Posts tagged: Wellness Planning

A Secret to Long-term Health & Happiness: Do You Have Purpose?

When it comes to being well and staying well, it’s easy to overlook the importance of Vitamin P—having Purpose!  Purposeful living is conducive to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.  Alternatively, a perceived lack of purpose leads to restlessness, anxiety, soul suffocation, mental strain, and emotional tension that can undermine your immune system and invite aging and disease.

Do you have enough vitamin P in your life?  In this 3 minute clinic we talk about the importance of following your cause and purposeful living as one of the keys to securing your long-term health and happiness.

“Welcome to the 3-minute clinic on Wellness Planning 101 where we talk about the strategies and themes that empower you to stay well, and keep well, and be well for the rest of your life. Now we’ve talked a little bit about the forces of self-care versus self-wear, let me review: self-care versus self-wear, let’s go with self-care. The habits of self-care keep you healthy, the habits of self-wear wear you down—that’s what it means by self-wear. Now we’ve talked a little bit about the importance of biological and food nutrition, we’ve talked about physical nutrition and exercise, we’ve talked about mental nutrition all being parts of self-care, we’ve talked about emotional nutrition—today I want to talk about spiritual nutrition. When you look at someone’s nutrition and look you at the whole picture, it’s not just what you eat. It’s how you think, your mental nutrition; it’s how you feel, your emotional nutrition; how you take care of your body with exercise, your physical nutrition; and it’s also your spiritual nutrition, how you deal with your soul. You know, that’s a very broad subject and it’s very vague for many people, but let me simplify it for you. When I talk about spiritual nutrition, I’m talking about your purpose in life, your cause, your mission, your message. You see, when you wake up in the morning and you have purpose, when you wake up in the morning and you have focus, when you wake up in the morning and you have conviction, when you wake up in the morning and you have things you’re looking forward to—that’s soulful, that’s spiritual nutrition! When you believe in yourself, when you stand up for yourself, when you follow through in what you believe in, that’s spiritual nutrition—that’s following your cause. Everybody has a cause. I’ve often asked people their purpose in life, they say “I’m not sure,” they don’t know—no, everybody has a purpose. It’s something you have to discover, think back to what turns you on, what excites you, where you want to make a difference, what do you look forward to. See, when you wake up in the morning and you have things to look forward to, going into work and making a difference at work, in your love life and your family life—making a difference in the people’s lives in your life. Okay, making a difference, enriching others, contributing to a cause, you see, that’s purpose! So when you have purpose, when you have soulful purpose it feeds your soul—that’s what I mean by spiritual nutrition. So my tip for today is this—there are so many different directions people can go in, figure out what turns you on, figure out what excites you, figure out what means something to you. Take a cause—for me, wellness is one of my causes. Now you can have more than one cause, but whatever your cause is—get involved in it, get invested in it, take time with it, spend time with it, interact with it, and look forward to it! When you build a library of spiritual nutrition, emotional nutrition by being happy, mental nutrition by thinking positively, physical nutrition by staying fit, biochemical nutrition with the right foods—you see, what you’re doing, your framing yourself to become an empowered, whole, well being. Powerful, balanced, energetic people stay well. People that are not powerful, that are not energetic, that are not balanced don’t stay well. The name of the game is to stay well. To be rich in life means to be rich in health, to be rich in wellness, to stay well the rest of your life. To be well, to stay well—that’s the key. The forces of self-care need spiritual nutrition. So get involved with your purpose, figure out your cause, go to my “ten rule” book; I have a quiz in there on how to determine your purpose in life. But get into a cause, get into a mission, get into something that means something to you and follow through—that will turn on your soul! Stand up for yourself, believe in yourself—that will feed your spiritual nutrition!”

