Good health doesn’t have to be so difficult to attain and maintain, says health and wellness advocate Marlene Veltre. In fact, it’s quite simple.
This is the principle behind Veltre’s book, The Simple Seven: Body Basics for Vibrant Health, a well-researched and engaging handbook for health and wellbeing that will transform your thinking on what it takes to be healthy. Instead of struggling against your body, Veltre provides the information and tools to help you work with it. (Read our review here.)
BookTrib dug deeper into the concepts behind Veltre’s thinking in this recent Q&A:
Q: You researched health topics for over a decade to write this book. What was the most eye-opening thing you encountered in your research?
A: The elegant and truly brilliant design of the human body. Myriad intelligence — that develops a fertilized egg into an adult, fuses a broken bone, mobilizes water through simple osmosis, redirects to backup systems for energy production — is nothing short of miraculous. And easy to take for granted.
On the one hand, it’s remarkable just how adaptive and resilient the human body is when you consider being burdened with an unhealthy lifestyle of junk-food eating, sedentariness and chronic stress. On the other hand, skyrocketing chronic disease isn’t surprising — particularly among younger people — given prevalent unhealthy lifestyles. It takes a lot to make our bodies sick, and we’ve reached a threshold. The good news is that the body also has myriad intelligence that can halt and even reverse chronic disease.
Q: You present stress as a lifestyle factor that can damage your body’s ability to stay healthy and even negate the good you are doing with nutrition and exercise. Why is that?
A: The stress mechanism was designed to prime our bodies with stress chemicals to facilitate quick, short-lived physical activity in response to danger. This helped our hunter-gatherer ancestors; however, today’s stress (and dangers) are mostly mental — and chronic.
The danger with stress isn’t the stress itself, but the repeated triggering of the stress response. Our bodies were designed to relieve the stress response through physical exertion, and if that doesn’t happen, stress chemicals don’t clear properly. For example, the body’s primary stress hormone, cortisol, plays a role in other body functions that can be altered or shut down when cortisol levels are chronically elevated, even despite a healthy diet. This shift results in problems with anxiety, heart disease, weight gain and a compromised immune system; an immune system you need to fight a COVID-19 infection, for example.
Q: Speaking of which, in a recent Medium op-ed essay, you wrote about how our approach to protecting ourselves from COVID-19 hasn’t been sufficient. In addition to social distancing, masking and washing our hands, what can we do to improve our chances of staying COVID-free, or at least reduce the potential of a severe case?
A: Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is crucial in averting a COVID-19 infection. Strengthening your immune system can help reduce the potential of a severe case. Here are my suggestions: One, frequently do vigorous physical activities that you love doing to clear stress chemicals. Stay motivated doing them. Two, regularly eat foods with antimicrobial properties (such as onions and garlic) that you enjoy eating — which destroys other invaders and focuses the immune system on fighting COVID-19 should you become infected. Three, take a high-quality multivitamin and multimineral supplement to help make up for nutritional deficiencies.
In the same way that following the CDC guidelines can help fight COVID-19, so can strengthening our immune systems. I’ve provided additional suggestions and more details in the op-ed essay.
Q: You include an emotional healing tool called “The Method” in your book. How did you come up with it? What kinds of success have you seen in using the tool?
A: The Method came to me when a lifetime of unresolved emotional pain from trauma and abuse began to surface and I needed a way of processing my feelings. I wasn’t aware that I needed to process my feelings — nor that I’d been suffering. I’ve discovered while facilitating The Method for other people that this is universal, whether trauma is involved or not. There is a spectrum of unresolved emotional pain for each of us, the effects of which can result in degrees of depression and anxiety, addiction and associated health problems; these include obesity stemming from depression and liver disease from alcoholism. The Method has been successful across the spectrum, ranging from fighting against the negative thinking that can undermine self-esteem to the alleviation of obsessive-compulsive disorder and paranoid tendencies.
Q: What’s next for you? Are you planning to publish any offshoots of The Simple Seven or dive into another health-related project?
A: I’ve been writing Free, my personal account of healing the wounds of trauma, abuse and addiction using The Method. Additionally, I’ve just completed an audio-guided version of The Method that I’m very excited about because I believe it is the best, most effective form of this powerful tool.
It can be used by anyone, but I especially would like to directly reach a few populations, beginning with disadvantaged youths. Having healed later in life, I imagine that if teens and young adults could begin healing when they’re younger, they might have a better chance in life. Other populations include those in addiction and recovery programs, mental health counseling, and public health. There’s even a place for The Method in spiritual development.