There are worse things than death

February 6, 2013 Context, Personal Health No Comments

Today is my father’s birthday. He died age 55. Not a good age to die. But my mum has been an invalid since her late 40’s. Without his pension I don’t know what we would have done. But who has such a pension today?

Much of the discussion about health is about living longer. But what about our life? What is our life like as we live into our 60’s and 70’s?

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Here are the stats for men on Prince Edward Island. The average man is disabled by chronic illness by the age of 65. He cannot work. He cannot contribute. He has to be looked after. And for women, add 5 years and the results are the same.

On average we live for another 10 years like this. THIS is where the costs are found. PEI is not unique. This long period of disability is what all of us can expect in this epidemic of chronic illness that is our new normal.

And when we are disabled, who is going to look after us? Will we burden our kids? And by the way, what Kids? With low birth rates, there are not many of them. And where do our kids live? Near us? So maybe then the state? But when we look at their costs, we know that they cannot help us either.

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There will simply not be the tax payers or the  tax dollars to pay to look after us.

This is why I am millions of people are starting to take charge of our own health. Suffering from chronic illness is not inevitable if we make the changes that are discussed in detail in this blog.

More on this later.

 

Healthcare – How the numbers work – A Horror Story

February 5, 2013 Context, Personal Health No Comments

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This chart shows the monthly health care premiums for a friend of mine in the US. They are now $1,700 a month with a $7,000 deductible. There are 2 adults in their 40’s and a 4 year old child. All have excellent health records.

As you can see this chart is exponential. It is likely that the increases in the next 5 years will accelerate even further. How will this family cope? How will you cope?

peihealthcosts

 

Now let’s look at how the healthcare costs of Canada’s smallest province are growing (The current data is taken form government sources). It’s the same curve. The red bars are PEI’s tax revenues. Health costs are 78% of current tax revenues. Only the $600 million subsidy from the Feds keep PEI going. In 2015 it is likely that health costs will equal PEI’s tax revenues. By 2020, it will be double.

PEI is the canary in the mine. Canada’s larger provinces will take a bit longer but the trends are the same. Individuals and even states cannot live with the rate of increase of health costs. Nor can they live with the results. For the epidemic of chronic illness is getting worse and lies on the same trajectory.

At the moment, all the hopes are set in somehow reducing waste and ion increasing efficiency. I don’t think we have tome for this. The crunch is here now. And even if we did and could find 30% in savings, it does not challenge the curve. The model is wrong. Fix when we are ill is the wrong model.

Personal Health will replace this quickly, just as personal news and music replaced mass market news and music.

Mass Market Health vs Personal Health – The Future is Near

Personal Health is going to replace Mass Market Medicine.

One of the great trends of our time is how personalization is trumping the mass market. Albums go to songs. CD’s to downloads. Downloads to streaming. 32 kids in a class. How many are in tune with the teacher? Maybe 2 or 3. The rest either lag or get bored. Now more and more kids go online to sites like Khan Academy where they can learn at their own pace and learn what they don’t know. Health Care is going the same way. Think of what this means.

All medication is like an album or a class at school. But all people are different. What does your doctor know about you as well? Maybe she sees you for 10 minutes at a time. She uses paper files. She cannot look at your data at all except from her paper file. What tests you take are yearly at best. She knows nothing about your ancestry. You know nothing about it either but your ancestry is what drives so many of the differences that we have in our health. She knows nothing about your social life. She knows only what you tell her about your daily life. She cannot track you week by week, so she will only see when you are really sick when you are so sick that it is obvious. She cannot keep you well because she cannot know enough to care for you as a person.

In truth your doctor is guessing most of the time. She can do no better for she hasn’t the data. She cannot see a gradient of small changes that will indicate early that there is the start of a problem. So you go to her when you are ill. Then the treatments are the same. Medicine is a broad spectrum and mass market deal today. What is YOUR real dose? Antibiotics kill ALL your bacteria. Not a good thing at all. (See Gut Health). Breast Cancer Chemo kills all your fast growing cells. Not a good thing for your immune system or your joints.

All this is changing. Personal health will be a massive change for the better. Here is an article on Larry Smarr who is an early adopter of this approach. He tracks all his vitals all the time. At the moment this is a costly and challenging process. But Larry is at the front end of the trend.

What will make this happen is of course the web and neat tools. Already there are measurement tools that use wireless to hook up to your iPhone and measure some of your stats. Here is a link to Fitbit that shows us the way. Here is how your doctor will see your data soon.

What this will mean soon is that each of us will be able to have the kind of data that will enable us to see small indicative changes EARLY. So as we move towards say Type 2 Diabetes, we can make the right corrections. This approach will also show what works and what doesn’t. WE will know soon what diet works and what doesn’t for the data will support it. Here is how this is working now.

Science will change as a result. At the moment all health science is done in the context of finding a treatment that can be patented and sold. Anything that does not fit this, is not funded. Anything that does not show the new pill in a good light is suppressed.  Science has been hi jacked. But As we move more to Personal health, and so more and more real data is generated, we will truly see what works and what doesn’t. In particular we will see what works that does not cost much.

I look to the music model for guidance. Not only will we get what we want when and how we want it, but communities will spring up that focus on helping each other get healthy and cope with this or that.

 

Why dentists are such a risk

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It is increasingly clear that the health of our gut flora my be the single most important driver of our health. If this stands up, then this may be why oral health is so important too.

But a problem with oral health is how dentistry is performed today. Massive fillings with mercury and invasive root canal work set us up for more infection and contamination.

But there is good news. Just as massively invasive surgery is going away, so there is a rise in minimal dentistry. An approach that is aligned to real oral health and so to gut health and so to total health. And we too can do our own part. If we eat right, then the preconditions of dental decay and disease do not arise. We can take charge of our teeth!

“Contrary to conventional dentistry, minimally invasive dentistry, like biological dentistry, is not about “drilling and filling;” creating an endless loop of revisits and retreating the same tooth again and again.

Instead, by using dietary prevention to create a healthy cavity-fighting bioflora in your mouth; dental prophylaxis such as brushing and irrigating with baking soda, and oil pulling; combined with minimally invasive restorations starting as early as possible, you can prevent about 80 percent of future dental problems.”

The full story + video is here on Dr Joseph Mercola’s site

Which Meat to Choose

Now you have decided to eat a more Paleo diet, you are confronted with the question of how to judge the meat you eat. Sebastien Noel has come up with an excellent guide here.

This article will explore several different types of meat: red meat (beef, lamb, goat, bison, etc.), poultry (chicken and turkey), pork, and seafood. These types of meat differ significantly in their nutrient quality, and especially in the quality of the fats they contain. Since fats are the foundation of Paleo nutrition, it’s important to know what fats are in your meat, so you can make educated decisions about what to eat and when to supplement with other fats, such as coconut oil. In general, grass-fed ruminant meats (beef, bison, and lamb) are nutritionally superior to poultry and pork, but this doesn’t mean you should never eat chicken again. Focusing mainly on seafood and ruminant meat as a staple source of calories, and eating moderate amounts of poultry and pork alongside plenty of healthy fats like butter of coconut oil will let you maximize both the variety and the healthfulness of your diet.

The entire article is here.

Taking Charge of your Health – Good Books – On Wheat and on Sugar

Getting back control of your health is more complex than simply changing your diet. But changing your diet is the best way to start. The new/old diet is also like a church with a spectrum of focus. Here then are two very helpful books that lie along this spectrum.

Wheat Belly by William Davis  – that looks at wheat

Fat Chance  by Robert Lustig –  that looks at sugar

It is important to take both out of your diet.

 

Raw or Cooked Food? #Wrangham

Many advocate eating raw food. Is this a good thing or not?

Dr Richard Wrangham thinks not. His work suggests that humans have been cooking for a very long time. For well over a million years. There is no fossil record of fires but there is a physiological record. Homo Erectus lost that big veggie processing gut and those big veggie grinding teeth and jaws. And HE’s brain increased by 20%. I find this pretty convincing. (A good intro to his ideas is here)

Australopithecus-Erectus

(picture source here)

It would take a massive change in environment to create this change to the body plan.

Here is a short video where Wrangham speaks to his findings

He also looked at a large modern study to see how well people do on a veggie diet. (source)

There are only three studies conducted on the body weight of raw foodists, according to Wrangham’s book. The most comprehensive of them was the Geissen study, which questioned and examined 513 raw foodists. This isn’t quite as legit as confining people to a zoo for 30 years, but what was shown was that the higher the percentage of raw food in the diet, irrespective of whether or not they consumed meat, the lower their BMI. One third of those who ate purely raw had body weights that categorized them as being in a state of chronic energy deficiency. The Geissen study also found that 82% of long term raw foodists included some cooked food in their diets. The study also showed that the more raw food women ate, the less likely they were to have regular periods, many of whom had completely ceased to menstruate. This equates to being infertile and losing bone mass. Some raw foodists (and I did hear this one at a raw food guru talk I attended once upon a time in Boulder) claim that menstruation and ejaculation are just a body’s way of eliminating toxins and once you become truly clean, ejaculating and menstruating is no longer necessary. Facepalm! Seriously, I remember the promises of menstrual cycles practically becoming “unnecessary”, provided you really stuck to it. While this does sound like an upshot, it’s kind of like promoting the loss of your legs by saying you’ll never have to run 400m repeats. Locomotion: just for the overachievers!

The last sort-of nail in the coffin for the theory that raw foods are our evolved diet, is that they would never work in the wild. Wrangham found no reports of long term survival in the wild on a raw diet. Most commonly, rapid starvation is the biggest threat to survival in the wild on raw foods, even with intimate knowledge of edible forage, just ask Robb and the I Cavemen cast. What makes a modern raw foods diet livable is that we now have unlimited access to food processing, making nutrients a little more available. Blenders, dehydrators, grinders, sprouting, and grocery stores that can provide year-round access to produce and nut butter that clearly would be hard to scrounge up in the wild. Also keep in mind that these domesticates are a wee bit more energy dense than they were in the wild. The German team also found that 30% of the raw foodists’ calories came from lipids that would have been inaccessible to any hunter gatherer.

So without these modern conveniences, how well do you think they would do? Anybody really wanna try? And judging by the fact that many of them cease to be reproductively functional, how well do you think we’d do if this was our evolutionary strategy?

 It looks to me that a diet that makes nearly half the sample infertile is unlikely to be a sound one and to have any basis in our own past. And imagine eating only raw food in a northern winter without the modern food system.

The best introduction to why Gut Flora is the key to your health

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Sebastien Noel is one of my favourite resources. He makes the science easy to understand and he deals with the practical aspects very well. 

It is becoming clear that the central issue for health is the health of our gut flora. Here is Sebastien’e excellent review of all that you need to know.

The goal of this article is to tackle gut and gut flora problems and what to do about it. Granted, following a Paleo diet will often provide great relief and maybe even cure whatever ailment you’re dealing with. Also, other than being very strict with the diet, complete elimination of dairy, egg whites, nightshade vegetables, nuts and seeds and limiting fruit intake should be a priority, as discussed in my articles about dealing with autoimmune diseases and about the benefits of egg yolks.

With all these tactics implemented though, some diseases or conditions related to the gut still persist and can prove to be a real challenge to deal with. This article will dig deeper into the subject and I will recommend a general strategy to cope with most gut and gut flora ailments. Note that each condition usually also requires a special approach, but the general ideas discussed here usually applies to all of them.

Here is a summary of the subjects discussed here:

Note that in case of a hard to treat condition, I would tackle the problem with a shotgun approach. This basically means that I would eliminate any possible offending foods at the same time as I would try and maximize my immune system strength, gut healing and good flora rebuilding. Forgetting a step or doing things only partially often leads to poor results unfortunately. I’ve been dealing with tough problems myself and it sometimes seems that even the stars have to be aligned to start seeing progress, so hang in there and make anything possible to regain health as soon as possible so you can laugh about it afterwards.

Here is the link to the full piece

 

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

Are we helping our kids by over controlling them?

When I was a boy in the 1950’s, I was pushed out the door to play all day with the other kids in the neighbourhood. There was no TV either. We played as kids have done for millions of years. But that is not what happens now is it?

Here is Peter Gray talking about what our Hunter Gatherer ancestors did instead of programming their kids. This ties into the work of the late Jean Liedloff.

Peter Gray, PhD-The Role of Play in the Development of Social and Emotional Competence: Hunter-Gatherers, 1950s America and Now from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.

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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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Are humans carnivores?

For decades we have been told that grains and oils from seeds are the healthiest food we can eat. This has proved to be wrong. For decades we have been told to drink fruit juice as a healthy alternative. Now we know that it is as bad for us as …

Dr Jason Fung – On the Science of how we use food and so why fasting works

This is the clearest explanation I have yet found

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