Sunday, October 31, 2010

DAY 27 – Face Your Food: It Will Change Your Life

I’ve been talking with patients about the joys and the dangers of food for about 24 years, since I first saw the light.

My family, guided by my Mom, ate “healthy” food. We ate whole wheat bread, brown sugar, and only had boxed, sugar-coated, commercial cereals for dessert or for a special occasion. We ate cauliflower, asparagus, and eggplant.

Even with “healthy” food, I still had health problems from childhood through age 35. I consistently needed 10-12 hours of sleep, but awoke tired each day. My skin was dry and rough. Serious low back problems began by age 10, and resulted in severe damage to discs and bone in my low back, as shown on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). By 15 I developed large tear marks (inform yourself at http://turning60consciously.blogspot.com/search/label/stretch%20mark) on the skin in my groin and arm pits. An ulcer was diagnosed by age 16 and I lived on antacids for the next 24 years. At 20 my first complete rupture and surgical repair of one of my Achilles tendons occurred.

While I was young, and falling apart, it never crossed my mind that food could be a cause of my ills, because what I ate was “healthy”. Not one of the dozen or more medical doctors that saw me for my many illnesses and injuries, ever suggested nor even hinted at the possibility that food could be playing a role in my ill health.

By age 35, still taking antacids daily, I began to recognize that when I ate certain foods, I would feel worse the next day; gut pain, intestinal gas, tiredness, and generally achy. Not one to quickly move to stop eating foods that I liked, and that were a part of our family routine, I continued the experiment and time and again found that I felt worse after eating certain foods.

Finally one day, sick and tired of being sick and tired, I told my wife that I was going to temporarily stop eating dairy products, and stop eating foods that were made by others and that might contain ingredients that would harm me. I told her that I would not be eating in restaurants nor simply politely eating what I might be served at a friend’s house. There was a brief pause, and then she said “You are ruining my life!”

I share with you what my wife said to give clarity to how upsetting making dietary change can be. It was no more than minutes, or maybe an hour until she told me that she did not mean what she had said and that she would happily work with me to make sure that I could feel well.

Finally, it dawned on me that there is no such thing as a “healthy” food. Peanuts can be a “healthy” food for some people. It is clear that for others they can be deadly. Though not usually to the point of being lethal, dairy products, wheat, eggs, corn, and soy are examples of common foods that can cause illness, often serious, in many individuals.

Before long, I understood that what is most important is not whether a food is generally “healthy”, but whether it is “healthy” for an individual.

As a part of my dietary change in 1986, I stopped eating all dairy products. I started feeling better generally, and my gut felt better. I also felt a bit foolish. Why during all those years of gut pain and antacids, did I not consider that possibly my gut was being affected by what I was putting into it? And, why did not one medical doctor suggest it during the 19 years that I had been unwell?

I stopped all dairy in 1986, and have been off it ever since. It has clearly been one of the most profound factors in regaining and maintaining my health.

Not only did my gut and my general wellbeing improve, but my severe low back pain went away too. Remind me to tell you the rest of the story.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

DAY 26 – New Day…Old Story about Drugs Without Conversation

First, let me give you a little background.  I practice a combination of Chiropractic and Functional Medicine. Chiropractic has historically been a practice of “natural” healing, with a strong interest in treating the causes of disease, rather than the symptoms. Functional medicine is personalized medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes, instead of symptoms, in the treatment of serious chronic disease.
(photo - Doctors Mac by owensoft)

The dominant mode of handling patients today in the US is to name their conditions (diagnosis) and then treat the conditions with drugs to stop the symptoms. It is uncommon for causes to be discussed with patients; and patients usually don’t ask.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that covering symptoms with drugs, and not addressing the lifestyle causes of ill health, are a recipe for disaster.

So, let me share with you a simple story from the office that carries, as the kids say, a “ginormous” lesson.

A 58 year-old returning patient reports that thanks to my encouragement, she had gotten her vitamin D level tested by her MD and learned that the level was still low. The MD had also run a single test for thyroid disease, which also showed a problem, and for which he had written a prescription. When I inquired, the patient shared that her neck pain from some months back had improved and that she was taking 1,200 mg per day of oxaprozin that her MD had prescribed to be used for 3 months.

And here is the rest of the story, and the short list of the dangers for the patient;
1)    while the patient’s test results showed low vitamin D, she received no counseling on her associated risk for cancers (including breast and colon), heart attack, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune disease, etc…, and she received no direction regarding how much vitamin D to take and when to retest,
2)    while the thyroid test has undoubtedly found a problem, no further testing was ordered to determine the type and cause of the hypothyroid condition,
3)    thyroid hormone replacement was prescribed with no discussion of the cause of the condition,
4)    given that 90% of hypothyroid conditions are caused by autoimmunity (the body attacking itself) it would have been wise to discuss why the body is attacking itself,
5)    additionally, the patient was not informed that of patients with autoimmune thyroid disease, 50-80% of them also have an autoimmune reaction destroying one or more other tissues of their bodies, such as joints-arthritis, pancreas-diabetes, etc….,
6)    the fact that low vitamin D is associated with autoimmune diseases was not mentioned,
7)    the patient was put on a drug for neck pain without discussion of the cause of her chronic degenerative arthritis; and no long-term functional care program was discussed,
8)    the patient was not advised that the drug, oxaprozin, an NSAID, is known to cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract in some individuals, thereby breaking down the barrier between the gut and the immune system, leading to increased inflammation, and potentially additional damage to the joints in this patient’s neck, remembering that pain in the neck is what the drug was being taken for to begin with,
9)    there was no conversation about the interesting probability that both the arthritis in the neck and the thyroid disease are  both autoimmune based, and that low vitamin D may be a factor in their progression.

All of us, doctors and patients, would be wise to think more and talk more about what causes our illness. We would not just be wiser to do so; we would be safer, and we would be setting a more functional example for our children.

Dr. Young

Friday, October 29, 2010

DAY 25 -I Come From a Divorced Family

For me, a very important part of writing this book, is the opportunity to tell the world things I believe are true, that have great importance, and that are largely unknown. So, here is one of those bits of wisdom.

Ever since I can remember, I have heard, and heard of, parents expressing their fear that their children had been, or would be damaged,... wounded by divorce. I have talked with divorced parents living with guilt, and apprehensively watching their children for the outward expression of the emotional scarring that had to have occurred when the family was severed. Many of those parents were certain that a child could not grow up whole and well-adjusted without both a mother and a father in the home.

