In order to serve my patients and readers as best I can, I do a lot of research. Tons of reading: medical journals, favorite websites, great books. I always want to stay up to date on the latest research into wellness and longevity, so I can give you the power to achieve great health.
I’ve noticed two things that are pretty consistent across the literature. Both are bad news, but they come with some good news…if you’re willing to read between the lines.
I’ve observed that it’s easy to publish an article (or even a book) that highlights a major, glaring problem with America’s health and not give any tips for fixing it.
- Yes, the obesity rate in America has skyrocketed since the 1990s, and with it, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and dozens of other chronic illnesses.
- It is true that dementia and Alzheimer’s cases are on the rise.
- The rates of depression, suicide, and accidental death by drug overdose are also climbing.
- Yes, people write about these problems every day.
What do these writers suggest we do about it?
Some suggest we should call our representatives in Washington, D.C. to demand Congressional action. That’s hilarious. The last time the federal government got involved in healthcare, they created the nutrition pyramid that helped to set in motion the chronic disease problems we are seeing today.
Where Is The Answer?
It’s fine to talk about problems in specific and scientific terms, but that can’t be all you do. You have to give the reader at least one thing they can do to solve their own problem. I believe one of the biggest reasons people are depressed, anxious, and suicidal is that we have been conditioned by the media that the world is a dark and dangerous place and we are all helpless to do anything about it. It’s a victim mentality. Trust me, I know what hopelessness feels like; it’s debilitating. My concern is that the media (and particularly healthcare literature) emphasizes the problem to keep people afraid and dependent on the medical community to save them.
That’s why all of my blogs include tips for healthier living that you can apply in your own life. I want to put the power of your wellness in your hands.
You Can Do It
Several years ago, I started teaching classes at my practice, in addition to seeing patients and doing spinal adjustments. My rationale was simple: I wanted my patients to be equipped to improve and maintain their own health. The results have been outstanding. I have many patients that used to come in two or three times a week who now come by for a tuneup once a month or less.
Does that hurt my practice? Maybe. My colleagues think I’m nuts. They think I’m going to run my practice into the ground by teaching my patients how to manage their own health so they can come to see me less often.
But isn’t that the goal?
Do I want my patients to live longer, healthier, more enjoyable lives, or do I want them dependent on me to keep them alive? That’s not a flippant question; I know healthcare professionals in both camps. Let’s be honest.
The Danger Is Real, But…
I want you to be aware of the real health dangers of our culture:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Processed “food” substances
- Separation from fresh air and sunshine
- EMF imbalance
- Overstimulation/sleep deprivation
But here’s the key: I want you to know that you can do something about it yourself. I want to educate you so that you’re not dependent on me, the government or anyone else to live your best life.
That leads me to the other thing I’ve noticed about the research I’ve been reading.
The Bad News IS The Good News
Plain and simple: our lifestyles are killing us. The further we get away from the way our bodies were designed to operate, the more our bodies break down.
I recently read an article that captured the problem, and I want to share a piece of it with you, so I can show you how the problem points out the answer:
The health problems associated with rapid urbanization are profound, most notably the chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—e.g., mental health disorders, and obesity and its correlates of type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease [6-13]. Urbanization, particularly in deprived areas, may drive changes in behavior that contribute to NCD risk—low physical activity, compromised sleep, and unhealthy dietary choices [14-17]. The progressive movement away from less sanitized traditional lifestyles has also altered the diversity of microbial contact . Much has been written regarding environmental variables, including Westernized dietary patterns and increasing microbial sanitization, and their association with marked increases in allergic and autoimmune conditions in developed nations—as much as tenfold higher vs. developing nations. (2)
What are the psychological consequences of a collective deficiency of ancestral influences in the modern landscape? What is the fallout from more time indoors and less experience with variables associated with natural environments or parts thereof? The “less” we refer to is broad—it ranges from the diversity of birdsong and non-pathogenic microbes to the blue spectrum of daylight and varieties of vegetation around a residence. It includes less dietary diversity via loss of traditional foods and the diminishing phytochemicals within them. In the context of evolutionary experience, we consider these to be modern deficits.
We wonder could this collective deficit manifest in a “disorder,” a sort of paleo-deficit disorder, that while not pathological per se, taps into unrealized quality of life, empathy, perspective taking, low-grade anxiety, psychological distress, resiliency, and negative mental outlook? Could this deficit accelerate an individual toward the checkmarks required for medicalized diagnoses? Might the collective deficit in “Paleolithic experiences” compromise an individual’s ability to maintain optimal emotional health and by extension, prevent optimal health of neighborhoods, cities, societies, and nations, especially those undergoing rapid urbanization? (3)
Did You See The Good News?
Did you see the good news in this article? Maybe not; it’s not written out. I want to show it to you by flipping it on its head:
- Good mental, emotional, digestive, metabolic, and cardiovascular wellness can be achieved by reversing the behaviors that contribute to NCD (non-communicable disease) risk. By increasing physical activity, getting adequate sleep, and making good dietary choices, you can reduce the risk of NCD. As you return to a less-sanitized traditional lifestyle, you can protect your microbial diversity, reducing or eliminating allergic and autoimmune conditions.
