Spend. Eat. Watch. Click. Play. Try.

We are consumers in a world that drains our resources

The messages are everywhere…most of them maybe not as blatant as the insert photo, but they are constant and omnipresent nonetheless.

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Our culture is one that loves progress, adores consumption, and abhors frugality.

To intentionally plan on spending less, or to suggest an un-planned moment is foreign to the modern mentality.  Every moment is double-booked, most every transaction is married to multiple distractions, and many of our commitments are competing with expected failures to guarantee a profit.  The buffet expects you to binge, but knows that you’ll fill up on the cheap carbs.  The airlines know there are more butts in line at the security gate than seats on the plane, but they expect your connecting flights to fail and there’s also a good chance you won’t make it there on time, so they oversell all the time!

A fast food “meal” is a combination of often three menu items that has enough calories to supply over an entire days’ demand for energy.  They up-sell you to a bigger bag of vittles, because they want to train you to buy more…because they sell fried pies too.  They aren’t evil per-se…they just don’t care if you get fat and die, because there’s someone else in line behind you.

You feel pressed to stay connected all weekend long, and reply to your boss’s texts, emails, and calls when you’re nearly anywhere except the shower.  Stress is no longer something that saves your life from a sudden threat…it’s that constant sound resonating, while you drive the vehicle of your life with the parking brake slightly pinching the calipers.  All day and all night.  Your colleagues and managers are all stressed out, maxed out, and worn out too.  They are (secretly) just as sacred they’ll fail as you are, so they won’t dare suggest you take a break.  They know you need a day off, but 99% of them won’t tell you.

Here’s a prediction: you probably need some silence…and solitude…and slow-ness…

Take a moment for yourself.  Unplug occasionally.  Take a walk.

Breathe. Rest.

Sleep.

.

..

…..

I know.  I know.

I know!

Your dragons will be there when you wake up, so  I do not mean to imply they won’t.  You’ll still weigh x pounds, and your mountain of overdue bills will still be there.  Your cholesterol levels will still be high.  Your inbox will be full.  There’s really only one thing that will change, and it’s you.

You’ll be (slightly) better able to face those giants, and eventually if you continue to take a break occasionally — you’ll win.  Eventually!

Here’s a great book to fully indoctrinate you in this mentality, if a short blog post hasn’t convinced you: When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family

Wash Your Hands!

This topic remains high on the food safety radar and won’t ever go away…hand washing and cross-contamination are paramount.  It’s a simple task that supports the preventative approach and it’s still the main reason we get sick, and make others sick to this day.

The founder of hand cleaning was committed to a mental institution…it’s such a sad end to the story of such a revolutionary visionary.  I shared a previous post about the essential role of hand washing, entitled Invisible Cadaver Parts and NPR just shared some more details about the discovery of hand washing and sanitizing.  It’s worth a few minutes of your time…please listen and wash your hands often.

New Year. New You?

The cold hard reality is that we become what we are…and that we are what we work at; over time.  If you ever want to change, you have to start and a New Year’s Resolution probably isn’t the best way.  It might be the best time…especially if you want to look back and recall your progress incrementally.  That’s the most powerful type of change anyway; ongoing, sustained, and incremental improvement.

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If you want to change and transform, and you don’t have a crisis-level event driving you toward drastic significant changes, then you are likely better-off making significant change by a few degrees at a time.

The danger of moderation is found in the lesson of the frog and the hot water; as you slowly increase the water’s temperature, the frog acclimates and doesn’t realize that he needs to jump to freedom. When the final moment comes, he’s cooked before he jumps.  This is a bad example if you are the frog…but a good lesson if the water represents those changes you intend to implement for permanent improvement.

It’s generally healthier to lose a pound a week, rather than to follow a binge diet fad that “melts pounds away overnight.”  As you contemplate changes for a New Year’s Resolution, a simple commitment to track your diet may make a difference.  try an App like this one and learn more about your diet, get tips on balancing macronutrients, and set some personal goals for your daily intake of food.

In a few weeks you’ll probably be happy that you did!

Disclaimers

A Misunderstood and Similar Theme in Holistic Healthcare

Every bottle of supplements and piece of exercise equipment you find, probably has a similar disclaimer: “This product is not reviewed by the FDA, and does not substitute for advice from a medical professional.”

