Workplace Wellness, Fatigue Prevention, Health Education

Mind Body

A New Paradigm in Health

Back yesteryear when a Doctor could not find the cause of an ailment, they were sometimes likely to come up with “It’s all in your mind”. Well, maybe they were closer to the truth than we really want to know.

For decades, medical scientists, doctors, pharmacists and other professionals have struggled to understand disease. Whilst trauma medicine has gone ahead in leaps and bounds, still disease seems to be staying one step ahead of the “cure brigade”.

Neutral AttentionWhat is coming to light now is a new paradigm. On some levels it is not new because many have believed this new paradigm for years, even decades. But for some, it is revealing itself as a stunning new reality.

Whilst the current paradigm sees the body as an inter-related set of systems, all functioning independently and together to create a marvelous human machine capable of all manner of things, but prone to malfunction and disease, the new paradigm sees the human form as something quite perfect.

In the new paradigm, there are basically 3 levels of existence.

The primary level is the Genome. This is the part of us that comprises all of our genetic material that makes up what we identify as muscles, bones, blood, organs, skin, etc. If you look at a person, you will see the conglomeration of about 100 trillion cells. The Genome comprises about 10 trillion of these cells.

In November 2015, I attended the Global Wellness Summit and on the last day, Deepak Chopra M.D. delivered a fascinating and powerful presentation on this topic. He posed the question. “Is the human body a noun or is it a verb?” Wow, what a question. He proposed in his answer that it is a verb because it is dynamic and ever changing, completely replacing itself in less than a year in a constant and ongoing cycle.

The next level is the Microbiome which is basically all bacteria. The Microbiome makes up the other 90 trillion cells. Until recently, the Microbiome rarely rated a mention. It was seen as a necessary thing because the bacteria break down food in the gut. But it is so much more than that.

The work being done by amazing scientists like Rudolph E. Tanzi Ph.D. has changed the way we are looking at human life.

The Microbiome is in constant and detailed communication with the Genome. In fact, every cell in the Genome is in some way connected to every cell in the Microbiome.

The Microbiome, in a way, create a cocoon that shrouds the Genome in order to create a balanced and harmonious environment in which the Genome can live, function and thrive. The bacteria that makes up the Microbiome is predominantly aerobic (beneficial) and covers all of the external surfaces of the body, especially the gastrointestinal tract.

Most people do not realise that the gastrointestinal tract, GI tract, is part of the external surface of the body.

When the Microbiome is thriving and healthy, the Genome will thrive. When the Microbiome is degraded and falters, the Genome is prone to mutation. It has been shown that mutations can be corrected simply by restoring the balance in the Microbiome. It can be that simple.

In the past, we used antibiotics indiscriminately and did terrible damage to the integrity of our Microbiome. A short term fix had devastating long term results. I am even questioning the efficacy of antibacterial hand gels and similar products.

In recent years, we have discovered the incredible benefits of fermented foods and beverages and are seeing how they help restore and maintain a healthy Microbiome.

Then there is the third “level”, the Epigenome. The Epigenome describes the non-physical aspect of us that seems to permeate our entire being and extends out into the space around us. Some call it a bioenergetic field. Dr Chopra was sharing in his lecture that it can be detected and measured out to about 3 metres from the surface of the body.

awareness 4In some cultures, this is called a person’s aura. Others refer to it as a sensory envelope and others a field of awareness. Whatever it may be labelled, it is an aspect of human life that has been recognised for centuries.

Coming back to this new paradigm the work of Dr Tanzi and his colleagues has demonstrated that it is through this Epigenome that we experience life. If we experience life as negative, stressful, frightening and difficult, the resultant impact on the Microbiome can be quite devastating.

If, however we experience life with appreciation, compassion, curiosity, joy and goodwill, the impact on the Microbiome is harmonising and restorative.

Recent work by Bruce Lipton and Dr Bernie Siegal and others has shown that a person who is supported to find their life purpose can experience a remarkable turn-around in disease causing gene mutation and actually cure themselves of disease.