The #1 Industry Secret to Fighting Off Aging & Disease

I find it interesting, and encouraging, that everywhere you turn, people are looking to find ways to make their life better.  After all, who can blame them? Everyone wants to enjoy their life.  Let’s face it, we all share a common desire to be happy–just ask any parent what they want for their kids!  Unfortunately, there are some things in life that can be waiting just around the corner that can get in the way of and disrupt our pursuit of happiness.  In fact, if you don’t know what I’m going to share with you in this article, there’s something that can, and typically will, get in the way of living your dreams. More specifically, if you’re not well prepared to fight off aging and disease, at some point in your life–and that age is getting younger and younger for most folks–these degenerative forces can impose serious limitations on your ability to live, love, laugh, and enjoy life.

So how do you know if you are prepared?  I like to tell my patients that when you’re taking steps to being stronger and wiser each and every year–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and immunologically–it’s only natural to have the energy, vitality, enthusiasm, and Immune Power you need to create balance and abundance in all areas of your life, and to fend off the forces of aging and disease.  Unfortunately, this is an ideal that has become lost in the shuffle of our fast-paced, high-tech, high-stress lifestyles.  As we get older, our lives are no longer being defined by strength and wisdom.  For most folks, age brings all sorts of health complications that get in the way of our ability to recreate, play, love, support our family, serve our community, and further our cause.  Fatigue sets in, the mind slows down, the body starts to break down, and eventually long-term illness–such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s–catches up with 80% of our population by the time we retire.

Today I want to help clarify how you can go through life without having to suffer from these kinds of illnesses and long-term diseases that most people have to face.  It’s important to realize that you don’t have to become another one of these statistics; you don’t have to turn your long-term health and happiness over to the forces of aging and disease. You can take steps, starting today, to make sure that you are a vibrant, passionate, whole, Well-Being–throughout your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond!  In order to do so, however, you need to be prepared.  It’s important to be clear on the faculties and resources you need to have in place to grow older without illness.  With that in mind, let’s take a moment and reflect on the following question.

  • What is the single most important ally you need to have on your side to protect the long-term wellbeing of you and your loved ones?

a.       Is it having a good insurance plan?

b.      Is it having access to the best doctors, medicine, and diagnostic technologies?

c.       Is it you, your lifestyle choices, and your ability to create a powerful wellness plan?

While all of these certainly play an important role, the idea behind this question is to get you thinking about who and what plays the primary role in protecting you from the long-term illness and disease that most people have to face.  Is it your doctors?  Is it your insurance plan?  Could it possibly be you?  Let’s take a closer look at the different options.

Your Doctors and Traditional Medicine

You can’t underestimate the value of having access to the best medical doctors.  For example, whenever you get sick or have a medical emergency, your medical doctors are well trained to make sure that you are taken care of–usually by providing means of intervention such as drugs and surgery.  For this reason, sometimes I like to refer to Traditional Medicine as Intervention Medicine.  Intervention Medicine and our advanced medical technologies, surgical procedures, and miracle prescription drugs, I’m proud to say, are very effective when it comes to urgent / acute care, treating infectious disease, and diagnosing illness.  For example, you break your arm and need to go the emergency room, you’re experiencing chest pain and need to know if it’s something more serious, or you develop an infection and need to have it treated.  Whenever a medical emergency arises, you can rest assured that you will get the help that you need.  As valuable a role as Intervention Medicine plays in all of our lives, relying solely on our doctors to keep us well is an incomplete approach to protecting our long-term wellbeing.  As we’ll discuss in more detail in this article, this strategy isn’t very effective when it comes to:

1.       Empowering individuals to prevent illness to begin with, and

2.       Treating chronic or degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and type II diabetes

With this in mind, one of the main points I want to share with you today is we’re not meant to rely on Traditional Medicine for our health–only for giving us medical support when we are sick.  Said another way, our traditional medical doctors aren’t necessarily there to teach us how to be well and prevent being sick to begin with; they’re trained to take action once disease or markers for disease have already presented themselves.  In this way, I like to think of Traditional and Intervention Medicine as a means of disease-care rather than a means of health-care.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not trying to minimize the value of medical doctors.  As we’ve discussed, it’s obviously invaluable to have access to the best disease-care possible if you or one of your family members ever faces a serious health challenge.  This is one of the reasons our government’s current healthcare reform policies are primarily focused on improving both the affordability and the accessibility of this kind of disease-care.

