5 Big Ideas to Upgrade Your Health [#1]

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

“56% of children spend less time outdoors than maximum security prisoners in the U.S.”

Welcome to my newsletter! As the name suggests, every week I will give you 5 big ideas to upgrade your health. In each newsletter, I will share with you 1 original article from my blog and 4 useful articles from around the internet. 

For each article, I will provide a brief synopsis and some key takeaway points for your learning pleasure.

I’m so excited to be going on this healthful journey with you! Here we go…

1. Why do we suck at healthcare?

Where did we go wrong with modern healthcare? 

“1 in 2 Americans has a chronic disease, and 1 in 4 has multiple chronic diseases. 27 percent of kids now have a chronic disease, up from just 13 percent in 1994. 1 in 5 Americans struggles to pay medical bills, and 3 in 5 bankruptcies are due to medical expenses. 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease. Almost a third of adults take two or more drugs.”

The problem with our healthcare is that it focuses on “managing” disease and suppressing symptoms rather than promoting optimal health. As long as we don’t shift the paradigm, our health will continue to suffer. 

Extra credit: how the paradigm is beginning to shift

2. If we want healthier children (and adults), let them play!

The World Economic Forum published an article highlighting the importance of play in child development. 

“So long as our ever-changing world continues to pose new challenges to play, children’s ability to develop skills that are essential to their future — and to the future of society as a whole — will be hindered. If 56% of children continue to spend less time outdoors than maximum security prisoners in the US, then the harder the search for our future leaders, creators and explorers will become.”

After reading this article, I realized how much I have neglected play in my life as an adult. I recently joined an indoor soccer team and have started playing in pickup ultimate frisbee games around my city. I wish I realized much sooner that working out didn’t have to be a boring slog at the gym!

Extra Credit: Mark Sisson on the importance of play

3. The definitive guide on how to lose weight 

(and why it is probably different than what you think)

Common knowledge tells us that if you need to lose weight, it’s because you eat too much. Dr. Jason Fung explains how this logic falls short in his groundbreaking article

“caloric reduction as primary advice has an estimated failure rate of 99.5%. So, if you have tried calorie restriction to lose weight and failed, understand this. You were expected to fail.”

Dr. Fung recommends that we abandon the calorie restriction model for the hormonal obesity model, which focuses on two things: 1. What we eat (low glycemic load foods) and 2. When we eat (time restricted feeding). Following the guidelines in this article, I personally managed to lose 20 pounds!

Extra Credit: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes

4. GMO vs non-GMO: The Great Debate Rages On

In this article, Dr. Sarah Evanega, a plant biologist debates Dr. David Perlmutter, a board-certified neurologist, on the pros and cons of consuming GMO foods. As a staunch non-GMO foodie myself, I was surprised by the compelling arguments that Dr. Evanega makes:

“Genetically modified organism (GMO) food is safe. In that respect, my stance mirrors the position taken by the National Academies of Sciences and the majority of the world’s scientific community.”

Dr. Perlmutter, however, responds with equally compelling arguments:

“The use of pesticides for GM crops is disrupting ecosystems, contaminating the water and food supplies for the environment’s organisms, and harming the soil microbiome.”

Final verdict? You be the judge. 

Extra Extra Extra Credit: Position of the National Academies of Sciences

5. Treating Blood Pressure… without Prescription Drugs

In this article, Chris Kresser walks us through the risks of taking prescription medication and how, through changing the nutrients in our diet, altering lifestyle choices, and adding a few supplements, we can effectively treat high blood pressure without the use of drugs. 

Considering the scope of the problem, there is no doubt we need a comprehensive and multifaceted approach to treating hypertension. The statistics are staggering:

“Eighty million U.S. adults, or one in three, have hypertension. Another one in three have prehypertension, defined as blood pressure in the range of 120–139/80–89 mmHg. In addition to costing $48.6 billion annually, hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, chronic renal failure, and stroke”

Extra Credit: How to check blood pressure on your smart phone (Video)

That’s it for this week’s newsletter.

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