People sometimes ask me why I named my practice Fundamental Health Solutions. When you’re thinking about a name for a business, you want to capture the core values that underpin the whole operation. For me, that was getting people back to the basics of wellness.
I’ve been practicing for over 25 years now (I can see 30 approaching on the horizon!) and in that time I’ve seen just about every fad diet, weird workout, and snake oil to hit the market. It’s a wonder how we survive as a species.
Do you know what frustrates me the most?
When people violate the laws of wellness with a poor diet and nonexistent exercise and then expect a chemical to fix it.
Think about it.
You get diabetes from a sugar-heavy, sedentary lifestyle, and then you take a chemical medication to manage the symptoms. It can’t ever repair the damage done to your pancreas and liver, but by suppressing the symptoms, you can live a functional life. Stop taking your meds just one time and you go back to suffering the ill effects of your choices.
That’s not how we were designed to live.
We’ve Gotten Away From The Fundamentals
If you read the Torah, the Tao De Ching, Homer’s Odyssey, or any of the other ancient literature – right up to the 1950s – there is no mention of anyone stopping at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Oh sure, you might read about people blending flowers and leaves into an elixir that they used to control the effects of a plague, but it was all natural, plant-based combinations. We were created to eat plants (and some animals) and derive nutrition from them.
I’ve heard people argue that our pharmaceutical industry is evidence of how we have advanced as a species. We can treat diseases that were previously untreatable.
I’m going to differ with that.
As I look at history, I see that we have been creating diseases that didn’t exist before and that we have been treating sickness with poison. The Industrial Revolution probably did as much to harm human life as it did to advance it.
The Chemical Solution
The basis of our pharmaceutical industry is the petroleum industry (that’s a deep rabbit hole that we don’t have space here to follow). Their research into chemical reactions brought us both the basis of chemotherapy and the gases the Nazis sprayed on their Jewish prisoners in the concentration camps. And I have seen research that suggests that more people die of the ravages of chemotherapy and radiation therapy than cancer itself. Part of the reason is that chemotherapy is designed to destroy cells.
That doesn’t sound like a solution to me.
Rather than address a simple problem with a complex “solution” that actually makes things worse for the patient, let’s go all the way back to the fundamentals. It won’t take long to see where we got off track and caused our own health problems.
Is your daily diet made up primarily of fresh, raw, organic vegetables or something else?
If you look at the daily diet of men like Abraham, Aristotle, and Alexander the Great, you will find it full of vegetables, fish, oils, fruits, and whole-grain bread. But we have gotten away from the original design. Compare the original diet to how we eat today:
- Bread and pasta stripped of all their nutritional value made of grains that were treated with pesticides on their way to market
- Oils that go rancid at high temperatures
- Beef fattened with corn instead of grass (and then treated with antibiotics that leech into the meat)
- Processed meats loaded with chemical preservatives and flavoring
- Fried-and-dried boxed foods that are filling but not void of nutrients
- Tomato-based foods (most people thought tomatoes were inedible weeds until the 1850s)
- Animal milk with all the nutrients cooked out of them through pasteurization
People think the Kosher diet observed by Orthodox Jews is oppressive and religious. If you really dig into it, though, you can see that it is the loving instruction of a Father who wants His children to live long, healthy lives. Have you ever told your children that it’s not good to eat too much candy? Because you hate them? Of course not. It’s because you love them. Kosher is the same way.
Just consider the example of the one rule that upsets more people than probably any other: pork.
As odd as it may seem to our ears, pork has no place in the human diet, and our Great Designer knew that. It is loaded with parasites. Pigs eat garbage and waste and have no sweat glands to purge toxins, so the toxins stay in the meat. When you eat pork, you are eating all the garbage that pig ate.
I know, it’s gross to think about.
I have a lot of friends who have given up pork for good and are reaping the benefits. Many of my patients who have gone through the 28-day Detox (where pork is one of the first things we cut off) never go back to eating pork.