- By spending less time indoors and experiencing more natural environments – including birdsong, non-pathogenic microbes, the blue-spectrum of daylight, and varieties of vegetation, you can promote greater dietary diversity and enjoy the benefits of the spectrum of phytochemical within them.
- By filling in the deficits of elements our paleolithic-era ancestors enjoyed, we can tap into an unrealized quality of life, empathy, perspective taking, low anxiety, resiliency, and a positive mental outlook.
Give You The Power…Choice
The answers are there. More importantly, they are all within your power to change for yourself. This is the thing I love about wellness: you have the power to enjoy the best life possible.
Of course, if you think “the best life” includes vegging out in front of the TV all evening with a pepperoni pizza, 2 liters of Coke, and a quart of ice cream, then you are going to have a different result from someone whose “best life” includes long walks, social gatherings, eating vegetables, healthy fats, lean cuts of meat, and drinking plenty of water.
You get to decide which “best life” you want, but be aware: if you choose the unhealthy life, you either have to be comfortable checking out early or spending years in a wheelchair or hospital bed, suffering the side effects of a dozen different prescription chemicals.
I know which I want, and I’m living it.
When All Hope Is Lost
I was going to end the article here, but I feel like there’s one more thing I need to say. I have known many people over the years who have felt so hopeless that they:
- Killed themselves intentionally (or tried unsuccessfully).
- Tried to soften their pain with drugs, comfort food, porn, or a dozen other destructive habits.
- Died as a result of trying to soften their pain with destructive habits.
My heart hurts for you if you fit into any of these groups. I understand how you can get to a place of such hopelessness that you choose to end your life early. It’s not hard to understand why a person chooses drugs, alcohol, or a self-destructive lifestyle of sitting in front of entertainment and eating garbage for hours at a time. I just read another statistic that 115 people die every day in America of opioid overdose and six die every day because of alcohol abuse. The number has been rising for years.
Hopelessness is an all-consuming torment. The news feeds it. Our entertainment feeds it by showing you what you don’t have and should want. The worst thing is, if you have no hope, you lose the will to fight it. But you MUST fight – you are the only person who can overcome your hopelessness. I can do all I know how to encourage you, but at the end of the day, you have to choose.
Are You Afraid?
I believe people numb themselves out with drugs, sex, and entertainment for the same reason people kill themselves: they give up on things getting better. It’s the same spirit. They decide they can’t handle life as it currently exists. The opioid crisis exists because people can’t deal with the pain in their lives – either physical or emotional. Alcoholism wouldn’t exist if people could get a vision for what their lives could be and had the tools to go after it. Where there is no vision, people perish.
Like I said earlier, I don’t want to point out a problem and not give you a game plan to deal with it.
Let’s Take Back Our Hope
I’m not a counselor; there are some aspects of emotional health I am not equipped to address. But I can challenge you with this: imagine how your life could be if you knew you couldn’t fail. Get a vision for what you would like your life to be, including health, relationships, money, and time. Who would you like to be a year from now?
Now, here’s the hard part: most people get that vision in their mind, and immediately see all the reasons they aren’t living that now. All the obstacles, the past failures, the fears, the things their second-grade teacher said to them. They embrace being a victim and live in a victim prison.
You don’t have to.
Things can be different for you, and it can start now.
Decide that you are not going to stay down anymore. Make a determination that you are going to rise up and do something with your life. Be prepared for obstacles, but make a decision in advance to find a way to overcome them. God gave you a powerful brain to solve problems.
You can do this.
I’ve given you tools, but you have to choose the mindset of a winner.
It’s time to recognize that you are not a victim unless you choose to be. You are not the one person in the universe that God doesn’t have a plan for. You don’t have to give up or quit. And you certainly don’t have to live your life sick, depressed, and hopeless.
Maybe you can’t change everything going on around you, but you can change what you do. You can choose:
- What goes into your mouth.
- How to move your body (watching the Move Right Monday videos).
- How you deal with fear and challenges.
- Who you will listen to and whose words will have power in your life.
- What you will spend your time doing.
- How you will respond to circumstances.
You can (and are commanded) to choose your thoughts. If a thought doesn’t align with the truth, you must say NO to it and choose the truth, even if it is uncomfortable.
It’s Up To You To Choose
You don’t have to stay stuck, fearful, broke, sick, tired, or depressed.
Choose something new and then stand up against the opposition until you achieve your goals. There’s no such thing as a goal without opposition, but you can choose not to let it get you down. Actually, the opposition is simply a test to see how badly you want your goals. All you have to do is stand until you reach the goal, without giving up. And in the process of not giving up, you will grow stronger, wiser, and more confident.
I’m looking forward to cheering you on as you move forward into your new life.
If you live in the Naples area, I’d like to invite you to join me for dinner at my practice behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road and Airport-Pulling Road. Thursday, March 4 and the first Thursday of each month), we’ll meet at 6:15 p.m. We call it the “Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner” and it’s been growing every month for a couple of years now. Bring $10 cash or a dish to share and get ready for an enjoyable evening of making new friends and hearing from one of my colleagues here in town. We’ve had some terrific teaching and some awesome food. Visit my Facebook page to RSVP, and watch one of the videos from our previous Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinners. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas