The New Health Rules: A Conversation with Dr. Frank Lipman
January 5th, 2015
The New Health Rules: A Conversation with Dr. Frank Lipman
My friend and colleague, Dr. Frank Lipman, recently published a new book, The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness. This beautiful little book is full of practical advice and actionable steps you can take to transform your physical, mental, and spiritual health–everything from the foods you eat to the colors with which you surround yourself.
Dr. Lipman has been a guest on The Myers Way Podcast as well as a speaker on The Autoimmune Summit, so I invited him to answer a few questions about what I believe is a very eloquent presentation of the principles of functional medicine, The New Health Rules:
Dr. Amy Myers: Thank you so much for sitting down with me. Can you tell us what the book is about?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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 time-pressed readers in a fast-paced world. Thanks to my co-author, Danielle Claro, it gets to the meat of each matter very quickly and inspires real change.
Dr. Amy Myers: Beautiful. What makes it different from other health books?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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.
Dr. Amy Myers: You know I’m interested in diet. So, what are some of the easiest changes we can make to our diets that will result in real improvement?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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.
Dr. Amy Myers: I know you have strong feelings about sugar!
Dr. Frank Lipman: Sugar is poison. In spite of all the research, unfortunately not enough doctors agree that sugar is the major problem that it is. Most doctors have demonized the wrong white crystals: salt instead of sugar.
Dr. Amy Myers: Completely agree, but it’s not always easy to give up sugar. Personally I found that very challenging, and a lot of my patients ask about strategies for freeing themselves from sugar cravings.
Dr. Frank Lipman: Some strategies would be to take L-Glutamine every few hours or have peppermint tea on your afternoon break at work instead of something from the candy machine.
Dr. Amy Myers: I have to ask–what are the staples on your own grocery store shopping list week in, week out?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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 avocados, 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 have a protein shake for breakfast.
Dr. Amy Myers: So I know from your interview on The Autoimmune Summit that yoga is a central component of your approach to wellness. Why?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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 but it is 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 have that type of immediate effect.
Dr. Amy Myers: 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 what you mean?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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.
Dr. Amy Myers: One of the areas where I get a lot of questions is exercise, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there. What’s one big misconception you hear about exercise?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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 doing intervals—exert yourself in short bursts and intersperse those with periods of milder activity.
Dr. Amy Myers: The New Health Rules is full of fantastic advice, but if people were to make only one change from your new book, what would you have that be?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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.
Dr. Amy Myers: I definitely agree, that was one point we heard over and over at the summit. So who is this book designed for? Who do you think would like this book?
Dr. Frank Lipman: 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 make right away, one at a time or all at once.
Dr. Amy Myers: What’s the most exciting thing to you about the book?
Dr. Frank Lipman: The New Health Rules answers the two questions I get asked so often: “Exactly what should I do to get and stay healthy?” and “How do I feel great without reading a big fat book about wellness?” The day-to-day reality of turning one’s life and health around can seem so overwhelming, daunting, and insurmountable (not to mention time-consuming), that many people quickly throw in the towel. I have pared down what to do for whole-body wellness to just the most essential, and made the process simple.
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