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Seasons of Life
by Dr. Jon Repole, DC, NC, HHP, CPT, CFMP
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
We all participate and experience various seasons in our lives. Some individuals may be carrying the weight, darkness, and heaviness of the world upon their shoulders (season of winter) while others are motivated, driven, and on-purpose (season of summer). Understanding your current season of life could be one of the most helpful tools in balancing the struggles between the energies of being and doing. Just like our health, our lives move cyclically (albeit a more chaotic looking circle) from fear to safety to growth. The cycles can be seen in both the macrocosm of our life (infancy to adulthood) and the microcosm of a particular year. Taking a step even further and allowing ourselves to drop down from our previous “bird’s eye view,” we can now see the cycles repeat once more in the macrocosm of a day to the microcosm of a single moment.
Each stage or season comes with their own lessons, gifts, darkness, needs acquisition, trials and tribulations. As you read over the following seasonal descriptors, try and reflect on your own life and see if you resonate with any of the stages.
The Joe Tequila Effect and the Forgotten THREE
by Dr. Jon Repole, DC, NC, HHP, CPT, CFMP
There is no question that eating a whole food plant-based diet, exercising, practicing healthy sleep hygiene habits, drinking and breathing fresh, clean, water and air all have a direct and dramatic effect on both our aging (quality of life) and longevity (quantity of life). With that said, however, I can’t deny coming across “contradictions” on a small but consistent regularity in our practice month after month. These contradictions, in turn, are worthy of discussion. For example, imagine a patient whom I will call, Joe Tequila. He is for all intent and purposes aging with a certain level of gracefulness and health despite the fact he is engaging in dietary and lifestyle choices that myself and others would consider deleterious to their physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and mental health such as daily alcohol bingeing, eating an abundance of fried foods, processed foods, and so forth.
So, what exactly is going on here? What are the hidden factors that are overriding the deleterious messages from poor dietary and lifestyle choices? And are we minimizing these contributions?
"WHAT THE HEALTH?": DEBUNKING THE "DEBUNKING" OF EATING A PLANT-BASED DIET
by Dr. Jon Repole, DC, NC, HHP, CPT, CFMP
There has always been controversy in the various nutritional camps – especially the paleo, ancestral-based animal-centric diets VS. the plant-centric, evolutionary-based diets. In recent times, the debate has grown stronger, more passionate and, unfortunately, at times more hateful, divisive, and condescending. The most recent entrance into this never-ending debate has been “the science” behind the movie, “What the Health.” I could spend an entire blog article going head to head showing my arguments (research, personal experience with patients, common sense, rules of reasonableness, etc.) for a plant-based rather than a paleo-based approach. I am, however, going to make a confession – this would be futile argument simply because all the conclusions (regardless of the camp) would ultimately be based upon one’s opinion and belief system.
HOW TO INDIVIDUALIZE YOUR DIET?
by Dr Jon Repole, DC, NC, HHP, CPT, CFMP
In this article, I want to discuss diet individualization. For within the universal tenets of diet, there are nuances, changes, additions, and subtractions that can prove to be advantageous and helpful for certain individuals. This is particularly true for those persons suffering with conditions such as: fatigue, sugar-related problems, hyper-sensitivities, GI-related disorders, addictions, and so on. It is even more important, however, for those individuals who feel that he/she is doing the right thing but not “getting” the magic from the diet they are currently consuming.
by Dr. Jon Repole, DC, NC, HHP, CPT, CFMP
WHAT ARE VIRTUES?
The word virtue has its roots in Greek philosophy - sometime in the 4th century B.C. It's origins can be traced back to the Greek philosopher Plato and his early writings entitled, “The Republic”, a Socratic dialogue on political theory. Plato identified four cardinal or keystone virtues – wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.
Virtue literally translates as “excellence of any kind.” It is, in essence, a trait or quality that is deemed morally good and one that promotes both collective and individual greatness. Virtues can also be thought of as habits of mind, heart, and behavior. They are developed through deliberate practice rather than any type of pre-determinism or inheritance. In other words, they are cultivated through habituation and diligence.
As we enter a new year, a new week, or even a new day – we can hold onto the ideals that virtue offers us and use them, collectively, as a type of moral compass to help enlighten the path on how we are to conduct ourselves in both speech and action – allowing us to become the best possible version of ourselves.
In this short essay, we will be looking at the four cardinal virtues (wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice) alongside the virtues of love and humility. Each and every day we can hold onto theses virtues by imagining that someone is watching us or videotaping our every action, deed, behavior and vocalization for all to witness – it begs us to ask, “who are you REALLY when no one is looking?” The reality, of course, is that someone IS standing over our shoulders and watching us EVERYDAY – it is your soul, spirit or the highest version of yourself.
The election is over!