I was eight when I found out that my parents were divorcing. I remember my Dad being angry at my Mom for choosing to leave. I don’t remember experiencing any worry or distress about separating from my Dad. I actually felt relieved.

My Dad tried to guilt me into living with him. It was so painful as an eight year-old trying to figure out how to answer him. I remember him asking me, but remember nothing of how I got out of it.

Through my teens, I never once wished that my parents were still together. On countless occasions, I felt nervous and uncomfortable as a result of my father’s ongoing anger toward my Mom and the divorce; my brothers and I were often caught in the middle of his feelings.

My comfort through the divorce and my youth, though I was not conscious of it at the time, came directly from feeling and knowing that my Mom adored us and would care for us no matter what.

I am not saying that some children aren’t harmed by divorce. I am saying that NOT ALL children are harmed; and I can’t be the only one.

If a culture like ours, talks and acts as though a child must be harmed by divorce, will that prophecy tend to be fulfilled? If it is common knowledge that a child with only one parent is not just disadvantaged, but incomplete, how might that affect a child’s view of himself?

There are many people in the world who have no one. Not just one parent; no one.

I would wish for every child, for every person in the world, one person, just one someone who cares about them deeply, who shares their joys and sorrows, and whom they know will stand by them to the end. That person could be a parent, but it could be a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a sister, a brother, or a dear friend; just let there be someone.

I hope someday we will not assume that divorce must wound all children.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DAY 24 –A Pre-Election Poem

In this poem titled “Finding My Way”, written in November of 2005, I was trying to sort out what to do with my ever-present tensions and fears about humans harming humans and humans harming our environment. I was looking for something other than anger or hopelessness, and something to calm my gut, slow my heart, deepen my breath, and tell my shoulders to relax and take a break.

*****
my blood boils
we NEED to change our direction
THEY don’t GET it
my blood boils with the heat of nowhere to go with my vision of the disaster we move towards

I could cool off, settle down, if there were breaks between disasters
but, it’s wave after wave

seeking refuge from the heat, this burning
I turn back to myself
asking myself
do YOU ... GET ... everything?
is YOUR vision for our safe and sustainable future crystal clear?
would the implementation of YOUR view manifest maximal comfort and joy for the people of this earth?

temperature dropping
recognizing that the heat of self-imagined visionaries is a flame that burns indiscriminately
improbable that “I” am omniscient
of course... I too have blindspots and blind-fields

the fire will never go out
for I will always feel for the safety of all
the fire will not go out
but instead of conflagration, my choice will be the gentle warmth of compassion for others and for myself

humanity lives and travels as a group
nourished by compassion,
we make our way awkwardly through time

*****
Five years have passed. It is now October of 2010, and I’m still on that journey, awkwardly but happily “Finding My Way”.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DAY 23 - Can You Crack Your Back?

Seems simple enough, but not only is there depth to this question, but understanding what’s behind it could save your health.

So, the question is, can you turn, arch, stretch, or extend your back and have it “crack”?

That “cracking” or popping is technically called cavitation, and occurs when joints are moved slightly beyond their normal range, creating a partial vacuum inside the joint. Collapsing gas bubbles in the joint vacuum create the “cracking” sound.

A large percentage of young people can “crack” their own backs. As people age, they tend to become stiffer, and they usually lose the ability to “crack” their backs. Given that young people are statistically healthier than older people, it could make one wonder if “crackability” is a sign of health, or associated with health. Turns out, it is.

Becoming stiff is not solely a result of aging. While there are many factors that influence flexibility, I have focused on four factors in my chiropractic practice to clearly and quickly demonstrate to patients that how they live, profoundly affects the mobility of their bodies. The four factors are: allergy to dairy products, magnesium, stretching, and spinal adjusting (also called manipulation).

One of the most common allergic effects of dairy products is the tightening of muscles and general stiffening of the body. By removing all dairy from the diet for 1-2 weeks, most people find that their muscles are more relaxed and their joints more supple.

Most Americans are deficient in the mineral, magnesium. One of many effects of magnesium in the human body is to allow muscles to fully relax. Supplemental magnesium (I use magnesium glycinate) usually results in muscular relaxation and greater joint mobility.

We all know that if we don’t use it, we lose it. But when it comes to using and keeping our flexibility through daily stretching, it’s just not happening in our culture. However, after thirty minutes a day of stretching for a few days most people find themselves more limber.

Spinal adjustments mobilize joints and clear neurologic patterns that maintain excessive muscle tightness and joint stiffness. Results are often instantaneous.

Each one of these four factors can independently increase flexibility and suppleness. In combinations or as a complete set they are even more powerful.

Since I began practice in 1983, many of my new patients between the ages of 30 and 70 have reported to me that in years gone by they could “crack” their backs, but they had gradually lost the ability to do so. A large number of these same patients, upon applying any one, or a combination of the four factors, regained the ability to “crack” their backs. This restored “crackability” is always accompanied by healthier and more relaxed muscle tone, and greater joint mobility.

Can you “crack” your back?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DAY 22 – My Brother

My relationship with my older brother, Kap, wasn’t always a happy one.

Who knows what all the challenges were. Our parents didn’t get along well from the get go, and divorced when we were eight and nine. Our dad drank a lot. After we were grown he acknowledged his alcoholism. Regardless, we were not the best of friends during our first 50 years. At times, we didn’t talk. At times, it was probably better that we didn’t.I don’t really know how we got back together. Conventional wisdom would have us estranged to the end. But, some magical mix of what each of us offers, reconnected us. Surely, there was some luck.
Today Kap took me to lunch for my 59th birthday. Over the last few years we have developed a simple ritual for my birthday. We meet at Plaza Park at Chestnut and Santa Clara, and Kap performs a simple version of the Japanese tea ceremony for me out of the sliding door of his work van. After savoring the moment, the meditation and the tea, we walk a block to Sushi Marina. More tea, sushi, lots of talk and lots of listening. The ritual ends with a bow, an unhurried hug, and a return to our afternoon responsibilities.

I am grateful for moments when feelings and thoughts blend inside of me as they did on April 19, 2007 when I wrote this poem for my brother.

Blood Brother

raised together
our paths
and our pain
diverged

as years passed
our paths would cross
we often slammed into
one another

in distant universes
we shared a dream
“do no harm”

again our paths cross
this time our arms
and hearts embrace

so good
to be home
with you again
my loving brother, Kap

Monday, October 25, 2010

DAY 21 – Every Child Needs a Chiropractor

Every child deserves, and needs evaluation and treatment from a knowledgeable doctor of chiropractic (DC).