The problem is, as we’ve prioritized disease-care as the central focus of our healthcare delivery model, we’ve started to rely on disease-care for our health–a function it was never intended to do.  To put this in perspective, relying on a system of disease-care for our health is the equivalent of relying on our military to balance our fiscal budget; or looking to your tax accountant to redesign your website.  It just doesn’t work!  Our military is there to defend our freedom, not to work on public policy.  Your tax accountant is there to ensure you are correctly filing your taxes, not to work on rebranding your internet business.  In the same way, Intervention Medicine is there to help us when we’re sick, but it can’t be relied upon to keep us healthy in the first place.  It can’t be relied upon to fight off the forces of aging and disease.

In other words, as we’ve dedicated our energy to improving our model for disease-care, we’ve lost sight of the importance of having a health-care plan in place that works proactively to prevent disease and keep us vibrant, energetic, youthful, and well.  As we’ve immersed ourselves in a world of high-tech diagnostic technologies, advanced surgical procedures, and new pharmaceutical drugs, we’ve lost touch with the non-drug, non-surgical, low-tech, day-to-day care that keeps us well to begin with.  In this article I’m going to make the case that a low-tech, day-to-day wellness plan is by far and away the most important thing you can do for your long-term wellbeing.  Even though all the attention of our current healthcare reform focuses on the quality, accessibility, and affordability of disease-care, I’d like you to consider that the steps that you and I and our loved ones take to prevent illness to begin with are the biggest assets we have in protecting our long-term health.  Said another way, I’d like you to consider a healthcare strategy for you and your loved ones that prioritizes the merits of Prevention over Intervention; a healthcare model that, first and foremost, relies on the principles of Preventive Medicine to keep us well and turns to Intervention Medicine for support when we’re ill.  Let’s take a closer look.

Prevention or Intervention?

Were I to ask 100 patients whether they would prefer Prevention or Intervention, all 100 of them would say they would have preferred to prevent the complication to begin with if they had the opportunity.  Who wouldn’t?  Think about it for a moment.  Would you prefer Prevention or Intervention (drugs & surgery) when it comes to the health and wellbeing of you and your loved ones? Fortunately, whether we realize it or not, we typically have a choice in the matter.  Interestingly enough, the vast majority of health complications can in fact be prevented–whether it’s upper respiratory infections, ongoing indigestion, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.  How so?  Through a simple wellness plan!  In other words, when you eat right, exercise regularly, find effective means for managing stress, and develop your immune system’s infinite potential to ward off disease, the overwhelming majority of health complications can be prevented!

Unfortunately, due to a lack of wellness education within our current healthcare delivery model, most folks aren’t aware of the steps they need to take to develop their Immune Power and prevent illness.  As a result, we end up with a disease-care model that only offers Intervention when symptomatic disease arises, and our opportunity to choose prevention is lost in the process.

To make matters worse, when it comes to chronic illness–such as cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes–once symptoms arise it’s oftentimes too late.  You see, drugs, surgery, and Intervention Medicine have limited effectiveness when it comes to treating chronic and degenerative disease.  The symptoms of these degenerative illnesses can be managed in some cases, and modern medicine can often prolong life in a morbid or chronically ill state, but the underlying conditions are very difficult to cure through Intervention Medicine.  While there are certainly exceptions, once chronic illness becomes symptomatic, the great majority of cases go on to significantly undermine the quality of the patient’s life.  They start imposing serious restrictions and limitations on our pursuit of happiness.  This has become particularly problematic given that 4 out of 5 Americans are diagnosed with at least one chronic illness by the time they retire, the average American has 2 to 3 chronic illnesses by the time they are 65, and bodily decay and markers for long-term disease are starting to show up in our 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.

That’s why developing a wellness plan is so important.  Without some simple wellness planning, it’s unlikely that we can protect the long-term wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones from the epidemic of chronic illness and degenerative disease.  Without a commitment to some basic, low-tech, non-drug, non-surgery, day-to-day care, we leave our wellbeing exposed and vulnerable to the forces of aging and disease.  In the process, we narrow our healthcare options to the limitations of Intervention Medicine, and are deprived of our opportunity to prevent illness to begin with.

