Easy Ways to Stay Healthy


The single most common resolution people give themselves is to get (or stay) healthy (read: Exercise more! Eat better! Lose weight!). Here, we look at a few good food and exercise habits to help you move forward as your best self – habits you should follow for life.

1. Choose a Mediterranean diet. It’s been hot in the news, and real data shows that it can help prevent chronic diseases and increase longevity. Here are the main identifiers and components of the diet:

  • Plant-based (i.e. whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts)
  • Fish and chicken at least twice per week—almost no red meat
  • Red wine, in moderation only

2. Eat breakfast at home to avoid reaching for sugar-packed “energy bars” or rolling through the fast food drive-thru line. Steel cut oatmeal is a perfect choice for a high-fiber, low sugar, whole grain meal. Jazz it up with nuts, chia seeds, cinnamon and blueberries (frozen berries are just as tasty and much cheaper than fresh). These extras provide an excellent source of antioxidants to help reduce your risk for both heart disease and cancer.

3. Fast food is OK. Well, not Whoppers and fries. Even faster than waiting in a drive-thru line (and actually good for you) are bananas, a handful of pumpkin seeds, hummus with baby carrots and nuts. A 20-year study from Harvard found a regular diet of both nuts and yogurt independently prevented weight gain. So, stock up on these healthy snacks and put them in baggies for easy on-the-go access.

4. Pair a soup or a salad with every dinner. This helps to curb your hunger and meet the recommended requirement of about 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 2 ½ cups of veggies per day.

5. Eat s-l-o-w-l-y. Enjoy each bite. Wait a good 10 minutes before deciding to have a second plate.

6. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. The brain can easily be tricked into thinking it’s hungry when we’re actually just thirsty.

7. Don’t buy garbage. Sorry, potato, this includes you in every shape and form per the above-mentioned Harvard study. When you’ve spent 10 hours at work and now you’re at home and famished, potato chips look like the perfect appetizer to a frozen pizza entrée. But who has ever stopped eating chips before the bag was empty? Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the fruits and veggies and fish and dairy products live. Avoid the heavily-processed, preservative-rich packaged foods on the shelves in the middle. Here are a few good resources for healthy eating:

8. Consistency is key in your exercise program. Short-term goals lead to long-term results. Here are some articles to help with your personal fitness as it relates to skiing:

9. Start by sweating 20 minutes a day and always discuss all recommendations with your physician.

10. Make it a priority to become your strongest, healthiest and (most important) happiest self through fitness and nutrition. Get motivated, and stay positive.

11. Ski more! A surefire way to stay happy and healthy is to get out on the mountain with wind in your face. Here are some great resources to help you plan your next adventure:

This article was written by Alan Safdi, M.D., FACG:

Dr. Alan Safdi is past chairman of the Section of Gastroenterology at Deaconess Hospital and served as co-founder and president of the Ohio Gastroenterology and Liver Institute. Dr. Safdi is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology, and is a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology. He is former chairman of the Crohn’s and Colitis Medical Advisory Board in Cincinnati and still serves as president of Consultants for Clinical Research. He was also co-founder of eMerge Health Solutions, Consultants for Clinical Research, and outpatient GI and anesthesia programs.

The information included in my posts are for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information in my posts does not create a physician-patient relationship.

Alan V. Safdi MD, FACG
Co-founder Emerge Healthcare Solutions and Consultants for Clinical Research
Past President Ohio Gastroenterology and Liver Institute
President Nominations Committee Ohio GI Society
Served as Chairman Section of Gastroenterology at.Deaconess Hospital
President Consultants for Clinical Research
Past Chairman Cincinnati Crohn’s & Colitis Medical Advisory Committee
Former Medical Director Tri-State Endoscopy Center
Served as President of the Ohio Gastroenterology Society
Lectures Nationally and Internationally on Health and Wellness