For those of you who may react negatively, or with incredulity to the above statement, please read along and hear me out.

Proper function of the spine, and the muscles, nerves and connective tissues of which it is comprised, are critical to a child’s health and vitality. The most common spinal dysfunction that affects children is a gradual loss of motion and flexibility in the spinal joints. This loss can be a major factor in, or cause of back or neck pain. A knowledgeable DC is trained to diagnose this loss of mobility, often before pain occurs and before damage is detectable on an x-ray.

Back pain in children is very common. A 1994 Scandinavian study, by Trousler, showed that 51% of 1,174 school children had experienced back pain.

For most families in America, the two choices of practitioners to treat childhood spinal pain or spinal conditions are a DC and an MD (family practice or pediatrician). In my opinion, the best choice is a knowledgeable DC. DCs specialize in treatment of the spine, while neither family practice nor general pediatricians do. Additionally, MDs rarely address prevention of spinal problems, while prevention would always be a primary focus of a knowledgeable DC.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

DAY 20 – Breast Cancer & Vitamin D; can we afford to wait?

From renowned experts on Vitamin D, it is clear that Vitamin D deficiency is a world-wide epidemic. In an article published in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver report that nearly 75 percent of all Americans have low vitamin D levels.

There is enormous evidence that low levels of Vitamin D in the blood correlate with a greater risk of many cancers; including breast cancer.

The next 2 paragraphs are taken from the website of the Vitamin D Council (http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/cancerBreast.shtml). The Vitamin D Council is a group of concerned citizens and scientists who believe many humans are needlessly suffering and dying from Vitamin D Deficiency.

“Breast cancer is the most common malignancy of women in the western world. Many factors contribute to causing breast malignancy (it is multifactorial), though heredity is a major one. Certain diets help to prevent it, such as diets high in vegetables and fruit and low in fat. Adequate calcium is very important. The role of vitamin D in both the prevention and treatment of breast cancer is being intensively explored by scientists, and the results thus far have been promising.

No matter what cancer you have, or are trying to prevent, the question is: should cancer patients be left vitamin D deficient? The current research indicates the answer to this question is no, women with breast cancer should not allow themselves to be vitamin D deficient, and neither should their doctors.” –end Vitamin D Council-

I have been recommending testing of Vitamin D blood levels for my patients since 2004. The overwhelming majority of those I have tested, patients and family, have not had healthy levels of Vitamin D.

There is great interest in our Country in reducing the incidence of breast cancer; and rightly so. And it is time to realize that we can do walk-a-thons, and we can, and must, do more. We can make sure that every woman has her Vitamin D level tested. Women should be tested before being diagnosed with breast cancer, and should surely be tested after being diagnosed.

Who do you know that needs to be tested? Have you been tested?

Be clear; this is not just about breast cancer. Every American man, woman and child needs to have a Vitamin D blood test.

Dr. Young

Saturday, October 23, 2010

DAY 19 – I Can Help Your Kids Lose Weight (part 2)

OK, let’s get back to you and me helping your kids lose fat!

MY SIMPLE TRUTHS THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
1)    everybody has food allergies (or sensitivities), even if symptoms are not obvious,
2)    people are attracted to foods that they are allergic too – yes, the stuff your kid loves,
3)    eating food allergens can cause many people to gain fat,
4)    food allergy is often a critical factor blocking fat loss,
5)    dairy products are one of the most common food allergens in the American diet,
6)    wheat and other gluten containing grains can cause fat gain for many people,
7)    sugars and refined starches are a real problem,
8)    it would be helpful if your child can have a body composition analysis – better than weighing,
9)    there is a difference between giving up on your kid’s health, and being discouraged at times,
10)    when we give up on our kids, they often give up on themselves.

A great place to start is to take your child off of ALL (100%) dairy products for one week. Dairy can not only cause fat gain, but often causes tiredness, emotional lability, poor behavior, aggressiveness, stomach aches, constipation, intestinal gas, diarrhea, muscle pain, headache, ear infections, throat infections, colds, etc...

It works best when the ENTIRE family participates in the experiment. In most cases, the entire family feels better while off of dairy . At the end of the week, put your child back on the same amount of dairy that he/she was eating before. Most kids feel, look and behave worse on dairy.

If your child felt or appeared better while off dairy, the experiment needs to be repeated. Some children voluntarily choose to stay off of dairy once they find that they feel so much better. Repetition of the experiment creates clarity for both parent and child.

If dairy is found to be an allergen for a child, removal for even a month will often result in fat loss.

The dairy experiment is just a place to start. Dairy is the best food to use to teach individuals and families about food allergens and their role in fat gain and fat loss. If you find that you need help as you work to improve your child’s body composition, you may want to find a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner (chiropractor, naturopath, medical doctor, doctor of oriental medicine, etc) to guide you. BEWARE; it may be difficult to find such a practitioner.

For more information on the power of removing food allergens from the diet to improve fat loss, read UltraMetabolism by Mark Hyman, four-time New York Times bestselling author, family physician and international leader in the field of Functional Medicine. Find out more at: http://www.drhyman.com/

All children deserve our help.

Dr. Young :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

DAY 18 – I Can Help Your Kids Lose Weight (part 1)

It’s true; I can help your kids lose weight.

It is also true that YOU can help your kids lose weight when you know what to do, and when you are ready to make change to protect and improve their lives.

First, let’s be clear that your kids don’t need to lose weight. They need to lose fat. We are really talking about improving body composition; the balance or ratio of non-fat tissues (muscle, bone and organs) to stored fat. Some weight loss programs actually result in just that; a loss of weight, including both fat and muscle. We want to selectively lose fat, not muscle.

You, and everybody else in the country know that excessive fat is a strong predictor of serious, if not lethal, disease ahead for your children. I do not want to scare you.  I do want to catch your attention because both you and your children will suffer if we don’t do something about their body composition. Conversely, when we do improve your children’s body composition, we improve their health and stack the deck for happy and productive lives.

Let’s face it, most Americans have no idea what to do to lose fat themselves, and therefore are in no position to help their children. Additionally most Americans have lost touch with, or never had a grip on what a healthy body composition looks like. We have become so accustomed to seeing our fellow countrypeople with quite a bit of stored fat in and on their bodies, that we often sense that a slender person is unwell or near starvation. As a culture, we need to re-remember what healthy body composition looks like. And we need to consider the risks of explaining away our child’s excess fat by saying, “he is a big boy”. Big boys have more heart attacks.