But consider how much pork is in the Standard American Diet (SAD): lunch meat, pizzas, breakfast foods, hot dogs, and so on. And what happens to people who make a life of eating pork? The end up obese, with heart disease, diabetes, lymphatic problems, and other problems. Then, instead of changing their diet, they ask the doctor for a chemical that will manage the symptoms and (hopefully) do something to clean up the damage.
The prescription drug doesn’t just do the job it was sent to do, does it? Have you ever watched a pharmaceutical drug commercial and heard the list of potential side effects? It usually contains nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, heart palpitations, and sometimes (if they’re totally honest) death. Does that sound like a solution? Does that sound like it’s making life better?
Every generation prior to the one you and I live in was either agrarian, military, or engaged in some kind of heavy labor. Until (again) the Industrial Revolution, even the lawyers and bankers often had household tasks to keep them moving – be it gathering firewood or managing a garden or even a small farm. Look at the lives of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and the other Founding Fathers. They weren’t watching Netflix until bedtime.
Today, we sit at work, we sit in the car, and we sit at home. We aren’t activating our muscles and burning calories like our predecessors. As a result, we have back pain, fatigue, headaches, joint stiffness.
We also have unresolved stress. We live in a stressful world, and people in positions of heavy responsibility have that much more stress. If you’ve ever been responsible for the employment of others, you understand the pressure to produce. You have to get that aggression out of your system. Aggression manifests physically as much as it does emotionally. It has to vent somewhere.
When I work with executives, pastors, law enforcement officers, politicians, and others in high-stress positions, I always get them on an exercise program that will help them to vent their pent up stress and aggression. It’s not optional; If you don’t physically get that tension out of your system, it will hurt you, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and even spiritually.
Back To The Design
But the basic reason why we are out of shape, suffering back pain, and dealing with unresolved stress is that we’ve gotten away from the original design. We should be outdoors, working with our hands, burning calories with physical activity. Even our modern workout gyms are equipped with machines that don’t simulate real life movement.
Here’s a great rule of thumb: if you don’t see an activity depicted in ancient literature, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth doing today. Some conveniences are actually hurting us because they promote inactivity. We need to put activity back into our lives to protect our stability, mobility, and motor control.
- Wash the dishes by hand sometimes.
- Cut your own grass or plant a garden (if your homeowner association will let you).
- Get a puppy and take it for a walk each day.
- Take a dance class (that will help protect your brain from dementia, too!).
- Walk to work (depending on your commute)
- Watch the Move Right Monday videos and incorporate a couple of the exercises into your daily routine. They’re so easy, you don’t even have to change clothes. You can do most of them at your desk.
Not A Major Lifestyle Change
Notice that I am not suggesting you should join a gym. Honestly, I think a gym membership scares people into complacency. It feels like such an overwhelming commitment to try to schedule time to go, to change into workout clothes, to take a shower, that it just becomes its own excuse not to do anything. They don’t want to look like a fool or a novice in front of others.
Rather, pick some activities that you can do just by altering activities that you already do. Do you get what I mean by that? Instead of trying to add something to your daily life, just modify your existing behavior.
- You already go to work, so get a stand-up desk, instead of trying to add a workout after work, when your other responsibilities are demanding your attention.
- When you go to the grocery store, so park at the far end of the lot and walk a little further.
- If you have phone calls you have to make, do them from your cellphone and walk around the office or the neighborhood while you’re talking.
Anything to get you back closer to normal movement. Back to the fundamentals.
Convenience Can Hurt You
Thank God for some of the modern conveniences we enjoy, but don’t let convenience lull you into complacency. Thank God for some of the great foods we get to enjoy here in Naples, but we have to keep in mind what fuels our bodies were designed to burn.
Throughout this year, I’m going to be challenging you to get back to the basics in different parts of your wellness – mental, emotional, physical, nutritional, and so on. I’m also working on a book that I’m very excited about. Watch for that later this year. I’m looking at more ways that I can encourage you in your wellness every day, more than just the few minutes we share each week here on “Wellness Wednesday.” I can’t wait to show you everything we’re working on.
In the meantime, I bet you can think of someone who needs to hear this message. Please take a few seconds right now to share this article on your favorite social media channel.
Make it a great day!
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas