palm trees and resortLifeFest Kapalua on Maui is a four day event dedicated to health, wellness, and spiritual growth and rejuvenation. There are opportunities for nature walks, yoga, and meditation as well as workshops and lectures conducted by an extremely eclectic variety of speakers. At this year’s event, Kitty Bartholomew of the Home and Garden network lectured on “Harmony Through Color,” while right next door, Maui’s Dr. Malik Cotter, DAc. spoke about traditional Chinese medicine. Dr. Terry Shintani discussed the tenets of his HawaiiDiet™, Dr. Howard Murad suggested solutions for ridding one’s thighs of cellulite, and mixed martial arts world champion Robert Ferguson gave convincing evidence that resistance training and weight-bearing exercise are the key tools in the battle to permanently “release fat.” Charismatic keynote speaker Dr. Andrew Weil was as compelling as ever in his arguments to bring western medicine around to his integrative model.

The weekend at LifeFest was fun and inspiring for me and hard work for other members of the Tasty and Meatless team. I’ve read four new books as a direct result of my experience, and several more await my attention. The following is a short list of ideas I picked up at LifeFest that I would like to share. I hope you find something inspiring among them.

1. Divide your weight by two; drink that many ounces of water each day.

2. The best time to perform fat burning cardiovascular exercise is immediately upon waking, on an empty stomach. You will not only burn carbohydrates still circulating from the day before, but you will give your metabolism a boost for the entire day.

3. Countries such as China and Japan where consumption of carbohydrates is high have the lowest rates of diabetes.

4. A body composition analysis—what percentage of your body is actually fat and what percentage lean body mass—is a better indicator of health and fatness than total weight.

5. If a food label lists “fractionated oil” among its ingredients, that food contains trans fats and should be avoided.

6. The Body Mass Index (BMI ) chart, the tool most widely used to determine health risk by means of the height/weight relationship, dates back to 1835.

7. Spend some time each day with some art, music, flowers, or other objects of beauty as well as other people with whom you feel positive and uplifted. Your immune system will reward you.

8. Pressure cooked rice has a lower glycemic index than rice cooked by other means.

9. Walking is an extremely complex movement which generates electrical activity in the brain that positively influences the entire nervous system.

10. Anti-oxidant rich foods like broccoli, kale, and tomatoes prevent oxidation within the body, a process that can be compared to metal rusting and disintegrating.

11. Dr. Terry Shintani’s HawaiiDiet™ is an “all you can eat diet” that relies on traditional diets as models of healthy eating and emphasizes a wide variety of whole, unrefined, plant foods.

12. Because high insulin levels are implicated in health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and possibly obesity, it is important to remember that high protein foods such as beef and fish raise insulin to much higher levels than good carbohydrates such as oatmeal and beans.

13. When performing cardiovascular exercise, keep in mind that it is muscle that burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the higher the fat burning potential.

14. Like muscle, bone responds to weight-bearing exercise and resistance training by becoming stronger and building new tissue.

15. Followers of Hygeia, the goddess of health, held that good health is a natural attribute and one to which all are entitled provided they govern their lives properly. The Hygeian way is proactive and preventative rather than reactive and restorative like contemporary western medicine. Hygeian medicine is also the most cost effective.

Article by guest blogger Cyndi Rook.