Redefining ‘fun’

April 13, 2017 - 10:27am

“What’s the fun in that?!”

That’s what a woman recently asked when Dr. Mike suggested one way to improve her diabetes was to give up pancakes and syrup for breakfast and instead opt for whole grains, berries and lean protein.
That got us thinking. We need to help her — and many of you — redefine “fun.”

You may not realize it, but taking care of yourself and being proud of your ability to do more activities, defy your age, banish stress, think more clearly and get your juices flowing ... NOW, THAT’S FUN!

Why you opt for unhealthy habits: Destructive indulgences can take over when your joints and muscles ache, elevated blood glucose levels sour your mood and your brain is foggy. They make it easy to put up your feet, turn on the tube and feel better RIGHT NOW with a cola, some sweet treats or a few stiff drinks. Then, before you know it you sink back into the same miseries you had before. No real fun there. By finding the fun in making healthful choices, you’ll be rewarded with sustained
improvement in your mood, better blood circulation (yes, you’ll feel it), improved respiration and a younger RealAge.

Foods that improve and protect your health can give you short-term salivary rewards (that’s fun) if you give them a chance. Put your tongue through flavor school. Dive into the subtle, complex flavors of whole, unprocessed foods. You’ll discover flavors that you love in foods that love your body back! Buy salad greens such as arugula, baby beet leaves, frisee/endive, baby kale, bib lettuce, romaine. Place in a line on a platter. Taste each one. Then sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lime or lemon, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Taste again. Let each unique flavor bloom on your tongue. See if you can identify sweet, sour, bitter, salty and/or umami flavors in each bite.

You can repeat this Tongue Tutorial with steamed veggies (flavor with EVOO and citrus with a bit of pressed garlic).

Try food games. Do a blind taste test to see if you can tell what’s spinach, what’s kale, what’s arugula. Get your kids involved, too.

Run cooking contests. Get family members to compete with one another making the best broiled fish entree, the best steamed veggie. One night, give the kids tuna to prepare while you take kale; cook both without added sweetness, frying or whole dairy.

The goal: Discover foods that love your body and also reward your pleasure centers. Then you’ll never feel as though you’re being deprived when you banish health-damaging simple carb pancakes and syrup from your plate.

If your idea of fun is to plop down in front of the tube, great news: Physical activity is much more rewarding. It boosts mood-elevating brain chemicals, eases stress, lowers elevated blood glucose and takes pressure off your joints (really, when done right, exercise is great for sore joints).

Hello body parts. You may need to get reacquainted with your body — how it can move, what makes it feel good, how you can extend its range of motion.

And the best way to do that is slowly and steadily. Join a stretch, basic yoga or water aerobics class, or check out the tutorials at Get used to moving. It automatically will make you smile more.

Getting in touch. Treat yourself to a massage, or two or three. That also awakens your body awareness and eases stiffness.

Walk this way. Then start a walking routine with a buddy and a pedometer (good routines at Rather swim? Jog? Cycle? Go right ahead. The point is to discover what’s fun for you. Redefine your fun so that it supports your good health, restores your control and elevates your mood. Start today one bite (and one step) at a time!

* * *
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit
© 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

This column is sponsored by your local choice for healthy lifestyle products -Nutter's Bulk and Natural Foods
365 36th St. W, Prince Albert, SK
Phone: (306) 922-3835

Join the Discussion

paNOW is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules: Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. See full commenting rules.