Saturday, January 18, 2020

UndoIt!


I recently read Undo It! How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases by Dean and Anne Ornish (2019). 


Few researchers on the topic of nutrition are better known or more respected than Dr. Dean Ornish.  In this book, he and his wife, Anne, make a compelling and comprehensive argument that, with rare exceptions, our health and wellbeing (physical, mental, emotional-spiritual) is in OUR OWN hands and can be adeptly optimized through the lifestyle choices we make.

The four Ornish health pillars:  eat well, move more, stress less, love more.  In this book, DO/AO provide concrete strategies and advice for accomplishing all four.

Some of my biggest takeaways:

> In the U.S., 5% of the patients account for 50-80% of all healthcare costs.
> Our health is a holistic construct, and can only be optimized through a holistic approach.
> The Ornishes advocate for a whole-food, plant-based diet.
> Us humans are really mostly microbes, having over 100 trillion non-human organisms growing inside our bodies.
> Over 50% of the current U.S. population either has Type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

My favorite quotes:
“By analogy, if you have a rock in your shoe, don’t blame the stone, use painkillers or surgery to cut the affected nerves, or wear thicker socks — just take out the rock!.” (p. 19)

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need. —Ayurvedic proverb

“…our natural state is to be in a state of ease; when we disturb this, we become dis-eased.” (p. 243)

If you care about your own health, and that of your family and employees, this book is a most worthy read.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

WarOfTheWorldviews

I recently read War of the Worldviews: Where Science and Spirituality Meet -- and Do Not by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow (2012). 

Chopra is a well known author (though trained as a physician) and Mlodinow is an American physicist. 

In this book DC and LM alternatively take turns addressing some very deep and interesting questions. 

Those questions were:  
How did the universe emerge?  Is the universe conscious?  Is the universe evolving?  What is the nature of time?  Is the universe alive?  What is life?  Is there design in the universe?  What makes us human?  How do genes work?  Did Darwin go wrong?  What is the connection between mind and brain?  Does the brain dictate behavior?  Is the brain like a computer?  Is the universe thinking through us?  Is God an illusion?  What is the future of belief? 

As the title indicates, DC and LM hold very differing perspectives on these deep questions, Chopra arguing for the spiritual underpinnings, Mlodinow for the purely scientific explanations. 

I tend naturally to lean toward the spiritual side of that continuum, yet have come to believe that the fundamentalists who cling to the extreme ends necessarily must dismiss some pretty compelling evidence in support of the other perspective.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  If you choose to read (or listen) to it, expect your assumptions to be challenged, regardless of what you think you believe.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Covenential

Standing at the threshold of a new year and a new decade, I can't help but reflect a bit.

The journey thus far has most assuredly been a blessed one -- with health, with family, with a loving partner, with support networks (both personal and professional), with enough.  To be sure, there have been a few hiccups in the road, a few fractured relationships, a few decisions that seemed NOT to have "panned out" (to channel Rooster Cogburn).

Nonetheless, looking forward at this moment in the journey, I consider anew the things most in need of my attention.  After all, as I heard Amy Grant say in a recent concert, "I can see the finish line from here."

Focal points for my attention and effort:
- Relationships First - with the God of my understanding, with family, with my many valued friends and colleagues.
- Stewardship - thoughtfully care for that over which I have been given responsibility (e.g., health and wellbeing, relationships, natural/material resources).  
- Service - emulate, as best I can, the Christ model of serving others (LOVE being always the motivating catalyst).
- Learning - accelerate my learning across multiple fronts and share it with others.  When we stop learning, we start dying.

Not really resolutions.  Perhaps commitments.  No, Covenants seems a better word...