Watching television today, it’s no wonder so many of us are sick. We’re literally bombarded by advertising for all sorts of different things that sabotage our health. From fast food, to mi…
Source: Are You Paying Attention?
Watching television today, it’s no wonder so many of us are sick. We’re literally bombarded by advertising for all sorts of different things that sabotage our health. From fast food, to mi…
Source: Are You Paying Attention?
Watching television today, it’s no wonder so many of us are sick. We’re literally bombarded by advertising for all sorts of different things that sabotage our health. From fast food, to microwaveable meals, to prescription drug ads, and none of them are making us any healthier. Have you been paying attention?
Let’s face it, we’re a nation of consumers driven by advertising. The next time you’re watching your favorite show, count the number of commercials that showcase products which either specifically sabotage our health or promise better health with an alarming potential for side effects. Have you ever marveled at the prescription drug ads that spend a few seconds (if at all) telling you about what the medication is for but then spend the bulk of the rest of add telling you about all the harmful effects of taking their product? Sure, it may cure your hiccups, but when your teeth fall out it suddenly doesn’t sound like a miracle after all.
Just open your eyes. First, there’s the commercial for frozen pizzas and fast food just before the ads for the bag of chips and soda come on. Then there’s the alcohol commercials. You know, the ones that make drinking hard liquor somehow glamorous and convinces you you’re a loser if you’re at a party and don’t have a beer in your hand. I mean, who doesn’t want to be glamorous or sophisticated? After all, I always drink my bourbon in a tuxedo with my tie undone…every night (kidding). But wait, there’s more.
Next are the prescription drug adds…the advertising for chemicals to address the symptoms that came about from shoveling all that garbage into your mouth. High blood pressure? Here’s a pill. Diabetes? Here’s a pill. Can’t poop? Here’s a pill. Why take care of yourself? Here’s a pill. The problem is that the cause of all these problems is never really addressed.
Then, there are the insurance companies. A product you’ll definitely need because your health has become a flaming dumpster fire that you keep fueling with bad habits and the treatment you need has become so expensive, you can’t afford to pay for it on you own. I mean, who can afford to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars for preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer out of their own pocket? But it’s really no problem because next, there are the attorneys and they’re itching to sue pretty much anybody, especially the medical companies, because they hurt you. It’s a nuthouse in a nutshell and so the cycle continues.
So, here’s the translation. First, you’re bombarded by ads for stuff that poisons you and makes you fat. Those are followed by the drug companies trying to sell health in a bottle that turns out only to be empty promises of symptom control with a potential for side effects, so you need better insurance to pay for it. Next, the attorneys are ready to sue just about anybody to get you some money so you can continue to eat more crap and drown your healthcare sorrows in a vodka and tonic. Still paying attention?
You see, you may have no idea how much of your heath is controlled by the quest for profit. Here’s a good example. I would define someone who’s healthy as a person who does not depend on prescription medication or regular medical intervention. In other words, drugs don’t make you healthy and a healthy person doesn’t need drugs. A healthy person is pain free, can manage stress, sleeps well at night, and experiences general well-being. Have you ever wondered how many of the patients that take prescription medications actually become healthier as a result? Unfortunately, the answer is almost zero. Remember, symptom control is not the same as health. Just because you’re taking a medication that keeps you blood tests within a certain range doesn’t mean you’re healthy at all. The fact that your symptoms need to be chemically altered to prevent you from dying, by definition, means that you are ill. So, chew on this: Do you really think that the pharmaceutical companies have any vested interest in getting you well? They wouldn’t want lose a good customer after all. How much of their money is spent on advertising versus research after all?
The point is to open your eyes and become an active participant in your health. Rather than being a sheep, the victim of the next ad or fad, do your own research. Turn off the boob-tube, the advertising that brainwashes you into a product you really don’t need or want, and start thinking for yourself. All the tools are there, after all, and most people already know what it takes to become and stay healthy. They just don’t do it. But, breaking out of the endless cycle of advertising and gimmicks may be a potent first step to better health. Be well.
