What if our Healthcare Professionals used Critical Thinking Skills a little more like an Electrical Engineer?

In spite of technological breakthroughs that have radically changed the way the world operates in amazingly fascinating and wondrous ways, the very same technology and innovation seems to have a very difficult time cracking into the thick headed medical community. Chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, depression, cancer, and dementia/Alzheimer’s are on the climb. In spite of all of the information and technology we now have available for prevention, our so called “healthcare providers” continue to fail on a societal level. We have remained steadily focused on how to medicate to treat our problems rather than on how to live a healthy lifestyle that promotes wellness.

You may be thinking, “My doctor tells me to exercise and lose weight all the time”. While I am sure that is true, why don’t they also just say “take medicine to cure your sickness”?  Why do they instead tell you what medicine to take for how long and at what time? The reason is that there actual business is not getting you to lose weight, or be healthy and nor was that part of their training. The business is to sell medicine, to treat sickness and to make a profit.  I am not suggesting some sinister motive of doctors out there, I am more just pointing out how the big for-profit medical machine works very well in this country. Or fails.

Let’s do a little critical thinking. When you challenge an MD in this country about our nation’s chronic healthcare problems most of them would probably admit that their patient’s poor diet and lack of exercise is the number one problem and culprit for these alarming statistics. The always confusing thing to me is that for people that have dedicated their lives to being “healthcare professionals” of the highest level, none of them really take the least bit of responsibility for their own failure in this area. What I generally hear instead is something along the line of: “It is not a Doctor’s job to convince or coach patients to eat right and exercise and we can’t make people make good decisions? We have real sickness and illness to cure and treat.” But how does that match up with the actual goal which is, or should be, societal wellness? What if wellness coaching is exactly what their job as a healthcare professional was all about? Maybe coaching is not the right job for an MD, but what if the very first relationship that a person has in life with a healthcare professional was a wellness coach instead of an illness doctor? I firmly believe, and even a lot of MD’s seem to agree, that the hardest and most crucial aspect of a person’s own healthcare is their own motivation; shouldn’t a successful wellness coach earn even more than a successful MD and receive even higher levels of training in that crucial area? Seems simple enough right? Why isn’t that the case? Why is the reality the opposite? Your insurance company won’t even cover wellness services such as fitness memberships or wellness and personal dietary coaching, and our best and brightest youth are never encouraged into such a field. But, if you need someone to slice you open and tie a knot in your stomach so that you don’t have to learn dietary self-control, your insurance company is more than happy to pay the bill. I could get into further explaining why the for-profit healthcare system works in this backward manner, but if it is really still that hard to understand; no amount of internet blogging is likely to shed any light on the distinction for you anyway.

The biggest issue that I see is how the medical community approaches chronic health problems in the first place. As a scientist and engineer looking at the medical industry from the outside, it is somewhat baffling. Engineers just don’t look at problem solving the same way. When a scientist or engineering has a task to tackle, no goal short of the intended solution would represent an acceptable outcome and we would never simply throw our hands in the air and say “It is not our job” to deal with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Even if we had the best possible theoretical solution that worked well on paper, if we set out to apply the theory, and then got the opposite result, we would scrap it in a second and come up with a new solution that actually met the stated goal.

I sure wish the medical community approached our nations “healthcare” the way an electrical engineer approaches a task. If they didn’t, and instead sought solutions the way the medical community seeks solutions, you would not be reading this at all. You would still be waiting for Sarah, the operator of Mayberry, to patch you through.

Comfort Food? Not so Comfortable for this Critical Thinker

Since we are so heavily into the subject of the Fast Food industry this seemed like a natural topic for me considering my passion. I am an occasional seafood eater that leans toward eating a primarily plant based diet of natural unprocessed food that is hand prepared. (Sometimes more in theory than practice!) I believe in the importance of knowing the source of your food because ultimately, the nutritional value you get is the sum of way more than the numbers tabulated from a label. You are what you eat, including the energy associated with it. The alarmingly drastic rise in obesity rates in my lifetime, in my opinion, clearly demonstrates a link to the increasing typical American meat-based factory-processed, fast-food diet.

