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Set Fire to Your Metabolism

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With all the talk today of fad diets, health scares and conflicting studies, it's nice to know there is a still common sense. Basic knowledge of health issues and diet can be attained by any person and does not go out of style. Some things never change. Take Adelle Davis, for instance, a nutritionist in the 1950s whose wise words and wisdom can be useful to people on any health level.

Besides good health, I also take interest in old-time radio. It was on the Feb. 5, 1956 episode of the Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy show where I first heard Adelle Davis's pearls of wisdom... yesterday. During a serious segment on nutrition, Ms. Davis spoke about the importance of eating healthy meals: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper." Have a big breakfast with whole grains and protein (such as eggs), a smaller lunch, and an even smaller supper. Breakfast is your fuel for the day. At night, your metabolism is slower; a smaller supper will give you a healthier appetite for breakfast the next day.

Children should be given healthy snack, like fruit, when they get home from school. When asked if this would spoil their appetites for supper, Ms. Davis said "That's the point." A smaller supper leads to a bigger breakfast. People tend to think that candy gives you bursts of energy, when in fact, the simple sugar breaks down in the bloodstream and causes your blood sugar level to rise temporarily. Whole wheat flour breaks down more slowly, giving you more energy for longer.

However, diet alone can't save you from illness, (as many have found out the hard way) and medicine is still important. While vitamins taken in the right measurement for your needs and body are important, they are not a cure-all. It seems from the old time radio shows and movies from the first half of the 20th century that vitamins, fruit juice and fresh air were the greatest cure-alls (and cigarettes). If you look past the controversy of vitamins and living by good nutrition alone, you can gain from some of the valuable nuggets of information offered by Ms. Davis. Exercise and good nutrition are key to good health. But always listen to your doctor.

As patent attorney Robert Platt Bell said on his personal health maintenance blog:

Diet enthusiasts and diet gurus should be careful not to tread that fine boundary between good nutrition and medicine. Yes, a healthy diet can improve your health and help prevent some diseases. But it is not a panacea for all diseases, and moreover, prescribing supplements as cures for (or preventatives of) specific diseases is not dietary advice, but practicing medicine.

All in all, I was amazed by my "introduction" to Adelle Davis and would definitely do further reading on her work. Her books Optimum Health and Let's Get Well are widely available. But, before you trip on a banana and sue me, I am just a fan of good health. Always consult your doctor before engaging in any diet or exercise program. Do not even look at a treadmill before speaking to your doctor. Thank you.

For more by Howard Meyer, click here.

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