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Seriously…What The Health?


So….I’m sure you have heard of this new Netflix documentary entitled “What The Health”. If you haven’t yet, go watch it.

What The Health is a compelling account of how we need to pay far better attention to what we eat, where our food is sourced, how the vast majority of food manufacturers show a general lack of concern for public health, the negative implications of the “American Diet”, etc.

Knowing that I’m a wellness enthusiast, a few friends recently asked me if I have seen What The Health, as they found it rather revelatory and were profoundly impacted by its message. While I was thrilled to hear that my friends intend to make some positive changes in their diet as a result of seeing the film, something far deeper occurred to me when I heard this. My first knee-jerk thought was….haven’t you already seen Food Inc, Forks Over Knives, and all of those other documentaries with an identical message?? My second thought was – SHIT – have you never read my blog?! 

Half joking aside, this same exact “food revolution” type of content has been presented to us over the years time and time again. Yes, admittedly the information is always one-sided and very dramatic (by design), but it all centers around a profoundly true message. The message is very clear and easy to understand. If we all collectively adopt more of a plant-based diet, we will improve our health, the health of animals and the health of our planet. There is absolutely no way to scientifically dispute this fact.
While I certainly appreciate What The Health and other films which promote this altruistic message — and it IS entirely altruistic, as the producers of the films stand to gain ZERO if you adopted a vegan diet — I truly wonder when this message will finally “catch on”. I wonder if it will happen in my lifetime. I wonder if it will ever happen at all….

I believe the only way this message has the potential to catch on is if/when someone with SERIOUS INFLUENCE makes it a priority to educate the masses, tell everyone that we are all moving in a very dangerous direction and we desperately need to course correct. And I’m not talking about some hippie MD that no one knows….I’m talking about someone that everyone knows, trusts, likes and respects. The deterrent is that any major progress in this area unravel the entire animal agriculture industry. The ramifications on our nation’s economy could be fairly widespread — some negative (meat and dairy industries) and some positive (out-of-control healthcare spending spiral). I’m guessing the uncertainty of it all is why we don’t see more of a concerted effort in this manner being served up by any of our public leadership? Perhaps with a healthy side dish of apathy? Not to mention threatening the “free will” that Americans so cherish so deeply. Because if someone wants a cheeseburger, they should be able to snap their fingers and get a cheeseburger….right?? UGH.

Americans may not realize this, but we have had some “close calls” over the years when it comes to the concept of national dietary overhaul. Bill Clinton effectively REVERSED his heart disease by adopting a plant-based diet. I wish that Bill and the Clinton Foundation was more involved in promoting his incredible story of transformation to the masses but, since there really isn’t any money to be made in it, nothing much has become of it. And Michelle Obama tried to fight childhood obesity more recently through her “Let’s Move” program, but this was just barely scratching the surface of the issue and didn’t have sharp teeth. So while there has been some activity around this subject, no one of any relevance has made this their UNWAVERING CAUSE and changed our collective mindset on food. I think we may need an upheaval to initiate a total overhaul in how we eat and it must come soon. I believe that the issue of public health is AT LEAST on par with the climate change issue and, like climate change, I’m afraid we may potentially be past the point of return. We are too divided on the topic, it is too controversial and the damage is done. I sincerely hope I am wrong. I hope I will see this change in my lifetime. Our health depends on it.

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Whose Health Is It Anyway?

Something pissed me off today and I feel like writing about it. Hopefully, getting it off my chest will make the anger dissipate AND simultaneously help me share my opinion that we all need to take better control of our own health.

I had my blood drawn at the doctor’s office today for an advanced panel that I have been doing for several years now. It does a deep dive looking at lipidemia, metabolics, inflammatory markers, etc. Sidenote: if you get the basic LDL/HDL/Triglyceride scores each year (which are nearly meaningless), you should consider looking into doing a more advanced panel. But I digress….

I do an advanced blood panel every year to look at specific markers that concern me. Beyond the traditional markers, I look at Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Homocysteine, etc. I do this because I value my health and I know how to supplement at home if my levels are not optimal. For example, I self inject B12 at home monthly because I am regularly low. In any case, this is my ONE time a year to get a snapshot of my health, so naturally it is very important to me.

Before I had my blood drawn today, I asked if I could see the lab order to ensure that I was getting a reading on everything I was interested in measuring. If you have ever seen lab paperwork, there are about 175 different boxes to check regarding what you want to be measured on. The medical assistant found it odd that I wanted to review this and, while she did let me look at it for about 5 seconds, it was not enough to time to completely review it. After she drew my blood and bandaged me up, I again asked if I could review the order, just to make sure. I told her “I don’t want to have to come back and get pricked again if we don’t check all of the right boxes.” At this point, she was visibly frustated and said “I’m sure they will look at everything that the doctor wants them to.” Okay now, before I rush to judgment, OF COURSE most patients resign themselves to “what their doctor wants them to do.” But that’s not me, I am not “most patients”. If I had let the doctor choose, I would probably be doing the (aforementioned) basic panel that tells me little to nothing about my overall health. I am the one (of probably less than 5% of patients) who is choosing to do the advanced panel, not my doctor. I like to take control over my health, read the lab reports, consider the variables and make an educated opinion on treatment. Also, I’m not one to just blindly accept a doctor’s recommendation as fact, no matter how brilliantly genius they are. That is why most people seek second opinions when dealing with serious health matters, because a) many doctors have entirely conflicting medical opinions and b) that’s the way it should be….because there is RARELY a right or wrong answer when it comes to such matters. There are a whole host of factors to consider when choosing a treatment pathway and the PATIENT is at the center of ALL OF THIS. Me, the patient. My body, my health.

So, reflecting on my experience from today, perhaps the medical assistant could have given me a photocopy of the lab order for my review before she input it into the computer. In doing so, we could have completely avoided the awkward encounter and she could have tended to other matters (that seemed to be a much higher priority than me). Having said that, it was a really distasteful experience being rushed through what I consider a pretty pivotal annual exam, which will dictate how I decide to supplement for the next 12 months. Next year, when I schedule my labs, I will make sure to do review the paperwork well in advance.

There, I got it off my chest. 😁

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Make (down)time for myself

I am about to embark on an experiment that may return immeasurable results.

Although I’m a pretty easy going guy, I enjoy being “busy” and my mind is always working. My daily to-do lists are impossible to complete, which creates a great deal of physical/mental fatigue and a sense of perennial underachievement. The bottom line is that I never give myself a break. Because of this, I have committed to change the following TWO things:

1. Go to sleep when I feel tired. This seems like a no-brainer, but nearly every evening I push myself to stay awake and accomplish everything that I humanly can before falling asleep. I view sleep as letting the day “die”, which is a difficult process for me. I cannot even count how many times I have fallen asleep on the couch, fully clothed, with my iPhone in hand and/or my iPad on my lap. The consequence of this is not getting a full night of rest and recovery. It is like charging my phone battery to half-strength only and then expecting it to last for a full day, which is not reasonable or sustainable. I believe that implementing this will give my body more energy to thrive each new day that I wake up.

2. Meditate for 10 minutes immediately upon waking. Although sleep will certainly help “recharge my battery”, my mind remains on all night dreaming autonomously via an unconscious state. I believe that meditating for at least 10 minutes each morning will help turn my mind off and help “re-boot” my operating system, giving me more mental acuity and help me approach each new day with a fresh clear mind. There are many ways to meditate, but my favorite method is best described here.

I plan to put these two processes into place, effective immediately, and continue them over the course of the Summer. I look forward to sharing my results!

Robert

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Homegrown

Another spring season is here and we just got our plants in the ground….


On the top deck, we planted Persian cucumbers (that climb up the arched trellis), thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, mint, green onion and cilantro (from seed).


On the bottom two decks, we planted tomatoes (6 varietals!), zucchini and sunflowers (from seed).

All of our transplants and seeds, purchased at SLOAT, are locally sourced and non-GMO. As you can see from the photos, we are still getting free “organic” irrigation from the sky.

When it’s all said and done (soil amendment, transplants, seeds, irrigation, etc), I estimate the cost of growing food at home exceeds the cost of buying it at the store.

Having said that, there is a certain satisfaction in growing your own food, knowing where it comes from, how it is grown and it’s a great lesson and fun experience for our children.

If you have ever considered growing food at home but have yet to try it, I would recommend planting a DIY starter kit in a small area of your backyard to get some experience. I saw a product called SeedSheet on a recent episode of SHARK TANK, which I thought was a brilliantly easy way to start your own garden.

Happy planting!

#Homegrown #Truthology #HJID

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KOMBUCHA: Our home brewing adventure

Hippocrates, regarded as the father of medicine, claimed that “All disease begins in the gut”. Over 2000 years later, many experts in the field of nutrition would agree that a person’s overall health is largely a reflection of what is gong on in his/her gut. The “gut microbiome” – the makeup and balance of microorganisms in the stomach (i.e. Bacteria, Fungi, etc) – is the subject of many incredible contemporary clinical studies and is quite an emerging scientific field. 

Personally, I am a big fan of probiotics to help maintain a healthy gut flora. Speaking from my own experience, I have found that flooding my stomach with “beneficial microorganisms” (i.e. good bacteria) has had a profoundly positive impact on my digestive and immune system health. 

Several years ago, I began drinking GoodBelly, a 2.7oz “shot” of fruit flavored non-dairy probiotic supplement, that is readily available at health food stores, such as Whole Foods Market. I noticed a slight, yet inconsistent, benefit in drinking the product. I later moved on to KeVita, which is a widely available 15.2oz sparkling flavored probiotic beverage, almost like a probiotic soda. I liked this better, but I still was not seeing a consistent benefit. I finally got the courage to begin drinking kombucha, which is a flavored, fermented and naturally carbonated probiotic tea.

Kombucha is described by some as the “elixir of life”. According to my research, the first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty and it was known as “The Tea of Immortality”. I had long been told that kombucha tea was an acquired taste. I would have to agree with this advice, as the first one I ever tried (GT’S Original) smelled like sweaty socks and tasted sour as hell. As I began experimenting with the various flavors of GT’S, of which there are many, I developed a preference for their Gingerade product. I began drinking it consistently, enjoying the great benefits and craving it almost daily. I tried some other brands – even some that are available on tap only at health food stores and restaurants (i.e. Whalebird) – but I determined that, as far as bottled brands go, I was to be a GT’S enthusiast.

This is only the beginning of the story….

Despite loving my new kombucha tea habit, and realizing the many great benefits, it was becoming DAMN EXPENSIVE. Each bottle of 16oz GT’S kombucha retails for up to $4.00!! In other words, if I kept up this habit, I would be forking out well over $1000 per year….that is one expensive probiotic! It was after this realization that I decided to take matters into my own hands and begin brewing my own kombucha tea at home.

There are many websites, social media platforms and YouTube videos dedicated to the craft of home brewing kombucha tea. After watching many tutorials and reading/studying about the do’s and don’ts, I decided to take the plunge with my 9yo daughter. One month in, and a few batches under our belt, we have yet to become masters of brewing kombucha tea….but we are having a lot of fun in the process!

Following are some photos documenting our kombucha tea adventures. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have regarding the process. Enjoy!

Charlotte giving our first batch of sweet tea some love.

Ready for the first fermentation of our first batch.

The mother SCOBY (small) attached to the baby SCOBY (large), which formed in a week’s time.

Creating a variety of flavors with strawberry, mint, lime , ginger and more.

Charlotte showcasing our first bottled batch.

Our second and third batches in the newly dedicated Kombucha cupboard.

Protege and master, side by side.

Next step is to make fancier labels, LOL.

Our SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria & Yeast) is all grown up!

The next batch is up! It is a continuous practice of trying to perfect our recipe.

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Kids Fit Club – Dinner Edition

Kids Fit Club, an organization dedicated to educating youth on the value of proper nutrition and exercise, hosted a dinner event tonight where 4 children (ages 6-9yo) prepared a Mediterranean feast for a group of 14 attendees.

The dinner consisted of the following dishes, listed with ingredients in parenthesis:

– Veggie Platter Appetizer (Carrots, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Bell Peppers, Yellow Bell Peppers & Hummus)


– Hummus (Garbanzo Beans, Tahini, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper & topped with Pine Nuts & Paprika)


– Salad (Arugula, Cucumber, Avocado, Pine Nuts, Olive Oil, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Salt & Pepper)


– Quinoa Tabouli (Quinoa, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Italian Parsley, Green Onions, Mint, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt & Pepper)


– Grilled Chicken (Boneless skinless butterflied chicken breast with Shwarma marinade).

– Served with fresh pita and lavash bread.

The dinner was healthy, delicious and a great time was had by all in attendance!

Looking forward to our next KFC event!

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Find & Follow Your Truth

find-your-truth-then-follow-your-path-blog

Four years ago, I began documenting my physical – and very much mental – dietary transformation.  I called it TRUTHOLOGY, because it described my personal quest to discover the optimal human diet.  Over the course of the last few years, I have come to find that there are multiple truths and the optimal human diet is subject to the individual. Continue reading

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