Archive for October, 2013

Words from a Reluctant Doc

October 24, 2013

From A Reluctant Member of the Medical “System” (sent to me via email) – I’ve been an ardent reader of your articles since I first heard you speak at Shula’s Country Club in Miami Lakes, probably close to 15 years ago.  As someone who has always had a personal interest in fitness, I found your approach not only the most sensible, but the most effective.  It was no-nonsense no-bull material but you have a rare way of delivering the information in a manner that drives people to action.  I read your recent blog, Kudos to the Sociopaths, and although it’s probably in my best interest NOT to respond, I felt I had to.  I am a part of the medical system you so accurately refer to as a system of diagnosis and medication.  This is not to indict my colleagues or throw daggers at the amazing advances we’ve made in medicine, but my practice attracts middle-aged men and women with the precise conditions you address.  I love your categorization of obesity as a chronic metabolic disease, yet another societal evolutionary mistake.

A few of my physician friends have ventured out of the box and have initiated wellness operations where exploration runs deeper than conventional lab tests, and while some may feel better about what they do, I’ve seen each and every one suffer financially.  Some have run into new legal hardships.  It isn’t always easy to do the right thing.

While I admire those who pursue their conscience, I’m not in a position to make that type of move, and with 27 years of practice behind me, I’ve built a solid foundation upon which to support my family (two kids in college and one more shopping for schools).  I just wanted you to know, I’ve watched you keep your eye on the primary trait of responsibility that is so lacking in our society.  A society that handles problems by waiting for a new app to come out has forgotten that each one of us has an obligation to handle our own set of circumstances.  The patient want for medication only feeds the paradox you describe.  I applaud your message, I applaud your courage, and while I won’t be standing in the front row at your next seminar shouting my approval, from behind my computer I have to say, “bravo.”

*   *   * END of commentary *   *   *

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Kudos to the Sociopaths Who Feed You and Drug You

October 17, 2013

After spending a few days at my friend Jordan Rubin’s Missouri ranch (the subject of an upcoming article), I sat next to Jenny on the first leg of my flight home (Memphis – Atlanta).  She’s an attractive, dedicated, intelligent, professional 25-year-old woman moving up quickly in a major corporation, one you’ve heard of.  It starts with an H, ends with a Y (apostrophe S), and makes little chocolate kisses.  After 90 minutes of non-stop chatting, we landed.  At the gate, waiting for the hordes of travelers in the rows in front of us to passively aggressively wrestle for position in preparation for the filing out process, we chillaxed in our seats and she confessed her personal struggle.

“I get all of the chocolate I want . . . and I’m in a constant battle with myself to do as I tell others to do . . . moderate.  Enough to enjoy, not enough to regret.”

I was overtaken by a brainstorm.

“Jen, we can be amazing business partners.  Take all the candy you obtain, hand it out to as many people as you can, and when they get diabetes, send ‘em to me and I’ll fix ‘em.  You sugar them up, I’ll restore them to health.  A beautiful partnership, a perfect relationship!”

I was kidding.  Really I was. But it would make for a good financial model, wouldn’t it?  Theoretically, if we were to join forces, we’d be able to get people to spend money on the escalation of a problem, and on the other end we’d make money by charging them even more for the cure.

Funny?  Some may think so.  Others reading this from the unfunny camp are gritting their teeth a bit, annoyed that I’d even suggest something so absurd.

Whether you think it’s funny or whether you find it an aggravating scenario, understand this.  It’s absolutely true.  True In that a business that creates a problem that it then charges to solve has a boundless potential for earnings.

Imagine a world made up of human beings, all plagued with neurotransmitters willing to drive mood, appetite, and cravings, all without the host human’s conscious direction. Imagine these emotional beings driven by metabolic systems that move toward survival at all costs, even when they misinterpret danger. If you can get these magnificently flawed humans to drive those systems to work against what it is that they really want, and then you were to dangle before them the purported “fix” for the problem and degeneration you helped them create, they’d act in precisely the way you’d want them to.  Of course, in order to damage a population in order to offer cure, you would have to be a being void of feelings, caring, or empathy.  Ah, who needs those limiting traits . . . this is a perfect business model.  Do harm, charge to fix.

