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The Truth About Your Health

Being healthy means different things to different people.

For some, it means the absence of the overt symptoms of disease. Even people at risk of developing severe chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes and who constantly suffer from colds, headaches, back pain and other common health problems consider themselves “healthy” because they haven’t been hospitalized (yet) with an overwhelming “event,” such as a stroke, heart attack or cancer.

Others feel that embracing alternative diets automatically guarantees health. A slim vegetarian, for example, who eats too much empty calorie food, chips, French fries, dairy products and bread might falsely believe she is healthy.

I believe that self-delusion about one’s own health is one of the major reasons why so many people suffer from lifestyle diseases. People convince themselves they’re healthy even when they’re not doing the basic requirements of good health: 1) eating a healthy, balanced diet; 2) avoiding drugs, alcohol and toxins; and 3) getting plenty of quality, regular exercise.

It’s very common for heart attack and cancer survivors to say their diseases were “a real wake-up call,” and to start exercising and make radical changes to their diets. People believe in their own health, right up to the point when they have a near-death experience as a result of poor health that had been deteriorating for decades.

It’s vital for us to look objectively at our own lifestyles, and judge our health based on facts, rather than wishful thinking.

It is imperative that we nourish our bodies with all the necessary nutrients through the food we eat and that we live an active life style to be as healthy as our genetic Amira Elganmakeup will allow. Both nutrition and exercise are vital components for our wellness—essential for maintaining high energy levels, mental agility, emotional balance, strong immunity, strong bones and muscles, joint flexibility, good aerobic capacity, a healthy weight, a healthy brain, a healthy heart and overall health.

The foundation of good health is good food. A healthful diet consists of wholesome plant-based food and includes a daily intake of a variety of organic vegetables, colorful fruit, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and excludes highly processed foods and those made with saturated or trans fats, pesticides and preservatives.

Exercise is also vital to good health. Like good food, good exercise involves variety. Just walking on a treadmill every day isn't enough. Cardiovascular exercise needs to be supplemented by stretching, strength training and more whole-body activity.

And remember, healthy living doesn't mean living a hard life or depriving yourself of delicious, tasty food. Healthy food can be enticing, delicious and easy to make with a little bit of planning and discipline. And, with a positive perspective and a little creativity, physical activity can be lots of fun, especially when it involves a partner or the whole family.

If you look at it from a different point of view, nothing is more difficult than dealing with health problems—a bad unbalanced diet will most likely lead to serious health problems sooner or later. Being proactive about health is far easier than taking action after you’re confronted with illness. Why wait for a painful "wake-up call"? Wake up now and start getting healthier today!

(Note: If you'd like to print Vegetarian Organic Life, just click here to get the printer-friendly MS Word version!)

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Words of Wisdom

"The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances."

Martha Washington
 

The Research Department

The conventional wisdom about the causes of heart attacks has long held that about half are lifestyle related (diet and exercise, or the lack thereof) and the other half result from bad genes or bad luck.

Two major unrelated studies have proved, however, that about 90% of heart attack victims have one or more of the following "risk factors": smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Researchers have concluded that almost all of the 650,000 heart attacks that occur in the United States could have been prevented through diet and exercise.


Reader Feedback

Dear Amira,
I printed up all your newsletters last night, put them in a binder, took them home and read them all. I really enjoy your positive attitude and manner of expressing yourself. I am also very impressed with how you have responded to your "critics" in a positive and informational way. The information you present is clear, concise and inspiring.

I'm looking forward to next weeks article on how to reduce bad fats. I've always tried to make healthy food choices, although I am not a vegetarian and am not strictly organic. I've heard about trans fats in the media but hadn't really looked closely at them because I think my normal healthful diet doesn't include much of them. Lately I've been thinking I should learn more about trans fats and am thrilled to find your newsletters just as you are bringing that up.
J. A., Santa Cruz, CA



Vegetarian Organic Recipe of the Week



Click on the picture for a closer look!

Tofu and Veggie Curry (vegan)
Serves 4 to 6

Tofu and curry are a wonderful combination. This succulent and nutritious dish is very quick to make so it’s a good candidate for extremely busy days. Although the recipe calls for light coconut milk, it’s still a low-fat dish with rich taste rich. Serve with some brown rice to complement it well.

Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Equipment: Food processor or blender

Get ingredients ready (use organic ingredients if possible)
2 tablespoons safflower or canola oil
4 fresh garlic cloves
½ small onion
1 cup fat-free vegetable broth or stock
1 cup regular soy milk (fresh or aseptic)
1 (14 oz) can light coconut milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for more spiciness)
1 (20 oz) fresh firm tofu cut in ½ inch cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh grated carrots
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil in a large pot over low heat. Meanwhile, process garlic and onions in the food processor or blender until finely chopped.

2. Add garlic and onion mixture to oil and sauté on low heat for 3 minutes. Add broth, soy milk and coconut milk, curry, cumin, ginger, paprika and cayenne to garlic and onions mixing well, cover with lid and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add tofu, cover with lid and cook for 7 minutes over low to medium heat. Add corn, peas, carrots and cilantro and continue to cook for another 8 minutes. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Serve any time. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Cook’s tip: Make this dish earlier in day or even one day before and refrigerate as it will taste better after it sits for a while.


 

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This newsletter is not intended to provide and replace medical advice. The author and editor expressly disclaim all responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from any information, diet or exercise suggestions. It is imperative that the advice of a physician is sought before any diet or exercise programs are adopted.

Copyright© 2003 By Amira Elgan. All Rights Reserved.