What’s Your Mindset for Aging?

As I head into my late 40’s, I am struck by how much of the conversation in my peer group is about getting older:

  • My joints are sooooooooo achy.
  • I can’t remember anything. I must be starting to lose it.
  • My fortune to be able to sleep like a teenager again.
  • What the heck happened to the skin on my neck?!!!

All these symptoms are chalked up to “getting older,” and then the conversation moves on to investments, aging parents, or troublesome teenagers.

I think we’re missing something in the conversation.

As an ND, I spend a lot of time thinking about disease prevention and optimum health. In my many years of practicing in the Georgian Triangle I’ve met many people who are shining examples of healthy aging.

I know 50-year-olds who look like they are in their 30’s. I’ve worked with 60-year-olds who are starting up wildly successful businesses. We have 70-year-olds in the clinic who are shredding up the ski hills, and 80-year-olds who are biking with the local cycling clubs and setting the pace.

These people inspire me and mirror that healthy aging is indeed possible and it’s not magic.

The Three Mindsets of Aging

But what’s different about those people? One of the consistent qualities in all these healthy people is their mindset. Over the years of working with thousands of patients, I have found three predominant mindsets as people age. Two that do not serve them, and one that serves very well.

The first is the “ignore it and it will go away” mindset. These are the patients who continue to believe that they have the biochemistry of the 20-year-old. They eat junk, drink too much, don’t get enough sleep and play the odd hockey game in the belief that it’s enough to support good health. Their body is SCREAMING at them with various symptoms, and they simply ignore it all and carry on. The end game? A heart attack, stroke or worse.

The second is the “I’m getting older and I must accept it” mindset. These patients believe that there is nothing to be done about the symptoms of aging. They are doomed to painful movement, increasingly chubby bodies, and lapsing memories. They will retire, golf and slowly lose the function of their bodies and their minds, and there is simply nothing that came be done about it. Aging is an inexorable tide, so why bother swimming?

The patients who inspire me that healthy aging is possible, however, share neither of these two internal stories. Their mindset is different.

Theirs is the “I’m going to live my best life as the years pass” mindset. Do they think they are 20 still? No way. They know their body and biochemistry does not work the same as it did in those younger years. But they also know that there is much that can be done, and that maintaining and even improving their health as they age requires something different than it did decades before.

They know they need:

  • Consistent exercise. No more weekend warrior stuff will do. Daily movement is mandatory.
  • Consistent healthy eating. 80/20 is key here. You used to get away with 80% junk. Now it’s time to flip the ratio to 80% or more real, whole food.
  • Consistent rest. Rest is when we repair, and this takes a little more time as we age. We have to make more time for it.
  • Consistent reality checks. How much are you really doing the things above? How much are you really drinking? What’s your language around aging? How much are you challenging your mind and your body as time passes?

Changing your mindset about aging doesn’t mean you ignore your changing parts, but it also doesn’t mean you accept infirmity as the only end game.

Do your genetics matter? Of course. But they’re only part of the story, and probably a smaller part than you think.

Besides, what sounds more appealing: believing you can’t do anything, or believing that you can consciously engage with your body, listen to its signals, and support it to give you the vibrant health it wants to in your 70’s, 80’s and beyond?

Upcoming Workshops: Cancer Care, Sleep Habits

Cancer Care: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Approaches

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
6:00PM-7:00PM
FREE
Call or email the clinic to register

Join Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Ehab Mohammed ND to learn about the best evidence to support the use of complementary intervention in the care of those with cancer. Whether you are engaging in conventional cancer care or not this open session will be of value to you.

Dr. Ehab spent over 20 years practicing and researching oncology at the University of Cairo as a medical doctor. He is now training and licensed as a Naturopathic Doctor and is passionate about the integration of complementary and conventional care.

Learn more about Dr. Ehab here.

Healthy Sleep Habits For Kids: A Workshop for Parents

Wed, 3 October 2018
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT
FREE
Register here

Join Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Bronwyn Hill ND and Jessica White, a Certified Integrative Sleep Consultant, to learn how to create lasting changes in your house that will positively affect your family’s sleep.

Enjoy and informative session to learn the latest on sleep science, nutrition, and take home strategies to help children ages 3-10 get their recommended sleep hours for optimal health.

Learn more and register for your spot here.

 

Food as Medicine: Sauerkraut

Humans have been fermenting foods for thousands of years. Fermentation made our food last longer and made it easier to digest, which in turn helped us stay healthier. Along the way, however, we also ended up creating foods that taste great and have excellent health benefits!

Sauerkraut is one of those great fermented wonders. It’s a superfood that’s full of vitamins, probiotics, enzymes, and other nutritional components, and has been connected to many health benefits including increased immune function, decreased heart disease, weight loss, and even cancer prevention.

Here at the clinic, we recommend it regularly for our patients with gut issues, and for those who just want to eat foods that are naturally high in probiotics. According to one study, sauerkraut was shown to contain up to 28 distinct bacterial strains. (When it comes to our digestive tracts, the more strains the better.)

Not all sauerkrauts are created equal. Many supermarket brands have been pasteurized and have added preservatives, which has the unfortunate side effect of killing all the beneficial bacteria–make sure you read the labels. You want a sauerkraut with 2 basic ingredients: cabbage and salt. Some will have added spices or other veggies added, like carrot, but make sure to avoid the brands with added sugars. The natural sugars in the cabbage itself are more than enough food for the little critters to do their magic.

We recommend Bubbies Sauerkraut all the time and it is delicious–you can find it here at the Pantry.

Want to make it yourself? It’s easy! All you really need is cabbage, salt and some time. Let Brad from Bon Appetite show you how.

Bubbies Sauerkraut available in the Pantry at StoneTree Clinic. Drop by anytime!

Dr. Maggie’s Family is Growing!

If you’ve been to the clinic lately, you may have noticed Dr. Maggie’s growing belly! Her family is looking forward to welcoming their newest member this fall.

The rest of the StoneTree Clinic team is thrilled to have another STC baby about the clinic, but, as always, we’ll be sad to see one of our team members go on mat leave.

Dr. Maggie’s last day is Friday, October 4th. For all of you who need to see her before then, you can book here. She is expected back in May 2019.

In the meantime, we’re so pleased that Dr. Bronwyn will be caring for Dr. Maggie’s patients during her absence. Both these great docs graduated in the same year from naturopathic college and have worked together since they were interns there.

You can check out Dr. Bronwyn’s profile here.