. That water needs to be replaced and that water should be clean and pure. It should not be laden with chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, heavy metals and the many pharmaceutical and cleaning products that are not removed in the recycling and processing plants of municipal water systems. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against city tap water. In fact I use it daily to flush my toilet, wash my dishes and water my trees. But I don’t drink it! I strongly recommend adding
a counter top home water distillation unit and making pure water part of your health recovery program. Distillation units remove up to 100% of the impurities in water and assure that any biological contamination such as parasites, bacteria and viruses are killed and never get into your drinking water. A reverse osmosis system is a good second choice. A carbon filtration system is also an acceptable start but it will not remove everything. I try not to drink water from plastic bottles whenever I can. A little research on your part will give you some reasons why I avoid storing food and water in plastic.
Why is our drinking water so vital to healthy recovery and my first recovery tip? First off, the water you drink directly affects brain function. Pure water is necessary for the proper production of neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Endorphins and many others that have a major effect on the way we think, feel and the way we behave. Adequate hormone production is also related to and dependent on the pure water we bring into our bodies daily. Other noticeable benefits of drinking enough pure water daily is a healthier cardiovascular system, stronger musculoskeletal system, healthier joints, reduced effect of the aging process, weight loss and a more resilient immune system. Yes, all these benefits from pure water in the proper amount daily, and best of all it takes very little extra effort to make that lifestyle change. Try it for the next 30 days and see if you don’t notice a marked difference in the way you feel.
Are you eating Healthy Living Food? Give yourself a Living Food check-up.
We are Mind, Body and Spirit and just like our Mind and Spirit, that Body
of ours needs to be properly nourished, not just fed. Healthy recovery is dependent on vital nutrients such as Enzymes, Amino Acids, Vitamins and Minerals, and these nutrients do not exist readily in dead processed foods. Do a pantry, freezer and refrigerator survey. Has your average diet been dead foods that have a shelf life worthy of the pyramids? Make the pledge to start the New Year by adding some healthy living foods daily. Take a field trip to the produce department of your local grocery store. See anything that looks good for dinner tonight? You don’t have to make major changes. Just make some healthy alterations and additions to your meals and snacks. Build on those changes a little at a time. Don’t just make a bland lettuce salad, create a nutritional rainbow. Add berries, fresh fruits, bell peppers and other vegetables of all colors. Use more red, green and purple leafy lettuce. Eat and snack on as much raw living foods as you can. These colorful phytonutrients are full of Antioxidants, Amino Acids, Vitamins and Minerals in their natural form. Proper brain function requires all these building blocks for healthy neurochemistry. You will notice a difference in a very short time. Don’t kill your food during the cooking process. Maintain nutritional integrity.
Steamed vegetables retain much more nutritious enzymes and vitamins than food that has been fried, baked, boiled or over cooked. Eat more fresh fish and poultry but be sure to check out their source for better quality control. Add cold pressed oils such as olive or coconut. Include foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids so vital for the nervous and cardiovascular systems. You probably don’t have to make drastic changes just make a few significant alterations from dead lifeless processed foods to more fresh natural living foods that will support vibrant health.
Why is this so important to healthy recovery? Our brain and nervous system is receptor driven. That means that our mental health, our behaviors and our activities of daily life are only as sound as the neurotransmitters, circulating hormones and the receptors that they occupy. That requires complete proper nutrition. Any deficiency over time will compromise health and put recovery at risk. The steps we take toward living foods and the efforts we make to avoid dead processed lifeless food can only be beneficial towards a sound healthy recovery.
How much sleep are you getting? How rested are you when you start your day?
According to the latest report of findings at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one quarter of the population of the United States suffer from occasional to chronic insomnia and lack of adequate rest. Other studies have the numbers even higher, approaching fifty percent of the population. That amounts to well over 100 million people and most likely that may include some of us. Insufficient rest and sleep is associated with chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, accidental injuries and many other lifestyle maladies, including a decreased focus on health and recovery choices. Inadequate rest and sleep impairs memory and the processes of decision-making. Lack of sleep and rest greatly contributes to chronic fatigue, stress, anxiety and lack of energy. That puts our health and recovery at risk daily. Energy drinks, energy pills and sleep aids are not the answer. You cannot cheat on rest and sleep. Honestly evaluate your bedtime and sleep routine. Do you stay up too late at night and need an alarm clock to wake up for school or work? Are you going to bed right after watching the 11 o’clock news and shock report? Really? You want that garbage in your mind right before getting ready for bed? Maybe you could avoid the late night entertainers also. Perhaps even consider getting the big screen TV out of the bedroom. Stop the mental jamboree and read something positively creative or inspirational. Sleep on those thoughts.
Did you have a heavy meal a couple of hours before trying to sleep? Even if the meals are healthy and natural, eating too late at night is detrimental to a good night’s sleep. Have your last meal at a reasonable time in the early evening. Plan your night with 8 hours of peaceful rest in mind. It may not happen the first night or the next but it will become a routine. Normal sleep has many cycles. Therefore, broken sleep can still provide adequate rest. Don’t feel you have to sleep straight through the night. It is normal to wake on occasion and then fall right back to sleep. The goal is to wake up rested with stamina for the day ahead. Aerobic exercise such as walking and swimming are great and I recommend them highly to all my patients in recovery, but don’t do it within 2 to 3 hours of going to bed. Exercise increases hormone and neurotransmitter levels and that is one of the great benefits, but that increase can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. Exercise regularly earlier in the day. The quality of sleep and rest will improve dramatically from the beginning. Sleep and rest rejuvenates the body on all levels. Best of all sleep and rest are free. The cost comes when we don’t have it.
There are some great herbal teas that are a good start to a sound nights sleep. Sleepy Time by Celestial Seasonings and Peppermint are healthy choices.
Support health and recovery this year by focusing on these three simple tips.
1. Drink pure water in adequate amounts whenever possible.
2. Eat healthy living foods daily and avoid processed dead food.
3. Begin today by planning a restful night’s sleep on a regular basis.
Health and recovery have value beyond any effort that it takes to achieve and maintain it. The efforts needed to make the above changes may seem awkward and strange at first but they will quickly become second nature. The benefits come soon with lasting results. Give them a try this month and see who else notices besides you.
Dr. Michael J. De Vito is a diplomate and is board certified in Addictionology. He has been an instructor of Medical Ethics, Clinical Pathology, Anatomy and Physiology at the College of Southern Nevada.
He is the founder and program director of NewStart Treatment Center located in Henderson, Nevada. He is presently in private practice helping patients from all parts of the world attain and successfully live a life of recovery from substance abuse and addictive behavior. NewStart Treatment Center utilizes a drug free and natural approach to addiction treatment.
Dr. De Vito is the author of Addiction: The Master Keys to Recovery