Opening Hearts’ Five Cardinal Rules: Keys to Healthy Living

Recently I had the great honor of being a guest on Connie Whitman’s internet radio program, Architect of Change to talk about Opening Hearts, the book I co-created with the amazing cardiovascular surgeon Lester R. Sauvage, MD (1926-2015). Connie and I discussed the advice Dr. Sauvage shared about how to nurture the body as part of living a healthy life. I promised I would put that information on my website so that listeners could refer to it whenever they wanted.

Dr. Sauvage’s Five Cardinal Rules for Healthy Living are found within Chapter Five of Opening Hearts. Chapter 5 is titled Healing and Nurturing the Body and it is a rather long chapter, chock full of information. So I will break it up into a series of posts tagged Opening Hearts but eventually bit-by-bit you will find the entire chapter shared here.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Brashear

Photo courtesy of Stephen Brashear

Dr. Sauvage (who died peacefully at 88 years old within days of completing this work) would be so happy if you shared this work. If you do so with one of these posts, please always give credit to the book and to Dr. Sauvage (I wouldn’t mind a bit of credit too).

This post (specifically for listeners of Connie Whitman’s radio show) outlines Dr. Sauvage’s cardinal rules for healthy living but the chapter actually begins with topics Body-Mind-Spirit Are One and Nurturing Your Body: Loving Yourself. You can read those posts first or start here and circle back if you choose.

Five Cardinal Rules: Keys to a Long, Healthy Life

My rules are not the Holy Grail for immortality but they are pathways for a healthy journey into a long, vigorous life; they are guidelines to defeat heart disease. They’re easy to remember with the N-WEST  acronym which not only pays homage to the region I call home but also represents concepts that hold the key to greater overall health.

N-WEST stands for:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Weight
  3. Exercise
  4. Stress
  5. Toxins

Learning about and paying attention to each of these concepts will restore and maintain your overall health. So, remember them. Respect them. And most importantly, practice them. Let’s look at each one now in greater detail.

Rule 1. Pay Attention to Nutrition

A Healthy Diet Is a Friend for Life

Eating high quality food containing the proper balance of nutrients  is one of the most important ways to have a healthy body. Proper  nutrition ensures an optimal weight and good immune support, which allows the body to fend off disease. Conversely, poor eating habits wreak havoc on the immune system and can often lead to obesity. In the world’s most developed countries, it is poor eating habits rather than access to quality food that endangers peoples’ health. Obesity has become a major public health threat globally and most especially the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, and parts of the Middle East. And as more people in developing countries adopt our typical Western diet, they too become more obese.

Put simply, obesity kills. It is a primary cause of hardened arteries and it is a major contributor to heart attacks, strokes, limb loss, diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, low self-esteem, and so many other physical and non-physical ailments as well. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to change your eating habits and still eat delicious, enticing, convenient meals and snacks. In most towns or cities, you can find a wide selection of healthy, easy-to-prepare foods that can help you avoid the curse of fast-food meals, which are toxic on multiple levels. Learn what is in your food and then care enough about your health and the health of the planet to eat consciously. It will require some commitment on your part, but the benefits begin immediately. Make high-quality nutritious food a priority in your life and change how you see not just your health but your impact on the world.

Next up is The Spirituality of Food Production Choices, which provides lots of information about choosing good food.


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