In 2016 follow eight steps to wellness and be healthy and happy.

Kin Coulee Park, Medicine Hat. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)
Kin Coulee Park, Medicine Hat. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved,” says George Sand, a pseudo name for a female French novelist. I guess she was happy to be a woman and use a man’s name.

It is important to be in love and be loved. It is also important to be healthy.

Those who are familiar with my columns and my books will know that I espouse eight steps of wellness for long-term good health and happiness. These are: healthy eating, no smoking, regular exercise, stress relief, adequate sleep, sexual empowerment, laughter and meditation.

Generally speaking, the most common desire is to lose weight. Sixty per cent of the people are overweight. We know why one should not be overweight. We know what one should do to lose weight. But the problem is how to implement the plan that will make us lose weight. A simple plan is to lose one pound a week. Can you imagine if you lose one pound a week, you can lose 52 pounds a year? That is amazing. Slow and steady wins the race. Rome wasn’t built in a day. OK you get the point.

Don’t just give up on eating. Be a smart eater. Make sure a healthy eating plan is one that has fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Include lean meats, poultry, fish, bean, eggs, and nuts. And is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Isn’t that easy?

Eating smart (not dieting or starving) is one step in the grand design to be healthy. The second step is regular exercise. Again you don’t have to have a grand plan to join a club or run a marathon if you have children and a busy life. On a good day you just have to go outside your house and walk for 30 to 40 minutes a day. If the weather is bad then go to the mall and walk for half-an-hour and do window-shopping. That is not difficult. If you do that five days a week then you have burnt enough calories to lose some weight. It will also make you feel healthier and happier with no sense of guilt.

Smart eating and regular walking should not be difficult. If you are a smoker then you can quit on your own or seek help. Neither option is easy to implement. There is some success and lot of failures due to the addictive nature of nicotine. But success can be achieved if you have the determination. If you are serious about quitting then seek help. That would be the smart way to go. Talk to your family doctor.

The next five steps are important too – stress relief, good sleep, sexual empowerment, laughter and meditation. These five steps are more mental than physical. You need to devote more time and mental discipline to achieve your goals. You can read more about it in my previous columns or my books.

I have tried to keep this column short and to the point. This is busy time of the year. Make sure you spend lot of time with your family. Do not drink and drive. Be happy and relax so you can charge your batteries for 2016.

I wish you and your family a Happy New Year and may you all be blessed with peace, good health and happiness.

Have fun but be safe.

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!

ELMOSS for 2007 – Back to the Basics

“Never underestimate your power to change yourself……”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Changing oneself is one of the scariest and most difficult things to do. It requires motivation, planning, dedication and discipline. But it can be done. What we need is to have a desire to change. The desire should come from within us. We should control our own destiny – hopefully for the better.

It has been six years since I first used the mnemonic ELMOSS. It was my column for the millennium edition of the Medicine Hat News where I said sticking to the basic principles of good health will sustain us for the next millennium. New technology will come and go but the basic principles will always remain the same. In fact the new technology should make it easy for us to stick to our basic principles of good health, that is ELMOSS.

ELMOSS stands for exercise, laughter, meditation, organic/healthy food, smoke-free and stress relief life. Briefly let us examine each segment and see how it can help us stay healthy.

Exercise: Regular moderate exercise or physical activity has tremendous benefits. It is an important strategy in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic ailments including stress relief.

Walking improves cardio-vascular fitness, lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Burns calories, improves muscle tone, relieves tension, improves digestion, and makes one feel good about one self. It also helps prevent osteoporosis.

Experts suggest we should do one hour of physical activity every day – it does not have to be all at one time.

Laughter: Here are some quotes which speak for themselves.

“Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God,” says Karl Bath (1886-1968).

“Only three things in life are real: God, human stupidity, and laughter. But the first two pass our comprehension; we must do what we can with the third,” says Aubrey Menen in The Ramayana.

“I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain free sleep,” Norman Cousins.

Laughter brings happiness and happiness brings good health.

Meditation: “All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone,” says Blaise Pascal (French philosopher, scientist, mathematician, and writer).

Meditation reduces stress, brings harmony in one’s mind, and increases focus. Reduces blood pressure and may boost your immune system to fight infection and cancer.

Organic healthy food: If you can find organic food then it is good. But it is not always easy to do that. What is important is to eat a low fat, high fiber diet with five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. There are definite benefits in terms of preventing heart disease and cancer.

Stress relief: Life without stress is not possible. So learn to manage stress. Be an optimist but have plan B ready. Never feel as if you are trapped in a situation. Learn to manage your time and people around you. Many people can help you – you just have to ask.

Smoking: Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Canada. It is responsible for one in five deaths. Half of regular smokers die prematurely of tobacco-related disease.

Nicotine causes tolerance and physical dependence. It literally takes over control of your life. If you do not smoke then do not start. If you smoke then immediately find help to quit smoking. Your life is in danger.

For 2007, remember – if you take care of ELMOSS then ELMOSS will take care of you. Have a great year.

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!


Each year, I make New Year’s resolutions. Often, I cannot accomplish them all. But for many reasons, the year 2000 was a good one for me. I tried to follow what I wrote in my column on January 1st, 2000. I said that if we take good care of ELMOS then ELMOS will take care of many of the health problems that affect us.

What does ELMOS stand for?

E stands for exercise, L for laughter, M for meditation, O for organic healthy food, and S for stress relief. You can help yourself with ELMOS. It is based on our own time, our own determination and our own dedication.

So, how did I do in 2000?

Exercise: I have been using my treadmill. But not as much as I would like to. Experts recommend moderately intense exercise daily at least for 30 minutes. I have been pretty close but I hope to do better this year. If you are new to exercise then remember to warm up and cool down. Know your limitation and check with your doctor if you are not sure.

Laughter: I haven’t been laughing much last year. I have been too busy taking care of other things. But this year I want to laugh a lot. Laughter is the best medicine. It is cheap. And it can be infectious. So let us plan to laugh a lot and spread it around.

Meditation: A quotation from Blaise Pascal (a French philosopher, scientist, mathematician, and writer) says it all, “All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Meditation is defined as private devotion or mental exercise consisting in any of innumerable techniques of concentration. Like many of you, I do practice some sort of meditation each day but not enough to benefit my health. May be half an hour of silence with eyes shut in a room alone (with soft music or relaxation tape or a rosary) is what I should aim for this year.

Organic healthy food: It is not always easy to find organic food, says my wife. And it is expensive. But she tries hard to buy whatever she can find. Maybe one day we will have a supermarket full of organic food. I eat 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit daily. I stick to low fat and high fibre diet. But what bothers me most is the amount of fried food and sweet stuff lying all over the place. Sometimes at home, most of the time at work, in cafeterias and restaurants. This year my target is to cut down further on sweet stuff (good bye to my favourite chocolate chip peanut butter cookie!).

Stress relief: Life without stress is not possible. Stress is part of our life. Some people take up smoking, drinking alcohol or coffee, and eating junk food as an escape from stress. I try exercise, laughter, a good movie or a book, massage therapy, or swimming with few minutes in the whirlpool. I find water very relaxing. I expect my stress level to be little less this year if I can control my time.

Looks like I have some work to do this year. Perhaps you too. Why don’t you make a list of your plans and stick it somewhere where you can see it everyday? You may send me a copy if you like. Apply the KISS principle – keep it simple stupid!

Good luck and happy New Year.

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!


What’s going to keep us healthy in the next millennium? Is it going to be science and technology or ELMOS?

ELMOS is what I call the basic tenants of good health. If you take care of ELMOS then you know you have taken care of yourself. There is no better care than self-care.

ELMOS stands for: Exercise, Laughter, Meditation, Organic Healthy Food and Stress Management. Many of the modern day killers (stress, heart disease, accidents, and cancer) will be taken care of if we take care of ELMOS.

What about our genes? May be genetic engineering will take care of that. But, there are no guarantees in life! What we can do is build a good foundation for good health. I believe, ELMOS is that foundation.

EXERCISE. A study published in 1994, showed that regular exercise is important for health and reduces the risks of chronic diseases. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine encourage 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every day. But it is estimated that only less than half the adults in North America exercise regularly. We need to do more.

LAUGHTER. There is a lot of truth in the old saying – laughter is the best medicine. The happier you are the better you feel. Ashley Montagu has written about the origin of laughter. She says the only animal that speaks is the only animal that laughs. Laughter is an expression of joy and can be infectious. This is one infection worth spreading!

Montagu says: It is well known that laughter has a tonic effect on the mind and body, suffusing the body with a feeling of well-being that few other activities are able to provide, refreshing, relieving, enlivening, and involving the whole body in its “happy convulsion.”

MEDITATION. The practice of meditation has occurred worldwide since ancient times, says Encyclopedia Britannica. There are numerous techniques of meditation – religious or otherwise. It is considered holistic and humane. Medical and psychological studies have shown that meditation is effective to varying degrees in the symptomatic control of migraine headache, hypertension, and other conditions. It helps in the purification of body, mind, and soul.

ORGANIC HEALTHY FOOD. The Environmental Magazine says: Of the 300 pesticides approved by the federal government, 73 (including some of the most frequently used) are “probable” or “possible” carcinogens (substances which cause cancer). There is also a risk to nervous system damage. What about the balanced healthy diet?

The Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association have recently launched a campaign to encourage Canadians to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit every day. This will help “prevent thousands of future cases of cancer”.

STRESS MANAGEMENT. I did not use the work “prevention”. As Newsweek magazine says: Living a stress-free life is not a reasonable goal. The goal is to deal with it actively and effectively. Some of the coping mechanisms are: exercise, meditation, relaxation and massage therapy. Learn to philosophize and rationalize issues. It is good for the soul.

I believe, ELMOS will save many painful moments in our lives in the next millennium. But we need to find time and make an effort. Nobody can help us with that. We have to set our own priorities.

I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous thousand years!

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!