So it seems that under this new paradigm, the responsibility lands squarely in our own laps. How we experience life determines our well-being. We can no longer claim that we are stressed because of this or that factor. We are stressed because we are not taking responsibility for our responses to certain stimuli.

For example: You can get really angry because some guy cut you off in the traffic, and work yourself into such a frenzy that by the time you get home you cannot even be civil to your family. Or you could look at the guy who cut you off and hope that everything is ok for him. Who knows, one of his children might have just had a terrible accident and is being rushed to some hospital.

Learning how to become a master of your own universe, to be in complete control of all of your own responses, and to begin to flow good stuff out to others, is the gold key of life. By learning how to tame your own mind and live more from the joy of your own heart, you can not only minimise your risk of disease and degeneration, you can also improve life for others around you.

Now, trying to learn to control your mind with your mind is like putting Count Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank. If you would really like to learn more about how to successfully achieve true harmony and balance, drop me a line and I will send you some resources.

So, if you are not feeling genuinely happy, deeply compassionate, joyful, naturally kind and upbeat, then you have some work to do. How cool to realize it can all be much, much better without anything needing to change around you?

Going right back to where I started this article, as you can perhaps now see, it could very well be your mind that is making you sick.

So, are you up for a bit of a stretch into the unknown, to create the life and the well-being you really want? You could start with some meditation or mindfulness practice, or you could go all the way. Of course, like starting to exercise or to eat better, it is all up to you and whether or not you are prepared to take the next step.

Nothing has Changed Except the Camouflage

Nothing has Changed Except the Camouflage

I have to admit I have been studying Nutrition with great interest for well over 30 years. Having a background in Exercise Physiology and having worked in the Fitness Industry since the boom began, nutrition has been a hot topic. What is it that gives you the edge?

When it comes to human performance, there are so many variables that it is easy to promote a belief without much proof. There have been many great debates about the role of Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fatty Acids, a plethora of micro nutrients and along with all of that, thousands of new and exciting supplements that promised miracles beyond belief.

I’ve seen it all; well, most of it anyway.

And all around me, as time passed by, I have watched the health of this proud nation crumble into a sea of blubber. Obesity, disease and lethargy have overtaken the once proud home of the Bronzed Anzacs.

All the while, I wrote articles, gave lectures, recorded seminars, wrote and developed courses, striving to turn the tide, battling to find the inspirational message that would change the thinking of at least a few. But the harder I worked, the more I was drowned out by the advertising and brilliant marketing of the burgeoning food and drug industries.

Along the way I ran head first into new theories. Often I could not tell if it was something genuinely new, or a clever new campaign of a food industry hidden agenda.

So many of the theories have never made physiological or biochemical sense to me. Often they did not make sense in relation to how human consciousness tends to operate.

Of particular interest in this area is the theories around Palaeolithic dietary habits. The theories abound about how humans in the Palaeolithic periods ate. Some say that it is the most natural of all dietary regimes. In the same writings, some researchers claim that Paleo man had a much shorter life expectancy than modern man.

In recent years, the “Paleo Diet” has really gained a footing. People who follow it tend to lose weight. That is a good thing. But I wonder about its authenticity.

But here is where some of my bias and reservations pop in. First, I am a pure vegetarian. I don’t believe I need meat or any other animal based foods to live. I have been that way for 30 plus years. Second, I was not there (not that I can remember) to witness Paleo man, so I don’t really know. And of course, I am guessing nobody else does either. And sometimes, I feel things like Paleo can be rolled out to justify the consumption of large amounts of meat.

The commonly held belief is that Paleo nutrition consisted largely of meats, fish, vegetables and fruits. The Paleo prescription says that consumption of grains and legumes started following the inception of agriculture and that they human digestive system has not evolved to deal with them. The prescription also warns against processed and refined foods. But then again, I don’t need to be a Paleo advocate to see the sense in this final recommendation.

Paleo ManBut if you really go and search, there is not a whole lot of evidence from the Paleolithic era, in large part because hunter-gatherers move around so much. But the archaeological record that exists has been studied very, very closely and with increasingly sophisticated methods. Daphne Derven, an archaeologist and educator who has studied Palaeolithic man for many years states, “Now we can look at teeth, bones, even seeds in the same context as tools,” she explained. “For instance, it turns out that the East African hominid species nicknamed ‘Nutcracker Man’ developed a powerful jaw and enormous molars not for cracking nuts, as was previously thought, but for chewing grasses, like a grazing animal. That was the main part of his diet.”

Human’s eating grass. Who would have thought? Perhaps if the muscle gyms knew that part, the wheat grass shots would be flying out the door.

Two things really capture my attention about all the Paleo hype. First, the research that I do find interesting reveals that Paleo Poo that has been discovered and analysed, shows an enormous amount of fibre in the Paleo diet. In fact, the average defecation was up to one kilogram in weight, way more than the average today. This indicated a largely plant based diet.

Second, I don’t know about you, but if I had the choice of chasing very fast and evasive animals for food all day with a sharp stick, or simply finding some tasty treats on a tree somewhere, I reckon my lazy side would take over and I’d go the tree every time. Catching animals without modern weaponry….hard work.

In recent years we are learning an enormous amount about pre-biotics and the role of highly fibrous foods. High fibre eating is more about creating thriving gut flora than anything else and so a diet high in rich fibre, like that from grasses, legumes and grains, seems to be of major benefit.

See this is where a study of human consciousness comes in. As all the women out there know, men can be pretty lazy and not big on self-starting. Getting out to go hunt with rudimentary weapons would go against the grain of this laziness.

Second, from the research it appears that insects were a big part of the Paleo diet. Nobody seems to want to talk about that. Eating insects doesn’t really seem to fit through many people’s window.

Further, people want to find a reason why they can indulge in their desires. We see all the time people promoting the benefits of chocolate, which gives them the reason they need to eat plenty without guit. How often have you heard someone say they smoke because it helps to keep their weight down and that it’s better than being overweight?

The same exists for meat eaters. The evidence that meat consumption promotes disease is overwhelming. So those who really love to eat it will likely jump at any reason they can find to eat more of it and feel justified. The Paleo diet does just that. The evidence is there right. Let’s order a steak!

If we are really honest with ourselves, we do love to justify things. I had a friend who was dead against all forms of anabolic steroids. When he was in his 40’s a few things started to slow down. He found a doctor who blamed it on low testosterone, so guess what? He started on testosterone therapy without question, but with incredible justification.

So I have to say that reaching back to Palaolithic man for evidence that eating lots of meat is good, is like reaching back to Noah’s Ark to explain the disappearance of certain species of animal. Nobody knows.

So, I have been contemplating this a lot. Then, as I ran the other morning I had an epiphany. I started to laugh. Here is how it goes.

Back in Palaeolithic times, or even in the bushlands and jungles of Africa and South America where some tribes still live off the offerings of mother earth, everything they need is right there. Animal life, herbs, fruits and vegetables. But all of it has to be sought out and found, then captured or harvested. There are many things that might look like food, but are not.

Even the fruits on the trees are often camouflaged and cannot be seen till one is up close. There are poisonous fruits and herbs that must be avoided. At some intuitive level, animals and humans living in these environments know which is which. But still sometimes they may make mistakes.

In these environments, humans will not likely eat an animal that they find already dead as they are unsure if it is safe to eat. Some religious laws grew out of the directive to people to not eat anything that they did not see bleed and die with their own eye.

In these environments, the humans had to keep going, keep searching, keep persisting, until they found the nutritious food they needed. If they did not, they grew weak and slowly perished.

In modern life it is the same. There is plenty of really good food available. Food that is natural, highly nutritious, and rich in flavour and goodness. But, you have to find it. And it is camouflaged among a variety of offerings that at some level offer no nutrition or are perhaps even poisonous or harmful. To find the good stuff, you have to persist and put in the work, and not get way laid by the easy options.

