How To Love, Laugh And Eat Your Way To 100 Years

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:

Activity

  1. Exercise at least for four 25 minute sessions a week.
  2. Climb 200 stairs each day ultimately. Start slowly: 5 stairs a day and gradually increase.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Coping

  1. Stress is an internal phenomenon. It is your response to a particular pressure. Pressure is universal. Stress is personal.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Coping is all about attitude: we all have a choice to react positively or negatively or to walk away.
  5. 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.

Eating

  • 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

Activity skills

  • 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)

Coping skills

  • 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.
  • Laugh.
  • 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.

Eating skills

  • 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

Great snacks

  • 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:

  • Family
  • Fun
  • Friendships
  • Faith

The 72 Living Life Points Table: Aim to get at least 72 points every week. See here for the table.

A Simple Program To Get Rid of Knee Pain

The four abilities your knees should have are:

  1. Good muscular strength
  2. Adequate flexibility
  3. Intact working proprioception
  4. Ample endurance- enough endurance to allow us to perform movements over and over again

When trauma, accidents or aging changes occur, the knee loses one or more of the above abilities. This leads to loss of function. This results in pain.

To become pain-free, you have to regain function by doing specific exercises to restore the four abilities.

Exercise to develop good muscular strength

Knee problems tend to cause isolated muscle wasting and weakness, specifically in the quadriceps group. The easiest and simplest way to strengthen the quadriceps is to do isometric exercise.

Isometric exercise involves applying a force to an immovable object. The muscles build up tension, but there is no actual movement. Multiple randomized controlled trials have proven that isometrics can increase both the size and the strength of the quadriceps muscle in men and women.

The isometric exercise to develop quadriceps strength is shown below:

Quad strengthening exercise

Exercise to develop flexibility

Your knee has three basic motions. It can bend backwards(flexion), straighten out(extension), and rotate. Stretching exercises can help restore all of these motions. Many problems, like swelling, tight muscles, mechanical problems, pain and tight joint capsule can lead to limit knee motion and lead to loss of flexibility. Stretching can help restore flexibility in many cases.

One thirty-second stretch done once a day, five days a week, is sufficient to cause a muscle to lengthen over a period of weeks.

The two groups of muscle you need to stretch are the hamstrings and quadriceps.

The quadriceps stretch is shown below:

Quadriceps stretch

The hamstring stretch is shown below:

Hamstring stretch

Exercise to develop proprioception

Proprioception helps to protect your knee from injury and damage. There are two simple exercises to develop proprioception- one with eyes open and the other with eyes closed. They are shown below:

Prioprioception exercise- eyes open

Proprioception exercise- eyes closed

Exercise to develop endurance

There are two types of endurance: muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance. Knee pain can affect both. There are three types of energy systems that provide energy to the body:

  • Phosphagen system: supplies energy for the first 8-10 seconds of an activity
  • Glycogen-lactic acid system: Supplies energy from 10 seconds to 2 minutes of an activity
  • Aerobic system: Supplies energy from 2 minutes onwards.

Since the knee is often used for more than 2 minutes at a time, it is important to develop the aerobic system to develop knee endurance.

The simplest exercise for endurance is walking. This is shown below:

Endurance exercise

Other things to remember

  • Imaging findings of the knee are not related to knee symptoms in many cases.
  • The relaxation response is also useful to decrease knee pain. This involves doing two things:
  1. Repeating a word, sound, prayer, phrase or muscular activity. Do this for ten to twenty minutes daily.
  2. Passively disregarding everyday thoughts that come to mind and returning to the repetition
  • Using heat for five to ten minutes can relax the knee and may be useful to do before the exercises.
  • Massage also helps. When doing massage, do the massage transversely across the muscles of the thigh in the front and the back. You can use any lotion.

The weekly plan is shown in the figure below:

Checklist

So that’s it.

You can use this simple program to become free of knee pain.

How to exercise effectively in a dozen minutes

Exercise has a lot of benefits, some of which are:

  1. Exercise controls weight by burning calories.
  2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls. The way it fights against cardiovascular diseases is by increasing HDL(the good cholesterol) and decreases unhealthy triglycerides.
  3. Exercise improves mood. It stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
  4. Exercise boosts energy.It improves your muscle strength and boosts your endurance. It helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.You therefore have more energy to go about your daily chores.
  5. Exercise promotes better sleep.  It can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.
  6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life. It can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life.It can lead to enhanced arousal for women and decreases erectile dysfunction.
  7. Exercise is fun. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting.

There are many ways to be active, from working out in specialised gyms, to just walking or running

Today I want to share a simple way of exercising that requires only 11-12 minutes to do. You can gradually work your way up to the levels recommended for your age. Even if you do not reach the exact level, you can do whatever you can. You can also use basic principles of these exercises and make your own. They do not need anything apart from your own body.

