Monday, February 13, 2012

Rules to LIVE by!

The all-anticipated post! Here we go. This is what I tell EVERY patient that gives me the general question "So, Doc, what can I do to prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke, death...etc etc..". Well, here it is. My rules to LIVE by!!

1. Don't smoke. Ever. If you do, then go flush all of those cancer sticks down the toilet.
This is one thing I DO NOT EVER budge on. This is hands down the worst thing you could ever do to your body. Please, for the love of God, if you smoke, stop.

2. Don't lay in a tanning bed. And with that, if you go in the sun, wear sunscreen! You may think it's cute to be all tan now, but let me tell you, Botox will not be able to get rid of those wrinkles made from the sun, and it definitely can't get rid of skin cancer...ew!

3. Enjoy chocolate (or whatever other food you like) moderation! The key to any good diet is to allow yourself a treat every once in a while. If you eat ice cream everyday, it just doesn't taste nearly as good as if you ate it at the end of the week, as a reward for a week of eating healthy!
A young patient, learning her "numbers"!

4. "Know your numbers". This is a tip from the American Heart Association. By this I mean, know your cholesterol (HDL, LDL...I will get into this on a future post) and your blood sugar. Knowing your numbers will help you to make more educated decisions about your diet and what your goals are. Most women have no idea what their cholesterol or glucose you?

5. Exercise. Daily. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week. This is moderate intensity (think elliptical/stairmaster). This is also non-negotiable. And this tip is not just about exercising to look good, this is exercising to keep your heart strong.

6. Know your family history. Did your maternal grandmother pass from ovarian cancer? Did your father have colon cancer? I cannot express how important it is to know your family history. It can totally change the screening guidelines for you. For instance, a screening colonoscopy is done at 50 years old. But, if your father had colon cancer at 49, then you must have a screening at 39! Not just cancers, but knowing family history of heart disease, diabetes, etc will help your physician make the right decisions for your health.

This is the green tea I drink.
7. Drink Green Tea. Ok, I am not talking about the powdered stuff that you mix in water. I am referring to tea-bag or whole-leaf green tea. Green tea is packed full of antioxidants and also has weight-loss properties. I try and drink at least one cup a day, but I really aim for two. P.S. Green Tea lattes and frappes don't count...but nice try!

8. Ditch the Soda. Never. Never. Never drink regular soda. I'd prefer you not to drink the diet either, but if you MUST have the taste of soda, drink the diet. The amount of calories and high fructose corn syrup in regular soda is insane. If I were you (and I am) I would replace all soda with #7..

9. Make sure to visit your GYN for annual exams and do your monthly breast exam. Let's just say I had a 20-something patient die of cervical cancer because she never went for her annual pap. In this day and age, there is almost no reason as to why women should be dying of cervical cancer. Also, ALL women should be doing monthly breast exams (do it at the same time every month, preferably 2-3 days after your menstruation), as well as an annual mammogram after the age of 40 (these guidelines are variable depending on who you talk to. In my opinion, annually after age 40).

10. No White Food. Ok, so its a little wrong to say, but its true! Avoid white rice, white bread, and white pasta like the plague! Replace all white foods with their whole-wheat counterpart. White foods offer almost no nutritional value, and replacing these carbs with whole grains adds vitamins and minerals to your diet (and no, honey wheat does not count...I know that was the next question. It always is!)

I'd love to hear if you are already following these tips, or if any of these have had an impact on your life. Please, keep me posted!


  1. Thanks for such an informative blog! I was wondering if you drink the green tea for a caffeine fix? I drink a cup of coffee every am and by mid afternoon at work I'm terribly tired and get a sugary caffeinated soda, but this week I bought green tea:) hoping it will do the trick! Any tips for getting energy throughout the day? Working 40+ hours, 2 kids and studying for the professional engineering exam I can hardly make it through the day! How do you manage to get so much accomplished with being so busy and not getting enough sleep? Perhaps that could be another post!?! Keep the info coming! Katie Kehres

  2. Katie, great questions! First, a cup of coffee in the am is perfectly fine, I need a little boost too! I am SUPER happy to hear that you are substituting that "diabetes waiting to happen" soda for green tea in the afternoon! As far as energy throughout the day, personally I believe in a little outside time twice a day for 5-10 minutes. I'm not sure about you, but I am in a fluorescent lit hospital all day, and the lights alone and lack of sunshine alone gets me tired! Take 10 minutes twice a day and just go outside and get some fresh air. This helps me a lot! Also, keep little snacks with almonds, carrots, keep you from hitting that vending machine!
    I think you are right..this is a great future blog! Thanks for your support!
    -Dr. T