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Dr. Craig Reese on Living Healthier

Craig Reese, D.C., P.C., views his job as a combination of health detective and lifestyle consultant. A doctor of chiropractic medicine, he recommends natural methods such as nutrition, exercise, acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation to treat chronic illnesses and restore health to his patients. Here, Reese explains how environmental pollution may be more harming to overall wellness than suspected.

How do you define healthy living?

Healthy living means doing things as nature intended: Getting some kind of exercise, resting for eight to ten hours, eating real—not processed—foods, drinking water and breathing clean air kept humans on the planet for hundreds of years. Those practices will keep us healthy, too.

What do people underestimate about healthy lifestyle changes?

People underestimate how long it will take to turn their health around. Most illnesses take a long time to develop; it takes years of doing the wrong things. People expect to see massive changes in a hurry. You’ll see changes, but it takes years to get your body to totally recuperate. You’ll be more successful if you think of it as a lifestyle change, not just a temporary fad or something to put up with.

If someone were to do three things each day to change their health, what should those things be?

Three things: exercise, stop eating white food and drink more clean water.

How can people really succeed during the first 30 days of living healthier?

People achieve the first goal, but don’t set the next one. They’re stuck in the first win, but then what? Setting the next goal is the most important thing. Three weeks into your four-week goal, get through the next minute, then the next five minutes. The big thing is to get people to know what they want in life and allow it to happen. Don’t get caught up in forcing it so hard; you can achieve your goals and make a game out of it. Being healthy is a journey, not a destination.

What are some things in one’s environment that are especially dangerous or detrimental to overall health?

Indoor air pollution is a big hazard that most people don’t understand. As we try to make our homes and buildings more energy efficient, we sealed them up like a tomb. This becomes a breeding ground for infections, like mold and bacteria. Mold is also a big problem in this country. The new houses have tons of chemicals from the paints, glues and varnishes used to create that shiny new place. Older houses have mold and chemical problems, too. Schools, airplanes and hospitals are all notorious for bad air in my experience.

Besides air, our water from the tap is not clean enough to drink. Local governments do the best they can to clean up the water, but they can only do so much. They test for about 90 to 100 different contaminants in the water, but some reports say the list is in the thousands.

Electromagnetic field poisoning can affect people’s sleep, as well as cause problems with depression and anxiety. Anything electrical within three feet of your head while sleeping can cause a problem, and that includes whatever’s on the other side of the wall where your head lays in your bed. Keeping electrical things out of the bedroom and keeping the room pitch-black helps. Get your sunlight everyday without glasses or contacts and shut your computer monitor off when you aren’t using it.

The chemical additives in perfumes and scented products can be harmful to many people; use essential oils instead of petroleum-based chemicals. Also, room air-fresheners should be avoided for the same reason.

What can we learn from other cultures’ health practices?

In the 1930s, a dentist and independent nutrition researcher named Weston Price found that when people in primitive cultures switched to a western diet, within 20 years they had diabetes, cancer, heart disease and dental problems. His book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, showed that once these people were away from their natural diet, their health went downhill. If you could eat 70% to 80% raw foods, it would be much better than the everything-overcooked diet.

For more information about Craig Reese, visit www.drcraigreese.com.

Posted: 12/28/07