Achieving Optimal Health by Dr. Steven Silverman
   Recently, there have been many television programs dedicated to educating people on extending their lifespan to 100 years of age and more. The panels of experts are mainly medical doctors with specialties in anti-aging medicine. As you watch these programs, a common theme evolves.

     All the experts tell you what to avoid and what you should be eating. The obvious is mentioned, such as refraining from smoking, increasing exercise and watching your weight. They all discuss the hazards of hydrogenated oils which have been recently banned from New York City restaurants. And of course, there are the junk foods - the white refined foods and soft drinks loaded with high fructose corn syrup to avoid. Despite all of this information, which has actually been around for decades, most people still have a problem achieving optimal health.

     The majority of the public are still used to eating foods based on what they think they like and suffer from a misperception that healthy food just doesn't taste good. Corporate America has won in this regard. They've made billions off of people's lack of knowledge. As health conscious consumers demand healthier food choices, the food industry has begun to capitalize on this market by offering healthier products to mainstream outlets.

     What many people don't realize is, that for every unhealthy product out there, there is a healthier, even tastier version of it. Most commercial breads, pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, cookies and cakes use hydrogenated oils. You can get all of these items, without partially hydrogenated oils in the same supermarket you're already shopping in. Most of the supermarkets now have a health food aisle - all you need to do is look for it and read your food labels. Of course, the local health food store offers shoppers a more personal touch, with a thorough knowledge of the items they stock. Usually, there is a nutritionist or holistic educator on staff who knows which products and foods are best for your needs.

     Staying healthy and living a long life involves eating healthy plant-based foods. This means making sure whole, fresh and preferably organic vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes take center-stage on your serving plate. Look at your shopping cart before check-out time. Is at least 50% of your cart filled with plant-based foods? If your cart is filled with frozen entrees, soda, sugar-laden breakfast cereal, cookies, canned foods or junk food snacks, you are seriously undermining your best efforts.

     Processed foods containing hydrogenated oils are bad for the heart - they raise cholesterol and triglyceride levels, generate free radicals and are extremely inflammatory in nature. New York City banned them because they have been connected to heart attacks and strokes.

     Another major food offender is high fructose corn syrup. Found in most sodas and many soft drinks, this form of sugar is likely to create a hypoglycemic reaction within a short time of ingestion. Headaches and fatigue are the likely outcome and you can expect kids to become real cranky or hyper within an hour or less. Within twenty minutes and usually no more than three hours from consumption, these unhealthy foods will trigger fatigue, headaches, joint pain and stiffness, stomachaches and other symptoms. But there's a holistic method to help you determine what your body is in tune with and what it rejects when it comes to what you put in your body.

     This method is called Applied Kinesiology, frequently referred to as muscle testing. This technique involves testing muscles for normal strength. If a muscle is strong, upon placing various foods or supplements in the patient's mouth, a strong muscle will immediately and dramatically weaken. This helps patients realize that foods do indeed impact the energy of their body and it becomes very tangible and plain to see that certain foods are harmful to the body. It's easier to stop eating a food if you feel it weaken you, rather than someone tell you that a certain food may not be good for you.

     Every person should know how well they tolerate foods - wheat proteins, the components of albumin, casein, whey and lactose and their ability to handle and metabolize sugars. Moisturizers and cosmetics should also be checked for compatibility, since so many of their ingredients are now on the list of possible carcinogens. What you put on the skin will ultimately get into your blood and vital organs. How well you tolerate foods and environmental exposures is related to your genetics. You have to live within the framework of your genetics and constantly help your body detoxify more efficiently, either through foods or through specific detoxifying supplements.

     Knowing what your body doesn't tolerate well is the key to staying healthy. Knowing what your body thrives on is the key to living longer. Seek out an experienced kinesiologist and set up a wellness visit to evaluate your particular dietary sensitivities and nutritional needs.

     Dr. Silverman is a chiropractor and state certified nutritionist who has been in practice for 27 years. He has taught college level courses in holistic health and nutrition and has appeared on many TV and radio shows including the Gary Null show, News 12 and Channel 4. He has lectured and consulted for several homeopathic and nutritional companies and has two offices, one in Hauppauge (631-724-6780) and one in Roslyn (516-484-0776)