We are still hunter gatherers, but the terrain and the camouflage have changed. Those who do not go the extra distance and seek out the food they really need, will slowly perish.

My mind relaxed. I now realise that it does not matter what false or synthetic foods are offered. Those who wish to be responsible will keep seeking till they find what they need and will not get caught out eating things that will not allow them to thrive.

But, the amazing thing about market forces is that the more people who seek out the good stuff and find it, the more others will follow the well beaten path and find it too. The tide is turning. It must.

Survival of the fittest is still running, perhaps more than ever.

As for Paleo Man, I wonder if he would eat the animal flesh he finds lying dead on a tray in a supermarket meat department? I have a sense he might take a semi interested sniff and head for the bananas.

 

Tossing the Ball Around

Tossing the Ball Around

It is August 19th, 2013, and I am very excited this morning. I am sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Hamilton in New Zealand. Last night, the All Blacks gave the Wallabies a bit of a spanking, but I am excited.

Did you see the game? Maybe Rugby Union is not your cup of tea, and that is ok. I can forgive you for that. But having been born and partly raised in Queensland, it is in my blood.

I feel like, for the first time in a very long time, the shackles have come off the Wallabies. They stopped being so dour in defence and started to throw the ball around. Their play was exciting, adventurous and they took chances.

They made some mistakes that the All Blacks capitalised on, but they didn’t go into their shells. They just kept at it, running the ball and throwing it around, taking risks.

And the amazing effect was that this seemed to free up the All Blacks as well and they started to play an even more positive brand of Rugby. The game was thrilling and spectacular.

Wait till the Wallabies settle into this new style of play. They will give the World Cup a real shake in 2015.

But, that is not the main source of my excitement. It demonstrates to me a shift in attitude at the pointy end of this country. The Australian Rugby Union is not the government but they still hold our hearts in their hands. Perhaps Cricket Australia is learning this too.

See, I have had this feeling of dismay for so long about the decisions being made in the top end of town. The world economy has been struggling for a long time and the best strategies our corporate leaders can think of is to shut down on spending. They are playing a defensive game and it is killing so many other areas of the economy.

What would happen if they took a different viewpoint and took some risks and started to spend, become ambitious and bold. There may be some different results.

Small businesses depend on big businesses spending money. When big businesses go into “spending shut down” mode, they still make big profits. But, those profits end up in company savings or in the pockets of shareholders and very little of it creeps out into the economy.

Small and medium businesses then tend to follow suit and zip up their wallets and purses and everything slows to a crawl. Then we look at Governments and say they are not doing enough.

This fear based mindset makes a recession more real and keeps it frozen in place, as opposed to building our way out of it.

Economic slow-downs have a huge negative impact, not just because people lose their jobs or because small businesses fail, but also because there is less revenue going into essential community services and many of societies normal support structures begin to break under the strain.

So, let’s bring this back into our own lives. What are we doing? Are we playing it safe like the Wallabies have been, or are we prepared to take a risk and throw the ball around a little?

Are we stopping spending “just in case”, or holding back on more speculative investments, or even holding off on going into the business we always wanted to start….because the time is not right?

Are we investing in the shares of the big companies who are putting the brakes on and sucking the life out of the economy so we can get safe returns? If we are, it could be argued that we are part of the problem.

Are you buying cheap food to save money or are you going for good health and wellbeing and buying the good stuff, and in doing so, supporting positive industries and food suppliers?

This probably all comes back to us shifting our perspective from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” When you step up and do your bit to make the economy grow, you are making a huge contribution to the lives of others. And you don’t have to spend money with the big corporates who are cutting costs and hording wealth either.

This fits in perfectly with a piece of advice Greg Norman once gave me. I asked him about some of the outrageously risky shots he used to take, like a One Wood over the trees on a par 5 dog leg at Huntingdale. He said to me, “My first obligation is the fans. They come to see exciting golf. So, that is what I give them. If I win too, that is a bonus.”

So, is the world seeing your most exciting gifts right now?

John Toomey

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