What About Insurance Companies?

So far we’ve talked about the role that our doctors, drugs, and advanced medical technologies play in protecting our long-term wellbeing.  What about insurance companies?  How do they figure into the equation?  Insurance companies are essentially there to help fund disease-care.  Whenever you are sick or in need of a medical emergency, it’s important to have an insurance policy in place to help pay for the care you are receiving.  In other words, having an insurance plan and having access to the best disease-care possible go hand in hand.  What a lot of folks don’t necessarily think about, however, is when they’re buying their insurance policy, they’re not really buying health insurance.  So what are they buying?  They’re buying disease insurance!  In fact, true health insurance can’t be bought at all!  Fortunately, even though it may not be for sale, health insurance is still available to each and every one of us.  What exactly do I mean by that?  When you empower your immune system with a positive mental attitude, nutrient-rich foods, the habits of happiness, and physical fitness, you’re creating the only true form of health insurance available on the market–a powerful wellness plan!

In Summary

At the beginning of this article we wanted to come to terms with who and what plays the primary role in protecting your long-term wellbeing, so you don’t have to turn your health and happiness over to the forces of aging and disease.  Now let’s take a look at what we’ve learned so far.  Our disease-care system, as it is currently structured, is not set up to help you prevent long-term illness.  In other words, our doctors and insurance companies, for the most part, are designed to action once disease or markers for disease are detectable.  They’re not necessarily there to provide us with the health-care resources we need to prevent the chronic and degenerative disease that has become epidemic in our society today.  While this is cause for concern, there’s a lot we can do to resolve this predicament.  Fortunately, as we’ve discussed, the great majority of disease and chronic illness can in fact be prevented.  How do you go about doing that? By building Immune Power; by taking some simple steps on a daily basis to create nutritional, emotional, metabolic, and immunological balance.

Does that mean that doctors and insurance plans aren’t important?  Absolutely not!  But it’s important to recognize that they don’t play the primary role in regulating your long-term health.  They need to be viewed as a support system.  At the end of the day, it’s up to each and every one of us to take responsibility for our health and be the primary line of defense when it comes to our wellbeing.  In other words, in order to ensure the best possible health-care, we all need to build a powerful immune system and develop our natural ability to fight off aging and disease.  We can then look to our traditional medical doctors and Intervention Medicine for support, if and when we are ever in need of disease-care.

That means that we all need to take a more proactive role in creating self-enriching living habits that build-up, protect, and sustain our health and happiness.  We need to embrace the principles of Preventive Medicine and the low-tech, low-cost, non-drug, non-surgical, non-invasive, day-to-day care that we can all incorporate into our lives to stay well.  What happens when we get into trouble?  In those instances, we have our doctors and insurance plans to support us through any health challenges we may be facing.  That is the essence of a truly integrated healthcare delivery model.  As individuals we are educated and empowered with a wellness plan that builds our Immune Power and enables us to take primary responsibility for our wellbeing; meanwhile, our doctors, insurance plan, drugs and surgery are there as a back-up system or a secondary line of a defense.

Said another way, the #1 industry secret in fighting off the forces of aging and disease is the steps we take every day to build, protect, and fortify the infinite potential of our immune system–our body’s built in mechanism for self-governing, self-repairing, self-rejuvenating, and fighting off disease. Our safety net, however, is making sure we have access to the best disease-care possible if a health challenge happens to arise.  Together, working side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, we can have the health-care and disease-care resources we need to protect the long-term wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones.  With that in place, we can make a newfound commitment to growing stronger and wiser-as individuals, as a healthcare delivery system, and as a society.

Do you have a wellness plan in place to build your Immune Power and secure the long-term health of you and your loved ones?  Interested in getting started?  Let us know how we can help!

How to Fight off Aging & Disease: The Forces of Self-Care vs. Self-Wear

Do you have the forces of self-care working for you or the forces of self-wear working against you in your life? While one force works for us to fortify our energy, vitality, and long-term health & happiness, the other force works against us and is a primary factor in causing accelerated aging, fatigue, burnout and disease.

