Archive for October, 2011

The Myth of Eight Glasses of Water a Day

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

The human body has around 100 trillion cells, &, believe it or not, 10 times that number of viruses & bacteria residing in it. Each cell operates intelligently, each organ acts intelligently & obviously, the entire organism acts intelligently. There are laws & principles which govern life, & indeed, govern health & disease.

Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fevers, pain & inflammation all have survival value. The body is working as designed. These are reparative, remedial processes the body employs to keep itself clean & well. Sometimes painful, but always having survival value.

Similarly, sensations such as hunger, thirst, tiredness, sleepiness etc Read More...all have survival value & are intelligently directed. They have been guiding humans for millions of years. Only recently were we told by supposed experts that these symptoms were wrong, &, in the case of fevers & inflammation, positively harmful.

There are however signs that a more enlightened approach is taking hold.

A document written by an enlightened dietician contains what is known as a medical reversal. A medical reversal is where a completely different recommendation is given, contrary to what has been the “party line” for decades. Whereas dieticians & many doctors have been saying for the past 15 years that we need to drink water all day because by the time we are thirsty we are already suffering dehydration, a recent article by Nicole Senior for the Glycemic Association, contradicts that view.

Agreeing with this view that we are overplaying the water recommendations, Dr Tim Noakes & Dr David Martin, from South Africa & the USA respectively, stated this : “it has been difficult to find any studies in which dehydration has been identified as the causative factor in even a single case of exercise-related heatstroke”

Indeed, drinking too much water, or water gorging, has been shown to cause hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, with serious & rarely, fatal consequences.

Their studies led to the USA Track & Field, the governing body of track & field, making major revisions to drinking guidelines for athletes ( Instead of drinking as much as they can, the guidelines say, they should drink when they are thirsty. Dr Martin said these changes were revolutionary & overdue. Following on from this the International Marathon Medical Directors Association also reversed its stance. Drink when thirsty!

Dr Heinz Valtin, a physiologist from Dartmouth Medical College, said he could find no scientific support for the common advice for adults to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

 “The benefits”, he said, “such as weight loss, relief of constipation & headaches, less fatigue & increased alertness, have no foundation in scientific studies”.   Listen to your body, it gives accurate feedback if we look after it.

If thirsty, drink!

If hungry, eat!

If tired, rest & sleep!

If feverish, fast & rest!

This philosophy will serve you well.

It appears to be common sense, but common sense is not too common today.

The Happiness Paradox

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Happiness is a popular subject these days. Books, magazines, current affair programs & even films are analysing the subject like never before. The study of happiness is nothing new. Since recorded history, man has attempted to understand this seemingly elusive state, with discourses from Plato, Socrates, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed & countless others outlining what they thought were the principles & conditions leading to a happy life.

The Growth of Prosperity.

Since 1957 the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) per person has risen 300%. Houses today (2007) are on average twice the size of those our parents (or grandparents) lived in, in 1957.

Two cars Read More...(at least), two television sets (at least), commonly including large plasma or LCD screens & home theatre systems, an investment property & overseas holidays are now commonly seen in many families in the western world. Higher disposable incomes, more electronic toys & more labor-saving devices are more common now.

We have easier access to government welfare, greater emphasis on health care, better consumer protection & instant communication via mobile phones & internet.

Society has seen greater sexual freedom ( the contraceptive pill) & less victimisation of minority groups. Women have been liberated ??!! since the 60’s revolution, to the point where we now might soon see for the first time ever a female American president.

In Australia, the combination of unemployment & inflation, called the misery index, has been declining for the last 20 years. .

From the economic & equality standpoint, we have never had it so good. Conventional wisdom has been that as these markers rise, our happiness should correspondingly rise. Study after study has shown that this is NOT the case. Our Gross National Happiness (GNH) has remained the same or fallen over the past 50 years, despite our increasing affluence & comfort.

This is what is called the Happiness Paradox! It is also the subject of Clive Hamilton’s thought-provoking book ‘Affluenza’.

Most people cling to the belief that more money means more happiness, says Hamilton.

The only time that increasing income & greater happiness rise correspondingly is when incomes rise from a poverty level to a basic level. In the USA this basic level has been found to be $15,000 per annum. Once this level is reached then more income, wealth & material possessions do not see noticeable differences in happiness levels.

A while ago I attended a two day conference in Sydney titled  Happiness & its Causes with dozens of guest speakers, including the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The same theme emerged here. Every speaker confirmed what we already knew with the age-old saying: money can’t buy happiness.

So what do we do in order to become happier, have greater peace of mind & lasting contentment? Do we eschew economic advancement & renounce our way of living as we now know it?

Or do we keep up the belief that the more we earn, acquire & invest the happier we will be? The more superannuation, the more happiness?

At my clinic I have seen countless people over the years suffering from chronic unhappiness. There have been many wealthy people who have been deeply unhappy. I have also witnessed financially poor people very unhappy. Conversely, I have consulted many wealthy people who were happy, deeply contented & well-adjusted & many low-income earners who displayed the same qualities.

Similarly with health. There are those with money who have excellent health & those with little finance who also enjoy high-level health. Again there are those who have lots of money but poor health & those who are broke whose health is also broken.


Most people believe that, as with money & happiness, more of the former will also mean greater health. We are continually hearing from opposition politicians, doctors, researchers, medical foundations & special interest groups that we need more funding for more hospitals, improved medical technology, more & better drugs & wider health services. It is widely publicised that the only way to conquer cancer & all the other diseases is through more money, raised through government spending & public awareness drives.The last 20 years has seen more money spent on supposed health care than in all previous years combined. In 1971, President Nixon in America declared war on cancer!Almost unlimited funds were channelled into cancer research & treatment.

America spends more money per capita on medical care ( health care), has the most advanced medical technology in the world & more money is spent on research in the States than anywhere else. There are more drugs available to consumers in the States where these drugs are even advertised direct to the consumer (DTC). Americans pop more pills per capita than any other people & these pills are the result of the belief that more money means more health.

In other words there is a widespread belief that the more capital growth & productivity there is & the more of this that is channelled into medical technology, the happier & healthier we will all be.

Just as happiness does not rise with increased income over a basic level, health also does not. In fact, once a certain point is reached in health care expenditure, more emphasis on drugs & technology means LESS health.

The situation in the States bears this out. America has one of the worst infant mortality rates amongst developed nations. Life expectancy lags behind many other countries & the rates of most major diseases are higher there than most developed countries where much less is spent per capita on health care. The States is one of the most medically regulated countries in the world, with the FDA ( Food & Drug Administration ) & the CDC ( Centres for Disease Control) ostensibly safeguarding public health & ensuring that the money invested is money well spent. Then how can it be that America is the obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease & depression capital of the world?

Here are some thoughts on the Wealth & Health Paradoxes, gleaned from my experience dealing with countless patients over the past 24 years, my own personal happiness/health experiences & almost a life-time of study on these issues.


Many people confuse pleasure with happiness. They are different. Pleasure is temporary & sensual. Happiness is permanent & spiritual. Happiness cannot be caused as it is a quality we are all born with. We then proceed in our lives to CAUSE unhappiness.

To regain our inner happiness, we need to remove those things that are blocking us. Take off the layers that smother our true inner contentment.

Outside-in is NOT what confers happiness. Winning the lottery or buying a new car or a new mansion , marrying the prettiest person or having the brightest kids, getting the much sought-after promotion- these things are outside or external. Sure, they can confer pleasure but it is never lasting. Enough becomes a moving target. We at some point adapt to these externals & set our sights on more or bigger things. We are never satisfied.

Inside-out is where happiness resides. It starts inside. If it is sought from outside then the inner spirit is often neglected. The seed of happiness is within us all but it does not blossom if we search for it in the external world. Money is neither the cause of happiness or the root of all evil. Money is neutral. It can’t make us happy or unhappy. It’s our perception of its worth & value that is important. It’s our attachment to it that blocks us. When we let our egos attach too strongly to certain external things, we run into trouble. We find we might be working extra long hours chasing the money or promotion, becoming obsessed with some THING or continually comparing our assets to others- this is when we gradually lose ourselves. Remember self-worth is NOT net-worth!

We allow our happiness to flourish when we first honour our own basic needs. This requires some thought & reflection, which is best done in silence, stillness & solitude. Here are 7 ways to help manifest our inner happiness:

1) Become as healthy as you can be. This requires discipline in eating, drinking & our personal daily behaviours. There are a few rare people who can be blissfully happy even when chronically sick or in pain, but most people don’t fall into that category. Become gradually aware of the relationship between what you eat & drink & how you feel. Avoid taking drugs daily which alter your mood or energy levels. These include alcohol, tea, coffee, cigarettes, recreational drugs & stimulants.

2) Avoid soldiering on- don’t habitually push yourself. Question any tendencies you might have towards perfectionism, as this leads to a chronic feeling of unfulfillment.

3) Walk, run, swim, garden, row, dance, ride, climb, lift, bend, skip, jump- do whatever you like doing but move regularly.

4) Get adequate sleep & rest.

5) Have quiet time daily-meditating, praying, just being still & quiet.

6) Develop goodwill to others- wish the best for them, compliment people sincerely for something you admire, encourage people. Apart from being the right thing to do, it also adds to your own inner peace & happiness: The fragrance of the rose lingers on the hand that gives it.

7) Accept the fact that the only thing you have total control over is your attitude. Everything else is never 100% under our own control. Understanding & accepting this is like lifting a weight off our shoulders.

Don’t Spend Too Much Happiness Earning Your Money

What was I Losing With All the Gaining?

Don’t Pay for your Wealth with Your Health

We spend our Time Earning our Money & then we spend our Money earning our time.

The Miracle of Life – The Healing Power of Illness

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Life in all its forms has fascinated man for countless centuries. The nature of existence & the existence of nature have puzzled philosophers, theologians, scientists & the lay person alike.

The power of natural phenomena has likewise captivated man’s interest & awe. The power of the tsunami, the earthquake, the volcano, the storm, floods & such like are often breathtaking Read their force. For all of man’s intelligence & technological advancement, he is virtually helpless when nature raises the ante.

These violent outbursts have been part of nature since life commenced. As they stem from nature, so they are NATURAL. They are not normal, but most certainly they are natural.

Read more:

The Miracle of Life, The Miracle of Health

7 Principles of Weight Loss

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

The bulk of our food should be plant-based. Vegetables, cooked & raw, fruits, beans, nuts & seeds are all wonderfully nutritious foods which are nutrient- dense yet generally low in calories. They give us more bang for our buck.

Flesh foods, which are chicken, fish, red meat, milk, eggs, cheese & dairy foods, should be consumed minimally. It is recommended that these foods should account for no more than 4-5 meals per week, out of a possible 21. When eaten, they should be small serves (4 ounces), ambushed by liberal servings of cooked or raw vegetables  (4-6 in number).

It is best to Read More...avoid dairy food altogether for the initial few weeks. Plain yoghurt if you must would be the best of a bad bunch.

Caffeine ( see article The Effects of Caffeine) & alcohol are best totally avoided for a few weeks as your metabolism gets back to normal. The same with refined carbohydrates such as sugar, white flour products & sweets (see document Nutritious Meal Suggestions).

2) Eat when hungry. This is obvious but misunderstood. Hunger is NOT an empty or rumbling stomach. It is a sensation in the mouth. True hunger is where we salivate. We could lick our lips we are that ready for food. DO NOT SNACK! The only time we should snack is if we are truly hungry.

3) Drink when thirsty & NOT with meals. Wait 45 minutes or drink 10 minutes before eating. Contrary to popular belief, we should not drink continually. In fact, the USA Track & Field has revised the earlier recommendation to drink continually by stating that that advice is now WRONG! This is because over hydration causes the blood to become too dilute. Sodium levels in the blood drop & this can cause life- threatening consequences. Many scientists have been very vocal in warning people of this hyponatremia( low blood sodium), including Dr David Martin at Georgia State University, Dr Heinz Valtin at Dartmouth Medical College & Dr Tim Noakes at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

4) Get more sleep & rest than you normally would. This is critical, even more important than exercising at this stage. Remember: TIRED PEOPLE RARELY LOSE WEIGHT!  It has been discovered that sleep “deprived children (i.e. tired) are far more likely to be overweight than their energetic friends & it is not the extra weight that causes the initial fatigue, although this does have an effect on energy over time.

Over the years I have seen hundreds of tired, overweight patients lose considerable weight quickly, to their delighted surprise, when they rested more, exercised less & followed the no-stimulant, high-nutrient nutrition program. Most people are tired these days, particularly those carrying extra weight, so more rest means more energy & more energy means more weight loss. As energy increases, the next principle follows.

Slow down! Limit your commitments! Do a little less & do not feel guilty about this. When you are lighter, fitter & more energetic, you will be a pleasure to be around & life will be enjoyable. Then you will be able to add other commitments. It will all be worthwhile.

5) Exercise! Start with walking if you are sedentary. Aim for 4-5 walks of 20 minutes minimum & we build on that. Speed & distance increases as fitness improves & weight comes off. When ready, we then discuss other activities which burn fat, gain muscle & therefore improves shape, contour & appearance.

REMEMBER– When fatigued, do not exercise.

6) Guard your MIND! Be aware of negative thoughts, moods & attitudes. They creep in to all our minds at times but we must not entertain them. Acknowledge their entry & then evict them. Being aware of them is the first & most important step. Understand yourself. Weight loss (& life) becomes easier when we truly start knowing ourselves. Remember, our attitudes are the only thing we have full & total control over!

Recommended reading: Personality PluS by Florence Littauer.

* Highly recommended.

7) Follow the 11th Commandment of Health For Life:

Thou Shalt Not Bash Thyself Up!

As a person, you are no better with or without extra weight. No better with or without extra money. No better with or without extra anything! You are a worthy human AS YOU ARE! Accept this without qualification. When you are lighter, you will be healthier, more energetic & less prone to illness but you will be the same person of value that you are now. No more worthy or less worthy than you were before. By understanding this & accepting it, you will lose weight more easily & life will be more peaceful. Things will flow better & your weight loss will be permanent. The torment of YO-YO emotions & weight gain & loss will be but a memory.