Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holistic Hottie™: 8 Great Principles for Optimal Health

This post is in response to the questions I get everyday. It seems like almost everyone wants more energy, less pain, and to reach their optimal weight/body composition. Aside from various therapeutic protocols to bring the body into a more balanced state, here are the basics for arriving at more optimal health levels at any age:

#1. If it's white, don't eat it. The 3 white evils include white flour, white sugar, and pasteurized homogenized dairy. For more informaton on dairy, check out: Weston A. Price, Real Milk and Raw Dairy. If you're interested in obtaining raw dairy and you're in NYC, visit the Traditional Nutrition Guild website for information.

#2. Read the ingredient list on all food labels. If it doesn't sound like a food or if you can't pronounce the ingredient easily, your liver -- a major organ for detoxification -- will not appreciate you eating it. Stick with real foods. Eat the foods that have been on this Earth since the beginning of time.

#3. Shop organic (ideally grass-fed, hormone-free and local). Besides Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, check out the food co-ops and farmer's markets in your area. Local Harvest can help you find where to shop throughout the U.S. If you're in NYC, the Park Slope Food Co-Op is excellent as is the Traditional Nutrition Guild. If you're on a budget, shop conventional for produce and organic for your meats, oils and fats.

#4. Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of clean water everyday with an added pinch of unprocessed sea salt per liter. Celtic and Himalayan sea salts are best. The sea salts from New Zealand rank next because heavy metal toxicity is lowest there. In addition to adding a pinch of unprocessed sea salt to your water, use it to season your foods after cooking. (Unrefined salt can be purchased here.)

#5. Use home water filters for sink and shower. I like Aquasana and Doulton filters but there are other brands that are less pricey and still pretty good. To further reduce exposure to chemical toxins, chlorine and xenoestrogens, store your filtered drinking water in glass or steel (Kleen Kanteen) instead of plastic, if possible. (Doulton, Aquasana and Kleen Kanteen products can be purchased here.)

#6. Eat for your Metabolic Type and avoid potentially inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy. What's the deal with gluten? -- Here's a great video clip of a doctor explaining the problems associated with gluten. It's not just a problem for Celiacs.

For meal planning ideas, check out the Healthy Urban Kitchen eCookbook.

*#7. Exercise without OVER-doing it. Overtraining can actually make it harder for you to achieve the health and fitness goals you're aiming for. Honor your body.

Last but definitely not least important ...

#8. SLEEP. Quality sleep is crucial for optimal health! It gives the body a chance to repair, recover and heal. We get our physical recovery (think growth hormone) between the hours of 10pm and 2pm. Psychological and nervous system recovery happens between 2am and 6am. So if you are not getting into bed until after midnight on a regular basis, it means that you are missing at least two hours a night of your physical recovery. If you're a physically active person who does this, I'm going to guess that your body has a few aches and pains that don't seem to want to go away.

The 8 Principles may seem like a lot. They might be counter to what your current lifestyle is like. If that's the case but you know you could stand to feel better, try one principle out at a time. If you know you're not getting enough sleep or getting enough water, try going to bed earlier and drinking more water for starters. Little by little - your body will thank you for your efforts. Consistency and balance will pay off.

* Disclaimer: When you read #7 and then look at my own schedule you will see the - ahem - hypocrisy. I do a lot of work outside of the gym to counter what I do in the gym. Unless you're getting paid to do physically challenging work all day, I do not recommend keeping a schedule like mine. Balance is key in everything.

Thanks for Reading!


  1. hey amira, this is awesome info. can you send me the link/test to figure out what your metabolism type is? thank you. you can email it to me at

  2. Thanks for sharing!

    I've actually tried to "cut out the white" and I think it really works.

    I've switched to whole wheat pastas, honey instead of sugar, and I TRY to buy organic milk (although its considerably pricier).

    The only time i dont see results, is when I stop cooking and start buying fast food.
    DUH, I know! lol

  3. Wow your information is incredible. I will try these steps keep up the good work!