Unfortunately, however, the aftermath will more than likely continue to breed hatred, disharmony, insecurity, and misunderstanding in the upcoming months and years to follow. These metastatic fear-based impulses have truly been hard for me to swallow! And like all shadow elements of the psyche – they need to be taken out from the attic of our unconscious, looked at, integrated, and transcended.
This article is not about “convincing” anyone to change their beliefs or paradigms. In fact, the word convince has its roots in the word conquer and means to overcome by argument. We can disagree but should all strive not to be disagreeable. This election reminds me of the old adage, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”
Pss...I have a secret to share…
I’ve become less and less of a “science guy” these days. Why? Simply because research and scientists keep going round and round becoming less and less aware of the “forest from the trees.” In their attempt to distill health and wellness truths, they get lost in the lingo of reductionism and complicate what I call “rules of reasonableness and common sense” which ultimately boils down to the fundamentals (all of which we can spend a lifetime chasing):
How powerful are the fundamentals in relation to the next big pharma breakthrough or supplemental claim? Scientists estimate that dietary and lifestyle excellence contributes to over 75% of disease manifestation and progression!
So, we have all heard knowledge is power – but is it true? Absolutely not! Knowledge with action is our REAL POWER!
OK, so why do we keep looking for the next breakthrough? Why do we keep chasing our dreams? Why do we engage in unhealthy activities? Or simply – why do we do what we do? Although this is too great a topic to handle here – we can find clues with what some have called THE SECRET as revealed in the book of the same name.
A short introduction to Kosmic Health by Dr. Jon Repole. A new paradigm of health is explained that encompasses what is called a Kosmocentric perspective of reality. It is based, in part, on the notion that, "Doing good for the Kosmos is the same as doing good for us as individuals." In this context giving is receiving. Moving from an egocentric (me, mine, and I) to ethnocentric (my clan, tribe, nation, religion, etc.) to worldcentric) (embracing all of humanity regardless of race, color, creed or sex) to a Kosmocentric (extending care, compassion, and concern to humanity plus all sentient creatures -- regardless of species -- and the Kosmos and beyond) we are unable to unleash the infinite possibilities of our human existence. The ideas put forth are inspired by Integral Theory.
When I see patients for chronic health related challenges -- they usually are overwhelmed, present with a myriad of symptoms (from fatigue, loss of libido, weight gain, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and more), have seen numerous doctors and after all that -- are STILL NOT feeling any relief!
Over the years we have made "dis"ease investigation way to difficult! This is, in part, due to medical specialization -- which is the symbolic representation of a medical system born out of a reductionist mindset. For example, it is not uncommon today to have a patient on 5 different medications prescribed by 5 different doctors. Unfortunately, each specialty stands in isolation to the other with NO ONE looking at the big picture -- in that the whole (human body) is greater than the sum of its parts. Thus, we need to move away from an organocentric view or a belief that organs of the body work in isolation, require a specialist and that ONE and only magical potion or elixir. We also need to make sure we don't get caught up in the polypharmacy approach -- the use of multiple drugs to target various organ systems and then more drugs to combat any of the adverse side effects from the original medications.
I put together a short video that, I believe, easily explains the PREDICTABLE sequence of events for "dis"ease causation. In using this model, we can identify the REAL causes which, of course, will make treatment that much easier!
In this video we expand the definition of epigenetics to include: metagenetics and transgenetics. These new inclusions will help us to fill in some of the missing pieces often overlooked in conventional medicine -- notably the "non-physical" or energetic influences from our environment.
Lyme, Mold, Candida and Fibromyalgia are REAL diagnoses and must be explored deeper to figure out effective treatments.
Autoimmune Disease is one of the fastest growing diseases in the country. In this video, we explore the autoimmune triad (genetics, toxins/triggers, and the subsequent breakdown of immune barriers leading to molecular mimicry). Treatment approaches include a multi-dimensional treatment approach that addresses the triad through a systematic program of dietary intervention and functional medicine.
By, Dr. Jon Repole, DC, NC, HHP, CPT, CFMP
So the looming question in this blog post is simply – If I eat what I consider a healthy, balanced diet, is it necessary for me to take supplements?
The answer may not be so straight forward – a combination of both YES and NO is at hand.
Within the scientific community there DOES exist a multitude of scientific studies AGAINST the use of supplements. Some of the arguments in this camp come from both old and new studies that correlate supplementation with deleterious health effects. For example, the Physicians’ Health Study II, showed correlations of Vitamin E supplementation with increased hemorrhagic stroke. While another study show correlations with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) consumption and increased heart disease. I think, however, a more common-sense argument in this “AGAINST SUPPLEMENTATIO CAMP” would simply be the fact that the longest lived populations (the so called “Blue Zones” where there are purported increased numbers of centenarians when compared to similar populations of equal size) did, in fact, not take any supplements.
On the other side of the “FOR SUPPLEMENTATION CAMP”, the reasons are many:
I have to admit that sometimes sitting quietly for 15-30 minutes or even 5 MINUTES can be quite a challenge. Meditation is a way for us to harness the power of our focus and attention. Simply giving someone our full attention in a conversation, for example, can be considered a form of meditation. With that said, this is a meditation that can easily be performed by anyone and is practical way to start the day, as well as to set your intentions for a day and life of mastery. Try this mediation sequence for 30 days straight and see how the universe aligns to create abundance in your life!
OK, I have to admit – I think the entire nutrition community has gone NUTS!
For example, they:
- overlook the “bird’s eye view” of using whole foods as the primary foundation of any nutritional program
- debate the merits of different processed foods
- show an inability to recognize that gluten-free products are still processed foods
- promote completely outdated ancestral-type diets
- deny the health, environmental, and spiritual concerns regarding animal agriculture!
There are so many diets, so many conflicting opinions, so much research – and all from “respected” individuals flaunting prestigious badges that include: PhDs, MDs, DCs, RDs, etc. Think about this – your ENTIRE life can literally change depending on what book you pick up at the local bookstore, what TV program you are watching, and what doctor or health professional you visit and the type of diet they fancy on the ever-expanding dietary smorgasbord - Zone diet, Atkins diet, South Beach diet, Paleo diet, etc.!
In the sciences, there are many ways to approach the subject of health and disease. Two strikingly varied approaches that lie on this continuum include: pathogenesis and salutogenesis. Pathogenesis is the general study on the ORIGIN OF DISEASE that we have all been taught. We start with a DISEASE or problem and work backwards until we achieve some level of health that ameliorates the DISEASE or problem. Salutogenesis, on the other hand, was coined by an Israeli American sociologist and described in his 1979 book, Health Stress and Coping. Its main concept deals with the study, origin and cause of HEALTH. The word has its root in the Latin ‘salus’ meaning health, and the Greek ‘genesis” meaning origin.This is where you write the description of the blog and each blog entry should be hyperlinked to the actual blog post.
SUGAR ADDICTION AND HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR TYPE
Each year the holidays offer us a vehicle to value that which matters most in our life – taking care of our physical bodies, fostering compassion, care, and concern for ourselves and others. It is also a special time for us to create the space that allows us to spend more time with the ones we love. Unfortunately, the seduction of materialism, can thwart or misguide our intentions and behaviors into a sea of forgetfulness towards the aforementioned virtues.
This particular blog post, will focus on the seduction of food – most notably SUGAR! Healthy indulging is OK, but, when it turns from self-compassion to self-destruction we are led on a twisted spiral that can take us far away from a “healthy indulgence” to an addictive pattern that can, for some, last for months or even years. Let’s explore the various sugar addictions/types and the ways we can overcome their seductions during this holiday season.
EAT ANYTHING YOU WANT AND LOSE WEIGHT!
I was at the gym the other day and a TV advertisement came on boasting, “Eat anything you want and lose weight.” Nothing was off limits! Cheeseburgers, cakes, breads, desserts, alcohol, candy and the like were all on the menu.
Because the issue, according to the advertisement, was more to do about how you combine various foods and control your blood sugar rather than about the quality of the food itself. And, of course, there were dozens of before and after pictures of customers who were so happy about their results and overjoyed with the fact that they didn’t have to change any of their previously held unhealthy food choices or lifestyle behaviors. Sounds like a prescription and representation of our society’s quick-fix mentality.
THE DIVINE BREATH
What is the divine breath?
All too often we live our lives on autopilot acting as if we are automatons without having any real sense of control over our thoughts, words, and emotions. More importantly, however, we neglect to push the "PAUSE BUTTON" in an effort to put a slight space in between environmental stimulus and our internal responses. We believe that we are victims of the world and, thus, adhere to a pre-programmed set of reptilian responses or reflexes. This can be helpful in certain circumstances where we must learn to act quickly and prudently in the face of danger, for example. For most of our life, however, this knee-jerk response does not come from our highest, loving, and altruistic self especially when we are engaging with family, friends, and strangers in our day to day interactions.
THINK ORGANIC MEAT IS HEALTHY?
According to a recent study published in 2015 (Hernández ÁR, et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015), "The differences (amount of toxins) between organically and conventionally produced meats were minimal...Strikingly, the consumption of organically produced meat does not diminish this carcinogenic risk (cancer risk), but on the contrary, it seems to be even HIGHER."
What are POPs?
This article addresses the toxic exposure of "POPs" or what are know as Persistent Organic Pollutants.There is very little confusion in the scientific community as to the detrimental environmental and deleterious health-related effects of POPs. To address this global concern, the United States and 90 other countries signed a treaty in 2001 to reduce or eliminate 12 key POPs (such as DDT, PCBs, Dioxins, etc.). It was known as the Stockholm Convention. POP exposure has been linked to chronic illnesses, death, endocrine dysfunctions, immune dysregulation, reproductive issues, and certain cancers such as breast (United Nations 2007).
