Welcome to the Best of the Rest of your Life ©
While it is not my style to insist or to persuade people to strive for health, nonetheless, I collected pearls to share with all the Friends of the Weeks Clinic as 2007 comes to a close. It is my hope that these general recommendations might inform and empower you and your loved ones towards greater possibilities of heath.
The role of a doctor is ultimately that of a teacher – one who offers information and advice to those interested in health. Illness and disease are problematic in my opinion for many reasons but most importantly, I rail against disease because it compromises the freedom (and therefore the essential humanity) of my patients. Curious statement? Well, think of it this way: a loving mother has terribly hard time acting in a loving manner if she has a splitting headache. Here we see an example of how illness can be distracting and compelling. Illness can force us to act beneath our ability – to be less than loving.
My goal as a doctor is to help people grow free from disease and illness. (This is different from “curing” people and different from suppressing their symptoms. Health is the state of freedom or mastery of our state of body, habit, soul and spirit while alive amidst friends and family.) And here is why: I believe in freedom because I think Love is the highest human pursuit while on earth and Love is only Love if it is given and taken freely.
Interested in being the best people we can be? Read on! Here are the habits which I urge my patients to do for their health: The Principles of Health
1) eat real organic food (un-pesticided, un-preserved, un-refined, un-sweetened and un-colored); 2) drink real water (avoid pesticide run off, chlorine, fluorine and heavy metals like lead and copper and mercury contamination); 3) and be merry (enjoy and appreciate what you have – say a Grace and reflect more on your fortune than your worries).
Those three rules are the minimum for enjoying a healthy life.
But, if you want more health and vitality, consider the Prescription for Vitality! (Why settle for health, when you can have VITALITY!)
Everyone knows that health is never to be found in a pill but rather, good health is rooted in healthy habits (mend your NET by developing healthy habits of “nutrition, exercise and thought”). Of course, good luck also helps: as regards genetic karma, choose your parents wisely!
Let us begin by sharing with you an inspirational story about the nature of healing.
The Three Brothers
An Emperor of ancient China once asked his court physician, a member of a family of healers, which of them was the most skilled in the art of healing. The physician, whose reputation was such that his name became synonymous with medical science in China, replied:
My eldest brother sees the spirit of sickness and removes it before it takes shape, so his name does not get out of the house.
My elder brother cures sickness when it is still extremely minute, so his name does not get out of the neighborhood.
As for me, I puncture veins, prescribe potions, and massage skin so that, from time to time, my name gets out and is heard among the lords of this land.”
Chinese medical doctors offer much wisdom regarding the topic of health. This story points out that small disturbances “the spirit of illness” or subtle energetic imbalances arise and if untreated, develop into more physically manifest materialistic lesions. In this story, the greatest physician works at these subtle levels and is therefore, the least famous. Preventive medicine is, after all, never as sexy as open-heart surgery. But, as the patient, which doctor do you value the most? The one who saves your life or the one that keeps you out of trouble in the first place? Or which patient would you like to be? The “turkey” (as the cardiologists refer to their open heart patients) getting carved up on the surgical table or the boringly healthy, high-performance healthy-most-of-your-life patient whose health habits reward you with vitality well into your older years.
From the oriental medicine perspective, most of western medicine’s suppression of symptoms as inappropriate in that it “locks the robber in the house”. Rather than cleaning house through detoxification and bio-therapeutic drainage while rebalancing the cellular biochemistry, most western medicines are double edged swords. They help somewhat but with significant side-effects. To be specific, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications suppress symptoms but do NOT usher the robber out of the house. At times this “suppressive therapy” is highly appropriate (for example life threatening situations) however, we have misused antibiotics. Today, every doctor in America agrees that antibiotics are inappropriately overused to the point of creating a frightening scenario of drug-resistant bacteria. We as a scientific community appreciate the importance of breaking the knee-jerk habit of over-prescribing antibiotics and other suppressive therapies. Today, we can offer scientifically validated non-toxic and non-suppressive remedies designed to enhance our immune system and vitality.
