What you get out of life depends a great deal of what you bring to it. Your own health is a product of what you put into your body (food), and what you do with your body (activity). Moods strongly influence how much enjoyment you get out of life, and are strongly influenced by internal circumstances; sleep, exercise, diet, and the health of your gut. The gut contains the second brain; intuition, ‘gut feelings’, emotions like ‘butterflies’ are all due to the brain in your gut. The gut loves whole foods-foods that have a very short shelf life.  In other words, you want your food to decay within a few hours/days. Fermented foods are even better for the gut- yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, cheeses, pickled foods. Fermented foods actually mean the bacteria have done their work already breaking down the food. These are friendly bacteria, and this food requires less work (energy) for your gut to perform. Processed foods are a whole different matter- they require a lot of work because not only does your gut have to break them down and digest them, it also has to take out the toxic preservatives. A doctor friend of mine told me that “the more food you purchase with long shelf lives (processed foods) the shorter your own shelf life will be.” Bottom line: Be kind to your gut! Put loving foods in it. It will treat you better because it’s job is to keep you alive (survival). A good diet is an essential ingredient for improved health and vitality. Another equally important ingredient is exercise, like it or not. Exercise is what you do to make what you have to do in life easier, and allows you to retain more of your abilities for a longer period of time. If you currently don’t exercise, it’s time to get started. And, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Many who are not accustomed to exercise are afraid to start for different reasons. Some fear that they are not strong enough, too old, or are afraid to fail. Many have started and stopped several times, and there are others who just plain don’t like it. Over the years I have worked with individuals in all of these groups. The point is that the muscles were made to be used, and if they are allowed to stagnate, the whole body (including the brain) becomes sluggish.To motivate yourself to get started or to stay with exercise is simple but not easy. Dig within yourself-look yourself in the eyes and say this daily mantra (courtesy of Deepak Chopra). I acknowledge you, I accept you, I love you. If you love yourself, you certainly honor physical activity and a reasonable diet filled with whole foods.

Stay well, John R Billie, M.S.