In America we have taught ourselves that people with excessive fat can’t win. Scientific studies have shown that while most people who are over-weight (more accurately over-fat) may temporarily lose some fat, most all will ultimately regain that fat, and add more. The studies may well reflect what occurs in the life of an average person who is over-fat, but that is only part of the story. Keep in mind that when the lock won’t open, you may be using the wrong key, or the lock may require more than one key. We have not been using the appropriate keys for fat loss.  And lest you think that because we were able to put a man on the moon that we are using space-age technology to help people lose fat and achieve optimal body composition, think again!

Tomorrow I will give you some specifics so that you can get to work protecting your children and creating some calm in your own life knowing that they are safer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DAY 17 – 12 Hours on the Road to Democracy

You may have noticed that I did not post to my book/blog on October 20th. I didn’t even cop to it in my first post today. Here’s the story....

On Wednesday the 20th, Joanne and I got home from the office at about 7:00 PM. We put together some dinner and by 8:00 I felt exhausted. After having a talk with myself to pull me together, I spent the next 3 hours working on the signs for my personal democracy project for the next day (today).

In late October of 2008 I created two identical 4’x8’ signs on sheets of plywood and set them up on highway 33 near Casitas Springs and did my best for 13 hours to encourage motorists to vote for Barack Obama. It worked. :)

So yesterday, on Wednesday the 20th at 8:00 PM, having made some preliminary preparations earlier in the week, and having not done my book/blog writing for the day, I began to assemble two identical 4’x8’ signs on plywood that I would use the next day to try to influence the outcomes of some state and federal races in the upcoming November 2 election. I finished the signs and hit the sack, still no writing, at 11:00 PM, setting my alarm for 5:00 AM.

From 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM today I danced on the shoulder of highway 33, drawing attention to my signs and coaxing motorists to honk as a way of telling me that they were committed to voting on November 2. Long day; too much dancing for an old guy, and one can only do so many fist salutes before chronically injuring ones shoulder.

It was a great day, punctuated by innumerable drawn-out, rhythmic honks that clearly said, “you better believe I’m gonna vote!!!” I was only flipped off 3 times; a pittance compared to the 62 in 2008.

My day on the street does not qualify me as a great citizen, but I feel better for facing my fears, doing the planning, dragging my butt out of bed, and encouraging myself and others to be engaged in our democracy.

DAY 16 – Can Farting Cause Hearing Loss?

So, I’ll cut to the chase, while there is no scientific evidence that farting (flatulence) can directly cause hearing loss, there ARE known factors that can cause both farting and hearing loss; and I’m going to tell you about them. While farting is not usually a serious medical condition, and hearing loss won’t kill you, an underlying condition that can cause both, is a serious risk for all forms of chronic degenerative disease.

But first, it is important to know that our culture and most physicians believe that hearing loss is caused primarily by either exposure to loud noise or “getting old”. Loud noise can be a cause. “Getting old” is not. Everything wears out as we age, but have you ever noticed that some folks have hearing aids at age 40 and others die at 85 never needing them? Age is not a cause.

The serious underlying condition that I want you to know about is chronic inflammation of the digestive tract caused by eating foods one is either allergic to or intolerant of. Through a variety of mechanisms, these food irritants create an inflammatory state that can affect the digestive tract or the entire body.

When the digestive tract is inflamed, excessive intestinal gas is common. When the entire body is inflamed, it is possible for sensitive nerve endings in the ears to be damaged, resulting in hearing loss.

I would encourage you to go to YouTube and watch "Treatment of Hearing Loss" featuring Dr. Katz (EarNoseandThroatMD) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qior3h5xvWA . In this video Dr. Katz states that after determining that loud noise has not caused the hearing loss in a patient, the doctor must move on using a medical history and examinations to determine the cause. The first causal possibility that he suggests is inflammation, and he then suggests that steroids (anti-inflammatory) would be an effective treatment. Note also that he states that individuals with diabetes, and those with cardiovascular disease are at greater risk to develop hearing loss. Inflammation is an integral factor in the causation and progression of both these diseases. It therefore makes sense that the systemic (body-wide) inflammation associated with each of these serious diseases, could also damage nerves in the ears.

I want to be sure to leave you with two important points: 1) that it is possible for food allergies or intolerances to cause systemic inflammation that could cause hearing loss, and 2) farting may be caused by food allergies or intolerances, and may be linked to serious health conditions through the mechanism of inflammation.

Not so funny, eh?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DAY 15 – Smoking is Not Bad


smoking is not bad

it is a response to needs

it calms; it comforts

yes, it increases the risk of lung cancer

yes, there are other ways to create calm and comfort

yes, change can be made

                                           but, smoking is not bad

                                              you are not bad

                                              in fact, you are beautiful ...

                                                    ~ by Kristofer Young, DC – May 16, 2004 ~

 (photo by Conanil at Frickr Creative Commons)

Monday, October 18, 2010

DAY 14 – Looking for a Cure for Your Anxiety?

First off, more often than not, what is considered a “cure” is that which makes symptoms go away. In American culture, the “cure” infrequently comes with any understanding or information about the “cause”. That means we fix things without knowing what’s broken. A bit like magic. And it sells.

For those of you who are either apprehensive of, or frankly dislike the approach of covering symptoms  with that kind of “cure”, and waiting for the inevitable resurfacing of the problem/illness, let’s take a look at common causes of anxiety and some effective approaches to really fixing it.

Interestingly, the American diet is deficient in the mineral, magnesium, and can be a cause of anxiety. Whole grains and green leafy vegetables are common sources of magnesium, but are uncommon parts of the American diet. Magnesium calms and relaxes the body. Muscle tightness, spasming and twitching can be signs of magnesium deficiency. While deficiency can be corrected in some cases by increasing dietary sources of magnesium, or taking epsom salts baths, many individuals need to take magnesium supplements. In my 27 years of practice experience, I have found magnesium glycinate to be the most effective oral form. Simple, safe, rational, and often effective.

Two other deficiencies that lead to anxiety are that of aerobic exercise and stretching. The lack of either can result in anxiety. Of the two, the greatest lack in America is that of stretching. A few of us walk for aerobic exercise, but real stretching is rare. When quizzed, the occasional few who claim to stretch, report that they stretch for 5 minutes, or “throughout the day”; these are not real stretching. As a part of the treatment of anxiety, 30 minutes of walking and 30 minutes of serious stretching (yoga-like) per day are called for.

