Well and HappyPhysical Wellness

Physical wellness is a hugely important contributor to emotional wellness.  The human brain is a physical organ, just like the heart, and it needs appropriate fuel and consistent care to function properly. Though we often hear of "chemical imbalance" or other physical aspects of depression or emotional distress, we often do not consider the practicalities of how that physical malfunction might develop. Increasingly, we turn to the pill bottle for relief of symptoms, without considering practical, changeable lifestyle factors that might be contributing to those symptoms.

Increasing research indicates that brain function is affected by proper self-care (or neglect) as much as the heart or other organs.  The resources in this section will teach you the physical side of keeping yourself and your loved ones emotionally healthy.

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 Picking GrapesThe brain is a physical organ, just like the heart, lungs, or liver.   Not surprisingly, then, brain function can be impaired by the wrong diet - just as heart, lung, or liver problems can result directly from consuming the wrong substances.   And brain function can be enhanced - or even healed - by consistently eating the foods designed for optimal human health - just as physical illnesses, such as diabetis or heart disease, can often be turned around with a health-promoting diet. 

In an age of so many diverse opinions about health and nutrition, it can be difficult to know what to believe - what to eat or not eat.   Should you go "Paleo," eating only plant foods and a little grass-fed animal meat?  Or follow the plans of Dr. Dean Ornish and others, who have shown a low-fat vegeterian diet to be optimal for turning around otherwise terminal illnesses like heart disease?  Should you opt for the Atkins plan that suggests a meat-heavy diet for quick weight loss; or Weight-Watchers, with its portion-controlled sampling of all the food groups? Worst of all, should you follow the advice of the advertising world, consuming anything that tastes good, smells good, or looks good - regardless of its calory load, fat content, or nutritional quality?

These are our favorite books on building physical wellness:

        1. Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, Sexy, and Smart―Until You’re 80 and Beyond, by Chris Crawley and Henry Lodge
        2. RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be?, by Michael F. Roizon
        3. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death -- and Exercise Alone Won't, by Joan Vernikos
        4. The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and Learn the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More, by Michael Breus
        5. Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, by Joel Fuhrman
        6. Chris Beat Cancer: A Comprehensive Plan for Healing Naturally, by Chris Wark
        7. Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, by James A. Levine, MD

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For more books on additional topics, please visit our Best Books Catalog.

Radiant Brain, smallIn this medically-oriented age, the term “chemical imbalance” is often tossed around to describe the distress experienced by individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, or other emotional conditions. This, for many people, is a scary experience – to be diagnosed with a “chemical imbalance” of the brain.

Often, such a “diagnosis” adds to the sense of distress, powerlessness, and hopelessness that individual might already be suffering. Clients have at times said to me (as their counselor) “I’d rather be struggling with diabetis or heart disease or cancer than with this devastating brain disease!” Often, their fear of this “diagnosis” comes from watching the decades-long struggles of a parent or other loved one with a similar emotional challenge – who has perhaps taken medication for years but never really improved. Such clients fear that they might inevitably be destined to a similar miserable fate – and feel hopeless to stop the cycle.

However, after many decades of investigation, there is still no clear scientific evidence substantiating the “chemical imbalance theory” – nor is there any clear test or medical procedure to determine what is the nature or treatment needs of that particular “imbalance.” What has become very clear over decades of investigation, however, is that simple, everyday lifestyle decisions made by individuals and families affect, in a very direct and powerful way, the functioning and health of the human brain.

These are our favorite books on nutrition and diet, to promote physical and emotional wellness:

        1. Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, by Joel Fuhrman
        2. The Gabriel Method: The Revolutionary DIET-FREE Way to Totally Transform Your Body, by Jon Gabriel
        3. Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, by Mark Hyman
        4. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by Michael Moss

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For more books on additional topics, please visit our Best Books Catalog.


icon-pdf-(All in PDF format)

1) 5-Star Food Rating SystemIdentifies 5 levels of foods, from health-promoting to disease-promoting, to assist in personal diet planning.

2) 1 - Michael Greger Nutrition Summary;  2 - Joel Fuhrman Nutrition Summary Handouts summarizing the findings and recommendations of these two top weight loss and health promotion experts.

3 ) Circadian Rhythm and Sleep.  Outlining a daily protocol for planning rest and sleep on a schedule that is harmonious with natural patterns of sunlight.

4) Circadian Rhythm and Nutrition.   Outlining a daily 3-phase protocol for eating on a schedule that is harmonious with natural patterns of sunlight and its impact on digetion and processing of food.

5) Diet for Emotional Wellness. This one-page handout summarizes foods promoting emotional wellness with those that promote depression and other emotional disorders.

 

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Might Be Fat, Sick, and Depressed…

And What YOU Can Do to Fix It!  (PDF version here)

6 Fat Factors

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Phone: 801-598-4175

Email:  carrie@counselinglibrary.org
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