Healthy lifestyle also means healthy diet

By Penelope A. Domogo, MD


“ The right attitude, proper diet and enough exercise – that’s a healthy lifestyle.”
“ I wrote the above in October 2009 after typhoon Pepeng caused a massive landslide in Kayan East, Tadian, claiming 40 lives, causing so much trauma and damaging so much property. ”

The common notion of healthy lifestyle is exercise. In our yearly search for healthy places in Mountain Province, we visit a lot of schools and local government units and we ask them about their program on healthy lifestyle and they reply “Oh yes, we have zumba or hataw every flag ceremony.” You walk to office and you tend your farm once a week and you think you already have a healthy lifestyle. Right? Bataan has zumba three times a week early in the morning where we had the good fortune to participate. Well, dear brothers and sisters, healthy lifestyle is NOT only about doing zumba or hataw.
I repeat, healthy lifestyle is not ONLY about doing exercise. Healthy lifestyle is what Mayor Domogan always says in his opening remarks during health events. It is about DEA. May I rearrange and say ADE – attitude, diet and exercise. “Attitude”, for me, is the most important component of a healthy lifestyle. Attitude reflects your beliefs. Do you believe that we were created by a super-loving God who provides for all our needs? Do you believe that our life is a gift from God and so we should take care of this gift? Who do you think is responsible for your health? Is it okay with you to eat anything, anyway, there are medicines and hospitals? Do you think government should give you free medicines for your high blood pressure or diabetes even if you know that these diseases were caused by your undisciplined eating? Or do you believe that your health is your responsibility? Attitude, attitude. Very important. If you have the right attitude regarding your life, your behavior and your health then it is easier to tackle the other two components of healthy lifestyle, D & E.
“D” for diet. Experts all over the world agree that the best diet is plant-based and eaten closest to its natural state. Meaning that if you eat camote, it is best to eat it raw or boiled. Frying it or adding sugar or butter will devalue it. Take note, adding sugar or milk does not add value, in fact, it devalues it because the refined sugar makes the blood acidic and that is not healthy. So sugared chips should not have VAT because there is no nutrient value added, just additional expenses. Refined sugar is empty calories.
If you have the right attitude, coupled with the right knowledge about food, then it is easy to eat well. It is not necessary that you memorize the nutrient content of every food because there are a thousand foods and you’ll get crazy memorizing how many grams calcium saluyot contains or how many grams iron kalunay contains. Besides our gadgets, although modern, are not sophisticated enough to identify the millions of components in a grain of rice or camote and in all the other plants or animals. I think the right attitude is also termed common sense. If you believe the Universe and all that is in it was created by a Supreme Being which Christians call God, then would you also believe that he created our food? If you believe that He is a loving Father, then common sense will tell you that He created and provided all that we need- food, drink, shelter, clothing, emotions, senses, love, hope and faith.
Our Loving Creator provided us everything we need to eat and drink in the Garden of Eden. Walang plastic, lata at botelya sa Garden of Eden. So as I said earlier, you don’t have to memorize the nutrients of the various plants- just believe that God created those plants with all the vitamins and minerals in the right combination and in the right dose. The right diet is from the Garden of Eden- organic, fresh as much as possible, in season.
“E” for exercise. Exercise does not only mean zumba or hataw or jogging. Housework and farm work is a lot of physical exercise so please let us not tell the farmer to do zumba to have exercise. Marami na siyang exercise. Further, doing intense physical activity once a week is not enough. Health experts recommend you have at least 30 minutes moderate physical exercise like brisk walking or “menbeswag” (till the garden or “um-a”) everyday. They also say that 30 minutes is not enough if you spend a lot of time sitting down. So this means that office workers need to have more than 30 minutes moderate exercise daily. The gold standard, of course, is our forefathers – they were physically active all throughout the day. So even if you work in the office, you decide to walk to the office, take time to go out and breath fresh air, do an errand yourself, walk to the person instead of texting or calling, etc. We have to move those joints and muscles because that is the design of our Creator. He gave us bones, joints and muscles for mobility, not just for sitting in a car, in a jeep or in a tricycle.
The right attitude, proper diet and enough exercise – that’s a healthy lifestyle.***
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“Everything is permissible for me- but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

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