Anti ageing therapy is not just targeting the external experience but your complete health and wellness. Natural remedies, fresh food diet and exercise can help you feel and look younger. This isn't something you put off till you are 45 or 50 or older if you have already let yourself go with poor diet and lifestyle choices - it is something you put into place early on in your life. Having said that, it's never too late to make positive changes but everyone benefits if you establish a healthy lifestyle early on.
The word diet is how you choose to eat. It does not mean you are on a "slimming diet". To simplify things, fresh food is BEST! Avoid all pre packed and prepared foods as much as possible, be in charge of what you eat and what you add to your meals. Limit consumption of foods that are pre-packed and canned - occasionally it is fine but not every day. Be particular about what you put into your body. I encourage people to look at their ancestors and gravitate more to those dietary choices which really resonate with you far better than a typical Western diet, especially for instance, if you are of East or South East Asian, Indian or African background.
Include an abundance of salads all year round, such as for lunch and as a side dish with steamed or stir fried vegetables for dinner. Add good quality protein, free range eggs and poultry and choose red meats from pasture fed animals. Don't forget fish - deep sea fish, cold water fish and shallow water fish all contain different nutrients, so have a variety in your diet at least three to four times a week. Serve a minimum of five vegetables with your evening meal, more if you wish - this is where restaurants fail us time and again by simply serving up a garnish.
Avoid polyunsaturated fats and oils. The only fats and oils I recommend are unsalted organic butter, virgin olive oil, 100% organic coconut oil/cream, (take care as many producers deodorise their coconut) and linseed oil.
Incorporate nuts and seeds into your diet, limit the consumption of grains and if you have bowel/ or gut issues avoid grains altogether. Even if you are not gluten intolerant I recommend you avoid gluten containing foods such as oats, wheat, barley and rye as much as possible as they simply hinder digestive function. Gluten is very sticky and clogs up the intestines.
Don't eat excessive amounts of dairy - goat milk and cheese is the best option with sheep second. Cow's dairy is best avoided unless you are consuming ISO whey products from New Zealand cows. Avoid soy completely as it interferes with thyroid metabolism. Traditionally, in Japan they only ate a very tiny amount with their meal and often this was marinated. Tempeh would be the only type I'd suggest if you are vegan or vegetarian and really insist on soybean products. However you can obtain protein from lentils, beans, brown rice and chickpeas.
Everyone should consume spring or filtered water daily. Average consumption should be around 1.5 litres in very hot weather or if you're performing manual work or athletics bring it up to two litres. But too much water can put stress on the kidneys. Avoid too many caffeine drinks. A good quality coffee is far better than a decaffeinated. You need to find out first how the company has decaffeinated their beverages and only choose those that use the Swiss water filtration method. Avoid all sugary drinks, colas and lemonades as they disturb your gut acid and can wear away tooth enamel. Large quantities over time can contribute to mucous membrane irritation and ulcers.
Eat fresh fruit instead of sweets, chocolates and candies. The occasional piece of cake or dessert is fine for a treat but not as a daily occurrence. You don't need cane sugar! It has no nutritional value and in fact leaches nutrients from your system.
Basically, if it walks on the earth, grows in the trees or in the earth or swims in the ocean if is far better to eat than "man made" packaged foods that contain lots of additives, colouring, preservatives and often added vitamins and minerals. If the last two have been added to a "food" you need to ask this simple question: "What is wrong with this "food" that it requires vitamins and minerals to be added to it"? Don't buy it.
There are many types of antioxidants available. You don't need to take several types and not all would be relevant to your physiology/health disorder. Resveratrol, astaxanathin, quercetin, bioflavonids, hesperidins, selenium, vitamins A, C and E. coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, or ubiquinone), lipoic acid, maritime pine bark (pycnogenol), the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) serve as your primary line of defense in destroying free radicals. Gogi and acai berries, cranberries, bilberries, strawberries, blackberries, loganberries, black grapes, kiwi fruit - the list goes on. But it's best not to self prescribe as you may create further problems. Consult your own nutritionist or naturopath.
Daily exercise is so important, now more than ever. Modern lifestyles tend to be more sedentary than those of our ancestors 100 years ago. Whether you sit in the office, at home or in the car, or most likely all three, you are not moving the body enough. The metabolism actually slows down when you sit for lengthy periods. You also need to move to pump the lymphatic system (immune system), as, unlike the blood circulation, which is pumped by the heart, your lymph system has no pump. It relies on you moving your legs and body to push the lymph around the system and prevent sluggishness and congestion.
Everyone needs to look at how they can incorporate exercise into their life. Most people can walk unless they have a physical impediment so either go for an early morning walk before work, or walk to work or the shops, take the stairs instead of lifts, walk everywhere you can. If you love sport then include what you enjoy on a weekly basis. Swimming at your local pool is fantastic for aerobic and respiratory function and excellent if you have an injury or are unable to walk far as it doesn't put pressure on your weight bearing joints. Dancing is fun and you can enjoy this while socialising or even attend a weekly dance class. Join a gym. Just do what it takes but move that body for a vigorous 45 minutes to one hour a day. Sorry but three times a week is not enough!! We are hunter/gatherers and we must move; we are not meant to sit for lengthy periods.
Strengthening the body
Pilates is the first thing I recommend to people. It helps you develop a strong core, strong muscles, tendons and leaner body. If you attend mat classes you can learn the routines over time and then practise at home at your leisure. Even half an hour three to four times a week at home will maintain core strength and help reshape your body.
Yoga is another excellent body strengthener. Do take care of the type of yoga you learn and make sure you discuss with your tutor any injuries or weaknesses you may. I have treated some people over time with injuries from attending large yoga classes where the instructor has less time to observe how you conduct the poses, contrary to Pilates. Some yoga poses are not suitable for anyone with a sway back, for instance.
Some older people or those recovering from injuries may wish to practise Tai Chi, which is gentle and flowing and helps with mental clarity and balance, as do Pilates and yoga.
Next month we'll look at other ways in which we can age gracefully and healthily.
Lyn Craven is a Practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy and Energy/Reiki Therapist and Corporate Health Consultant. Lyn has written articles on a variety of topics and runs a private practice located in Bondi, Sydney. Lyn has recently created a Meditation CD for Anxiety, Stress and Self Healing. She can be contacted on 0403 231 804 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyn Craven is a practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki therapist, meditation teacher and Corporate Health Consultant. She is also a health researcher/writer and has produced a meditation CD assisting people to manage anxiety and stress. She runs a private practice in Sydney and can be contacted on +61403 231 804