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Disability – the cost of modern life

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This chart shows the shift in the nature of disability in America since the early 1960’s. What is hows is that the stress of how we live is crushing millions of people. The images in this post come from an excellent article here.

Back pain is strongly linked to issues of lack of control. It shows itself in a physical way, but its roots are in stress that comes from not having enough control. Depression has the same connection.

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As the job world shrinks, millions are left out of society and so we see the disability grow.

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There are close to 10 million people on disability. There is no “cure” in a medical sense. For the root cause is within the psyche of the person. Medication for you back does not touch this.

The cure will be a different kind of economy. My first book – You Don’t Need a Job – describes what is going on and what I mean by a new kind of economy. I se a trend where many are now taking making a living into their own hands and are starting a life as networked artisans. But for many who are disabled and who will be, I fear for their future. For they have given up. How many million will be in this position in the next 10 years? The current cost to society is $240 billion a year.

Time to look at this and to start a conversation abut what we can do.

Constipation – The Truth

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Apparently 63 million people in the US suffer from constipation. That’s about 1 in 4 people. At one time or another I bet we all suffer from this. We are told to add more fibre, but in the long term we do this and this does not help. In extremes, we take laxatives. But over time, we become dependent on these too and we lose the ability to have a natural poo.

So what to do? For the medical system has no answers other than the ones we have learned do not work.

Kris Cleary is a pioneer in the non medicine approach to constipation. Here is our online interview. You will see why fibre and laxatives don’t work and you will see the pathway to being well – Having Healthy Gut Flora

The intro goes to the fold and the full interview follows. Read and get well!

So what did you learn from these people who had cured their own constipation?

There were dozens of key lessons I learnt.
However, some of the most important things I’ve learnt in curing constipation are:

  • The essential importance of overall gut health, especially gut flora
  • Reducing stress (especially the stress one is not even aware they have)
  • Eliminating toxins and eating real food for proper nutrition
  • Eating normal amounts of fiber rather than the ‘high fiber’ diet that is widely preached in our modern world
  • Including plenty of natural fats which is a core part of true health

All that I learnt from these people started me on the path of self-discovery in relation to my bowel health and my health overall.

I started to experiment with the various ideas and approaches I received from them and I was able to finally start joining the dots. The more I experimented, the better I was able to figure out what was actually triggering my symptoms and, on the flip side, what was allowing my bowels to work how they should naturally. It was a really exciting time to be honest. I was making so much progress quickly that I started to feel I was cracking the constipation code, so to speak.

I started to look into health and nutrition from an evolutionary view-point which was another game-changer for me. The more I researched and experimented, the more crucial information I was able to obtain. ‘Seek and you shall find’, I guess. I started to get in touch with research by guys like Loren Cordain and Staffan Lindeberg that really opened my eyes and had me jumping down the rabbit hole so-to-speak.

… Continue Reading

Meditation – Looking after our mental health

Jon Kabat Zinn is master in meditation – here is a wonderful video recorded at Google where he offers the basics for all of us

Strength versus Fitness – A Critical Distinction

From Chris Highcock’s wonderful short PDF book which you can buy here.

Chris’s book opens with the best context for Fitness and its link to health and how we grow old that I have yet seen.

This site has talked a lot about the false claims for diet – “Eating Healthy Grains” etc. The real diet is to give up the modern foods!

Chris shows how our modern obsession with “Exercise” has taken us down an unhelpful alley too. The real issue is “Strength”.

Our  ancestors did not “Take Exercise”. They led active lives and they carried a lot of stuff and they moved around a lot. They did not need a gym not expensive kit.  Chris shows us how we can do this again. And he shows a focus on strength this will help our health in a way that “Exercise” does not. This approach also then deals with the issue of time. For to get strength the requirement is intensity and not time. In fact as we get stronger we need to use less time and increase the intensity. We don’t have to spend hours a day.

Oh and don’t forget that we are designed to walk – a lot!

Parenting – Fitting the Child into the World vs Fitting the World to the Child

What is the historic way of parenting? The late Jean Liedloff made the study of Traditional Child rearing (The Continuum Concept) her life’s work.

Here is the central difference between what we do – make the child the centre but also disconnect physically – and the traditional – attach physically but fit the child into the larger adult world. Snip here:

How do they do it? What do the Yequana know about human nature that we do not? What can we do to attain non-adversarial relationships with our children in toddlerhood, or later if they have got off to a bad start?

The “Civilized” Experience

In my private practice, people consult me to overcome the deleterious effects of beliefs about themselves formed in childhood.1  Many of these people are parents keen not to subject their offspring to the kind of alienation they suffered at the hands of their own usually well-meaning parents. They would like to know how they can rear their children happily and painlessly.

Most of these parents have taken my advice and, following the Yequana example, kept their babies in physical contact all day and night until they began to crawl.2  Some, however, are surprised and dismayed to find their tots becoming “demanding” or angry — often toward their most caretaking parent. No amount of dedication or self-sacrifice improves the babies’ disposition. Increased efforts to placate them do nothing but augment frustration in both parent and child. Why, then, do the Yequana not have the same experience?

The crucial difference is that the Yequana are not child-centered. They may occasionally nuzzle their babies affectionately, play peek-a-boo, or sing to them, yet the great majority of the caretaker’s time is spent paying attention to something else…not the baby! Children taking care of babies also regard baby care as a non-activity and, although they carry them everywhere, rarely give them direct attention. Thus, Yequana babies find themselves in the midst of activities they will later join as they proceed through the stages of creeping, crawling, walking, and talking. The panoramic view of their future life’s experiences, behavior, pace, and language provides a rich basis for their developing participation.

Being played with, talked to, or admired all day deprives the babe of this in-arms spectator phase that would feel right to him. Unable to say what he needs, he will act out his discontentment. He is trying to get his caretaker’s attention, yet — and here is the cause of the understandable confusion — his purpose is to get the caretaker to change his unsatisfactory experience, to go about her own business with confidence and without seeming to ask his permission. Once the situation is corrected, the attention-getting behavior we mistake for a permanent impulse can subside. The same principle applies in the stages following the in-arms phase.

One devoted mother on the East Coast, when beginning sessions with me on the telephone, was near the end of her tether. She was at war with her beloved three-year-old son, who was often barging into her, sometimes hitting her, and shouting, “Shut up!” among other distressing expressions of anger and disrespect. She had tried reasoning with him, asking him what he wanted her to do, bribing him, and speaking sweetly as long as she could before losing her patience and shouting at him. Afterward, she would be consumed with guilt and try to “make it up to him” with apologies, explanations, hugs, or special treats to prove her love — whereupon her precious little boy would respond by issuing new ill-tempered demands.

Sometimes she would stop trying to please him and go tight-lipped about her own activities, despite his howls and protestations. If she finally managed to hold out long enough for him to give up trying to control her and calm down, he might gaze up at her out of his meltingly beautiful eyes and say, “I love you, Mommy!” and she, almost abject in her gratitude for this momentary reprieve from the leaden guilt in her bosom, would soon be eating out of his dimpled, jam-stained little hand again. He would become bossy, then angry and rude, and the whole heartbreaking scenario would be replayed, whereupon my client’s despair would deepen.

