Health Resources I Wish Every Writer (and Non-Writer) Knew

Healthy Fruits & Vegetables by khancafeeI’ve lost the war. The recovering health professional in me is tired of settling for subliminal health messages only and she’s commandeered the keyboard.

And why not let her? This is my blog, after all. If I want to have a guest blogger in who’s really only one of my alter-egos, well then, who’s to stop me? It might be weird, but it’s not illegal. 

But before I let her run completely amok, there are a few obligatory statements that follow:

  1. I am offering the following information from the position of a layperson only.  I am a recovering health professional.  That means if you follow these suggestions, have adverse effects, then chose to sue my sorry ass off, you’re going to be gravely disappointed with the results. 
  2. Lifestyle change is a potent and powerful way of adjusting health.  Do not underestimate it.  Involve your health care team with any and all changes before embarking on them.  (And if you need to reconfigure said team, so that it involves members actually familiar with lifestyle medicine, that’s entirely your business.)
  3. Dissenting opinions are welcome, as long as they are respectful.

And now, without further ado, I’ll turn the spotlight over to our guest blogger.



Thank you – sort of – hope101 for the introduction, although I think you scared most everybody away.  That would be a shame, because what I have to share with you is good advice for everyone, but most particularly the writer. 

Why would that be?  Because the foremost tool in the writer’s kit is their brain.  Yet one’s grey matter is only as good as the arteries that supply it, or the body in which it’s housed. 

This is something the intelligentsia implicitly know.  They seek health more consistently than the Average Joe or Jane.  They learn to sort the good health information from the bad – or hire reputable people who will do it for them;  they apply their knowledge at higher rates than the average population; and they reap the benefits.  That is to say that compared to the norm, they are fitter and achieve more worldly success.  

Now I don’t know about you, but I want to be a member of the intelligentsia.  (I also want that world peace stuff, of course, and to finish my manuscript so I can be recognized for the literary genius that I am, but that’s a subject for another post.)  

So, a call to arms for the writing community, including myself:  while we are honing our craft, polishing our prose, and creating works of beauty, let’s not forget that our physical selves need the same care!* 

To that end, a few suggestions:   

1.  Get Moving:  Pedometer - Flickr CC

If you’re never going to be a creature of the gym, that’s fine, but buy a pedometer.  Walking is an excellent exercise, and pedometers are inexpensive, simple, and objective.  In other words, you can no longer lie to yourself about your real activity level.  Start by recording the number of steps you take every day for a full week.  Then figure out your average steps per day and then gradually increase it, until you’re routinely achieving 10,000 steps per day. 

The two brands recommended in the health literature are the Digiwalker (available at and other venues) and the Omron.  Make sure you get one with a safety strap and with a cover plate so that the buttons can’t be accidentally reset. 

Note:  ideally a fitness program should also address strength, flexibility, and balance, but we’re going for the basics here.

2.  Know about Diet: 

a).  If there was one book I wish everyone would read it is The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.  This book explains the rationale for all the other diet links below.  It documents the largest study ever performed on the relationship between health and diet.  Pretty big stuff, right?  Yet somehow very few people know about it.  So read it and spread the word. 

b).  Visit Dr. Esselstyn’s website and/or get his book.   Dr. E was the first to prove that advanced atherosclerotic heart disease can be treated – even reversed – with lifestyle measures alone.  He’s got the data and the angiograms to back it up.  The book is also filled with delicious recipes created by his RN wife, Anne.

c).  Visit Dr. McDougall’s website:   He’s far more passionate and militant-sounding than Dr. E, but his science is sound.  If I were unable to negotiate the health research literature myself and needed someone to interpret it for me, this would be my Go To site.  There’s a newsletter, active and supportive forums, and a first-rate nutritionist available for your questions.  (Jeff Novick’s board on the forums.  The stickies at the top of his forum are invaluable.)

d).  Read Doug Lisle’s “The Pleasure Trap”.  It will explain why you’re struggling with your weight.  Guess what? It’s not that you’re lazy or unmotivated.  It’s that you’re living in a toxic food environment.  But there is help.     

Dr. Lisle’s bookvideo to purchasefree shortened video

Now the astute among you will have noticed that all the references above push the reader toward a low-fat vegan diet.  Before you dismiss the information out of hand, please check it out.  Even if you only apply 30% of what you learn you will still be better off than most North Americans.  (Also, please note that I am advocating these links from a health perspective only, not the animal rights or environmental ones; nor do I have any professional or financial association with any of the links mentioned.)  

3.  Mental Health: 

On top of unplugging once in a while and making sure you are part of a vibrant community and/or spiritual organization, check out this website:

At its essence this site teaches Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – a research-proven method of treating mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety.  It works as well as medication, lasts longer, and isn’t accompanied by nasty side effects.  (And you certainly don’t have to possess a clinical diagnosis to use it; I use it for the key issues that trip me up over and over again, and it  never fails to help.)  Best of all, it’s free.    

Any other tips?  If you’re one of those people who has a healthy lifestyle nailed and yet still finds time to write, will share your resources with us? 

*Yes, I really do feel that exclamation mark was called for in this location.  I am aware I have now exhausted my Special Punctuation Allotment.

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5 thoughts on “Health Resources I Wish Every Writer (and Non-Writer) Knew

  1. Hey Hope,

    I think this is great. Everyone pictures us writers staying up to all hours, drinking and typing in a small, smoke filled room, surrounded by crumpled papers. Yep, not that way anymore, at least for most.

    My father is an Orthodontist and he swears up and down that healthy teeth are a key to overall good health. Tooth decay has been linked to heart attack, stroke, that flu you just can’t seem to shake, anything and everything, not to mention exhaustion, which can only lead to bad writing! So along with all the good advice you listed, brush and above all floss! I’m not one to preach, but it can make all the difference in your thought process, leading you to a spot on the NYT bestseller list. It’s a little change that can have a huge impact for the better!

    Okay, done preaching.

    xoxo — Hilary

    1. I floss every single day, sometimes even twice. Can I have a spot on that NYT bestseller list? Please? 🙂

      Seriously, thanks for your contribution, Hilary! Everything I’ve read would agree with your dad’s analysis, too.

      I hope I didn’t come across as preaching myself – and maybe I did, and that’s why you’re the first brave soul to post a comment – but I just couldn’t resist the idea of putting all my favorite links into one accessible place.

    1. Laura, I haven’t heard of BICHOK, so I had to look it up, lol. (Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.) I thought it was some term for unblocking chi, or something. I’ve never done Tai Chi, but I think it looks incredibly beautiful.

      And just so you know, meals are a simple affair in my house. Supper was a spinach salad, bean soup leftover from lunch, whole wheat garlic bread and fruit. Really, really easy. Trust me, if it was hard I would have quit 4 years ago when the learning curve was the steepest.

      My downfall is the exercise.

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