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December 11, 1998     Cape Gazette
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December 11, 1998

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32 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, December 11 - December 17, 1998 HEA12TH & FITNESS Healthy fi0000ods can increase overall good health By Trish Vernon We all know that during the holidays, overindulging, lack of proper sleep and stress brought on by the season can con- tribute to sickness that we wouldn't ordi- narily fall prey to at other times of the year. Gertie Hillman, R.N., owner of Gertie's Greengrocer in Lewes, offered advice on ways to combat sickness and disease, espe- cially geared to the holidays, to members of the DeVries Business and Professional Women's Club Tuesday, Dec. 1. "Holistic health encompasses more than being free of disease. It includes the envi- ronment, spiritual life, physical life and so- cial life, with the four cornerstones of health being a positive mental attitude, a healthy lifestyle, exercise and getting enough sleep," Hillman said, noting those factors must all work together to promote continued goodhealth. And while food is very plentiful in the United States, some third world countries rank higher than the United States in over- all health, with 70 percent of the U.S. popu- lation being "subclinically malnourished," Hillman said, as white bread, hot dogs and coffee top our grocery shopping lists. Hillman, who is studying to become a master herbalist, added that studies show that high levels of sugar can depress the body's immune syst'em, and during the stressful holidays we are apt to consumer more sugar than usual, as office counters are laden with Christmas cookies and the punch bowl is kept amply filled at those parties. Hillman handed out a list of 78 ways in which excess sugar intake may result in sig- nificant metabolic consequences, including speeding the aging process, causing arthri- tis, asthma, appendicitis, varicose veins and a weakened defense against bacterial infec- tion. Hillman, who will also become a certi- fied nutrition specialist in the spring, told those gathered that the only good fat can be found in extra virgin olive oil. "Throw out the margarine and foods laden with trans- fatty acids and those cookies and foods made with hydrogenated fats. They form rings around our cells that prevent oxygen from entering and with the additional stress, it sets the stage for illness, cold sores and stress colds," she said. A diet high in fats is an invitation to cancer and heart dis- ease, Hitlman continued. "The American Medical Association recognizes that 90 percent to 95 percent of heart disease can be prevented through a vegetarian diet." Salt, too, is a would-be villain, as sodium can prevent antioxidants from accessing cells. Hillman advised people to drink a quart of distilled water at room temperature with lemon juice in an effort to detoxify the body and put it in an alkaline state, as acids make the body more prone to inflammation and disease. Ingesting sprouts promotes oxygenation of the cells, while adding raw carrots to the regular diet can lower choles- terol by 13 percent. So, at the next holiday party, head for the raw vegetables rather than the cocktail meatballs, or go for the wild Pacific salmon - not farm-raised - rather than the sour- cream-laden dip, as the fish is rich in omega 6 fats. Flax oil is another good source for those who can't afford the salmon. Hillman advised using digestive bitters as a way of increasing bile flow and insulin. "If you take it before you eat, you won't have the bloating and gas after a big meal," she said. Exercise in combination with diet is also a way to increase muscle strength, improve blood pressure through weight loss, relieve depression and anxiety, and reduce the incidence of heart disease. "Exercise is the key to longevity and good health, and walking doesn't cost a thing," she said. Hillman also advised against adults drinking milk, noting that human beings are the only mammals that drink milk after in- fancy. "Most of us can't digest it and get bloated," she said, suggesting that people switch to cheese as a protein source. She noted that it is difficult for our bodies to use the calcium found in milk due to its high phosphorus content. Kelp, on the other hand, has as much calcium as a glass of milk, but is low in sodium. Those wishing more information may contact Hillman at 645-8052. Trish Vernon photo Gertie Hillman, owner of Gertie's Greengrocer in Lewes, tells members of the DeVries Business and Professional Women's Clubs of ways they can avoid the additional stress and associated illnesses that are all too prevalent during the holiday season. MaKe time to get started on fitness plan "It hurts." "I don't have time." "There's no way I'm putting on Lycra." "There's too many buff bodies in there." Can you think of any more? Ex- cuses to get out of exercising are pretty easy to come up with. Most of us have uttered one of these gems at one time or another. Let's tackle the first of these four excus- es. We'll get to the rest of them later. "It hurts." That's a big one to get over. If exercise hurts, there's probably a pretty good explana- tion for why it hurts, and a pretty easy way to make it stop hurting. I've seen people who are mostly sedentary for the majority of the year come to the YMCA every January and begin a huge New Year's resolution type of manic push to become fit by February. These newly christened zealots attack the treadmills, the aerobic classes, the pool, the weights - as if tomorrow was their last day on Earth land everyone from their high school classes was attending the funeral. Beginner exercisers HEALTH TOPICS Kim Schell Kim Schell is an aerobic co- ordinator at Sussex Family YMCA. For more informa- tion, call 227-8018. sign up for advanced aerobic classes because they want results, lift too much weight and pound their bodies into near oblivion in their frantic cabin-fever crazed zeal. Now, you tell me. Does it surprise you that exercise would hurt when approached in this manner? So what do you do? How can you begin to get fit in an intelli- gent, painless and productive way? With self-discipline, deter- mination and common sense. Let's take an average man or woman in their 30s. This person's day includes either working at a mostly sedentary job - and by mostly sedentary I mean some- thing other than manual labor - a job that includes occasional walks to the copier, climbing stairs once or twice a day or even standing all day. This person's breakfast consists of Dunkin' Donuts' cof- fee in the car on the way to work, breaking for a caloric and fat-rid- den take-out lunch - and yes, a salad drenched in dressing falls under that category, too - fol- lowed by the drive home to eat dinner, followed by TV watching, reading the newspaper and doing laundry followed by sleep. This person is obviously in need of some fitness in life. For ease, I'm going to call this person a she. Where does she start? She starts by making a decision to begin making small changes in her life. Changes that will involve some small sacrifices, followed by great rewards. She needs to evaluate certain factors, such as diet, sleep patterns, time constraints, body type, current fitness level, finan- cial status and desire to succeed. I could write an entire article on any of these topics, but let's stick to the topic of the day - avoiding pain while achieving success. Cardiovascular fitness, along with muscle strength and fitness, need to go hand-in-hand. Our av- erage woman could begin her fit- ness regime by finding a cardio- vascular activity that she enjoys. I think this is one of the most im- portant considerations in taking up an activity, If you hate what you're doing, you're bound for failure. Walking is an easy, inex- pensive, body-friendly way to be- gin. Depending upon her fitness level, she can adjust her walking speed and distances to fit her needs in every way. Ideally, she would walk approximately 1/2 mile, then stretch, paying particu- lar attention to her anterior tibialis (shins) to avoid shin splints, and gastroenemius (calf). There are many books on stretching in the local libraries and bookstores, and these will tell you how to find stretches appropriate for walking. Good walking shoes are a must, as feet tend to be quite important ap- pendages. It's hard to do much of anything without them. Running or aerobic shoes are just not the same. After her I/2-mile warmup and stretch, she can begin her walk. Let's define what fitness walk- ing is. In order for our woman to improve her cardiovascular fit- ness, she needs to decide on dis- tance and speed. A good begin- ner's distance is approximately 2 to 3 miles at 3 mph. If you have no idea how fast 3 mph is, you can have someone pace you in a car for a short while, or if you have access to a treadmill, set the pace at 3 mph and get the feel for the speed. She should keep her arms bent at a 90-degree angle and pump them close to her sides while she walks. Not only does this give her upper body some attention, it also improves the speed of her stride greatly, Her concentration should be on keeping her stride not too short, and not too long, and on ini- Continued on page 34