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Health and wellness are not difficult to achieve and maintain but they are also not gained overnight. With all the fads from different diets to types of exercise, however, I can see how it can get confusing. Getting healthy and staying healthy are not as out of reach if you look at health as having three pillars of structure, nutrition, and emotions to stand on. Let’s focus on the structure of health!!

What Does It Mean To Be Healthy?

Health is much more than having no signs or symptoms of pain or disease. That’s similar to you thinking being happy means not being sad or being alive means not being dead! Health does not come with being content with a mediocre-at-best attitude.

Being healthy requires a balance between structure, nutrition, and emotions. Emotional issues can present themselves in the structure of our bodies. Nutritional imbalances have an effect on mood and emotions. Structural deficiencies play a role in things like anxiety, which we’ll discuss in the breathing section below. We’ve heard all these things before, yet when pursuing health and wellness, most people only focus on one or the other and that’s where things fall short. 

What Are Some Healthy Eating Tips?

It seems like there is a new fad diet every month, don’t you agree? First, you hear a ketogenic diet is the best, then that it’s not good for you! Why not just take all the guesswork out of knowing what you should and shouldn’t eat? The truth is that no two people are the same 100%. So what works for someone and produces amazing results, does not mean that it will work the same for another. So how do you know what food is right for you? 

Here’s the answer in a short story, so bear with me: In the old days, people did not travel, and food from other parts of the world were NOT brought to us. Our environment provided support to sustain our existence. Any issues with a person not compatible with THAT environment meant the person would die and not pass on the genes to the offspring! The PROBLEM started happening when we started traveling and food from other parts of the world came to us. Now all of a sudden someone in the Middle East was introduced to avocado or Europeans would have soy! Do you get the picture? Now we have access to food sources from all over the world and now we have all these sensitivities, people eat what is believed to be healthy food and still gain weight which does not necessarily mean overeating. Businesses and industries gain profit from this created havoc.

I first learned about Metabolic typing when I was searching for the answer. Metabolic Typing recognizes that beneficial food for one person may not be the right ‘fuel’ for another so the focus is on finding out the biochemistry of the individual. It has to do with our genes and how we process/burn foods. It’s based on how those genes were fully compatible with the food resources that our environment provided a long, long time ago. We all burn food to create energy and what controls this is our own BIOCHEMISTRY. So if we can find out which BIOCHEMICAL series of events control YOUR food processing and conversation into energy, and know that THAT specific BIOCHEMICAL series needs to do better, then we can find out what you need to eat. THAT IS COMMON SENSE supported by SCIENCE.

We can learn this information through pages of questions that determine what YOUR controlling system in burning food to energy is. This is not a blood workup. Strategic questions are asked- 27 pages of them- to find out what controlling system runs your ‘engine’. By the time you finish answering these questions, you will learn things about yourself you never thought of before. It’s sort of like finding out if your car needs diesel, gas, regular unleaded, or premium. We can help you find out which fuel is optimum for your particular metabolism so you know what to eat to energize your body!

The Healthiest Investment You Can Make

The best definitions of health I have heard were always given to me by the sickest of my patients. It is them that know the true value of health and how there is no price tag for health. After all, if you think you can’t afford what it takes to be healthy, I hope you never find out how much it costs to be sick! 

Healthcare is really not for healthy people. Healthcare in the U.S is really more like sick care. To me, healthcare should be preventative measures so you never get to the point of needing sick care. Let’s look at some basic facts about the human body. This is not to make you become an anatomist or a physiologist but just as you know some basic information about your cellphone, there is some basic information you need to know about your own body!

Your controlling system, the master coordinator is the brain and nervous system. The brain gives the command which travels through the spinal cord to the nerves to every part of the body. Any interference with this communication leads to malfunction and dis-ease.

Health is in movement and not every movement is functional!! Just because you can go from point A to B does not mean that how you get there is based on how your body is designed to move. For the longest time when someone would injure their back, for example, medical doctors would recommend bed rest. Chiropractors were fully against that and frankly were laughed at by the Medical community. Thankfully the society has come to realize the value of movement. Where we lack is the lack of understanding of how not every movement is the same.

