How Do You Stay Healthy?

How Do You Stay Healthy With Dr. Kate

Husband and daughter making pasta

Are you confused by all of the seemingly conflicted nutritional advice out there? I know I am, and I’m a doctor. I actively seek out nutritional information and for the most part feel like I am well informed. Yet I still question my food choices. Both what I chose to eat for myself and my family but also what I recommend to patients.

I make note of being doctor although medical education regarding diet and nutrition is exceptionally poor. In four years of medical school, I had one half-day of instruction on nutrition and seven questions on an exam. I did get those seven questions 100% correct, but that was almost 20 years ago now, and nutrition advice has evolved since then.

I found nutrition information fascinating then, and I still do now.

Everywhere you look, a different expert is proclaiming a specific way of eating as the best way, the only way.

I think there are many approaches to a healthy diet and what works for one person may not work for the next. So, I try not to overthink it.

As Michael Pollan says, eat real food, mostly plants, not too much. As long as I eat real food, I think the particular choices may not be as important. For me, I think a plant based diet makes the most sense and is the most sustainable. But does that mean I should be entirely vegan? I don’t think so.Healthy Breast Cancer Diet Part of Healthy Lifestyle

Certainly a healthy diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Scientific research says four health behaviors, which are a wholesome diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, have an enormous impact on health and longevity. If you can maintain those four behaviors, you will be able to avoid up to 80% of chronic disease, adding both years to life as well as more active and enjoyable life to those years.

There is an incredible study going on at Harvard, called the Harvard study of adult development. It started in the 1930s and is still going on today more than 75 years later. It followed 724 men from two very different backgrounds. One group was composed of Harvard students, and the other was poor, underprivileged, boys from Boston’s inner-city.

Some of the original participants are still alive today in their 90s, and the study is now following the children from the initial group. This study tracked these men interviewing them, reviewing their medical records, talking to their wives and families to determine what factors resulted in health, happiness, and longevity. It wasn’t money, success or a healthy cholesterol level at age 50 that best predicted good health and happiness at age 80. Instead, it was how satisfied the men were with their relationships. Being more socially connected to family, friends, and community led to happier, healthier people who lived longer. Robert Waldinger is the current director of the study; you can listen to his TED talk here. 

Family, friends and community for a happier healthier lifeAnother example of the remarkable power of relationships and community on health and longevity is known as the Roseto effect. Roseto is a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In the 1960s, a local doctor realized there was an exceptionally low rate of heart disease in Roseto -virtually non-existent- compared to some of the surrounding towns.

The inhabitants smoked cigars, drank lots of wine, ate meatballs, sausage, and plenty of cheese, while being exposed to potentially toxic gasses and dust in the slate quarries, not exactly the usual recipe for good health.

However, the community was very close knit. The was no crime; people supported each other, meals were a reason to get together and celebrate. There was a strong work ethic with everyone in town working toward a similar goal, a better life for their children. Their children did go on to have more material things and traditional success but not necessarily a better life. As the supportive community began to break down the rates of heart disease and premature death increased, equalling the rates of the surrounding towns.

And, of course, there is the Mediterranean diet with its associated health benefits. People living near the Mediterranean Sea live longer and healthier lives than in other parts of the world. Their diet is often promoted as being one of the healthiest. It consists primarily of real food – fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, olive oil, and even some red wine.Mediterranean Diet Associated With Health Benefits

But it’s not just the diet that results in exceptional health and longevity; it’s the lifestyle. People eat well, savor and enjoy their food. They are social and connected to their community. They spend time outside, moving, engaged in activity that they enjoy. A British cardiologist, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, is making a film about Pioppi, Italy called the Pioppi protocol. Pioppi is on the Mediterranean, and it’s inhabitants are among the world’s healthiest, often living into their 90s. In his film, Dr. Malhotra contends that it is the Mediterranean lifestyle, not just the diet that cultivates good health.

I say this not because diet is unimportant. Healthy food choices are essential for healthy living. The better I eat, the better I feel. And of course, science confirms the relationship between healthy food, normal weight and good health. I remind myself of these examples so that I don’t get too hung up on my particular food choices.

Diet and exercise are what usually come to mind when people think of healthy lifestyles. But, there is more to it than that. Harvard’s study of adult development, Roseto, Pennsylvania and Pioppi, Italy are good reminders of the other important contributors to healthy living.

If healthy, supportive relationships can offset some of the known detrimental effects of poor lifestyle choices like smoking cigars and eating a lot of meat and cheese as illustrated by the Roseto effect, imagine what they could do for someone who does eat well.

I eat well most of the time because I feel better when I do. But, I indulge. And when I find myself obsessing over minor details I remind myself of the bigger picture. There is more than one way to take care of yourself, which in addition to eating well and exercising includes stress reduction, plenty of sleep, and nurturing your relationships. Within and between each of these categories, there is give and take. Some days the good work I do in one category may make up for a subpar performance in another. But I strive to reach a minimum goal in each group every day.

I put together a daily wellness checklist to remind, motivate and inspire me to achieve within each of these areas. Click here if you’d like a copy. It helps me to stay on track and gives me a little win when I check off an activity as completed.

Dr. Kate KilloranDr. Kate Killoran is a board-certified OB/GYN with 15+ years of clinical experience and a breast cancer survivor. Medical school, residency, and clinical practice educated her thoroughly about disease. What her medical education failed to teach her was how to be healthy and well. This she learned from her breast cancer diagnosis.

She practices what she preaches using her knowledge of health, wellness, and disease to help other women be healthy, happy, and well. She sees patients both in her office in beautiful Camden, Maine as well as online at www.drkatemd.com.

For more information or if you’d like to contact Dr. Kate, please visit drkatemd.com.

Expanding Lung Capacity

Expand Lung Capacity For Breast Cancer Recovery

By Ma Mokshapriya Shakti Ph.D. E-RYT & Co-Founder of Yoga Teachers Training Institute

By manipulating the breath, yoga believes that we develop control over our inner body and mind. 
Each element of the breath, inhalation or poorak, exhalation or rechak, and retention or kumbak can be controlled in various ways. Primarily we would like to control the duration and depth of each. In this session we will explore viloma praanayam. Viloma extends our breathing capacity. Please note that in all yoga breathing there should not be any strain. We start slowly and increase with practice.

Healing our physical, mental and spiritual body is a full time effort. We might as well “Just Do It,” because the alternative is suffering. So please set aside some time for these breathing practices. Results come slowly, but they come.

In viloma the breath is interrupted by several pauses, either in inhalation or exhalation or both.

Pause in Inhalation
You can sit up straight in a chair or lie down in shavasan. Relax the whole body and breath in for 2 counts, pause for 2 counts, inhale for 2 counts, pause for 2 counts and continue until the lungs are filled. Then exhale slowly. It is like climbing up the stairs, and then sliding down slowly. As you practice this, the number of stairs begin to increase. You can also increase the counts. Remember there should not be any strain. As the lung capacity increases you will also notice the breathing techniques becoming longer and more subtle. Practice 3 rounds to begin with and eventually increase to eleven rounds. Breathe normally after.

Pause in Exhalation
Take a full inhalation and exhale for 2 counts and pause for 2 counts, exhale for 2 counts and pause for 2 counts, continue until the lungs are completely empty. Practice 3 rounds to begin with and eventually increase to eleven rounds. Breathe normally after.

Pause in both Inhalation and Exhalation
In this technique we combine both. You pause during inhalation and your pause during exhalation. Try to make each equal.

There are many more breathing techniques, these are a healthy way to start. Also investigate Diana’s CD, Breath for Health and Recovery. Breath is only one way to gather more praana. It is the fastest way.

Praana or vital energy is separate from breath. They are molecules that attach to oxygen. Therefore we need to become aware of the intake of oxygenated food and water. Bottled water has lost its praana. It is better to filter the water. But if you cannot, allow the water to flow through the air into the glass to put a “praanic head” on it. Eating fresh food like salad and fruits gives us praana from mother nature. Once the food is cooked, chewing thoroughly increases the praana in the food.

