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Welcome to a New Year and a New Decade

Welcome to a new year and a new decade that offer both opportunities and challenges in our pursuit of healthy living! In His imminent wisdom, God has instilled in His creation a predilection for new beginnings, so it’s inevitable that we greet each new year with unbounded optimism. I also have to think that He’s instilled in us the penchant for self-improvement at this time of year. It is heartening that the most common New Year’s resolutions are health-based, with exercising to get in shape and dieting to lose weight topping the list. While I’m definitely typical in this regard, I’ve often wondered why New Year’s is so closely associated with better health and wellness.

What I know for sure — as year after year, I watch the number of people at my gym swell in early January and then trail off sometime in March — is that it’s a very good thing that we are drawn to consume, appreciate and act or think about acting upon some of the huge volume of health and wellness information that surfaces. My personal experience is that whether or not I act when I read it, my knowledge base grows so that I’m better equipped to take action when the mood hits me — plus, I instinctively incorporate small, healthy steps into my daily activities. For many years, I was that person. As a result, I now work out consistently five days a week. However, I still have a ways to go to get into shape, so this year one of my goals is to eat less overall, but more high-quality, plant-based food.

This time of reflection and new beginnings also makes me consider how my health and well-being are shaped by the health of the planet. As I see that everything external to me—the air, the water, the plants and trees and animals and all their output—affects my body, I’m reminded of the saying, “garbage in, garbage out”. In order for me to be my healthiest, the environment I live in must be healthy, too, right? This, then, is another call to action: We must be as diligent and concerned about the health of our planet as we are about our bodies. This year I’m inviting you to join me in making a New Year’s resolution to do something specific to shrink your own climate change footprint. Mine is to refuse to bring plastic into my home and to make my next car purchase an electric vehicle.

My knowledge base has definitely grown, and hopefully yours will, too, as a result of one of this issue’s most enlightening and action-worthy articles. In “Gut Check: Feeding the Immune System,” on page 28, Julie Peterson makes the case that the foundation for vibrant health is a healthy immune system, and she shares nutritional tips for building one.

Eye-opening as well is “When Workouts Don’t Work: Why Less Is Sometimes More,”on page 30. If you’re like me in that you’ve previously struggled to shed post-holiday (or non-holiday) pounds, you’ll be surprised and pleased to discover that moderation may be the key to burning fat. Marlaina Donato explains how stress-free exercise can deliver better results by optimizing the response of cortisol, a steroid hormone that plays a critical role in regulating metabolism.

There’s much more to enjoy in this issue, and I hope that it will educate and inspire you to take those small, incremental steps to living a greener, more sustainable lifestyle on a healthy planet.

Blessings for a healthy and happy 2020,

 

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