For Maximum Health, Pay Attention to Two Things

I read something yesterday that I thought you might appreciate. It’s a way of thinking about health — a two-pronged approach to staying healthy that comes from naturopathy, a healing system postulating that disease occurs when one of the body’s basic functions breaks down. Two of the body’s most basic functions are digestion and elimination — eating and, well, you know.

The basic idea is this:
If you give your body what it really needs and help it eliminate toxins, you will be and stay healthy. You will increase your vitality, reduce your chances of getting sick, and rid yourself of any physical problems you currently have. It’s hard to disagree with this in theory.
After all, what could affect a natural organism more than what that organism takes into itself for fuel? And who wouldn’t want to rid his body of poisons? How good are you at following this simple, two-part program? What about your input? Do you consume good stuff or are you filling yourself full of toxic crap? From what I’ve read, I believe that sugar is the single greatest “input” problem modern eaters have.
Refined sugar is omnipresent. It’s in cakes, cookies, and candies, of course, but it’s also in fruits, fruit juices, canned goods (including, sometimes, vegetables and meats), packaged goods, medicines, etc. Starches — and particularly refined carbohydrates — are also poison. Yet government and medical health professionals recommend we eat this junk four or five times a day. Chemicals and chemically infused animal products are also ubiquitous and harmful. Yet they are hardly talked about in the health media. I asked Dr. Al Sears for some tips for better digestion and elimination.
Here’s what he said:
1. Chew your food well before swallowing. Chewing is the first step in digestion. When you gulp your food, you unnecessarily reduce the efficiency of digestion.
2. Minimize your intake of refined, processed foods. These man-made concoctions are alien to your digestive system. The human body is remarkably adaptable and will often find a way to derive energy. But, over time, the adaptation itself can have untoward consequences. Many processed foods also have preservatives. The problem is that the same substances that retard spoiling retard digestion as well.
3. For elimination, the most important thing you can do is exercise regularly. Exercise is nature’s most powerful cathartic.
4. Try an occasional fast. A one- to three-day juice or water-only fast can give your digestive system a break and help eliminate toxins.
5. Herbs can help. For aiding digestion, my favorite is cascara sagrada. It is made from the bark of a tree that grows in the Northwest. One ounce of fluid extract in a glass of pineapple juice after dinner is an excellent treatment for chronic constipation, dyspepsia, and indigestion. For aiding elimination, my choice is a weed-like herb called milk thistle. One 300-mg capsule taken three times a day for a week can detoxify and rejuvenate the liver.
6. Practice “contemplative eating.” Try to break the habit of eating while watching television or reading. Think about eating while you eat. Not only will you better enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures, but focusing your attention also aids in initiating the process of digestion.
How do you know you’re getting the best steaks? That’s the question Wine Spectator answered in a recent issue. Here’s what the magazine had to say:
* The USDA and most steak connoisseurs grade steaks on the amount of fat or marbling it has. The more fat, the more flavor, tenderness, and juiciness.
* Prime is the highest grade for beef. (Less than 4% of beef achieves this high grade.) Choice is the next highest grade. Black Angus is a popular steak that is generally graded choice.
* Aging is important too. There are two types of aging: dry and wet. Dry-aged beef is generally preferred and costs more, because up to 25% of the meat’s weight is lost during the three- to seven-week process.
* Most meat lovers rate New York strip loin steaks and rib steaks as the best. Rib steaks are slightly fattier. Order these cuts, if possible, attached to the bone. Filet mignon, a cut that novices tend to rate highest, is considerably less tasty than either strip loin or rib steaks.
* To make the most of your steak, Wine Spectator recommends that you remove it from the wrapper and leave it at room temperature for an hour before grilling. Season with kosher salt and cracked pepper and give it a light rub with olive oil.
* To get the right char on the outside and pinkness on the inside, strip and rib steaks should be at least 1-1/2 inches thick.
* Cook to an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
You are unhappy with the way everyone is (or is not) working. People are coming in late, leaving early, and doing a half-assed job. It’s a moral plague of some sort. You wonder if there is something wrong with the office’s air-handling system. What you may be tempted to do — but shouldn’t — is call everybody together for a group criticism. Although it may seem like an efficient way to deal with the “problem,” you will only succeed in getting everyone mustered up against you and your concerns.
Much better to schedule private, one-on-one conversations with key individuals — people with power and influence — and have the group meeting simply to reestablish goals and remind your staff of the benefits of achieving them. Keep the group meeting short and positive. Make the individual critiques detailed and specific.
One secret to getting your employees to act in certain desired ways is to reciprocate. If you want them to be passionate, be passionate. If you want them to be honest with you, tell them the truth. If you want them to work hard on corporate goals, make sure your working agenda isn’t personal.
[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]