No matter how well we eat, how many breathing exercises we do, our mind and emotions are the most important ingredient. As mentioned before, if we are happy we have more energy. If we are depressed our energy is depleted. So we need to really work on maintaining a balanced mental, emotional and spiritual body. This becomes very difficult when we are faced with devastating diseases.

Trust in God is very important. But during these devastating times, we usually ask “why has this happened to me?” Remember that a dis-ease starts in the emotional body. Our suppressed emotions, our anxieties and tensions all contribute. These may not even come from this lifetime. Any disease or even any physical discomfort requires us to make lifestyle changes. If we are willing to change we have a chance of recovery.

I am a firm believer in the healing power of prayer. But we must believe that we deserve it. Through the many years of teaching yoga, and spiritual guidance I have seen one simple technique to be most beneficial. It is simple and just requires us to be consistent. Even consistency becomes difficult. When we begin to feel better, sometimes we sabotage the effort. Therefore I need to remind you that you are a spiritual being having a human experience. As a spiritual being you deserve to manifest health and abundance.

The simple technique is the power of gratitude. Every morning, get up and write down 10 things that you are grateful for. If you have a hard time to find 10 items, remember that you can be grateful for having a more comfortable life like hot water, shoes etc. that many people on this planet do not have. After writing this daily for about a month, you can start doing it within your mind and only write it once a week. That once a week is important and should become a habit for life.

Being thankful is a prayer and is very powerful. That power translates to manifesting positive energy rather than our constant negative chatter; which manifests negativity. We are very powerful beings, we are made in the image of the devine.

I would like to thank you for allowing me to talk to you during this difficult time. If you have any questions, or would like further information you can e-mail me at info@teachyoga.org.
With Love and Respect
Ma Mokshapriya

MokshaPriya Breast Cancer Authority Blog ContributorMokshapriya is ordained as Swami Ma Mokshapriya Shakti Saraswati and has taught yoga, meditation and philosophy for over 40 years. She currently teaches and gives guidance in Queens NY at the Yogashakti Yoga Center. She is the co-founder of the Yoga Teachers Training Institute and has trained over 250 yoga teachers in Long Island and New York. Mokshapriya has a Ph.D.in Education by researching and writing a “Comprehensive Eclectic Yoga Program: A Strategy for Self-Improvement” Curriculum for College. She is very direct, but approachable. You may contact her at info@teachyoga.org or www.teachyoga.org.
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Side Child & Side Child Twist Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Yoga's Side Child Yoga Pose

Side Child Yoga Pose

By Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga

You will love this Side Child and Side Child Twist yoga pose for breast cancer.  Deep relaxation is a definite result of these well supported poses. It relieves anxiety and promotes well-being while balancing the healing response of the autonomic nervous system.

Benefits

  • Promotes supported relaxation for general health benefits.
  • Relieves anxiety and promotes well-being
  • Facilitates parasympathetic healing response
  • Reduces strain on sacroiliac joints

Instructions – Side Child

  1. Begin on back and roll onto right side with hips parallel to knees
  2. Bend upper knee and place support under upper knee/inner thighs, and keep lower leg extended. Make sure leg is level with hip.
  3. Upper arm should be resting on bolster or blankets. Make sure that shoulder arm and hand are level. Lower arm extends straight out by side. A blanket is place under torso for warmth and comfort.
  4. Head and neck aligned with pillow under ear. Don’t let the head dip down. It should feel very comfortable
  5. Close eyes and just rest.
  6. Prepare for the twist.
Side Child Twist Yoga Pose

Side Child Twist

Instruction – Side Child Twist

  1. When ready to deepen draw the left shoulder back onto prop.
  2. Head is facing upwards.
  3. Relax deeply and allow the mind to settle down.
  4. Enjoy each breath.
  5. Stay in this pose for at least 5/10 minutes.
  6. Enjoy the deep letting go that happens in this pose.
  7. Repeat both poses on other side.

To experience the benefits of yoga for breast cancer, it is essential that you begin with simple, gentle yoga movements. You should also consult a doctor before you begin practicing yoga. It is also necessary that you follow a yogic diet that consists of a mainly vegetarian diet to enhance the benefits of yoga.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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