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    We are all on a Journey

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | January 30th, 2022

    We are all on a Journey

    My husband teases me every time I join a new medical organization. He often asks – what new certificate are you working on now?  I recently joined the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM). Although they do have an opportunity for one to obtain a certificate, I joined to get access to all the information on their website to be able to share with my sisters.

    I chanced upon this organization when a friend of mine told me about a course that she and her husband were taking called CHIP. CHIP stands for Complete Health Improvement Program where you learn how to adopt a more plant-based diet. She stated that it truly made a difference in her and her husband’s overall health. She learned so much and encouraged me to learn more about the program. Upon doing the research, I came across ACLM. I was drawn in by their vision statement – A world wherein lifestyle medicine is the foundation of a transformed, sustainable system of health care.

    ACLM defines lifestyle medicine as the use of whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease. On their website, they mention six ways to take control of your health:

    1. Nutrition – Food is medicine. Choose fiber-filled nutrient-dense whole plant food to fill at least half of your plate. Decrease meat, processed and fast foods, and refined sugar. Drink water to quench your thirst.
    2. Exercise – Build activities into your daily life, such as parking farther away or always taking stairs. Choose fitness activities you enjoy such as walking, biking, and or dancing as examples. Build up slowly, with a goal of at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
    3. Stress management – Try to distance yourself from stressful situations. Take time to breathe. Try meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature.
    4. Substance abuse – Reduce or eliminate smoking, vaping, and alcohol intake
    5. Sleep – Develop an evening routine to relax. Aim for 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night.
    6. Relationships – Spend time with those who lift your spirits and help others when you are feeling down.

    Does the above recommendations sound familiar? The evidence is clear – our lifestyle affects our health.  I realize it is not easy. Not everyone has the same resources. Racism is an extra layer of stress. Some people may have to work two jobs to make ends meet and cannot get the 7 – 9 hours of sleep. People are suffering from food insecurity and have to eat whatever is available. I hope that wherever you are in your health journey, you get a little closer to making the positive changes to a healthier you.

    I am on this journey as well and over the next year, I will be sharing information that I learn. For example, over the weekend I learned about substituting date paste for sugar. Dates are a natural sweetener that is high in fiber and antioxidants. Dates have a low glycemic index which helps with glucose control.  I made date paste. I took some pitted dates and pureed them in a blender with just enough boiling water to make a smooth paste. Instead of using sugar, I used an equal amount of date paste to make my applesauce cake.  The cake was a little darker but it tasted the same. I stored the rest of the paste in a mason jar in my freezer.  Consider using homemade date paste instead of refined white sugar and get all the benefits of dates.

    3 Responses to “We are all on a Journey”

    1. Thank you for sharing this!

    2. Linda K. Jackson says:

      Thank you!!!!! Your new information is yet another piece of information that I can add to my (post-retirement) education arsenal! When I can remember to do so, I like to add chopped walnuts in the cavities of split Medjool dates. It reminds me of Hershey’s chocolate with almonds! I’m looking forward to the information that you’ll be sharing with us!

    3. Dayna Hale says:

      Love the date paste idea!

    Leave a Reply

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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