#BusyBeingHealthy with the NinjaDoc

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Hopefully by now you’re following our 9Health Fair #BusyBeingHealthy social media campaign. We’ve featured a variety of on-air talent from 9News, such as Morning Anchor Corey Rose and Meteorologist Belen DeLeon as they’ve shared their strategies for staying #BusyBeingHealthy. Now, 9Health Fair Spokesman Noah Tal Kaufman, a.k.a NinjaDoc from American Ninja Warrior shares his tips for keeping health a top priority.

9Health Fair: Between American Ninja Doctor, being an ER doctor and family duties, you’re very busy. How do you keep yourself motivated to keep up with it all and your health?

Ninja Doc: I love my family, and I love having fun with my family in the great outdoors. As I get older, I see it’s more important to make time–no matter what–for our health. It’s so much fun to do it together; to go on hikes and go climbing. I’m very motivated when I feel healthy and I’m eating the right nutritious and natural foods. It’s easy not to focus on these things and there’s 1 million excuses; we are all super busy, but it’s indescribable how good it feels to be healthy with your family. Knowing that we will probably live longer and enjoy our days more is also very motivating! You just have to set aside the time. I like to watch shows on the iPad while on my exercise bike for an hour every day. It seems like there’s a lot of ways to combine entertainment with exercise!

9Health Fair: Why did you decide you wanted to partner up with 9Health Fair?

Ninja Doc: In the ER, I feel like a broken record sometimes. Often I’m saying the same things over and over to patients who have let it go too far and now are experiencing medical problems because they weren’t busy enough being healthy. I want to make a real impact and help people before they have the problems that I see people suffering within the ER. In the Wolfpack Ninjas, we love our fans and are specifically motivated to educate about obesity and the health problems associated with it, especially to our kid fans! We also want to tell them how to become ninjas and get healthy. For instance, cut out soda pop and come to our Wolfpack Ninja Tour in Denver in April to meet and learn from all the top ninjas! You can see, my goals and 9HealthFair’s mission are well aligned, and so it was a natural fit and just a matter of time before we combined forces.

9Health Fair: Your schedule is very different from most people’s. How do you manage your sleep, particularly when those around you are on different sleep schedules?

Ninja Doc: This is very tough. My shifts and hours are all over the place and it’s tough on my body and spirit. It’s not healthy. This is part of the downside of being an ER doc, but someone has to do it. I sleep as much as I can, whenever I can, and it gets harder as I get older. The answer is that I manage as best as I can, but it’s not optimal. For most people, I would advise to get as much sleep as possible and take naps if you feel like it. Sleep and exercise are so important to your life and overall happiness.

9Health Fair: With a schedule like yours, how do you manage your nutrition? Do you have certain snacks you keep at work?

Ninja Doc: Nutrition is even more important than exercise in my opinion. If I had to choose one, I’d say for most people, focus on your nutrition and then just try to do something fun and active. I usually try to eat mostly vegetarian with meat only 2-4 times a month. We eat a lot of tofu and ancient grains like quinoa, spelt or farro. I love to eat almonds and apples are a huge part of my diet since I have a real sweet-tooth. I love honey crisp (apples). I try to eat many smaller meals through the day. When I eat salads, I squeeze lemon on them or eat them with hummus instead of dressing. I would say cut out or water down juice and absolutely cut out soda and sweets. That’s what I do.

9Health Fair: Do you do meal prep? What are some of your favorite healthy foods?

Ninja Doc: We love roasting vegetables at our house and we experiment with different recipes frequently. We eat a lot of tofu, and stay away from a lot of dairy such as cheese and milk or cream. We don’t have time for much meal prep. For breakfast, we have now adopted the Pumpkin Apple Overnight Oats we showed on 9News with Belen Deleon… That is such an easy breakfast to prepare and healthy and most importantly, DELICIOUS!

9Health Fair: Besides your obstacle courses, what are your favorite ways to fit in more exercise (walk the dog, go for hikes, etc.)?

Ninja Doc: By far, number 1,2 and 3 for me and my family is to go climbing. There are so many places to do it and it’s safe and fun! Start out in a gym and you will see that ANYONE can do it, even if you’re 100 lbs. overweight. Start slow and just play around. That’s the thing about climbing: it’s always play. I feel that working out is hard. It’s work. I don’t like to add work to my already busy, busy life, so I add stress-relieving play–in the form of rock climbing–that also happens to be the best workout I know!

9Health Fair: One of the hardest parts of your job must be when people come into the ER and you can’t save them, how do you not let this affect your mental health?

Ninja Doc: I feel very confident that I am a very good physician after all these years in the ER. Also, I’m part of the UC Health system which is one of the top in the nation. If I were in a horrible accident and dying, I would want our team of providers on the case. At this point in time, most of what I do and we do is second nature. If we can’t save someone, I know that they at least had their best chance with our team. Like any powerful experience, you can extract the good, or focus on the bad. I don’t mind when people die. We all die. What bothers me is when people don’t really live! It’s a gift of constant perspective when people don’t make it. I use it as a weapon against apathy, and it helps sharpen my focus with regards to enjoying this amazing journey with my friends, family (and fans!) I hope everyone can join us together with the top Ninjas in the country in Denver at the end of April for the Wolfpack Ninja Tour!

All week long we’ll be sharing #BusyBeingHealthy strategies on our 9Health Fair Facebook, and Twitter pages. Be sure to follow us over there, and share your own #BusyBeingHealthy success photos! Also, if you’ve missed any of our previous posts in this series (such as TaRhonda Thomas and Marty Coniglio) check out our blog for more tips and strategies from the on-air talent at 9News.