Rights, Privileges, and Health

A lot of people want to lose weight or get healthier because they want to reduce the amount of resistance or limitations in their lives.  They imagine some future imaginary end point where a certain weight and a certain health goal will fix some major issues in their life.   Resistance in general, which I have spoken about before, is a necessary component of growth.   It is also how we interact with the world around us.   It is the resistance of the clay against the potters hands, it is the tossing and turning of the ocean, that creates the beauty of the driftwood and the examples go on and on.  In our lives when we focus on a direction and are not staking everything on a specific outcome then we can maneuver and adapt as natural resistance comes and it always comes in some fashion.  Here’s the good news, the resultant creation or endpoint is often unexpected and often more beautiful.  

Many of us, however, mistake our health as a right and not a privilege.   One definition that appeals to me personally is the definition by Dr. Robert Rhondell Gibson.  He states that a right is something that you earned a right to and can’t be taken away from you.  So, since health, even life, can be taken away from you with right poison or a weapon, it is distinctly a privilege.  So as he says “Maybe the greatest way to lose your privileges is to mistake them for rights.”  

So, coming back to health, we have certain things about our lives that are privileges.  And in this is tied up the notion of gratitude.   For example, there is no question that the ability to walk is a privilege.   What I am saying really is that when you realize it is a privilege, then you would naturally expend every effort to maintain, enhance, and maybe gain more.   This is really the difference between greed and gratitude.  Greed wants more, better, and different from something that one has taken for granted.   Gratitude says that I see what I have as a wonderful privilege and I want to protect, enhance, and grow.  

Let’s take an example.  Walking : what a privilege.  How do you maintain, enhance, and gain more of that privilege?  You walk!  You stretch! You practice your balance, flexibility, and endurance! You condition your body and in so doing you are expressing gratitude for the gift that is walking.   Cooking!  What a privilege!  How do you maintain, enhance, and gain more?  You use it for your health so that you can continue doing it!   So what I am suggesting is that we start realizing that most of the good things in our life are not rights, they are privileges.  When it comes to health, we can start with where we are – if its walking or our ability to learn to cook better, or its our ability to choose healthier options in our food so that as I have said, we can expand, enhance, and gain more of that privilege if we wish to.  Take a look at your health and your health goals, you are already a very privileged human being I would venture to guess, all I am saying is perhaps we start spending time thinking about that and making an effort to secure your privileges.

Leave your comments below.

Giving Credit To Your Source

One thing you will find out about me pretty quickly is that hardly anything you find me write about is original 🙂 I also spend time giving credit to the knowledge I share. There are universal truths, expressed by many traditions around the world in different ways, which no human claims credit for, that is part and parcel of the very structure of our world.

For everything else, its important we give credit to our source. My teacher of blessed memory, Gerald Epstein, MD (Jerry) used to say that one of the most important verses in the Bible was Esther 2:22 “And the matter became known to Mordecai, and he told [it] to Queen Esther, and Esther told [it] to the king in Mordecai’s name.

Why did Jerry think that this biblical attribution of giving credit to your source was so important? Because to not do so, violates many of the 10 Commandments. It violates the 6th, to not murder, as it murders someone’s name by not giving them credit. It violates the 8th, as you are quite literally stealing what belongs to them. It violates the 9th since you are lying at the expense of the originator and it probably violates the 10th because you are coveting what someone else created.

In our social media world, many of the popular shared ideas are not given their due credit in the effort to get ahead, in this case, at the expense of another. When this becomes habit and we do not give credit to our sources, it is unlikely we will then give credit to our other Source, the Source of all.

Next time you share that nice tidbit of knowledge, try sharing where you learned it from, it is in a very direct way, a way of honoring both yourself and is symbolic of our connection with the Source of All.


ALL Non-sugar sweeteners damage you!

Ok, well the word damage is a strong word. What I mean by damage here is not something that is measurable biologically on a test but the set point of your ability to appreciate sweetness.

You see, your palate is like a thermostat and each time you eat overly sweetened foods, the thermostat to appreciate sweetness get set higher and higher, such that the pleasure of sweetness is moving further and further away from being able to enjoy the natural sweetness of things like berries.

The same thing goes for salt and despite what a new wave of health guru’s are saying, higher than suggested levels of salt are not good for some people’s blood pressure and it is related to a gene called AGE. I test for these in my online consultations, so if you are interested in this test, do let me know, contact me on one of my social media channels. Some people depending on their gene can increase their sodium possibly with some benefits.

You mission should you accept it for optimal health is to gain as much pleasure from natural foods as possible. Load your diet up with stevia, monkfruit, allulose, erythitol, all biologically safe sweeteners and you correspondingly decrease your ability to receive pleasure from Mother Nature’s bounty of healthy low sugar fruits like berries. Deserts / cakes etc, even with the above sweeteners should only be done on rare occasions when you want a treat. While they might not be as bad as flour, sugar laden sweets, in the long run, they ruin your ability to achieve balance with natural foods. Your goal to repeat is to gain as much pleasure from natural foods as possible.

Cooperation and Competition : A look at the numbers

When you build a business, obviously there is almost always competition especially if it is an demand service or product. Outsiders often decry that this competition is cut throat and sometimes ends in amoral activity.

I’ve built a company that according to the statistics is in the top 1/2 of 1% of all businesses in the country. I say that only to tell you that I’ve seen this from the inside.

I have had competitors that have resorted to some pretty amoral activities to try to gain an edge. This however is more reflective of the type of people they are than the natural of the game of business.

Here is the reality of the situation, in order to get a product like mine out to the market involves an enormous amount of cooperation from people as remote from me as farmers, machine manufacturers, plant workers, shipping companies, warehouse employees, distributors, truckers and the list goes on and on. This is all cooperation and it’s amazing. I have met people and gained friendships I never would have.

You can be narrow focused and lose this perspective if you get bogged down in making this a game revolving around ego, or you can see it as an exercise in cooperation. By the numbers, it most certainly is.

Reversing Cancer Through Mental Imagery by Simcha Benyosef

This is quite simply a remarkable book. As a physician who sometimes uses mental imagery in my practice to help give people power to help heal themselves, this book which explains a 12 month course of imagery, is a godsend. I have already given 2 copies to patients of mine. While this book doesn’t shy away from the fact that there are deeply spiritual aspects of this work – it is non-sectarian and will be useful regardless of your religion or beliefs. What this book describes is a comprehensive 12 month path of inner work for the cancer patient. If you know someone who has cancer and needs some help getting his/her inner state to be stronger and on their side for the work of healing – I would immediately buy this book. As I have studied with Gerald Epstein, MD, a contributor to the book and a master in mental imagery, I had known about this book for some time and had anxiously awaited it’s release, now that it is released, all I can say is that it is even more than what I hoped for.

How to pick your vegetables.

I heard an interview with Arthur Haines who seems to have some interesting ideas on ancestral health. One struck me and I figured I would share. When looking at our ancestors, they ate a great deal more plant varieties than we do. He pointed out that when thinking about variety we should be looking at “families” of vegetables as a criteria.

Cruciferous vegetables are one family which includes kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. While they vary in nutrient density, the main nutrients are of the same class. Arthur Haines suggests that we should be making sure we include other classes of greens.

Another class is the lettuce family – most of the lettuces like romaine, iceberg, and bibb are also of the same family.

Here are some other greens to include that don’t share the above families: purslane, beet greens, chard, or spinach.

The key point here is while each family is fabulous for you, from an ancestral health perspective, you are probably better off sampling from different families of plants. This is an idea that makes a lot of sense to me.

Do You Need A Reason to Be Joyful?

In the Chassidic tradition,  which is part of the Jewish tradition, joy is emphasized, that God’s very presence is diminished when there is depression.   Nowhere is this more evident than on the holiday of Purim, that celebrates the events of the Book of Esther.   On this remarkable holiday where we wear masks and are advised to become intoxicated with the Divine (and drink more than usual), we are supposed to rise above the duality and confusion of this world and be joyous beyond reason, above reason. 

In our overly rational world, we seem to need a reason for everything.    But, have we ever stopped to think, why not be joyful even though you have no reason?  Why do we need one?   Let’s face it, we don’t really understand most of the events of our lives until we can see them in retrospect, often times finding out that some of the worst events of our lives were some of the most important and meaningful in giving our lives context and meaning.  

So, why not just decide to be joyful now?  I know, it sounds hard,  but we know that even smiling though there is nothing seemingly to smile about affects your brain chemistry in a way that makes you feel better.   What about expressing joy with your whole being?  Can you imagine what that would do for your health?  Just give it a try, we are all familiar with the case of Norman Cousins who laughed his disease away.   Joy heals and depression does the opposite.   You must fight for it because our bodies and our minds will try and sabotage you, but inside is that still small voice that is urging you to fight and reclaim your joy.  If you spend your whole life waiting for some thing, some circumstance, some event to bring you joy, that is no more logical than just deciding right now to be joyful. Can you remember what your body felt like when you were last joyful?   I know you can, why not just decide right now to bring some of that into your life right now. I can feel my pulse quickening, how about you?

The Long Shorter Way

The world has had many evil leaders in history. Of recent memory of course, was Hitler but they exist all over the world in all times. One of the techniques that they use which is also used by some health guru’s is that they blame someone else for you. This is one of the most effective ways to gain control over you. Someone comes along and say, “It’s not your fault, it’s x,y,z’s fault.”

Comparing health guru’s to Hitler is excessive, I am merely pointing out a technique that people use to control you. When your friendly smiling health guru, tells you that it is not your fault, that you don’t have control, that forces more powerful than you have led you to where you are, know that you are being acted upon by someone that does not have your best interests in mind.

This is not to say that there aren’t things out of our control, there certainly are but when someone comes along and blames for you, tells you how miserable it is, and then asks for your support or offers a solution, recognize this controlling technique.

So what is the alternative? Might I offer a radical piece of advice to try on for the next month. I learned it from Brian Tracy, whenever something goes wrong, claim responsibility for it. In your mind say, “I am responsible, I am responsible.” At the very least you start to become responsible for your reaction to what is happening and eventually you start to believe, rightly so, that you do have more control over your life and health than you ever thought possible.

And what about health guru’s who blame for you and then sell you something? Find someone another teacher. How do you know they are for real? Well, they will tell you like it is, which is often tough to handle at first but is what is known as the “The Long Shorter Way.” In other words, it may seem like the hard work starts right away, it might not be pleasant, but you end up getting where you want much faster and in a place where you become your own authority. Good luck finding those teachers, they are few and far between.

My own teacher of blessed memory, Gerald Epstein, MD who since his passing recently, has been on my mind and in many of my posts, would tell it to you straight, his allegiance was to the Truth and the Truth can be a bitter pill to swallow sometimes but as I said for the student it seems longer in the beginning but is ultimately shorter way. I will leave you with a little parable from Talmud discussing this, people who blame for you are leading you through a “short and long way” :

Said Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananiah: “Once a child got the better of me.” “I was traveling, and I met with a child at a crossroads. I asked him, ‘which way to the city?’ and he answered: ‘This way is short and long, and this way is long and short.'”I took the ‘short and long’ way. I soon reached the city but found my approach obstructed by gardens and orchards. So I retraced my steps and said to the child: ‘My son, did you not tell me that this is the short way?’ Answered the child: ‘Did I not tell you that it is also long?'”


Healer, Physician, or Doctor

It seems each of those words carry a different connotation with various people. Undoubtedly, the word doctor has lost a lot of what it means to the general population, as doctor can be a Ph.D as well a whole slew of people who help people with their health. It comes from a root that means to teach.

A physician has taken on the connotation of a formal medical doctor with a MD/DO degree generally speaking. It comes from the french word Physic which means remedy.

And then there is a healer. It is instructive to note that heal, whole, and holy are all related. Perhaps we understand this in some deep way anyway and it is why the term “healer” tends to evoke notions of holistic, alternative, healers.

Are these terms just playing with semantics? I don’t think so, I think what it shows that when it comes to helping people with their health, while the above terms are not that well defined, that the way to approach helping people comes from my different angles.

And with that, I have a patient waiting and when the door closes, the real world of person to person connection happens and if it is done right, all labels disappear and you are just there as a helper, person to person.


Manifestation Madness

I admit it, I cringe when I see the word “manifestation.” Usually its paired with some spiritual “technique” to get you the life you desire. As I mentioned in a prior post, most of the world is struggling under the mistaken notion that the purpose of life is to avoid pain and pursue pleasure, whether that be physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual. I think you can see where I am going with this. Giving people spiritual tools (which in some select cases are actually quite effective) when they are still operating under a dead end notion about life’s purpose, or more accurately, to people who have not seriously examined life’s purpose, is foolish. My teacher of blessed memory, Gerald Epstein, MD used to call all of these manifestation movements “spiritual materialism.”

The ancient Hebraic sages, would say that at a certain point of spiritual development, one becomes a chariot of the Divine, meaning that your life becomes one where God is in the drivers seat. It is said that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all reached this stage, they didn’t lose their unique identities but their desires become aligned with Divine. One would think that this would limit your freedom, but in fact, it is said by the sages that when the confusions of life get cleared up and you have a connection to Source, you taste what true freedom is.

I am not against the idea of manifestation, but when you choose to pick what it is that you wish to manifest, make sure it is aligned with a vision that takes into account higher aims and purposes or brings you closer to determining your mission in life, or brings you in direct alignment with that mission.

When it comes to health however, start with the 4 pillars first. Examine in detail 1. Nutrition 2. Mental State 3. Physical Activity 4. Environmental Influences and see where there is something out of balance.