"The division between conventional and traditional medicine is as artificial as the division between science and nature. They can be woven together in a fashion that meets our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This is the foundation upon which integrative medicine is built."
- Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.
In Life Is Your Best Medicine, Dr. Low Dog weaves together the wisdom of traditional medicine and the knowledge of modern-day medicine into an elegant message of health and self-affirmation for women of every age. This is a book that can be listened to from beginning to end but also dipped into for inspiration or insight about a particular physical or mental health issue or remedy. We learn that, despite the widespread availability of pharmaceutical medications, advanced surgical care, and state-of-the-art medical technology, chronic illness now affects more than 50 percent of the American population. The evidence is overwhelmingly clear that much of the chronic disease we are confronting in the United States has its roots in the way we live our lives. Research shows that if Americans embraced a healthier lifestyle - which includes a balance between rest and exercise, wholesome nutrition, healthy weight, positive social interactions, stress management, not smoking, limited alcohol use, and no or limited exposure to toxic chemicals - then we could prevent 93 percent of diabetes, 81 percent of heart attacks, 50 percent of strokes, and 36 percent of all cancers. This means that each one of us has the power to shift the odds of being healthy in our favor. If you do get sick, being fit gives you a much better chance for getting well. Your health has a great deal more to do with your lifestyle and a lot less to do with taking prescription drugs than most people realize.
Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., with the charisma of a Native American elder, represents a 21st-century wise woman actively building a platform in the new landscape of self-he...
Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.
If you want to be healthy, one of the most powerful tools at your
disposal is your fork. What you choose to put in your mouth has a direct
impact on your long-term risk for developing chronic diseases.
According to the American Heart Association, the National Cancer
Institute, the World Cancer Research Fund, and the World Health
Organization, up to 80 percent of heart disease and a third of all
cancers could be prevented with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Those are
staggering statistics. If I told you I had a pill that could cut your
chances of getting cancer by 30 percent and a heart attack by 80 percent
without any harmful side effects, would you take it? Of course you
would! Although there’s no guarantee that a healthy diet will prevent
you from ever getting sick, I think most of us want to do what we can to
stack the odds in our favor.
Over the past decades, we have lived through the low-fat,
calorie-counting, carb-counting, Atkins, South Beach, Zone, raw foods,
caveman (Paleolithic), and Eat Right for Your Blood Type approaches to
food. Many foods have been vilified: eggs, meat, fish, bread, cheese,
milk, and anything with sugar. People repeatedly tell me that they’re
confused by all this. And I tell them that eating healthy isn’t that
complicated if you understand the basics.
I’m not a certified nutritionist or professional chef. I’m a home
cook, mother, and physician. I love delicious food and reject the notion
that healthy food equates with boring and bland. In fact, nothing could
be further from the truth. My kitchen is stocked with spices, healthy
oils, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and
humanely raised organic poultry and dairy products. Every time I sit
down to eat a meal, I see it as an opportunity to replenish my energy,
provide my body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally, and
quiet my mind. Food is more than just the sum of its grams of
carbohydrates and proteins, calories, vitamins, and minerals. It is a
celebration of life, friends, and family.
I like to play soft music, light candles, and set the table nicely for
dinner. I treat evening meals as special occasions, because they’re
our time for family conversation and for catching up on the happenings
of the day. This is not the time to argue with our partner or lecture
our kids about grades or homework. It’s a time to celebrate our
togetherness. I’m saddened by the statistics that show many families
don’t sit down together for even one evening meal a week. Whether the
family is two people or a house filled with children, sharing food and
conversation is central to healthy relationships.
We’re all busy, so adjusting schedules can be a major undertaking, but
ensuring that our families eat dinner (or breakfast) together most—or
at least some—days of the week can be done if it’s important to us.
My husband is one of nine children, and his father was a busy vascular
surgeon in Omaha, Nebraska. Coordinating dinner for 11 people was no
easy task for his mother, given all the after- school activities, the
sporting events, and the long working hours of her husband. But both
parents made dinnertime a priority.
Children were to be at the table by six—be there or be grounded was
the rule! My father-in-law would join the family for dinner before
returning to the hospital to do his rounds. This allowed everyone a
chance to check in about school and upcoming events and simply to
reconnect with one another. Those mealtimes together provided
nourishment that went far beyond the content of the food.
Studies repeatedly show that the single strongest factor in higher
achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems in children of all ages
is having more mealtime at home. A study by Columbia University’s
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that teenagers
who shared fewer than three dinners a week with their families were
almost four times more likely to use tobacco, more than twice as likely
to use alcohol, and two and a half times more likely to use marijuana,
when compared with teens who had five to seven dinners a week with
family. When interviewed, most children report that the interaction and
togetherness are the best parts of the meal. The busier our lives
become, the more important it is to carve out protected time.
Excerpted from "Life Is Your Best Medicine: A Woman's Guide to Health, Healing, and Wholeness at Every Age" by Tieraona Low Dog M.D.. Copyright © 0 by Tieraona Low Dog M.D.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.