This post has my personal notes from the book ” Love, laugh and eat by John Tickell.”
When we become ill, we fall into either of two distinct groups:
- The single cause group: bacterial infection, trauma, etc
- The multiple cause group: lifestyle diseases like depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
The single cause group needs medical treatment and the multiple cause group needs lifestyle treatment. Okinawans have a stellar record of living long. It is not just because of genetics or heredity as genetics accounts for only 30% of our health and lifespan. The other 70% is because of specific lifestyle factors such as physical activity, eating habits and social interactions. The principles of Okinawan living can help us to increase both our life expectancy and health expectancy.
These principles can be boiled down to three areas:
- Activity: Exercise and the way we move everyday
- Coping: Thinking and stress management
- Eating: What we eat regularly and daily
This is a way of living, not a program to follow. You can easily remember it by the mnemonic ACE.
Let us now look at these areas deeper:
- Exercise at least for four 25 minute sessions a week.
- Climb 200 stairs each day ultimately. Start slowly: 5 stairs a day and gradually increase.
- Walk or jog gently. Walking is better if your body is not used to exercise for a long period. Riding a bike and swimming are also good. Do things gradually and not overstrain. There is no need to have pain or discomfort. Do things gradually.
- Take care of your back. Do not stand for long periods of time. If you have to, then do the following:Stand with one foot on a step or a stool and switch feet often. Stand backward against a wall( with your feet out a couple feet in front of you) and press your lower back against the wall for a few seconds. If you wish gently roll your back slightly from side to side against the wall.
- Stress is an internal phenomenon. It is your response to a particular pressure. Pressure is universal. Stress is personal.
- When we are stressed the body secretes more steroids and more steroids causes a lot of side effects like diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, obesity and decreased immunity.
- There are different types of personalities. Type A is always ambitious, stressed and hostile. Type B is laid back. Type C looks laid back but is internally Type A.
- Coping is all about attitude: we all have a choice to react positively or negatively or to walk away.
- The signs of stress are
- muscle spasms( headache, migraine, neck pain, chest pain, stomach pain, low back pain, loose bowel movements( irritable bowel syndrome, colitis)
- caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sugar and sleep disturbance( CATS). If you need these to survive you are under stress. Alcohol is small amounts may be okay but it is a drug that kills liver and brain cells and not spiritually good. So be careful.
- skin problems(like itchiness and rash) are often signs of stress.
- time urgency( too much to do and not enough time to do) means you are under stress.
- low tolerance level( when things go wrong, noise, etc makes you angry) this means you are under stress.
- cynicism( you cannot have positive thoughts when you are a cynic)
6. To cope better, take three specific action steps:
- Cut down on the CATS: Do not take more than 2-3 cups of caffeine a day, without any sugar preferably. One or two drinks of alcohol occasionally( meaning once a week) is also okay. No tobacco or nicotine.
- Switch your brain to the practical side rather than emotional side. This means to focus on love, respect, family, health and good self-image rather than emotional things like comfort, anxiety, anger, depression, etc.
- Escape from the pressure cooker: Do physical exercise. Do a bit of aerobic exercise( walking, swimming). Do a bit of anaerobic exercise( short burst activity, weights). Stretch yourself. Do deep breathing. Do things that free your mind. Like laughter, relaxation techniques, mental bonuses( books, movies, beaches, etc). Have three types of breaks( self, self+spouse, self+spouse+kids)
7. We need to have four ACES to be truly happy:
- Ace of Diamonds: Enough wealth, not too much, not too little.
- Ace of Hearts: Relationships, family, spirituality, belief systems and compassion
- Ace of Spades: Work at something you love.
- Ace of Clubs: Social connectedness.
- Diets do not work in the long run. Healthy eating is what is required. This means plant-based foods with some added protein. Increased intake of animal foods is associated with a lot of diseases.
- Foods can be simply classified into two: basic and bonus. Basic foods are vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. Bonus foods are meat, fish, ice-cream, cheese and chocolate. Eat more basic foods( at-least 2/3rds of your total diet). Good sources of protein are milk and soya beans. Eat food that has been minimally interfered with by humans. For fat use olive oil, canola oil and avocados. Eat at least 15 or more bits of plant food everyday
- The problem with the way most of us live is that we don’t move. We make life complex. We interfere with good food and add sugar and oil to it. We oversize our servings. We get bored because we don’t eat a variety of food. We eat more bonus foods rather than basic foods. Change this and you are on your way to 100 years.
SKILLS TO DEVELOP
- Walk whenever you can in your daily life rather than use a machine.
- Walk for 25 minutes at least 4 times a week.
- Work to a goal of climbing 200 stairs a day gradually.
- Push-ups, triceps work using a chair and abdominal tightening can be done anywhere.
- Do the BAT exercises( Bottom, Arm and Tummy) and the other useful movements(OUMS). These can be found at this link. If you do these exercises, then you will lose somewhere between 3.5 -10 kg over an year depending on how intensive you do it.( intensive means running or swimming, while less intensive means walking or riding a bike)
- Stretch yourself.
- Sit and relax. Close your eyes. Think of someplace good. Take 2 or 3 gentle deep breaths.
- Walk. Go to a garden or zoo. Go to temple or church. Listen to music. Skip using a skipping rope.
- Relax using this simple exercise. Sit on a chair feet flat on the ground. Take a deep breath by diaphragmatic breathing( stomach moves out when inhaling). Tighten different parts of your body from bottom to top( legs, abdomen, chest, arms, neck, face). Do one part at a time. Then relax. Then take a deep diaphragmatic breath. Then tighten another part, and so on.
- Walk around the office 30-60 seconds every hour.
- Take three days off three times a year ( every four months)
- Take the three types of break every year( yourself, with spouse, with family).
- Sleep 8 hours a day.
- Expose yourself to some morning sun everyday before 10 am.
- Eat a multivitamin every day, if you can.
- Do something good for someone else.
- Look to the positive everyday.
- Four simple rules of nutrition: Eat basic foods rather than bonus foods. Eat 2/3rds basic foods. Eat foods with low human interference. Eat 15 types of plant foods every day.
- Brown rice+ vegetables: carrots+spring onions+ apples+raisins+sesame seeds+ veg oil +salt
- Green bean soup: navy beans+ onion+ carrots+celery+ chilli+ tomatoes+ olive oil + salt/pepper
- Lentil stew: lentils+veg stock+ tomatoes+onion+carrot+apple+peas+garlic+olive oil+ barbecue sauce+paprika
- A spoonful of low-fat yoghurt
- A cup of vegetable or minestrone soup
- Half a banana or hummus or half a can of baked beans minus the sauce on half slice of whole grain toast
- Few unsalted nuts( almonds, walnuts, soynuts)
- Simple smoothie: 2 cups soy/skim milk + few spoons low-fat yoghurt+ fruits( banana, mango, berries, peach)+ 1 teaspoon honey+ few drops vanilla extract.
The four F’s of life:
The 72 Living Life Points Table: Aim to get at least 72 points every week. See here for the table.