If there is one overriding theme that summarizes my practice and my approach to healthcare, it’s the understanding that we are all multi-faceted beings.
No-one is just a body or just a mind. No-one is just a digestive system. A complete, comprehensive approach to wellness incorporates every component of a human life.
My biggest concern about the multi-billion-dollar health and wellness culture in America (I’m not even talking about the medical/pharma industry, which is totally different) is that it tends to treat the different facets of our lives in isolation from each other:
- We take steps to manage our diets without any consideration for how our food and thought life influence each other.
- We start an exercise regimen without determining our calorie needs.
- We take an anti-depressant without first identifying foods that might be hindering our neurotoxin production.
This one-dimensional approach to healthcare creates as many problems as it solves – a cascade of side-effects similar to those of medical drugs.
To maximize your health you need to take a holistic view of your life. That’s why I built my practice, Fundamental Health Solutions, around the four points: Move Right, Eat Right, Think Right, Live Right. Let’s take a look at how they work together.
How would you choose between sugar and Vitamin B12 for energy: one depletes your immune system, stirs up your emotions then leaves you flat, and sparks your energy then crashes you. The other is a Vitamin. Your food choices influence your emotions because of how the glucose and nutrients in your food interact with neurotransmitter production.
Feeling lazy after dinner? That’s serotonin triggered by grease in the food. Feeling agitated after a donut? Sugar. Certain foods promote muscle tissue growth (ascorbate) and others dehydrate your muscle cells (caffeine). Kids won’t sit still in class? Can’t concentrate at work? Feeling bloated and gassy? Processed foods. As research is linking processed food to obesity, it’s also linking it to mental health issues like depression. You can’t understand mental health issues completely without understanding dietary issues.
As the name of my practice suggests, I believe in getting back to the fundamentals. Where food is concerned, that means preferring foods that our bodies were designed to eat – foods we have been eating since the dawn of man. If it came from the earth, your body knows what to do with it; if it came from a test tube (processed foods), your body will treat it like a toxic invader. Goodbye, boxed foods.
I’ve worked with a number of executives, doctors, ministers, and law enforcement offices. I almost always recommend that they establish a consistent workout regimen that includes some high-intensity interval training. Why? Because their jobs tend to be highly stressful and exercise releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters that combat stress. To operate at top condition at work, they have to be able to manage their stress, blood pressure, and emotional state.
Stress is not just an emotion – it’s a series of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual pressures in constant tension. If you only exercise to lose weight or tone muscles, I’m not going to argue with you about it, because at least you are getting the other benefits, whether you know it or not. But treating stress with medication and without exercise is a recipe for addiction and side effects.
Two words: comfort food.
I’ve already touched on this a little, but your mental, emotional, and spiritual life can have just as much influence on your physical health as diet and exercise. Can’t shake off the weight? It might be time to look deeper. I know a woman that lost 50 pounds multiple times and kept putting it back on because she believed she was fat, no matter what the scale said. When she was little, her dad told her she was fat and that tape stuck on infinite repeat in her mind for the rest of her life. Eating disorders are not about food, they are about control. Binge eating is not about nourishment, it is about dealing with sadness.
I could go on for hours about this, but if you don’t believe you can be healthy, that mindset will interfere with adjustment I do with your spine and nervous system. If you don’t trust my judgment, your visits to my office will not benefit you, even if we do everything exactly right.
Fear will mess up your digestion. Anger will burn out your endocrine system with cortisol. Unforgiveness will shut down your kidneys, heart, and pancreas, leaving you with Type II diabetes. If we don’t deal with mental, emotional, and spiritual health, your physical health is just a house of cards.
This is, in a way, a catch-all for all the other categories, and it’s more.
How are your relationships? Do you use harsh chemical cleaners in your home? Do you spend a lot of time stressing out over the news? Are you a contributing member of a community? How are your finances? What code of conduct (faith) do you use to govern your life? Do you ever spend time outside in the sun? Do you ever work with the soil? How often do you read a new book or study a new skill?
I’m not suggesting for a second that I have any interest in sticking my nose in any of these issues in your personal life, but they all have an impact on your health. Living right involves all the aspects of life: spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, relational, social, intellectual, and so on. That’s one of the reasons I really enjoy working with the Blue Zones. Their Power 9 is a well-balanced and well-rounded understanding of the keys to a long and successful life. It’s not just about one part of your life; it’s a complete picture of life through the prism of nine behaviors that researchers found were consistent among people who lived to be more than 100 years old all over the world.
You can have a long, strong, fulfilling, impactful life. The key is to embrace all of life’s many facets and build a lifestyle of keeping them in balance.
It’s not always easy or comfortable. Living a balanced, healthy life comes with challenges. What challenges have you experienced on the road to a holistic life? Let’s talk about it. I’d like to answer your questions in the comments section on Facebook. If you’re in the Naples area, I’d love to meet you. Stop by my office behind the YMCA at Pine Ridge Road and Airport-Pulling Road. If you haven’t joined our Fundamental Facebook Family, come on over and join the discussion.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas