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First Things First!

First Things First!

Have too much to do and too little time? Are you doing what’s most important, or just what screams at you?  Steven Covey in his book, First Things First, talks about organizing one’s life to be a highly effective individual, but also to keep the most important things in one’s life where they should be, first. The basic areas, as he outlines them, are spiritual, social, mental, and physical.  In traditional time management or life organizational seminars, you are usually asked to list these areas in order of importance.  Let’s try it!

What is most important in your life, your spiritual beliefs, your family, or your work?  Having trouble? If so, it’s because each of us struggle daily with trying to decide which area of our life to focus on.  Of course, as soon as we get one area of our life in order we move on to the next. When we move from family to work, work flourishes but family suffers.  Covey says that these areas of our lives are like circles that overlap each other in the middle. This area of overlap is where we create the balance in our lives and where we define what is first.  In this area we can develop our desires, hopes, and dreams of the future. In this area we can create a statement of life. You need to do more than simply create goals for yourself. It is a visionary statement about what you are trying to create in your life.  In this process you not only define who you are and what you want out of life, but you generate a bigger question; why am I here and when I am gone, what contribution will I have made to mankind? Covey calls this a legacy. It is not what you might traditionally think.  He defines legacy as “our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.”  

One of the reasons for doing this exercise is to understand how important each area of your life is, including your health.  In the struggle to accomplish things in our lives we often forget about our health. If you look at the circles in the diagram, you will see where health in the physical area overlaps all the other areas of your life.  Without health will these other areas suffer? Will you be able to experience the greatest joy possible in your work, family, or mental areas without health?

Perhaps it’s time to create your statement of life.  It can be very fulfilling to include significant others in the process as well.  Focusing on your dreams and goals with balance in mind can create a life where first things do come first!

 

Ref: Covey, S., Merrill, A., Merrill, R. (1994) First Things First. Free Press.

The Rise and Fall of Germ Theory

The science of medicine came into being about the same time America became a nation. Both political and medical groups debated similar points. Our founding fathers asked, “Can a politically free people exist?” While our medical fathers asked, “Can a physiologically free body exist?” Our founding fathers answered, “Yes” to their question and America was born. Our medical fathers answered, “No” to their question and modern medicine was born.

In easy to understand terms, the medical question they were asking was: Does the body have the ability to adapt to its environment and sufficiently protect itself from disease? The answer came from Dr. Benjamin Rush (who also signed the Declaration of Independence), “Although a certain self-acting power does exist in the organism, it is subject to ordinary physical and chemical laws, and in any case, it is not strong enough to withstand the onslaughts of disease.” Since his limited understanding of the body was that it apparently could not defend itself, the next question was, “What is the role of the physician?” To this he answered, “Although physicians are in speculation the servants, yet waiting for the slow operations of nature to eliminate a supposed morbid matter from the body, art should take the business out of her hands.” Basically, he stated that nature takes too long and healing should be taken over by the physician. Sadly, that is where we find much of the medicine today. Physicians strive to create health in the short term; this can compromise the body’s ability to resist disease in the long term. One of the main theories about the cause of disease today is the germ theory, made popular by Louis Pasteur. According to germ theory, diseases are caused by microorganisms that invade the body and disturb its inner chemistry. Examples of germ theory are the search for a way to kill the AIDS virus, and the recent concern over Hepatitis B. The medical goal here is to kill the germs before they kill us. Imagine you and a friend are sitting talking to someone who has the flu with viral particles entering both of you, but you don’t get sick. Only your friend gets the flu. When that happens, and it does all the time, the virus cannot be the cause. It has to be something you don’t have in common. A competing theory is pleomorphism. It claims that the strength of your immune system is the determining factor in whether you get sick. Some things that can interfere with your immune system are lack of sleep, pH balance, consuming large amounts of sugar and junk food, and vertebral subluxation. In the same way that mosquitoes seek out stagnant water, viruses and bacteria search out and thrive in damaged or diseased tissue. If your body is healthy you don’t get sick, if your body is weak and unhealthy, you are susceptible to disease. Dr. Rush wasn’t completely wrong; we agree that some may not be strong enough to fight. It isn’t their fault however; they have interference in their ability to fight.

From a Nutrition and Lifestyle perspective, if your body is not given the necessary resources or is under a lot of stress, it can lead to an unhealthy host becoming a breeding ground for disease and infection. Just remove the interference, provide the necessary nutrients, and let the body do as nature intended!

Black, D. (1988). Heath at the Crossroads; Exploraing the Conflict between Natural Healing and Conventional Medicine. Lehi, UT: Tapestry Press.

Fassa, P. (2017, March 1). “The Truth About the Germ Theory.” Retrieved from www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/truth-about-germ-theory

Ji, S. (2017, April 16). “Why the Only Thing Influenza May Kill Is Germ Theory.” Retrieved from http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/why-only-thing-influenza-may-kill-germ-theory

Just Right

Imagine you’re the digestive system for a few minutes.  It’s nearly dinnertime, and the aroma of your favorite meal fills the house, your mouth begins to water (that’s one of the first steps of digestion, you know) while the stomach prepares for the work ahead.  Imagine, if you will, a little person in the stomach with his yellow acid-proof suit, hard hat, and heavy duty rubber boots. His job is to keep the acid and enzyme levels just right, so he sends information to the brain about what’s for dinner and waits for messages from the brain to tell him which levers to pull.  The purpose of the enzymes and acid is to break up the food (he really prefers chewed up food) so that the nutrients can be absorbed in the intestines. Without the proper balance of enzymes and acids the food can’t get broken down and the little buy in the yellow rubber suit has to work overtime. He hates overtime!  How does this delicate balance get messed up? Here’s one way – see if this example applies to any other aspects of your health.

Let’s call our little rubber-suited person Ace (ase) since many of the enzymes are lipase, protease, cholinesterase, etc.  So Ace is getting all the stuff in order when the guy who owns the body decides to listen to one of those silly commercials he heard on T.V.  You know the ones; two guys sitting in a car, one guy says to the other, “Hey, Joe let’s have a chili dog.” Joe says, “Oh, I’d love to but I forgot to take my Pepcid AC.” The other guy says, “Don’t worry about it, take some of mine it works right away.”  So he takes an antacid. Ace seeing it land says to himself, “Hey what’s going on? My mixture is all wrong, that pill is messing with the acid balance.” Ace quickly sends a message to the brain. The brain responds, “Send more acid!” Ace jumps into action and pulls more levers.  Here we have a situation where the body has to over perform, do double duty, to get a basic task done. The problem extends far beyond that meal however, because eventually the glands responsible for producing enzymes and acids have done the work of two lifetimes and they get tired of working overtime.  They go on strike and refuse to work! Pretty soon, even if there is no Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, or Tums there just isn’t enough energy left in those glands to get the easiest food digested.

What leads up to a body requiring a drug?  What causes enough interference in the communication system to produce too much acid, too little insulin, estrogen, thyroxine?  One reason is dietary and lifestyle choices that create an unfavorable condition in the digestive system. The standard American diet of sugar-laden and highly-acidic processed foods, consumed in rushed conditions can lead to indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers.  These types of issues are so common that acid blocking drugs are among the most highly prescribed drugs on the planet. Acid blockers were prescribed at 270 million hospital trips made by ambulance from 2006-2010 and account for $10 billion dollars annually.

In addition, more and more newborns and infants are receiving a diagnosis of reflux and GERD.  An analysis of health records of more than 792,000 children born between 2001 and 2013 uncovered that 8% of children were prescribed antacids and antibiotics in their first 6 months of life.  We need to ask ourselves, is it possible that these infants lack the proper gut flora to digest their food due to poor gut health of the mother (which passes to the baby in the birth canal)? Could this lead to additional health and digestion issues as the child grows into adulthood?  The answer to these questions is most certainly yes. The answer to the problem however, is not an antacid, it lies in the restoration of normal digestive function and a return to health!

Guyton, A. (1976) Medical Physiology. Zed Books.

Chetley, A. (April 26, 2002) “Problem Drugs.” IMS Reports. Fairfield, CT: IMS Health.

GreenMedInfo Research Group (January 16, 2018) “Top 5 Reasons NEVER to Take a Proton Pump Inhibitor.” Retrieved from http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/top-5-reasons-never-take-proton-pump-inhibitor

Mozes, A. (April 3, 2018) “Babies given antacids, antibiotics may have higher risk for allergies, asthma.” Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-hlth-babies-antacids-antibiotics-risk-0411-story.html