A common question I frequently ask my patients is: Are the people you’re trusting with your healthcare decisions really a ‘healthcare’ provider? Seems like a pretty simple question, right? The problem is that we’re living in a day and age where the lines between ‘healthcare’ and ‘disease management’ are terribly blurred.
For example, on my case history form, I have a section that asks:
What medications(s) are you currently taking?
Then, it asks about their vitamins and is followed by a question that asks:
How would you describe your overall health? Excellent Good Fair Poor
I’ve been in practice for nearly two decades and it still surprises me to see patients who may take a half dozen or more medications (and no vitamins btw) but describe their health as “Excellent.” Why? Because the commercials on TV tell them that if they want to be healthy, they have to take this or that medication. Because the people that they trust tell them that if they don’t take the medication, they won’t stay healthy. The problem with both scenarios is that medications are not vitamins. Whether helping to marginalize your symptoms or not, they’re still toxic and have side effects. Further, I propose that if you are taking medications, prescription or otherwise, to manage a chronic illness, you’re definitely not in “Excellent” health. A healthy person doesn’t need medication.
Nowadays, advertising has sold you on the notion that medicine is health. It’s not. Medicine is disease management and disease management is not the same thing as healthcare. Now, I’ll be clear. Modern medicine is a marvel of crisis care and intervention saving countless lives every year. But you have to understand that it really stinks for chronic illness. That’s why so many chronic illnesses are on the rise like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, despite miraculous advances in medicine and technology. The interventions we turn to in these illnesses just aren’t helping us to become healthier.
So, how do you know the difference between the two? Here are a few clues:
You develop some sort of symptom and go to your doctor. Your doctor performs all the tests, as appropriate, to determine the nature of your issue. If he/she then:
If all you’re getting from your doctor is a pill or procedure and you’re trying to get your health back, I hate to break it to you: you’re in the wrong office. If, however, your provider is spending time with you to council you on better nutrition, help you with exercising better, and work with you to better your lifestyle, then you’re on the right track and in the right place. Think about it. Almost all of us have a disease management provider, but how many of us have a healthcare provider? If you can find a good one, you may even surprise yourself at how healthy you can become.
After nearly two decades in practice, you start to notice some common themes and, among them, certain questions that are shared by large portions of the population. One, in particular, is a broad sweeping question that I’m asked quite a lot: What do I need to do to stay healthy?
Sounds simple right? Well maybe not so much. We live in the Information Age with nearly limitless amounts of good and bad advice from nearly limitless sources. One person will stay do this and you’ll be healthy but then another article will completely contradict it. And it’s not just relegated to opinions on health. There are even plentiful examples of research that contradicts other research, studies that are completely contradictory. So, who’s right?
A person could spend an entire lifetime trying to sort through all the good, bad, and misleading information out there and still be confused. Consequently, I try to keep health easy to understand for my patients and this is what I ask them: How did our ancestors live?
I mean, think about it. Were we really designed to sit at a computer all day, munching on processed bags of food? Were we built to endure near constant stress in an artificial environment? If you really consider today’s lifestyle, it’s no wonder chronic illness is on the rise. We don’t exercise like we should, we eat a lot of garbage, our stress is ridiculous, we’re too busy, and we’re literally bathed in toxins every day.
Now, every day patients will ask me, do I do this or that? Do I eat this or that? Is this good for me? Is that bad for me? And, so on. My response will generally be, what would a caveman do? After all, that’s what we are. We’re hunter gatherers, designed to roam the land hunting for food, water and shelter. We’re designed to get 12-16 hours of exercise every day. We’re built to eat real whole foods. We’re meant to live free of the human zoo we’ve created for ourselves.
Look at tribal cultures around the world. Do they suffer from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity like we do in more developed countries? No way! Granted, in many of those places, infectious disease and traumatic death is much higher, but if you’re lucky enough to make it to old age, you’ll live a fuller healthier life. Accordingly, how can we, as members of a highly developed country without the threat of environmentally caused death, ignore the huge potential we have for a longer, healthier, more satisfying life? Why do so many take our health for granted and just accept illness as the inevitability of aging? The answer is simple. We’ve set up too many barriers between us and our genetically programmed, natural lifestyle requirements and our herd mentality falls for the lie that illness is normal.
