Wednesday, December 28, 2011

January Is National Diet Month

January is known as National Diet Month.  Hmmm I wonder why?  Just kidding of course.  It is the time of year that many, many people decide to “go on a diet”.  Why?  For a couple of reasons I believe.  One, the beginning of a year offers a chance to start anew and get rid of old habits or add new ones.  Two, most of us spent the time frame between the end of November and January 1st pigging out, eating more sweets, consuming more alcohol etc. and we feel the added weight on our body.  So, it naturally seems to be a good time to start over in many ways, and our health or diet seems to be one of the most common areas we choose to start with.

But I’d like to put another thought in your head.  Whether you like it or not, you’re on a diet.  Right now, at this moment, you are on a diet.  Whether you decided consciously or not to be on it, you are on it.  Some of you are on diets that are terrible, some on diets that are just ok, some on diets that are great.  Whatever choices you make in regard to what you consume regularly, that is your diet.  So you can’t decide to “go on a diet”, you’re already on one.  You CAN decide to CHANGE your diet, and for most of us, that could be a really good thing depending on how we change it.  

Consider this/these questions:  Are you consuming 6-10 servings a day of raw fruits and vegetables?  Are you consuming high quality protein from range fed animals daily?  Are you drinking enough water daily? I know the answer to those questions for me, and I’d guess for most of you as well: No.  It’s not a question meant to condemn you or discourage you, it’s a question to help you see where are you are as compared to where you should be.  It allows us to evaluate what kinds of changes should be made.

So if you answered no to any or all of the questions, the next question is “How can I get to that point, or at least closer to it?” That’s how we set our plans up.  For instance, if you’re consuming only one piece of fruit a day, how can you get another one in?  Figure that out and put it in the plan.  If you’re consuming 4 servings/day, then you ask the same question.  It’s really a very simple and powerful exercise as it empowers you to move forward and get closer to wellness.  By the way, if you are consuming little to no fruits/veggies every day, then you not only need to start eating some a.s.a.p., you also need to supplement with a whole food supplement like our NanoGreens or NanoReds supplements.  Fruit and vegetable consumption is one of the main ways we boost our immunity with food, decreasing our chances of getting many diseases.  But remember, a supplement is just that, a SUPPLEMENT, not a substitute!  So don’t take the easy way out and go only with supplementation.

So now that you know you are on a diet already, what changes in that diet do you need to make?  How can I help?  Our lifestyle counseling services or wellness consulting services can be the added support you need to make those changes permanent in your life, part of your regular diet and lifestyle.  We’re here to help so feel free to contact me via email, Facebook or phone.  We can be of service to you via any of those mediums.  The important thing is to act now, and get headed in the right direction so that at this time next year, you’ve created a new YOU!

Until next time…Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tis The Season

This week before Christmas is harried for pretty much everyone, I doubt you can ask a single person about their life this week without them using the words, busy, rushed, stressed or something to that effect.  My life has not been much different, I have a small part in our Christmas Eve production at our church and that has put me at rehearsals Sunday, Tuesday night, and Thursday night for 2-3 hours each time.  Not complaining, just stating.

Three of our cast members were feeling a bit under the weather at the last practice, all of which have important parts in the production, two are character actors, one is a singer (with an amazing voice I might add).  I was thinking about this that night as we all prayed for those that are feeling poorly.  In reality, it's more than coincidence that several members are having health issues at this time, for 'tis truly the season for colds and more.  But why?

Let's take a simple look at this.  Let's break it down to the basic tenets of my wellness formula.  To review, the wellness formula states that to be well, we must eat well, move well, think well and rest well.  Again, I challenge you to think of any disease or illness that couldn't be eradicated or at least, minimized by following this simple protocol.   So, during this festive, holy season, how does the average person do in regards to this formula?

Eating well?  Well, we may be eating a LOT of very flavorful holiday foods, but I somehow doubt any of us are eating better than we normally do.  I look at my breakfast table this morning, and see several tins and other containers filled with goodies that people have brought us.  May I say that yes, they are tasty, and I say that not just because my family has partaken of the tasty morsels.  The fudge a patient brought is especially hard to stay away from!

Moving well?  I don't know about you, but I know I haven't been to the gym in about a week, and probably won't get back til Tuesday. I wonder what the activity level at the gyms has been this week, I'll be sure to ask when I return next week.  About the only exercise most are getting is walking in stores I'd say from what I saw yesterday morning at the mall (A Santa Line about 100 yards long).

Thinking well?  Hmmm, how do we measure this?  Let me ask a question. Are people more or less stressed this time of year?  There's more to do, financial issues come to a forefront as we try to buy gifts for our loved ones, traffic is tougher to deal with etc.  I'd say most feel more more stress than normal right about now.

Resting well?  Easy to answer that one.  How many of us have been up later than normal?  How many of us have not been on our normal rest pattern?  How many late night glasses of wine or other toddies have been consumed in the past month that are more than normal? 

It's kind of the perfect storm isn't it?  More sugar that lowers our immunity, no exercise to boost our immunity and fight off calories, extra stress and less rest.  Kind of the antithesis to the wellness formula.

So what do we do?  Our best.  Recognize the issue and do one's best to combat it, and enjoy this holiest of seasons.  And recall Philippians 4: 4-7 which says, "4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I wish you peace, health, and a prosperous 2012.

Until next time...Be Well!!
Dr. Bruce

Thursday, November 10, 2011

At Least We'll Look Good In The Casket

How's that for a morbid title.  It came to me early this morning, I guess it's dangerous to blog before 6 a.m.  I was reading an article about this "fat zapping drug" called Adipotide that targets the blood vessels leading to fat cells to effectively starve the fat cells by killing those blood vessels.  Well that sounds like a healthy way to go doesn't it?  Let's take fat cells, which are necessary in the body, and start starving them til they die off and kill the fat cells as a result. 

Hmmm.  Let's think about this.  The drug kills blood vessels in the body.  So, when we quit taking it what happens?  I'd guess the blood vessels re-grow or new ones grow to the new fat cells that will invariably appear because no lifestyle changes have occurred.  Hmmm. I guess that means we'll have to take this drug for the rest of our lives.  Hmmm.  I guess that will make the drug manufacturers happy, and wealthy, and ironically "fat". 

So, we can continue to eat what we want, avoid moving much at all, live a stressed out life, and not rest well because we have a drug that will reduce the fat and keep it away.  All without us having to lift a finger to change.  Just take this pill and all is well, or so it appears.

Hey, you know what?  My oil light came on in my car.  That's a warning sign that the car needs oil isn't it?  I need to get that problem addressed.  I should probably stop and get some oil and pour it in.  Or...........I could just find the wires to the oil light, and yank them out.  That way the oil light isn't on and disturbing me while I try to keep driving.  It's cheaper too, doesn't cost a thing to yank some wires out.  Or better yet, some black electrical tape over the light will keep me from seeing it on too.  That's even easier, though very slightly more expensive than yanking the wiring out.  No one around me will know that my bright shiny car is dying of thirst for oil, it will still look great as I drive down the street and everyone can marvel at my beautiful car that I keep washed and vacuumed regularly. 

Well, when that motor blows, and the car dies, it sure will look pretty sitting in the junkyard too.  If we keep taking the same approach to our health, taking drugs to mask symptoms, botox injections to look good, living a suicidal lifestyle, we'll suffer the same fate.

At least we'll look good in the casket.

Until Next Time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Second Half Of The Word: Thanks-Giving

So here's November, coming at us full throttle, kicking off the season of the hustle and bustle of the last 60 days of 2011.  60 days from now we will all be celebrating the start of 2012, eating our cabbage, black eyed peas, watching parades and football.  I hope and pray you're not looking at the end of 2011 and wondering why you didn't get this or that done.  I hope you're able to look back on it as a job well done and with no regrets. 

The beginning of the holidays is officially Thanksgiving.  That of course is the time where we typically focus on being grateful for the blessings we've received, and well we should.  For we have all experienced some amazing blessings in the past year most likely, even if it's only ("only") the gift of another year of life.  I am personally continually amazed that I could be blessed with the life I've had for 46 years, and I grow more grateful for it daily.  But I'd like to focus on another part of Thanksgiving, the 2nd half of the word: Giving.

I am currently reading a book called Radical by David Platt.  He speaks in his book of the reason behind God's blessings.  It's not so we can "oooh" and "ahhh" over how blessed we are. It's so we can be a conduit of His great love for us by sharing it with others.  That makes perfect sense to me.  We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others.  For those of you reading this that aren't Christ followers, stay with me here.  You may not believe the in the same God I do, but the principle definitely still applies.  We shouldn't just sit back and just say "look how blessed we are, I am so grateful".  That is the equivalent of being the Dead Sea, which only receives and never contributes, thus it is "dead".

We are the same way.  If all we do is receive, or to be more blunt about it, if all we do is take, we contribute nothing to the world.  In essence, much like the Dead Sea, we are dead.  We are not made to be receivers only, we are made to be a conduit through which others can experience blessings. I believe that for us to REALLY be grateful, we MUST give back.  I also believe that if we care to fully experience life, we MUST be that conduit, we MUST share what we have been given.

Today is November 1st, so last night was Halloween.  It's a night that for kids is typically about getting things (candy).  Our church put a new, Radical spin on Halloween. Instead of focusing on getting candy from the houses, we had about 50+ people go out to the houses and ask for canned goods to give to a local pantry.  I was with a group of high school boys doing this.  It was very awe inspiring to watch them being counter-cultural as they went from door to door explaining what they were doing, taking a stand and actually caring more about what they can get for OTHERS, versus what they could get for themselves.  It was even more impressive to see them truly having fun doing this, laughing and cutting up and experiencing the joy of being part of something bigger than them, that will benefit others, with no strings attached. It just seemed innately right.

I think joy is a key word here.  When we give of ourselves, we may get tired, (I was last night after following these young men around from house to house), but we can experience joy.  Joy is more than happiness.  Happiness is a fleeting emotion, tied to an event or time.  Joy is everlasting, and comes deep from within.  It comes from being a receiver and a giver, being blessed and being a blessing.

So, if you want to be truly thankful and have more than you can imagine being thankful for, such as having true joy, be a giver.  Be a blessing to others.  It is part of the wellness lifestyle to give. Do it with regularity, and you'll have your own socks blessed off.   You'll have joy that is unspeakable, and live a life that won't leave you filled with regrets.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Art Of Living Your Life With Gratitude

Next week November 1st comes around, and we all start thinking of the holidays, the first of which is Thanksgiving. Of course that is a time when we are supposed to give thanks. But do we? Or do we look at this holiday only as a time to stuff our faces, sit around and watch football, and hang out with family? There's nothing wrong with that, and I'll probably do a little of each. But, are we thankful? Really Thankful?

You'd be surprised at the benefits of living a life of gratefulness. It changes your whole physiology (your insides). Studies have shown that practicing gratefulness has a whole myriad of health benefits. It can literally add years to your life, and life to your years.

There are several ways to start living this style of life. I teach my patients these when they are having issues with depression or with anxiety. One would be to buy a small notebook that you keep with you. You can use this as your gratefulness journal. You can either carry it with you and write in it as the day goes by about what your grateful for, or you can have a specific time every day that you sit down to use it. Every day, your task is to write down 5 things you are grateful for. Now, the goal is not just to create a list of things you are thankful for, but to experience exactly why you are thankful. The goal is to shift our focus from all that is not quite right in our life, to the blessings we already have.  It's easy to find the bad in life, anyone can do that.  But it takes time and effort to be truly grateful.  So, how DO we move from making a list to experiencing true gratefulness? Read on!

When you pick something you are thankful for, don't just write it down. Instead, write it down, then write a brief sentence or two as to WHY you are grateful. For instance, if I were to write down I am grateful for my wife, I'd might say the following: "I am grateful for my wife because she is beautiful inside and out, and I could not ask for a better mom for my kids. I enjoyed sitting with her by the fire pit and just shooting the breeze last night". That is a real example that I used recently.  When you do it this way, you will not just state what you are blessed with, you will re-experience it.  That is what will change your physiology.

You can do that once a day and list 5 things, or you can go through the day and write things down as they come to you or you experience them. Or you can do a combination of the two where you spend 5 minutes writing in your journal daily, but you also keep it with you so you can write down other things that you might experience throughout the day. If you're ever feeling down, stressed, depressed or frustrated, take it out and read through some of the entries.

Lastly, every night before you fall asleep, think on those things again. The bible tells us in Phillipians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." So every night review your day and focus on those things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable etc and be thankful for them. It's a great way to drift off to sleep.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Finishing Strong........and Beginning Well!

There is less than 1/4 of 2011 left for us to experience. Soon the familiar sounds of Christmas will be heard and the pace of life will pick up with shopping, cooking, parties, decorating and the like. I was just speaking with my daughter and relaying that in a little over a month Thanksgiving will be here. It's hard to believe, but the end of 2011 is drawing near.

So how have you done with your health goals for this year? Have you nailed them and moved on to other goals? Did you struggle with some and do well with others? Or did you totally blow all of them? Probably most of us fall into the middle category I'd bet. If you have already nailed all your goals then pat yourself on the back for having had a great year. If you really struggled this year, acknowledge it and realize it's time to move forward since there's nothing we can do about what is already past.

I'd like to encourage you a bit here. There is still some time to make a difference in your health this year. No, you may not be able to lose 50 pounds, but you can make a dent in your weight. You may not be working out at all, but by the end of the year you could have a habit of exercising 4x every week. While you may not be able to hit all your goals by the end of the year, you can do some things that set the pace for your upcoming year. If you decide, and that's all it takes is a decision, you can have a whole boatload of new health habits started by December 31, and you finish the year feeling good about yourself. You'll finish the year strong and that will make you proud of your accomplishments. Remember to not take on too much if you are going to try to finish strong, but maybe set up a plan that allows you to do a few new things every week so that you build that momentum. Maybe this week you start walking a few times a week. Maybe next week you start working your eating habits by planning a few healthy meals. The week after that you could add in some massage therapy to help you de-stress and relax. You get the picture. A few steps at a time and come the last week of December you'll be rocking.

I'll caution you with one very important concept. When the holidays arrive, your schedule will not get easier. It will get tougher and tighter as events are put into your schedule, and as opportunities to consume sweet treats multiply like rabbits! Be prepared, make your plans and commit to sticking to them for optimum results.

Now on to next year. NOW is the time to start planning. Your success in 2012 starts NOW. It's time to set your goals for where you'd like to be in a year. It's time now to get those goals written down and start reviewing them regularly so that when January 1 rolls around you already have them ingrained in your brain to the point where you are consistently taking action that can move you closer to achieving them. Too many people wake up January 1 and start thinking about their goals then. That's great, but if you do that you've already lost valuable time. You want to start well, which means hitting the ground running and having that momentum working strongly in your favor. So go buy yourself a notebook, or use your computer to write up your goals and save them. Then start reviewing those goals daily. Make sure they're attainable and measurable so you have a clear idea of what it will look like when you attain them.

Some of us may have no real clue where to start.  Eating and exercising are the two things that usually come to mind when we talk about health goals, so let's start with those two.  How many healthy meals are you currently eating per week?  Remember, healthy meals means eating REAL food, that grows, or was once alive with eyes (meat, fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables).  Can you add in more per week?  How many?  Are you snacking well in between meals?  Can you start preparing healthy snacks to keep with you like nuts, seeds, or a piece of fruit?  Are you exercising at all?  Maybe you can add in one day/week more than you are currently doing.  Maybe you need to have more intense cardio sessions so taking a spin class might be the answer.  

How about your rest habits?  Are you resting well? Do you get to bed at a regular time every night allowing your body to develop good sleep hygiene and better rest?  Are you taking in too much caffeine too late at night to allow your body to rest? Too much alcohol can do the same, keeping you from reaching deep, restful sleep.

How about stress in your life?  Is it under control? What are your plans to offset it?  Do you have a vision or a purpose for your life that energizes you?  Are you giving of your time to worthy causes that make a difference in the lives of people less fortunate?  How are your social interactions?  What can you do to improve them?

Each of these areas that I mention, fall into my oh so often repeated wellness mantra:  To BE Well, we must Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well and Rest Well.  Any time you want to evaluate your health and well being, it should all come back to that simple, but extremely valid saying.  Starting there, and focusing on those 4 areas of wellness, will surely allow you to move in the right direction.  If you need help working on those 4 areas, that is something we do regularly in our office with our wellness coaching so don't hesitate to give us a call!

Finally, considering we are so close to Thanksgiving, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention living a life of gratitude.  This falls under thinking well in my wellness mantra.  Spend some time EVERY day being grateful for the things in your life.  Every night when I go to bed I spend time in gratitude to my God for the things of that day.  It's a great way to end your day and helps to assure good rest too.  To that end, thank you to all of you that read my ramblings monthly and that email me, call me, see me in the community and mention reading them.  I am grateful for you, and the chance to spread the "gospel of wellness" as I call it!

Use this time of year to start moving in the right direction, getting your goals set for the upcoming year, and developing momentum for your upcoming success! That way, you'll finish strong in 2011, and you'll start well in 2012!

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It Can Happen To Anyone (You and I Too)

Sooo, here I am, an up and coming health and wellness fanatic, doing my best to take good care of myself, and spreading the "gospel of wellness" to the masses in my own little way. Always eating well, exercising, resting and thinking well, as healthy as I can be right? Yes.........and no.

You see, 2 days ago at work on a Monday morning, I noticed I felt really tired, and a little cold at my office. I checked the thermostat to see if something was set wrong. It was normal. Hmmmm could I be getting sick? Surely not. I haven't run a fever in 2 years, haven't had a cold in 2 years, have felt terrific for a LONG time. Yet by the time lunch rolled around, I could tell I was not right. My eyes were wanting to do nothing but close, and my body felt a bit achy. Oh brother, I don't have time for this, I have a retreat I am going to later this week, I have patients to see prior to that. This was my thought process as panic almost set in. I mean, God forbid I get sick right? Someone like me should always be healthy right? Again, yes.......and no.

See, being healthy doesn't mean you're never sick. I doubt anyone's claims when they say they NEVER get sick. I mean, really? You never get a cold, never have a little stomach upset, no sinus headaches, ever??? Somehow I doubt that. Personally, since in my practice I physically touch 25-45 people a day, and these patients of mine come into the office in varying degrees of health, I get exposed to a lot of the "bugs" they carry in with them. In years past I would get sick enough every year to miss work about twice for a day or two, and you can see how that might happen in my line of work.

Now back to our story....So I realized my body was attempting to tell me something. I was cold and sleepy, and parts of my body were aching a little, which was my body's way of trying to fight off whatever was attacking it. So I went into prevent defense. I went home at lunch, took another dose of my Superfood Solution Shake (I usually take one/day), took two whole food supplements and, because I was listening to my body, I took a nap. I slept for about 1.5 hours total which in itself is a telltale sign that something was wrong since I never nap that long. That evening I took yet another dose of my shake and more whole food supplements. The next morning I was off work, so I took more supplements/shakes, ate good protein and some fruit, drank water, and slept some more. By the afternoon I was already feeling better, and now today I awoke feeling almost 100% (probably 95% if I had to put a number on it).

So why did I fall "under the weather"? Hindsight is 20/20 of course and I can say that over the last 2 weeks, I've let stress get the best of me, I didn't rest all that well because of it, and my eating habits toward the end of last week weren't all that great either. So that is lesson #1 to take from this. We need to pay closer attention to what we are allowing our body to go through as it has a cumulative effect on our health. I was struggling in 3 out of the 4 "Pillars of Wellness" (Eat well, move well, think well and rest well) so that lowered my immunity. The 2nd takeaway from this is how to handle it once you DO start heading down the path to sickness. I ate whole foods, I got extra rest, I practiced total relaxation, I took extra supplements, I didn't put anything toxic in my body (sugars, non-real food etc).

I think lesson #3 is that everyone gets sick to one degree or another at some point. The really healthy among us bounce back much faster, like the blow-up punching bags that are weighted on the bottom, you may get knocked down, but you always bounce back up, and you'll bounce back up faster the healthier you are. In this case, I didn't get knocked down, but I wobbled a bit and bounced back.

Lastly I think a lesson here is that you don't become sick overnight. It's usually a process where inch by inch your immune response slips. You are exposed to "bugs" daily, and your immune system when it's functioning right always wins and keeps them at bay. But when we start skimping on our eating, thinking, resting and exercising, we become less healthy, whether or not we actually have symptoms or not. Eventually if that state continues, we do acquire symptoms and classify ourselves then as "sick".

I find it very interesting that the last two times (this being one of them) I was "under the weather", I was able to bounce right back within a day or so via eating, moving, thinking and resting in a wellness manner. You can do the same thing by learning how to live the wellness lifestyle I promote via our blogs and other social media. I hope this helps!

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Monday, September 12, 2011

Starting The Day In A Wellness Way

Right now as I type this, it is Monday morning, I’ve seen my first group of patients, have a short break before the next ones arrive, and I’ve had a thought in my mind since early this morning that I thought I’d share with you. I was reading through some posts on social media outlets today, and saw varying degrees of “Monday morning” comments. As you might imagine, they ranged from “ugh, it’s Monday”, to more encouraging ones wishing everyone a great start to the week. I had a brief conversation with my 14 year old son this morning on the way to school (aren’t all conversations with 14 year old boys brief?) about the same topic. It really got me thinking about the importance of how we start our days. I always encourage people to “Finish Strong”, but I sometimes think we forget to “Start Well”. This can set the tone for an entire day, and an entire week.

So, how do you start the day? Are you the “Good God it’s morning!” person? Or are you the “Good morning God!” person? Admittedly, I have both types of days at varying times, but honestly I have to say it’s more the latter to a very large degree. I don’t think it’s because I am especially blessed, or lucky, though both of those come into play to some degree. I know I am blessed to have a profession/career that is a blast. I know I am lucky to have the wife I have (she’d agree too) etc. But beyond that, I believe there are some keys that I’ve learned in my years of living and in my years of practice and observing the habits of my patients. So, today I’ll share a couple of tidbits that work well for me to have the best chance of “Starting Well”.

First, today being Monday, that means that I arose extra early to spend time at the gym for a spin class (stationary bike class). It’s an hour of intense cardio work and calorie burning. I’ll be honest that when that alarm goes off at 4:45 on mornings like this, I always have a 3 minute conversation with myself as to whether or not I will actually get up. Getting up usually wins because I think about how great it feels afterward to have started my day in such a great manner. You may not desire to rise that early and go spin for an hour, but the point is to find some way of expending some energy right off the bat and help your day start well. You’ll be proud of yourself and thus feel better emotionally about you. You’ll release endorphins that automatically make you feel good too. You will have awakened your body and made it ready to attack the week. Consider finding some way to exercise right off the bat, even if it’s walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes, you’ll be glad you did it and learn to love the new habit.

Another way to start your day off in a wellness manner is to eat well. Fuel your body in an appropriate manner. A caramel machiotto and pastry doesn’t qualify! Remember it needs to be real food. I start my day off with a Superfood Shake with some products we carry, giving me the equivalent of 8-10 servings of organic fruits and veggies, some healthy whey protein, a solid dose of Omega 3 fish oil, and my vitamin D for the day. I add in a boiled egg often, and a piece of fruit. It’s the first chance I’ve had since the previous dinner to re-fuel so I want to make sure I do it right to avoid mid-morning cravings for twinkies, soft drinks and the like.

I also enjoy a bit of quiet time first thing every morning. Sometimes this is spent with a cup of coffee on my back porch, sometimes sitting in a comfortable chair in my family room. That’s the time I spend mentally preparing for the day, connecting with my God, reading my bible and planning out the day. It organizes my brain (as much as that is possible at least) and helps me insure that the coming day will be as productive as possible.

Lastly, if nothing else, getting up early enough to not be rushing out the door is vital. Being able to take the time to enjoy the morning time (yes it’s possible) sets a good tone for the day. Stressing because we’re running late and trying to remember all the things we need to take with us at the last minute causes stress and certainly isn’t conducive to starting well.

If you begin one or more of these habits, I think you’ll find it easier to start well, stay productive, feel better about one’s self, and banish the “Good God it’s morning” persona!

Until next time…Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hatred Killed Americans 10 Years Ago

And hatred is killing America today. It's sad, but it's true. Hatred of people within our own country has weakened us. Hatred of each other creates an "us vs. them" mentality within our own team. We have to remember that we are on the same side in the long run, and stop hating someone just because they have a different letter behind their name. "They" are Americans, "they" are one of us. We don't have to like "them", or what they believe in and stand for, that's not what I am saying. It's impossible to like everyone, even if "they" are on "our" side politically.

But the mass hatred I see in this country for entire political groups is a worthless emotion, with no upside to it. It has created a divided country where each side blames everything bad on the other. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. But to go on hating, and blaming, gets us nowhere. I'm like a lot of people this weekend, watching a lot of football. The teams that are strong and successful are united and work together, and I am sure they don't all like each other. If they acted on on the fact that they don't like each other, they'd not succeed. That same analogy can be said about our country, which is why I believe we are weakened country for many reasons, and divisiveness is one of the big ones.

Hatred in this manner kills. It kills the owner of that emotion. It is not a wellness oriented emotion, and can serve no good. The Carpenter from Bethlehem said for us to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us. How much more so should we do this for those on our own team? How much more so does this weaken us individually by harboring said hatred? And when each of us is weakened individually by holding on to such hatred, well, the whole is the sum of it's parts.

If you want to be well, and if you want our country to be well, and be healed, it starts with each of us individually. Just like when one or more of the cells in your body become ill, it makes the whole body less healthy. Release that hatred, focus on the good, focus on doing good, serving others, caring for one's self. Thinking well is one of the 4 Pillars of Wellness I teach, and hatred of entire groups of people is the complete opposite of that pillar.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Monday, June 20, 2011

Keep It Simple, Keep It Real

It's simple. It really is.

Eating well is very simple. One doesn't need to spend countless hours watching grams of fat, weighing food, counting calories, evaluating what's good for you or not, looking at a pyramid or a plate. Too much information can truly confuse one as to what types of foods they should consume. It's sad.

I see people talking about eating healthy because they buy low fat "x" or they eat only whole wheat pasta, without regard to the fact that it's loaded with sugar, or processed carbohydrates that turn to sugar in the body. The media, the marketers, all tend to give us half the story. They're allowed to call something healthy without any regard to whether or not it's truly healthy. And unfortunately, most of society sees that and jumps right on it, because it's what they're told. The results? Rampant obesity, skyrocketing numbers of diabetes in children, heart disease, removal of organs (the gall bladder is the most popular these days), and in general fewer and fewer people that are truly healthy.

It's a shame. It really is very simple, and the title of this post says it all: Eat real, eat raw. Real food, as I've said over and over, grows or had eyes at some point. That would mean vegetables, fruits, and meat. For veggies and fruit, it's best to eat organic, and for meat it's best to have range fed wild animal meat. This is what our ancestors ate for years, and studies done on their remains have shown nowhere near the episodes of these diseases of lifestyle that are so prevalent in our western culture. Our ancestors also moved a whole lot more than we do. They walked places, they spent time outdoors playing, they worked hard in the fields, they had no TV to spend countless hours in front of. I'd guess they probably didn't work til all hours of the night since communication was limited, which meant they tended to rest well. In short, they lived innately, the way we were designed to live.

I just had this conversation with a patient this morning. The problem we have in our culture is the desire/felt need for convenience. If we didn't always look for convenience in our eating habits we'd be better off. Yes it takes a bit more effort to eat innately. It's not always convenient. However, it's not convenient to be sick either, it's not convenient to have heart surgery, or take insulin daily, or be stuck in a hospital for days. And that is the result of eating conveniently. It's also MUCH more costly in the long run to eat conveniently when you count the days lost due to illness, the cost of medicine, doctors visits, surgery and the wear and tear of those procedures/meds on our body.

So, instead of making it so complicated, think of it the way I do. Make it simple. It will take some extra work, specifically it will take planning. At the start of each week, look at your schedule, plan out meals for the week. I know sometimes you can't affect your meals. Many times I have meetings where they supply food. Sometimes it's a good choice, sometimes not. But when I look at my schedule and see opportunities to eat well, I plan those out. A basic meal needs some protein (meat/chicken/eggs/nuts/seeds), and about 2 different vegetables of varying colors or a good salad and/or fruit. Snack on things such as raw veggies/fruit/nuts/seeds. Purchase lots of healthy snacks for the times when you can't prepare a full meal, but you can put together several healthy ready to eat snacks to make up a meal. Eat throughout the day, avoiding the typical huge meals that are common. I like to use the concept of grazing vs. gorging to make this point clear. If you eat out, realize their portions are way too big, so plan on taking some home. You can even request a to go box when your meal is delivered and then separate out part of it immediately. Sharing a meal is another option when huge portions come your way.

Keep it simple, overcomplicating things makes us less likely to follow through. It can be done, and I am around to help people work through this via our wellness consultations. Call me if you want to work on your plan for wellness, and we'll evaluate your eating, exercising, thinking, and resting habits to help you attain your wellness goals.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wellness Days vs.Sickness Days

I'd venture to guess that most people experience too many "Sickness Days". They deal with too much stress, bad food, not enough rest or exercise every day of their lives. And since one's life is created one day at a time, the sum of all of our "Sickness Days" is a sick life. So, Wellness Wednesday is what we call the first Wednesday of every month in our office. On those days we focus on adding in a new wellness habit and we often have our patients experience the new habit, such as tasting a new smoothie, trying out a new supplement etc. Our goal is to get people thinking monthly about what they can try that is new and different and that can move them toward a wellness lifestyle. It's a great idea I think, and our patients look forward to it each and every month to try something new. If everyone started a new wellness habit every month, our health as a nation would significantly improve over the long haul.

Recently in doing some wellness lifestyle coaching with one of my patients, I came up with a new idea. We were talking about making changes in her lifestyle to get her moving toward wellness, and I take the approach of making just a little change at a time. My purpose in doing this is to not overwhelm the patient with too much too quickly. This is important as we don't want to set a patient up for failure, and trying to do too much too quickly is sometimes too painful to be successful at, and they become discouraged and tend to quit.

Instead, we focus on baby steps. For instance, instead of trying to go out and jog for 30 minutes when they've been pretty much a couch potato, we encourage them to try walking "x" amount of time, depending on their fitness level, "x" times/week. After they get accustomed to that new habit, they are then encouraged to do a bit more, maybe increase the frequency, or the duration of their walks. That way it feels like they are only adding in a little bit more to their already established routine.

But, in doing this, I've found it takes a long time for enough new habits to build up to create significant changes. So to accelerate the process, I decided to give a new idea a shot. It's called a "Wellness Day". It consists of planning a certain day as a total wellness day. On that day, they must plan in advance what they are going to do. I encourage them to focus on all 4 of our Pillars of Wellness (eat well, move well, think well, rest well) and make sure they have plans for each area.

So in advance they plan out their meals and snacks for the day. They have to focus on whole foods (real food) with no additives. Remember my definition of real food: It either grows or had eyes at one point, otherwise it is an "edible food like substance". They need to focus on consuming plenty of water for the day, maybe some tea with lemon, or an herbal tea of their choice.

They have to plan to move more than they might normally. This may not be much more than a 30 minute walk if they are sedentary usually. If they're already active, then any sort of normal exercise program they do is acceptable, but maybe they push their duration by 10 minutes or so more. If they don't usually do any stretching, this would be a good day to start that habit too. There are many stretching sites on the net to learn from. Just always remember to be careful if you've not been active, and if you're over 40 or have a history of cardiovascular issues, get cleared by your doctor before you begin any vigorous plan of exercise.

I encourage them to spend some time de-stressing and relaxing on their Wellness Day. It's a great time to schedule a massage for relaxation purposes, or some time at a quiet spot for dinner with their spouse (eating healthy of course). Making sure they spend some time being grateful is extremely important, and connecting with their Maker on a spiritual level is vital for this special day. This can also be accomplished by whatever activities they really enjoy doing, grilling a good dinner, playing with the kids, the dog or both.

Finally, I encourage them to work on their sleep hygiene plan. I want them to get good rest that night, so nothing with caffeine after 4 in the afternoon. As bedtime draws near the need to start winding down is vital and they need a plan for doing just that; turning down the lights, quiet music, a good book, good conversation with their spouse etc.

By creating a Wellness Day, one can see what it would feel like to live that lifestyle. The first Wellness Day may be a bit tough, but it's only a day, so plan it ahead of time. If you wait til the last minute, there will be stress when you don't have all the foods that you need for a certain recipe, or when you suddenly realize that you forgot to plan out some aspect. Remember, I want you to be set up for success, not failure. And if you do fail in some aspect for that day, at least the day you had was more wellness oriented than it would have been otherwise. You can also choose to do this in community with others and discuss/plan your day together for accountabilty.

Once you have a Wellness Day going once/week, or even once per month if weekly is too tough, then add in "a little more", like an extra day/week or month. Soon those days will become comfortable for you and you will be able to continue adding in a day or two more. Soon the majority of your days will be Wellness Days, and you'll have much less "sickness" days.

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When All Health Is NOT Breaking Loose......

and instead, all HECK is breaking loose.....those are the times when it's tough on us to live a wellness oriented life. We have the best of intentions, but life is happening at the speed of, well, life. Everything seems to be out of control, and our health often suffers for it.

For many, the month of May is like that. I have been saying all month long (today is May 31 as I am writing this) that May is December, minus the cold weather and presents. It is crazy busy. Right now it is 9:30 at night on a Tuesday evening, I am at my church while my daughter is going through rehearsals with her performing arts group for the production this weekend. Tomorrow is the last day of school for my kids, and I decided to let my wife head home to finish up her grading etc. for the year, and maybe find time to pay a few bills lol. I am sure your life has similar challenges, and there are parents of about 150 kids here with us tonight out this late probably thinking some of the same things I (and you) are thinking: How can we allow this to happen?

It's not easy raising kids and keeping our lifestyles in check. I am not sure I have the best answer yet. But I know this. I cannot give up, and I realize that soon I'll be able to settle into a routine that allows us as a family to exercise with regularity, and eat home cooked meals regularly too (what a concept). I think it's important to just make sure we don't lose site of the goal, the prize, which is optimum health. Sometimes we have to accept, that for a short while, we may get a little unbalanced. But we need to keep looking for that time when we will be able to get back to that lifestyle we want, and make sure we jump right into it when that time finally makes its appearance!

For me that will be right after Youth Camp ends in about 1.5 weeks. I still have 1 week of hanging out with kids out in West Texas and eating, yep you guessed it, CAMP FOOD for a week! Talk about no control!

I so look forward to 2 spin classes a week, 2 Peak 8 sessions and 3 10 minute blasters every week again! The thought of salads with most meals, and here's a novel idea: a home cooked meal! I am pumped just thinking about it!!

Ok, maybe if I'm that excited, I need to get a life!!

Until next time...BE WELL!

Dr. Bruce

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What Would You Have Them Say About You?

I hate this feeling. I just read that golfing legend Seve Ballesteros passed away from the evil brain tumor he had been diagnosed with a few years ago. Seve was always so strong, so determined, he was one of those you'd always EXPECT to make that killer putt, or chip it in when you least expect it. He was always getting himself out of trouble on the golf course. He always won and lost with class. He seemed to be a gentleman at all times. You couldn't help but root for him. And as he faced this battle of a lifetime, you again couldn't help but root for him, and again, you expected him to make it.

Sadly it wasn't to be. His body succumbed to cancer, and his time on this earth is done. He will be missed by family and friends, and the golfing world for sure. It brings to my mind my own mortality, he was less than a decade older than I. As I take in this loss of life, I am seeking the answer to what this means to me.

Obviously I didn't know Seve, only what I saw of him on TV, so that is not what I mean when I think of what this means to me. But it is a reminder that we are on this earth but a short while, our life is vapor Scripture says and we aren't guaranteed the next breath. It is a reminder to me to not take for granted what I have in my life. We all need to enjoy the time we spend with our families and friends, take care of our bodies we've been given and work to leave behind a legacy that will impact the world in a positive way.

I recall years ago going through an exercise where we were to think of what we'd like a friend, family member, co-worker, spouse etc to say about us if they were eulogizing us. Scary thought right? But, the exercise didn't end there. I was told to ask myself if they'd be truly able to say those things about me if I died right now. In many cases I'd say they wouldn't be able to say some of the things I'd like. The point is, if they can't say those things, then what do I need to do now, RIGHT NOW, to start making sure those are the things said about me when my time comes?

That's an exercise that should be a regular part of our life, especially if we want to truly live our lives in a wellness way. It's never to early to start working on that, our time could be around the corner.

RIP Seve.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Magic Health Potion: Does It Exist?

In short, NO. Absolutely, without a doubt, NO.

I know in our Western culture, where we want everything in microwave fashion, it is ingrained in us to find the quick and easy way to health and wellness. I see people seeking it out all the time, and no matter what good evidence they hear to the contrary, they often continue to search for it. I could sit down and spell out exactly why Eating Well, Moving Well, Thinking Well and Resting Well is the formula for optimum health right in front of them, and it would all make sense, but the minute a quick solution is bandied about, it seems inherent in our nature that we grab onto it.

I don't know why that is. I know when I hear about such products, I am initially hopeful. But within a few minutes of thinking about it, without even researching it further, I know innately in my heart that it's probably just like one of the other many different products I've seen come down the pipe over my 2 decades of being in the wellness business. And most likely its popularity will peak, and then fade, especially if/when health issues come about related to this miracle product as so often happens.

My heart actually breaks for people that want it so badly to be the magic formula for them. I want optimum health for everyone: me, my family and our society so badly I want to scream when I hear someone promoting a product as the answer to our ills. Our society makes it so easy to slip into this mindset that "for every ill there is a pill". Think about this, does health really come in a pill? Is the solution for health and wellness wrapped up in a tiny drink or capsule? We all know in our heart that it doesn't come that way. Even with the supplements I take and promote, I know they don't create good health by themselves. It comes from taking care of our body with good nutrition, movement, rest and right thinking. There is no other way, period.

Often many of these products promote themselves as natural. This is particularly true in the weight loss realm. However, simple research often shows that though the products are natural, they contain things that can be harmful, particularly stimulants. Ma Huang was one that was used in the last decade, now there is one being used called "guarana". Stimulants such as these increase your heart rate, can cause palpitations and raise blood pressure when used in products to help with weight loss. Yes people WILL lose weight on them. And yes they can become skinny, but they can become skinny and have a heart palpitations, anxiety, or heart attacks. Look back on the product from the early/mid 90's called Formula 1. It was a weight loss products, sold in multilevel marketing form and was quite the rage. I remember many patients of mine trying to get me to promote it since it was "natural". Later when heart issues occurred in many of those taking the product, it went away, thought it's made an appearance again in something of a new form I hear.

Stimulants also "stimulate" one's adrenals. That can lead to adrenal fatigue or burnout, and more health issues with weight gain in the long run. Additionally, once someone loses weight on a product, if they stop taking the product they will gain the weight back, so they are essentially on the product for life (which by the way never happens in my experience, people always stop taking the product at some point,and sadly, but predictably, the weight returns).

Beyond that, I am really on a mission to get people to understand that weight loss doesn't mean health. Think about it. Anorexic people are not healthy. Starving people in 3rd world countries are not healthy. Unfortunately our society thinks thin is equivalent to health, and it's just not so. One can lose weight, but still have stress issues that lead to a heart attack. One can exercise perfectly but still not get enough good rest and end up with ill health. So the goal should never be "weight loss". It should be optimum health, and pursuing that will usually lead to weight loss. And some of them cause such rapid weight loss that it is not considered healthy. 2-3 pounds/week is optimum weight loss, more than that can be dangerous to your health.

My friends, please, please know there is no magic formula for health and well being. If all you want is weight loss, there are products that can help you lose weight. Knowing what I know, and having been around as long as I have been, I cannot and will not endorse them at all. If you are going to use them, you need to be aware of their side effects, and think long and hard about what your goal really should be, not what society says it should be.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Are You Inflamed?

Yep, most likely you are. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you live anything close to the typical Western lifestyle, you can bet that you have at least a little bit of chronic inflammation in your body.

So now you're probably thinking "So What?" I understand. It's a vague concept this whole inflammation thing, it makes no sense to the average person. Unless you are a bit weird like me, you probably don't spend hours at a time on the computer reading up on abstract topics like this. That's ok, I am here to sum it up for you in 47 pages or less (just kidding, should be only few paragraphs).

Why is this topic important? It's important because if you have chronic inflammation inside you, you have basically created the breeding ground for illness, EVERY illness, from colds to the flu, from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, from Alzheimers to cancer. Degenerative diseases thrive in this kind of atmosphere, and obviously this can have seriously deleterious effects on your health and well being.

So, if I am saying I just about guarantee you have inflammation in your body, how would I know that? Because most of you reading this are living the standard American way of life. You follow the Standard American Diet (SAD) at least a good part of the time. You don't exercise enough. You live a stress filled life. You don't sleep and get proper rest as much as you should. Maybe you have some really bad health habits like smoking, or drinking soft drinks (diet or non). Sound familiar? It should, most of us have challenges in one or more of the listed areas. Most of us are walking around "simmering" under the skin, setting ourselves up for increased chances of many debilitating illnesses.

What can we do to combat this? What can we do to stop simmering and "be cool"? Simply put it comes down to my often repeated, but never more true, wellness formula: Eat well, Move well, Think well and Rest well. Yep, it's really that simple. However, simple doesn't always mean easy. Take a hard look at yourself, truly evaluate yourself in each of the 4 pillars of wellness I just mentioned. How are your eating habits? Are you eating real food or "edible food-like substances"? Real food either grows or at one point had eyes. Are you buying organic foods more and more? Typical procedures for raising cattle/chicken produce very unhealthy meat for you and I to consume, meat that can create more inflammation. Meat in and of itself isn't bad for you, but bad meat is, and if you're not eating free range meat, chances are your meat is bad (read the recent articles on how much of our meat supply is tainted, disgusting).

Further ways to solve the inflammatory problem include exercising appropriately with resistance training and intense cardiovascular training. Supplementation to offset the inflammation producing habits in our eating can help (think Fish Oil supplements among other things). Taking time to de-stress and remove stressors that affect our life goes a long way to reducing inflammation. Proper rest allows the body to cool down, and thus alleviates inflammation.

It's very do-able, if you've got a big enough reason to make the changes. We help with that in our office, but there are wellness coaches throughout the country these days. Find one that teaches what I speak of, spend time with them, learn from them and act on what you learn. Soon you'll be able to say you are "totally chill".

Until next time...Be Well (stay cool)

Dr. Bruce

Saturday, April 9, 2011

HELP! I Want To Quit!!!

Ever feel that way? With regards to eating well? Or exercising? Taking care of yourself and trying to improve your health and wellbeing is not always an easy task. We all know it’s the right thing to do, and many really do WANT to make the necessary lifestyle changes to become healthier. But so many fail at it, or never really even get started. Why is that? How come some people can seem to have boundless energy for working out, undying commitment to eating well, and an unswerving focus on caring for their physical, mental and spiritual health? What is the difference maker?

In truth there are several difference makers, some of which I’ve written on before. One of the biggest difference makers is the size of your “why”. See my blog post entitled “When The Facts Don’t Count” for more information on that. This month I want to focus on another difference maker, one that I experienced firsthand in a huge way just last month, and continue to experience weekly in my pursuit of wellness: Community.

Sometimes it’s tough to get up and go. Sometimes it’s tough to continue to make the best decisions for your health. Floating downstream is always easier, but even a dead fish can do that. If we’re going to swim upstream, we need to put ourselves in a position where we have the greatest chance of success, or the least chance of failing or quitting. If we create a community of wellness oriented people, or join in on an existing one, we create a safety net to help us from falling off the wagon. The community can be as large as you want, or it can be as small as 2 people, though I recommend 3-4 at least.

How does it work? Simple. You find these people, and you commit to each other to pursue the vision of wellness. That might mean the only thing you commit to is working out together 3x weekly. It might mean you get together and walk in the neighborhood nightly. It can mean that you commit to attending wellness seminars and connecting with each other afterward to implement whatever it is you’ve learned. It can mean that once a week you get together with some friends and sample some new healthy recipes that you research. It can look like a lot of things.

I’ve had what I call accountability partners in my church. We would get together and spend time discussing our walk with God, do a bible study or just hang out and spend time together as friends, or with our families for a meal. We felt free to encourage each other, and sometimes even speak into each other’s lives when we see something amiss that the other person might be blind to, in a loving way of course!

That concept applies to our physical health as well. For instance, I have 2 other gentlemen, and just recently a female business associate joined in, that all like to do a spin (cycle) class on Monday and Friday mornings at 5:15. The night before, we text each other to check in, or send a Facebook message doing the same. That way we are reminded and we commit to each other to being there. It works well, and when one falls off the horse, we continue to stay in touch to encourage them to come back. I have to admit that there are times when my alarm goes off early in the morning, and I would like to stay in bed, but knowing I have accountability partners expecting me to be there pushes me to get up and get moving. And, I ALWAYS feel better after completing the class and am glad I went.

I also have a friend that used to live in our community, and he and I exchange emails about what is going on in our lives with regards to our attempts to work out regularly. We challenge each other, and enjoy reading about each other’s successes. Sometimes there are challenges we’ll express, and it’s good to hear those too and we can help each other through them.

It’s great to have a group to celebrate a win with too. In March, I, along with about 800 others, participated in an attempt at a world record for the largest outdoor spin class sponsored by Lifetime Fitness. It was two hours long and hot outside. It was exhilarating to see the mass of people on their spin bikes together and pushing themselves in the heat and humidity. After completing the long 2 hour class, I enjoyed a few moments of celebration with my instructor from spin class and several other regular attenders of the class. That’s yet another huge plus in developing community/accountability partners in your quest for wellness; celebrating the victories.

I would encourage you to find another person, and more than just one if you can, that you feel comfortable with and ask them to be your accountability partner. My son has caught onto this and recently asked 2-3 people, including me, to hold him accountable in his workouts. In our office we have two couples that work out 3x weekly and help keep each other focused (of course they enjoy going to breakfast afterward, so the social aspect kicks in too, but I am ok with that if it keeps them exercising and staying in shape together!) Find that person or those people, develop that commitment to wellness and see where it will take you!

Until next time…Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are There Weeds In Your Garden?

Metaphorically speaking of course.

Are there things in your life that just aren't right, and you know it? Do you have relationships that are strained? Do you have finances that aren't up to where you need them? Are you overweight? Do you have a deadline that is approaching for something and you're just not ready for it? Do you have some sort of challenge that is really wearing you down? In other words, do you have STRESS in your life? Those are the metaphorical "weeds" in your garden, the garden of life.

I am sure that most of us can answer yes to at least one of those questions above, or to other similar questions about our lives. Rare is the person that can say to you they have no stressful situations in their life. Stress is a fact of life for at least certain seasons. Some undoubtedly have more than others, and some undoubtedly deal with stress better than others. But the fact remains that stress is a part of life. It's not a matter of IF you'll have stress, it's a matter of WHEN, and more importantly, HOW you will deal with it.

I've read stats that say 90% of visits to doctors offices are in some way stress related. In my experience I'd have to agree. Stress does quite a number on our bodies. It affects rest, raises our blood pressure and pulse rate, reduces our immune response, damages our ability to digest food, and more. It even helps to create chronic inflammation in the body, which, if you've read my articles, you know is the breeding ground for pretty much every disease process known to man.

So now we know two things: 1. We all have stress, at least for a season, and 2. That's not a good thing. Feel encouraged yet? Neither do I. I promise we'll end on a good note, on how to deal with the "weeds" in our garden in an appropriate, wellness oriented manner. My 11 year old daughter was asking what my article was about just now, and I told her it was about dealing with stress, and she said to deal with stress one could just throw things around. That IS a response to stress, one probably used by some, but probably NOT a wellness oriented manner to deal with stress! (yes she was joking, no flying inanimate objects are allowed in Casa De Dr. Bruce)

So if we have weeds in our garden, what should we do? One way people deal with them is to whine and cry about their weeds. The get so wrapped up in them they sometimes don't do anything else because of their weeds. In other words they let their weeds limit their lives, they focus on them and get more distressed, depressed and don't perform at their best. Others try positive thinking by staring at their garden and saying "there are no weeds, there are no weeds, there are no weeds". In both of those scenarios, the weeds will take over your garden.

It's best to understand that there are two types of things in life: Those that you can affect, and those you can't. Once we realize that, then we can focus on dealing with the things we can change, and we won't waste time on those we can't, which does nothing but stress us out more. So find the weeds you can deal with, break out the weed killer and get to work. Don't go crazy and spray your weed killer everywhere indiscriminately, it may kill things that you don't want to kill. In other words, if we dive headlong into dealing with stress, without regard for how we might affect others, it can create more damage, hurting others and then creating more stress. Be strategic in your use of "weedkiller."

Ways to deal with stress include finding relaxation techniques (they're all over the internet). Use them regularly. Another is to live a life of gratitude. We have techniques to help people do just this in our office. Appropriate exercise also helps reduce the effects of stress significantly, and we often coach our patients on how to go about incorporating it into their lives. Learning how to rest well, with appropriate sleep hygiene diminishes the effects of stress as well. I've seen great results with patients once we get them to understand how to rest in a wellness manner. Developing a purpose in life helps to give one direction and prevent wasting of time on non-effective areas of life.

The results of doing these things are more than just stress relief. Relationships get better, people are healthier and more effective in their lives at work and home. Blood pressure drops many times. Medications can be reduced. Remember, if 90% of doctors visits are stress related, then learning how to best manage stress must then affect almost anything that would bring you in to see your health care providers in the first place.

Hey, wait a minute. If you control your stress too well, I may not be needed as much. I feel MY stress levels rising now. Scratch everything I said earlier!

Until next time...Be Well! (and less stressed)

Dr. Bruce

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Community Wellness: The Ride Of A Lifetime 2011

Well I/we did it again. Once again I had the chance to participate in Lifetime Fitness's "Ride of a Lifetime". Last year we did it for the first time, and this time it was done bigger and better. We again set the world record for the largest 2 hour outdoor spin class, this time with over 800 participants!

Last year we had about 600 people, and the temps ranged from 37 to 45 degrees. This year it was MUCH warmer, about 75-80 or so. MUCH MUCH warmer! But, now I am one year further into my fitness plan, and I do 2 spin classes/week and hit it hard when I do, so even though it was warmer, I felt it was easier to get through.

There was an air of excitement and I admit to having goosebumps as we got started (they wore off quickly though). It was great being part of such a large group, and spinning withe many of my regular 5:15 a.m. spin class partners, and spending time getting to know them a bit more prior to the event as well. Much water was consumed, gatorade too, and a few bites of banana that were passed out by the staff from LTF. There's nothing quite like the site of 800 people all dressed alike, riding in unison, fighting to accomplish the same goal. It was an outstanding event to be part of!

When I first went to a spin class, less than 2 years ago, I was afraid, as a man in his early 40's that wasn't in the best cardiovascular condition. If you had told me after that first class I'd be able to do a 2 hour class, twice in the next 2 years, I'd have laughed. I remember having trouble sprinting while out of the saddle those first several classes, due to my conditioning, and to my coordination. But because of persistence, and the encouragement of LTF instructors, I am 10 pounds lighter, one pant size smaller and in much better condition than I ever thought I'd be in my mid 40's. I am forever grateful for that.

All in all, the Ride of a Lifetime was/is a great event to be part of. I hope to do this every year (if they put it on) and watch everyone get pumped about being part of it and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment I get from completing it, in hot or cold weather!

Everyone should find some way to get involved in a community of like minded people that support them in their quests for wellness. This is what I've found in the spin classes at Lifetime. I have many accountability partners that I spin with. I am grateful for the community I've found, and for Lifetime creating these opportunities! I hope you find something similar in your life to help you in your quest for wellness.

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Resting Well

We all know sleep is important, and we all sleep a bit pretty much every day of our lives. It's vital to our well being, it's vital for our bodies to function at peak levels. Without it, we can become ill, and even getting just a bit too little sleep over the long haul sets us up to be more susceptible to disease and illness. Why is sleep important, and how do we ensure we are getting it appropriately? That's what i am going to visit on here today.

First let's throw out a controversial statement to get you thinking: Sleep and rest can be two distinct things. One can sleep, but not rest. Follow me on this. Rest occurs when we spend a good amount of time in REM (Rapid Eye Movement, not the rock band)sleep. REM sleep is the deepest levels of sleep. It is not as vital for us to sleep as it is for us to reach REM sleep. At these deepest levels of being asleep is when rest really occurs. And getting to rest allows our bodies to do the repair work that needs to be done after being awake for 16 hours.

We all have had times where we slept for a long time. Have you ever slept a long time and NOT felt rested? That's the difference between sleep and rest. Something kept you from getting to REM sleep. Maybe it was too much caffeine, eating too late at night, not feeling well, stress, exercising too close to bedtime etc. Even alcohol abuse inhibits REM sleep, which is why people can drink all night, sleep for 12 hours and feel horribly tired. Alcohol may put you to sleep, but it interferes with REM sleep, thus keeping you from resting.

The more often we miss out on rest, the more we move toward the illness side of what you hear me call the "Wellness Spectrum". Our immune systems drop, our ability to think clearly is impaired, our energy levels decrease, our productivity decreases, we become more on edge with our love ones. None of this fits in with a wellness lifestyle does it? Of course not. So what do we need to do to ensure, or at least improve our odds of getting proper rest? That's where we're going next.

Sleep hygiene refers to the habits we have prior to bedtime. These become more important as we age and our body secretes less of a hormone called melatonin that helps regulate our sleep cycles. One of the first things you can do is begin to create a regular routine for your bedtime. Go to bed (and rise) at the same time, or at least close to it, every night. Do this even if you aren't working the next day. Routines are very important for helping us develop good rest patterns. People with jet lag are caught out of their routines and thus don't rest well.

Avoid substances that interfere with sleep too close to bedtime. No caffeine after 5 pm is a good rule of thumb. I know some of you will say "I can drink a pot of coffee and still go to sleep". I remember doing that in college too. You may be able to sleep, but you won't rest well since caffeine interferes with your ability to get to REM sleep (rest). Alcohol in excess does the same thing as we mentioned earlier.

Shower about 30 minutes prior to your bedtime every night. Turn the lights down lower as you approach bedtime. These are factors that get your body ready for rest.

No exercise for about 2 hours prior to bedtime, it tends to keep your heart rate up too high in some people to allow for good rest.

Turn on some soft music and spend some time without the TV on (tv will stimulate the brain too much). Learn some deep breathing techniques to begin slowing your mind patterns down.

If you have trouble sleeping there are some things to do to help out as well. Don't toss and turn for 20 minutes or more, get out of bed if you can't sleep and go read something pleasurable, or practice more deep breathing. If you stay in bed too long, your body will begin to associate the bed with stress. If you get up, do NOT turn on the lights too brightly, this signals your body to wake up more. You can try some natural relaxants like Passion Flower, Valerian Root, or even melatonin. Check with your natural health care provider for ideas on supplements that will work for you. We carry in our office something called Formula 303 that is a combination of relaxing herbs and minerals that we use for muscle spasm and for de-stressing/relaxing.

Remember, the goal is to develop a healthy pattern for rest. Good sleep hygiene will put you on the road to resting well.

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Monday, March 21, 2011

Health Care Is Not Expensive

Got your attention? I bet I did. I know everyone of us are thinking about health care these days, one way or another. My goal today is to tell you how you can be less concerned about what changes are really coming down, and show you how you can have less costs with regards to your health, and, how if we all did this, it would save the country hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe even billions.

First, let’s clarify a couple of things. For starters, when you go to your doctor for an illness, (are you ready for this?) you are NOT receiving health care. That’s right, you heard it here first, it is NOT health care. It is SICK care. It is DISEASE care. You are going there because you are sick, or have a disease. You are there because for some reason, your body has broken down and is not doing what it’s supposed to have done, you body’s function has decreased enough to where an illness has temporarily (hopefully temporarily) won the fight for who is in charge inside you. This is true for the flu, a sinus infection, pneumonia, and diseases such as cardiovascular issues, diabetes, cancer etc. So, you have chosen to go and get some help via medications to suppress said sickness/disease/symptom in the hopes that either your body will kick in again and knock down the issue, or you can at least keep it down to a dull roar.

Please hear me, I am not condemning going to get treated for your disease. It is necessary sometimes. Otherwise, the results could be severe, even fatal. I am reminded of a patient I had a few years ago that didn’t seek care fast enough, and lost the lower ½ of his leg to a diabetic neuropathy. (More on this guy later). I am only trying to get us to think differently about health care vs. sick care or disease management. Remember, the type of thinking that we’ve developed so far in our country with regards to health and wellness has gotten us to where we are now, which is a very sick nation, with rampant obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other diseases of lifestyle. That same type of thinking will not get us out of this rut, and will keep us reliant on medications, surgeries, and, of course, insurance plans.

Do you realize that much of our illness/disease in this country is caused by lifestyle decisions? What if we started thinking radically differently about our lifestyles? Obesity, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease are things that cost us directly when we have to deal with it, and indirectly when they reach epidemic levels as they have here in our country. What if we changed that?

Do you realize how much cheaper it would be for us if we only learned how to take better care of ourselves? If our thinking was so radically changed that we no longer tolerated putting toxins in our bodies that are disguised as food, we would chart a totally different course for ourselves, our families and our country regarding health. If we sought out health care providers that focused primarily on lifestyle changes, and supporting us in those endeavors, what would that do for us? If we joined a gym and actually used the membership, or started a walking group, how different could our lives be? It would cost us personally so much less for starters. And it would cost the nation much less too! Follow me here: The sicker we are as a nation, the more we have to use health insurance. The more we have to use health insurance, the less the insurance companies profit. They tend to not like that much, so our premiums go up. When our employers have to pay more in premiums, it cuts into their profits. That loss of profit is usually offset by the company charging the consumer more for their product or service. Do you see how every time one more of us gets sick and has to seek out sick care, it has an impact on the entire country? This doesn’t even count lost productivity because of absent workers! When you look at it in this way, the concept is staggering!!

This is supposed to be a time of “change”, so how can we change this situation? Seek out wellness oriented healthcare providers. Let them work with you in making lifestyle changes that will help you step closer to wellness. This is what we do at our office every day. We teach people what it means to eat better, move better, rest better and think better daily. We set goals for them, we support them as they work through changing 20, 30, 40 years or more of thinking in the old paradigm. It’s fun to see them lose 40 pounds under our supervision and feel “better than ever” as one 60+ year patient told us. It’s exciting to see people’s cholesterol levels normalize. It’s rewarding to hear how a person has learned to deal with stress so much better that they finally feel rested when they wake in the mornings. It IS possible. It IS happening right now. It CAN happen for you, and it would benefit not only you and your family, but our great nation as a whole!

So, back to my diabetic patient with the prosthetic leg. He chose NOT to learn to eat, move, think and rest better, he chose NOT to pursue true health care. I saw him a while back. He’s now in a wheelchair, with BOTH of his legs now removed from the knee down. A very sad story for a young man. A very costly process for him. A huge lesson for us all.

“Health Care” is NOT expensive, “Sick Care” is.

Until next time, BE WELL!

Dr. Bruce

How Did We Get Here, and How Do I Get Where I Want To Go?

That’s the question of the hour. Wherever you are, how did you get there? And if you’re not where you want to be, how do you get where you want to be?

Of course, if you’ve been following me, you know I am speaking of where we are in our health. Specifically, wherever you are on the “wellness spectrum”, you got there (usually) because of the choices you’ve made over the years. If you’re high on the wellness spectrum chart, it usually because of a series of positive decisions you’ve made over the last 10, 20, 30+ years. They have a cumulative effect on us. Remember in previous articles I’ve written I speak of the fact that there is no “zero sum effect” with regards to the wellness decisions we make daily. Every single choice we make moves us one way or the other on the spectrum, there’s no escaping it. If we choose to take time to de-stress via exercise, massage, relaxation techniques etc, that moves us toward the wellness end. If we choose to eat a diet that is primarily made of processed food, soft drinks etc., then that moves us toward the illness end of the spectrum. If we’re spending our free time on the couch watching reality TV and not moving much, that moves us toward illness. When we choose to take time to get good rest nightly, we end up closer to the wellness end. I hope that puts into perspective how important it is to pay attention to our daily habits and decisions related to wellness.

So, to answer the questions listed at the top, let’s take the first one: How did we get here? It’s really very simple. The answer is …one step at a time. Ok, so that didn’t come with much fanfare. I understand. But it really is that simple. If you’re really unhealthy, you probably didn’t just wake up that way last Thursday. Our current health status is the sum of all of the choices we’ve made in our lifetime. Often times inch by inch we start changing our lifestyle. It happens almost imperceptibly. We don’t think about the fact that we’ve started drinking a few more soft drinks than we used to, maybe it’s only one more per week to start with. Then a few months later we add in another, and the trend continues until suddenly we wake up and realize we’re consuming way more than we thought we’d ever allow ourselves to. So we’ve taken a small bad habit and slowly incorporated it into our lives in a manner that we really don’t even see until we have a full blown bad habit affecting our health.

The opposite occurs too. Sometimes we imperceptibly drop a good habit inch by inch. Maybe at one point you were an avid exerciser. Maybe something happened to your schedule so that it became more difficult to keep exercising, so you drop one day a week. After a while you’re so used to the new schedule that you think it would be ok to drop a day again. A year later you’re hardly exercising at all, and you wonder why your blood pressure, your waistline, and your blood sugar are all heading higher. Now you’re in a lifestyle you don’t even recognize.

So the bad news is we are the sum of our own decisions when it comes to our health. But that is also the good news since obviously then, we can begin to turn this ship of ours around if it’s not where we want to be, and head in the right direction. So to answer the second question in the title of this article, you’re only one step away from making yourself healthier right now. Right now, wherever you are on the wellness spectrum, you can drop one bad habit or add in a new good habit and immediately begin moving yourself more toward the wellness end. I recommend focusing on starting a new habit rather than subtracting a bad one. That’s one reason we do Wellness Wednesdays in our office. One day a month we get people to sample a new product or taste a new “concoction” we put together that they can create or buy that would help them become healthier. By adding in enough new habits, they can begin to crowd out the bad ones. If everyone would focus on a new habit every month, or even every other month, we’d all be headed down the road to wellness together, inch by inch, one step at a time.

Until next time…Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are you Addicted To Mental Junk Food?

We all know that junk food is bad for our body. Eating a preponderance of candy, soft drinks, processed foods etc has deleterious effects on how our body functions. It is the bane of our western civilization's health. It is consumed regularly, repeatedly, without regard for our long term well being. It is promoted without apology, 24/7 to our nation, with its target audience largely being our young children. In my opinion it is a crime and abusive to a certain degree to have our kids enticed, and then as parents, to let them indulge non-stop in this type of poisoning. I know that's strong, and some of you may think I am over the top on this, but it is how I feel, and there's abundance of research to back up why I feel this way. Most of us know this to a certain degree, but many choose to ignore it, and thus our nation's health continues to degenerate, to the point where the generation growing up now, will be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than its preceding generation.

Don't worry, I am not going on a rant about junk food (maybe I did already?). Instead, I am going to use the analogy of junk food for our body, to speak about junk for for our brain. Namely, I am going to rant today about media. Yes, media is the equivalent of junk food for our body when it comes to our mental health. To me it has never been so apparent how unhealthy our exposure to media can be as it is right now. Right now, as I write this, the media is full of another story of one of our illustrious troubled Hollywood characters. And we as a nation lap stories like this up, constantly craving the next juicy tidbit of news about this spectacle. We seemingly cannot get enough of it, and when this story fades out, there will be another one to take its place, and then another as we require more and more "hits" to achieve our "high" and satiate our appetite. In addition to this sensationalistic story, the news if full of who killed who, what business went bankrupt, what country has unrest, and how broke our nation is. We read it on the internet, have conversations about it on electronic bulletin boards, facebook and tweet about it, see it 24/7 on one of the many news channels, listen to it on talk radio etc. It's everywhere, and you cannot avoid it, unless you really try.

That's what I want really want to talk about: avoiding it. I am not talking about sticking our head in the sand and denying there is bad stuff around. You can't turn away from your garden that is full of weeds and say "there are no weeds, there are no weeds". There ARE weeds. There IS junk happening in our world. I am not here to try to deny it. But in this day and time, there is an overabundance of focus on it, via our media, social media/internet etc. And, being exposed to it 24/7 has deleterious affects on our mental health. I saw it change me when I began to tie into news all the time after 9/11 occurred. I've heard it in voices angry and filled with hate toward people just because of their political affiliation. I have seen it in people glued to their TV/Computer following a story that has NO bearing on their life in the least. It's like watching a train wreck occur over and over again as the same story is repeated, ad nauseum on the many outlets available. In kids it can provoke fear and/or anxiety. It can create a new "unhealthy" normal by numbing our minds to the most outlandish events and occurrences. It plants ideas in our heads of how we should be, what we should wear, what's now acceptable behavior, what we need to look like, who we idolize and more.

Now, if you're OK with that, I am not here to condemn you. That's your call. I am only here to voice a different concept. I am here to voice the idea that we should do more to filter what we let into our heads. Why? Because whether you like it or not, the repeated exposure to events DOES have an effect on you. It goes into your brain and either has a positive or negative effect. Many of you, (depending on your generation) if you heard me sing "Here's the story, of a lovely lady..." you could chime in without thinking and sing the entire song. You know what? I bet that you NEVER sat down and said "I am going to memorize the words to the Brady Bunch Theme". But you heard it over and over, and it became part of your mind. It is in there, no matter what you do.

So, just like we need to be careful what we allow in our body physically for health reasons, we need to be selective in what we allow in our brains for our mental health. Just like when we ingest food, there is no "zero sum effect", meaning we can't eat something without it moving us toward or away from wellness, nothing we allow in our brain has a zero sum effect. This doesn't mean you can't read any news, or do any of the social media that are so popular. It DOES mean that we need to watch our diet of what goes into our brain.

Sometimes when our health is bad, we have to take some more drastic steps initially to get us going in the right direction. Sometimes we have to do a cleanse for our body, or totally fast from junk food for a period. Let me encourage you to do a cleanse of sorts for your mental health. I am currently starting a one week long "media fast". I am staying away from media for this entire week, with few exceptions. I will do some social media/email/internet for work (just as I am right now) but that is all. I will check the weather on occasion so I know what to expect. I may take in a sports event (maybe not since I want to avoid commercials and news blurbs). Maybe a week is a bit long for you. If so, then try a day of TOTAL fasting from media. Start when you wake and don't touch/see/read any of it until the next morning. If you survive (and I think you will) plan on two days of it next week, then work your way up to a week. When you are tempted to "feed your habit", instead, fill your mind with good, healthy things. Start a gratefulness journal, pick up a good book, read some scripture, pray, write down your thoughts on what you're experiencing, listen to some good music, whatever it takes to get you past your "withdrawals".

Hey, I won't mind if you even fast from reading my stuff here or on facebook for a week!

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Fever Means You're Healthy

Well now how's that for an eye catcher? I can imagine what some of you are thinking: "A fever means you're healthy? Are you serious? He's written some crazy sounding, counter-cultural stuff sometimes, but now I think he's gone off the deep end. Next think you know he'll say that vomiting means your healthy too" Stay with me on this one for a second. (By the way, that last comment about vomiting isn't far off the mark, and I'll touch on that in a bit).

Here's the deal. Every day your body is assaulted by germs/bugs/bacteria. They're on your hands, in your mouth, on your skin when you get a cut or scrape, they're all over. You can't escape them. Heck right now you have strep in your throat, you have cancerous cells in your body, you have flu bugs in your nostrils etc. That's the bad news. The good news is your immune system, when it's functioning well, fights off these invaders daily and keeps them at bay. But, sometimes your immune system is overwhelmed and the little bad guys start to win the battle. When that happens, your immune system has to kick into overdrive. One of the ways it does that is by raising the body temperature. A lot of these bugs can't replicate as quickly in a higher temperature setting so this makes it more difficult for them to proliferate. So, in reality, the fever shows that a body is healthy in some respects, because it is a healthy response to an illness. By this thought process, you can see that if you eat something bad for your body, and your body decides to expel it (vomit), then that process is a healthy process as well. The same can be said of many coughs, runny noses etc. They are reactions to invaders and attempts to expel the invading bug.

The sad thing is, many people, as soon as a temperature gets above 98.6, decide to medicate and bring down the fever so they can "feel better". That shortcuts the innate response of the body and prolongs illness, and weakens the immune system's ability to fight. Thus, you can actually make the body less healthy overall by jumping the gun and taking medication for a fever. In addition to this, all drugs, over the counter or otherwise, can have deleterious effects on the body. Thousands of people per year die due to taking NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)too regularly. Ibuprofen is in that class of drugs. You cannot put a drug (chemical) in the body without some kind of negative effect, whether seen or not. This doesn't mean drugs are not ever necessary, but we have to stay away from the mentality that is so prevalent that says "For every ill there is a pill" because that mentality has gotten us a very sick nation, reliant on more and more drugs, and less healthy for all our science.

So, we need to do things that boost our immune system regularly, and avoid doing things that lower our immunity regularly. Some of you that know me know where I am going with this now. Yes, we need to eat well ,move well, think well and rest well. Performing poorly in any of those areas lowers your immune system. Did you know there are studies showing that ingestion of refined sugar immediately lowers the immune system? So having that soft drink, or candy, or refined, processed food, makes you less healthy immediately. Not exercising lowers your immunity. Living a western culture style of life that is stressed to the max lowers your immunity. Staying up late all the time watching TV or on the internet lowers your immunity as does eating or drinking things that impede your body's ability to get true rest. I could go on but I know you get the picture.

So the thought for today is that our fever is a healthy response to an unhealthy condition in the body, and by doing things that short circuit our body's innate attempts to get healthy, we can actually do more harm than good.

Until next time... Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is Your Lifespan Determined By Your Genes?

I would suggest not, and studies would concur. As I've been saying, your genes have a code in them, but you can turn that code on or off by your lifestyle choices. Here's a brief article about a study from the Journal Of Internal Medicine.

If you expect to live into your nineties because your parents did, think again. A new study from Sweden has found that lifestyle factors are much more important than heredity in determining who lives longest. The researchers from Gothenburg University found that not smoking, drinking moderate amounts of coffee and having low cholesterol and good socioeconomic status at age 50 (based on housing costs) plus being in good physical working order at age 54 are key to living to 90 or longer. The study began in 1963, enrolling one third of all 50-year-old men in Gothenburg. Since then, a new group of men has been added to the study every 10 years (women were first included in 2003). The original group of men - all born in 1913 - were examined at ages 50, 54, 60, 67, 75 and 80. Of the 855 who enrolled at the start, 13 percent were still alive at age 90. The study was published online on Dec. 22, 2010 by the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Once again, it comes down to how we eat, move, think and rest to determine our future with regards to our level of wellness.

Until next time...BE WELL!
Dr. Bruce

Monday, February 14, 2011

Do Pills Work?

This was the question posed to me just last week. The question came to me from my 14 year old son, Drew. It came in response to him communicating with someone who takes pills (over the counter and prescription) on a regular basis for multiple nagging health issues, from colds, to allergies and more, and who seems to be sick enough to miss school on a regular basis. It was one of those moments that we often run into as parents that we should consider teachable moments. I saw it as an opportunity to help him learn how to become healthy naturally, and still see that sometimes medications are necessary.

I am sure my son would have enjoyed a brief “yes” or “no” answer, but unfortunately this question doesn’t always have such an answer. And unfortunately for him, he was blessed with a father that can be verbose, and loves to present analogies to bring home a point. But, fortunately for him, we had only a few brief minutes as he asked this question while we were in line to drop him off at school!

Let me say this. Sometimes the only thing one can do to improve one’s health is to take a drug. If you’ve got an infection so bad that your immune system can’t handle it, sometimes the help of an antibiotic may be needed. That being said, I heard noted wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil comment on this situation. His thought process is that the pill doesn’t actually heal the person, but it keeps the “bug” or infection at bay long enough to allow the immune system to catch up and knock out the invading bacteria. This makes a lot of sense considering the immune system doesn’t just shut down because we take an antibiotic, but rather the antibiotic provides an assist to our own innate intelligence that is fighting off the invader.
So in that sense, it could be said that pills do work. They work to assist us in becoming healthy again. But that still doesn’t give us reason to have the mentality that I see all too regularly, the mindset that says “for every ill, there is a pill” and that pills are the solution to health. Think of it: How could putting a foreign substance (drugs) in our body, actually make us healthier? In actuality, the ONLY way to truly become healthier is to eat better, move better, think better and rest better. More on that later.

But back to the question at hand, I think what my son actually meant was “Are pills necessary?” The answer is sometimes yes. I’ve used the following analogy before, but it bears repeating and it is what I told my son that morning. If your house is on fire, you have to call the fire department. They come in with their two tools, axes and hoses. They spray down your house, chop holes in parts of your home, all for the sake of saving your house and putting out the fire. This is analogous to taking medications, or having surgery when your body has a health crisis (ie, your “house” is on fire). It’s something that has to be done, but it does have its side effects. However, after the fire department puts out the fire in your house, and you need to rebuild your house, you don’t call them back out to help you. Hoses and axes won’t rebuild your home. Similarly, with your body, after the crisis is over, drugs and surgery won’t help you rebuild your body into a healthy “house”. Instead, it is time to contact a “re-modeler” to help you rebuild your body and restore it to its optimum capacity. That’s where our office excels as we teach people exactly how to make the changes necessary in eating, moving, thinking and resting well.

So in essence, what I am saying is, yes pills can help in crisis times. But we cannot rely on those same things if we want to get truly healthy. This doesn’t mean one should automatically drop their medications and start on a path to eating, moving, thinking and resting well, but relying ONLY on medications would not put you on that path. Talk to your health care professional about how to go about pursuing a wellness oriented lifestyle.

Remember our wellness mantra: To BE well, we must EAT well, MOVE well, THINK well and REST well. I know it’s trite sounding, but it is so innately true. If I could play a game with you right now I’d ask you to name a disease process. After you name it I ask you if it would be managed better, or potentially totally eradicated by following our wellness mantra. The answer is most likely “yes” for any illness we name off. It really is the pathway to wellness, and it really is that simple, not always easy, but simple.

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce