Holistic Habits by Cheryl A. Mothes, Ph.D. Natural Health Nutrition Counselor (18)

Replacing just 3 percent of calories of animal protein with plant protein was associated with a 10% reduction in risk of death – an extra year of life with just 3 percent! Egg protein was the worst -swapping 3% of egg whites for plant protein was associated with more than 20% reduction in overall mortality. It is not about adding years to your life but life to your years, which is where the concept of “healthy aging” comes from. Healthy aging is “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.” A higher intake of vegetable protein yields fewer deficits in functional impairment, health and vitality, mental health, and the use of health services. A whole food, plant-based diet provides the best opportunities for health aging! Make it a marvelous Meatless Monday and plantify your plates!

Yesterday we talked about the best way to have healthy aging – through a whole food, plant-based diet. Some may call that a vegan diet and it is true to a certain extent. The term “vegan” defines what a person does not eat – nothing from an animal. But it does not mean the person is eating anything “whole food” – in fact, a vegan can have a terribly unhealthy diet. A whole food, plant-based diet describes everything we DO eat – foods that aid in the prevention and reversal of leading chronic diseases as well as eliminating harmful cancer-causing carcinogens and aging toxins from entering our bloodstreams. It is all about eating the great things God gave us without adding anything or taking anything away, so we can live longer and live stronger on this terrific Tuesday!

Super interesting research is coming out on the levels of damage on lungs for those who smoke tobacco and marijuana. The level of damage is comparable for the two, which is remarkable since the tobacco smokers were smoking twenty-five cigarettes a day and the marijuana users were smoking twenty per WEEK. How is that possible? It may be the way they are smoked – marijuana smokers inhale more deeply and hold in the smoke four times longer than cigarette smokers which results in more tar deposits in the lungs. Marijuana is loosely packed and unfiltered – resulting in hotter and “smokier” smoke. So just a few a week can cause striking evidence of airway injury. Yes, smoking marijuana once a day is the same as smoking five cigarettes a day. Neither is part of a healthy lifestyle. Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Whether fighting off a cold or protecting ourselves against autoimmune conditions, which are unfortunately on the rise, we want to strengthen our immunity. There are supplements and the occasional “super-food” that promise to give us super immunity, but we do not hear often enough that our immunity is powered by our gut. Yes, 70% of our immune cells are in the gut, and they are in constant communication, trying to protect us. Research is now showing that people who contracted COVID had decreased levels of beneficial bacteria in their gut. One of the best ways we can support it is by eating a diverse diet that is plant-based. What foods are best for our gut? First, try to get thirty different whole foods per week. Second, they are strengthened by some key nutrients that nourish our immune systems – Vitamins A, D, C, E B6 and B12 and several minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Walnuts, garlic, sunexposed mushrooms, firm tofu, carrots, oranges, chia seeds, broccoli and turmeric are the best. Mushrooms, when left in the windowsill for some sun, increase their vitamin D! Live longer and live stronger by boosting your gut health!

It’s Fix it Friday and we’ve got a new, great cookbook called “Engine 2 Cookbook” – you may have heard about the Austin, Texas fire fighters who plantified their plates and got stronger! Now there is an Engine 2 plant-strong food line at Whole Foods Market stores, an Engine 2 weekend retreat, and a 7-day immersion program in Sedona, Arizona. Get the cookbook! Here is a fast wonderful side dish of Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with three ingredients.

Cut the core out of a head of cauliflower, then cut it into long, flat slices. Place them flat on a lined pan and drizzle the slices with balsamic vinegar or spray with liquid aminos, followed by a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Bake for 25 or 30 minutes until the cauliflower is browned and crispy. Liquid aminos are like soy sauce and nutritional yeast looks like flaked cheese – you can find them at almost all grocery stores! Have a fantastic Fix it Friday!

Here is your blast from the past!

This week we are recognizing National Mental Health Awareness Week. We know that we can be in excellent physical shape, but it does not mean we are healthy – our mental health is just as important, and it is what God earnestly desires for each of us. Our mental state also AFFECTS our physical well-being – the happier and more optimistic we are, the better we fight off diseases, and we know that stress and emotions have profound effects on our physical health. Research shows that eating less meat is not only good for us physically, it is good for us emotionally as well. Those eating plant-based diets experienced significantly fewer negative emotions than those who eat meat. So, on this meatless Monday, start a 10 day, or 21 day or 40 day “fast” of no meat and see if you feel better and stronger, to live longer and give more for Him!

Tuesday’s power of the plate tip is how to fight the “blues” with “greens”. Yes, it is National Mental Health Awareness Week and studies show that higher consumption of vegetables can cut the odds of developing depression by as much as 62 percent! Many plant foods contain phytonutrients (fight-o-nutrients – they fight for us!) and they naturally inhibit an enzyme called MAO – those who have depression appear to have elevated levels of MAO in their brains. Research also shows that the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the happier, calmer, and more energetic we feel…for days! So, power up your plate with fruits and veggies and have a terrific Tuesday!

Wednesday’s holistic health habit is more about mental health since it is Mental Health Awareness Week. We have talked so far about the power of food to help our mood, but there is also a link between exercise and mental health. Those who exercise regularly have a 25 percent lower rate of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The best exercise for our moods is outdoors, with a friend, with nature, with our dogs, playing games, riding bikes…all those things bump the happiness quotient more than lifting weights at the gym. So, get outside each day and have a WONDERFUL Wednesday everyone!

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and today is National Depression Screening Day. It is important to focus on that “awareness” piece. How can we be more aware, not only of our own mental health status, but of those around us? These are challenging times, to say the least. Burn-out at work, being overwhelmed as parents and spouses, stress in our lives is all too common. There are things we can do to take action to support ourselves and those around us.

These tips can help:

1. prioritize being PRESENT – all that noise in our minds can stress us, so breathe in the moments, right now.

2. reflect before you react – for every action there is a reaction, and everything in between is our choice – choose to pause and think through why you are feeling the way you do, and how to best cope with it.

3. Talk about tough feelings – speak up, speak out, find help and resources that are so abundant in our churches and communities. And we can be that person who listens when others are struggling. God put us here for each other!

We have talked several times over the months about free radicals – those very unstable molecules that cause tissue damage and contribute to aging – they also may plan an important role in various mental health disorders. And of course, the best way to extinguish those free radicals is by eating foods high in antioxidants – you got it – fruits and vegetables. And here is an important key – we cannot just take antioxidant pills or rely on those fortified drinks – FOOD sources of antioxidants are linked to better mood but taking the supplements does not work. Food IS mood so choose those highest in antioxidants which are blueberries, raspberries, kale, pecans, strawberries, artichokes, and greens. Plantify your plate and have a fantastic Friday!

Reference: How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Gregor

Content is daily radio script from my KHIS radio spot – tune in at 6:15 (CST) every morning to Justin and Meredith’s morning show 89.9 FM.
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