Word Cloud with Terms and Conditions related tags

When I was following the western allopathic model, and seeing my doctor for everything that inconvenienced me from allergies to aches and pains, I always thought the purpose for those disclaimers on vitamins was simply to deny responsibility.  That’s only partially true.

There are two completely different processes at work here:

The first is a control method (allopathy) that seeks to kill offending invaders (germs) while masking offensive responses (symptoms) so the person taking the treatments can quickly see the results without enduring a complex process of change, and without too much inconvenience. In a word, the patient is better when s/he is compliant.

The second is a supportive method (naturopathy) that seeks to feed the body so the body can destroy the invading forces, while keeping symptom data coming as a feedback loop, so the person who undergoes the process remains central to the therapy and fully in control because they’re responsible for changing their body’s internal terrain so the body can manage the healthcare itself. Here the person is never considered a patient, but rather the major stakeholder, responsible party, and owner of the healthcare.

Aside from denying responsibility, the disclaimers are true:

Supplements are NOT medical products, and cannot substitute for a licensed physician, in any shape/form/fashion.  These are very different paths.  You won’t find the results you want if you don’t understand the ownership model and learn how to align with your body’s needs from an outside-in holistic approach.  Once you change the terrain, the germ truly is nothing.

Aggressive Observation

The 'Do Nothing' approach goes mainstream!

The cover story of the 12th October 2015 issue of Time bravely asks, “What if I decide to just do nothing?”

Woman undergoing mammography scan assisted by male doctor.

There are some interesting sentiments in the article, that fully align with the values of our DrDIY philosophy of better understanding your health, and owning the outcome of the very personal decisions of health care.  A DrDIY approach stands opposed to treatment uniformity, because of a belief that individuals deserve individualized and customized health care, which should be completely understood, internalized, owned, and embraced by a responsible person.  Similar beliefs are echoed in O’Connor’s journalism:

Thanks to advances in genomic testing and deeper insights into the biology of different kinds of breast cancer, doctors are learning that the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t working. They’re also learning that every woman brings with her a unique profile of biological risk—as well as a unique appetite for risk. That means that while some women require urgent and aggressive treatment, there are many who can slow down and take a more sparing approach.  ~Time, Why Doctors Are Rethinking Breast-Cancer Treatment, by 

The fact that we continue to improve diagnostic technologies while cancer treatment results remain unimproved, was another subject that this article exposed.  Some doctors are advising patients to wait and watch vigilantly, rather than coming under the knife.

Early detection does not save lives, and it never has…despite the oft-manipulated statistics, and this article does (though stopping short of declaring modernity in medicine a total failure) iterate the fact that breast cancer mortality has remained a flat 3% annually for the last fifteen years. We’ve written about taking a slower response that includes studying your options rather than instantly agreeing to chemo or surgery is a prudent way to proceed, and similarly some doctors appear to agree:

Evidence is mounting that aggressive treatments, designed in earnest to save women’s lives, can have unforeseen and sometimes devastating consequences.

Call it collateral damage. It’s the multiple follow-up surgeries after a mastectomy and the subsequent infections; the radiation that doesn’t always improve survival and the cancer risk that can come with too much of it; the sometimes unnecessary chemotherapy and its life-sapping side effects. For some in the field, that collateral damage is getting harder and harder to justify.  ~Time,Why Doctors Are Rethinking Breast-Cancer Treatment,  by 

The fact that modern cancer treatment is toxic, has finally gotten some press and we need to hear more about this in the future.  Killing the patient with the cure is bad medicine that violates the principle of “First Do No Harm.”  If you, or someone you love discovers they have cancer there are more choices than ever and some doctors (thankfully) are willing to explore them with you, regardless of how long it takes to review and evaluate them.  

Why Would Anyone AVOID Medication?

I touched on this question previously, and wanted to add some details to the query, “Why would anyone want to decline medicine?”

Choice and decisions road signs as yellow warning highway signage with two arrows going in opposite direction as a dilemma icon on a dark cloudy storm background sky.

The NY Times published a poor review of ‘Bad Faith,’ Dr. Paul A. Offit’s book on religion and modern medicine. I have not read the book, but the review indicates that Offit touches on the anti-medicine approach, including the anti-vaccination crowd, Christian Scientists, proponents of faith healing, and even some ultra-Orthodox Jewish practices. I won’t deny that it’s great to read that someone who published a book debunking the avoidance of the modern method, failed to present a solid case.  I think there are plenty of reasons to just say no.

Since a blog is a much longer conversation, perhaps this venue can add some detail and bring flavor outside the most prominent advocates of choice – where choice means declining a particular form of allopathic care.

First, the dramatic headlines:

Christian Science has drawn the ire of the media following the tragic loss of John Travolta’s son and the attention garnered by Tom Cruise’s opinionated rants against psychotherapy related to Brooke Shield’s postpartum depression. Their religion has its’ own health practitioners and they lean toward nutrition and detoxification. While these interventions are clearly holistic, they also include practices that veer into areas understood only by the faithful which I am neither privy to, nor will I attempt to describe or deride here.

The Watchtower – Jehovah’s Witnesses, are another religious group who adamantly oppose medical interventions including surgeries and blood transfusions. Prince (the pop-singer) made headlines when he opted not to have hip replacement surgery, for what he described as religious reasons. Again, this choice is his to make not mine, it’s personal and therefore none of my business – just like his decision to follow a vegan diet.

Next, the intimate details:

Celebrities attract attention, including Jenny McCarthy’s rants against vaccination, yet there are plenty of anonymous typical citizens who promote freedom. Freedom of choice proponents include Libertarians and numerous holistic health devotees. Do not make the mistake of assuming that all of these choices are based on anti-intellectualism or conspiracy theories. Freedom of choice is central to personal health care. Deleting the “personal” portion would make health care a dictatorship where sickness made us automatons who lose all of our rights to the medical hive mind.

Many of these abstinence choices are already commonplace, in professions like dentistry where patients frequently opt for ceramic fillings based on the belief that amalgam dental materials are unhealthy. Another common reason for avoiding medication is addiction – recovered addicts may choose to endure dental procedures or even outpatient surgeries without painkillers because of their personal relapse concerns. Natural childbirth is another shining example of avoidance. Others choosing an non-Western medical approach might include the patients of Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda; both systems which have thousands of years head start on the West.

I choose to skip plenty of medical options, because I just don’t need to chemically control everything in my body. It’s a counter-cultural decision that puts my body in control of its’ own health program, and its’ a concept as old as nature.  – DrDIY

Maybe someone just wants to let nature take its’ course. Perhaps they read the labels – personally, I refused to take gout medications back in 2004 because of fears related to interactions with the other $5,000 worth of medications I was taking each month. Today’s prescription expense of $0, really helps me feel like I won that battle with the drug store but it didn’t happen because of compliance to the “norm.” My own resurrection came in response to a comprehensive nutritional reform…and these days, I choose to skip plenty of medical options, because I just don’t need to chemically control everything in my body. It’s a counter-cultural decision that puts my body in control of its’ own health program, and its’ a concept as old as nature.

Most of the time, the people who decline a particular allopathic treatment, actually do so because of an alternative plan.  It’s really not fair to the person fighting a given issue to put all of the cards in the hands of one type of treatment without allowing the victim to participate in the decision with final authority.  We know that chemotherapy kills people, and we know that drug reactions kill people, so there’s always a risk.  Choosing to not take those risks might be a risk too, but whenever we’re talking about free people, the risk is owned by the individual – not a doctor, not the government, and certainly not public opinion.

Nurture Your Nature

The eternal argument of nature vs nurture (genes vs germs) isn’t very helpful, once your health has failed and you’re facing a crisis.

Young businessman in anger fighting with green tree

Overcoming an issue of lost health through a holistic approach taking matters into your own hands and becoming your own DrDIY, will often include holistic changes that gently correct the body’s weaknesses by improving the entire environment.  A gradual return to balance and homeostasis occurs because the body slowly heals itself under conditions that favor health.  It’s always deeply personal and it’s often going to lure criticism from those who are closest to you.  Those negatives have to be offset by your determination to own your personal decisions and improve your health, so you can find a way to defy the gravity of everything tending toward disorder.

Defying decay requires energy, and personal health is fueled by nutrition.  Regardless of the situations at hand (nurture) and regardless of your tendency genetically (nature) , a planned environmental support program can provide lifesaving changes.  Nurturing your natural environment will provide continuous and stable support for your body that leads you toward ever improving health. In simple terms, you feed the body while starving everything that can lead to anything except perfect health.

Your body is doing all the work in this model.  It’s not the food, not the supplements, not the exercise, not the sauna, and certainly not the traditional naturopath whom you may have consulted for information along your journey of recovery.