Most people who experience anxiety, fear, or worry (and that’s most of us), feel it in our gut, or sometimes in our chest. This is a clue. Everyone with anxiety needs a thorough evaluation of their digestive tract, with particular attention to associated conditions such as constipation, loose stools, intestinal gas, indigestion, reflux, or irritable bowel. Evaluation must include a skilled palpatory examination of the abdomen to rule out focal or generalized tenderness. Food allergies are an extremely common cause of gut irritation, and are therefore a common cause of anxiety.

A critical thing to understand is that anxiety about an event or circumstance can cause gut discomfort or dysfunction, and the reverse is true; gut discomfort or dysfunction can cause anxiety.

My final warning on the gut-anxiety connection is that an absence of gut symptoms does not mean that anxiety is not arising from the gut. The internal organs of our chest, abdomen and pelvis are profoundly insensitive to irritation or damage that occurs gradually. Remember that it is common for large tumors to develop in the abdomen with no early signs. So, don’t trust symptoms. If you experience anxiety, have your digestive tract evaluated by a knowledgeable health care provider.

Note: Q: What kind of health care provider should one see for digestive tract evaluation of anxiety?
         A: A provider that understands the connection between the gut and anxiety. Don’t assume that a gastroenterologist would necessarily be the best. A chiropractor, an MD, a naturopath, or an acupuncturist can be excellent guides if they understand the connection.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

DAY 13 – When “time-out” Isn’t Working Well (part 2)

     - continued from DAY 12 on October 16 -

Most of us have had firsthand experience observing the incredible stress and frustration experienced by a parent dealing with a child that behaves in an unacceptable manner over and over. It is understandable that most parents in this situation occasionally react to their child in a way that they later feel was not how they would want to respond.

(photo "Worried" by angelic shrek at flickr.com)

Beware of phrases like “he’s all boy”. Being a male child is not the same as being a child who repeatedly behaves in an inconsiderate or unkind manner. Lots of young boys are consistently kind, focused and polite, while some girls behave in ways that some would call “all boy”. I guided and documented the transformation into "student of the month" of one “all boy” boy who was failing academically and socially. His transformation was in part due to diet change, and accomplished without the medication that had been recommended by his school psychologist.

As a rule, most children don’t want to misbehave. They don’t like the cycle of distressed interaction that their misbehavior feeds. Most children are as confused by their poor behavior as are their parents. Many of these children develop poor self-images due to the repeated reprimands, punishments, and the obvious distress that their parents and others display.

Entering school systems, behavior problems often become compounded. Conflicts with fellow students are common. Teachers, not having the luxury of dealing with 1-3 children as an average parent would, are called upon to magically respond to the moods and behaviors of 25-35 children at a time, and can find themselves short on patience and needing quick answers in order to maintain a functional environment in the classroom. Quick answers are often in the form of Ritalin or amphetamines; but that is another story.

Diet change can be difficult for families; particularly with children who are picky eaters and demand certain foods. Often, these picky eaters have behavior issues fueled by the foods that they demand, and get. While dietary change can be difficult, I can assure you that it is nothing compared to the suffering and damage done to a family and the misbehaving child when change is not made.

My hope is that this brief discussion will awaken families to the increased harmony that usually accompanies dietary change. It is painful for me to watch parents, usually mothers, driven to distraction, and children learning to question their own worth. It is also painful for me to watch so many children put on prescription drugs without any prior attempt to explore the role of mind-altering foods in their life.

Children that I have worked with are often obviously relieved to begin behaving in a functional manner, and to learn that the problem was not that they were defective, but rather that they were eating things that negatively affected their mind, mood and behavior. Parents too are relieved to find that they just didn’t understand the powerful chemical factors that were influencing their child’s behavior.

One of the most notorious food groups that causes poor behavior is dairy products. Others foods include, gluten-containing grains, sugars, eggs, corn, nuts, colorings and additives.

I am not saying that every case will be an easy fix. What I am saying is that when “time out” is not working; parents need to take “time out” to include careful and knowledgeable assessment of food reactions as a cause or factor in their child’s behavior.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DAY 12 – When “time-out” Isn’t Working Well (part 1)

“Look at me. Look at my eyes when I am talking to you. What do you say to your sister? You know the rules. If you won’t tell her you’re sorry, you’re going to time-out.”

Most families in America have one or more children with “behavior problems”. Define it how you will, but I am talking about behaviors that require repetitive interventions, repetitive attempts to ignore them, or both.

Disparaging words are often spoken about parents of children with behavior problems; usually behind their backs. I don’t have anything unfriendly to say about parents raising children with difficult behavior, but I do have a suggestion that might change their lives, and change the lives of their children.

(photo from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1058)

Our cultural belief is that the combination of compassion, guidance, education, listening, patience, firmness, and setting a good example, should lead to good behavior in our children, assuming they are getting enough sleep, food and water. Unfortunately, in many cases, providing all of these does not result in good behavior.

A critical factor that is usually left out in assessing and responding to chronic and/or episodic behavioral disturbances in children is the food that the child is eating.

I am careful with my use of the word “fact”. And, it is a fact that food can, and often does influence behavior in children. I say it is a fact because I have observed the phenomenon on many occasions, because hundreds of parents have reported to me that they observe their child’s behavior change as a direct result of food, and because I have talked with and read reports from dozens of doctors who report clinical and/or research evidence that says that it is so.

There are multitudes of published accounts of children’s lives that have gone from out-of-control to peaceful and rewarding by simple dietary change. One need not be a marriage and family counselor to appreciate the relief for a family upon having a member regain the ability to cooperatively interact and contribute.

~ more tomorrow .....

Friday, October 15, 2010

DAY 11 – Elephant in Room Restrained by Wet Noodle

Today my wife and I attended a fundraising event for Congresswoman Lois Capps in Santa Barbara. The star and magnet for the day was Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Due to cost, my wife and I are not accustomed to attending such events. In this case a dear friend gave us her tickets.

(photo of elephant by indi.ca's photostream)

I value the opportunity to have met Congresswomen Pelosi and Capps, and to have heard them speak in the personal venue of a private home.


As we drove home, my wife said, “money sure is powerful”.

And, of course, I agree with her. But, there is something else that is of more interest to me; something that I think is even more powerful.

In America we repeat the mantra, “money is powerful”, and we act as though those with little money have little power. Are we suffering from the conditioning that is said of elephants that are chained when young, and then as adults never test the chain that limits them?

What if a single American, who couldn’t afford to attend a fundraising luncheon, stood on a street corner for a couple of hours with a message written on a cardboard box that proclaimed his views? What if a family of Americans did the same thing? What if lots of us did that?

Repetitious, slick, and expensive television and mailed promotions of products and candidates, clearly have some power. But, I don’t think that it is greater that that which we and our neighbors have when we choose to come out on the street and speak up.

Can one be too poor to have a voice in America? I think the answer may be, yes. But, I believe that most of us have a voice and have power. We may just need to free our leg from the chain binding us to our TV or computer and grab a cardboard box and a marker!

One day in 2008 I tried not being an elephant. I went a bit more high tech than the cardboard box. I spent 13 hours that day on highway 33 between Ojai and Ventura, California. It was a great day! The action felt powerful to me. And I only got flipped-off 62 times. I was seen; my voice was heard. See for yourself on YouTube – 51 seconds:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPZP2lb9Rx0

Money is A power in America, not THE power.

Note: I am not criticizing fundraising luncheons. I really appreciated the one we attended today!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DAY 10 – Election on Tuesday, November 2nd + Obama

I am so impressed with Barack Obama!!!

He’ll not be on the ballot; I got that. But I just want to get off my chest my thoughts and feelings about the badmouthing of our President and how that may affect this election.

First of all, my concerns are not with the “opposition”. I am concerned about the “liberals” and “progressives” who have such negative things to say about our President.

Day after day I hear many libs and progs saying what a lousy President he is because he hasn’t ended the war in Afghanistan, is too slow re Iraq, hasn’t ended “don’t ask, don’t tell”, didn’t provide universal health care, etc...

My points would be:
1) President Obama has accomplished much! Nice list here: http://montereycountydemocrats.org/president-obamas-achievements-historic-record
2) It would be wise to evaluate his presidency by looking at all the issues, the context in which they have occurred, and his track record for the entire package.
3) It is not wise to pick ones pet concern, and then when it has not been taken care of, blame the President and say that he has done nothing.
4) The President does not have the power to change all things to way that he would like them to be.
5) Nice to remember that these are particularly difficult times and conditions that he faces.
6) Do you think that you could do a better job?
7) The President has repeatedly, since before his election, told us that he can’t make change by himself and that he needs us to work with him.
8) Most people I know that complain about our President, are doing little or nothing to bring about change.
9) Let’s learn what democracy is, and what it requires, and then let’s do it. And complaining ain’t the ticket.
10) Vote!

It is also true that there are many Americans who are so grateful to our President, and can hardly believe our fortune as we work with him to further improve our nation. I am one of them.

Housekeeping ~ Turning 60 Consciously

You may recall that on DAY 6 of this, my book blog, that I wrote ""by signing up to "follow" my blog, you will receive each blog post directly in your e-mail."" This is a perfect example of Turning 60 Consciously, as contrasted with Turning 60 Knowledgeably. I was wrong, again. On the right side of my blog, near the top, was the word "Followers". When one clicks the "Follow" button, one becomes a "follower", and adds to the social momentum of my blog, but alas, does not receive blog posts in her/his e-mail inbox. I am indebted to my good friend and "follower" Woody Woodburn for alerting me to my ignorance and to the lack of blog posts in his inbox.

After an hour and a half snorting around the internet I was finally able to make the fix!!! Please note that now, at the top right of each blog post are the words "Subscribe via email". If you would like my writings delivered to your door, enter your e-mail address and click "subscribe".

I hope I have it right this time!!! Woody, will you let me know?

Many thanks to each of you "followers"!!!

Kris

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

DAY 9 – The Dalai Lama Forgot My Birthday

That’s correct. Not a card, e-mail nor text message.

Please don’t think that I was racing out to the mailbox in the days leading up to my October 5 birthday,  hurriedly scanning the contents for a Dharamsala return address. I was just hoping.

A week and one day later, following reflection, my enlightened self sees His Holiness’ oversight as a blessing.

-- end funny part
-- begin serious part

OK, so the Dalai Lama doesn’t know me. But even if he did, personal acknowledgment would be so far down my birthday wish list that I would expect to die before getting to it.

What is high on my birthday list, and my list of everyday hopes, is peace on earth. Everyday and in every way His Holiness is living and working for peace. I experience him and his work as a personal gift and as a gift to us all. His life is an acknowledgment not just of our birthdays, but of our lives.

Note:
-- seriousness continued
One of my personal and professional dreams is to be of service as a doctor of chiropractic to the Dalai Lama. I am the founder of an unincorporated nonprofit called Healing Those Who Heal The World, through which I treat, at no charge, folks that work for a better world. I have had the good fortune to be of service to many such individuals, including two well-known couples; Congressman Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth Kucinich, and Daniel Ellsberg and his wife Patricia Ellsberg.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DAY 8 - A Great Doctor Has Died – Michael Pedigo, DC

As I have done in person, in the past, I wish now to publicly express my gratitude to a great doctor of chiropractic, Michael Pedigo, who stood up against powerful injustice, and benefited the world.

In the fall of 1980 as I struggled to understand why the chiropractic profession was heralded by chiropractic patients throughout the world, but badmouthed by most medical doctors in the US, the real battle was raging. I had recently begun receiving effective chiropractic treatment for my low back pain and wondered why Consumer Reports and others were publishing such critical reviews of the profession.

Dr. Michael Pedigo, a chiropractor in California, a courageous man of honesty, directness and profound perseverance, died this last Sunday on October 10, 2010.

In 1980, while I tried to sort out my back pain of 19 years, and understand how the chiropractic profession could be called both the savior and Satin, Dr. Pedigo, one of 5 plaintiffs, was already 4 years into a legal battle to save the chiropractic profession from intended lethal-attack by a competing health care profession.

The following are parts of an article written by Dr. Pedigo, and entitled “Wilk vs. AMA: Was It Worth the Fight?”, which was published on July 13, 1998.

“In this article, I will address why five doctors of chiropractic filed the antitrust lawsuit in 1976 (Wilk vs. AMA [American Medical Association]) and highlight some of the victories we won. The reason was really simple: The AMA had created a written goal to "contain and eliminate" a competitor, the chiropractic profession. They created elaborate plans to accomplish this, and then they worked very hard to implement the plans.

In the early 1960s, the AMA had become concerned about the growing cooperation between MDs and DCs [Doctor of Chiropractic]. That was not helpful to their "contain and eliminate" goal, so they changed their canon of ethics to make it unethical for any MD to associate with a DC in any way, shape or form. It was unethical for an MD to refer a patient to (or even accept a referral from) a DC.