In this 3-minute clinic, we talk about the two opposing forces that determine our long-term wellbeing, and what you can start doing today to maximize the forces of self-care and minimize the forces of self-wear.

“Welcome to the three minute clinic! We’re going to be talking about Wellness Planning 101- a very important subject, probably one of the most important subjects of your life. You’ve heard of financial planning, well wellness planning is equally important. And what’s involved is planning how to stay well? In other words, how do you go through life being powerful, energetic, vital and healthy? Have you ever thought about that? Some people as they get older seem to be aging, getting arthritis, getting tired, getting stiff, getting worn out, while other people seem to stay vital, and fresh and energetic, doing things like traveling and taking adventures, and living their full life into their sixties, seventies, eighties, etcetera? So it’s called wellness planning. What we’re going to be talking about today is some basic themes—themes that you can own, themes that you can learn from, and themes that you can take home with you that will give you the data, the strategies, and the information you’ll need to stay well the rest of your life! So our strategies are going to be about increasing energy and increasing your vitality. So let’s get right down to the first basic theme: what is wellness planning 101 about, and what’s the most important theme? Let me give you a simple theme here, it’s the difference between self-care—what you do for yourself—versus self-wear. It’s like a banking system, it’s kind of like an energy banking; you have deposits and you have withdrawals. Well in wellness you have deposits, meaning self-care, and you have withdrawals, meaning self-wear. What do I mean by self-care? What I mean by self-care is taking good care of yourself—thinking positively, positive living habits, positive thinking habits, positive nutritional habits, positive fitness habits, positive attitude habits, the habits of happiness; the positive ways of life. And what do I mean by self-wear? Well, we all know what that means—it’s about stress! It’s about being rushed, it’s about being overloaded. Nutritional stress over the wrong foods, emotional stress from relationships, from finances, from work—everybody understands what that’s about because stress has become a way of life. So here’s how it works; those that stay well have more self-care than self-wear. Those that don’t do well have more self-wear than self-care. You see the bottom line is this; I want you to learn how to empower yourself with a powerful immune system. Eventually what you’ll have working for yourself is this: when you’re powerful, strong, balanced and happy, you can stay well! When you’re not strong, powerful, balanced and happy, you invite illness or become susceptible to disease. So let’s size up one important area of self-care, personal nutrition, or food nutrition. Of course nutrition means how you take care of yourself, it’s your physical nutrition, your mental nutrition, your emotional nutrition, your spiritual nutrition. We’re going to talk about your bio-chemical nutrition, your food nutrition; how you feed yourself, how you take care of yourself, how you fuel yourself—a very important feature of self-care. So here’s the kind of questions I ask my patients when I first meet them, and this is what I want to ask you to ask yourself, so you can size up your nutritional program: so very simply, what is it in your diet that you eat too much of, that you’d like to reduce? And secondly, what don’t you eat enough of? When I ask folks that question, they generally say that they don’t eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables— there you go, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a commitment everyday to have, for example, one fresh fruit salad and one fresh leafy green salad. And then when I ask folks what do they eat too much of, they typically say too many sweets, too many carbs, too many rich desserts—so again, ask yourself! You know your diet. You know what you’re doing; what are you doing too much of, what are you ready to avoid, what are you ready to cut back on? And make a commitment to that. It’s very simple; you must work on the forces of self-care and reduce the forces of self-wear. Over time, more deposits for health versus less withdrawals will give you much more health. Remember, immune power is everything. You want to build for it, you want to invest for it, you want to work for it, and you want to plan for it. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and that’s what wellness planning is about.”

Wellness Planning 101: Do You Have Immune Power?