Here’s a news flash. Your body’s not designed to be sick. It’s designed to be healthy. In fact, it fights with every molecule of your being to be healthy and resist disease…if you’ll help it along. Go out and get some fresh air. Stop eating your food out of a bag. Break away from your desk and get on your feet. Take on the world like the alpha predator you were destined to be, not the lapdog that chains your seat. Being healthy isn’t magical and becoming sick isn’t a mystery. If you make better choices, you get better results.
So, the next time you wonder about which choice about your health is best, ask yourself: What would a caveman do?
Like most people last year, you probably made resolutions. You started with the best of intentions, you wanted to be healthier, lose weight, be happier, but by March you had probably slipped back into your old habits. So what happened?
Like so many, you like became the victim of your routine, the rut that you’ve carved for yourself that you just can’t seem to climb out of. They say that there is comfort in a rut because the route is predictable and you can feel both sides. Albert Einstein, however, argues otherwise, noting “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So is this the year you are going to do something different? Are you going to break out of your rut into something new?
Frankly, cemeteries and hospitals are full of people who were “too busy” or “not interested” in changing. Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? Because of the inability to adapt. While you may live the illusion that your life is stationary, in fact it’s changing all the time. You are not the same person now that you were last year, last month, or even last week. The box that you’ve created for yourself is just an illusion of stability.
So, what’s holding you back? Why are you so afraid of change?
1. Time – Lack of time is an illusion. While many people may claim to not have enough time to modify their lifestyle, in reality it is more of an issue of not setting aside time to change the lifestyle that seems to control them. In other words, you must control your life, not the other way around. While, at times, it may seem that you life is always out of control, this too is an illusion. Ultimately, your lifestyle is determined by the decisions you make and your priorities. For example, many patients in our office claim they are too busy to exercise or don’t have time to get adjusted. The truth of the matter is, however, these things are just not a priority. Going to happy hour with their friends or watching their favorite show or having time to relax is just more important. Does that make it wrong? No! It just means that exercise and health are not a priority.
You have the same amount of time as everyone else. Why is it, then, that it seems like other people are so productive or can get so much done in a day. The answer is time management and priorities. Maybe, for them, exercise is more important. Or, maybe they have become more adept at managing their time. Either way, they are in full control of their time and its effects. Be it for better or worse, so are you.
2. Money – One of the biggest misunderstandings about health is that being healthy is expensive. Sure, having a personal trainer and buying all organic foods can have quite a price tag, but you might be surprised at how inexpensive health is. You don’t need a trainer or fancy gym membership. You don’t have to eat unusual foods that you can’t pronounce, but you do have to eat food.
Back in the day, there were no gyms or gym membership. People got their exercise by living life. Admittedly nowadays, people are more sedentary than ever. With more service professions, televisions, computers, and telephones, we are becoming more inactive with each year.
The good news is that the outdoors are still there. You can still go for walks or ride a bike. Can’t afford weights? Make a “poor-man’s weight set” out of some old milk cartons (a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds). Or, use cans of food. Gravity is also a form of resistance. Calisthenics, such as jumping jacks and push ups rely on gravity as a resistive force. Both are also free.
If you’re trying to eat healthier, fruits and vegetables are a lot cheaper than processed versions of the same and are definitely better than the frozen preserved foods on grocery store shelves. Now, certified organic foods will cost more than other foods in the supermarket, but there are many inexpensive natural ways that you can research online to remove many of the chemicals used to treat our food.
When it comes down to it in the end, being healthy is a lot cheaper than being sick.
3. Ability – I’ve heard every excuse in the book about why a person can’t make the lifestyle changes necessary to change their life. Having worked with thousands of patients over the years, one truth consistently proves itself over and over again. The only person standing in your way is you.
