Thursday, September 23, 2010

How do your beliefs stack up?

Do as I say, not ... You know the rest.  Today we're talking about beliefs and how powerful these little things are.  People have lost their lives for them and nations have gone to war over beliefs.  They are relevant today to each and every one of us as they are the very cause of the current "Health Care" mess.

I was thinking the other day about beliefs and wondered, "Is it possible to know what other people believe?  After all, beliefs happen on the inside and people can say anything they want on the outside."

Gandhi said it this way:  "Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny."

I believe that it IS possible to tell what people believe.  You can SEE what they believe by looking at their actions (choices).  I've heard people say, "I can't hear a word you're saying because your actions are speaking so loudly."  Actions are in fact physical manifestations of the underlying invisible beliefs.

As just one example, let's apply this to food: if people say that they believe eating high quality food will help them be healthy and yet they regularly eat junk (like most people I know), there's one of two things going on:  Either #1 - they don't really want to be healthy, or #2 - they don't believe that eating high quality food actually IS a large determinant of health. The first option -- that people don't want to be healthy -- is an utterly ridiculous concept.  This leaves us with only one option: that people don't really believe that high quality food matters for our health.  If people WANTED to be healthy, and they KNEW high quality food mattered, then they would CHOOSE high quality foods over illness-producing ones every time.

The reason medicine is failing (Health Care Reform anyone?) is because it does not instill the beliefs that personal choice is important for health.  If it did instill this belief and people wanted health, then everyone under medical care would be making healthy choices.  The reality is that people have become convinced that there's some way to well-being other than making good choices, that there's some system that can compensate for their personal shortcomings and that this system is more important than their personal choices as a determinant of their long-term health.  Sounds pretty ridiculous I know, but that's reality.  The reason I know this is based on what people actually DO, not what they say.  Let's take a look:

Currently in America, the number one source of calories is the High Fructose Corn Syrup in soft drinks (soon to be replaced by "real sugar" as if that's any better).  A recent CDC report stated, "In 2009, 67.5 percent of adults ate less than two fruits daily and 73.7 percent ate less than three vegetables daily."  If people are in control of their actions, and if healthy choices result in health, then one could conclude that either people don't want to be healthy or people have some misguided beliefs controlling their actions.

Medicine does a lot of amazing things (heart transplants, morphine to numb pain after car wrecks, etc) but it HASN'T helped people believe that what they do matters for their health.  Medicine as a whole is an utter failure when it comes to helping people live in ways that could result in them actually BEING healthy for a lifetime.  This is the very reason that heart disease, Type II Diabetes (both very nearly 100% preventable), and cancer (highly preventable) are major health threats in America but not in many other countries (until they adopt our way of life).  Why I started blogging was to show people the evidence that what they do matters and they CAN be healthy once they become aware of their actual beliefs.

Here's to believing that what you do matters.

Reconnecting you to Natural health through accurate beliefs.

Yours in Health, Love, and Freedom - Intern Steve

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My current 9/11 (or The epidemiology of obesity)

When I returned from Afghanistan, I thought I left the war behind.  Little did I know that I was in for a rude awakening when I started working toward my doctorate in health and wellness and discovered how sore our health troubles were in the US.  The most shocking statistics I saw had to do with our children who are developing chronic illness (yes, diseases we thought were due to aging) faster than any other group.  Our US children are developing obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease faster than any other age group.  So much for leaving the war behind, I'm knee-deep in it again.

The first thing I wanted to know was what the cause is.  There are some very intelligent people who seem fixated on the idea that there's a gene as the cause.

With over $1 Billion being spent right now trying to track down and "turn off" (with drugs) the obesity gene, someone like me has a hard time trying to decide whether to laugh at the sheer absurdity of the venture or to cry at the waste of time, resources, and talent.  This idea that we need to find the genetic cause of our obesity is not only ridiculous but is actually dangerous to our children and our economy.

For thousands of years, humans have existed without the current problems of obesity.  It wasn't until about the 1980s that the US and England started plumping up like ripe fruit.  

Does anyone think we've had a genetic shift in the last 30 years - that all of a sudden the genes of certain populations changed?

This is the idea that's being perpetuated with all the outside-in chemical solutions to everything from high cholesterol to eyelash shortness.

The idea of a sudden gene change is absurd, but many people in academia and the public have fallen for it because it's very appealing to think that we had nothing to do with our problems.  It's an easy idea to sell.  

If the problematic obesity gene is "found", the researchers will get glory, the drug companies will get filthy rich for providing the "solution" and the Medical Doctors will push the drug on our kids.  Forget the fact that this has never happened before EVER in the history of all humans.  But today, all of a sudden, it's a gene that caused the obesity.

There's a lot riding on this.  But what's at stake is more than glory for a few researchers, trillions of dollars for drug companies, and more hand-tying for our medical doctors (it'll become malpractice if you DON'T prescribe the "solution").  What's at stake is the identity of our kids as capable and self-actualizing, and as being able to own the consequences of their choices.

What worse sentence can you give someone than telling them, "It's genetic, there's nothing anyone can do"?

If your doctor tells you "It's in your genes and here's the drug to fix your problem, but you should probably exercise and eat right too", what reason in the world do you have for actually eating right and exercising?  They just told you that's not what caused the problem.

What's the point of changing anything if it's in your genes?  What's the point in changing if a drug is the solution?

Wellness and Prevention are illogical within this understanding of the genes as the cause and so too is personal responsibility.  You see, the major fruits of the last 30 years are a production of people unwilling to own the consequences of the things they do.  And why should people take responsibility with everyone (especially the TV and their doctors with pills) telling them they had nothing to do with it anyway?

Please look at the chart above again and realize that the recent spikes in diseases of affluence, also called "Western Diseases" (type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity and strokes) are NOT due to a recent genetic shift.  With our kids growing up in this time where everything that's wrong with them can be "undone" by taking a pill (including the length of their eyelashes), is there any worse concept that the TV or their doctor can tell them day after day than "You're genes are messed up, there's nothing that can be done to change, and a prescription is the only solution?"

My question is - If it's not genes that are the problem, what could it be?

- It couldn't be the fact that we are underconsuming diets of fresh, whole foods - foods that humans have consumed forever (except for the 20th century).  
When was the last time you saw a regular apple advertised on TV?  Raw broccoli?  Raw peppers?  Raw zucchini?  Is there any wonder why we eat mostly processed foods?

- It couldn't be that families are consuming things (food additives, chemicals, artificial sweeteners, etc.) that have NEVER been introduced to the human species EVER until the 1980s.  

- It couldn't be that mothers and families are moving (or not moving) in ways that are completely foreign to their genes.  
When was the automobile invented? the escalator? the motorized scooter? the television (where our kids spend hours a day)?

- It couldn't be that kids and parents are plagued with emotional stresses such as constant impending doom and gloom on the NEWS.

- It couldn't be a lack of feeling of belonging and acceptance and love and contributing to a society.

- It couldn't be the fact that many of us don't know our neighbors and live in constant fear of attack from the outside.
9/11 anyone?
Stressors like eating, moving, and thinking in ways that are not genetically compatible have been linked to obesity and every other Western Disease.

Which drug are they going to come up with that will solve the problems we create by putting ourselves in such a stressful environment?  

With a billion people starving in the world right now, is it really a good idea to develop a pill to get Americans to eat more without gaining weight?

Only when we realize the actual cause of the problems do we have any chance of coming up with a viable solution.

Our physiology (or state of function - health or illness) is the genetic expression of our choices.  It's the expression of our past and current environments.  If we develop a problem, the first place we should look is the environment of how we are eating, moving, and thinking instead of assuming that a gene caused the changes in our health status.

Reconnecting you to freedom through responsibility.

In Health, Love, and Freedom with informed choices - Steve Perry

PS - next time someone hears an advertisement on the radio or TV for raw eggplant shoot me an email.

Graphic from:


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Encouragement and Permission

Encouragement and Permission.

This topic is one that's very close to my heart, it's something I've done for a long time, but I never had a name for until I met Dr. Brooks. As a parent, a mentor, a role model, a teacher, a coach, and a doctor, I can't think of any other concept that is more universal in inspiring others to achieve more and to reach higher than that of Encouragement and Permission.

Encouragement - supporting someone in their decision after they have been informed of the consequences of making a choice.

Permission - allowing the consequences to be owned by the individual - for better or for worse - without judgement.

Using this simple approach to parenting as well as patient care, I have seen amazing things in terms of an individual's growth and responsibility and happiness and freedom. It is very encouraging to see people achieving new heights by making decisions on their own with increased knowledge.

My three-year-old daughter shows that she understands this concept when she gets down on her little sister's level, looks her in the eye, and informs her about different options she has while they play together. Often, after informing her of playing options, Sophie will give Ivy permission to make a choice and finally, followup with encouragement about that choice. It's such a fun experiences to witness such a small person helping another in a simple yet profound way.

All playing aside, Encouragement and Permission is about responsibility -- something corporations, societies, and governments tend to shy away from.

The opposite of Encouragement and Permission is Coercion without information. Coercion without information is forced obedience of a person who lacks the knowledge necessary to make decisions with no attempt to educate them.

Although necessary when dealing with very young children, this is an inferior way of upbringing and is very prevalent in today's society and in government. Using this method of behavior change produces a state of dependence and ignorance where people feel no need to take responsibility for their own actions. This is a state where the government, corporation, doctor, or care provider runs every aspect of a person's life and tells them what they must do. People brought up with this mentality aren't interested in increasing their knowledge about their choices and actually seek a parent or government who uses Coercion without information to make decisions for them. By doing this they remove from themselves the need to take responsibility. This philosophy is extremely disempowering and very prevalent.

This mentality is everything I fought against in Afghanistan and what I continue to fight against now. During my tour of Afghanistan I witnessed the first EVER free election of the Afghan people, what a humbling day. Here in America, I blog and teach others about changing their health status through their choices. I teach others how to take responsibility for their lives and their health, to allow them to make mistakes but to be happy in the fact that they made the decision on their own and know that tomorrow is another opportunity to make a good decision.

This is freedom. The use of Encouragement and Permission is how we transmit freedom from ourselves to others.

Reconnecting you to a life of freedom through informed choices.

- (Very-soon-to-be-Dr.) Steve

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Got depression?

Depression is something that can be severely disabling and something that a great number of Americans suffer with.  It can transform a person's world.  I was reading a recent article comparing three different treatments for people suffering with severe depression - 1) Exercise alone, 2) Medication alone, and 3) Exercise with Medication. 

The findings were astounding!

The Exercise WITHOUT Medication group had better recovery as well as fewer relapses than either of the other two groups.  Just take a look at the chart!

The amazing thing is that not only did exercise beat medication, but exercise alone beat exercise WITH the medication (meaning that the medicine appeared detrimental to the recovery of these people after they began an exercise program). Say "Wow!"

Important - Exercise is NOT a therapy! Adequate movement (especially movement of the spine) is ESSENTIAL for proper functioning of the brain, heart, lungs, muscles, and every other part of the body.

If these depressed people were deficient in exercise causing chemical changes in the brain, how can we possibly think that medication is the rational solution?

If their bodies NEEDED exercise but didn't have it, what is the only way to reestablish a normal level of health?  If we continue to focus on drug-centered solutions to overcome lifestyle-created issues, where is the hope?

A LACK of an essential nutrient allows the possibility of disease. Having this understanding is absolutely critical for optimal health and wellness!

How can we call long-term drugs without exercise a "treatment" for depression and consider ourselves rational and "evidence-based"?

More important is the understanding that within the human body, there's never a time when you have just one cause of any "condition". If you also helped these depressed persons improve what they were putting into their body in terms of NUTRITION and THOUGHTS, imagine what would happen for their ability to express amazing health and vitality!

Where is this understanding in today's "Health Care"? Is this the conversation that goes on between a depressed patient and their doctor? Are these sick people viewing the drug as a REPLACEMENT for exercise (look at the relapse rates in these two groups)? Are depressed patients being told that exercise alone may be their BEST option? These people are NOT going to get this information in a drug commercial on TV - exercise is FREE! Who's going to tell them the truth?

Here's to getting and staying depression-free by supplying the body what it needs in terms of movement, nutrition, and emotion.

Reconnecting you to health and happines, Naturally.