Sunday, 21 June 2009

Depression Soars As Recession Bites

This morning's post will be short and maybe not so sweet.

The Observer reported today that the recession has led to an increase of 2.1 million prescriptions for anti-depressants!

Surprisingly some have voiced the concern that doctors are prescribing chemicals as a quick fix without considering the underlying cause or the potential for long term dependance. Fancy that?

The article even quotes some moron (sorry, gentleman) who shall be nameless ... who says he has "every sympathy" for doctors under pressure to succumb to needy patients because they want to "be liked" ... but what was really needed was "tough love".

Come on!!!

This is the most prolific industry human kind has ever spawned (with a longer shelf-life than petrochemicals), not a flipping popularity contest. Doctors prescribing medications "under pressure" that relieve in the short term and add stress in the long term are part of the problem.

The bigger picture is that, not only do we tolerate this absurdity, we actually hold this part of the machine in great esteem. Any donkey that knows his place will accept the wise counsel of a doctor blindly and without reservation. Doctors are, after all, on the cutting edge of civilized technology. We revere their judgement. And why not? When we are in trouble, they are there to magically make things better.

What makes me even sadder is that people like Oprah, who dare to suggest that prevention is better than cure, are attacked for their alleged ignorance. Why? Because it hurts business. There's less money in prevention than cure. And Oprah galvanises opinion by the million.

What would be nice is if we stopped pretending this wasn't actually the case and just accepted that that's how it is and people don't actually give two hoots about long term health. They just want relief in a painful, imperfect world.

For anybody who hasn't yet figured out the thrust of this post (and just about every other post on this blog) ... chemicals kill. They accumulate. They cause stress ... and you don't need a medical degree to correlate this with increases in disease. And everyone keeps pretending this isn't the case because it's what doctors do!

And, even worse, this is preventable with a simple reassessment of strategic direction. But there's just too much money in not fixing things!

What? Still don't get it? Medications are chemicals our bodies need precious energy to metabolise. This adds further burden to sick people. Even if these remedies come from someone with accepted credibility.

If you "need" Viagra, nature is telling you that your reproductive health sucks! If you "need" a laxative, nature is telling you that your digestion/elimination system is dysfunctional. If you "need" an anti-inflammatory, nature is telling you that something is out of whack. Something is causing these problems, so why just cover them up?

We don't need pills for diarrhoea ... or libido ... or weight loss ... or heartburn ... or any number of ailments. These are all symptoms of declining health. Doctors know this.

Neither do we need botox ... or plastic surgery ... or diets ... or HRT. These are all perceived magic bullets that fill holes in out own wretched lives. And any person that dares to call it like it is ... will be attacked as an under-qualified modern day heretic. We even have to qualify benign advice to drink clean water instead of synthetic garbage as "information", not intended to take the place of medical wah, wah, wah.

Just in case someone decided to take back responsibility for their own health and ceased to be dependant!

We have appointed custodians of our health who are caught up in a machine without even realising it. And if they do, why don't more of them speak up? God knows they have a keener appreciation of the issues at hand.

Why is this left to people without a real voice? There is surely something more sinister going on right under our noses.

And this my friends, is that we are being misinformed by industries that have a vested interest in keeping us in the dark.

Properly informed governments genuinely invested in reducing obesity, heart disease, premature aging, stroke, diabetes, depession, mental illness and the like will move far more aggressively towards education, prevention and enlightenment ... not mandated polypills and more regulations to muzzle outspoken people with brains, but limited recognised qualifications!

Of course, this is unlikely because there is too much money in the current system which creates patients that remain dependant for life.

But please ... can't someone stop all the meaningless drivel and just call it like it is?

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

NHS Needs Fresh Thinking Now!

Hats off to Andy Burnham MP, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Health, who finally acknowledged that just perhaps ... the NHS should be looking at preventative measures.

This is in stark contrast to the typical approach which waits for people to get progressively sicker, then offers palliative measures to people in certain postcodes.

The NHS is already in a serious predicament with forecasted shortfalls due to come through by 2011 to the tune of between 8 and 10 billion pounds! Yes, waiting lists for surgery have fallen from 18 months to virtually nothing. But long term sustainability is surely an issue that we can't keep sweeping under the rug.

Extrapolating current trends leads any sane person to realise that 10 years from now the NHS will be completely ineffective because it just won't be able to cope with the volume of sick people. And many of these could have been prevented by changing the existing paradigm rather than coming out with schemes like polypills which are nothing more than stop gap measures.

Most of the illnesses that will burden the NHS of the future are preventable by educating people on improving their health today ... not telling them to eat less pork sausages and bacon and "get active"!

Mr Burnham seems like a breath of fresh air during a particularly sordid time for MP's. Let's see if he can actually make a difference.

When prime time television isn't filled with ads for tasty baked chocolate treats for kids, then perhaps we will have made progress. When supermarket trolleys aren't laden with cheap processed meat, dairy, low fat garbage, refined carbohydrates and booze ... then just maybe the NHS will have a glimmer of hope with respect to long term viability.

Until then, drink up and stock up your pantries with dead food. You can always go on another diet in the new year. When things really get bad you can then get the excess lard surgically removed. Assuming you're in the right postcode.

Or people can wake up and start to learn how to consume food that nourishes them.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Weight Loss Insights

Every one is always searching for immediate gratification.

The problem is that something as complex as weight management is never going to be addressed by any magic bullet. But people remain hopeful that they can get something for nothing!

Essentially, a human being starts putting on excess weight (fat) when their internal physiology becomes unbalanced as a result of either a shortfall of essential nutrients ... or various excesses that reach toxic levels. Overtraining, overeating, pollution, you name it. We are constantly inundated.

Our fixation with "empty" addictive calories only creates more chaos ... nutitional shortfall, toxic excess. We are overfed and undernourished. So we become unhealthier and fatter.

This results in hormonal imbalance which creates an environment where metabolism slows down and apetite increases. And we get fat!

When this imbalance is corrected, the symptom of excess body fat starts to disappear and the individual returns to a healthier body fat percentage (and consequently a "normal" body weight).

For an optimal hormonal environment to be restored, the individual must pay attention to the following key factors affecting health:

- consumption habits (less processed "food", more living, organic, whole foods ... plus more clean water, less artificial beverages)

- exercise habits (regular activity combined with carefully targeted resistance and/or interval training that depletes muscle glycogen, restores insulin sensitivity and stimulates progressive strength gains)

- recovery habits (regular, adequate, deep sleep and sufficient relaxation)

- mindset (a buoyant attitude, reinforced by positive thinking and emotionally-fulfilling social interactions)

- lifestyle (sustainable habits that promote, rather than degrade health)

When these start to fall into place, a caloric deficit can be maintained. Without this, fat loss won't happen.

Depriving yourself of nutritious food only reinforces imbalance. Likewise, hammering your body with high impact exercise only creates toxic stress ... again resulting in health compromise.

By getting healthier you get your hormones on sides. This will make a consistent calorie deficit achievable.

Stop looking for shortcuts. Start investing in your health. You will look better, feel better ... and be so much happier.

This process takes time and determination ... and may involve risk. Consult your physician first before making any changes in diet, exercise or lifestyle. Then get real and stop those silly deprivation diets and ponderous, high-impact "cardio" workouts.

You are responsible for your health!