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Obeying Your Gut Instincts

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

~African Proverb

I’m not an angry person, but there are a couple of things that set me off when I see them.

The big one is the number of people I see who suffer poor health for no other reason than that they have been lied to.

As I’ve shared before, most of what we in America consider “marketing” is just paid lying. Chemical companies produce “food” products and market them as “healthy substitutes” (like margarine) for “fattening” foods (like butter). Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet people buy into it every day, because the message has been the same since the 1960s. As best-selling author Michael Pollan observed, “The human animal is adapted to, and can thrive on, an extraordinary range of different diets, but the western diet…is not one of them.”

As a result, we as a nation are getting fatter and sicker every year.

This is not news. Great films like “Food, Inc.” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” have documented the way toxic food products are marketed to us, and how the pharmaceutical industry is the only beneficiary, as their profits explode into trillions of dollars. People are rising up and taking a stand against the poisoned food industry.

Still, millions of Americans don’t understand the link between the food they eat and the sickness they endure, and many don’t care. They just wish someone would cut their healthcare expenses for them.

Isn’t it interesting that as much as 75% of health care expenditures in the US are spent on preventable disease, while only 3% of such expenditures are invested in disease prevention programs?

There are things we can do to improve our own health and cut our own healthcare bills: obvious things like cutting out junk food and exercising a little every day would change most people’s lives completely within about 60 days. This is not my opinion, but my experience. I have too many success stories from people who came back from the brink because they changed their eating habits.

Just as an aside, it’s worth noting that we do not have a healthcare industry in America, we have a disease management industry. Disease management masks the symptoms of sickness with expensive chemicals, but does not actually cure the root problem. Healthcare supports and strengthens the body’s own innate disease-fighting systems. The problem with healthcare is that it costs almost nothing and can be managed with organic plants and some meats. The pharmaceutical industry would disappear and all those people would have to find jobs in other industries. Groups like the American Cancer Society would cease to exist. All those billions of fund-raised dollars would have to go to things like feeding the poor around the world.

I apologize for getting snarky. This makes me angrier than I have words to express. I consider it my mandate to give people a choice with how they care for their own health.

Let’s take one example of a change we could make today that would improve our health and save money on disease management.

Consider the effect of adding one dietary supplement to your meal plan every day – in this case, psyllium fiber. This 2013 study concluded that if US adults over age 65 with heart disease took psyllium dietary fiber daily, it could save nearly $4.4 billion per year and more than $35 billion in cumulative health costs between 2013-2020. So, for 30 cents’ worth of psyllium fiber per day we could reduce coronary heart disease related events by 11.5% (with each event costing over $13,000).

It’s staggering. Most disease is completely preventable with small and simple changes to our eating habits.

But why does it affect the rest of our health?

I’ll use a simple illustration to explain:

Gut Flora

Like I’ve shared in the past, our bodies basically have two immune systems: the cell-based one that lives in the blood, and the gut flora that inhabit the intestines. They not only enable digestion, they also filter toxins and triage every cell that comes through your digestive track. Our Standard American Diet is made almost entirely of materials that our immune system recognizes as “threats.” That means your gut flora is constantly in battle mode, exhausting itself in the fight against toxins. When toxins get past that defense, they move out into the blood stream, where they implant themselves in the tissues of your muscles, joints, and organs. Your immune system heats up to kill these cells, and you feel “inflammation” or pain, like headaches, arthritis, or even more advanced cases, like asthma.

There’s more that I want to say about this, but I will continue it over the next few weeks. In the mean time, if you live in the Naples area, I’d like to invite you to our “Fundamental Food” series, where we will go deeper into the research on this important topic. We’ll start at 6:15 pm tomorrow night at our office, which is just behind the new YMCA on Pine Ridge Road. I hope to see you there.

“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.”  — Eric Thomas

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