You Just Want to Feel Good
Not everyone is a vegan or is training for a marathon. You may not want to research every food before eating it or keep up with the latest research on the most efficient way to structure an hour of exercise. If you’re like a lot of hairdressers, you just want to be able to do the work you love without pain, worry or a lot of medication. No matter what your age or medical history, you just want to feel good.
Dr. Loren Marks, a New York City chiropractor and board-certified clinical nutritionist who practices functional medicine and counts among his patients top editorial and runway stylists as well as fashion industry insiders, provides his patients with lifestyle guidance and natural medicines that help prevent disease, improve energy levels and optimize their health. Basing his advice on their individual blood chemistries and his own Integrative Assessment Technique, a muscle-testing technology, he also educates patients about the impact that lifestyle changes and thinking can have on their health. Marks says often people will push through aches and pains in order to continue their unhealthy habits, and only a real health problem will be enough of a wake-up call for them to improve those habits.
“If a blood test comes back showing the person is close to being diabetic, that can be enough to motivate the person to do something about it,” Marks says. “I tell these patients, ‘You have an opportunity to change right now.’ We talk about how much exercise they do, how many hours of sleep they get, what they eat and when they eat. Sometimes just discussing it is enough for the person to make changes.”
Self-motivation isn’t the only hurdle. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Marks observes. Even when a study is accurately reported, a later study may contradict the findings and it can take a long time for people’s impressions to shift from believing the earlier conclusions. As an example, Marks cites the evolving conversation surrounding cholesterol. In addition, “the pharmaceutical industry is vested in giving us medication,” he says. “If we eat foods with antioxidants—five to six servings a day of fruits and vegetables—instead of processed foods and sugars, we’ll prevent the LDL molecule, or bad cholesterol, from becoming oxidized, which contributes to heart disease. Increase the amount of natural food in your diet, and you reduce the need for many supplements. Oxidation, like the browning of an apple, occurs in our cells if we do not consume enough antioxidants from whole foods and supplements. This leads to increases in cell mutations and inflammation, which can be a driver of disease.”
Additionally, Marks recommends:
- Do yoga, Pilates or general stretching. “Get a foam roller and roll your back on it at home,” Marks advises. The idea is to change the patterns of muscle tension and spasms caused by standing all day using your arms to do hair services. Every night, place your hands with palms to the wall at chest level, and lean in until you feel your forearms and wrists stretch. This will reduce the effects of overuse from cutting and styling hair.
- Increase the Omega 3 fats in your diet by adding fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, along with chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
- Establish your blood sugar tone in the morning. This is critical for setting your energy level for the day. If you have time to sit and eat, Marks calls vegetable omelets the "breakfasts of champions."
- Make your own smoothies. If you do not have the time for a full breakast, “start your day with a shake or smoothie instead of coffee and a donut,” Marks urges. “You can take it with you in the car or wait until you get to the salon.” He suggests adding a scoop of whey protein powder to coconut milk, rice milk, cashew milk or almond milk, all unsweetened. “If you’re sensitive to dairy, some protein powders are made from rice or pea,” he adds. For fruit in your smoothie, choose organically grown berries—frozen are fine if you don’t have fresh—and a banana is another great ingredient. “Avoid juice and too much fruit,” he says, “because the fructose will spike your blood sugar. Berries are the lowest in sugar and the highest in antioxidants. And go ahead and drink your cup of coffee, but recognize that it’s your beverage, not your meal. The shake or smoothie is your meal—good quality nutrition."
- Take it one step at a time. When your goal is to have a healthy lifestyle, studies show you’ll be more successful if you build new habits gradually. “Start with lunch just three days a week by eating a salad and skipping the sandwich,” Marks suggests. “Small changes can have big effects on your energy level.”
You just want to feel good, right?