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Tips for a healthy life, at any age

Here are Dr. Monique Martin’s tips for healthy living.

Are you looking for ways to optimize your health? Health is not just the absence of disease, but also the presence of vigor, balance and optimal well-being. It is the connection of body, mind and spirit.

Nutrition and diet. We all have some idea of what we would like to weigh. There are many books dispensing conflicting advice. Eating healthy shouldn’t be that confusing.

Here are some guidelines:

Don’t skip meals.

Eat three meals and two to three snacks daily — five to six meals a day.

When you feel like eating, ask yourself “Am I hungry?,” or is there another reason you are craving food — such as comfort?

Eat organic as much as possible.

Limit all processed foods.

Avoid artificial sweeteners and colorings.

Limit sweets and processed sugars.

Drink 64 ounces of purified water daily.

Limit beverages with caffeine, stimulants, sugars and dyes.

Have one to three bowel movements daily.

Do not diet.

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Limit the middle.

Eat a quarter of your calories as healthy fats — such as olive oil, essential fatty acids from cold-water fish, flax and walnut. Dairy, meats, eggs and nuts in moderation are OK.

Avoid margarine, partially hydrogenated fats, kernel oils and trans fats.

Eat a quarter of your calories as protein. This includes animal protein like fish, fowl, meat and eggs and vegetarian protein like legumes, tofu, seeds, nuts and dairy.

Eat a quarter of your calories as non-starchy vegetables. Try to get two to three colors of veggies on your largest meal of the day.

Eat a quarter of your calories as all other carbohydrates. This includes all grains, fruits, starchy vegetables and sweets.

Drink alcohol in moderation, no more than two drinks in a day and less than four times per week. Drink alcohol with meals, not on an empty stomach. Take milk thistle if you drink regularly.

Consider daily supplementation with multivitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Exercise. There are numerous varied guidelines. Exercise is the No. 1 treatment for mild to moderate depression, not Prozac. It keeps your body fit and helps maintain your weight.

Exercise 30 minutes daily six to seven times a week. Alternate with aerobic and weight training activities.

Do something you really enjoy. Judo, dancing, cycling, swimming and skiing are all great.

If you are not participating in a sport and getting to the gym is difficult, then consider getting a treadmill or elliptical rider if you can’t go out for a walk.

Research has shown that the treadmill is the most frequently used exercise equipment.

Exercise first thing in the morning. Research shows that those who exercise in the morning are 70 percent more likely to continue versus only 20 percent of those who exercise at other times.

Play and relationships. Do you play? Children spend a large part of their day playing and laughing. Unfortunately this is starting to decrease in children and we are seeing an increase in illness. Engage in friendships and hobbies to develop creativity and play.

Include plenty of humor and affection in your life.

Maintain social ties with those that mean the most to you.

Work on your emotional issues!

Spend time with your family. Especially with your children. Soon they’ll be grown. Nobody ever complained of not spending enough time at the office on his or her deathbed.

Pay attention to the energy of those around you.

Avoid toxic people and energy vampires. Don’t try to fix other people’s problems.

Keep your marriage in great shape. It requires work. If you are unhappy, get counseling. Strive for win/win outcomes. Happily married people have longer and healthier life spans.

Enjoy sex. Be responsive to your mutual needs.

Maintain excellent hygiene.

If you are alone, get involved.

Consider sharing your life with a pet. People with pets experience less loneliness and less illness.

Consider volunteering.

Work. Do what you enjoy.

Assess the purpose of your life and pursue it.

Find a job you love.

Speak up. Don’t allow others take advantage of you. Take a confidence-building class.

Assume responsibilities you can comfortably handle.

Don’t get in over your head.

Do not overwork — moderate your hours.


If you have weapons, take a safety course.

Keep your weapons and household chemicals locked up at all times.

If you have a problem with anger and violence or other unacceptable behavior, get counseling now and get rid of your weapons.

If you are a victim of unacceptable behavior, get counseling now.

Don’t hit anyone.

Take a parenting class if you have children.


Get plenty of sleep. Invest in a good mattress, pillow and blanket.

Protect your body from electro-magnetic fields, especially cell phones and computers.

Avoid drugs and tobacco.

Practice safe sex.

Wear your seatbelt.

Avoid dangerous situations.

Wear sunscreen in the hot sun.

Limit exposure to negative news.

Develop an optimistic outlook.

Fill your house with plants.

Get a HEPA air purifier.

Find a great doctor and dentist who will work with you.

Get regular physicals and screening exams.

Address any imbalances or illnesses in your body.

Treat yourself to bodywork and other pampering relaxations.

Have all silver-mercury dental amalgams eventually replaced with less toxic composites or gold.

Plan and prepare for the future.

Select a medical power of attorney for emergencies.

Address any addictions.


Get in touch with your spirit and higher power.

Meditate regularly.

Live your life mindfully.

Convene with nature. Garden. Recycle. Protect the Earth.

Look at what is important. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses.

Appreciate the simple things in life. Take time to smell the roses, watch the sunset and play with children.

Be involved in your community.

Be charitable.

Be kind. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Resolve past issues.

Release judgment and anger.

Forgive yourself and others.

Give yourself permission to be.

Art show

We have been enjoying the photo display of Navy photographer Rob Gaston and now it’s time to enjoy our next artist’s work. Who will it be? Do you have photos, paintings, etc. you would like to display on our dining room walls for the senior diners to enjoy? If so, please contact me at 264-2167.

