Archive for November, 2013

The Zombie Dance vs. 92-Year-Old Sol . . . who’s the Winner?

November 24, 2013

Every day I experience some shift in awareness, and with each shift my desire to learn increases.  This clearly defines me as the eternal student, but in that role I can also become a better and better teacher, a more empowered revealer of truths. 

Friday was an interesting day.  I worked out at 5:30 AM and enjoyed a word exchange (that means conversation . . . face-to-face . . . nothing to do with IM or text) with Sol, a 92-year-old man who I see at the gym every time I work out early enough.  He shuffles a bit, one eye is sort of lazy, and he pauses sometimes between sentences . . . but . . . 15 reps on the Hammer Shoulder press with 50 pounds appears athletically perfect.  A few sets of 15 and he shuffles off to the Free Motion Bicep machine where he concentrates on every repetition.  Over the course of 15 minutes, Sol and I talked about the Bronx, the Yankees (even though I’ve always been a Mets fan) and his high school girlfriend.  His wit is sharp, his memory is solid, and he hasn’t failed to get at least 5 days of exercise in any given week since he was 70.  He does have a running joke that gets old after you’ve heard it 50 or 60 times, but it might be based on a truism.  Whenever somebody comments on Sol’s dedication he faces them, asks them how old they are, and then dismissively says, “I have socks older than you” and moves on to his next exercise.  Maybe he could use a new joke . . . but when it comes to health and longevity, I’d say he’s figured things out.

This is not as rare as it may sound.  Everyone knows at least one octogenarian (or someone advanced to Sol’s age) who has come to appreciate and evidence the virtues of exercise.  Keep in mind, I didn’t set out to impress you with the story of Sol.  I set out to discuss a shift in awareness.

After the gym I went to the Hilton Suites where I’m spending a few nights.  They have a great breakfast with a master omelet maker (egg whites, fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms, some jalapenos, and salsa) and I enjoy the food and the people watching.  At the next table a couple I would guess were in their 60’s sat down.  Slowly.  They barely looked at each other.  They didn’t speak.  As soon as they were seated, she reached into her purse and pulled out some containers.  She methodically, ritualistically, sorted out capsules and tablets.  Together, as if they were in some weird seated zombie ballet, they each took their respective glasses of orange juice, and began the dance.  Pill in hand, hand to mouth, insert, sip, swallow, repeat.  I looked at the time on my phone.  7:44.  Mesmerized by the slow zombie hand-to-mouth ballet, I was amazed.  She finished first.  7:48.  He didn’t swallow his last pill until 7:50.  Then . . . she reached back into the purse and pulled out some little packet.  She poured half of the powder into his remaining juice, the other half into hers.  She mixed vigorously, and they both drank without any sense of expression.  Then . . . they got up and returned . . . with pancakes, bacon, and muffins.  They didn’t smile.  They didn’t joke.  They didn’t talk about socks.  They just performed their ritualistic pill orgy and stuffed their faces with refined carbs and fat.

If you know me, you know I can’t sit there and observe without inviting myself into conversation.  “Are you guys from up north?” 

“Long Island.”

We spoke about snow, about their new villa in Boca Raton, and . . . about health.  I wound up sitting at their table.  Doug has been on statin meds since he was 45.  Today he’s 54!  One year older than me! I honestly thought he was well into his sixties.  I didn’t ask his wife her age, but . . . we spoke about their pill ritual.  “This one’s for cholesterol, this one’s for blood pressure, this one’s for anxiety, this one’s for . . . “  I wanted to scream.  I wanted to vomit.  I wanted to help.  I wanted to do something . . . but I listened . . . and wondered how many pills 92-year-old Sol took every morning.

I told them about my ALIVE program, they jotted down the website, and we’ll see whether they’re so immersed in their zombie ballet they’ll continue it for the rest of their lives, believing their blood pressure problems and hormonal disruptions are being “treated,” or they’re open to the possibility of change.  Time will tell.

I haven’t seen Sol again yet, but “how many pills” will be the first question I’ll ask him when I do.  Thankfully, with my Reticular Activating System now tuned to the differences between pancake-eating pill-takers and committed exercisers, I was happy when a short time after breakfast, my father’s old army buddy, now 79-years old, called to ask if I’d like to meet him for lunch.

I wrapped up a meeting at 12:45 and headed to Juice & Java, one of my favorite South Florida lunch spots where the fresh organic fruits and veggies are delivered every morning.  Jerry was already there.  We spoke a bit about my Dad’s recent neurological challenges, but with my new perspective, I took note.  Jerry must weigh within 10 pounds of what he weighed when I first met him, 40-something years ago.  He’s sharp, witty, and full of stories.  He travels, studies, and attends classes to continue to learn.  Of course we got to the exercise discussion.  He runs every day, did four miles that morning, and is healthfully addicted to tennis.  The differences between avid exercisers, especially those who enjoy an organic lunch, and resigned pill swallowers is so striking, it almost accounts for a 25-year difference.  Not chronologically, but biologically.  I mean . . . show me a pill-popping  54-year-old resigned to the zombie ballet, and I‘ll show you an exercising 79-year-old who can run circles around him.

How exactly does this help me, or what relevance does it have for you?  I’m not sure, but it’s typical of how my awareness takes note of new evidence every day.  It’s part of the stacking of proof.  As I work with fitness professionals to help them understand the true power they have as healers, as I work with the medical field to drive acceptance of exercise and eating interventions as curative, every new recognition leads to greater validation of the biological power we have to affect the aging process and the mistakes that come along with it in the 21sdt century civilized world.  

