Over and over again, as I try and help people identify the sources for their negative symptoms and diseases, we come back to nutrition. Each time, I outline the evidence that their preferred foods are in fact disease-causing agents.

Their response is one of sadness.

They feel as though they’re going to have to give up the things they like. They feel that they ought to eat better, but they don’t really want to. They prefer the foods that are making them sick.

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I don’t blame them for this. They’ve been exposed to these foods from the time they were little, and these foods were purposely designed to make us prefer them, to make us crave them. I’ve been through this myself, and I totally understand.

But think about this for a moment…

You visit the doctor. You feel sick. Perhaps you already have diagnosed diseases. And the doctor says, “We’ve found it. We’ve found what’s causing your problem, and if we eliminate it, you can become well.” Rather than rejoice, you feel as though you’re being punished. You’ve been seeking the answer, and here it is, but it turns out the answer is hard to face.

Most people would actually rather live with a problem they cannot solve than embrace a solution they do not want.

The bottom line is: what do you want?

  • Do you want to solve these problems you’re having?
  • Do you want to feel good?
  • Do you want to stop being sick?
  • Do you want to eliminate diseases from your body?

If your answer is yes, then certain actions must follow.

Don’t think of these actions as punishments.

These are right-living based on right-thinking.

If you’re a non-smoker, you probably consider cigarettes toxic, noxious, addictive, and bad for your health. That would be correct thinking about cigarettes. It’s doubtful you’d try smoking, because you know how much potential harm there is in cigarettes. You would avoid them, and you would urge others to do the same.

These foods are no different.

These nutritional stressors—processed foods, fast foods, junk foods, foods full of sugar and fake fats—are in fact the food version of cigarettes.

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They are bad for you. They cause diseases. They were engineered to be addictive. You crave them and can’t control your responses to them. They have no actual value for you. Just like cigarettes, all they do is trigger your reward system, give you a brief hit of dopamine, and make you feel a little better, but barely, and only for a moment.

They’re stealing from you. You have to reframe this in your mind. You have to see them for what they are. Saying, “My preference is to eat artificially dyed, sugar-filled cereals, served in a bowl of milk produced by a sick animal,” is fundamentally no different than saying, “I like to smoke.” Either way, you’re letting your supposed preferences drive disease-causing, energy-stealing choices.

Most of us have been unknowingly conditioned into this state by savvy marketers. When that’s the case, we’re only guilty of having been tricked. However, once we know we have to make choices. We have to decide what do we want. We have to understand our highest desires. If we decide to not embrace the challenge of changing our preferences, then we are choosing to remain sick. Who does that from a conscious level? Who chooses to be sick?

If that’s the point you’re at, then it’s hard for anyone to truly help you.

If someone is determined to honor their own preferences—even if they’re preferences they’ve been tricked into—above their health, who is going to help them become well? Is it the pharmaceutical industry? We know that doesn’t work. They will palliate your symptoms and slow down the velocity of your sickness so you can live longer sicker. But you’ll be taking expensive therapeutics that have their own adverse effects over time.

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However, that seems easier than changing your habits, especially if the medications are covered by your insurance. Think about it. Food scientists that work for food companies give us bad food and tell us that they’ve proven that it’s just perfectly fine for us. Then we have a whole host of new diseases emerging in our population, including our children. Now the chemical scientists give us pharmaceuticals that palliate the diseases we’re afflicted with by the foods we eat. Neither of these industries has any real reason to reverse this trend. It’s not a conspiracy. They exist to make money, and they found a way to do it: give you the foods that make you sick, and then sell you the medications to treat the sickness.

You can change this. It is up to you. What do you want, and are you worth it? Are you worth the effort to experience your best health? Are you worth the effort to change your habits? To change your health? Are you worth it?

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I believe you are.

I believe you have enormous potential inside you, and enormous potential to do good things in this world, and to serve others.

But you can’t do it if you’re chronically sick.

You’re going to have to trust me on this one. I’m not going to get into the specific debate about how food has changed. There are many evidence-based works out there that will help you with this, and I cite them on our website. I’m not going into rabbit holes to twist our minds around strawman arguments provided by scientific wizards whose income and stock options flourish if you accept their arguments and buy their goods.

We’re going to focus on the basics of what you need to do to become well. It will take desire, commitment, effort, courage, and the ability to endure discomfort to reach your goals. You will only succeed if you actually want to be well. This has to be your heart’s desire. If, after you’ve reviewed this, you actually realize that you value your preferences over your health, then you’re choosing to be sick. If you’re choosing to be sick, then we cannot help you.

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I hope you, and everyone, will succeed. I hope we all become a strong voice for the best health of our country and future generations. If this were to happen, my medical practice would be far less busy, and perhaps I’ll have to learn how to grow a garden. If you’re tired of being sick, tired of fatigue and chronic depression, tired of others manipulating your habits, and you truly desire health and energy and purpose, then let’s get started together.

We need to emphasize the role of repetition and simplicity and how it important both are when changing your habits and your health. You’ll find here on Health Shepherds and in my book that there is an enormous amount of repetition. It seems as though we’re saying the same things over and over again. We are. And for a good reason.