Can you imagine it being unethical to accept a referral? Yet it was. During the trial, one of the AMA's expert witnesses testified that he would rather see a patient die before accepting a referral from a chiropractor! It's unbelievable but true, and recorded in the court records for all time. MDs were not allowed to teach or address students at chiropractic colleges or chiropractors at gatherings of DCs, nor were DCs allowed to address medical students or gatherings of MDs. It was a complete and total illegal boycott of our profession.

A second part of their plan was to destroy the credibility of our profession in all segments of society and to destroy the self-esteem of the chiropractor. They did this in many ways, one of which was to go around the country telling MDs and medical students that chiropractors were like "killers and rabid dogs." They always referred to us as unscientific cultists and quacks. Society in general listened to their brainwashing lies, because in those days the AMA was considered "God" when it came to health matters. When the media and legislators wanted information about our profession, they asked the AMA rather than the ACA [American Chiropractic Association] or ICA [International Chiropractors Association]. Because the AMA was held in such high esteem by society, what they said in those days was taken at face value. Rarely did anyone question the accuracy of their statements. During the discover[y] process in this case, we were able to determine that just about every anti-chiropractic statement in the media and organizations, such as senior citizens groups and unions, could be traced back to the AMA getting "second parties" to spread their propaganda. My patients refused to tell their MD that they were seeing a DC. Those that did were told to stop coming because I might "kill them." It wasn't until years later, after filing the lawsuit, that I learned why MDs were saying such things. The AMA was telling them that we were "killers and rabid dogs"!

Since only half of the MDs were AMA members, they needed a hook to force non-AMA members to abide by their boycott of our profession. They got the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH), which the AMA controlled, to adopt the same ethical restraint of associating with DCs they adopted. This was a very powerful hook. MDs that did not follow that rule could lose their hospital privileges. An MD without hospital privileges would be in a world of hurt. That was one of the strong tools they used to enforce their boycott against our profession.

The following is a brief summary statement of how broad and far-reaching the AMA's actions were:

"Evidence at the trial showed that the defendants took active steps, often covert, to undermine chiropractic educational institutions, conceal evidence of the usefulness of chiropractic care, undercut insurance programs for patients of chiropractors, subvert government inquiries into the efficacy of chiropractic, engage in a massive disinformation campaign to discredit and destabilize the chiropractic profession, and engaged in numerous other activities to maintain a medical physician monopoly over health care in this country."

On August 27, 1987, the judge issued a 101-page opinion finding the AMA guilty of long-term wrongdoing and illegally attempting to eliminate the chiropractic profession. In September of 1987, the judge issued a permanent injunction against the AMA and all of its members from ever trying to destroy our profession through such an illegal boycott again.

On February 7, 1990, the Court of Appeals found the AMA guilty. On November 26, 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the trial court and the Court of Appeals' finding. In January of 1992, the final settlement took place between the AMA and the plaintiffs to complete all terms of the court order, thus ending one of the longest antitrust legal battles in the history of this country. Was it worth it? Without a doubt!"

To read the rest, go to: http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=37334

Monday, October 11, 2010

DAY 7 – Stretch Marks – Lesson 1

Got your attention, didn’t I?

You know what I’m talking about, right? Those permanent, raggedy marks that can occur in the skin in the arm pit or groin; or on the abdomen, thigh, breast, or buttock.


(Photo of pregnant belly with "tear" marks courtesy of BarelyFitz from Flickr Creative Commons)

Did it ever dawn on you that they are not “stretch” marks? They are “tear” marks! Keep in mind that when a fabric, or your skin is expanded in length or size, and then due to its elastic nature, returns to its previous size and shape, we call that stretching. When that same fabric or skin loses its structural integrity, does not return to its original form, and instead is left with a permanent mark along a line in which continuity was lost, we call that tearing.

What you and I have are “tear” marks.

It is reasonable to assume that those of us with “tear” marks have connective tissue in our skin that is poorly constructed. It is also reasonable to assume that the poor construction of our connective tissue may be related to a lack of necessary building materials (nutrients). Further, it is not unreasonable to assume that if ones skin is poorly constructed, that other tissues and structures in the body may also be poorly constructed and at greater risk to failure.

At age 13 my first tear marks showed up as striations on my buttocks. I kept it to myself.

After surfing one day at age 15 I realized that I had a large tear in my left armpit. Before long I realized that I had similar large tears in my right armpit and in my groin both left and right.

Most people believe that these marks are caused by pregnancy or by being overweight. But here is the problem with that belief; it is not true. While granted that increased stretching of skin due to pregnancy or weight gain are often associated with “tear” marks, it is important to understand that there are many individuals who have never been heavy nor ever been pregnant and they still have “tear” marks. Additionally, it is common knowledge among women that some women can gain very little size with their pregnancy and still develop multiple tears, while other women can become very large with their pregnancy and never have a mark on them.

The health history form that all new patients fill out in my chiropractic office, asks if they have stretch marks (they don’t yet know them by their more accurate name). In 28 years of practice, no patient has ever indicated that they have been asked this question in any other healthcare office. Apparently, most physicians have either not thought much about “tear” marks, or think that incompetent skin structure is of little or no importance.

Let me assure you, the integrity of your skin and connective tissue is extremely important.

We’ll talk more. Be thinking about the people that you know that have “tear” marks, and give thought to their health status.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DAY 6 – Is the Government to Blame?

*** Please note: a number of individuals have told me that they are enjoying reading my book/blog. Some of them had forgotten, or did not realize that they could opt to “follow” my blog; by signing up to follow my blog, you will receive each blog post directly in your e-mail. To “follow” click the “follow” button on the right side of the screen at the top of the blog. – Today is DAY 6 of the blog and already 4 of you are “followers”. If you find something in a post particularly interesting, please share it with a friend. It would be a delight to have 365 followers at the end of this year and the end of this book! ~ Thank you, Kris ***

I’m not so much into blame these days. But .... if the idea is to do some exploring to try to understand why government and governing are so problematic, then I’m on the job.

As we all learned in school, we the people chose our form of government and we elect the officials who carry out that design. We ARE the government.

Growing up, I got the impression that one was a “good citizen” if he registered and voted. When I reached the age of 21 I started behaving like a “good citizen”.

Unfortunately I made little time to inform myself about local, state or national leaders or issues.

I knew that officials were elected to carry out the wishes of the people. But, apparently I missed the part about we the people communicating with our elected officials to let them know what we desire and expect. Previous to my 50th birthday, I knew of few individuals who had ever met with a city council person, a county supervisor, a state senator, or a member of the US Congress to discuss issues or request action.

In my 50s I began to realize that in the previous 30 years I had been meeting only the most minimal standard for being a “good citizen”. I began to realize that a part of the serious dysfunction of our government was me.

(Note: United States national election in 3 weeks; on Tuesday, November 2nd. What is your role? Are you encouraging others to vote? Are you discussing the issues and candidates with family, friends, co-workers, and people that you meet in the grocery line?)

DAY 5 - A Day Late

So, this, October 10, is day 6 of my year-long book project, and here I am a day late. You might be surprised. You might be wondering, “Wow, is this guy serious about this book? Just started, and he is off the mark!” Well, I am not surprised; but I’ve been living with me for the last 59 years.

As we, my wife Joanne and I, snuggled into bed last night, pooped, as usual, she asked, “Did you post your book entry for today?” Well, I hadn’t. I consistently bite off a bit more than I can chew. This last week included the usuals of trying to keep up with self-care (sleep, yoga, healthy food), and my full-time chiropractic practice, and also included a CPR  (Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions – http://c-p-r.net) general meeting on homelessness, a CPR board meeting, and hours of preparation for the Earth Charter Summit and Awards in Ventura (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/EarthCharter).  Yesterday, DAY 5, started with final prep for the Earth Charter event, moved quickly to treating patients in the office, transitioned to a participation in the Earth Charter event, followed by clean-up and heading home at 7 PM.

The reason that it is OK for me to be behind is because I feel good about what I chose that behinds me. There will always be important, if not critical needs in the world that I will consider in my life’s triage.

So, here is my DAY 5 posting:

In the months leading up to the launch of this book, I began to create an outline of topics that I will address during the year. Below you will find the current outline. At this moment I have approximately 25 subheadings; each of those with multiple subjects to explore. Be assured, this outline will morph in the process.

 I do not expect to address these topics in any order. I plan to go with my flow. It is my intent to address government on a number of occasions in these next weeks leading up to our national election in the US on Tuesday, November 2nd.

OUTLINE
-Family
            Mine
            Parenting
            Marriage
-Nonviolent Communication (NVC - http://cnvc.org)
-Peace
-Love
-Health
            Doctoring
            Patienting
            Food
            Human Anatomy & Physiology
            The Gut
            Chiropractic
            Public Health
            Music Singing and Dance
-Culture & Common Beliefs
-Government
-Me

See you later today with DAY 6!

Friday, October 8, 2010

DAY 4 – Ojai Recognizes Global Warming

OK, let’s be serious! Not all of Ojai, California recognizes global warming, so this title really means, some of Ojai recognizes global warming and will be lending a hand to do something about it.

I have organized a small local project in conjunction with http://350.org and in conjunction with individuals and groups ALL AROUND THE WORLD on 10/10/10 to lend a hand toward reducing global warming.

My project involves volunteers (you and me) coming out to Mano Farm (http://manofarm.org/csa) in Ojai on Sunday, October 10 between 4 and 6 PM to work with the 3 farmers, Justin Huhn, Quin Shakra, and David Klein on their organic, CSA-producing local farm! Like the idea? Like your kids to work in the dirt and get to understand real food better? Sign up at: http://www.350.org/en/node/18134

Photo courtesy of Mano Farm

DAY 3 – The Earth Charter

About age 50 my awareness of, and my attention to the world around me began to increase. I found myself thinking more about human suffering, world peace, and global ecology. These changes have led me to spend more time in the last 10 years working for the common good than I did in the previous 49 years combined.

In 2002 I became a member of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (CPR - http://c-p-r.net), a Ventura, California-based non-profit, and nine months later joined its executive board. Each October we, CPR, host a celebration and award ceremony based on The Earth Charter (http://earthcharterus.org).

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a vision of hope and a call to action. The Earth Charter is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.

The Earth Charter is a framework that helps me more fully appreciate that we are all members of one big human family on this earth, and reminds me that we will all sink or swim together.

If you live in the Ventura area, please consider joining us this Saturday the 9th of October from 3-5 PM at the Ventura College cafeteria as we consciously celebrate and work toward a peaceful global society, and honor activists in our community who work in support of the values of The Earth Charter. For additional information: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156127717741541&index=1

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

DAY 2 – Do You Have a Health Plan?

And he answered, “Sure!”

“So, what’s your health plan?” I asked.

“Well, it just changed, but it’s either Blue Cross or Kaiser.”

“No”, I chuckled, “I mean what is your plan for being healthy.”

Every man, woman and child WOULD BE FORTUNATE to have medical insurance to protect them from the often hefty, if not bank-breaking, costs of  treatment of a major disease or injury. But every man, woman and child NEEDS a real health plan; a personalized plan for how to be healthy.

Some things in life can be done on the fly; by the seat of your pants. Health doesn’t work like that. If we desire a great outcome, like excellent health, we best have a plan. If we’re going to stack the deck against developing life-threatening or life-altering conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes or dementia, we need a plan.

Now, a real health plan should, of course, be a written plan. It’s a little too sketchy to just have a plan in mind. I’m going to bet that you don’t have one. I’ll bet your children don’t either. Consider the risk that you and your family live with when you have no plan.

Keep in mind; we Americans are not the picture of health. In 2004 33% of Americans were overweight and 34% of Americans were obese. That’s two thirds of all Americans. That excess fat is a risk factor for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and more. We need only scratch the surface to see that most Americans either aren’t connected to the importance of being healthy, or they don’t know how to get there.

Everyone would agree that exercising daily, having a healthy body composition (balance of fat to non-fat tissue), eating 5 servings of veggies a day, and consuming minimal empty carbs (sugars and refined starches), would be obvious parts of a real health plan. I don’t need to tell you that these are not happening.

What can you do right now about the danger of not having a health plan? Start by getting a 3-ring notebook. In it list the important factors that you think create health. Make notation of the factors that you want to be a part of your health routine. Create sections in your notebook with the following headings; health history, test results, vitamins, medications, pains-problems-diseases, exercise, healthcare practitioners, stresses, etc... Now you’re on the road.

Imagine the delighted shock on the face of your acupuncturist, medical doctor, chiropractor, or therapist when you arrive at your next appointment with your real health plan in hand! Now the two of you can get down to the business of working together to support the health that you want.

And here’s the greatest news! While medical insurance is outrageously expensive, a real health plan is something that everyone can afford.

To repeat myself, you can’t afford to not have a plan for your health!