Yoga Medicine is pleased to ring in the new year by sharing this incredible interview with Dr. Frank Lipman, author of The New Health Rules. This is one of our favorite books of the year and we believe it’s a must read for our community.
Q: What is your book about?
A: The New Health Rules is my personal compendium of integrative health’s wisest mantras, all wrapped up in a beautiful, easy-to-digest package. It’s a modern guide to wellness and happiness for a fast-paced world and time-pressed readers. Thanks to my coauthor, Danielle Claro, it gets to the meat of each matter very quickly and inspires real change.
Q: What makes it different from other health books?
A: No other health book has distilled wellness into bite-sized, lushly illustrated, easy- to-implement pearls of wisdom on how to eat, how to sleep, how to breathe, how to think, and more—basically, everything you need to achieve a life that is whole and happy—in a format that’s really enjoyable to read.
Q: You practice integrative medicine. What does that mean? Can you describe your approach?
A: I just call it Good Medicine. Instead of just suppressing symptoms with drugs, I look for the underlying causes, remove those when possible and then improve function of the various organ systems. This approach is concerned with far more than simply treating disease. Instead, its focus is on helping you achieve optimal health.
Q: What are some of the easiest changes that we can make to our diets that will result in real improvement?
A: I’m not sure they’re the easiest, but by far the most important would be to cut out sugar and processed foods. You want to be eating foods as close to nature as possible. Foods that are altered in factories tend to cause problems in our bodies.
Q: You have strong feelings about sugar.
A: Sugar is poison. In spite of all the research, unfortunately not enough doctors agree that is the major problem it is. Most doctors have demonized the wrong white crystals: salt instead of sugar.
Q: What are strategies for breaking ourselves of sugar cravings?
A: Some strategies would be to take L Glutamine every few hours, have peppermint tea on your afternoon break at work, instead of something from the candy machine—and if you really want to get off sugar and kickstart your health, do the Be Well Cleanse.
Q: What are the staples on your own grocery store shopping list, week in, week out?
A: My diet is simple…lots of greens, good fats, and protein from healthy sources. So my grocery list would be all sorts of organic vegetables, lots of avocadoes, grass-fed meats, organic chicken, organic pastured eggs, wild fish, nuts and seeds. I tend to use a lot of coconut oil and eat less fruit these days (and when I do, I tend to eat berries, which are lower in sugar than many other fruits). I also usually generally have a protein shake for breakfast
Q: Yoga is a central component of your approach to wellness. Why?
A: Well, I believe yoga has been a big part of what has kept me healthy over the years. Not only does it keep you limber, it is a moving meditation, so it was my way in to meditation. And I particularly love restorative yoga, as it gives you the effects of the poses without exerting any energy. So it’s wonderful for when you’re rundown and tired. Not too many things can have that type of immediate effect.
Q: Your book mentions that it’s not just what we put in our bodies (food), but what we put on our bodies that affects our health. Can you explain?
A: Many cosmetics and personal-care products contain undisclosed toxic chemicals that are dangerous to your health and are known to contribute to cancer, nerve damage, and infertility. Your skin is an extremely permeable membrane, so these toxins enter your body very easily. The fewer of these you put on your body, the better. Be particularly vigilant about products that remain on the skin for long periods of time, such as moisturizer and makeup. The longer you’re exposed to chemicals, the greater the opportunity for your body to absorb them.
Q: What’s a big misconception about exercise?
A: The biggest misconception about exercise is that you have to go to the gym and spend hours on a treadmill or elliptical trainer. You just have to move your body. Find some sort of movement you love. It could be dancing around your living room by yourself to your favorite music or walking in the woods. And when you do exercise, to get the best results, try do intervals—meaning exert yourself in short bursts, and intersperse periods of milder activity.
Q: If people were to make only one change from your new book, what would you have that be?
A: If I had to choose only one thing, it would have to be to cut way back on sugar, gluten and processed foods. Just doing that would probably help most people feel better.
Q: Who do you think would like this book?
A: This book is really for everyone—anyone who wants to feel better; anyone who wants some inspiration to get or stay healthy; anyone who longs for a map of positive, simple, actionable, manageable, and even enjoyable steps toward wellness. This book is full of positive changes you can take right away, one at a time or all at once.