10 Reasons Why You Should Go Vegetarian For Animal Cruelty Dr Ken Cooper’s Steps to Good Health Gets a Much Needed Upgrade

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Dr Ken Cooper’s Steps to Good Health Gets a Much Needed Upgrade

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Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, now in his 86th year, is the most famous living fitness guru. He is the father of the gymnastics movement whose books, medical clinics, research and lectures have probably turned a million or more couch potatoes into regular exercisers. Cooper’s first book, entitled Aerobia, recalls some of the wisdom of Schopenhauer, who noted that all reforms have three stages: first they are ignored, then vigorously opposed, and finally accepted as self-evident.

I know Dr. Cooper. He and his wife Millie are much admired. Only a maniac would tease, scribble, scrawl, or fret about his work. Really – who would dare submit a negative review about any recommendation from this famous exercise guru? Well, I would.

I take exception to Cooper’s much-publicized Twelve Steps to Good Health. Cooper’s 12 steps should not be confused with the more popular 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps to Increase Your Health for Life by Joshua Rosenthal or the book, Twelve Steps to Good Psychological Health and Sobriety by Gabriel MA Segal. I’m not a fan of these 12-step approaches either, but this criticism only pertains to the distinctive 12-step recommendations of Dr. Cooper.

Before I describe my concerns, take a look at Cooper’s Twelve Steps to Good Health.

1. Stop using all tobacco and drugs.

2. Limit alcohol to no more than 10 drinks per week.

3. Start exercising.

4. Use less salt, eat less fat—especially animal fat.

5. Eat more fresh vegetables.

6. Avoid obesity.

7. Take the right dietary supplements, including calcium and the antioxidant vitamins C, E and A.

8. Faster the seat belt.

9. Avoid exposure to the sun.

10. Get immunization shots.

11. Get adequate prenatal care.

12. Have regular medical check-ups.

The steps are simple and obvious (avoid smoking and obesity), overly general (how much of the good stuff, how little of the bad stuff?), controversial (taking supplements), and, in one case, not applicable to half of the population (prenatal care)

In short, they are not many. From a lauded fitness expert, I think we should expect 12 innovative, exercise-specific tips we don’t already know, all reasonably specific.

Of course, 12 REAL Wellness Tips would be better.

Cooper’s steps are retraced

Here is a critique of each step.

1. Stop using tobacco and drugs? are you kidding? This is impossible for most people because they would not be caught dead or alive with tobacco products. (As for drugs, it depends on the drug.) However, most people don’t smoke or abuse drugs, although painkillers (opioids) are a serious problem! A substitute step for those who don’t practice this outrageous aspect of self-destruction: Try to have at least 23 good laughs every day, more if possible.

2. Ten alcoholic drinks a week? That’s a lot! Alcohol is fatty, expensive and often contains sugar. Drinking too much often makes one look foolish. A substitute step: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

3. Start exercising? Where have you been? On the moon? No one can be well without regular exercise and premature disease and death without it is guaranteed, unless you die first from an accident or something. Don’t go into middle age without it! An alternate step: Increase your exercise regimen! Do more than the minimum daily requirements to avoid disease. Follow the advice of the late Dr. George Sheehan – be a good animal and move often, with grace and power.

4. Less salt, less fat? You can do much better. Consider going vegan. Even a half-ass vegan, or part-time vegan, AKA vegetarian. Doing so will contribute to less animal cruelty and possibly weight loss, if you need to lose weight.

5. More fresh vegetables? it depends It depends on how much you are eating now. A replacement step: Focus less on food and more on adding meaning and excitement to life. Nurture your passions.

6. Avoid obesity? Of course. Good idea. Be sure to avoid exposure to radiation, hungry reptiles, the Republican Party, and the bubonic plague while you’re at it. An alternate step: Commit to achieving and maintaining a fit body through lifelong exercise and healthy eating habits.

7. Food supplements? Few need them. The Harvard Health Letter notes that if the supplements actually worked (doubtful for most), they would have risks as well as benefits from side effects. No medicine is completely safe, even if taken as directed.

8. Leave your seat belt on? You need Dr. Cooper tell you that? Go the extra mile: make sure your car’s airbags don’t deploy, rev less and, when driving, never under any circumstances text or talk on a hand-held phone. And drive defensively, assuming that other drivers in and around you are mentally challenged and unlikely to drive mindfully.

9. Avoid sun exposure? What planet are you currently residing on? If Earth, this step will be challenging, to say the least. We all need a little starlight, but get yours early or late in the day whenever possible. Never sunbathe or use a tanning booth and cover up as much as is practical.

10. Immunizations? Of course – the annual flu shot, vaccinations for children and, as necessary, for travel to dangerous environments. But, put a REAL wellness spin on this – immunize yourself against aggravation. That is, make an effort to avoid associating with negative people, design your environment to support growth and development, and do things that naturally make you feel positive and happy.

11. Prenatal care? Good idea if you are pregnant. A more applicable step may have occurred to Dr. Cooper. How to look for challenging and meaningful work in an environment where you associate with positive colleagues. Also, work to become very, very good at what you love to do with the idea that, eventually, someone or many people might want to compensate you for it. Example: writing a regular blog for SeekWellness! (I’m still waiting – you’ll have to be patient.)

12. Regular medical check-ups? Oh, the humanity, the horror. There is a lot of medical testing in America. A substitute step: Be more self-reliant. Learn about medical self-care – understand when you should see a medical professional.

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The steps of Dr. Cooper seems to assume that most Americans and others lead terrible, self-destructive lifestyles and are unable or unwilling to think and act in ways that enhance the best opportunities for a good life. Hmmmm.

Think about it, Dr. Cooper may be on to something. Most people can benefit from some of his recommended 12 steps to minimize ill health. However, moving beyond prevention to functioning in abundant ways requires a different set of steps or recommendations.

The reformed steps given above emphasize the positive – the use of reason and the enjoyment of personal freedoms for an abundant approach to life. Warning signs, such as those described in the recent AWR on Disease and Organ Interest Groups (DOIG), never provide the highest state of true vitality associated with optimal mental and physical well-being.

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