By Manny Cabrera III, Chief Instructor

As you’re aware, last night’s passage of the massive health care reform bill by the House of Representatives is set to dramatically revamp the way health care is done in America.  It had the Democrats celebrating and the Republicans declaring that the real fight had yet to begin.  I have to tell you, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, what happens in Washington is not going to affect you’re health care nearly as much as what’s going on in your own home.  Democrats and Republicans that lead unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles are equally at risk to a host of health problems that can be prevented if we but follow a simple prescription for success.  In the long run as our nations’ population continues to grow (and it will, the United States is among the few developed nations expected to continue growing over the next several decades) health care costs will continue to rise no matter what our elected officials do, unless we the people get ourselves in the mindset that health care first prevention.

Here are Ten Things You Can DO to Kick Off Health Care Reform for Yourself and Your Family:

1)      Reduce you intake of processed foods and increase the amount of live (green leafy vegetables) foods that you eat.

These were the foods we were meant to eat.  A diet that eats more vegetables, mostly raw or steamed, also provides you with rich vitamins and nutrients that your body is continuously using up and needing replenished.

2)      Hydro Power your morning

When you get up, before anything else, take a few large sips of ice water.  It will help you start your metabolism and get you feeling more awake and alert.  Best part is, it only takes  a few seconds.

3)      Drink More Water, Drink When Your Thirsty

Water is so important to a healthy lifestyle it deserves two entries.  Most health and fitness experts agree that we don’t drink enough water.  So, get your 8 glasses in!  Your skin will look better, you’ll feel better and more clear headed.  This will have a two-fold benefit.  Water is good for you and some research suggests that increasing the amount of water you drink helps with weight loss.  At the same time, you’ll be reducing the amount of chemicals and sugar from soda causing your system to clean itself out.

4)      Choose Lean Protein When Possible

Not only are meats like chicken breast, turkey, egg whites, and fish better for you they’re also lower in calories.  If you’re trying to lose weight, this is usually a good thing.  Eat steak, just not every day (or even every other day) and really, avoid hamburgers.  They’re just gross.  According to the American Cancer Society and estimated 22,280 new stomach cancer cases were diagnosed in 2006.  Researchers have found that eating red meat (beef, lamb, and pork) more than 13 times per week doubles the risk of stomach cancer.  That might seem like a lot, but according to Dr. Erin Dummert, it can add up fast.  1 quarter pound hamburger, 1 or 2 beef tacos, and 1 roast beef sandwich as choices for lunch over the course of the week racks up 7 servings of red meat right there.  Combine that with red meat from steak dinners, spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna, pork chops and you easily add up the 13 servings.  That cow, might be killing you.

5)      It’s not just WHAT you eat, but HOW MUCH and WHEN.

This is simple, if you eat 3 platefuls of an otherwise healthy meal late in the day, you’re going to gain weight.  Reduce your portions (buy 10” plates and throw out you 12” ones), don’t finish all of your plate and put your highest calorie foods early in your day at breakfast or lunch.

6)      Your water bottle is making you sick.

In fact, it’s growing mold and then making you sick.  At home, after you have used a glass, you wash it (I hope, if you don’t, don’t invite me to your house).  Why wouldn’t the same rules apply to you water bottle?  In early seafaring days, they had rum or beer as their primary drink instead of water because the barrels quickly became lined with mold and other scummy stuff.  If your water bottle is cloudy, throw it away and get a new one or at the very least clean it with hot water and then AGAIN in the dishwasher.

7)      Sleep more

I know it’s easy to just throw this one out there.  It’s definitely one we’re struggling with at my house with twin 12 week olds.  But more sleep=less stress, which is good for your heart.  So, DVR your favorite late show and get to bed!

8)      Remember Fun!

Not only does actually having a little fun increase your health, but recollecting fun experiences or enjoyable memories has a calming effect on us.  Less stress is good for you by reducing your likelihood for heart attack and can even help you lose weight (since you’re not stress eating)

9)      Engage in healthy relationships

If you’re best friend is a Negative Nick or Nancy, it’s time to spend less time with him or her.  The people we’re around have the advantage strangers do because they can constantly bombard your thoughts to the point that they begin to influence you, whether by stressing you out because you’re resisting their negativity OR because you become influenced yourself and start a conclave on why they universe sucks.  Be around people that make you feel good about yourself.  You DESERVE it.

10)   Small Steps Lead to Big Results.

If it was easy to get up at 5 AM and hit the gym we’d all be doing it.  However, it’s easy to take the stairs instead of the escalator.  Little actions over time lead to big results.  Start with lifestyle changes that you can manage without too much disruption to your life as it is.  Over time and the more small changes you make, your life will be completely remodeled—for the better!

BONUS: Get more exercise, duh!

There’s an adage that motivational speaker Anthony Robbins likes to use, “Motion Creates Emotion.”  Not only does exercise reduce the risk of a host of illnesses and helps maintain a healthy weight, but it also makes you feel better in the long run by putting you in a better mood.  Group programs like Martial Arts training are especially good because your more likely to be successful in the long run because of the instructors that are right there to motivate you.

Manny Cabrera III is an expert in the martial arts, fitness, and personal development.  He has been featured in several martial arts industry publications and write for the blog of the martial arts school that he owns in the Tampa Bay area.  He resides in Brandon, FL with his wife Jessica, their twin boys, and an energetic Australian Cattle Dog.

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