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Senior Correspondent

I'm no doctor but I am passionate about clean, healthy living. After keeping myself going with caffeine for several decades, I finally found the courage to give up coffee once and for all. I had become so addicted to the stuff that I traveled around the country with a coffee pot just in case. Besides masking a couple of minor health issues, coffee had become my main source of energy and inspiration.

I immediately replaced my caffeine addiction with a water addiction. I go nowhere without a good supply of my favorite water and manage to drink at least three liters a day. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. writes about the curative impact of hydration on degenerative disease. His work suggests that dehydration is a leading cause of overeating and weight gain. In his book, "Your Body's Many Cries for Water" he asserts that stress causes dehydration and dehydration causes stress.

Hydration has become one of my most important daily health practices. Deciding to become the best version of me has led me to a handful of other simple preventative practices, like getting plenty of sleep. Power naps are also very rejuvenating. 

Speaking of rejuvenation, I just returned from a getaway weekend with my dearest friends from high school. We treated ourselves to facials, nice long walks, nice long talks and leisurely meals in a beautiful old hotel just made for old friends. While we were there less than 48 hours, we came back feeling at least a decade younger and completely re-energized. 

Exercise has also become my daily obsession. Walking outdoors, bicycling and water aerobics are a few of my favorite things. I've learned to plan my work around my exercise to assure that there is plenty of time each day. I'm looking forward to adding yoga to my routine. 

And that brings me to the subject of food. I love the stuff! The more important exercise becomes to me, the more important my choices in food become. It recently dawned on me that food is meant to be fuel for our bodies. Yes, I was taught that decades ago, but it's a lesson that I am finally digesting. Apparently, there is an optimum relationship between calories in and calories out. Apparently, the quality of those calories really matters and storing unspent calories in our bodies is quite unnecessary since we are not hibernating bears.

The benefits of laughter are well documented. I just learned about a practice called Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga is being practiced in hospitals, corporate settings, police academies and even prisons. There are actually classes on laughter. It seems the human race may be in danger of losing its sense of humor and we can actually take classes to learn to laugh again. We've always heard, "laughter is the best medicine." Apparently, it is the best preventative medicine as well. Daily laughter is being linked to stress relief and improvements in the immune system. Search laughter yoga on YouTube for a good laugh…and to learn more.

As I continue my quest for the best version of me, my health is at the top of the list. With health costs soaring, daily practices that prevent or reverse illness seem to make more financial sense than ever. My "healthy practices" do not cost big bucks, just a little time each day. It's one investment I make that consistently returns huge benefits and the cumulative impact is priceless! 

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