How to be Healthy Without Going to the Gym 

Let’s get this straight, you DO NOT need to go to the gym to be healthy. Honestly, going to the gym and working out with bad form is how most of my patients landed themselves in my office and how chronic issues of bones and muscles are created. Now don’t mistake not going to the gym for sitting all day! Functional movement is essential and the key to living a healthy life for longer, but the issue is that the majority of people are moving dysfunctionally. Let’s watch this video:

The dysfunction in movement is not over a short time; if your shoulders are rolled forward because your lifestyle dictated slouching, and then you go to the gym to do an overhead pull up or do the butterfly, for instance, the shoulder joint is not even in the right ‘ball and socket’ position like it is supposed to be at rest. What happens when the ‘ball’ part of your arm, sitting in the ‘socket’ part of the shoulder joint is more toward the front of the joint and now you are adding a load to it. No wonder frozen shoulders, and torn rotator cuffs are so common!

Shoulder joint (Ball and Socket)

Shoulder joint (Ball and Socket)

My recommended exercises for strengthening and stretching have to do with Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) which is a series of movements and principles that are based on how we all as babies development movement form rolling over to walking. 

Given that most people are using their bodies incorrectly, DNS is the best way to move and exercise in a functional manner that promotes good posture and proper muscle activation. Instead of going to the gym to workout, use the principles of DNS, and make everything you do an exercise. For instance, every time you sit down and stand up, when using the principles of DNS which happen to be 100% our ‘factory design’ movement patterns, you are conditioning the legs and glutes while stabilizing the torso. Check out this Functional Movement Playlist to get a better understand of what DNS is and why it’s the best option.

The foundation of all movement is proper breathing and that is breathing through the nose, not the mouth, and not something humans come up with but what babies all over the world automatically do. That is biological breathing!

Life Starts With Breathing, So Does Health

The first sign of life is that initial breath after being born, so we all know breathing is essential to our health, yet we hardly ever breathe effectively as babies do. Here are a few signs that you are breathing the WRONG way:

  • Shoulders rise and fall with breathing
  • Your stomach sucks in when you breathe
  • Neck muscles assist your breathing 
  • You breathe in and out of your mouth (yes, correcting breathing in AND out of the nose)

In the video below, the foundations of breathing are explained in detail:

Through lifestyle, we have developed pathological patterns of breathing, and it’s a health issue for multiple reasons:

  • Insufficient oxygenation impairs the proper function of the brain and all its functions including hormonal imbalance
  • Structurally, it creates increased neck tension (the front of the neck muscles assist in breathing)
  • Lack of stabilization in the torso because the vocal, abdominal, and pelvic diaphragm positions are compromised
  • Increased compression of the internal organs  (see below for explanation)

As explained in the video above, when you’re breathing biologically, the three diaphragms are at their designed and most optimal position, the increased inner abdominal pressure when breathing in, allows a gentle movement of the internal organs toward the pelvis and in breathing out, reverses this direction of movement. With biological breathing, the movement of the abdominal diaphragm in breathing in and out also pump the master lymphatic collection center into the blood system (bear in mind that your lymphatic system is another way the body detoxifies). Watch this Breathing Exercise to practice breathing in an ideal position.

Health Tips for Working from Home

With many people working from home and certainly behind the desk, people are hurting more than before. This has everything to do with the ergonomics of working with digital devices. If you sit behind a desk every day for 8+ hours, you’re going to have issues, but making the necessary adjustments give you a significantly better chance.

I’ve written many blogs and done a ton of videos on Ergonomics and invite you to check out these resources: Ergonomics Youtube Playlist and the checklist Ergonomics and Pain (great tips for working from home).

It is easy to get wrapped up with what is thrown at us and next thing you know, years go by, bad decisions are made that may not be reversible. Knowing that health is a process and not an event and that an overnight metamorphosis is not how it is, I suggest you make a decision to choose a healthier lifestyle, surround yourselves with actions, and people who are compatible with that decision, and use your resources online to start the process.

Dr. Shakib