When we talk about meditation, we reference your metabolism. When we’re talking about metabolism, we discuss the role of stress.

repetition and simplicity

The science of habit change has proven that the more you understand a concept holistically, the more easily you can apply it to your life. The more it’s repeated, the more likely you’ll remember it, and the more you’ll imprint it into your consciousness in a way that becomes a habit for you.

The simpler things are, the more likely it is you’ll act on them.

If I want you to spend 5 minutes, starting tomorrow, using a form of mindfulness meditation to raise awareness and reduce stress, the most important thing for me to do is keep it as simple as possible, emphasize ease of use, and make sure you understand the value for you.

Your health goals can be reached by making sure they meet two criteria:

  1. Keep your goal simple.
  2. Repeat your actions.

A Common Conversation

I like to use the analogy of prescribing a medication, because I’m a physician and that’s what I was taught to do. Imagine you stepped into my office at my medical practice and said, “I’m uncomfortable because I’m stressed, I’m anxious, and it’s affecting my sleep and my focus, and I don’t like how I feel.”

I would tell you, “I have a prescription you can take that will immediately enhance your focus and reduce stress responses. If you take it consistently over time, you will eventually find yourself no longer anxious, and feeling more in control over your thoughts and emotions.”

You would probably say, “Hey, great! Are there any side effects?

I would respond: “No side effects, and believe it or not, because this medication is so good for you, the company that made it has made it free.”

Pretty much everyone would want it. You would say, “Hey, give me that medication.”

repetition and simplicity

That’s true for everything, whether it’s for the benefits of exercise, nutrition, etc. Five minutes of mindfulness meditation can do that for you every day.

Now that’s a strong value proposition: meditation is free, and it’ll only take 5 minutes of your time.

If you practice it daily, you will begin to gain better control of your emotions and experience a reduction of unease, without having to take a prescription.

Who wouldn’t say yes to that? But here’s the thing…it’s the hardest step.

Knowledge is only helpful once applied

My job is not to give you a 6-hour course on meditation and neuroscience, and all of the forms of meditation. That’s just going to make it hard for you to decide which is the best form of meditation for your unique needs. Then your brain’s going to want to do it all, because it’s going to want to get it quickly. Then you’ll end up doing none of it.

We know this, whether it’s overhauling your diet, or your exercise, or any other thing. You have to keep it simple, and you have to start. The #1 key is to start.

Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power.

Knowledge is useless if it’s never applied. It can’t help you. Only knowledge you can apply is useful.

repetition and simplicity

Over and over again, you will see the crossover between our different content areas and how we keep pulling them all together. You’ll see us emphasizing the same points again and again. Why? Because they are foundational to your overall health, and we want you to be as healthy as you can be, to experience the feeling of your best health.

It begins with starting.

In order to do that, we have to get you to start. Stay patient with it, and remind yourself every day by repeating to yourself the reasons why you’re doing something, such as 5-minute meditation, or cutting out that extra beer.

Simplicity and repetition are where habits come from. That’s how we change. That’s how we succeed on our quest for our best health.

What is your favorite health habit? What are you proud of? Share it with us on our Facebook page!

My main focus is your best health. I am after you feeling your best and experiencing your best health. I want you to be free from chronic diseases and any other factors that take your energy from you.

How we arrive at that place is not my primary concern.

There are many ways to arrive at the healthiest version of you.

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image by Ian Schneider

I am not dogmatically attached to any one methodology. There are some fundamental principles that govern this pursuit. They have to be honored, but otherwise, there are many different routes to get there. In the book, Authentic Health, I teach those fundamental principles. It’s the roadmap. You have to stay on the map to get where you want to go, but there are many paths on the map to get there.

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image by N.

Again, whatever path takes you to the healthiest version of you is fine by me.

I’m only attached to the outcome of you being your healthiest self and whatever method will get you there. I’m not here to cite scientific study after scientific study to convince you of the things you need to do. I’m not here to validate my authority as a physician by using complex language and citing data to you. I am here to give you the overall lay of the land, a basic map you can work with, so you can begin your journey on solid footing.

My understanding of metabolism and nutrition and brain science is founded on very solid evidence. But I also know that over time, our understandings change, and what we thought was true at one point turns out to have a different interpretation at a different time.

The methods I’m proposing to you have no potential harm. They cannot take you in the wrong direction. They definitely can help, and they probably will, but there is no way for them to harm you.

You cannot wait on the industrialized food scientists to prove the absolute truth about nutrition and your health. It will take too long, and it’s doubtful they will ever give you the conclusions that their foods that they’re producing are in fact making you sick. You’re going to have to step out on faith that what I’m saying could be true and cannot harm you. You should at least move in this direction.

best health
image by John Jackson

Your life is lived now, and you have to take the right actions now, so that you can have your best life. You have to decide that now is the time to change your mindset. You can’t wait on some future date, where the definitive proof arrives that sugar is actually an addictive and dangerous substance, or that other processed foods damage our bodies. Maybe at some future date there will be definitive proof that sugar is perfectly good for us. However there will never be any proof that avoiding sugar is harmful for us. I really doubt there’ll ever be any proof that it’s good for us.

If you’re not experiencing your best health, if you’re not feeling the way you would like to feel, if you have health issues, then you need to get on the map and you need to get started.  We can help you build a strategic mindset for success. Join us on the path of authentic health at Health Shepherds.