As a doctor of Preventive and Integrative Medicine, I like to remind my patients that our energy, our vitality, our enthusiasm, our passion for life, and our happiness are all priceless commodities that we can’t afford to live without.  Let’s face it, everyone all over the world wants to be healthy and happy!  Fortunately, there’s a way to protect these precious commodities.  To do it successfully, however, I’ve found that it requires a little wellness planning.  In the simplest of terms, wellness planning empowers us to be well, stay well, and prevent disease.  In other words, wellness planning guides us with the basic tools, strategies, and know-how to fight off long-term illness and degenerative disease, which have the ability to restrict our happiness; stifle our enthusiasm; undermine our passions in our personal and professional lives; and leave us physically fatigued, mentally strained, and emotionally stressed.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what causes long-term illness?  Are your genes, genetic predisposition, or family history putting you at risk for disease?  Is illness just a matter of misfortune or bad luck, or is there something you can do about it?  Today we’re going to explore these questions in more detail.  Our goal is to take the confusion out of what causes long-term disease, so you can develop a wellness plan that will protect your long-term health and happiness.  With that in mind, take a moment and ask yourself the following question:

  • Chronic and degenerative disease–such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke–is determined primarily by:

a.       My genes,  genetic predisposition, and family history

b.      My daily living habits

c.       Environmental factors, such as air pollution and water pollution

d.      Misfortune or bad luck

While all of these factors can certainly play a role in the promotion of disease, the idea behind this question is to get you thinking about what plays the primary role in causing long-term illness.  Let’s take a closer look.

Our Daily Living Habits, Our Immune Power, and Our Long-Term Wellbeing

Is it possible that the way we eat, the way we think, the way we manage stress, and our activity levels on a day-to-day basis have the most influence as to whether we stay well, or eventually come down with a long-term illness–more so than our age, our genes, or our environment?  While you may not hear this in the media, and may not even hear this in your doctor’s office, this is exactly the case.  Chronic disease and degenerative illness–such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and type II diabetes–have been shown to be primarily determined by our daily living habits.  This isn’t just my personal observation in overseeing more than 60,000 patients, but is supported by the most recognized clinical research and epidemiological studies on the prevention and cause of disease.[i]

More specifically, self-enriching daily living habits–such as eating Smart Foods, meditating, and exercising regularly–build up our body’s Immune Power.  What exactly do I mean when I talk about Immune Power?  Our Immune Power is determined by our body’s ability to self-govern, self-rejuvenate, and self-repair.  Whereas daily living habits of self-care increase our energy and vitality, strengthen our Immune Power, and increase our ability to fight off aging and disease, daily living habits that lead to nutritional stress (eating the wrong foods) and emotional stress (mental strain and emotional turmoil) do just the opposite.  These daily habits of self-wear undermine our immune system, wear down our mind and body, increase our susceptibility to burnout and fatigue, and eventually lead to sickness and disease.  In other words, our lifestyle and our long-term wellbeing have a hand-to-glove relationship. What I find particularly exciting about this, as a doctor of Preventive & Integrative Medicine, is with some simple shifts in our lifestyle, the great majority of chronic and degenerative illnesses can be prevented!  That’s right!  With an intelligent wellness plan in place you can fortify your body’s immune system, prevent the accumulation of nutritional and emotional stress, and build up the Immune Power you need to protect your body from long-term disease.

Our Genes & Our Long-Term Wellbeing

How about our genes and genetic predisposition?  Can these factors play a role in developing a chronic health complication?  They can certainly play a role, but are not the primary factors.  What I mean by that is no matter what your gene pool is, it’s how you play your cards that counts.  In other words, a genetic predisposition needs a certain environment in the body–an environment fueled by nutritional stress and emotional tension–to really take hold.  Let’s take heart disease as an example.  If your mom has heart disease and your dad has heart disease, does that mean that you are going to get heart disease?  Not necessarily!  Not if you do something about it!  By eating Smart Foods, exercising regularly, and effectively managing stress, you can prevent 97-99% of adult onset heart issues–regardless of your hereditary factors.  This applies to other chronic illnesses as well.  Studies have estimated that less than 3% of all breast cancer cases, for example, are a function of family history.[ii] Meanwhile, the genes that have received a lot of attention in increasing a woman’s risk for breast cancer–the mutated forms of the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes–are only carried by 0.2% of the population.[iii] What I find interesting is even in the presence of these genes, not all women develop breast cancer.

So what is it that I’m trying to get at?  While it’s common to point the finger at genes, family history, and genetic predisposition as a primary cause of disease, my personal observation and mounting scientific evidence doesn’t support this.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want you to ignore a family history of heart disease, cancer, or any other degenerative illness for that matter.  I just want to point out that in the vast majority of cases, your gene pool doesn’t have the primary say as to whether you stay well or eventually succumb to a long-term illness in your lifetime.  So who does?  You do!  That’s right–you have an incredible influence over this process by the daily choices you make, and whether or not you are creating an environment in your body for wellness or illness to express itself.  In other words, it’s up to us!  Our primary risk for illness is determined primarily by our lifestyles, and what we do on a daily basis to either build-up or break-down our immune system–our body’s ability to self-govern, self-repair, self-rejuvenate, and fight off long-term disease.  So how exactly do our genes come into play?  Our genes play a secondary role in either magnifying or mitigating this underlying risk profile.

With that in mind, here’s the main point that I try to communicate to my patients and that I want to share with you: the steps we take in building nutritional balance and emotional balance, maintaining a positive attitude, staying physically fit, managing stress, and developing a powerful immune system are far more important than our genetic predisposition when it comes to being well and staying well!

Environmental Factors

What about environmental factors, such as air pollution and water pollution?  While air pollution and water pollution certainly aren’t good for you, they aren’t the primary factors behind the widespread epidemic of chronic and degenerative disease in our country.  As it relates to cancer, for example, it’s been estimated that somewhere between 1-5% of cancers can be attributable to air and water pollution.[iv],[v] It’s also important to note that even in the presence of air and water pollution, you can increase your ability to filter, detoxify, and protect your body from these environmental toxins by strengthening your immune system and building Immune Power.  How do you go about developing your Immune Power, increasing your resistance to environmental toxins, and preventing disease?  Through a daily wellness plan!

Falling Victim to Disease

So far we’ve discussed our lifestyle, our genes, and our environment as contributing causes of long-term illness.  But what about the possibility of plain old misfortune? Although coming down with any illness is an unfortunate process, to say the least, I try to encourage all of my patients not to take a victim’s mentality when it comes to disease.  Why is that?  When we believe that illness is a function of being at the wrong place at the wrong time it’s a disempowering process.  When we see ourselves as victims, it keeps us from embracing our infinite potential to grow stronger immunologically, metabolically, nutritionally, attitudinally, emotionally, and spiritually.  It inhibits our desire and motivation to make the necessary shift in our thinking habits, eating habits, fitness habits, and stress management habits that are primarily responsible for determining our Immune Power–our long-term ability to fight off aging and disease.

In Summary

So what have we learned so far today?  We all have a tremendous ability to influence our long-term health, happiness, and wellbeing!  In other words, developing Immune Power and maintaining the body’s ability to self-repair, self-govern, and fight off disease is something that we can all do to be well, stay well, and live well-regardless of our genes or genetic predisposition.  As a doctor of Preventive Medicine, my goal is to make sure that all my patients have a wellness plan in place to build Immune Power and secure their health, just like it makes sense to have a financial plan in place to build your finances and secure your wealth.

Do you have a wellness plan in place to protect the long-term health and happiness of you and your family? Looking for help in how to get started?  Let us know how we can help!

[i] For those that are interested in more information on this subject matter–particularly as it pertains to nutrition and long-term illness–I would encourage you to start by reading The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, and Diet For a New America, by John Robbins.

[ii] Colditz, G. A., Willett, W. C., Hunter, D. J., Stampfer, M. J., Manson, J. E., Hennekens, C. H., et al. (1993). Family history, age, and risk of breast cancer. Prospective data from the Nurses’ Health Study. JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association , 338-343.

[iii] National Human Genome Research Institute. (n.d.). Learning about Breast Cancer. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from

[iv] National Cancer Institute. (1985). Cancer rates and risks. Washington, DC.

[v] Doll, R., & Peto, R. (1981). The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today. Journal of the National Cancer Institute , 1191-1308.