I hear many similar stories from clients in the United States, Canada, Germany, and England, so I believe it is fair to say that this trouble is prevalent among the most well-educated, well-meaning parents in Western societies. They are struggling with children who seem to want to keep their adults under their control and obedient to their every whim. To make matters worse, many people believe that this phenomenon bears witness to the widely held notion that our species, alone among all creatures, is by nature antisocial and requires years of opposition (“discipline,” “socializing”) to become viable, or “good.” As the Yequana, the Balinese, and numerous other peoples outside our cultural orbit reveal, however, such a notion is utterly erroneous. Members of one society respond to the conditioning of their culture like the members of any other.

The Way to Harmony

What, then, is causing this unhappiness? What have we misunderstood about our human nature? And what can we do to approach the harmony the Yequana enjoy with their children?

It appears that many parents of toddlers, in their anxiety to be neither negligent nor disrespectful, have gone overboard in what may seem to be the other direction. Like the thankless martyrs of the in-arms stage, they have become centered upon their children instead of being occupied by adult activities that the children can watch, follow, imitate, and assist in as is their natural tendency. In other words, because a toddler wants to learn what his people do, he expects to be able to center his attention on an adult who is centered on her own business. An adult who stops whatever she is doing and tries to ascertain what her child wants her to do is short-circuiting this expectation. Just as significantly, she appears to the tot not to know how to behave, to be lacking in confidence and, even more alarmingly, looking for guidance from him, a two or three year old who is relying on her to be calm, competent, and sure of herself.

A toddler’s fairly predictable reaction to parental uncertainty is to push his parents even further off-balance, testing for a place where they will stand firm and thus allay his anxiety about who is in charge. He may continue to draw pictures on the wall after his mother has pleaded with him to desist, in an apologetic voice that lets him know she does not believe he will obey. When she then takes away his markers, all the while showing fear of his wrath, he — as surely as he is a social creature — meets her expectations and flies into a screaming rage.

If misreading his anger, she tries even harder to ascertain what he wants, pleads, explains, and appears ever more desperate to placate him, the child will be impelled to make more outrageous, more unacceptable demands. This he must continue to do until at last she does take over leadership and he can feel that order is restored. He may still not have a calm, confident, reliable authority figure to learn from, as his mother is now moving from the point of losing her temper to the point at which guilt and doubts about her competence are again rearing their wobbly heads. Nevertheless, he will have the meager reassurance of seeing that when the chips were down, she did relieve him of command and of his panicky feeling that he should somehow know what she should do.

Put simply, when a child is impelled to try to control the behavior of an adult, it is not because the child wants to succeed, but because the child needs to be certain that the adult knows what he or she is doing. Furthermore, the child cannot resist such testing until the adult stands firm and the child can have that certainty. No child would dream of trying to take over the initiative from an adult unless that child receives a clear message that such action is expected — not wanted, but expected! Moreover, once the child feels he has attained control, he becomes confused and frightened and must go to any extreme to compel the adult to take the leadership back where it belongs.

When this is understood, the parents’ fear of imposing upon their child is allayed, and they see that there is no call for adversariality. By maintaining control, they are fulfilling their beloved child’s needs, rather than acting in opposition to them.

It took my East Coast client a week or two to see the first results of this new understanding. After that, generations of misunderstanding and the force of old habits rendered the family’s transition to non-adversarial ways somewhat uneven. Today, she and her husband, as well as many of my other clients similarly afflicted, are happily convinced by their own experience that children, far from being contrary, are by nature profoundly social.

Expecting them to be so is what allows them to be so. As the parents’ expectation of sociality in the child is perceived by the child, she or he meets that expectation; likewise, the parents’ experience of sociality in the child reinforces their expectation of it. That is how it works. In a gracious letter to me, the husband of my East Coast client wrote, of his wife, their son, and himself: “[We] have grown and learned and loved together in a miraculous way. Our relationships continue to evolve in a totally positive and loving direction.”

Stress – Everything you want to know

Here are a series of videos that will show you how stress works to affect your health and what you can do to reduce its impact.

Here is the best introduction that I know of to the mechanism of stress as it affects humans. Our stress is social.

Here are 3 videos made of Dr Gabor Mate where he shows us how we humans in particular manifest it.


We tell ourselves stories. It is the meaning of events and not the vents in our lives that affects us. Change the meaning and the stress can go away. His second point is that many of the events that shape our stress patterns take place in early childhood. Mate shows us how many are rooted in events that happen before we are able to recall the memory.

I find his videos compelling – I could see how my own issues worked on me and I cous see what I coud do to reduce their impact. I think you will find the same.

If you are in the 99% and have low control, this is how stress affects your health #freedom99%

More and more evidence is available that tells us that what we eat – an industrial diet – is a major cause of the chronic health epidemic. But what is less known is the affect of social inequality and so lack of control. With so much power concentrated in so few hands today, this issue of lack of control is a major driver of stress and so is a major driver of our health epidemic. On this site I have introduced you to the thesis behind Stress and to the 2 giants in the field, Robert Sapolsky and Sir Michael Marmot. Here is a stunning documentary that uses the power of video to tell the story of how all of this works.

This is part 1

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

Part 4 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 6 is here

Michael Rose is clear – we are designed to be healthy and to age well. So long as we abide by our evolved design and heritage. In the modern world most of us have lost control over all aspects of our life. We rely on people who we don’t know and who cannot care for us for food, shelter and energy. We rely on them for our income and for our health. The more we take back control of these areas of life, the more we reduce our stress and the more healthy we become.

One of the first areas that we can work on is how we eat and where then we get our food. If we choose to eat real food and we choose to eat food provided by local people, people we can know and people who do care, then this is a start for how we take more power back.

In my own case, this alone has transformed my own life and the effects of this choice has removed my worries about being ill and disabled as I get older. I have found at least control over my health – no small thing. It’s a start. I also re-allocate my spending from the 1% to the 99% who live near me. Mini farmers and food distributors get more income. More money stays in my community – we all benefit.

We don’t have to remain helpless.

Can we live a Hunter Gatherer Life today? Part 1 – yes – Here is mine as a model

What is the modern version of this – our Hunter Gatherer past – our ideal Work/Life social setting?

For we know that how we work today is  a major driver of stress and poor relationships. Can we live and work as they did?

This short series will explore how we can do this now. Let me start with some features of my life and we can then see if I am really a hunter gatherer. Then in Post 2 we can look out and see how new organizations are emerging that will give people like me and maybe you much more power than when we are just on our own – outside the mainstream. Then in the 3rd and last post, we can look ahead and see what we can do to give this movement of empowering the very small even more power.

So I am what is now known as a Free Lancer. I have worked for myself since 1994. I used to be a very corporate person before that and had never worked for myself then.

Then it was odd to not go back to getting a job – but I wanted freedom more. I am not alone look at what is happening:

In 1980 most of us – about 80% had jobs. But now only 60% do. 40% do not. Something is happening. The age of the Job is surely dying and a new age of the Freelancer is re-emerging. The trick I think is to stop worry about the job and to find your place in this very old way of living.

