Ah Duh? Healthcare That Really Works?

healthcare brokenThe healthcare system in this country has gotten so far out of whack, it seems ridiculous to even refer to it as “healthcare”.  Taken literally, it would lead you to believe the system is actually designed to care for your health, right?  Unfortunately, for a whole host of reasons, many of which are profit-related, the reality is that we have become obsessed with “disease management” which, with it’s focus on alleviating symptoms and prolonging life under sometimes horrific circumstances, has little to do with maintaining one’s health by avoiding these chronic diseases in the first place.  One of the drivers of this upside down approach is, of course, the billions of dollars made by the pharmaceutical companies in pushing pills and encouraging surgeries.  Where’s the profit in telling someone to exercise, eat a plant-based diet, meditate and engage in all the other clinically proven strategies to stay healthy?

MHE healthcare reformFortunately, technology may be a reasonable way out of this mess; an answer to the desperate search on the part of individuals, companies, municipalities and others who are footing the bill for this terribly expensive and ineffective system.  There is an emerging effort to capture and utilize specific individual health data in the context of outcomes, accepted standards of the most effective care and prevention and all the related expenses, then to share all this information with the individual, the primary care physician and the entire healthcare system.  Imagine your having access to all your health information on your smartphone, with both you and your primary care physician being financially incentivized to communicate regularly on best practices for either remaining healthy or managing a condition in the most effective manner.  The access to this massive pool of health data and the creative use of it is now putting the management of your healthcare back where it belongs, in the hands of you and your doctor.  If you look at any employee population, for example, the largest health claims expense is related to a certain set of disease conditions.  Reducing the incidence of these conditions among the employee group produces substantial savings, a portion of these dollars can then be used to encourage both healthy behavior among the employees and doctors to become more engaged in the maintenance of a patient’s health.

This is an effort that deserves your wholehearted support.  Be on the lookout for companies like Medical Health Exchange (www.medicalhomeexchange.com) who are now providing this sophisticated and effective technology solution to large groups of employees.  The healthcare system in this country is a behemoth that will not change easily.  There are too many players with an enormous financial interest at stake and they will not give up their stranglehold without a fight, but those of us who are actually paying for this broken system are fed up and hungry for change.  Whenever possible, seize the opportunity to do whatever you can to encourage the shift to a healthcare system that just makes so much more intuitive sense and will save billions of wasted dollars.

God Bless

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Parkinson’s & Diet

Parkinson's and dietI was in the men’s locker room at the gym yesterday standing next to a fellow I’ve seen there for probably five years.  Up until yesterday, it’s been a typical male relationship in this type of environment where you’re there for another purpose, to work out, and the interactions are limited to impromptu group discussions on just about any topic and random, well-timed insults hurled at each other.  I will occasionally come home with a funny story about one of these interactions and share it with my wife.  She’ll then ask:

“And who was it that said that?”

My typical response is “One of the guys.”

“What’s his name?”

“I don’t know.”

Despite being flabbergasted at this admission, being the wise woman she is, Lace will smile and say something like “Oh, well it’s nice that you have fun with your friends.”  She is well aware of and accepts the differences between men and women.  Put her in that same situation, for just ten minutes, and she would know the whole life history of the woman standing next to her.  So, we’re standing there yesterday at our lockers talking about what cardio machines we prefer and I make some wisecrack about him only liking the elliptical because of the “hot babe” he manages to get next to every day.  He laughs then asks me, “What’s your name, I’m Bart.”

Now, over the past few months I have noticed a gradual deterioration in Bart’s physical condition.  He has become increasingly limited in his mobility and his voice has become more frail.  Recently, he was struggling with getting his down parka on and I offered to help, for which he seemed very grateful.  Up until recently, I knew Bart to be an active man in his mid-sixties, an avid sailor with a boat of his own, bright and quick-witted.  It was clear to me that something serious was going on with Bart and I had my suspicions, but up until yesterday, it was never discussed.  Shortly after introducing himself yesterday, he shared with me that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.  The informal, light-hearted relationship we had shared for years just became deeply personal and emotional.  Contemplating the devastation this disease can cause, the impact on his family and even a little of my own mortality, my mind immediately started racing in the direction of articles I have recently read about the connection between diet and certain chronic diseases.  I spent most of last night scouring those articles and was pleased to find several examples of how diet can have a dramatic impact on both the prevention of Parkinson’s and the progression of the disease.  Several of these I plan to share with Bart today and I’m going to direct him to this video below with the hope it may be of help in managing his symptoms.  Whether you are interested in preventing the onset of Parkinson’s or you know someone who is afflicted, this information is of premiere importance and should be shared.

God Bless

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Got $5.00? Buy Some Peace

route to peaceToday is Good Friday, recognized as the day more than 2,000 years ago that Jesus Christ was crucified.  Even secular scholars, historians and archaeologists now generally agree that, based on all the historical evidence, this event did, in fact, take place.  Regardless of your spiritual inclinations, if any, it was not our finest hour as human beings, to say the least.  For the Romans , Jews and Christ-followers, this was a day marked with overwhelming chaos; for different reasons and to varying degrees, yes, but undeniably tumultuous and turbulent.

Fast forward two centuries and think about the chaos in our own lives today.  Not to suggest that it’s in any way comparable in magnitude to the crucifixion,  but nevertheless, our over-committed, multitasking, chaotic lifestyle has become a serious modern-day threat to our health and peace of mind.  In an attempt to help take a little pressure off, and consistent with keeping things a little lighter here on Fridays, I want to introduce you to a website that allows you to outsource some of your responsibilities………….for only $5!!

For example, here are some of the categories and one example in each of the  “gigs” you’ll find at fiverr.com…………..for $5.00:

Gifts

  • make you any ceramic object      “I will make you any ceramic object for $5”

Graphics & Design

  • Jpeg_thumbnail_medium-1359024563      “I will design you an attractive, eye-catching T-shirt in just two days for $5”

Video & Animation

  • convert your video to almost any format of your choice, or pull audio from any video     “I will convert your video to almost any format of your choice, or pull audio from any video for $5”

Online Marketing

  •  create a PROFESSIONAL flyer from my 38 years experience for your business or event     “I will create a PROFESSIONAL flyer from my 38 years experience for your business or event for $5”

Writing & Translation

  • rescue you from having to Write anything     “I will rescue you from having to WRITE anything for $5”

Business

  •  Jpeg_thumbnail_medium-1364349407     “I will be your virtual assistant for three hours for $5”

Programming & Tech

  • create your dream website within 24hours     “I will create your dream website within 24 hours for $5”

Music & Audio

  • create up to 10 ringtones for your iPhone     “I will create up to 10 ringtones for your iPhone for $5”

Fun & Bizarre

  • say or sing anything you want in the voice of Cartman from South Park     “I will say or sing anything you want in the voice of Cartman from South Park for $5” 

Go visit the website when you have a chance and check out all the gigs you can find for $5.  If you decide to order one, make sure they have delivered several in the past, have a high rating and read the feedback provided from their users.

Have a happy and blessed Easter weekend.

Went Plant-Based, Saved $2,000 A Month

save moneyYou’ve seen the compelling evidence here for better health resulting from switching to  a plant-based diet, but here’s a different take.  In addition to the dramatic health improvements, there appears to be a viable and substantial economic reason as well.  Adding greens to your diet will likely add those other greens to your wallet!

Plant-Based Diet Made Me Healthier While I Saved Thousands on Insurance

Bill570 Plant Based Diet Made Me Healthier While I Saved Thousands on Insurance

I have always been an athlete. From a young age, my mother would place my two brothers and me in any sports activity that was available. I grew up playing baseball, football, basketball, soccer, and running track. In high school, I was recruited to play football as a linebacker and told to gain weight. During this time, I worked part-time in an ice cream shop and would consume one milkshake every hour trying to pack on the pounds. I went from weighing 165 pounds to 215 pounds. My diet was filled with high fat, high sugar foods so I could maintain this weight.

I went on to play college football, where my weight reached 240 pounds. I was training with my team and felt I was in great shape. Following college, I started a business and a family. The weight was tough to get off. I tried every diet on the market losing weight at first, but gaining it right back when off the diet. I was always hungry and frustrated. I continued an exercise program, but it did little to control my weight.

Eventually, my health began to suffer. My joints ached, my feet burned, my cholesterol was too high, my blood work was off, and my heart and lungs showed signs of wear. I was still exercising at the gym and riding my bike, but I felt horrible. All the doctors would do is prescribe more medication. I finally hit my breaking point, when my wife retired and we lost our health coverage. Trying to find a health carrier, I was told I was uninsurable with an individual plan and would have to join a group to get group coverage. I ended up paying $2,790 a month to cover three of us!

I had enough. I started looking into eating plans that I could sustain. A friend and fellow cyclist and I discovered Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live program. I began a plant-based diet but wondered how long I could stay on task. I also began to research vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. I came across the documentary Forks Over Knivesand my life changed. I made the commitment to follow a vegan diet and have never looked back. Forks Over Knives showed me how and why this eating plan worked. I loved the recipes provided and have now been on a plant-based diet for 11 months! In 6 months I lost 40 pounds. I feel better than I can ever remember. I am stronger and fitter than I was when competing in football. The response from friends and coworkers has been overwhelming. I can eat until satisfied and never find myself hungry, cranky, or fatigued.

The highlight of this lifestyle came when my doctor called with the results of my recent blood work. It was perfect! My former doctor had told me it would be impossible for me to alter my cholesterol levels without statin medication, but I proved him wrong! My monthly health insurance premiums are now $809, saving me about $2,000 a month. I am taking no prescription medications whatsoever. I can honestly say I owe my health to a plant-based diet!

God Bless

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Unhealthy Food Addiction? Help Is On The Way!

Bad eating habitsYesterday, in “Hi, My Name Is_______, And I’m An Addict“, I shared with you the fact that billions of dollars are being spent to keep people physically and psychologically addicted to an unhealthy diet.  I also pointed out that the first step to breaking an addiction is recognizing the fact that you have indeed surrendered yourself to and are now controlled by some unhealthy habit.  For example, take eating eggs.  In “No More Eggs For You!!“, three academic heavy-hitters were quoted as saying “just 3 eggs or more a week was associated with a significant increase in artery-clogging plaque buildup, a strong predictor of stroke, heart attack, and death.”  Dr. Michael Greger’s www.nutritionfacts.org reports “eggs contain high levels of cholesterol and may contain carcinogenic retroviruses, toxic pollutants (such as PCB, arsenic, phthalates), and Salmonella.”  In the face of this credible scientific data, why would anyone continue to eat eggs?  For the same reason people continue to smoke………addiction.  Whether it’s bacon, cheeseburgers, butter or chicken, if you find yourself saying “Oh, I could never give that up!”, guess what?  You’re an addict and you need to put your name in the blank above.

Chicken substituteBut what if I came to you with a healthy, plant-based clone of eggs, bacon or cheese?  And when I use the term clone, I mean a substitute that is so well engineered, you honestly can’t distinguish it from the real thing.  In some cases, we’re already there.  In “When Is A Chicken Not A Chicken?”, I shared a substitute for breaded chicken breast patties and nuggets, that just blew me away.  But we still have a long way to go to make it even easier to kick the addiction to unhealthy food by offering legitimate, plant-based substitutes.  The good news is that our free enterprise system seems to have finally latched on to this burgeoning industry and is beginning to pump big dollars and marketing expertise into its development.

plant-based egg substituteWhen people like Bill Gates and the Silicon Valley crowd start investing heavily, in both time and money, you can bet we are on the cusp of something big.  The recent Businessweek article “Silicon Valley Embraces Innovation In Sustainable Foods“, points to the example of  Hampton Creek Foods, where a “staff of 19—armed with a combo of science degrees, chef experience, and food industry chops—are obsessing over eggs. What gives an egg—the result of a chicken menstrual cycle (eeww)—its unusual characteristics, and how can those characteristics be replaced with a combination of plants? The team has worked on more than 344 prototypes for their egg-yolk product and have studied 287 types of plants that range from peas to canola.”  The article goes on to say “Hampton Creek Foods is just one of a new type of eco-food innovator that Silicon Valley is incubating. The company is backed by Sand Hill Road heavyweight Vinod Khosla’s firm, which is why Bill Gates—an investor in Khosla’s fund—gave Hampton’s muffins a taste test last year (and, by the way, couldn’t tell the difference between a muffin with eggs and a muffin with Beyond Eggs).”  Bill Gates called the budding food innovation movement—which is making food more sustainable and also cheaper—a “huge thing” that “will confound the pessimists.”

The article goes on to talk about the broad base of this movement, the favorable economic and environmental impact it will have and why it’s attracting sophisticated investors.  Definitely worth the read.  Happily, the bottom line is that there is a growing and formidable force that will be challenging the continued efforts to keep us “hooked” on an unhealthy diet.

God Bless

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MLM….Scam or Income Opportunity?

Multi Level marketingMLM, Network Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Direct Selling, or Referral Marketing, no matter what you call it, it’s a marketing strategy employed by thousands of companies.  According to Wikipedia:  “Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s “downline”, and can provide multiple levels of compensation.”  For some companies, and their sales force, this strategy has been very successful.  For others, it’s been a disaster for the individuals involved and a smoke screen for illegitimate businesses.

Unfortunately, the disasters get much more attention and media play so the concept of MLM frequently elicits a negative knee-jerk reaction from the general public.  However, if you take the time to do your homework, there are opportunities out there that can be a meaningful source of cash flow, either part or full-time, and largely from the comfort of your own home using the internet.

Perhaps the most important gating event is your personal relationship to the product.  Do you believe in it?  Do you use it and have you achieved the desired, visible benefits?  Any legitimate MLM is based on selling the company’s products and that’s a tall, if not impossible, order if you don’t believe passionately in the products’ benefits or if you, personally, are not an obvious representative of those benefits.  For example, a bald man would have a difficult time selling a hair replacement product if he were still bald after using it.  On the other hand, if a man you knew as being bald for his entire life came up to you with a new full head of natural hair, he’s already sold the product.  You would be asking him how he did it.

The next investigation should be into the compensation structure, making sure that most, if not all, of it is coming from the sale of products and not from recruiting new distributors.  The company should also have an easily accessible report of compensation ranges at every sales level within the company, including the average, highest and lowest amounts paid.  Another financial consideration is the up front cost relative to a reasonable projection of when and what your cash flow will be.

Other steps you can take to insure against getting caught up in a disappointing MLM “scheme” include:

  • Do a background check on the company with the Better Business Bureau and even read any complaints formally filed against the company.
  • Only consider doing business with a large, financially successful company with a long track record.
  • Speak to other distributors already in the program about their experience vs. their expectations.
  • Use an independent adviser to give you an unemotional perspective on the opportunity.
  • Be brutally honest about whether the products, the selling process and the corporate philosophy are an appropriate match to your skill set and temperament.

Once again, MLM has taken a public beating, but if you’re a Baby Boomer looking to supplement your income or even launch a new career.  There are some real opportunities out there.

God Bless

Eeny Meeny Miney Mo

I was up at 5 a.m. again this morning eager to get downstairs and create another relevant and practical post for my growing audience of readers.  I found myself going back to read some of my earlier material to see if there were any topics on which there should be some follow-up.  I was struck by the realization that there were several posts made back when my wife was my only follower that, in my humble opinion, were pretty good and deserved broader exposure.  Thankfully, my readership has been growing steadily, but rarely will people take the time to go back and read archived posts.  There is a lot of meaningful material on fitness, nutrition, finances and general lifestyle that I feel you should at least know is there.

So, here is an index of some interesting articles more than a week old.  If you find one that catches your attention, just click on it and you’ll be magically transported there.  Enjoy!

Motivated Yet?
Take Action for Fitness
Fitness For Living
A New Fitness Beginning?
Are You Prepared to Face Your Fitness?
No More Eggs For You!!
Baby Boomers Never Die!
Just Hang On!
The Silent Killer?
Y R U a Slave to Bad Food?
Turbocharge Your Weightloss!
This WILL Change Your Life………..
Weight-loss Simplified
Amazing Grace
Need More Cash?
Weight-loss By Super Food
Oh, Honey, I Really Do Love You!
Can We Live To Be 1,000?
Baby Boomers: Financial Security
Want To Be The Biggest Loser?
Going…..Going…….Vegan!
When’s a Chicken Not a Chicken?
Do You Just Listen Or Really Hear?
Power Up With These Super Foods!
An Early Holiday Present For You!
Who’s Got Your Back?
Want New Genes?