So many people suffer from pain or some form of disability that they feel prevents them from exercising. In all my years working with the public, I don’t think I’ve ever run across a patient that can’t exercise and I’ve never seen a person that can’t make better choices. You need to get control if yourself. You need to take charge of the decisions that you make or live with the consequences of the your bad decisions.
Can’t exercise? Baloney! You just need to find an exercise that you can do. If you can’t run,walk. If you can’t walk, bike. If you can’t bike find a pool, or do seated exercises, or even exercises in bed. You have to move. It’s what your body is built to do.
4. Drive – I can honestly say that you are probably no different than everyone else. Most people don’t like to exercise. There’s a reason that only about 25% of people have a regular exercise regimen. There is also a reason that only about 2% of people are actually consistent with their exercise routine. You are not alone. That being said, there is a significant statistical difference in health between people who exercise and eat well versus those who don’t. Simply put, people who exercise and make better choices tend to live longer and better.
You control your destiny and illness is not an accident. The choices you make now good or bad will have a significant impact on your health later in life. In this era of instant gratification, it’s sometimes difficult to see the end of the game while you are still playing, but you have to think of health as an investment. Small deposits now can yield a much larger return later. While your friends are falling to illness and infirmity, you are still chugging right along because you chose, even though you hated every minute of it, to make an investment in your health. Is that enough drive for you?
5. Fear – What have you got to lose? Weight, inches, risk for disease? Or, are you more concerned about time, money, and change? Many people are so afraid of losing their quality of life now that they give no thought to the quality of life they will lose later unless they change now. Is fear of change holding you back? They say that the one constant in the universe is change. Every day you are getting older. Every day you have new stresses, new challenges, new opportunities. How can you hope to stay healthy in a changing world if you are too afraid to adapt.
Are you afraid of failing? Thomas Edison once said about inventing the light bulb, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Life is about failure. Growth comes from failure. You learn from failure and can look at it as either in the way or on the way. The choice is yours. How much potential for growth and change is your fear costing you? Great things come from great changes. You just need to find it within yourself to make the changes necessary, even if you may not like them or they may make you uncomfortable. I would think that the greatest fear would be knowing that you can become healthier but not doing enough to realize the possibility.
Get out of your own way. Ultimately, health is a choice. First, you have to decide to be healthy. Then you have to formulate a plan. As they say, no plan is a plan to fail. You can’t build a house or win a war without a plan. You need a plan. So, here are some recommendations to help you realize health success:
1. Begin with the end in mind – You need a goal or goals. Be realistic with them. Rome wasn’t built in a day and losing 10lbs. a week just isn’t realist or even healthy. The more realistic your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them, which fuels additional drive for success.
2. Create a plan – Your plan should include your goals and a step by step approach to achieve them.
3. Do your own research – You’d be surprised how many of people you may trust with your health and health decisions may not be giving you health advice but, rather, disease management advice. You may also be surprised that some of the “health” advice you are getting may actually be unhealthy and just downright wrong.
4. Don’t be afraid to try new things – Often, you’ll find a solution in the least likely of places.
5. Find an exercise that you love – The number one person to sabotage your exercise is you and the most successful exercise you will ever do is the one you will actually do consistently. Working out should not be a punishment. It should be fun. If you resent working out, you have not found the right workout for you. It’s out there. Keep looking until you find it.
6. Don’t make too many changes to fast – Improving your health is about lifestyle change. That being said, too much rapid change becomes a punishment, and no one likes to be punished. Make smaller changes over time. Begin by adding things (reward) rather than taking things away (punishment).
7. Don’t feel like you have to live in a bubble (punishment) – Even a dietician cheats from time to time. Even a personal trainer skips a few days working out. The difference between a healthy person and an unhealthy person is about consistency. Are you consistently eating cake or carrots? Are you consistently exercising regularly or have you taken the past few months off? You can still enjoy life. Just be more moderate with your indulgences.
8. Be consistent – Consistency breeds results. So-so habits, so-so results. Excellent habits, excellent results. Don’t ever give up. Being healthy is a journey, not a destination, that requires time, consistent work, and patience.
You can be healthy this year, if you put yourself to it. If you require additional assistance in being well, do your research and find a health partner you trust to guide you back on to the road to health. The path to wellness changes very little. You just have to decide to get back on the path. Be well.
When you’ve worked with thousands of patients over the years you learn a few things. Of course you learn to care for people and you learn what people expect from their care. You learn to satisfy expectations and figure out how to address even complicated cases. Unfortunately, you also learn the low opinions other healthcare professions have for chiropractic adjusting and I’ve been accused many times of not being a “real doctor.”
Well if not being a “real doctor” means helping my patients through their pain, improving their function, stabilizing their condition, and improving their health, then I’m guilty as charged. I’d rather not be a “real doctor” if the only solution I could offer my patients was a pill. In our office, a large number of our patient’s health actually improves. They sleep better, have more energy, don’t get sick like their friends, and their pain starts to go away, all without the addition of chemical pills or potions. They heal themselves.
Now, when a patient enters our office they have several choices. They can rely on my experience to improve their health and generally get the results they are looking for. They can write their own plan and allow their own excuses and preconceived notions to limit their improvement. Or, they can reject chiropractic care altogether and just live with the symptoms and diseases for which they are suffering as if they are inevitable permanent. After all, it’s normal for your age, right? My experience has shown me that the level of improvement that a patient experiences is directly proportional to their ability to trust in my 16 years of experience and let go of the misconceptions and outright incorrect information that has been programmed into their brains.
So, what have I learned? Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:
1. Health is normal. Disease is abnormal. Health is health and disease is disease. Healthcare, therefore improves health. Disease management does exactly that: it manages the symptoms of a disease. Disease management does not restore health and disease management is not healthcare.
2. Your body can heal itself. Period.
3. Chiropractic care is not medical care and does not follow a medical treatment model. Don’t expect medical care in a chiropractic office.
4. The nervous system is the circuitry for the body. It controls every cell, tissue, and organ either directly or indirectly.
5. It is impossible to be truly healthy with a corrupted nervous system.
6. There are three types of stress – Traumas, Toxins, and thoughts.
7. Stress contributes to subluxations (misalignments) in the spine. These misalignments of the spine can decrease nerve function and lead to disease.
8. There is no magic bullet. Most people develop symptoms of their disease, from back pain to high blood pressure, over a series of time. There is no such thing as an instant cure.
9. Healing takes time. You have to allow the innate healing processes inside your body to health the defective tissue.
10. Health does not come from a bottle. Medication does not make you healthy. It only suppresses your symptoms. Health comes from healthy choices over time.
11. Consistency Breeds results. Becoming healthy and staying that way is about mastering habits. Habits become behaviors and behaviors improve health.
12. Your ability to heal depends on several factors:
a. Your particular problem
b. Your age and general health
c. Your habits, good or bad
d. Your attitude
e. Your stress level
13. There are six fundamental requirements to stay healthy:
a. Adequate exercise (30 minutes, 3 times a week is NOT adequate)
b. Proper Diet (Nowadays supplementing with vitamins is critical)
c. Stress management
d. Proper sleep habits
e. Avoiding toxic exposure (Toxins are EVERYWHERE)
f. Maintain the health of your spine
14. Most people don’t do any of the six fundamentals. Then, they are surprised when they get sick.
15. You need to trust in your body’s ability to heal. Your body can heal itself from even massive assault. Almost every acute or chronic injury has an example of a miraculous recovery, especially when adequate lifestyle changes are employed.
16. The number one thing that sabotages a person’s ability to heal is the person.
17. Number two is following bad advice from other people who don’t know.
18. Number three is doubt.
19. You have more power than you know.
20. The decision to be healthy or sick is yours.
It’s time for you to become an active participant in your own recovery. You have a nearly limitless ability to heal if you’re willing to change your habits and open your mind. But, who am I to say. I’m just a chiropractor after all. What do I know?