Does this sound ethical?  Of course not!  It sounds sociopathic.  That’s why it’s shocking when the truth hits.  This is not a model being emulated by candy sellers partnering with personal trainers.  It is, however, a model that has driven the diet industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the beautifully horrifying marriage between the food giants and chemical companies.  Sociopathic, profitable, greedy, and dastardly are adjectives that many use to describe these entities, but there is one reality.  They’re making lots and lots of money and they’re happy to do it at your expense!

Let’s start by recognizing the power of the diet industry.

EAT LESS, WEIGH LESS, DESTROY THE METABOLIC ENGINE

It is an industry that succeeds at the highest level because of its abysmal failure rate.  In traveling the world and meeting over 20,000 individuals seeking physical change, I rarely if ever meet anyone who has been on a single diet.  Most people have tried more than five, some more than twenty, and some become perpetual dieters jumping from strategy to strategy as fast as diet books come out.

A diet based on calorie deprivation, whether it’s built around a superfood, a point system, calorie counting, or packaged foods is very simply a short course in human starvation.  With the science that exists today, and with the destruction of our mass food supply in terms of human health value, attempting to tie nutritional intake to calorie formulas is archaic, but it is what underlies virtually every medical or non-medical dietary intervention aimed at weight loss.  While weight is inevitably going to be reduced during the deprivation period, the innate systems of the body and brain are aimed at survival and the weight loss is short-lived offering the illusion of the diet “working.”  The reality is, consuming fewer calories than your body needs to sustain adequate metabolic energy results in endocrine shifts and maladaptive habitual communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the thyroid gland and metabolism slows.  Dieting via deprivation, even if it’s aided by appetite suppressants and stimulants, is a perfect mechanism for slowing metabolism and increasing the body’s propensity for adipose (fat) storage.

Because “dieting” is accepted as the solution to weight problems, failure with a diet leads to a search for another.  The dieters are, in essence, the victims who have been misinformed, led to believe that the failure to maintain weight loss was somehow their fault.  The diet slows metabolism, weight comes back on, and the perceived solution . . . . is a return to a diet.  A perfect business model from a financial perspective, a very flawed “solution” to an escalating problem.   Let’s look at another.  Let’s take a brief glimpse at the monstrous giants who promise to cure your erectile dysfunction, skyrocketing sugar levels, and thyroid deficiencies.

JUST TAKE THIS TINY LITTLE PILL

The pharmaceutical giants have mastered drug distribution.  Legally.  Look at the power of the distribution machine.  The manufacturers get the drug dealers (doctors) fresh out of drug dealer school, already primed to recognize injections, pills, and capsules as wondrous solutions.  These new recruits are ushered into a “system” that’s based upon a solid paradigm.  Diagnose the problem (exploit the symptom and give it a code so insurance pays for the meds) and medicate.

“Penis doesn’t work?  Take this.”  “Losing hair?  Take this.”  “Belly fat, high blood sugar, and hypertension?  Ah, for you there is a beautiful multi-colored array of capsules you can take every morning.”

Am I being facetious?  Not more than a little.  This is a sarcastic yet honest summation of the way our medical system interacts with recognizable symptoms and chronic disease.  It isn’t aimed at “cure,” it’s aimed at “medicate.”  Finding the cure would require a deep and meticulous search for the cause or the root of the malady manifesting as a series of symptoms.  Switching off or managing the symptoms is aimed at short term comfort with an illusion of “fix.”

If you suspect this is Phil Kaplan spouting delusional snippets of conspiracy theory, answer this question.  Why did Glaxo-Smith Kline settle a conflict for $3 Billion to quiet accusations of misrepresenting research, approving drugs despite known and identified risks, perpetuating the publication of lies in respected medical journals, and of moving drugs into marketplaces for which those drugs have no track record of efficacy (including children)?  There’s even a bigger question.  The bigger question is, why do they continue to operate if they in fact committed what we’d have to refer to as crimes?  I’ll give you the answer.  Because they make so much money, three-billion-dollars is simply the cost of doing business.

The model is near perfect.  An individual suffers with a pain he or she doesn’t want to experience any longer.  A doctor, with a full belief in the product, prescribes a drug that masks a symptom or changes a marker so the pain or problem appears to have lessened. Because, in the patient, the source continues to perpetuate movement along the Disease Continuum, new symptoms emerge.  The side effects of long term prescription drug use manifest new symptoms.  This is a sea of opportunity.  New symptoms equal new drug prescriptions.  With the average American adult taking at least two medications for chronic disease, the marketplace remains hungry for solutions, and as long as those solutions are presented as the wares of Big Pharma, the monster continues to eat, and eat well.  Any monster that sees three-billion-dollars as a drop in the proverbial bucket is not only a well-fed monster, but a prosperous one.