The two pamphlets below detail this method of exercise:

Read these pamphlets, do the exercises and feel good.

A simple guide to physical fitness

A definite relationship has been found between physical fitness and mental alertness and emotional stability…improved endurance performance makes the body less susceptible to fatigue, and so less likely to commit errors, mental or physical. – Dr. Kenneth Cooper, US Airforce School of Aerospace Medicine

We have a body. We have a mind. Both influence each other. A better body leads to a better mind and vice-versa.

Physical fitness, as Tony Buzan says, involves four aspects:

  1. Poise
  2. Aerobic training and fitness
  3. Flexibility
  4. Strength

Poise: Poise is the perfect balance of the body, in which all aspects of your muscular, organic and skeletal systems are properly aligned. The relative positioning of your head, neck, spine and joints is particularly important. It means having a good posture. A bad posture affects your lungs, heart, nerves, muscles and internal organs.

  • How to develop poise?

1. Use this checklist:

  • Whole body:Am I slouching?
  • Head: Am I pulling my head back/slumping it forward?
  • Neck: Am I stiffening my neck?
  • Shoulders: Am I raising my shoulders unnecessarily?
  • Breathing: Is my breathing deep, free and rhythmical or shallow, gasping and I hold my breath?
  • Back: Am I pushing the small of my back in?
  • Hips: Am I thrusting my hips forward?
  • Joints: Am I locking any joints?

2. Use the TEFCAS method as you go through the above check list.

3. Consider taking up a ‘good poise hobby’ like the Alexander technique.

Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise is any exercise that stimulates heart and lung activity for time period sufficiently long to produce significant and beneficial changes in the body. It strengthens your heart and lung and increases oxygen supply to your body.

  • The Aerobic formula: Exercise 4 times a week, for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time. Each session should start with a 5 minute warm up, 20 minutes exercise and 5 minute cool down.

Flexibility: Flexibility refers to the ability of your body’s joints to move freely in all the directions for which they were designed. Stretching exercises can help you achieve this.

  • Stretching in all directions is a simple way of doing this or else you can use the flexibility exercises shown here.

Strength training: Muscular strength is the ability of all your muscles and muscle systems to lift, pull, push and rotate.

  • Ideally you need to take muscle building exercises four times a week for 20-60 minutes. Super all round exercises for strength training are swimming, running, walking, rowing and dancing.

So if you incorporate good poise, stretching, aerobics and strengthening exercises, you will be on the path to developing strong physical and mental fitness.

How to lose weight by changing your diet and exercising

Physical health is important. Many people are overweight today and this can cause disease.  We can change our diet and exercise to achieve a healthy weight. I will show you how to do it.

1. The first step is to measure your body mass index(BMI). The formula for this is-

BMI=Weight(kg)/ height(metres) x height(metres)

So if you weight 65 kg and are 156 cm( i.e 1.56m as 156 cm/100=1.56m) tall, your BMI is 65/1.56 x 1.56=26.7

2. The second step is to measure your waist circumference. You can go here to see exactly how to measure your waist circumference.

3. The third step is to go here and see whether you are underweight, normal or overweight and your risk for obesity related disease

4. If you are not overweight, then congratulations. This post does not apply to you. If you are overweight then changing your diet and exercising will definitely help. You might need other treatments as well( like behavioural change, medication or even surgery). We are not going to discuss these things here.

5. The next step is to set up realistic achievable goals. These should be:

  • Keep your body weight stable( within 5 pounds of current level) and do not gain weight
  • Aim for a weight loss of 5-7%. So if you are 65 kg and want to lose weight, your goal should be to lose 3.25-4.55 kg of weight

6. The next step is to estimate the amount of calories needed to maintain your weight. To calculate this multiply your weight by 22. Then give a buffer of 20%. So if you are 65 kg then

  • Amount of calories required to maintain weight= 65 x 22=1430kcal( range of 1114 – 1716 k cal)

7. An average deficit of 500kcal/day will make you lose 0.5 kg/week for 3-6 months after which the body adapts and it is difficult to lose as much subsequently.

8. The next step is to have a calorie controlled diet. It might seem tempting to think one can manage with 900k cal/day but it might not be practically possible. So if you need 1430 kcal to maintain weight, I would start with 1100 k cal. If you do not seem to lose weight after 3-4 weeks, I would then go down by 10%. But the lower most limit would be 800kcal/day.

9. To find out how much calories you are eating, you can go to this website and you can check the amount of calories you are taking. 

10. The type of diet is not at all important. It has to be a balanced diet and the amount of calories is more important.

11. You also need to exercise 30 minutes each day for 5-7 days a week. Walking is the best exercise. Start slowly. Do not over-strain yourself.

12. Monitor your progress by writing down what you did each day.

If you do this, then you will find you will lose weight and be healthy. If this is useful, please feel free to thank me.