Publisher’s Note: This is the 3rd in a series of articles on health and well-being based on my own, sometimes harrowing experiences. I share them with you in hopes that some part of this will be helpful and that many of you can benefit from my follies and successes. To read Part 1, Click here. To read Part 2, Click here.
One close friend asked me recently, “Scot, you’ve been through these heart episodes, you have Type 2 diabetes, you have been challenged with neuropathy and other obstacles. What do you do to keep the pace that you keep? How do you do it all?”
When I decide to do something, my mantra is to be consistent and steady. When I decided to read the scriptures every day, for example, I made that commitment for my whole life. It has now been 555 months and 20 days (that’s 16,913 days)—I’ve never missed. When I commit to take meds or supplements, I never miss. Never.
In this very brief article I will share with you eight things I always do for my health—My eight secrets (but I’m perfectly willing to share)—all in trying to answer the question of my close friend.
One—Pray for Revelation
I pray every day for personal revelation that I might know the best things to do for my health and my body, because I know that the health of my body greatly affects my spirituality. Jesus Christ said, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.” (Luke 5:31) It’s interesting that the word used for sick in the Greek (kak-os’) also can mean “the rot is already in the wood.” And physician can be translated “healer of the physical and spiritual diseases.” Bingo. I need Him—that Healer. And the reference to “they that are whole” means, “they who are free from debilitation, incapacity or handicap—those who are functioning holistically and are in sound condition.” Hmmm. I think I fall into the sick category. So, put it all together and you might have a more fluid translation of Luke 5:31 as: “They who are without any debilitation need not the Healer of physical and spiritual diseases, but they who have rot already in their center—they need the Healer.” That sounds like an invitation to me personally! I turn to the great Healer every day and in my personal prayers I ask Him for insight and revelation into what I can do best to have wholeness and health in my body, mind and spirit. And He answers!
Two—Exercise 5 or 6 days a week (not 7) at least 45 minutes a day.
I remember so well doing a stress EKG soon after my heart attack almost 20 years ago. There were three cardiologists in the room monitoring me (since I was just in that stage of trying out my new stents). They started me at 2.5 MPH on the treadmill and I was going for about 5 minutes. Then they upped the speed to 4.0 MPH (that’s a 15-minute mile) and they set the incline to 2.0. I felt just fine. I kept going for about 4 more minutes. They then increased the speed to 6.0 and put the incline to 4.0. I had to go from a fast walk to a bit of a run. They had me do that for 2 or 3 minutes. Then they increased the speed to 7.5 and the incline to 6.5 or 7.0. I was going very hard for about 4 minutes and was really feeling it. At that moment, when I was going that hard, thinking I could go no further, the head cardiologist said to me, “This is the level I want you to exercise every day for 45 minutes a day the rest of your life.” I never forgot it.
Now, can I still do that level 20 years later? No. But I do hike, walk, cycle or jog 5 or 6 days a week for at least 45 minutes each time (usually 1 hour). Our home is at 5,115 feet elevation—so that is a good starting point. I often hike up to 6,000 feet elevation and back. Maurine and I hike together each time. If the weather is bad, we use our treadmill.
You can choose walking, biking, jogging, treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, a Stepmaster, swimming—something! Start by doing what you can do. Just choose anything you will enjoy and become consistent at it.
The Invitation has been given to rest on the Sabbath each week. Be gracious and accept His invitation. The Healer (His name in Aramaic literally means “the anointed life giver”) knows what He is doing. Trust Him. Rest that one day. The health blessings you seek will come.
Three—For Heaven’s Sake, Choose to Eat Wisely
I confess: Sometimes during the sacrament when I am silently reviewing my weaknesses and sins with my Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ (the Healer), I talk to Him about gluttony. I’m addicted to food. Yes, I know I have the added challenge of diabetes. I also don’t have the little switch in my brain that says, “You are full. Stop eating now.” If there is a flat of Hello Dollies or a tray of coconut macaroons, well, I have to come to the Lord again during the sacrament and review my weakness of gluttony that next Sunday. You may chuckle. I’m serious.
Diet is probably the biggest cause of all of our problems related to health. We live in a remarkable world where nutritional information is so easy to obtain. Choose wisely (this is an imperative—like Choose ye this day whom ye will serve…) what you are going to eat or what you are NOT going to eat. Look at your own physical condition and make some good and wise decisions. Don’t be a victim to food (trust me, I’ve sought the victim protection program for coconut macaroons from Wegman’s on the East Coast). If you’re diabetic like I am (I hate admitting it), then choose to not only stay off of refined sugar, stay away from fast-burning carbohydrates. This is not meant to be a lesson on what you already know.
I generally don’t think diets are very successful. But I think lifestyle changes can be absolutely remarkable. Be patient with your lifestyle change when it comes to diet and food. Don’t get mad at yourself when you “blow it.” And don’t think that you always have to start on a Monday or the 1st of the next month or even only in January. Just get up, dust yourself off, be kind to yourself and say, “Well, I can do better. And I will.”