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Thyroid Woes . . . Saddening and . . . Reversible!

November 5, 2013

Madeline was 42 when I met her.  If I had to describe her in a word on the day we met, the word would be sad.  There were other adjectives I could have chosen.  I could have said pretty.  After learning about her wonderful family I could have said blessed.  I could have even used the word loving.  It’s just that the sadness was so pervasive it overshadowed everything else.

Today, Madeline is not only happy, she is literally renewed.  “Phil, I am a NEW person” are the words she’s shared with me each time we discussed her results, results she achieved and documented in only 8 weeks!

There’s something else I should share.  Madeline, when I met her, was . . . HYPOTHYROID!  She told me about it as if she had a hidden plague or a curse.  She broke into tears as she showed me where her hair was thinning, when she described her relentless and fruitless battle with weight gain, and most of all, when she told me she felt as if she was losing her ability to control her emotions.  I thought she might be relieved when I told her of the changes I’ve seen in hypothyroid women who went through the 8-week A.L.I.V.E. protocol.  I thought she might feel less alienated when I told her she’s far from alone.  I thought it might ease her concerns when I told her that the Synthroid she was taking was the fourth most prescribed drug in the U.S. with over 75 million prescriptions written annually.  Nothing helped . . . until she started on the protocol.  That’s when everything changed, and I mean everything.

This isn’t intended to be the story of Madeline, as she’s only one of a great many.  The sea of women with thyroid challenges is vast, but the question that remains unanswered is twofold.  (1) How vast?  (2) What can be done?

In looking at the published statistics of thyroid disease, the revealed prevalence raises an eyebrow, but in my experience, both eyebrows need to be raised, both eyes opened wide, and a collective effort must be made to better inform our population about chronic disease.

A respected study published in the journal Thyroid (Aoki Y, Belin RM, Clickner R, et al. 2007. Serum TSH and total T4 in the United States population and their association with participant characteristics: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2002). Thyroid 17(12):1211-23) years ago established that 4% of the U.S. population has overt hypothyroidism with the largest concentration in women over 50.  That’s a big number.  It account for near 12 million people, but it’s barely a piece of the whole picture.  Overt hypothyroidism is diagnosed when TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone produced by the pituitary gland) is elevated and thyroid hormone output (T3 and T4) is low.   Let’s consider the following:

Overt hypothyroidism is increasing radically from year to year.  There must be something taking place beyond the revelations of statistical measure.

Any thyroid hormone compromise, whether it is diagnosed as “overt,” “subclinical,” or otherwise, is going to result in hypothyroid symptoms.  It’s also important to note, an unknown number of people are going through their lives under hypothyroid conditions without ever being diagnosed.  When I suggest the statistics are based on underreported incidence, I’m suggesting the realities are far beyond anything published statistics have revealed.

While it can only be categorized as anecdotal, I’ll share something I found shocking.  Not only wasn’t Madeline a rare case, she was . . . the majority!  After taking over 700 people through the A.L.I.V.E. protocol, I’ve found that of the women tested, over 90% of those over the age of 40 had thyroid compromise based on lab tests.   90%!

In trying to reconcile this, I found some rationalizations.  People gravitate toward my programs when they seek weight loss, so perhaps this isn’t a fair sampling of the population as a whole.  Perhaps women with thyroid issues are attracted to the A.L.I.V.E. protocol because they’ve heard of my experience in dis-ease reversal among those with “sluggish” thyroids.

With those rationalizations out there, it still isn’t enough.  I have to believe the statistical reporting is absurdly low.  I think it’s also important to realize that the thyroid gland is affected by an astronomical number of variables ranging from dietary deficiencies, toxins and chemicals, fluoride, phyto-estrogens (soy), and stress to alterations in adrenal activity.  Looking for “overt” hypothyroidism might neglect the millions who fall not under a title, but suffer an unintentionally self-induced condition resulting in hypothyroid symptoms.

The endocrine system is amazing in its attempt to maintain balance, and endocrine shifts are usually adaptations based on miscommunications between intention, the brain, and the glands.  In other words, the brain doesn’t know you’re dieting to look better.  It thinks you can’t get enough food, and the Hypothalamus and Pituitary get to work driving endocrine shifts to keep you alive.  Slowing metabolism by altering thyroid output is a sure-fire way to keep you thriving on fewer calories.  Good intentions, poor understanding of the goal.  Restrict calories often and that miscommunication becomes reinforced and habitual.

With our environment as toxic as it is, with the pushed reliance upon meds to “fix” problems that the meds cannot fix, and with the stress levels most American adults live under . . . it begins to make sense that after 40 or 45 years of life, women would suffer some endocrine compromises.

Madeline cried through the diagnoses, through the drug prescriptions, through the weight gain, and through the assessment with me.  She doesn’t cry anymore.  There’s a new word I’d use to describe her.  Electric!  She radiates light.  She radiates happiness and joy.  What changed?  She gained control and defeated the dis-ease that plagued her.  She came to understand that we have the power to reverse movement along the Dis-ease continuum, and there are interventions that are holistic, natural, and healthy.  The A.L.I.V.E. protocol is such an intervention.

I cover the science behind A.L.I.V.E. and the reversal of chronic disease including hypothyroidism in my A.L.I.V.E. webinar.  Register now for the next one.  Life may never be the same.

Find details and register at http://yourhealthbeginsnow.com

As always, you can email me directly at phil@philkaplan.com.  I do the best I can to respond to all emails that arrive with the subject line: ALIVE.