Healthy lifestyle? Wellness educator recommends good diet, sleep and sex


Posted on August 9, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 9 at 6:00 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS - A nationally known wellness educator discovered that old world traditions were becoming the health breakthroughs of new research.

She is a doctor who says our mothers and grandmothers were right about many things.

It was a health revelation that Dr. Carmella Sebastian had, not from medical school, but from her Italian mother. So she decided to pass it on in her new book, 'Sex and Spaghetti Sauce.'

"Everything she had told me now is backed up by medical literature and research. And who knew that old lady was right?" said Dr. Sebastian of Tampa, Florida, who is board certified in internal medicine.

Meals were fresh at home and made of big salads with lots of vegetables, olive oil and they were low in animals meats and saturated fat.  Now that same diet is called the Mediterranean Diet. A landmark study out of Spain, showed a 30 percent decrease in heart attacks, strokes and death from all causes, when you eat that way.

"Every time we're eating out, it has been shown that our portion size is two to three times what we really need. All we need is the size of our fist at any one sitting," she explained. 

Dr. Carm, as she likes to be called, says her mother used natural, physical activity for exercise, not a gym.

"I used to beg her to exercise and I'd say, 'Mom, please, let's go for a walk.' And she'd say, 'Why do I need to exercise? I clean the house.' And she cleaned that house every single day. About a year ago, I got my heart rate monitor and I cleaned my house, and I burned about 350 calories in two hours. said Dr. Carm.

Weight loss, mental capacity and heart disease are linked to lack of sleep, which is critical, she says, especially as you get older. 

"I have in the book exactly how to take your nap so it doesn't disturb your sleep at night, because if you sleep too long, then you're going to be up with insomnia," said Dr. Carm.

She says you should get toxic relationships, even on the internet and TV, out of your life. De-stress for five minutes a day by disconnecting and being peaceful, meditating. Prioritize and empower yourself to say 'no' so you're not over scheduled. And finally, the number one question she gets when giving wellness speeches, well, she calls it 'sex as medicine' because of the many health benefits her mother (married 51 years) obviously knew about. 

"My parents in their early 80s, my mother calling me at work and complaining because my father was chasing her around the kitchen table," she laughed.