The Doctor is IN. Welcome to Healthy Charleston.
As a physician, I am often asked, “How can I be healthier?”
Honestly, I ask myself that question daily.
The fact is most doctors have about 2 hours of formal nutrition training in medical school – and most of my colleagues cut class or slept through those lectures. Throughout my internship, residency and fellowship, I have had to self teach myself everything that I know about exercise and proper nutrition. I still have many unanswered questions. Should I run up or down the Ravenel Bridge? Are calories the only thing that matter? Should I graze or eat big? Are grits really good for me? Are synthetic sugars safe? What is a safe amount of alcohol consumption? Should bacon be banned? Is running or walking better? Over the next several months, I will tackle these topics and more in this column.
That brings me to our first big question: Does the place where we live and work make a difference in our overall health?
Without any hesitation, I say yes!
During my internship and residency in NYC, I found that no matter what I did, I was not optimizing a healthy lifestyle as it is impossible there. The daily threat of getting hit by a car, molested on a subway platform and breathing toxic fumes cannot be denied. After years of the high stress living, returning to Charleston made perfect sense. Charleston is absolutely conducive to healthy living. The only proof one needs is to step outside and look around or check out the photography page at the Charleston Daily. The pristine marshes, majestic sunsets, and serene beaches combined with manageable traffic patterns, relatively low noise pollution and really polite neighbors, make for a backdrop of relaxation. The stress of the day will melt away, if we let it. So rest assured, just by living in Charleston, you are making a healthy choice compared to living elsewhere.
This column will feature my (sometimes unorthodox) thoughts about how we as Charlestonians, or even as temporary guests, can make healthy living choices while maximizing all of the beauty the Holy City has to offer. Questions, suggestions and comments are very welcome. Until then, be well, Charleston! ~Dr. Jay