The difference between Eastern and Western medicine, and why I choose to practice both despite the challenges.
Soda is the most devastating thing you can put into your body. Soda contains phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid leaches calcium out of your body, which means weak bones. The pH of a dark colored soda is 2.5. The acid attacks your teeth and the lining of your mouth and throat. A can of soda has 39g of sugar. Sugar is inflammatory. It leads to metabolic disarray and immune dysfunction. It makes pain sensitivity worse, so if you have pain and you eat sugar, you will hurt more. One soda is more dangerous than one cigarette. - Dr. Hal Blatman #IHS13 #healthnerd ihsymposium.com
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in January in Las Vegas, the CEO of Verizon gave us the following bucket of unhappy stats about what health care costs lately.
He said, “In this country alone, we spend $3 Trillion a year on health care, and it’s rising at more than 5 percent a year. In 2013, health care will consume 19 percent of the Federal budget, more than any other single item. Half of our health care bill goes to just 5 percent of the population, much of that for the treatment of chronic diseases. Yet for all of this, the state of Americans’ health has declined by almost 70 percent, compared to the 1990’s.”
Translation: Apparently, health care is expensive, and what we’re buying isn’t doing much good.
I, however, would argue that while health care may be expensive, even rightfully expensive, the pursuit of health is actually much like the pursuit of of happiness: it is free.
And yet while we are all very clear that it is our individual obligation as Americans to actively pursue happiness, we seem to think the opposite about health.
The idea that health is passively bought is wrong. If you want health you have to pursue it actively and not just when you’re sick. You wouldn’t stop working because you got one paycheck, so why we stop actively working on our health whenever we feel good is crazy.
The key to health is curiosity. Curiosity about your body, about your food, and about how you feel when you sweat and move vs. when you don’t, and how your stomach and heart react to stress and sadness and anger vs. how they feel when you’re smiling.
I’ve found these three ways to indulge my curiosity and successfully pursue health bonus while doing so:
1. Yoga. Yoga lets me actually feel my body in a way that I don’t when I’m pounding it into the floor with cardio and weights. I learned a lot when I stopped running marathons and started doing yoga. I’m not saying you can’t run a marathon too, but the view from your neck down drastically changes when you bring yoga into the mix. Classes can add up, but there is no gear - just you and a mat and your body. And you can do it anywhere.
2. Cooking. The only reason I know what’s in my food and what makes me feel good vs. bad, or fat vs. thin, is because I cook meals. You have no idea what’s really in restaurant or packaged food. If you learn to cook some simple things you learn what your body feels when you eat certain ingredients, and then you get way savvier when it comes to eating out too. When your body gets used to real ingredients it will loudly tell you when it gets anything less. It’s also cheaper to cook, hands down.
3. Sitting still and watching my breath for 5-10 minutes a day. When you sit and watch your breathing, doing nothing else, for a few minutes a day, you realize pretty fast where your head is. Usually it’s going 150mph in circles, churning out thoughts most of which are undirected and useless, driven by fear, anger, worry and preoccupation. Taking this bird’s eye view of your mental habits is a huge wake-up call. Doing it retrains your brain to focus, and is a practice that is in every “top habits of successful people” list you’ll ever read.
Being healthy is being curious. Much like happiness, if you aren’t interested in health, you won’t have it. You’ll just have a lot of really expensive health care lying around.
More yoga for asthma sufferers! Seated forward bend with bent knees and head supported by block.
Breathe here for 3-5 minutes, expanding the lungs in all directions. Breathe in through the nose and out through the nose deeply and evenly. Set a timer on your phone and observe how the pose changes in just a few minutes.
Retrain the lungs to relax, break up scar tissue, and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system with the breath so that the body can heal itself.
Yoga for asthma sufferers! Fish pose with two blocks.
Breathe here for 3-5 minutes deeply, expanding the lungs in all directions with each long slow even breath. Break up scar tissue and retrain the lungs to relax and expand. Direct your breath into the furthest reaches of the lungs and promote the body’s natural healing processes.
Why do you suggest taking public transit even if you have a car?
Great question! because it isn’t door to door. you have to walk stairs to take the subway, walk to the train or bus. move about. it keeps you on your feet. (it’s also better for the planet - as we’ve seen with Sandy, resources are not unlimited!)
What do you think? Would love your thoughts too!
On wednesday - day two of the Sandy Black out - I walked from my apartment at 9th and Broadway up to 44th and 6th to find an open Radio Shack, in order to bring my 80-something year old neighbor back an FM/AM tape-deck and headphones. Mrs. H hadn’t had any way to contact the outside world since Monday night and cannot walk down six flights of stairs with her walker.
Our doormen had been checking in on her daily, which is lucky, but they couldn’t leave their post to get her things. That morning when we knocked and asked if she needed anything she said if we came across a radio she would be so grateful -she felt like she was losing her mind trapped in her apartment without any news or contact. We only knew she was there because we asked the doorman if there were elderly on our floor. I had never met her before.
This storm should be a reminder to all of us. Don’t get complacent. Don’t take your ability to walk far and sweat for granted.
You think life will always come with a hot shower and a ride but now we know there WILL be times when it won’t. It’s hard to combat the way that our jobs and lifestyles literally force us to be sedentary and constantly make it easy to eat more than we need.
You actually have to fight back. Not just hope you’ll be healthy by having a salad now and then, but work on it. Demand that your body be useful to you. Put it under some pressure sometimes.
I recommend the following.
1. Always take the stairs if it’s 5 flights or less.
2. Use a standing desk.
3. Use public transportation even if you have a car.
4. Leave your office at least once per day for a walk even if you bring lunch, even if it’s cold out.
5. Dedicate at minimum five full hours to vigorous exercise per week, spread out however you like. Vigorous means actually sweating.
An APPROPRIATELY sized dessert
- Dr. Robin, Health Uncensored