Try this Wellness Principle on the days you're in the office
Dr Gary Deng has some advice on your exercise routine, as well as a pretty good office lunch choice
Dr Gary Deng prescribes more than just medicines and treatments. The Chinese-born, New York-based, doctor is the Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and also a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, of Cornell University. Dr Gary Deng) prescribes more than just medicines and treatments. The Chinese-born, New York-based, doctor is the Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and also a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, of Cornell University. Over the course of his medical career, he has learned that good health outcomes aren’t restricted to the hospital consultation room, but flow from myriad choices all of us make every day.
His debut book, The Wellness Principles: Cooking for a Healthy Life, guides readers through those choices, towards better, healthier outcomes. It’s partly a cookbook, as Deng is a great amateur cook, but it also features advice on everything from sleep to superfoods.
Take these wise words, on the importance of exercise. “Physical exercise not only keeps our heart and lungs strong and builds muscle, it can also trigger a cellular process — autophagy — that ‘cleans’ the body’s cells and encourages their regeneration. Like cleaning our home, it should be done often — ideally daily! I call exercise ‘the fourth meal of the day,’ which means that it should become a natural part of your regular rhythm.”
Dr Deng recommends swimming, as this combines aerobic and resistance exercise, but also writes that moderate exercise twice a day will elicit good health benefits. Since lockdown unlocked outdated working methods many of us have found ways to include a little running, swimming or cycling into our daily routine.
However, as many of us return to the office, those work-out routines may face disruption (along with a return to the overpriced, undernourishing food choices associated with old-fashioned office life). Think you can make up for it by ramping up your runs at the weekend? Think again.
“We cannot stay sedentary in front of a computer all day during the week, then run a 5K on the weekend,” writes Dr Deng. “Human physiology just doesn’t work that way. It needs regular, long-term exposure to things that strengthen us, and a general avoidance of things that undermine us. Our bodies need daily cultivation. This awareness is important.” Maybe taking the office stairs, instead of a lift, cycling rather than driving, or rejoining that gym near your place of work is the answer.
Whatever you choose, you can pair your new work routine with one of Dr Deng’s recipes. Try salt and vinegar broiled Spanish mackerel. “Spanish mackerel is among the fish with the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids, with about 1 gram per 4-ounce (120 g) serving,” he writes. “Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and good for cardiovascular health. Mackerel is high in lean protein and full of flavor. The coriander seeds and stems complement those rich flavors.”
Dr Gary Deng
It’s also the kind of dish that fits pretty neatly into a packed lunch. Here’s how you make it. Take two teaspoons white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar; two skin-on Spanish mackerel fillets (about 8 oz/225 g each), halved crosswise; ½ a teaspoon of coarse sea salt; a teaspoon of coriander seeds; a tablespoon of chopped cilantro (coriander) stems; four cloves garlic, peeled; four teaspoons of olive oil; and lemon wedges for serving.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C/Gas Mark 8). Sprinkle the vinegar on the flesh side of the fillets, then sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Let it marinate for five minutes. In a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder),crush and grind the coriander seeds, cilantro (coriander) stems, and garlic to a paste. Spread the paste on the flesh side of the fillets. Brush a sheet pan with two teaspoons of the oil. Lay the fillets flesh-side down in the pan. Drizzle the remaining two teaspoons of oil on the skin side. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast until cooked through and the edges of the skin are slightly browned, 10–15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired. For more on this, as well as plenty more besides, order a copy of The Wellness Principles here.
The Wellness Principles