Presentations, anyone?

Seriously gang, do you have something fun to offer in a presentation? I haven’t heard a peep from anyone, and I know you are out there.

John Graves and Jillian Flathers have shared their fun with us, now it’s your turn to share.

Maybe you were a spy for FBI, CIA, a Navy Seal or were involved in an exciting mountain expedition. Perhaps you were part of a famous rescue, sang for the president, worked in the White House, cooked for Carey Grant, starred in a movie, specialized in furniture making, invented something or have great vacation slides from a trip to another country. If you would like to share your adventures with others, I’d love to hear from you. Please call me at 264-2167.

Dental assistance

The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA) has grant funds from the Administration on Aging for up to $300 per person. To ensure the continuation of grant funding, you will get a letter from the SJBAAA suggesting a minimum contribution of 10 percent ($30).

Please observe the following program guidelines:

1. Title III Older Americans Act grant funds will assist seniors, age 60-plus in the following areas only :

• Fluoride varnishing.

• Fillings for cavities.

• Tooth extractions.

• Cleaning and overall preventive care for maximum oral health.

There is a high priority to serve low and very low income individuals.

For further information, visit or call 264-0501.

More assistance

A San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, Title III B & E Services Grant is being administered for 2012 by the Visiting Angels Home Care Agency in Pagosa Springs.

To apply, you must be over 60 years old and not on Medicaid. Special consideration is being given to veterans who are waiting for their Aid and Assistance Benefit to come through.

This grant will provide some funds, but is limited to $500 with a small copay, to assist the elderly with homemaking — to include fixing meals, planning menus, doing light housekeeping, laundry or changing beds. Also, personal care needs are covered — dressing and bathing assistance, general personal care and supervision to prevent falls, medications reminders and companionship — as are other chores around the house like yard work, light home maintenance or installing grab bars or wheelchair ramps. Contact Chris Smith at Visiting Angels, 264-5991, to apply.

Reservations, please

You now need to make reservations to dine at Cafe Fox. I received notification from the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging requiring a reservation system be in place in an effort to avoid waste.

We have set out about a weeks’ worth of reservation lists, enabling you to sign up in advance. If you are already at Cafe Fox, see Rob at the front desk and he’ll help you with your reservation, or call by 9 a.m. of the morning you would like to join us. If we are unable to make it to the phone, dial extension 27 and leave a message. For you computer-savvy folks, we have added a link to our website. Visit, select County Departments and then Senior Services. You’ll see the Meal Reservation link. Make your reservation today at 264-2167, Ext. 27.

Special events

Picnic in the Park — Friday, Aug, 24, at noon (don’t forget to make your reservation). Not only will we relax by the river, we’ll have a fun of ton watching those who are brave enough partake in a pie eating contest. Sign up in advance to take your shot at having the biggest mouth in Pagosa Springs. Call us at 264-2167 to reserve your tart-size pie and take the title.

Like to help out?

So far, I’ve had one very welcome response to my plea for help. If you can help out, I’d love to hear from you.

In addition to the help needed in the kitchen, I am looking for a writer to assist with the weekly column. One idea for a writer would be to interview our Senior of the Week. Perhaps you or others have ideas, I sure would love to hear from you.

We are currently accepting applications to assist in our kitchen and dining room.

Like to help in the kitchen? Is chopping, slicing, dicing, prepping and stirring your middle name? If so, then we need you, and several of you at that. We’d love to have you aboard.

Like to greet people and lend a hand? If so, we have the perfect opportunity for you. We are looking for a few people who would like to greet our folks, introduce new clients to our services, show them the ropes of the dining room and offer assistance to those needing help filling out our new client form. Call me at 264-2167 for an application.


Get out in the community and let us do the driving. Door-to-door bus service is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, for seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Come hang out with us and enjoy our company. Call for details at 264-2167.

Weekly activities

Friday, Aug. 17 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m. Brain Injury Support Group; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

Monday, Aug. 20 — 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Canasta.

Tuesday, Aug. 21 — 11 a.m. Alzheimer’s Support Group; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, Aug. 22 – 11 a.m. blood pressure checks.

Thursday, Aug. 17 — 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. lunch.

Friday, Aug. 24 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m. Book Club; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

This week’s menu

Reservations required by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at Cafe Fox.

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $4 guests $6, kids 12 and under $3. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $10.50. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m. 264-2167, Ext. 27 for reservations.

Friday, Aug. 17 — Baked salmon, brown rice, California vegetables, tomato/cucumber salad, bran muffin, half banana, rainbow sherbet.

Monday, Aug. 20 — Oven fried chicken, baked potato, spinach mandarin salad, peaches, cornbread.

Tuesday, Aug. 21 — Tuna salad wrap, whole wheat tortilla, tomato soup, lettuce and tomato, hard boiled egg, ambrosia fruit salad.

Wednesday, Aug. 22 — Sloppy Joe on whole wheat bun, mixed vegetables, spinach mandarin salad, butterscotch pudding.

Thursday, Aug. 23 — Chicken Parmesan, whole wheat spaghetti, tossed salad, whole wheat roll, tropical fruit.

Friday, Aug. 24 — Picnic in the Park: barbecue beef brisket, creamy coleslaw, ranch beans, whole wheat roll, half orange.

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