Big Pharma’s influence, financial prowess, and lobbying power are rivaled by few . . . but . . . those few are those behemoths that control the manufacture, distribution, and blind acceptance of toxic food and toxic chemicals.

IF WE ARE WHAT WE EAT . . . UH OH!

Here’s the third near-perfect business model.  Monsanto hires graduating students with degrees in agriculture to “improve food.”  The students work in laboratories where, with their newly enhanced skill sets, they work to hybridize plants, to make vegetables impervious to pests and weed-killers, and in what appears to be a noble undertaking, feed our planet.  Monsanto also happens to manufacture pesticides and weed killers.  Here’s the beauty in the model.  If they can genetically modify crops to make them impervious to bug killers and herbicides, they can grow more crop as they sell more product.  The corn looks like corn, but it isn’t.  It’s something alien, something new, something manufactured.  The pesticides and weed-killers that find their way into the soil in which the corn grows find their way into the corn . . . and into whatever eats the corn.

The food distribution machine thrives on this.  If more corn can be grown, more corn can be distributed and sold.  If wheat can be modified to grow faster, more wheat gets into the marketplace as processed crackers and cookies.  Consumers consume and the food and drug giants thrive.

Corn is also used to make pellets that feed livestock, including beef and dairy cows.  Big Agriculture jumps in.  If they can feed more cows, fatten them up faster, and turn them into nicely packaged steak or use them for their milk, the genetically modified corn pellets that feed their cows are not a problem.  In nature they would be, as cows don’t eat corn, nor do they eat pellets, nor should they eat genetically modified anything . . . but today educated business owners can prevent bovine illness and create lots of beef and milk.  They have a friend.  Big Pharma.  Antibiotics are of immense value to Big Ag and the monsters feed each other.

You can see it, can’t you?  The beauty of the model?  It’s near-perfect?  Why near-perfect?  Well, the part of the equation the monsters fail to consider is the part that’s poisoning, sickening, infecting, and killing those consumers who blindly hand over their money, those very same magnificently flawed humans who would are victimized by monsters as they believe they’re moving toward betterment.  Financial perfection at the expense of human life.

In the course of my purpose-driven career, I speak to three distinctive audiences that all come together under the umbrella of being human.  I speak to medical professionals, fitness professionals, and the consumers who pursue health in an arena where true solutions are clouded by misdirection.

To the doctors I say, consider that our population’s disease model has changed, not because humans have changed radically in 30 years, but because the environment, food, and misinformation have led to the emergence of a new host of conditions not “fixed” by conventional medicines.  Consider a continued education where you explore the evidence indicting systemic inflammation as the root cause of virtually every chronic disease, and study to recognize and identify the perilous contributors to the inflammatory condition.  With that enhanced education, you begin to walk a path less travelled where medical practitioners facilitate, not disease management, but true cure.

To the fitness professionals I say, realize that with an enhanced skill set and a thorough understanding of 21st century disease, your power goes far beyond fat loss and energy enhancement.  Building muscle is a power you have, but imagine how that power is enhanced if you learn to direct clients toward lifestyle choices that reduce or reverse their movement toward those degenerative and debilitating conditions we’ve wrongly come to accept as inevitable elements of aging.  Register for the ASPIRE program and gain the tools and power to intervene with new confidence, new earning potential, and a greater power to facilitate positive human change.

To the consumer audience I say, you have the power to improve your health and well-being, regardless of how far you’ve travelled along what I’m referring to as the Dis-ease Continuum, but you have to take responsibility for your own improvement.  My ALIVE program offers a 10-week education, empowerment, and physical renewal teaching consumers to align with movement back toward the Perfect Health so many have written off as a thing of the past.

I urge everyone to question, to explore, and to work to separate hype and nonsense from true science.  It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary if you are to again experience your best.  For those who pursue a course of responsibility, those who are willing to unleash the power that’s been buried by the influence of those near-perfect business models that prosper through disempowerment, you’ll be amazed by how simple positive physical change can be.

If you feel you can benefit from my help, consider ASPIRE (for doctors and fitness professionals) and ALIVE (a 10-week program manifesting dramatic physical change).

email me at phil@philkaplan.com or find me on Facebook.