In a culture inundated with health reporting it’s easy to feel like your head is spinning. What advice should you follow and what do you reject? For guidance on how to start a healthy lifestyle in 2016 I built an exclusive Rewire Me virtual panel of experts: New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Heidi Hanna; Radio Host, Founder and CEO of WCubed, Inc., Dr. Sandra Malhotra; and Holistic Life Coach, Fitness Trainer and Health Consultant, Debbie Sherrick. Their advice about where to focus is simple, practical and easy-to-implement.
First, Rewire Me asked the panel what they observed as the top health trends/advice in 2015:
HANNA: I think the most talked about “trends” in 2015 were bacon, kale, juicing, fasting, high intensity interval training (HIIT), health-tracking devices, mindfulness, meditation, happiness and stress.
MALHOTRA: I was pleased to see the pillars tumble from under two big nutrition hypotheses: the Diet-Heart Hypothesis, which supposed a correlation between dietary saturated fat and heart disease, and the Lipid Hypothesis, that supposed a correlation between blood serum cholesterol and heart disease. Both of these hypotheses have recently been completely debunked but for decades contributed to the low-fat craze which resulted in the removal of healthy fats from our diet and an emphasis on foods high in carbohydrates and sugar. This is the first time that humans chose to eat in this fashion and chronic disease and obesity increased dramatically. Although correlation does not prove causation, this trend should be cause for concern.
SHERRICK: The top trends I noticed were discussions around environmental toxins (including what is used on foods, chemtrails, etc.), the harmful effects of fluoride, food choices (GMOs, farmed fish, pesticides, hormones and added antibiotics), lack of movement and exercise, plus nutritional deficiency and the need to supplement.
Second, we asked which of these trends were most important to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle:
HANNA: I think we will continue paying a lot of attention to 1) digital health trackers, and how they can be incorporated more holistically with healthcare, compliance, and accountability, 2) personalized nutrition, 3) brain training, 4) HIIT focusing more on the interval nature of exercise being best for the heart and brain; shorter duration, higher intensity when possible, and 5) meditation moving in the area similar to fitness training where people get the benefit of shorter sessions spread out over the day.
MALHOTRA: Another great development in 2015 was the increased emphasis on the role that epigenetics plays in our health. Thought your genes and health were etched in stone because certain traits “run in your family”? I was fascinated to learn that it is not. As Dr. Perlmutter explains in Grain Brain, we’re living a life that’s not suited to what we’re genetically supposed to do. The diseases that we see nowadays are largely brought on by our lifestyle not being in harmony with our genetic predisposition. But we can change this and return our DNA back to its original programming. Better yet, we can reprogram some of our DNA to function even more advantageously.
SHERRICK: I think a major beneficial focus is toxicity and how many diseases are caused by what we allow into our country through foods, products, sprays, etc. We are not only a toxic nation environmentally and with foods; we are a toxic nation emotionally. People do not deal with unresolved anger, resentments and stress, plus they have no mind/body connection.
Finally, we invited each expert to suggest her personal 2016 wellness tip:
HANNA: It’s critical to manage energy more effectively in order to have sustainable health and performance. This is done by creating a better oscillation pattern/rhythm that enables us to tolerate the inevitable stress of life because we incorporate adequate recovery using techniques such as consistent relaxation, meditation, music, nature, humor and play.
MALHOTRA: Focus on your gut health and your gut microbiome. If this term is new to you, here is a good definition: Gut microbiota (also called gut flora) is the microbe population living in your intestine. It contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1,000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes). Microbiota can, in total, weigh up to 2kg. One third of our gut microbiota is common to most people while two thirds are specific to each one of us. In other words, the microbiota in your intestine is like an individual identity card. Your gut is obviously responsible for digestion. Additionally, greater than 70% of your immunity resides in your gut.
SHERRICK: Cleanse your body of toxins several times a year with a deep cellular cleanse. Take a good D3 (especially for immune system) and eat quality organic foods. Get educated about your foods and what you are putting in your body; take responsibility for your health. Know that there are other alternatives than taking a pharmaceutical pill for symptoms. Our bodies were meant to heal themselves if given the proper nutrition. And if you want to stay young and independent, move your body with exercise at least 5 times a week!