New Ideas on Health – Are we ignoring the bigger picture?

It’s in the news and all around us – an increasing health epidemic. People are gaining more weight, diseases like alzheimer’s are increasing in quantity daily, and the general health of the world’s population is declining. Of course, the first component of our lives that takes the blame: food. And, why shouldn’t it? All of the processed ingredients, unhealthy combinations of cheap fillers, and unnatural quantities make for a poor lifestyle. But, what about those people that don’t overeat, don’t take in excess or even minimal calories, and don’t live on a processed diet? They get sick, too – and they’re getting sicker. Is society being too focused on food and exercise to see the bigger picture? Could there be something else?

Having been involved with people with declining health who don’t smoke, don’t drink, and don’t use illegal drugs, the potential for blaming the traditional ‘staples’ of an obsessive-compulsive behavior is easily ruled out. And, while it might still be easy to point fingers at individuals, when it’s one or two, that makes sense, but when it’s tens of millions – the finger pointing must stop. All too often, doctors see a person who’s overweight and their first assumptions go to eating, obsessive behaviors, psychological disorders (.ie. depression), and a slew of other easy-to-blame conditions. Why? This mystery still eludes me. One could assume that doctors have seen a lot of the same conditions and, by occam’s razor, the majority dictates and history has taught them that the answers are generally the same.

But, what about those times when the answers aren’t all the same. Do you overeat? Nope – 800 calories per day. Well then, the body’s storing fat. How about 800 calories per day for 2 years. Oh … then the body can’t store fat. Do you exercise? Rarely. That’s the answer. But on a treadmill, I can run a 20 minute mile and my blood pressure is ideal for a 20 year old at prime body type. Oh … then that may not be the case either? And … the discussion goes on and on. Doctors then turn to other well known conditions such as celiacs, thyroid, and other possibilities that are easily tested. But, surprisingly, these conditions are not showing up in the majority of the masses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like medical science has a grasp on how to even handle this situation, yet. And, the food group specialists are so busy changing their minds every few months that anyone trying to diet according to the latest and greatest “reports”, could find themselves spinning in circles (which is not a great way to exercise … I know … I tried … long story).

So, what’s next? What could be left? The brain? DNA? A combination?

Nah – that’s also – too easy. Think ……… bigger.

How about – the world?

But, what could it be about the world that could affect a single person like you? Well, remember, this health epidemic has branched and stretched across the face of the planet and is plaguing tens of millions of people … and it’s growing rapidly. If we were to consider the most “simple” answer – the “world”, is then, that answer.  Let’s review a few possibilities that are normally not considered:

#1: Gravity. Yes, gravity. What happens to astronauts during space flight? One very major impact on the human body in weightless environments is a lack of nutrient uptake/absorption. Even those astronauts that eat the prescribed diet suffer these effects. Bones become brittle, muscles atrophy, and the general physiology is severely decayed. And, sure, in space, the effects of weightlessness can be seen at an exaggerated level – but even astronauts floating around the shuttle are still experiencing 90% of the Earth’s gravity!! Think about the devastating effects astronauts get at 90% of the Earth’s gravity.

Now, let’s put this into perspective. The Earth is not a perfect sphere. And, there is a naturally occurring 0.29% shift from sea level to the highest altitudes. Doesn’t sound like a lot? You might think a 10% shift isn’t a lot, either – but read a couple of the previous links to see just how devastating that shift is during space flight for a single month! Thus, people living at higher altitudes are already seeing some of the effects of reduced gravity – and there’s only so much the body can adapt to (and each person’s level of adaption will differ). With a higher population on the planet, naturally there are more people living at higher altitudes and more cases of nutrient deprivation and other damaging effects (remember, our ancestors didn’t live atop the highest of peaks … generally, they stayed near oceans and bodies of water at sea level).

Next, consider gravitational anomalies. There are locations on the planet where these shifts are rather dramatic. For example, the gold miners at the Oregon Vortex had to vacate the mines because to them, gold was losing its value! On a scale, the weight of the gold showed at only a fraction of what it should have been – because of a simple gravitational anomaly. As the world’s climate is changing (and if you are lucky enough to reside on the East or West coast of the United States – flooding or drought – you might already be aware of this shift in weather). Even the tectonic shifts deep down in the Earth have been dramatic and causing panic (such as the recent concern over coastal, 9.0 earthquakes in the U.S.) – and those shifts come with a change in flow of iron-filled magma and … gravity.

#2: Cultural and Migratory stagnation. Yes, it’s true, human beings have been considered a nomadic people since … well … before they were technically “homo sapien.” Even today, the overwhelming amount of travel by the human population, when seen a thousand years from now by archaeologists, will probably lead them to the conclusion that the nomadic nature of human beings has not changed much. But, what has happened in the last few thousand years that could have countered this? Ahh … not just the last 200 as you might have expected … but several thousand!

The growth of kingdoms and empires around the world began to close down borders and opportunities for travel. Groups that defied static-living conditions were labeled and outcast (.ie. gypsies). As time moved on, national borders became more and more important to world politics and people were forced into living conditions that were not so – livable. Even in recent times, the founding fathers of the U.S. could not sit still and constantly traveled, building up a maritime industry that gave the industrial era its major boost. But, as economies grew, wealth grew – and so did greed. With that greed came the need for workers. This need lead to natural stagnation of the masses.

Ever wonder why you’re pushed, day and night to buy, buy, buy? Because if “they” pushed you to ‘work, work, work,’ you might not be as agreeable. But, as long as “they” feed you with technology, electronics, gizmos, gadgets, and give you a culture that identifies popularity with possessions, the unconscious prompting for you to buy leads to the need to work which leads to … yep – static living conditions. But, that’s not enough to cause people to develop poor health conditions; after all, it would take a lot of time for an entire world cultural to become stagnant and suffer the devastating effects. So, take tens of thousands of years of kingdoms, thousands of years of nations, and hundreds of years of labor and workforce … and well – we’re here.

Of course, the obvious is what I mentioned previously – the changes over the last couple hundred years have taken an already stagnant culture and divided it even further. Borders and boundaries are no longer defined solely by politics and culture, but now by machines. Why travel when you can skype? Why drive when you can sit at home and text? Why move at all when the social media age has given you the tools to become stagnant? I would argue that the level of stagnation by social media alone is equivalent to the level of gravity decrease an astronaut suffers.

This is, by the way, NOT an argument for exercise. Exercise is GREAT! It’s VITAL. And, when we’re not sitting behind a computer reading this article, watching television, playing on our cell phones, or stuck behind a desk working … and when we’re not tired … and (so on and so on), we should be exercising. Yet – that is not the solution. Cultural and migratory stagnation also impacts the brain. Sure, an 18 year old jumping around on buildings and framing all day long will probably be thin – but because that’s what they do for 8 HOURS per day! Simultaneously, they are probably not making a lot of money, not eating the best foods they can or reducing their daily stresses and are suffering other, long-term consequences. Of course, television tells you different, right? Hollywood shows you all beautiful actors, right?

Don’t forget to differentiate how much of Hollywood is plastic and surgery vs. reality. With enough plastic and surgery – even I could look good … and that’s saying a LOT.

People who are constantly active tend to have better health. They move more, go on vacations, and are … generally nomadic with their lifestyle. They leave home when the seasons change and come back when it’s done. To defy the static nature of living, one would either have to join the wealthy on their adventures and be free from the world of sitting behind a desk – or put on sandals and a robe and walk as far as they could (at least, until the authorities pick them up). That’s why exercise is such a huge demand on the public, because it takes a lot more work in a limited amount of time to accomplish the same tasks as being nomadic.

#3. Stress and Sleep – the big “S”tandards for living. I cannot emphasize what I’m about to say enough: If you do not sleep well, and if you are under stress: you CAN NOT get healthy. No – I’m not trying to stress you out (you just probably already are). Stress inhibits chemical reactions in the body, such as a properly operating metabolism. A lack of sleep causes a breakdown in tissue and the body has to spend more time recovering from that than it can doing other activities like burning fat. I don’t care if you “look” good on the outside – if you are stressed – then what’s happening on the inside is mental and emotional decay. The full effects of this type of living is not yet known, but we do know that an increase in neurodegenerative diseases and other problems such as cancer is happening to a wide range of people, especially the elderly, overweight – or not (depending on the study you read).

Let’s face it – the world is stressful. News and media bank on chaos, despair, and depravity to drive you with fear and angst. Political structures thrive on control, chaos, and obedience – all of which take away your control and leave you feeling helpless and afraid. Economic networks utilize pressure, time, and extremes of wealth and poverty to drive you into being a machine, leaving behind the time needed to properly deal with emotional stress and daily trauma.

This isn’t an article about how helpless you are or some conspiracy that someone’s out to get you. Yes, someone probably is, but I’ll save that for a later day …..

This is an article about recognizing factors outside of “diet” and “exercise” that are contributing to the decay of our bodies and minds and driving the general health of people into the ground. If it were just weight gain, we could blame diet and exercise – but the health decrease in society stretches far beyond simply being fat and encompasses mental disease and other psychological and physiological problems. Sure, people live longer – but at what expense? Old age comes with a wide range of complications that only a few, lucky folks ever have the opportunity to really enjoy “golden years.” Even recently, California adopted a right to voluntary suicide because of this very issue. There are many cures in the world for diseases that were previously deadly and unstoppable – but these so-called cures and medicines come with side effects worse than the diseases they stop and have violently altered the human immune system to the point that new diseases are more of a problem than the old ones – because they will be deadlier.

So:

1: Eat right, but enjoy it. Your body will tell you what you want and what you need. Animals are supposed to only eat what they need until they fill a ‘nutrient’ requirement, but if you’ve ever owned fish or knocked over a smoker full of smoked salmon in front of a dog, you know that animals eat according to taste, too. Just don’t mistake a craving for chocolate as a substitute for releasing endorphins … because depending on how stressed you are … you may have to eat a LOT of chocolate (curse you Halloween Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!). And, read the ingredients. Sure, MSG is bad … but have you seen what some of this stuff is in your food??!!? Use good thinking, good judgement, and if your food is killing you slowly … then it’s time to find another food … and there are lots of options out there (like the miracle berry!! … which … I desperately wish I could try some and just go nuts on broccoli). And, remember, soda is not only bad for you – but it naturally encourages thirst and you will probably find yourself with a lot of water-based weight.

2: Exercise – when you can and if you can. A gym is great – but it’s not necessary. If you can walk in your house or your neighborhood – do it. Don’t buy a treadmill and stop there (because that’s what most people who buy treadmills actually do … you know who you are!). If you’re tired because mentally or physically you’ve had to put out so much energy at work that you just want to crash … then CRASH! Your body wants to rest! But – you need to get your brain in shape! No – Angry Birds and X Box won’t do it (I’ve been trying – very unsuccessfully). Television shows DEFINITELY will NOT help. Read a book. Go outside and contemplate nature. Stay off your cell phones and do something that stimulates natural imagination and let your brain do the rest. If it’s physically crashing and you need to work out – do it. If you’re working out enough … then DON’T stress yourself out … be happy with it … and you’ll be better off for it!

3. Think about the gravity and environment you’re living in. Research it (but not too long … or you’ll just be stuck on the computer … again!). If you need to substitute some vitamins and minerals – then there are plenty of options out there. Unfortunately, cheap pills also mean cruddy returns. Lots of natural fruits and vegetables help. Although it’s a lot of clean-up work, if you haven’t tried it, make yourself a health shake in a blender. Spinach, apples, oranges, carrots, peas, bananas, and some vanilla yogurt makes a really amazing drink! Really … try it (quantities as you desire)! You’ll be surprised what you DON’T taste of the veggies. Best of all, tell your friends it’s your new-age, liquid turtle diet and watch them turn green, too (hard to laugh and drink it at the same time though … be careful!). And, when you love it … make sure to tell everybody that I sent you 😉

4. Stress down. Sounds easy, right? If it were easy to stress down – it wouldn’t take Buddhist Monks a lifetime atop a mountain in solitude to find peace! Don’t stress that it’s hard not to stress! If you have a significant other or friends – talk! Don’t vent … communicate! Try to take five minutes a day to breath DEEPLY, and pray a LOT. When you’re done venting to God, take another five minutes to recognize that you’re not a victim and life’s not picking on you. You may not believe it at first, but since He truly loves you – He’ll show you. Laughter has been, and always will be, the best medicine for stress … next to Star Trek and pizza.

5. Sleep better. I don’t know how – and it’s a VERY long story about why I am truly the King of Dreams and Sleep – in both yours and my realms, but you need rest. There is a thing known as a sleep metabolism. This is a special kind of weight loss that only happens when you are sleeping. A lack of sleep, or non-rem sleep, will severely inhibit your sleep metabolism while also inhibiting weight loss while awake. Additionally, sleep is one of the only, truly preventative measures you have against stress and dealing with life-long issues. And, you’re human … you HAVE life-long issues.

And, even after you’ve tried all of this – if you’re not losing weight, then don’t give up and don’t surrender!! (aka … you’re not necessarily a victim … necessarily). You can try doctors and they’ll probably berate you with their all-knowing wisdom telling you about how you’re living wrong … even when you prove otherwise. But, the best weapon you have for good health is … you. If you live in the frozen tundra of the north, remember, weight gain is normal. And, contrary to a certain unnamed university Professor that took the time to berate me and tell me that humans don’t hibernate … the need to sleep when it’s cold, a slow metabolism when it’s cold, and extra fat storage when it’s cold would dictate otherwise. So – it is a normal part of life. It may be part of yours. And, beauty is as beauty does … if you can accept that.

No — NONE of this is to be construed as medical advice. If you take it that way, you’re ON YOUR OWN. I vehemently deny all responsibility for stupid people. The remaining .04% of the world … I don’t have to worry about. These are only thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and considerations. Each person is different. There is NO good “one-size-fits-all-diet.” DON’T believe it. When Dr. Oz tells you he doesn’t endorse anything specific and then endorses it … think carefully before listening. When the FDA tells you what your caloric intake should be because it worked for 100 healthy adults in a limited trial study – remember that you’re human and unique.

So try different things. Do different things. But, first – be you. Be happy. If you can’t do that – then no amount of “healthy living,” will mean anything. These problems are out there – it has been growing from generation to generation. Don’t be a cash-cow for the weight loss industry because, whether it’s the planet or culture, they really don’t have a clue what’s causing it – so no – they can’t fix it either! And, considering that a lot of experimental, pill-based, weight loss clinics have shut their doors because of the number of “deaths” (yes – for real), you may want to stay in charge of yourself. It will give you control back and hey – reduce stress!

Look – it’s working already! See? You look better! I can tell.

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