This is my Freelance – Hunter Gatherer Life today – how does it compare to a job? How does it compare to the classic HG life?

Time – I have huge control over my time. Only in dire circumstances do I not control my calendar. I get up when I want to and my commute is to the room next door. Now I work a lot and long hours but all on my terms. I get paid to deliver outcomes. I have deadlines but how I get there is up to me. So I can mow the lawn when I want. I can go shopping. I can take days off and go and see my kids. Because I don’t have a commute, because I don’t go to all those meetings, I have so much more time than those with jobs. I have to slow down to keep pace with conventional clients. Sometimes I am pressed, but those times are rare. We all have a crisis now and then. But the pace of my life is leisurely – as it was with Hunter Gatherers. Above all I have time for others. Time for my wife and family and time for a network of friends. Not “networking” but hanging time. Being with them. I have time also for me and for reflection. I have time to absorb and wrestle with ideas. I have time to do manual things such as stack wood, mow for hours etc that keeps me grounded and active. I sleep well as I rarely have to get up. Now I am up at dawn but that is my own internal clock and not the alarm.

I have high status – I am seen as an artisan who has been hired because I am an expert in my field.  Who does not want to be considered useful?  I get paid to be useful. I do very difficult things, so the validation is even more satisfying. My status does not come from my car – I drive a base Hyundai. It does not come from my clothes – my wife thinks I look like a tramp. I don’t earn a lot of money – I earn what I need – so it does not come because I am rich. It comes from me inside. What I know and what I share – for 75% of what I do I do for free. My greatest joy is to be of help to younger men and women. I have a tribe too. A group of dear friends that I share my ideas with and who do the same with me. We teach each other and we go on hunting trips with each other. For we each have skills that the other cannot have and we have learned from “hunting” how much we need each other. More on Hunting later. This is where status came in the Hunter Gatherer society. It comes from the value that each of us has inside. When we are young we have a strong body and lots of energy. It is value that grows as we age. For we become ever more skilled. Later when the body and our energy weaken, it is wisdom. I have a name – I am known as “Rob”.

I live in a  small community where I am known. I live on Prince Edward island. A province of Canada that has the population of a small town – 140,000 people. In a sense we all know each other. Of course we don’t but it feels like we do. Being so small, we are all known. No secrets here – NONE. For better or worse, we have a reputation. Such was life in a Hunter Gatherer society. Our social world was small. Your name often represented your character. Now this can be stifling. But I assure you that having a place is better than not. We are designed to feel best when we are known and we have such a place. Now you can find this in a  real neighbourhood in a big city but it gets more and more difficult as a regular person to be a somebody in a big city. The smaller the place the less social stress too. In a big city the moment you go out into the streets you have to switch off your social radar. If you don’t the crowds will overwhelm you. The more you switch it off – on the subway, in an elevator, on the sidewalk, the more you keep it off until you may lose your ability to inhabit a place or be with people – even your own family!

Grooming – I also inhabit a small place on the web. I do not have thousands of “Friends” and nor do you. In reality, we have a small tribe online as we do in real life. It is helpful not to forget that – for this small tribe needs your attention. Set your limits too wide, and you have nothing. For this group is your Grooming Buddies. They don’t exist in the conventional workplace where it is everyman for himself. You can have office “friends” but how often do you keep up with them over time. These you take real risks with – do work in dangerous situations when you don’t know much about how it is all going to turn out. They have faith in you and don’t mind the ride if the final prize is not there. These are the pals that you can tell all to. They share your values and they have a great ear. They know you like a long term, lover and accept you for all your foibles. They don’t have all the baggage that your family shares with you. They are vital to your health. They are your hunting partners.

I go hunting – Work in a Job is like farming – it’s all about routines and hard grinding. Getting a contract out of thin air is hunting. Like real hunting, it helps to have a team. There are risks. Sometimes you fail. But there is no feeling like bringing home the mammoth. Or actually even the small deer. We are hunters at heart. The companionship of the hunt is special too. As is sharing the “kill” at the end. For that is what real hunters do – they share. It’s not about domination. Now there are patches where there is no game and some fear about that. But I have designed my life, like a hunter, not to need much. I have set up my life so that we can be quite comfy with very little money. The Hunter Gatherer is no possessed by his possessions – the modern worker is one pay check away from the street. I can have very long stretches of no game.

We do gathering – We don’t rely on my bringing home the bacon. We also gather. My wife has her own areas where she brings in what we need too. And we share how we maintain our other gathering business – we run a small rental business. I am the grounds man and she the inside person. We have a diverse range of small livings that accumulate to give us enough. Takes soem of the pressure off the hunting!

Livings and Life – When I was young and foolish, I wanted to be rich. I made getting rich – I was an investment banker – the sole aim. But when my dad died aged 55, I began to think about what I really wanted to have. And that was a good life. It took a long time to get there, but I have made the switch. I now make a living so that I can have a life. For this is the only one I am sure that I have. Our hunter gatherer ancestors felt the same. Things meant very little to them. But living is important. What you do every day is your life – not your vacation or your retirement. The pay off of a real life is to have made a difference. To have kids and set them up well or to help set up other kids well. To prepare the best future and to have had fun while.l doing this. Life is so short, there is no time to be wasted.

When I was young and foolish, I lost sight of this. Now I think of my kids and all kids. In this very uncertain time what is our legacy? We have mortgaged their future in so many ways. Time to do the work to give them a chance I think. For what will they think of us if we don’t try? What we will think of when we die if we have not tried?

In the next post, I will talk about how many HG’s today are finding networks and tribes that offer more assurance financially that us early pioneers had. I will show you how this way of life is moving from an aberration to a norm for many. Where the hunting is much better!

 

A broad view of much of the best thinking on Ancestral Health

Earlier this month, the Ancestry Foundation hosted the first of what will be many conferences on Health as seen through the perspective of Evolution.

FRIDAY

“Dimensional Mastery: How understanding where we’ve come from gives us valuable insights into where we’re headed” by Matt Wallden

“How to Triple Your HDL” by Jonathan Carey

“Bone Broths: The Missing Link in the Evolution of the Modern Superathlete” by Catherine Shanahan

“The Multifactorial Influence of Chronic Sleep Reduction on Body Weight” by Dan Pardi

“What Does the USDA Really Represent?” by Adele Hite

“Paleo Made Simple: A Template for Avoiding Common Errors When Adopting an Evolution-Based Diet” by Melissa and Dallas Urban

“Does physical activity impact dietary choice in a modern Western population to correspond to hunter-gatherer macronutrient profiles?” by Stephanie Schnorr

SATURDAY

“Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way” by Steve Brown

“Declining Age at Menarche: An Indicator of Declining Public Health” by Meghan Gillette

“How psychological dysfunction arises from disparities between hunter-gatherer and modern lifestyles: A new theoretical and therapeutic model” by John Montgomery

“The Ancestral Classroom” by Steven Platek

“Neuroregulation of Appetite:  Paleo Nutrition Supports Homeostasis of Macronutrients and Energy Balance” by David Pendergras

“Grass Based Health: The Big Picture” by Peter Ballerstedt

“Ancestry: A Re-imagined Approach to Education” by Brian Geremia & Justin Park

“Game Over: Comparing the Childhood Play Style of Modern Western Societies with Hunter-Gatherer Societies” by Anna Floyd

“Foods from Our Past: Reclaiming the Paleo Diet Experience in Latino Communities.” by Armida Ayala, PhD, MHA

More research on why your office is killing you!

Here is part of the post – see the link to Whitehall and to Marmot – for more see these links on this site

We spend a large percentage of our lives at the office, engaged in the drudgery of work. Although we obsess over the medical benefits of various leisure activities – should I do yoga? take long walks? not watch television? — the amount of time we might spend in downward facing dog pose pales in comparison to the amount of time we spend seated in our chair, staring at the computer screen, surrounded by co-workers.

A new study led by Arie Shirom at Tel Aviv University reveals the powerful impact of the workplace on longevity. The researchers tracked 820 adults for twenty years, starting with a routine health examination in 1988. The subjects worked in various professions, from finance to manufacturing to health care. They were interviewed repeatedly about conditions at their workplace, from the behavior of the boss to the niceness of their colleagues. Over the ensuing decades, their health was closely monitored, allowing the scientists to control for various medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, smoking and depression.

The first thing the researchers discovered is that office conditions matter. A lot. In particular, the risk of death seemed to be correlated with the perceived niceness of co-workers, as less friendly colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying. (What’s troubling is that such workplaces seem incredibly common.) While this correlation might not be surprising – friendly people help reduce stress, and stress is deadly – the magnitude of the “friendly colleague effect” is a bit unsettling: people with little or no “peer social support” in the workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study, especially if they began the study between the ages of 38 and 43. In contrast, the niceness of the boss had little impact on mortality.

What’s driving this effect? Why are caustic co-workers so unhealthy? One interesting factor influencing the correlation between peer social support and mortality was the perception of control. This makes sense: the only thing worse than an office full of assholes is an office full of assholes telling us what to do. Furthermore, this model of workplace stress being driven by the absence of control has plenty of empirical support. The most impressive support comes from the Whitehall study, an exhaustive longitudinal survey launched in 1967 that tracked some 28,000 British men and women working in central London. What makes the study so compelling is its uniformity. Every subject is a British civil servant, a cog in the vast governmental bureaucracy. They all have access to the same health care system, don’t have to worry about getting laid off, and spend most of their workdays shuffling papers.

The British civil service comes with one other feature that makes it ideal for studying the health effects of stress: It’s hierarchical, with a precise classification scheme for ranking employees. This hierarchy comes with dramatic health consequences. After tracking thousands of civil servants for decades, the Whitehall data revealed that between the ages of 40 and 64, workers at the bottom of the hierarchy had a mortality rate four times higher than that of people at the top. Even after accounting for genetic risks and behaviors like smoking and binge drinking, civil servants at the bottom of the pecking order still had nearly double the mortality rate.

Why were people in the lower ranks of Whitehall dying at a younger age? The Whitehall researchers, led by Michael Marmot, eventually concluded that the significant majority of health variation was caused by psychosocial factors, most notably stress. People of lower status in the Whitehall study experienced more negative stress, and this stress was deadly. (To take but one data point: Fully two-thirds of an individual’s risk of stroke was attributable to the person’s socioeconomic status.) However, the Whitehall results aren’t a straightforward analysis of stress, at least not as it’s usually defined. After all, people in leadership positions often describe their jobs as extremely stressful. They work longer hours and have more responsibilities than those at the bottom of the bureaucratic hierarchy. Consider the self-report of Nigel, a high-status administrator: “There were 2,000 people, and I was responsible for all the personnel aspects, contracts, and all the common services … It had every sort of challenge that you could ever wish to meet. A very active job and a lot of stress, but a very enjoyable job, and you got a tremendous amount of satisfaction from doing a good job.”

The traditional top down machine culture is now being seen as a major contributor to poor health. This raises the question os what to do. For me it means looking into how large organizations are run and looking more at a networked alternative.

Can we set up organizations that can do big things but also offer people in them more control. That will be the topic of the series I will start next week – The Network Work Organization a Healthy Alternative. And just so you don’t think I am mad – think of how WordPress, my blogging tool – is such an ecosystem with thousands of people who are not on the payroll making a good living by being part of an ecosystem.

Your Lifespan – Part 3 – What is the one simple but big idea that can help you be healthy?

Every day we read of a new study that says “This is bad for you” and “This is good for you”. No wonder when it comes to taking control of our health, we are confused by science. I read a post today that said that there are “No perfect foods”. This is rubbish. There are – if you have the right perspective.

In this post I will be as clear as I can about the simple idea that can give you this power.

So what then is wrong with the perspective that most science and all of medicine uses that makes it all so confusing and contradictory? Let me tell a few stories and I think you will see.

Imagine that she is you.

You see your GP. She of course sends you to a dermatologist. After all, what is wrong is your skin – right? Well not really.  He will talk in a limited way about diet but he has no deep diet context. He will treat your skin mainly topically and if all fails, he will prescribe Accutane.  A drug that can have very serious side effects. Accutane is like chemo – it is a brutal treatment. But even through you may clear up – you are not cured. Your acne is in abeyance.

You are severely depressed. Your GP sends you to a Psychiatrist who no longer will talk through what has gone on but will prescribe one or more drugs that will interrupt the mechanism of your thoughts. For a while. Over time the risk is that you will get worse and even suicidal. He will raise the dose and add new drugs. You are on a treadmill.

You have cancer. Your GP sends you to the Surgeon who adds in the Oncologist and the Radiologist.

They remove the cancer cells that they can and then give you chemo and radiation. You look and feel like this. (My wife went through all of this and I dare not show you what she looked like)

You may be “cured”. My wife is still here after 9 years. But this is not a CURE. It – like Accutane or Antidepressants has knocked the disease back on its back foot.

So what then is the pattern here and how do we do better than this?

Note how all these stories start the same way. You notice something wrong and then you go to the gatekeeper the GP. There has been no work done before you are ill. For medicine has no answers to WHY you get ill.

You might know this. But what you don’t know maybe, is that NONE of these diseases affect in a major way populations that don’t eat the modern diet.

Note how each of these “specialists” deal with a silo of you and few or none expand this silo to includes the wider you of your entire bodily system – your social world – your ancestry – and how you inhabit your body and the physical world. They only know their bit. This is what I mean:

This is the ignition system of an engine in a car.

This is a broader context – we drive cars on roads with people in them in varying conditions. To understand CAR – you have to work back from this and not up from the ignition system. If all the context you have starts from the parts – you MUST get lost. So it is with medicine and cell biology. They fuss about the working parts and the direct linkages. Worse, becuase they focus on direct linkages, they miss the side effects.

For we are NOT MACHINES. We are complex systems nested in complex systems. Their basic metaphor is wrong.

This is why they miss WHY we get ill as we do. They miss the connection between their areas and all others. They miss the truth that there is one simple big idea as to why we get the diseases of modern civilization. And that is this –

We are designed to be naturally healthy – all living beings are – so long as we live our lives inside the parameters of how our nature has evolved. That means that if we eat what we are designed by our nature (How we have evolved) to eat AND if we live in social systems that suit our nature best (Think of how all our hunter gatherer ancestors lived) and if we inhabit our bodies and the natural world as we have evolved to do ( Be active and outside a lot) The we will be healthy.

This is true because of the systems aspect of our context. Get the optimal systems fit and our system will do fine. We are NOT machines with simple direct causes and effects.

Simple isn’t it? You and I can all use this simple and huge idea.

Just as 150 years ago, we also learned how to combat infection. Also behind that was a huge but simple idea. If we lived in large numbers in a concentrated space, we would set up the ideal systems conditions for infection. Once we learned how germs and vectors like mosquitoes and fleas worked, we could change the systems conditions. At a large scale such as in a big city and on a small scale such as in the OR.

All the mumbo jumbo of pre germ medice was swept away. Only to pop up in how medicine works on chronic disease today.

They will tell you that only if your kid is vaccinated, will you be able to protect her from infection such as measles. But they have missed the history.

We defeated infection not by drugs and not by a speciality in a disease. But by smart use of the knowledge of the systems issues and clever public health.

All these infectious diseases are the product of the modern world. They arise from our living in close contact with animals and other humans. They are novel to all who have not lived a modern (defined as agricultural and urban life). So when they were introduced to people who did not share this life and who therefore had low immunity, they killed millions. Western man killed of most of the natives in the Americas.

All infectious disease is related. It takes hold inside the crucible of close contact between man – animal and man. The plague came from this and so does flu. The breakthrough is not a drug, for the germ or virus will adapt. It is to work in a systems way to break the cycle.

So it is with chronic disease.

All are related. All stem at first from a mismatch in diet and then are amplified by a mismatch in our social and natural environments.

So if you have bad acne, depression and cancer – or arthritis – or IBS or crohns – or worry about alzheimers – or have heart disease – or have their marker and best pathway type 2 diabetes – then know that all are related.

On PEI, the average man becomes disabled by 65 and lives on in this state for 9.7 years. The main cause for this is Type 2 Diabetes.  It is estimated that by 2030 1/3 of the population will have it. So, as more people hit their 60’s and more suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, the need to respond rises exponentially. We live in a time of epidemic and medicine as it is practised today cannot help you.

Diabetes drives many other conditions including cardiovascular disease. PEI adults in 2006 with diabetes had to be hospitalized much more often than those without it. 16 times more often for lower limb amputations. 6 times more often with kidney disease. They had 5 times more heart attacks. 4 times more heart failure. 3 times more strokes. They stayed 3 times longer in hospital. Had 2 times more visits to physicians and 2 times more to specialists

Most diabetics don’t just take one medication, but several. A typical regimen for an adult diabetic after a couple of years of treatment and following the dietary advice of the American Diabetes Association includes Metformin, Januvia, and Actos, a triple-drug treatment that costs around $420 per month. Two forms of insulin (slow- and fast-acting), along with two or three oral medications, is not at all uncommon

You can help yourself by understanding the ideas on this site and on our sister site The 55 Theses

Now how you apply this knowledge is not simple. Changing your diet in a system that pushes the wrong choices on you is hard. You don’t just “Buck Up” when depressed. You don’t just get cured with cancer either.

But knowing what we do now – gives us the kind of start that we all had back in 1880 when the pioneers took on infection and rolled it back in a generation.

Michael and I are working to provide you and policy makers the best context so that you can make the best choices.

 

 

Your Lifespan – Part 2 – How you and I get ill

You get ill when you look like this – this is how I looked aged 59 – I weighed 205 lbs. How I look here has all the signs that you have not lived your life according to the rules.

This is how I looked aged 18 just as I was going out to celebrate my sister’s 16th birthday. I weighed 140 lbs. I was just about to go to South Africa to work as a diamond prospector.  I would walk 11 miles a day in the Kalahari desert and think nothing of it. I was at my peak of fitness.

This story is not all going to be about weight though. It is going to be about knowledge and hope.

This new fat and unfit me was also a new thing. For right up until my late 40’s I was relatively thin and still able to do a lot of things.

Then one day in my 50″s, it seemed as if a switch has been turned on. Each year, I put on a few pounds and became progressively weaker. Then about 58, this process started to accelerate. My knees also were hurting a lot and I was investigating knee replacement! But I thought that all of this was normal.

I thought aged 59, that putting on weight and feeling poorly was my destiny. After all we all get fat and ill as we age – don’t we?

I did try the conventional way – a bit. My wife Robin begged me to lose the tummy. The conventional wisdom meant that I had to take a lot more exercise and I had to eat less. I tried. I signed up and took more exercise but I injured myself and felt awkward and gave up. And I loved my food…. So like so many of us, I was resigned. The “Cure” that all talk about was too hard for me.

Anyway, I told myself that this was my destiny. I would be like all the other people and get ill as I got older. If I had not learned what I know now and if I had done nothing

What had happened to me is surely what has happened to millions – maybe to you too.

When did the “switch” turn on for you and you started to get fat and weak? Do you think that, like me, that this is the new “normal” for you? Do you think that that this is all that is going on?

For what I have learned that this is not all about the weight and the visible?

What is really going on is that inside of you and I is a progression of deterioration that will lead to the chronic diseases that plague us today.

So how and why do we get them? And why do they seem to turn up suddenly as if a switch is thrown? Why is medicine so bad at preventing us from getting them? Why does medicine do such a bad job of “curing” us – for once we get heart disease, we have it. Once we get depression, we have it. Once we get cancer, it can come back. Once we get Type 2 Diabetes, we always have it – NO MATTER what meds we take. The meds do not cure us. They enable us to stay alive in poor health.

Let’s find the answer simply by going back and looking at infection. When we see the model here, we can see the answers to the questions above about chronic disease.

Cholera is always around. But for humans to get it, Cholera has to have an ideal environment to propagate and to spread. Cholera is not spread through the air but through direct contact with human feces. So, if you put a lot of people together and you have no proper sewage disposal system and you allow the sewage to contaminate the water supply, you have the ideal conditions for an epidemic.

Now you can develop a “cure” – (now we know how to treat Cholera – heavy hydration with pure water). But the real cure is to take away the environment that gives cholera the edge. For instance, Cholera is always a threat today when a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane damage sewage or water systems as happened in Haiti. You cannot contain the epidemic by vaccination or treatment. You have to work upstream and fix the sewage system and supply clean water asap.

This chart tells the story. See how most of the scourges of infection were beaten back BEFORE the advent of drugs.

Even TB!

All were “cured” by work on the upstream issue of environment. All these diseases were the product of changes to our social and physical environment caused by Industrialization. It was when millions of us left the small communities that fitted our own nature better. We arrived in the cities knowing nothing of the consequences of overcrowding. We found ourselves in the same predicament as say these animals now!

All these animals will die if they live like this. To prevent this they are given antibiotics as a routine. This is not sustainable and is dangerous as we are breeding super bugs as a result.

The only way that is sustainable is the change the environment. That is what we did for ourselves.

It was John Snow, a Dr, who discovered that Cholera was water born. He was never accepted by the establishment and died before his discovery was accepted. It was Joseph Bazalgette who built the sewers that made it possible for 8 million people to live in London.

We think that medicine “cured” infection. Medical knowledge about the environment for infection was the cure not any vaccine or drug.  But of course Big Pharma and the Medical Profession take the credit and today tell us that the ONLY way to be healthy is to use drugs.

All of this story about how we really conquered infection is true for the Chronic Diseases of our time. They all stem from environmental causes. Which in turn arise because we have not known the consequences of changes we have made to our diet, our work culture and how we live and work.

For just as we can never adapt to living in concentrations of millions without a good sewage system and a secure water supply, we also can never adapt to:

  • Eating a diet that is mainly composed of grains and sugars and other foods such as dairy and legumes
  • Living and working in a culture where we have little or no control or say
  • Losing touch with what our bodies really need in terms of activity, sleep and exposure to the natural world

My getting fat and pre diabetic was all related to not knowing any of this too. I too had no context. I bought the Kool Aid about the fact that I should eat MORE grains and dairy. I had no idea that how much control I had in my life was a key factor in my health. My only thought about my body was that I should “Take more exercise” which is only a fragment of the larger truth and a part of my life where I would have to find the time and pay someone else and do – for me – silly things not connected to what I did every hour of the day.

I also did not know this.

Every animal has evolved to be healthy throughout its life. Evolution would not support a population that had to “carry” a large segment who could not cope.

We humans are no exception. In fact, in all societies where people live according to our design, we remain fit until we die. People who do not eat the modern diet, who have a culture that is more personal and who are active and spend a lot of time outdoors live long and healthy lives. Like this man.

He is from Kitava and he is my age. I hope I can be like him! Don’t you?

Our challenge is time. If you get cholera, you can be well this morning and dead by supper. The impact of Infection is obvious and quick.

But the diseases that we get today are slow building and hidden.

This is the “Switch” I was talking about. You seem fine – and then you have a heart attack. You are thin and in 10 years you are obese. You are fit and then crippled with arthritis. You go off to your routine breast exam and find you have stage 3 cancer.

This moment is different for us also depending on our ancestry. If your ancestry is longer adapted to the modern diet, the switch may not go on until your 50’s. If you are a First Nations person, it may go on right away from birth.

I think this delay and difference has hidden the danger from us all. Not helped by a vast industry – Food and Medicine – that makes a fortune from this and who have captured the media and so public opinion with their message – “Eat more grains and take a pill”.

So in my next post we will explore why we cannot adapt to this any more than we can adapt to drinking water contaminated by feces.

 

 

 

 

 

Be the Change! How Michael Rose and PEI Saved me

Here I am in August 2009 – pre diabetic – a typical middle aged man. I thought that this was my destiny – that all men of my age had to be like this.

Rob at beach 09

But after talking with Michael Rose and then 9 months of eating differently and being more active – this is who I am now

Robsummer011

Not thin – but 35 pounds less and importantly most of my visceral fat has gone as have my man boobs.

With luck, I should be able to be healthy and fit and like this until I die. With luck I have pulled back from the normal on PEI where the average man aged 65 is disabled by ill health and then lives for another 10 years a drain on his family and the state.

My aim was not just to lose weight6 – this is so much more than just another diet. It was to return my body to its designed natural state which woudl allow me to plateau. To keep have a long “Healthspan”.

We talk all the time about Lifespan – but for me what counts is how long can I live and be healthy? My “healthspan”.

So how did I do this in such a short time?

Most of this has taken place as a result of a change in diet – I gave up most modern foods – grains – dairy – legumes. I do cheat now and then too. I am not perfect.  Routinely, I eat no processed food though – drink no pop or beer unless I am travelling and then very very rarely – I am only human!

I do drink a lot of wine. 3-4 glasses a day.

I don’t eat any kind of candy and no sugar at all.

I am never hungry. I rarely need to snack and if I do, I tend to have a few nuts.

I did spinning for 2 months in the late winter once a wek – but most of my “exercise” is activity based. Why pay for a gym when I can stack 4 cords of wood!

I feel so much better. Lighter – not just in weight but in spirit. My knees don’t hurt. You put a back pack on with 35 pounds of bricks in it and walk all day and you might see why my knees hurt.

My blood tests are of a 25 year old. I sleep well.

I work at a standing desk and can do that all day now without getting too tired. It took 2 months to be my new normal and is now. I garden, move wood, use the stairs and walk the dog.

Now it helps also that I have a ot of control in my life. I work for myself and Robin and I have a hunter gatherer life. We do a bit of this and that. I don’t have a lot of cash in hand but I din’t rely on one key person to pay me. By giving up my expensive life and big mortgage in Toronto, I have no debt.

By living not in a rush, I have time for my friends and family and have time to do a lot of work for free – to spend weeks with my kids – to help others on what they want.

I go to bed early and rise with the sun. I work outside all year. If it is not mowing – it’s shovelling. I walk our dog every day rain, snow, wind or shine.

I belong to a few great tribes of people that I love – who do the great work of our time. My life is an adventure again.

Changing my way of eating was in fact the easiest and fastest way back to health.

Leaving my old life in the big city and the big world was harder to do. It took maybe 10 years to complete the change and took me to the limit. I had to kill off the old me and leave my old life behind.

Coming to PEI saved me. And so did Michael Rose

Bill Maher tells the truth about health

It seems that the only people speaking the truth these days are comedians – sad

The Great Return – Part 2 – The “Industrial Clearances” and what they mean to you

Are all of us, who are today unemployed or under employed or never to be employed, failures and misfits?

I think that most of us think that we are in some way bad people. I think that, even as we hang up our Consulting Shingle, or our Craft Shop sign or offer our availability to do free work or volunteer work – or just wonder where the rent cheque will come from – still hope that we will once again get a “real job” that pays enough to give us a life.

I think we want to go home to a nice job.

Well my dear friends, I don’t think that is going to happen.

I think we are seeing a return of an early pattern. When the hunters became unemployed when all the big game died off 10,000 years ago. Or more recently when the landowners “Cleared” their agricultural peasants of the land.

We are the new displaced.

This is not your grand father’s layoff. This is not another downturn or recession. We live today at the turning point when one culture and its power system and economy will be decisively replaced by a new one.

In this context, those jobs are NEVER coming back. But all is not lost. WE have been here before and I think I see how we can see ourselves in a new and more hopeful light. Where we can create an entirely new economy for ourselves with each other. A new economy that will give us the opportunity for a much better life than the one we failed to hold onto or even get a taste of.

There are so many of us now – mainly the young and the middle aged – that we have reached a critical mass. All we have to do is to “SEE” the opportunity. The New Hunter Gatherer Economy.

So this is what really is going on – this is the pattern and this is where I think we might go.

