Chronic illness is a manmade tsunami that has taken over the world. 18 percent of our nation’s GDP is spent on healthcare. By 2040, that figure is expected to rise to 34 percent.
Why? Because 75 percent of all healthcare costs go to treating chronic illness, which gets worse as we age in most cases. It’s crippling healthcare and strangling healthcare workers across our country and around the world.
Some of the most common chronic illnesses are:
- High blood pressure
- Type II diabetes
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
- Neurological disorders like depression
- Attention deficit disorder
- Digestive diseases like gastric reflux
- Inflammatory bowel
- Bone loss diseases like osteoporosis
- Obstructive pulmonary diseases
- Muscle pain and weakness from chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia
- Kidney and liver ailments
- Vision problems like macular degeneration
In a previous post, I discussed the truth about whole grains and explained what to look for in the food label. The word “whole” must appear in the first ingredient, like whole grain, whole wheat or stone-ground whole.
If the word “whole” doesn’t appear until the second ingredient, that product could contain as little as one percent of whole grain. It’s almost like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created gigantic loopholes that food manufacturers drive through like a runaway truck.
Food labeling is overwhelming and confusing, which makes it difficult for us to evaluate food products and determine what we should be consuming and feeding to our children.
I wish it was as simple as it was 200 years ago. Before the industrial revolution, you really didn’t need food labels. All food was organic because that’s the way it was naturally designed. Food was grown in non-contaminated soil, harvested and eaten before it spoiled.
In Part 1 of this post, I explained what gluten is, the difference between gluten allergy and gluten intolerance, and the impact of modern wheat. Heavier concentrations of gluten in today’s genetically modified wheat are overwhelming the human body and resulting in gluten intolerances and allergies.
Whenever I’m learning about a patient’s history and looking at their blood chemistry, I always ask myself if they have a gluten intolerance or allergy. I begin to break it down into the three major categories of damage caused by gluten, which Marlene Merritt outlined in an excellent article in DC Practice Insights:
- Digestive problems, such as reflux, inflammation of the bowel and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Mental, emotional and neurological problems, such as multiple sclerosis, migraines depression, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and attention deficit disorder (ADD).
- Autoimmune problems, which can be caused when gluten leaks through the damaged intestine, a condition called leaky gut syndrome, and causes reactions like Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.
In last week’s post about the truth about whole grain, I made it clear that my intention was not to promote the consumption of whole grains. One big reason for that is the presence of gluten.
We always see books and magazine articles promoting a gluten-free lifestyle, and we see more and more gluten-free food choices at grocery stores and restaurants.
This isn’t a fad. Gluten can have a direct impact on a person’s health. But as Marlene Merritt points out in a recent article about gluten in DC Practice Insights, not many people know the real story about gluten.
Gluten is a substance found in wheat, barley and rye. It acts like a glue that holds food together and allows it to be stretched.
First, I want to make it clear that this post is not intended to suggest that you should consume whole grains. The goal is to clear up the misconceptions and half-truths about whole grains that cause people to make poor nutritional choices.
I agree with a writer from Nutritional Wellness magazine who said that most of the problems and confusion related to whole grain is the fault of man. Man takes whole grain, refines and processes it in a laboratory, and then food manufacturers market their products in a way that doesn’t accurately represent what’s in the product.
For example, a label can say a food product contains grain even if the grain has been heavily processed and all of the original nutrients within the grain, like fiber, have been stripped away.
Coca Cola Life made its debut in America at the end of August. The folks at Coca Cola are promoting the fact that this new product has 35 percent fewer calories and is “naturally” sweetened with cane sugar and stevia leaf extract.
Guess what? It’s still garbage, just like every other soda or energy drink.
In a recent announcement from Coca Cola about the domestic launch of this new garbage, there’s one word that’s noticeably absent – healthy.
That’s because soda has no health value whatsoever. Zero.
Maybe Coca Cola would like us to believe that Coca Cola Life is slightly less unhealthy than its predecessors.
Everyone has filled out forms when visiting the doctor’s office. Aside from providing your doctor with background information, there is survey information that is used to identify more general trends. One of them has been easy to spot.
The number one reported health complaint in medical office across the country every year is fatigue. So many people who visit Natural Healthcare Center are dealing with a lack of energy, which has gone beyond a national epidemic to become a worldwide pandemic.
We all should be able to focus with our brains. We all should be able to wake up with an abundance of energy, and we should never wake up exhausted. But our society is almost universally challenged by a lack of focus and energy.
In previous posts, I discussed how hormones help keep the brain functioning properly, as well as the danger of hormonal imbalance. If one part of your hormonal structure is off, it can create a downstream effect throughout the hormonal cascade that hampers brain function.
It’s important to remember the concept of bio-individuality, which means we’re all different. We may have the same organs and bones, but we don’t have the same hormonal structure. How we feel, eat and exercise will shape each individual’s hormonal structure.
A key factor in balancing our hormones is how we respond to the stress in our lives. Our adrenal glands, which lie on top of our kidneys, produce stress hormones – DHEA, cortisol and adrenaline. The production of these hormones is regulated by the brain.
In Part 1 of my post about exercising the brain, I pointed out how the sedentary lifestyle – sitting around all day at home and at work – is terrible for the brain. In fact, sitting is the new smoking.
As much as I would like to say I came up with that painfully true observation, credit goes to Dr. Anup Kanodia, a physician and researcher at the Center for Personalized Health Care at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Kanodia cited a 2012 Australian study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers estimated that every hour spent sitting around watching television reduces life expectancy by about 22 minutes, while a single cigarette shaves 11 minutes off of the smoker’s life.
There are certain things going on in the world that truly sadden me. As a doctor, a father of five and a human being, I simply can’t remain silent. Like most people, I was saddened to hear the news that Robin Williams committed suicide after a decades-long battle with depression.
When I hear about the suicide of someone who was universally adored, and I see the outpouring of emotion, I wonder when we’re going to start doing something about mental illness in our society.
I just spent 14 weeks talking about brain chemistry on my By Design radio program, discussing how imbalances in the brain lead to poor decisions and unhealthy behavior. So many people are habitually taking medication every day – medication that alters their brain chemistry – and they don’t understand the side effects.
In a previous post, I discussed how hormones help keep the brain functioning properly. When all of the hormone-producing glands in the endocrine system are balanced and working together in unison, we tend to feel and function better.
On the other hand, because hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, if one part of your hormonal structure is off, this will create a downstream effect on other hormones and negatively affect brain function.
Most people are familiar with the reproductive hormones – testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. But there are many hormones within the hormonal cascade that play an important role in the health of the brain and body.
As Dr. Daniel Amen illustrates in his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, the hormonal cascade is like a hormonal tree with a mother hormone at the top. All other hormones are derived from the mother hormone. Balancing the hormones at the top creates a cascade effect that balances the downstream hormones.
And what is the mother hormone at the top of the hormonal cascade? Cholesterol. Continue reading
The hormonal structure of the body, whether it’s in balance or out of balance, plays a huge role in dictating how you feel and function, especially for people ages 30 and older. That’s because hormones have a significant impact on brain function.
Let’s be clear about one thing right off the bat. Hormones aren’t just a female thing. Hormones are essential for health and vitality in both women and men. When hormones are balanced, we tend to feel very happy and energetic.
In a previous post about maintaining your brain, I talked about brain chemicals like dopamine and gaba, and how the neurotransmitters of the brain are wired. Hormones have an impact on the wiring and structure of those neurotransmitters.
As Dr. Daniel Amen explains in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, hormones are like chemical messengers that travel through the blood stream and make it possible for the brain to communicate with other organs.
How important are hormones? Well, Dr. Amen puts it this way – change your hormones, change your brain, change your body, change your relationships. When your hormones are off, everything in your life suffers. Continue reading
This is a guest post by Bill Freeman, a retired 63-year-old school principal and Natural Healthcare Center patient. I’d like to personally thank Bill for sharing his story. Dr. James Proodian
I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer three years ago when tumors were discovered on both sides of my thyroid. After having surgery to remove the thyroid, I was treated with radioactive iodine to kill any remaining cancer cells in my body.
Over the course of about two weeks, I gained 32 pounds. You have to drink a lot of fluids to get the radioactive iodine out of your body, so much of what I gained was water weight.
I had been getting regular chiropractic adjustments from Dr. Proodian and finally told him that I was disappointed because I couldn’t lose the weight. I had been on Weight Watchers. I used apps on my phone. I would lose a few pounds, hit a wall, and just gain it all back.
Dr. Proodian suggested that I see Dr. (Oscar) Coetzee. I told Dr. Coetzee that if he could help me lose weight, I would do whatever he wanted me to do. I’m a Type A personality. If you tell me to eat four ounces of turkey, I’m going to eat four ounces of turkey. You tell me to eat 17 carrots, and I’m going to eat 17 carrots.
In Part 1 of this post, we continued our discussion about the brain being the key to changing our behavior and transforming our bodies. I listed the various ways exercise can strengthen the brain as outlined by Dr. Daniel Amen in his book, Change Your Body, Change Your Brain.
Now, it’s time to discuss what happens to the body and brain when we don’t exercise. It’s not pretty.
Lack of exercise leads to obesity, which has reached epidemic levels in our country, especially with our children.
Studies have shown that obese children who become obese adults have an 80–90 percent chance of staying obese for the rest of their lives. We need to get our kids moving.
For the better part of the last two months on this blog and my Proodian Healthcare By Design radio program, I’ve been discussing what we need to do to change our behavior and transform our bodies. At the center of change and transformation is the human brain.
That little three-pound organ that rests between our ears is a miracle that needs to be respected and protected.
Using the books Change Your Body, Change Your Brain by Dr. Daniel Amen and The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman as central resources, I’ve talked about the role that sugar, fat, caffeine and various brain foods play in maintaining proper brain chemistry.
Brain chemistry enables us to make better nutritional decisions, and what we eat has a direct impact on how we feel and how we think.
The single most important thing we can do to enhance brain function and keep our bodies looking young and feeling vibrant is exercise. As Edward Stanley, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, once said:
Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. Continue reading
In a previous post, I discussed the importance of maintaining the brain and what we can do to keep our brain chemistry balanced. After all, without a functioning brain, we cease to exist. When the brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, it can negatively affect every part of our lives.
While the brain can self-regulate, it needs our help. One of the simplest things we can do to maintain balanced brain chemistry is to eat great brain food.
As Dr. Daniel Amen says in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, food is a drug – a drug that needs to be taken to stay alive.
What food is considered great brain food?
Of course, you have to keep your brain hydrated, so drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential. Because the brain is 60 percent fat, we need to consume the right kinds of fats, like fatty fish oils.
According the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey, 80 percent of American adults drink coffee every day. The average cup of coffee is nine ounces.
Some scientific research has suggested coffee has antioxidants that can decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, liver disease, depression and other conditions. Research also suggests coffee can improve cognitive function.
This has led many people to believe that unlimited coffee consumption is perfectly healthy, and caffeine really isn’t that bad for you.
Well, it’s true that one or two normal-sized cups of coffee per day – about eight ounces per cup – probably won’t cause a problem in most cases. Continue reading
In last week’s post, I discussed why we need to maintain the brain, continuing the conversation about change and transformation. Dr. Daniel Amen points out in his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body that the human brain, that little three-pound organ nestled between our ears, is the most complex organ and the greatest miracle in the universe.
In order to maintain our will power and self-control, we need to keep our brain chemistry balanced. If we want to change the body, we have to change the brain first. Controlling sugar intake is an essential part of maintaining or restoring proper brain chemistry.
Another important but overlooked factor is the role of fat, so let’s take a closer look at the role of fat in the human body.
60 percent of the human brain is fat. If someone calls you a fathead, consider it a term of endearment and drop that little nugget of knowledge on them.
For the last several weeks, I’ve been discussing topics related to change and transformation. In order to maintain our body’s natural design and achieve optimal health, we need to set realistic goals and expectations and change our behavior.
If we’re going to make behavioral changes that enable us to change our bodies, we need to start by changing our brain chemistry.
Dr. Daniel Amen lays out “10 Principles to Change Your Brain and Your Body” in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body. Included among these principles is the fact that the human brain is the most complex organ in the universe, and we need to respect it.
The human brain is a three-pound organ between our ears that’s more complicated and powerful than the most advanced computers. It has more than 100 billion nerve cells – about the same number of stars found in the Milky Way – and each of these nerve cells has thousands of connections with other nerve cells.
In last week’s post, I explained why detoxification must begin with sugar. I shared a number of mind-blowing statistics related to how much sugar is in products people consume every day, as well as the link between sugar and chronic disease.
I also want to encourage you again to go see Fed Up and take the Fed Up Challenge, which can help you correct your body and brain chemistry by going sugar-free for 10 days.
A major obstacle that we as individuals and parents must overcome is the deception of the food industry. A recent study from Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab found that the majority of cereals marketed to children feature characters (Cap’n Crunch, the Trix Rabbit, Lucky the Leprechaun, etc.) that look downward.
These boxes are designed to make direct eye contact with the target audience, which science has shown builds trust and positive feelings toward the brand. In other words, they’re trying to manipulate our children into asking us to buy cereal for them. Characters on cereals that target adults tend to look straight ahead.