So what is the best way to address your problems? What imbalances (“dis-eases”) are at the root of your illness? To answer this question, I find it most helpful to consider the perspective of Dr. Rudolf Steiner who taught about the four-fold human being: a being with a physical body, a life or habit “body” an emotional body “soul” and a spiritual body (the part of us which decides what we stand for, who we really are). Perhaps a metaphor will help you see what I mean:
I love music and thinks of health in terms of musical metaphor – playing a musical instrument. In order to play an instrument well (to be healthy) one needs four factors 1) a well-built and well-maintained instrument, 2) a tuned instrument, 3) someone who loves playing the instrument and someone who has composed or can create de novo (improvise) a musical piece. Those four factors represent, respectively 1) the physical body (the instrument), 2) the vibrational or etheric body (being tuned), 3) the soul’s delight in life (the joy of the musician) and 4) the birthright of all humans to participate in the spiritual act of creation of their life (the composer). For this reason, all my protocol recommendations are designed to correct imbalances in 1) your biochemistry (physical body), 2) your vitality (energetic, vibrational, habit body or “chi”) 3) your emotional being (the soul) and 4) your “decider” where your self-esteem lives (your spirit). I believe that all four of these “bodies” interweave and affect each other constantly. That said, I also believe that the predominant process is a trickle-down effect meaning that your spirit (thoughts, values and attitudes) affects your soul (feeling, attachments, urges) which in turn affects your vitality (sleep processes, growth and regeneration forces, stamina) which finally affects your physical body (substance and biochemical matter). Therefore, at the Weeks Clinic, we pay particular attention to the spirit since we consider that to be the best target for correcting illnesses or states of “dis-ease”. Therefore, you will note that each Corrective Protocol handout has four categories of intervention in order to strive for balance and integration of your four “bodies”. Those interventions include dietary changes, nutritional supplements and medicines for the physical body, energetic or vibrational, homeopathic remedies for the energy or habit body, exercises to develop will forces and the ability to visualize for soul strengthening and meditative or mastery of thought behavior for the spirit. Furthermore, I do not see health as a goal sufficient unto itself, but rather as a means toward an end. I hope you will wonder about what changes you will make in your life once you are healthier.
Dr. Rudolf Steiner, father of Anthroposophy taught that we learn in two manners – we learn through thinking about our experiences (e.g. “that burns, I won’t touch that again”) and, on a deeper level, that which we can’t learn through thinking, we learn through suffering. This is the path of compassion or heart-warmed thinking. In this second realm of learning, illness often serves as our best teacher. In that sense, we are well advised to seek the gift within the pain in order to harvest the fruits of out illnesses (see Dr. L.F.C. Mees’ book “Blessed By Illness”). Steiner, who also created the Waldorf School system (“Education towards Freedom”), would also agree that the goal of the doctor is to help people grow towards freedom. Why is that? Perhaps we might all agree that the most important goal of human beings is to love one another. Love, we all know, cannot be coerced or forced in any manner. Therefore, if love is to exist, it must be given freely. I have witnessed many incidences of illness teaching people to love – be it the cancer patient who acknowledged that only when he faced death did he finally learns to express his love for his children, or the woman who only was able to lovingly forgive whole-heartedly when she faced her health challenges. It is so common as to be clichÃ© – illness often brings out the best in us. So, to the degree that illnesses help us focus on our imbalances or self-destructive patterns and offers to make better lovers of us all, the doctor is well-advised to not miss the opportunity to use the illness to enhance the entire well-being of the patient on the four levels discussed above.
The goal of the Weeks Clinic is to identify with you imbalances and to address our therapies to the root causes of those imbalances – be they biochemical, habitual, emotional or spiritual.
As we begin the process of figuring out the answers to those questions, we invite you to begin your own self-healing process with the following practical suggestions.
This is the list of healthy habits which I encourage you to incorporate into your life as a foundation of health.
Prescription for Vitality:
1) Exercise every day – even if only a walk before sleep. The expression: “Use it or lose it!” applies here. No need to break a sweat but you need to “Move it or lose it”. Exercise keeps one feeling and acting young! It is also an anti-depressant and mood elevator as it increased metabolism, heart-rate and endorphins. Prescription for Vitality: take a brisk walk (pausing to smell any and all roses along the way) for 40 minutes every day (or more!)
2) Drink enough good water to keep your urine clear (not yellow); but don’t drink a lot of fluid with meals because it dilutes the digestive forces. This can be uncomfortable at first as you will initially feel bloated, but if you persevere, the bloating passes and you begin to feel…. thirsty for the first time in your life! (Note: this prescription for water does NOT include coffee, tea and pop which, though liquid, are in fact dehydrating fluids; Warning: soda pop and seltzer with its carbonation and phosphate levels is an important risk factor for developing osteoporosis!) Drink water in this manner: Gulp down (no sipping!) four 16 ounce wide mouthed bottles of water (which you have placed in four strategic places) like your life depended upon it (it does!) each day. Place them as follows: 1st bottle at your bedside; your feet don’t touch the floor until it is consumed. 2nd bottle is at the bathroom sink where you brush your teeth in the AM before breakfast. Again – no leaving the bathroom until you finish this second bottle! The 3rd bottle is wherever you are at 10 AM. 4th bottle is wherever you are at 4 PM. Only sip fluids after 4 PM to avoid being up needing to urinate at night. Only sip fluids with meals to avoid diluting digestive juices. Prescription for Vitality: The goal is to drink ½ your weight in ounces a day AWAY from food.
3) Stop the Dehydrating Fluids like coffee, pop and (some) teas. Try Honegar or Lemhoney which are two versions of a highly absorbed nutrient drink which gives an energy boost (like caffeine) with no adrenal and pancreatic strain. These great folk remedy recipes involve getting a squeeze bottle and filling it 1/2 with raw honey and 1/2 with whole-apple organic apple cider vinegar for Honegar (or fresh squeezed lemon juice to make Lemhoney). Let sit or shake it to mix both liquids then squeeze an amount “to taste” into hot water for a comfy wake-up drink or into cold water for a refreshing “pep me up” afternoon drink! It is much better tasting and gives more energy than pop or coffee as the vinegar acidifies the stomach and facilitates nutrient absorption including the enzyme-rich and nutrient dense raw honey. Prescription for Vitality: Honegar or Lemhoney to taste instead of pop or coffee.
4) Use Digestive Aids appropriately. Most people overeat and digest their food incompletely. This puts a toxic strain on the immune system and can be at the root of many health challenges. If you are overweight, most likely you are overfed and undernourished (because of insulin dysglycemia – more on that later). Therefore, take one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar (OACV) 30 minutes before each meal in order to enhance stomach digestion. This cheap but effective “aperitif” will trigger brain and gut hormones and enhance digestion. This in turn reduces the burden on your intestinal tract. Also, caloric restriction is the ONLY strategy proven to enhance longevity. This truth is valid today as it was 200 years ago when Ben Franklin wrote: “If Americans ate half as much, they would live twice as long”. Prescription for Vitality: Eat less but digest and absorb what you do eat using 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar (OACV) in an 8 ounce glass of room-temperature water 15 minutes before each meal. That should be the first thing you do to prepare the meal. (Also, eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly and get in the habit of leaving each meal a bit hungry).
5) Take a top quality vitamin, mineral and herbal supplement. See “Not all Chelates are Created Equal” for reasons why I advise the use of chelated products which are more bioavailable and therefore beneficial. Most over-the-counter products are poorly formulated with poor quality substances like: cellulose, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, dl-alpha tocopherol etc. Prescription for Vitality: Take a top qulity multi-vitamin multi-mineral (MVMM) twice a day with meals.
6) Take a top quality essential fatty acid supplement such as like krill or fish oil or flax/borage/pumpkin seed oil. Avoid trans-fatty acids such as what comes with fried foods but enjoy certain saturated fats like organic coconut oil. For those who dislike the taste of flax oil every morning, we suggest having the mouth full of a juice and putting the tablespoon of oil into the full mouth then swallowing. This gives no taste of oil. Women take the flax oil from the new moon to the full moon and an Evening Primrose/Borage oil from the full moon to the new moon. This is especially important if cancer is a concern. Prescription for Vitality: Change your oil using organic top-quality ESSENTIAL fatty acid.
7) Detoxify the colon. Most old time doctors acknowledge that chronic illnesses begin with a dis-ease of the gastro-intestinal tract. This is often the result of too much of the bad bacteria and fungal / yeast organism (overgrowth) which overwhelms the “good” bacteria like acidophilus and bifidobacteria. The gastro-intestinal tract is not just a tube going through your body but rather is full of folds and wrinkles designed to enhance absorption. Therefore, prepare for the shocking truth that if the average adult were able to flatten out all these wrinkles the size of the gastro-intestinal tract it would be the size of a tennis court! Add to that shocker, the fact that there are 10 times more of these organisms than there are of YOU. Remember that only 1/4 of what is contained within your skin has YOUR genetic material in it. The rest is NOT you. Hmmm. That means that you are a minority within our own skin! The vast majority of the stuff within you in is NOT you but rather it is either critters like bacteria (both good and bad types) or fluids or minerals, etc. Therefore, in order to re-establish a healthy balance in this vast territory, everyone needs to take a top quality pro-biotic (acidophilus and bifidobacteria). Prescription for Vitality: Give your 33 foot long gastro-intestinal tract a break!
