Monday, December 31, 2012

No More New Years Resolutions

Here it is folks, the end of 2012, and the beginning of 2013.  As always, it's a great time to review, reflect, and most importantly, re-focus!  I'm not fan of New Years Resolutions though.  According to surveys, 92% of New Years Resolutions are not kept, and 80% are gone by January 20.  Not a fantastically successful rate is it?  I agree.  I am however, a fan of setting goals, in a productive way, that improves the batting average of goal setters, and makes them more likely to be a goal GETTER!

I think goals should be broken down into categories.  You can create your own, but here are some of the areas I work on:  Physical, Business, Spiritual, Personal.  I'm not saying those are the best for you, I'm just saying that's what I use.  Under each area I might have 3-5 goals set.  I don't set them by just sitting down on January 1 and saying "what do I want this year?".  I take some time, sometimes a month or so in advance, on a regular basis to start thinking about, and (here's the key) writing down possible goals.  I spend time thinking about what I really want to accomplish in the coming year.  After all, if you're going to design your life, it's probably best to not just go off willy nilly writing things down in my opinion.

Once I have them written down, I review them and think or pray about each of them toward the end of the year.  I want to make certain that this is the direction I want my life to go, the direction God is leading me, and a direction that will provide a challenge for me, but not an insurmountable one.  I just completed a serious review this morning of my 2013 goals and feel like they're pretty well set.  So, now what?

It's one thing to set a goal.  But if we really want to accomplish those things, they need to be in the forefront of our mind.  I can't expect to just jump in a car and drive without focusing on where I want to go, and so it is with my life.  In becoming a goal getter, laser sharp focus is needed.  This focus is developed by a habit of reviewing my goals every day.  How often?  EVERY day.  What does EVERY day mean?  It means, EVERY day.  Is that clear? :-)   So every morning I should be rising early and spending 10 minutes reviewing my goals, AND setting up my daily plan for getting me one step closer to them.  My to do list should include steps for moving in the direction of goal achievement.

Finally, I'd suggest re-evaluating the goals quarterly.  Mostly they shouldn't change much if I spent a lot of time setting them.  But my plans for achieving them might easily change if I find I'm not getting closer to the goal.  But sometimes even the goal may have to change if it's become abundantly clear it's not the right goal. That should be a rarity if we've done appropriate goal setting.

Setting and achieve goals is part of a wellness lifestyle. It's fun, it helps keep us focused on becoming the person we're designed to be, and helps us connect with our sense of purpose.  I wish you an amazing 2013!

Until next time...Be Well!!

Dr. Bruce

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Make Resolutions That REALLY Count

I've spent the past week contemplating a lot.  The brevity of life has been thrown in my face from far away places (Newtown Conn) to very close by (a 34 year old neighbor across the street dying in a car accident Tuesday).  During this time my own son has been away in Chicago.  It's the first time he's been that far from us (he's 16), first time we feel he's been way out of our realm of protection.

It sure has made me want to appreciate the people in my life more.  My family, my friends, employees, patients, and those that are "on the fringe" where I know them maybe only in passing each other in life from time to time.  The frenetic pace at which we tend to live in our Western culture, which is exacerbated 10x during this Christmas season, sometimes gets the best of me.  I take people for granted daily.  Yes I know that we can be here one minute, and gone the next.  That's been painfully obvious this week.  On a mental level, I think I get that.

But do I really?  Sometimes I'm not so sure.   If I were really grasping how significant that concept is, I'd never, ever take for granted one moment I get to spend around those I love.  I'd not take it for granted that a friend, or family member that lives far away is only phone call away, and I'd make that call regularly.  I'd make sure that I don't get frustrated or lose my temper over silly things my family may do, no matter how many times I've asked them not to do that.  I'd spend more time with my family doing life. .  I'd turn off the computer in the evenings when I got home and have real conversations with my family.  The list could go on. And I fail regularly much of the time on that list. I spent this past Thursday afternoon shopping with my teenage daughter (never done that before with her), and then we wrapped presents together on the living room floor (never done that before either). We didn't do anything spectacular  But those are the moments that our life should be made of.  For one brief instant, I feel like I hit the mark. I wish I felt that way more often.

There are so many changes I know should be made when reality hits home like it has for me in the past 7 days.  How about you?  This is a time of year that is often used for reflection, for making plans and goals or resolutions for the upcoming year.  My challenge to myself, and you, is to make plans for life, real life.  Life that is lived moment by moment with people, friends, coworkers, family etc.  Life that impacts and leaves little regret.  Oh sure, losing weight and being healthier are important things, but that's only in our physical body, and undoubtedly that will pass away.  The relationships we have, or more correctly, the legacy we leave behind through them, are lasting.

Make resolutions this year that will have a lasting impact, resolutions that count.  Merry Christmas.

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Don't Understand

I really don't.  I don't know how anyone can take the life of another without there being a life threatening situation.  I really don't know how one can take the life of a young child.  I can't understand the pain the parents and families of those that lost loved ones today in the Connecticut shooting spree.  I can't begin to understand the amount of fear that must now be in the lives of the little kids that survived the shooting.  I don't understand.  I can't.

Prayers for the families.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Health Care Reform May Kill Us

Health Care Reform will not make us healthier as a nation, and in fact may make us less healthy as a nation.  Yes sir (or m'am) it's true.  This new thing called Obamacare our country will most likely experience in the coming few years will not fix our health crisis.  And, it will most likely create more problems for us, including health problems.  Why is that?  I'm glad you asked.  Read on.

First of all, and I think I've said this before here, what is being promoted as health care reform, is NOT health care reform.  The term has a nice ring to it so it's the one that is used.  What is being bandied about as health care reform is actually health INSURANCE reform. And mostly, it's health insurance COVERAGE reform.  The goal is to assure health INSURANCE for the masses.  A ideal goal in it's purest form for sure.  Unfortunately, the main winner in this whole deal will be health INSURANCE COMPANIES.  They WILL be paid for covering more people.  And guess who pays?

Well, there are two ways insurance companies can get paid.  1.  By raising the premiums, copays, and or deductibles on all of us that pay for our insurance (hey they've been doing that all along, while paying health care providers less and less).  2.  The government will pay them.  (how does the government get the money to pay them when we as a nation are teetering on economic collapse you say?  hmm, just think on that for a bit).  Rest assured, they will get paid for the extra coverage.  So the winner in the whole health care reform thing is not the American people. It's not the health care providers   It's the insurance companies.  Feeling better yet?  The CEO's of the insurance companies are I'm sure.

So how can this kill us? (I will refrain from political lines of thought on this).  Unfortunately, it's very simple.  So, every American will now have coverage (ideally).  Great!  Now we can have access to all the drugs and surgery we need when we need them. Awesome.  Why do we need drugs and surgery?  Because of some kind of health crisis in our lives.  From where do most health crisis moments arise?  Most arise from our....choices.  Ouch.  Yes, most of the diseases that require ongoing care (drugs and/or surgery) are known as diseases of lifestyle.  Sure, some people are born with health issues (cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome etc), but most are diseases that arise from our choices in how we eat, move think and rest.  For instance, more and more studies are coming out showing that our lifestyle choices can significantly affect, and often times cure, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  I see more articles than ever speaking of how Type II diabetes is totally curable with lifestyle changes.  Heart disease can be reversed by lifestyle changes.  All good news.

But my fear is, with easier access to drugs and surgery, people will be even less likely to take appropriate care of themselves than we already do.  We already look for the easy way out, the pill for every ill.  Every year we see new meds or supplements designed for weight loss, and the public runs to them as the panacea for their ills.  No one in our government is sounding the bell for wellness.  No one is standing up to fight against the special interests that shape our policy on health and well being.  No one there mentions that the government recommendations for diet include things that actually CREATE more illness and disease (read my previous post about "healthy whole grains").  No one there  mentions that our nation is sick, and our health care system is actually a sick care system that functions to provide after the fact care, and that their version of wellness care is NOT wellness care at all.  Instead, they opt to create something that will sound and sell better, instead of handling the tougher topic that would solve the issue.

Real health care reform occurs in your home.  It occurs when you change your lifestyle to a wellness way of living.  It occurs when you raise your kids to not run to a drug every time they are sick.  It occurs when you sound the bell of wellness and let others know there's a better way.  In other words, it's not up to the government to create health care reform. It's up to us.  Any other way only kills.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Whole Wheat"? "Whole Grain"? Wholly Unhealthy!!


Ok, now I feel better.  Well not really.

I just read an article that asked about whether or not heart disease is reversible.  The short answer is yes, with appropriate lifestyle changes, particularly what we eat.  I have no issue with that, it's great information, it's empowering, it's uplifting and everyone should know this and have it shouted from the streets. It's all good.

However, the article I read then went painfully and obviously well beyond the author's area of expertise as he listed, and I'm sure at the recommendation of an established health care provider, what foods to focus on to reverse heart disease.  The article started well:  fruits and vegetables.  Probably the number one thing we all need to eat more of.  But it not only crossed a line, but it ran 50 yards past the line, when it listed "healthy whole grains" as another thing to focus on eating.

So, you say, what's wrong with whole grains?  They're "whole", they're a grain, they're natural aren't they? Didn't Jesus eat wheat and bread?  Isn't bread what my grandparents ate so often?  Um, well no.  The wheat we eat now days, is not your grandmother's wheat.  It's been genetically modified, with the intent of growing faster, into something that doesn't behave in your body anywhere near how grains used to behave in the body.

These days, your "whole grain" or "whole wheat" bread behaves badly in your body.  That healthy bread now breaks down into sugar in your body at an alarming rate.  It also behaves like a narcotic, attaching to pleasure centers in the brain where drugs like morphine attach.  So it acts like a drug in your body, providing pleasure, and yes, creating a desire for more of the product.  Sounds like an addiction doesn't it?  Exactly.  And the effect on your blood sugar?  More intense than table sugar actually, since wheat has a higher glycemic index factor than does sucrose (table sugar).  So therefore, when we consume wheat in any of its forms, we are doing more damage to our bodies than eating straight table sugar!!  It leads to inflammation in the body, belly fat, diabetes, and heart disease.

Recommending whole grains, is to recommend the same way of eating that started in the 80's, and has led to massive increases in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.  And I'd suggest that our never ending consumption of all things whole wheat or whole grain, has been a big part of this.  Bread, in all it's forms, is a contributing factor in much of our most common chronic, and reversible diseases in our country.

If you don't understand this, or don't believe me, please investigate the book "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis.  It has numerous studies described in it, as well as other evidence, that would support my feelings on this matter.  I believe we should stop consuming any bread for prevention of illness, and particularly if we already suffer from one of the illnesses we discussed above.  If you try this, I'd bet you'll be surprised at what  symptoms of ill health actually disappear in your life!

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