I don’t choose to choose your diet for you. You and your spouse or your trusted friends can work together to figure things out. But I do implore you to choose to eat wisely. If you’re overweight (we all know who we are) then choose to start getting the unhealthy weight off of yourself. Again, be kind to yourself. Be patient. Be steady. Stop buying a king-sized Snicker bar (or Butterfinger or KitKat) every time you pass Seven Eleven. If you’re drinking 64 ounces of Cola a week (or a day), then start backing off. Apply number 1 above and start working through a good approach for your body. If you are consistent and steady, you will see results over time. It’s the law.
Four—Take The Right Meds and Supplements Rock Steady
First of all, I mentioned in my major piece this past week: I am a fierce advocate of my own health and my body. I take Cardo Miracle every day, once scoop in the morning and one scoop at night. I’ve done this for exactly 4 months now. It has greatly improved my health, my well-being, my blood work, my energy, all my numbers. I can’t say enough good about it. It’s worth trying for 90 days and seeing what it does for you. You can CLICK HERE to read more about it (if you are more concerned about heart disease, CLICK HERE).
All of you who are regulars on Meridian will know that we have had a corporate sponsorship of My Miracle Tea (My Miracle Detox) for more than 10 years now. I started taking Miracle Tea (in capsule form) about 5 years ago. During these 5 years Maurine and I have traveled in more than 45 nations, many of which are Third World countries in Africa and Asia where diet and water are scary at best. I take one capsule in the morning and one capsule at night. This has kept my colon in great condition and I’ve never gotten sick (oh, I did get a cold once) since taking it. My colonoscopy twelve months ago (after three years of taking Miracle Tea capsules) was amazing. The doctor said afterwards, “You have the colon of a 21-year old.” I like that. Our daughter, Michaela, took the capsules every day for her entire 18 month-mission to Zambia and Malawi. She was not sick one day (and sometimes she had to drink ‘brown water’ in the bush—not recommended). I wish every missionary could take these capsules with them and just make them a part of their daily regimen. Great health would be the result among the missionaries. If you want to read more about this amazing herbal supplement, CLICK HERE.
I don’t just take every formulaic approach to health sitting down. Trust your health care professionals, but please: Constantly ask questions and question his or her answers! The Western medicine approach is very much cut and dried; very much, “You have this problem, we are going to prescribe this med for you” type approach. Read and study things carefully. You have access to more medical information than all of the past ages of the world combined. Avail yourself of that tremendous resource.
Again, if you apply number 1 above (seeking personal revelation), you can be guided and directed in the things that you do and the things you take into your body. Obviously you have to be wise. Study things out carefully. I question EVERYTHING. Is this medicine absolutely necessary? What are the possible side effects? Does this have any adverse affects if I am taking a baby aspirin or if I am taking this or that amount of these supplements? Will this add to inflammation in my body or tissues? Can this affect my brain and my clear thinking? These are the kinds of questions I ask all the time. Please don’t be afraid to ask. Your four-minute visit to the doctor may very well extend to seven-minutes! It’s okay!
Study nutritional and natural healing in addition to working with your health care professional. There are mounds of information out there to help you with your particular circumstances and challenges. Utilize these resources! If you start asking around about any question to do with health, or supplements or meds, you will get answers. People are placed in your path or in the path of those you know who will lead you to the answers that will be best for you.
Don’t get me wrong—I am not a doctor. I am not telling you to go off your prescription meds. I still take many of them. Just be wise. Be smart. Be a fierce advocate of your own body and your own health.
Five—Get the Right Amount of Sleep for You
Generally, if I ask a couple about their sleep habits the wife will say, “I need a good solid 7 ½ hours or I am miserable.” She then may say, “But my husband, he can get along with 6 hours—and he does.” These are not exact numbers—I’m just saying, you really know how much sleep your body needs. Your body talks to you all the time. Right? If you did not get enough sleep a particular night, you’ll probably be showing signs of that all day, or you’ll be verbalizing sentences like, ‘I am so hashed today,” or, “I’m wasted this afternoon,” or “I’m just exhausted.” Those are clear indications (duh) that you didn’t get enough sleep the night before.
Listen to what the Great Healer says about sleep: “…cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early (this does not mean early in the morning), that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” (D&C 88:124) We all know when we’ve had a good night’s rest. I find that when I go to bed at least two hours before midnight, I generally get my deepest sleep those first three or four hours—but if I got to bed after midnight (of course there are times that we just do), then my sleep is not nearly as efficacious.
Someone once said that “sleep is highly overrated.” Actually, I think the opposite is true. I think the Great Healer knows best and He asks us to do it His way and then our bodies and our minds will be invigorated! I like the word invigorated. Sometimes I just need plain old-fashioned invigoration. The Healer is offering this to us.
Always ask the Lord to watch over you. Remember what Alma counseled with Helaman: “…when thou liest down at night lied down unto the Lord (I love that), that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God…” (see Alma 37:37). I do love waking up “full of thanks unto God.” Try it. It will add richness to the other promise of invigoration.
Six—Learn to Live without Stress
Let’s face it: We all have stress in one form or another. I understand this so well. We raised a ginormous family of 11 children and there was never a day that we didn’t have some sort of challenge, problem, difficulty to overcome or issue to deal with. But guess what? Stress is a choice in our own framework and mindset. We can do much of our own free will and choice to live without stress.
I remember once going to a choir practice in a new ward. I had to bring three of our sons with me (who were quite young) and we had gathered in the chapel to go through the songs. The boys were running around more than I thought they should and I kept signaling to them and saying to them, “Guys, sit down. Be reverent. Stop running. Get back over here.” You know all the lines. One wise old bass next to me said, “Hey Dad, play them with a little more loose line. If there’s not smoke or sawdust, don’t stress about it.” I could have burst into tears. He was giving me permission to calm down. I could change my mindset. I could indeed play them with a much looser line. I know that’s a very simple example, but listen: Stress can kill you. Sometime soon stress will be identified as a full-blown disease or official culprit to all kinds of things (if it hasn’t already).
I remember being with my Internist one time many years ago (I think we had 5 teenagers in our home that summer—one of them turned 20 on August 24 and we were so excited) and he was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. He said, “Do you have any stress in your life?” Maurine and I burst out laughing. That was our way of saying “YES!” But, life got less stressful as we learned more and more how to change our mindsets. More can be said about this in later articles.
Seven—Drink Plenty of Water
Again, I am not asserting myself as a doctor, but please, hydrate yourselves like crazy. When Maurine and I fly overseas (about 4 or 5 times a year), her contact lens case, by the end of the flight, is sucked dry of fluid. It doesn’t matter how tight those things are screwed down, something about us flying in that pressurized tube just does it. Think about our bodies in that same setting! Hydrate—not only on planes but every day wherever you are.
I think the general rule is to drink half your weight in ounces every day. If you can drink Alkaline water (ph 9.5) it’s better for your overall health. That’s another article and story—but either way—just drink 3 or 4 liters of water every day. It will bless you in so many ways.
Hydration will help you lose weight. It will help keep your skin elastic. It will improve or aid in your cardiovascular health. Sufficient hydration will help your muscles in strength, elasticity and energy. Proper hydration will aid in proper brain function. It will help you sweat and maintain proper body temperature. Listen, your joints and spinal cord and eyes and brain are all surrounded and protected by water, so proper hydration is VITAL to their well being. Plenty of hyrdration will aid in the elimination of waste material and will aid in excreting toxins. Drinking plenty of water will help in overall digestion. Hydration will improve your immune health. There was another one I was going to say, wait, let me drink some water. Oh, there it is: Proper hydration will improve blood flow and oxygen flow to your brain and will strengthen cognitive function and memory.
See, you can do this one. Be steady and consistent. If this is hard for you, start by drinking two quarts of water some time during the day. Do that every day for a week. Then go to three quarts a day every day for two weeks. Then move up to half your weight in ounces (if you weigh 200 lbs., drink 100 ounces a day) from that point on. You’ll see better health in 1 – 3 months. Remember: Be a fierce advocate of your health and body. You can do this one!
Eight–Travel with Faith and Trust in the Lord That Things Work Out
This one is DEFCON 1 critical (hey, didn’t you ever see the movie War Games?). Learn to travel with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and trust that through Him all things will work together to bless you.
Maurine and I are currently memorizing 43 scriptures (some very long) on faith. One of the first we memorized was Moroni 7:33: “And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” We memorized that scripture more than 30 years ago, but it wasn’t until rememorizing it recently that we realized it was “If ye will have faith in ME”—not confidence in our own strength, nor assurance that with enough practice or study, WE can do something great—no—if we will have faith in HIM: Jesus Christ, the Great Healer, the Anointed Life Giver—the Great I AM—we can have power to do whatsoever is expedient in Him. That gives me so much joy just to think about.
Try it. Let this number 8 be the umbrella over numbers 1 through 7.
Things do work out. They just do, because He has His hand over all things.
If things don’t work out in the end, well, it’s not the end yet.
1– Pray for Revelation
2– Exercise 5 or 6 days a week (not 7) at least 45 minutes a day.
3– For Heaven’s Sake, Choose to Eat Wisely
4– Take The Right Meds and Supplements Rock Steady
5– Get the Right Amount of Sleep for You
6– Learn to Live without Stress
7– Drink Plenty of Water
8– Travel with Faith and Trust in the Lord That Things Work Out