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10 Things I Always Knew Were Good for Me*

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*And now the research has proved it.

Growing up as I did around the world's leading health experts, it's hard not to get swept up in the latest fads. I've said that before, I know. But I had to develop an expert sense of my own. It's called common sense. And it turns out my common sense has been proven to be correct over time by lots of scientific and medical research. Here's my list of 10 things I never gave up on, even while the world made them in and out of healthy fashion....
  1. Coffee--I thought of the idea for this blog sitting on my lovely outdoor couch drinking my black organic coffee this morning. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life. And other than cutting back slightly when I was pregnant, I have never abandoned it. Fortunately, every study I've read supports my stubbornness.
  2. The whole egg--I stuck with the yellows during the "white out" fad simply out of taste and flavor. The yellows are my favorite part! But now studies show that that's where all the good stuff is. Of course it is!
  3. Fat from nature--I'm talking real organic butter, olive oil, and yes...LARD. First of all, fat is essential to a healthy diet (thank god we know that for sure now). In fact, many nutrients can't even be absorbed by the body without some fat attached (spinach and kale, for example). And as long as the fat is organic (so it's not laden with the chemical load of its source), natural (as opposed to those artificial manufactured and engineered fat substitutes), and eaten in moderation, it's part of a healthy diet.
  4. The sun--In some ways, the jury is still out on this. I still see way too much emphasis put on sunscreen, which, by the way, I only use in emergencies (like when I'm going to be out on a boat all day). But truly, vitamin D is essential to all health and life and the only way to get the real thing is to enjoy the sunlight without sunscreen, which is how I justify my healthy tan.
  5. Sex--You don't need a medical expert to tell you that you feel so much better after a good bout of it. Fortunately, our medical experts are now showing, through research, that that is in fact the case.  Sex does improve your health and mood.
  6. Chocolate--Anything that comes from nature that tastes that good has to have some redeeming nutritional value. That's the way nature works.
  7. Organic--Seriously, there is so much research now (as opposed to when I grew up when there was NONE) that the chemicals we put on our soil, our plants, and our food and then EAT them cause so many horrible things--from cancer, diabetes, asthma to allergies and even autism (1 IN 54 BOYS BORN TODAY!!!). I am glad I never abandoned my common sense on organic. I'm glad my children are healthy (knock on wood!). I'm glad science has started to try common sense occasionally. And I'm glad my local supermarket just massively increased the size of its organic section!
  8. Nature--I don't know, doesn't it seem like sometimes people think nature is dirty and needs to be controlled and managed and sterilized or something? Every study I've seen shows the exact opposite. And the more we expose ourselves to wild, unmanaged, fresh, and dirty nature, the healthier we are!
  9. Sleep--I remember when I was younger and a woman working my way up the ladder, there was always this peer pressure about who slept the least. "Oh, Martha Stewart only needs four hours of sleep a night" or such and such. Well I say F*#% that. I'd rather take a nap and sleep nine hours a night. Studies have shown I was right all along. And better rested, too.
  10. Laughter--Again, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure this one out....just a couple of neuroscientists. When in doubt, choose comedy over tragedy, laughter over tears, and common sense over peer pressure, even if it comes from a reputable source.
 

For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com