WHAT IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE? A PERSONAL JOURNEY...
I have learned and continue to learn many valuable pearls of wisdom each and every day. And for this I am not only grateful but blessed. One of the greatest gifts I have ever received, however, is the understanding of what complete unconditional love really means.
Our physical journey -- eating right, exercising, sleep hygiene, etc. -- means absolutely nothing if we don't come to understand the underpinning of its inherent truth and symbolism. I see these physical undertakings as a simple platform for allowing our true growth on the spiritual and emotional dimensions. We are in essence -- spirit -- inhabiting (for a relatively short time) a physical body.
THE MTHFR GENE AND WHAT EVERY PERSON SHOULD KNOW AND DOUBLY SO IF YOU FOLLOW A "VEGETARIAN DIET" OR THINKING ABOUT GETTING PREGNANT (Learn important preventative strategies for a host of diseases such as heart disease and cancer)
My sister was born with a medical condition called Spina Bifida. It is a birth defect whereby a baby's developing spinal cord fails to develop properly. In mild cases it goes undetected and is not associated with any ill health effects. In the more severe cases, such as with my sister, it is responsible for a host of deleterious health consequences including lower extremity paralysis (confinement to a wheel chair) and bowel/bladder dysfunctions.
It is believed to be caused by:
Having a genetic predisposition that DANCES with the right environmental conditions.
THE OBESITY PARADOX
Research since the late 90's has consistently shown that the overweight and mildly obese live longer when compared to individuals of "healthy weight." This phenomenon is know as the Obesity paradox. It states that the overweight and mildly obese (assessed through BMI or Body Mass Index which is a measure of your height to weight) have lower all-cause mortality rates than those of normal body weight or BMI with the same health conditions. This phenomenon is not found however, in the moderately or severely obese.
So, how can this be? And, what does it mean?
There are many factors and hypotheses but the most grounded explanation and the one with the greatest consensus is -- not that the overweight are doing so well but the lean are doing so bad!
The key factor may be fitness. For example, those people with higher fitness (exercising 3-5 times a week) and increased weight may be more protected from chronic diseases than individuals of lower fitness status ("the couch potato") and normal body weight.
POSTURE IS MORE THAN AESTHETICS
American Journal of Pain Management, 1994
“Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture”
The Journal of Neuroscience, 2007
“Bad posture could raise your blood pressure. Study finds neurolink between position of neck muscles and high blood pressure.”
1. Bring awareness into your day by asking yourself each time you sit, stand and walk
THE CHOLESTEROL MYTH
The Department of Health and Human Services along with the Department of Agriculture issues the, “Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” every five years. This federal publication serves as the foundation for policy change, food manufacturer’s claims, and, of course, influences how and what we eat. This year there is considerable controversy surrounding the non-essential nutrient referred to as cholesterol. Our trusted decision makers are poised to overturn previously held warnings about cholesterol intake which stated, “cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day” in favor of, “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”
How can this be?
I recently came across a gem of a book entitled, The Five Levels of Attachment by Miguel Ruiz, Jr. I found the core tenets of his "attachment theory" a great teaching tool to help bring awareness into those areas of our life where change is necessary to uncover our most authentic self.
Attachments cloud our eyes in seeing the world for what it truly is. We cloud what we see by imposing judgments upon events, circumstances and other human beings. Attachments are given strength by a form of “conditional love.”
A NEW APPROACH TO CHRONIC PAIN
There is another way of looking at chronic “full body” pains rather than settling on a “diagnosis” or “symptom” such as: fibromyalgia, cervicalgia (neck pain), lumbalgia (low back pain), etc.
This new approach looks at all the mechanisms (THE CAUSE) within the body. Once identified, treatment can be custom tailored to provide significant decreases in pain, and any associated depression and stress that often accompanies chronic pains.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
The “pursuit” of happiness – herein lays the problem. The problem, in other words, rests in the word – pursuit. We cannot pursue, find, obtain, or search for this idea in the external world. The truth is both simple and complex. We are the very happiness we are searching for. There are no outside riches or material possessions that will give us the ultimate reward of happiness. In essence, we can think of our highest goal as uncovering, unlearning and closing the gap which reveals our true nature – happiness.
Old Paradigm: Archetypes for the Pursuit of Happiness
Tal Ben-Shahar discusses in his brilliant book, Happier, models or archetypes whereby individuals travel life in their “pursuit” of happiness. I have taken the liberty here to re-classify these patterns into the following categories to help keep this applicable to our discussion here and to make the applicable to everyday usage:
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