Music As Therapy: A Case For Crowding Out TV Time

Hi everyone, it’s good to be here with you today. In the last episode I interviewed Dr. Felice L. Gersh. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to it, you can click here to listen to it. She was incredibly informative about women’s health and longevity. I received so many positive comments from listeners who enjoyed the science backed health and wellness information Dr. Gersh shared.

One of the things she talked about was diet. She’s an advocate for vegetables and fruits. In fact, she said we should aim for 9 servings a day which is roughly the equivalent of 9 cups.

With that in mind and fresh off all those holiday celebrations, I thought I would explore a more vegetable rich diet. Then I started thinking about other rich and rewarding things I could be doing for my health and wellness.

Today I want to explore some controversial thoughts about how to nourish yourself. Here’s what I discovered when I tried to eat nine cups of vegetables each day with about a 1 to 5 ratio of fruit thrown into the mix.

First, it’s hard to eat much more than that. The fruit and veggies crowd out other food. You just don’t have room in your stomach for more. You’re not hungry. Dr. Gersh said there are no bad vegetables. That was kind of a revelation for me. I’ve heard that some vegetables should be avoided because they’re a starch or have too much sugar. She said to eat the rainbow of colors and I have. I love yams and sweet potatoes and beets. All of them are so filling. It was kind of a relief to have someone tell me they’re okay to eat. 

The second thing I noticed was that I don’t crave a lot of other things when I eat that variety of vegetables and fruits.  I didn’t outlaw any food but I got rid of the holiday sugary stuff in my pantry. I caught myself thinking it was interesting that I wasn’t craving sugar during this experiment with rich vegetables.

The other thing I noticed was that not everyone in my house was satisfied with the fruit and vegetables alone. I definitely had to add some meat or chicken or fish or pasta to meals for the guys in my household but they were generally okay with the vegetable rich diet.

We did have some Banza brand pasta one day which is made from chickpeas. My daughter turned me onto the brand and it is quite good and has a-lot of protein in each serving. My men said they like it just as well as the traditional pasta brand they’re used to. Dr. Gersh said studies show that plant protein is a winner for our health and we shouldn’t be afraid of it.  In case you want to try it, I was able to get Banza brand at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it at every grocery store. I think it takes a few more minutes to cook. You’ll have to taste test it for yourself.

Another thing Dr. Gersh said was that we should stop eating at 7pm and fast for 13 hours until breakfast the next day. That was a bit harder in a social setting, especially on the weekends. During the week it was easier. A few nites I decided to eat before everyone else got home so as to meet this new schedule. It didn’t seem ideal since sharing a meal is a time for connection. 

So that’s what happened during my little experiment using Dr. Gersh’s recommendations. Of course, she shares so much more in that episode. You really should listen to it.

Then I got to thinking about putting myself on a rich auditory and visual diet with ingredients that nourish me and crowd out those things that don’t.  

Music is therapy, especially instrumental genres like classical music, jazz, and Spanish guitar. There are companies built on the idea that babies’ brains develop better with classical music. Have you ever noticed that you think more clearly with some instrumental music playing? I have. If you’re not in the habit of playing some great music at night and during the day, you’re missing out on its therapeutic value.

If you tried to listen to music so that it crowded out some of the less nourishing auditory soundtracks of your life, you’d be parroting the vegetable rich diet. Imagine listening to some wonderful music instead of listening to the news or news commentary or a sit com on TV. That would be a very different evening experience.

Of course you have other people in your life that may not want to crowd out the other auditory food groups. Maybe they want the TV on all the time. 

I decided a few years ago that the constant barrage of news and the rehash of sitcom topics weren’t adding to my well being. I shifted to reading the news and being really selective about what to watch on TV. It made a big difference for me. I’m reading more subjects now. Maybe it’s different where you live, but TV news stories are repeated over and over without much variety. If I read, I can have a varied and rich diet of medical news, tech news, healthcare and design trends ~ the equivalent of all the colors of the rainbow we talked about when choosing fruits and vegetables.

When I admit to people over 50 that I’m not a TV news junky, they look at me incredulously.They kind of turn off. It seems to be a controversial subject that they don’t want to dive into. Maybe it’s a bit like being vegetarian…. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t ask questions. Maybe that’s where your head is going right now. Are you thinking that TV informs you with news and commentary.  That people who care do this.  That you can’t imagine depriving yourself from the excitement of watching the news….

Really? Can’t we stay informed by reading the news? You probably won’t read the same thing over and over again because that’s boring. Reading isn’t as addictive as sitting in front of the TV. And you can read faster than watching it. Plus, you get to interpret what you read for yourself. Have you ever read the book and then watched the movie only to say that you enjoyed the book more? I have. Maybe that’s why I like to read so much. I’ve found reading  can improve the quality of my experience.

An auditory diet and a visual diet are kinda like fruits and vegetables. They go together.

What if you stopped watching TV and became mesmerized by a fireplace instead? How would you feel looking at the glow of the fire? What if your evenings were filled with good conversation against a candle lit background? What if you played a board game or cards?

If you immediately think of a bunch of reasons why this would never work for you, playfully examine your thoughts. What if you’re wrong? What if you actually tried one of these things and liked it? If you did like it, what would that be like? What would it feel like to spend an evening eating nutrient rich food, listening to therapeutic music that lifts you up, in a visually compelling space? Do you think you might feel really good in that moment?

Our environment is so impactful to our health and well being. Just like we try to avoid a bunch of processed food for our health, we need to think about what we’re listening to and looking at. Your experience of life can be improved with simple changes in how you engage with the moments that are yours to decide.

I’ve created a way for you to take action now. It’s a fun sheet that will encourage you to take specific actions to change the quality of your moments. If you’re going through change in your life or in the way you look at your life, and you’re interested in creating new patterns, this fun sheet may help you. You can download it for free here. 

On the next podcast I interview travel experts Eve and Thomas Chauvel who share what’s new and noteworthy in the cruise industry. For instance, you may want to think about going on an intergenerational cruise for a family reunion, especially if you have grandchildren. On the other end of the spectrum are adventure expeditions by National Geographic and others. I love their fresh ideas and their in-depth knowledge about planning a vacation that will be truly exceptional and exactly what you want.

I’m very interested in hearing from you and finding out about the things you’re thinking as you design your second half. I’d love to know what you’d like to be doing with the rest of your life or if you’re stuck trying to figure it out. I’ve created a downloadable pdf document to help you navigate the big changes in your life with more clarity and less anxiety. If you think this might be helpful, just click here.

"Just like we try to avoid a bunch of processed food for our health, we need to think about what we’re listening to and looking at. " ~Nancy DelSanto on Design Your Second Half, the podcast
Wishing you a lifestyle you love,

 ~ Nancy
To be inspired by past podcast posts, click here.