Dr. Zorba Paster Answers Your Questions: Utah Student Edition | Health, Medicine and Fitness
A few years ago I went to Utah Public Radio to help raise money for the station. It’s always great fun for me to help raise funds for public radio, my passion.
Part of my time there was spent talking to middle and high school kids in a remote part of the state. Just before I spoke, the principal handed me a bunch of questions the kids had. Needless to say, I was only able to answer a few of them in front of an assembly, where I welcomed questions.
The other day, an envelope full of unanswered questions fell out of one of my desk drawers. I remember thinking that all questions deserved answers.
So if any of these students – some former students, now – read this column or see this on my zorbapaster.org website, know that I’m finally getting there. Here is.
Why do you think supplements don’t work?
I am not against supplements. What I follow is a lot of fruits and vegetables. Fresh is best, and more colorful means more nutritious.
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If you want to take a supplement, the minimum I would do is a generic multivitamin and vitamin D3, 2000 IU. But again, food beats supplements – all the time.
How do you think listening to “hard music” affects someone?
This myth has been perpetrated for years. Rock ‘n’ roll is the door to hell, some say. There is absolutely no evidence that any type of music is harmful to physical health, your psychological makeup, or your state of well-being.
How does the way you think about yourself affect your physical health?
I think it’s very important. For years I was able to train with personal trainers at UW-Madison. I loved having students help me in my training, learning how to stay healthy from those whose outlook on life was younger than mine.
One year, my coach was a former hockey player. I once asked him, “Why do you dress in a sports jacket and tie before you go out on the ice and bump into each other?”
His response was, “Look good. Feel good. Play well.” (I know the grammar police will insist that it should have said “play well”, but it wouldn’t have sounded “good”).
Ultimately, yes, the way you think will affect how you take care of your body, from proper diet to exercise. If you think well of yourself, you will do a better job.
Did you go on a mission?
No, I didn’t do it the way Mormons do their two-year missionary journey as young adults. But I went on a medical trip with the Upaya Zen Buddhist group in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Our goal was to set up mobile clinics where we medically treated people and distributed nearly 10,000 pairs of reading glasses. So it was a mission, but not a religious one.
How to start eating well?
With good information. Where is the best information? If you Google “Eat Well CDC,” you can find a lot of great information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
My advice is always to tell people to follow the Mediterranean diet and go for plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish twice a week, cut down on other animal fats, and toss out junk food. The Twinkies are so yesterday!
Should I google my symptoms when I’m sick?
Absoutely. I’m a big proponent of information on the web if – and this is so important – if you go to a reliable website.
Now, which sites are reliable? My go-to websites for reliable answers come from medical centers like the University of Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, CDC, and similar sites.
Unfortunately, there are more quack sites than real ones, so be careful. And remember, connecting on the internet is not the same as connecting with your own doctor. I believe that the informed patient receives the best care. On the other hand, medical training matters. I remember a sarcastic note a doctor sent me: “My medical background matters more than your Google search.” Stay well.
This column provides general health information. Always consult your personal health care provider about concerns. No continuing relationship of any kind is implied or offered by Dr. Paster to persons submitting questions. All opinions expressed by Dr. Paster in his columns are personal and are not meant to represent or reflect the opinions of SSM Health.