The Seven Principles of Extremely Healthy People by Drake Burr, CFT

More Power to You: The Seven Principles of Extremely Healthy People 
A Healthy Living Editorial by Drake Burr, CFT

Principle #1: Practice eating gluten-, soy-, and wheat-free.

From my research, I have come to believe that we are all sensitive to gluten to some degree. Some are more sensitive than others, but there’s no doubt that not one body can properly digest gluten proteins without suffering from the long-term health effects. Even in the short-term, symptoms of continuous gluten consumption have been repeatedly proven to contribute to maladies such as headaches to even Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. And gluten is in almost all foods containing preservatives.

Principle #2: If it’s processed, read ingredient – not nutrition – labels first.

Reading the nutrition labels is useless in this day and age. To stay on point with your health and wellness goals read the ingredient labels to see if you’re eating something that could possibly be code for gluten. Even products that are labeled “gluten free” may still contain gluten in disguise – those ingredients being:

– Yeast extract

– Natural flavoring (avoid this one for sure)

– Brown rice syrup, modified food starch

– Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)

– Hydrolyzed soy protein

– Caramel color

– Hydrolyzed malt extract

– Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

– Maltodextrin, dextrin

If your gluten-free diet isn’t giving you the results you want, it could very well be because you’re still consuming gluten without even knowing it. Gluten is also found in many of cosmetics such as shampoos and conditioners, lip balm, lipstick, children’s toys like Play-Doh, many over-the-counter medications, non-adhesive stamps and envelopes, and even in our vitamin and mineral supplements (check the labels). You may be thinking you don’t consume most of these items. Actually, you are consuming them as whatever you apply on your skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream within 23 seconds. Think about that…

Principle #3: Exercise more than recommended.

The weekly recommendation for exercise is three times a week, but when you think about the typical health situation of most Americans, just meeting the average recommendation isn’t going to make the cut. I believe that you need four to six days a week of aerobic exercise (I practice and recommend steady pace walking for an hour, jogging for 30 minutes, or doing short burst sprints), and resistance training using weights or your body weight for 45 to 60 minutes, especially if you’re a beginner. Exercise newbies have a tendency to put other things ahead of their health. However, a daily – or almost daily – workout will yield faster results.

Principle #4: Walk more, run less.

You can breath a huge sigh of relief because another belief I have is that we were never meant to run or jog as much, or at a marathon pace. I do believe that running is good for the body when you’re at or close to an ideal body weight. Even when someone gets to that point, they should only be performing this so-called High Intensity Training (HIT) two to three days a week for short periods of time (10 to 30 minutes). What I personally do and recommend for my clients is a 45 to 60 minute walk – yes, I said walk – first thing in the morning at least five days a week.

Principle #5: Shop grass-fed or wild-caught protein.

This is something most people rarely consider when shopping for beef. Grass-fed beef, for example, has two to five times more healthy omega-3 fatty acids, two to three times more CLA (a fatty acid that helps your body preserve muscle tissue and burn body fat more efficiently), and vitamins and minerals than its grain-fed counterparts. To lessen the cost of better meats, search out local farms rather than corporate stores. Locally-raised beef, chicken, fish, and eggs are often half the price or even less.

Principle #6: Get plenty of sleep…

Your body needs at least seven hours of good, quality REM sleep in order to be able to recover from exercise, daily activities, and heal itself from any ailments. Without a proper sleeping schedule, you won’t be able to move forward with your health goals. Here are a few tips on how to get a better night’s sleep:

1.) Cut out coffee or tea no later than 12 p.m. noon. Caffeine can stay in your system for longer periods of time than you may think.

2.) Exercise in the morning instead of the evening. If this seems impossible, I would encourage you to go to bed and wake earlier to work out in the morning.

3.) Fatigue the brain by reading something while in bed, you’ll doze off and fall asleep faster.

Principle #7: Practice this diet…

There’s a lot of noise going right now about the perfect diet to have. The current research that makes the most sense is a diet high in good, healthy fat and very low in foods that spike your blood sugar levels (carbohydrates). Stay away from trans fats (restaurants and fast food) and avoid over-consumption of omega-6 fats (nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, grain-fed or commercial farm-raised meats) due to the high toxicity. Science has shown that a diet high in good fat (extra virgin unrefined organic coconut oil, avocados, olives, 100% organic unrefined extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nuts, raw butter, grass-fed meats) and low in carbs has an ever-expanding list of health benefits, including preventing cognitive decline, increasing insulin sensitivity, having more waking energy, decreasing body fat storage, and much more.

Drake Burr is a private health and wellness coach certified through the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), and is a professional fitness model. He provides complimentary videos on training and nutrition, and writes a daily blog on various health-related topics, such as prevention  and treatment of chronic ailments and symptoms using holistic nutrition. More info: