Leaving the Military Doesn't Mean Leaving Behind Healthy Habits

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By now, many have made New Year's Resolutions of a health-related nature. Diet and Exercise tend to be the 2 areas worth our attention. While the weights continue to clank and we get hip on the elliptical, our goal is to become more healthy, wealthy, and wise. Spinning classes are in full effect with enough motion to make you dizzy. You might decide to go the Zumba route, or maybe even Cross-Fit, or Plyometric exercises. Some may choose to go the more traditional route of Physical Fitness (a.k.a. "PT") with a regimen from your regiment — push-ups, sit-ups, and running, with maybe a set of pull-ups mixed in for good measure!

Exercise is definitely an important, proven method of maintaining a higher level of healthy living. Just imagine what our Military would be without lean, mean, fighting machines! A military full of out-of-shape Troops gasping for air after just 50 yards of double-time would never work. That's way we have Men & Women in Uniform who take the fitness part of the equation seriously — it's their job! What I find interesting, however, is the wide array of opinions, methods, and recommendations found in the diet & supplement portion of the equation.

I've worked in the medical field for over 18 years. During that time, I got a chance to learn about lots of different prescription medications and how the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) conducts large clinical trials in order to study all these prescription pharmaceutical products before and after they go to market. If you've ever watched a commercial for any prescription medication, you always hear that long, long list of potential side effects. You know what I'm referring to!

This is done in order to protect you from potential adverse reactions and in order to inform you as to what could happen as a result of taking a particular medication. Patient safety is the goal.

So, when it comes to things that are not regulated by the FDA, why are people so willing to ingest, sip, or sell something that has not been studied? How many Patients is sufficient enough to determine overall safety, effectiveness, or health benefits? Many attribute this to diet & supplements as being natural or organic. It must be safe if it's natural or organic, right? Maybe so or maybe not, but how do we know for sure?

On non-prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, you usually get a list of things that this product does not have. I like to call this, excuse the expression, The Pick Your "No's" List:

No Artificial Color, No Artificial Flavors, No Artificial Sweeteners, No Preservatives, No Sugar, No Milk, No Lactose, No Soy, No Gluten, No Wheat, No Dairy, No Shellfish, No Fish, and No Sodium.

You also see a lot of terms such as; "supports", "helps promote", and "delivers", etc. Lots of clever wording for sure, but I think it is important to know more. I believe it is especially important to pay attention to all of this since we always see the most common verbiage shown on diet and supplement packaging. Do you know what I'm referring too?

On the back of most Over-the-Counter remedies have one important phrase emblazoned on their packaging:

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Of course, before you start or stop any exercise or medications of any type, you should consult your Doctor first!

In the coming months, I plan to introduce you to a few people who know a lot about this topic. I have a Friend who is a Cardiologist and another Friend who is a Microbiologist. Both study and understand the various aspects of diet, exercise, health, and supplements and love to share information.

What does this have to do with GOING CIVILIAN? Let's just say that I've heard too many stories of military folks who get out and get sick or even worse. Many fall out of their normal fitness routines. I recall a Division Command Sergeant Major who died shortly after a Division Run and just a short time before his retirement. It was a sad day for all!

Lots of questions exist out there on Healthy Living and I want to shine a light on some knowledge from qualified individuals.

What would you like to know more about healthy living?