8) Fiber – you KNOW you need it but do you know why? Certainly it helps keep you regular (which is VERY important for you health). However, fiber also can absorb toxins which your body, in its wisdom, is trying to excrete. For this reason we recommend ground up organic (of course!) flax seeds as a daily supplement. This doesn’t supply the oil, just the cleansing fiber. Prescription for Vitality: use that old coffee grinder you have now retired from coffee and use it to grind up frozen (less sticky) flax seeds and put a tablespoon/day on cereal, salad or whatever!
9) Remember: there is no such thing as “junk food” – there is food and there is junk. Now, while junk can be made to look like food, it is NOT food!) Therefore, eat only unrefined foods that look like you could find them in nature. For example, carrots and seeds and nuts are fine but who has ever seen a peanut butter tree or a pasta tree? You can buy the peanuts and make your fresh peanut butter but most commercial peanut butter has SUGAR added. Equally you can buy the real grain and make real food from it. Therefore, shop the periphery of the supermarket where the live foods are sold. No food additives, coloring and no extra salt or sugar should pass your lips! Prescription for Vitality: Only eat things that look as if they were once alive. The ancient doctors taught that “Life comes from Life” so eat life if you want to live with vitality.
10) Stop all dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, butter) Why? See www.notmilk.com or call 1-888-not-milk for details. Essentially, modern pasteurized and homogenized milk is very different from what your grandparents drank on the farm: raw organic milk. The milk moustache ads promote a beverage that is toxic with anti-biotics, pesticides, hormones, pus and other chemicals including bovine growth hormones. Many people are dairy intolerant and most ear infections, ADD/ADHD and weight problems are directly related to dairy consumption. I recommend that you get off it completely for 10 days then enjoy a big milkshake and feel the phlegm start to drown you. Then you will know from your own experience how toxic these products have become for everyone except baby cows. By the way, the milk referred to in the Bible – “the land of milk and honey” – was goat and sheep milk. It was not cow’s milk. Prescription for Vitality: No more dairy. Don’t take my word for it. Understand why!
12) White sugar is the single most toxic food we eat. Avoid it! Excess sugar is at the root of cardio-vascular and heart disease, vision loss, obesity, diabetes and cancer. If you don’t believe me, search the web for Amadori products (the biological consequences of excess sugar). Prescription for Vitality: moderate raw honey is fine but no more white sugar! (Hint: the more you chew your food and mix it with saliva, the sweeter it tastes!)
13) Turn off your cell phone You can still use it but treat yourself like the CEO you are: only return calls you want to return when you want to return them. With you phone off most of the day, you can turn it on every 15 minutes and check messages, like a CEO receiving messages from an assistant periodically. The radiation from cell phone usage is at best destructive to your immune system and at worst, fatal. Many physicists and public health officials consider cells phone to be the most dangerous device we have in our society today. Prescription for Vitality: free yourself from your cell phone: remember Thoreau “our possessions have possessed us”.
14) Develop healthy sleep habits in order to receive deep stage 3 restorative sleep each night. Protect your soul as the evening advances so that you are preparing for sleep by avoiding watching TV or the news or any adrenalin producing activities. Make your peace with the world and relax into sleep. Good sleep hygiene is critically important. In Chinese medicine the liver (or organ of regeneration) is featured between 10 PM and 1 AM so let’s not get to bed after 10PM! Remember, “The Rest of your Days depend upon the Rest of your Nights ©.” Prescription for Vitality: be deeply asleep between 10 PM and 6 AM.
15) Create meaningful relationships with people in order to serve in ways which you feel are important. Prescription for Vitality: take the time to reflect and assess and evaluate how you are spending your precious time. Guard against victim mentality in all areas of your life!
16) Read and understand the health principles in recommended literature/web sites and do not be afraid to ask your doctors questions. Ask your doctors for clarifications. It will help us help you to help yourself! Prescription for Vitality: be informed so that you know that you are going through this effort for YOUR sake and not because a doctor told you to do it!
17) Enjoy your life and its blessings. Cultivate a sense of meaning to your life. Read between the lines by pausing to consider deeper truths and subtle beauty. Seek the gift hidden within every challenge. Seek it especially in every health challenge. Remember symptoms are messengers that warn us when we are out of balance from a health perspective. They should be welcomed and not feared or hated. They are also healing gestures. A fever, for example, can be therapeutic if managed within the appropriate ranges. Prescription for Vitality: Slow down, smile, breathe deeply and appreciate the beauty around and within you! You are playing with the House’s money. Have been all your life.
If you read this far, I am grateful for your attention and I welcome your comments and questions! Email me at email@example.com
And…. Welcome to the Best of the Rest of your Life ©