History_clearances_325x325

The Industrial Revolution created its workforce by using new methods of agriculture to throw the people off the land. Waves of displaced peasants who had lived and farmed for millennia in rural villages in Europe were literally thrown out. They went to the new cities and their factories or to the New World.

They could never return. Their displacement was vital to the birth of industrial society. Not a good thing but a key systems factor.

By 1905, thanks to Henry Ford, wages in this sector had begun to offer a middle class life for labourers. Not an easy struggle to get there. But by 1950 it was normal to be able to life a good life with few deep skills. By 1970, the more literate could live an even better life in an office setting.

But then the process of Globalization began.

Rustbelt

7 billion people tied into a global trading system drives wages to the basement.

Empty cube

What started on the factory floor now affects white collar work as well. Now even call centres.

For those of us in the West with Western expenses, we are put in an impossible bind. We cannot compete with global wages.

Agmachine

Now Technology is accelerating this displacement and is stripping the work itself out of the system.

Planting in 1600 needed the entire village. In 1750 it could be done by one man and a horse. No land owner was going to bring back his old workforce.

As with farm technology in the 1750’s, machines and computers can do so much of what we used to do. Labour on its own in an industrial or office setting is also being replaced irrevocably by machines and technology.

Robots

The Jobs are not coming back and the jobs for our kids will never be there.

Chart-en
This is current data from OECD and Statistics Canada.

Unemployed

This is the modern equivalent of the Highland Clearances.

All the puffery of the politicians about getting behind job creation is misguided. How can the jobs come back in Europe or North American when our living costs are so high compared to places like China?

For all our key costs in the west are based on the old model. Housing, energy, education, health, food – all of these are based on the old reality and are systems costs based on the cost of the industrial and centralized model.

How can we bring the well paying labour based jobs back when technology has made us truly redundant?

OK enough doom and gloom – do you get my point though? The well paying jobs for routine work cannot come back. And here is the proviso – so long as we hang onto the industrial model!

So where is the hope and also the health? For this kind of stress – low self esteem – low status – lack of a sense of meaning is a killer.

The hope is here – that there are millions of us with talent and energy – old and young – who have nothing to lose by “Immigrating” to the Real New World Economy. The New Personal Networked Economy. Where the Household Oikonomia. Where the Household/Tribe is the core unit.

The irony of where we are going is that we the Displaced will have the tools that will take on the industrial economy on and decisively beat it.

Where we will use the new tools that empower the small and the network that gives scale and power to the aggregated small.

In the next post I will go into some detail about what this may look like – but here are a few teasers.

One thing that all of us share is that we don’t have much money and we worry about how we will afford to buy the things and services that we need.

  • Food - But if you grew your own or shared growing food with others – you would have food – Now you have the time to do this as millions are finding out. We can eat REAL food at a cost we can afford and employ a lot of us. We can also gain independence from the system. The key will be to learn how best to work WITH nature. The system which is based on oil has to fail anyway – this way we can get ready for the day and have a new more viable system in place. 
  • Paid work – New technology will enable you to sell your services and products personally and directly. We offer something that THEY cannot – Trust – we can offer authentic and truly good and safe things – THEY can’t
  • Manufacturing – New Technology – 3D Printers now enable the most complex things to be made locally – no more big factories. More true freedom – craft and skill returns to work
  • Energy – We can never replace oil in its ease of use – but we can redesign our lives and energy systems to do well. In doing so we can be free of depending on Big Oil. How and where we live and work is a big part of this as is a new food system that is integrated into our energy system.
  • Health Insurance and Care - With this kind of life we recreate the environmental fit that we need to be naturally healthy. Our dependence on Big Pharma will be broken
  • Day Care - If you worked from home you can work around this as parents did for all time before our own – Freelancers are recreating the old home economy – where all is centred on the home and the tribe
  • High Quality Education – All there today online waiting for you now – Homeschooling will offer more and better than any school and then if enough near you are doing this – you can have all the sports and social too
  • 2 cars or more – Essential for job families – Not for Freelancers – your energy costs will drop
  • Housing – You don’t have to move all the time to get work anymore. You may just make one more move to a place where all of this is emerging
  • Pensions - Where will the money come from to pay for me when I am old? – You will have a role and work in the tribe – if you are prepared to contribute
  • Elder care – Not if you rearrange how your family works – more labour at home and a real role for grandma and grandpa – I am ready!

So where are we Immigrants going too?

I think to a more dispersed and more stable pattern of settlement.

We are in the 1740’s in America – with the early colonies. Colonists who still have to obey the King’s rule and the King’s men.

But in a short time, we will start to organize. Our power will grow. In the end, the King’s men and all his power will not be enough to subdue us – we will create our own place.

And then my friends, the words of the Statue of Liberty will call out again:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

And millions will answer.

Next I will share the details of how the the pioneers are buildong this new system – it is all here in fractal form.

Paleo is not just another diet – It is about going home to being Humans again

Most new comers to “Paleo” think of it as just another fad diet. And we have had so many of them. And they ALL FAIL – so why would this be any different? It is different because it is not a diet but a call for us to heal ourselves from the damage that the industrial world has done to us. Food is a big part of this, but as readers of this blog know, there is so much more. Here Here Here Here

Here then is a call to all those who worry about diets and wonder if Paleo is for them:

Evolution doesn’t like this very much. That’s why we’re so sick in body and in mind these days. While most people seem pretty content to trade health and happiness with yummy tasting foods (or non-foods as I like to call them), a whole lot of others are questioning the validity of eating all their meals out of plastic containers only to wash it down with pills out of plastic bottles.

So, they head off to the Internet in search of answers. A Google search on a healthy diet yields the usual suspect:

1. the vegetarian diet. Change is always exciting but after a while of limiting meat and not seeing much of any benefit at all, they start to wonder (with a little nudge from rising awareness) if all the added breads, pastas, and other wheat products aren’t the culprit. Moving on, they decide to try out the diet everyone is talking about:

2. the gluten-free diet. They trade gluten grains for rice, beans, oatmeal, and the plethora of gluten-free alternatives. Their digestion is still a mess, they haven’t lost any weight, and the depression hasn’t lifted. Even if they were sensitive to gluten, they still feel terrible and assume gluten has nothing to do with it. So, back to the Internet now to narrow the problem down to red meat and saturated fat. With hopes of losing the weight they gained while scarfing down the almost, but not quite, tasty gluten-free snacks, it’s time to test out the tried and true:

3. low fat diet. Eating salads, chicken breast, and rice they drool over their friend’s plates and sneak little bites of forbidden foods. Week in week out they fail and miss their goals (because eating low fat is like abstaining from sex when a whole bunch of good looking, naked people prance around in front of you). They become more depressed and nervous and so they figure out a way to add some fun back in by:

4. counting calories. Finally at liberty to use ranch dressing instead of lemon juice, potato chips instead of saltines as they don’t exceed 1700 calories per day, they still aren’t getting jack for nutrition. They’re still depressed. They’ve lost a little weight but they’re not really cut like they so desire. Back to the Internets, they determine it was junk food slowing them down so they try the diet all their indie friends are into:

5. the raw vegan diet. This one actually tastes great and feels amazing too. They quickly pump themselves full of agave syrup and fruit sugar and feel great! Eventually, though, energy wanes. The cells start to dry out from the lack of saturated fats, the insulin plummets at shorter and shorter intervals, and muscles start consuming themselves from lack of protein. Emaciated, they amble back to the Internet craving meat and fat. Sitting at the desk with a bag of potato chips and other empty high-fat snacks, they enter search terms like “how much fat does a person need?” and “is saturated fat bad for you?” Finally they stumble upon the low carb diet and then finally:

6. the Primal eating strategy. They start eating as much as they want, when they want, and they’re eating all the fat they’ve restricted for the last 1 to 10 years. Within only a few weeks they’ve become tolerant again, hopeful, energetic, and stronger than ever. It seems this diet fuels itself with no extra effort required. Finally, satisfaction and results.

If you think about it, it’s kind of obvious that we shouldn’t be eating anything that you can’t pick or kill with a stick, but the world has replaced million year old tradition with lab-created/altered food variants. While these non-foods do manage to go in one hole and out the other without laying us flat in seconds, they are the cause of so many premature and miserable deaths. People are starting to realize it and it is because of this that:

Does modern healthcare “cure” or mask disease?

Do many modern drugs and surgeries really help us? Or do they tend to mask the real issues and allow us to keep doing the things that will make us ill?

You have heart disease. Your doctor has prescribed statins. Your blood levels look better and you cheat on your diet. You eat more sugar. You take less exercise. Is this why 9% of statin users are more likely to get Type 2 Diabetes?

My dog Jay strained his back right knee chasing a fox. I put him on Metacam. The pain vanished – he was like a puppy! A day later he chased the fox again and blew his knee completely requiring major surgery. The Metacam masked his weakness and pain and he had no pain feed back to prevent him from damaging himself more. A few years later, Jay sprained his other back knee. That danged fox! This time, we just rested him. Put him on a lead for 3 months and walked him back to health. He was fine. his knee healed very well and he never had another knee problem.

You have a skin rash. Your doctor prescribes a cortisone cream. The rash diminishes but does not go away. You increase the dose and find yourself on a teadmill. You have done nothing about the real cuase of the rash which of course is not a surface issue at all but about something that you are eating or being exposed to.

I am starting to see a picture here – are you too?

Much of the medicine that we rely on to get us well – avoids the core issue. Why did we have a problem in the first case and what can we do to change our actions to reduce the risk.

Much of the medicine we rely on either merely masks the symptoms – like Jay’s Metacam – or allows us to continue to behave badly or continue to live in environments that are bad for us.

This is true of surgery as well. many of us – me included – asked about knee surgery. But when I lost 30 pounds my knee problem went away.  If we are over weight our knees will at least hurt or get into trouble. Surgery can fix this. But if we do nothing about our excess weight, this is only a “masking” process. Liposuction is  a brutal process. But if you don’t change your life what will it mean?

Many of us think that we need medicine and health care to be healthy. I have had a car accident – I would be all for it – but in reality most of our modern illnesses mask symptons.

Who gets cured of heart disease? Who gets cured of Type 2 Diabetes? Who gets cured of arthritis? Whose knee lasts a lifetime?

But in many cases, we can be “cured” if we deal with our lives – Just as it was not a cure for Cholera that stopped the disease – it was the understanding abut how sanitation worked. It was not a cure that put TB away. It was better living conditions.

 

Marriage – Good and bad for our health

061179dd8ed12b25_fighting

Many of us have heard that marriage is good for our health. But this may not always be true – if your marriage is full of conflict, it may be bad. You may be better off without him or her!

Here is a very good article in the NYT by Tara Parker Hope on the work of Ronald Glaser and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, are also, fittingly, married to each other.

“While it’s clear that marriage is profoundly connected to health and well-being, new research is increasingly presenting a more nuanced view of the so-called marriage advantage. Several new studies, for instance, show that the marriage advantage doesn’t extend to those in troubled relationships, which can leave a person far less healthy than if he or she had never married at all. One recent study suggests that a stressful marriage can be as bad for the heart as a regular smoking habit. And despite years of research suggesting that single people have poorer health than those who marry, a major study released last year concluded that single people who have never married have better health than those who married and then divorced.

All of which suggests that while Farr’s exploration into the conjugal condition pointed us in the right direction, it exaggerated the importance of the institution of marriage and underestimated the quality and character of the marriage itself. The mere fact of being married, it seems, isn’t enough to protect your health. Even the Healthy Marriage Initiative makes the distinction between “healthy” and “unhealthy” relationships when discussing the benefits of marriage. “When we divide good marriages from bad ones,” says the marriage historian Stephanie Coontz, who is also the director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, “we learn that it is the relationship, not the institution, that is key.”

 

PTSD – Love – Dog Bless You

As Frankl says – Love is the cure and nothing loves us like a dog
 
More here

More on Trust and Betrayal – Dr Jonathan Shay

SHAY

“The need for trust, Dr. Shay argues, comes from human prehistory. Without claws, wings or other natural weapons, human ancestors survived by watching one another’s backs. As a result, Dr. Shay argues, the need for trust is part of human biology. Trust makes us feel safe; feeling safe is good for our mental and physical health.”

Our industrial world seems to work against trust. Marketing tends to be manipulation and much of management is as well.

Here is the text of a piece by David Berreby in the New York Times – That sums up Shay’s views – that PTSD is usually the product of a betrayal of Trust. That it is not confined to war and combat. That rape and abuse is an example of the betrayal. Trust is most betrayed when authority is discovered to be in it for itself. Sums up most of corporate and political leadership today and often the power in families too.

Shay reminds us that the way home cannot be limited to the use of drugs but demands the restoration of trust itself. That can usually only come from interaction with peers. And so his work with Veterans mirrors the work of AA.

There can be no medication to restore you – only your work with others like you.

… Continue Reading

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  • A Question: Thanks for this video! Half of the urban women who had a raw...
  • robpatrob: Great questions - thanks. Just as 300 years ago a few misfi...
  • Garfield: I really like the parallels too...I live like this also. Twe...
  • nj: Rob, check out the chart here for a broader perspective on a...

What is the Missing Human Manual All About?

Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

But science today tells us that this is not "Normal". Our evolutionary past designed us to be active and fit until we drop dead. Why? Because raising human children takes so long. Mature adults had to do most of the hard work enable us to invest up to 25 years in our kids.

We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

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Disability – the cost of modern life

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Your baby’s gut health – the platform for good or poor lifetime health – what to know and to do about this

It is clear now that a child’s gut flora drives many allergies – including eczema – Here is a short and illuminating article on this that joins the growing literature on the importance of gut health generally and how, in infants, gut health drives lifetime health. This is yet one …

Your Waistline – The key measurement for predicting Heart Disease

A fat tummy is a sign of visceral fat which is the #1 predictor of heart disease. We have posted about this before here. But here are some charts that help us see the range. It’s not just men either. More here on Mercola’s site:

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