Three tips for treating yourself like a classic car

Are you ready to live a healthier life? Start taking care of yourself like my dad takes care of his cars. Really! Cars and bodies are well-designed performance machines designed to run for a long time when properly maintained. My dad takes impeccable care of his cars. Cleaned and detailed regularly, perfectly maintained by the dealership, and running smoothly. Never less than a quarter tank of high-test brand name gas. Carefully garaged and parked at a precise angle for maximum protection. Riding in one of his cars, I feel the loving attention that they receive. So I’m curious: how would it feel if you treated yourself like a classic convertible Thunderbird? Here are three strategies that work for both cars and people to get maximum life and performance.

1. Use high quality fuel. You’re worth it! Cars that require high-octane fuel may ping with regular grade no-name brand fuel. Low quality food can cause all kinds of embarrassing and uncomfortable pings. Interestingly, there are many people who would never use anything but the best gas and oil in their cars, yet they balk at investing a bit more on their nutritional needs. Food is fuel. Use the best by shifting from low-octane to high-octane foods.

Low-octane foods include processed food (if it comes in a box, and it’s not plain oatmeal, consider it processed), sugary drinks and carbonated sodas, high fructose corn syrup, donuts, chips, fast food, and more. Unhealthy fats like margarine, trans fats, and corn oil can be traded in for higher quality, beneficial fats which support your health.

Swap out the low quality foods that don’t nourish your body for high-octane foods whenever you can. When you do this, notice how your body thanks you with less bloating or gas, fewer digestive issues, clearer skin, more energy.

High-octane foods are non-GMO, organic, low in sugar, and have ingredients that you can pronounce. General rule of thumb: select food as close to the original source as possible - choose an apple before apple juice, before apple pie, for example. Replace sweetened oatmeal with old-fashioned oatmeal. Switch to healthy fats like coconut, avocado or EVOO. Eat fresh fruit instead of canned. Snack on healthy nuts when you crave a crunch. Drive right by the fast food store and cook simple, healthy dinners at home. Drink plenty of  water instead of drinks loaded with sugar, caffeine or artificial sweeteners.  Choose to hydrate with lots of filtered water in glass or stainless steel containers instead of plastic containers that can leach unhealthy toxins.

2. Maintenance is key for cars and bodies. Cars get regular tuneups, air pressure in the tires, oil changes with the recommended brands, and regular washing and waxing to protect the finish from rust. Similarly, make sure to choose foods that give you proper nourishment, add top quality supplements where needed, understand lab results, and get regular annual exams with practitioners you trust. If you aren’t happy with your mechanic, you’ll find a new one, right? Well, if your doctor isn’t working for you, find a new one! It’s important to find a practitioner who looks beyond the medical chart and looks at you. If you’re struggling with a frustrating health challenge, start looking for other solutions.

I’ve changed the way that I treat my body and my health to follow a wellness model. The traditional western approach to medicine is to go to the doctor when you’re sick, get some medicine, maybe take antibiotics and accept that chronic aches, pains and illness are just a part of life. Good news - that’s not the way it has to be!

I tossed that health model in the trash a few years ago when I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I felt like I was driving around a car that was running out of gas, stuck in a wrong gear and ready to stall. Doctors told me that was just the way it was, and offered lots of medicine to treat the symptoms (more in another post, for sure!).

At a crossroads, I immersed myself in learning and studying about a wellness perspective. It’s terrific! It’s like filling the gas tank before the car runs out of gas, or changing the oil before the engine seizes. I used to think that going to the doctor for annual exams, getting flu shots and getting care when I was sick was the best way to health. Now I listen to my body, my highly tuned machine. Using a combination of functional medicine, chiropractic, nourishing myself with filtered water and healthy food, I feel great!

3. Get out for a spin. Cars and bodies are made to be used. You know what happens to a car that sits neglected in a driveway. It will have a dead battery, flat tires, embedded dust and dirt, and eventually rust and cracked hoses. People are not so different. Sitting for too long results in stiffness, flexibility problems, back pain, tight hip flexors, and weak muscles (the heart is a muscle, by the way!). Get up, get moving and stretching. Cars can be sold or scrapped when they no longer work, but that’s not the way it works for cars. You get one body for the rest of your life. Take care of it, use it, challenge it, and keep it strong. Walk a little further every day, whatever that means for you. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walking break instead of a coffee break. Meet a friend for a hike instead of breakfast.  Get outside, breathe in the fresh air. Work on your balance, because that’s a big key to staying mobile.

Give your body the same kind of loving that a shining classic Thunderbird deserves. Maintain it well, use the best fuel and products, and for goodness’ sake, have fun using it. You’ve got one body, so treat it well. Let its strength and power take you for the ride of your life!