By Stephanie Arata, FMCHC and Michael Arata, MD —
We are in the middle of a chronic illness pandemic. You or someone you know is most likely struggling with a chronic condition for which modern medicine has no cure, let alone treatments that do more than manage symptoms. Despite the technological advances of modern medicine, a host of diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, autoimmunity and Alzheimer’s, are more prevalent than ever. That’s because approximately three-quarters of these conditions are a result of lifestyle. In other words, most illness stems from the daily choices we make. Change your lifestyle and you’ll start controlling your own health.
When should you start? How about now. Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to feel great, prevent disease, promote longevity and even reverse chronic illness. Getting there means you’ve supported building healthy, active mitochondria and a flourishing gut microbiome. Mitochondria, after all, are structures inside our cells that produce energy. The microbiome, in turn, represents all the genetic diversity in or on our bodies, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. These two systems play off each other, fueled by information from their environment that comes in the form of our food choices, physical activities, emotions, thoughts, and even our relationships with other humans.
Ultimately healthy lifestyles also stem from optimal signaling and reinforcing productive life cycles.
Think about it. Every living thing responds to stimuli. You can yell at a rock all day and it’s not going to move. Yell at a person for 24 hours and chances are they’ll respond. Our bodies are also highly responsive. What we eat and our daily connection to pleasurable or troublesome events sends signals that can enhance or degrade our health.
This is one reason we focus on eating plants. They provide a diverse array of signals. The breadth of phytonutrients is deep and its signaling potential is amplified by the benefits of plant fiber and resistant starch. These two substances are not found in meat. They not only promote healthy microbes but also serve as precursors for short-chain fatty acids, which have potent healing signals for the body. Meat, by the way, isn’t bad. It’s nutrition rich, but has nowhere near the nutrient diversity of plants.
Reinforcing the body’s cycles is also critical to a healthy life. Most physiologic processes, in fact, are cyclic in nature even if we don’t always perceive them. Our sleep/wake cycle is one example of a pattern that follows the circadian or sun’s rhythm. We work best, for example, when our sleep cycle follows the circadian rhythm. Eating is another cycle. We eat food, digest it and excrete it, and then do it again. Prior to modern conveniences, like refrigeration, diets we’re more cyclic in nature, varying on geography and the time of year. Optimal function depends on varied signals, which includes not only food type but its quantity or even periods without food. We believe periods of fasting, increased carbohydrates consumption and even meat-ups can be beneficial cycles.
There are, of course, many other factors that need to be embraced for a long-standing healthy lifestyle. These include:
- Mindfulness & Meditation: Developing a solid awareness of what’s going on in your body.
- Identifying & Eliminating Obstacles: Plan for what could go wrong.
- Eating More Plants: Not at the expense of other foods but in addition to them.
- Fasting: Periodic detoxing is essential to your health.
- Ketogenic Eating: The ketones produced are an excellent fuel source with potent signaling effects.
- Meaningful Movement: Exercise has often been described as the ultimate medicine.
Ultimately, a healthy life is both a journey and a goal. And the time to start is now.
About Stephanie Arata & Michael Arata
Stephanie Arata and Dr. Michael Arata are a potent team of health and wellness specialists who are dedicated to a holistic approach to care and treatment that generates long-term solutions for their patients. Ms. Arata is a registered yoga teacher, a certified functional medicine coach as well as a certified coach of the Metagenics Lifestyle Medicine Program. Dr. Arata is a specialist in interventional radiology as well as holding certificates in lifestyle, integrative, functional and obesity medicine. Dr. Arata is also certified in T. Collin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition. Together Ms. Arata and Dr. Arata have created Keto With Plants wellness programs and are about to release the second edition of their Keto With Plants book.
Please visit Ketowithplants.com to learn more.