Lifestyle is medicine

KchZaIz2QQ2arVpIokE+2A_thumb_267e

What if lifestyle were medicine? What if we could prevent almost 80% of chronic disease? What if the only thing we had to do was make the choice to eat well and move our bodies every day?

It is. We can. Let’s do it.

There is an overwhelming body of research indicating that most chronic diseases including, many cancers, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, may be prevented through lifestyle interventions. This concept is not new—the body of medical research supporting it goes back decades.

In 1993, The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published ‘The Actual Causes of Death’, data from approximately 20 years of research, showing that the prominent causes of death in the United States were the result of disease caused by smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. In 2004, this finding remained the same with smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise at the top of the list. But, the gap between smoking (18.1% of deaths) and poor diet and/or lack of physical activity  (16.6% of deaths) had narrowed. There’s no denying that disease is an effect of poor lifestyle choices.

JAMA also published a study demonstrating that there is a 78% lower risk of developing chronic disease—type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and many cancers (at least 13 types)—when we don’t smoke, aren’t overweight (BMI less than 30), eat well (high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and some meat), and are physically active (3.5 hours/week). A 78% decrease in developing chronic disease through lifestyle—that’s dramatic and an inspiration to be curious about wellness.

Yet, here we are, with more than 37% of American adults and 17% of youth 2-19 years old obese. This translates into over $150 million dollars a year in health care costs. Effectively, we are making ourselves sick through poor nutrition, lack of physical exercise, and smoking.

Let’s avoid seeking medical intervention when we are already ill and be more curious about how we can prevent illness with lifestyle medicine.

How do we do this? Every day, we have so many opportunities to eat well or to eat poorly, to exercise, whether that be going for a walk or taking a spin class, or to not exercise. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or pretzels, grab an apple, some carrots and hummus or other real food. Go for a walk during lunch break at work, dance around the room, or stream a workout video at home (there are many low cost and free options). Making these changes permanent is certainly not easy, but it’s worth it for yourself and for your family.

We can’t afford to do nothing about our wellness. Lifestyle medicine is the best medicine we can ever create and we already have access to it.

wellness services

  • Introductory consultation to discuss goals and health history
  • Customized. individualized visual workout plan and stretches delivered via TrainWithMe app
  • Weekly video conference to discuss progress
  • Available for assistance developing nutritional plan
  • Available for assistance shopping for and preparing meals
  • Guidance with mindfulness meditation and mental training for competition

Background & experience

  • B.S. in biomedical engineering from Columbia University
  • Masters and PhD in biomedical sciences, focus on oncology and immunology, from New York University
  • 14+ years experience in medical research
  • 15+ years training as an athlete and fitness enthusiast

Let’s discuss how we can work together to improve wellness through lifestyle. Contact me at cultivatedcuriosity@gmail.com

 

Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers

Weeknight dinners need to be simply prepared and sometimes prepped ahead of time when we are busy with after school activities or trips to the park. These turkey burgers are a go-to weeknight meal for our family because you can prep them in a flash, set aside in the fridge to cook just before dinner, or prepare and take out on the go. The Ras El Hanout seasoning, a traditional warming Moroccan flavor, contains turmeric and clove, which are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and cumin, which aids digestion.  Enjoy!

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 12 min

Ingredients

  • 2 lb organic ground turkey meat
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp Ras El Hanout seasoning 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan 
  • 1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs
  • For serving: toasted wheat buns, spinach, tomato, mustard, ketchup 

Add ons:

  • finely chop 1/2 cup turkish figs for sweetness and add to burger mix
  • coarsely chop 1/2 almonds for added crunch and add to burger mix

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, eggs, finely diced onion, all seasonings, parmesan and panko.
  2. Mix until combined.
  3. Separate into 8 patties.
  4. Grill at 350-400 degrees or cook in large pan coated with olive oil at medium/high heat for approximately 5 min per side. Burgers should be firm when pressed with spatula to indicate meat is fully cooked.
  5. Serve over greens or on a toasted bun with tomato and your favorite condiments.
  6. Freeze extra burgers wrapped in foil and sealed in freezer bag.

Project: Make it rain

Project: Make it rain

“Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.” Miss Frizzle, the adventurous teacher from “The Magic School Bus,” said it best with these words. As a mom of two young children, I see firsthand how children naturally want to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. It’s important for us adults to encourage their exploration and not caution against it because it might make a mess. These projects don’t have to be complicated—they only require our excitement, attention, and a good dose of curiosity. 

All summer long, we’ve been reading “The Magic School Bus” books and enjoying some of the episodes on Netflix. These books, which are colorful and well-written explanations of topics ranging from how hurricanes form to how we fight infections, are an inspiration for simple at-home science projects. Below is a fun project that you can do with items you have readily available at home.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Tin can (from canned food)
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitt
  • Tea kettle
  • Stove
  • Bowl to catch “rain”

Instructions

  1. Boil water in tea kettle
  2. Add several ice cubes to tin can
  3. When water is boiling, hold tin can over steam that is coming from kettle with tongs and oven mitt
  4. Place bowl on counter under tin can
  5. As tin can heats and ice melts, watch rain droplets form on the bottom of tin can and catch them in the bowl

What’s happening?

As the water in the kettle is heated, it evaporates into vapor. The vapor (steam) escapes from the kettle and hits the cold ice-filled tin can held above it. This cools the steam causing the vapor to condense into water droplets, which then drip off the can into the bowl.