Before, someone jumps all over me looking for “proof of my claims”, let me be clear. This is my opinion based on personal experience and my own critical thinking and cumulative reading and study. Ultimately you will believe what you want to believe anyway, and I am only sharing my beliefs in this blog.

The amount of money that people are willing to spend and the pills and diets that they are willing to endure is mind boggling when you consider that simply changing to a primarily plant based natural food diet would solve the chronic problems of so many.  For those of us that enjoy wonderfully diverse and satisfying plant based meals that feed our bodies, minds, and spirit so efficiently and tastefully, it just seems hard to imagine how a diet that results in so many physical and mental health problems could possibly be the easy choice.

How about the planet? I hear so called environmentalists demonizing SUV’s owners while they conveniently and confusingly ignore what is arguably the single largest contributor to harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the world. We could likely feed the world on the amount of energy that it takes to feed the animals that currently feed the world. The extremely harmful pollutant bi-products of factory farms have a devastating effect on the earth, but most of us prefer to stick out head in the sand on this one favoring pointing the finger at someone else because after all: “Pork-chops taste good!”

When discussing plant based diets and vegetarianism most people are very curious and will listen openly and intently when you explain the health and environmental justification of your decision. But then, when you mention the part that no-one even thinks about much less discusses – that’s when they squirm. That is – the absolutely unthinkable and inexcusable way animals in our society are raised and processed for cheap and easy consumption by the giant food industry. Gone are the days when family farms and responsible hunters ethically and humanely brought animals to our table in a natural and even spiritual circle of life. The shortest glimpse into the life of a pig born, raised and processed in a factory farm would likely drive more than a few people to mix in a few more salads. These animals think, process, fear, grieve, suffer, and even understand their fate every bit as much as your beloved family dog or cat would in the same horific scenario. To treat one with so much revere while the other is given so little respect and even basic dignity is beyond comprehension to me. It is not your fault – right? You didn’t personally do that to the animal! Or did you?

I am not suggesting that everyone should immediately go out and become a vegetarian or vegan and I am also sure that there are plenty of others out there that could easily take me to task on my own diet and cheesy indulgences.  What I am suggesting is that people actually know what they are eating and the manner in which it gets to your table.

I am fascinated with the “pink slime” epidemic that has been in the news and the outrage that it has caused. Are people out there really that ignorant about the content of the processed food they eat? What exactly do you think bologna and hot dogs are made of?  At times, it really does seem that society has no idea what the factory meat industry is all about and that is completely inexcusable. The information is readily available if people only cared just enough to make knowledge a priority when it comes to diet.

Ultimately this is simply a matter of will power and mindfulness. People decide upfront what they will like and dislike and our bodies and minds have an unbelievable and fascinating way of meeting our own predetermined expectations.  Some people make the conscious decision that they only like food that causes disease, sickness, and suffering. Others make the conscious decision to like only food that results in health and well-being for themselves and the planet. The only difference is the purely voluntary work that is done between our own ears. Easier said than done – right? What would my friends think? Where I come from, real men eat meat! The sportscaster for my favorite team said so, and all my friends cheered!

Is it really so important that we have food that is so fast and so delicious just to make us happy, to satisfy our perceived cravings, and to fit in with the crowd? How about your personal health? How about the health of the planet? How about the intelligent animal tied motionless, shivering, and crying in pain soon to be the half eaten sandwich that you toss in the garbage on the way to your next super important life event? Next time maybe pause for just a second to consider what the sandwich is actually composed of, how it got there, and what it truly cost.

Does eating it really make you that happy, satisfied, and comforted?

No one makes perfect decisions all of the time and I am not even close to perfect with my own dietary habits. Simply being aware that you do have a conscious choice and that those choices do have consequences can be very powerful in and of itself.  I am not on a mission to convince people to become vegetarians. I have drawn my own line and everyone else has the right to do the same.

I absolutely do support legislation that would drastically overhaul the meat processing industry, but with the ever growing anti-government, anti-regulation sentiment, the very real possibility is that a bad situation is likely to get a whole lot worse for an unthinkable number of animals and people.

Never in history have there been more options and information available to consumers regarding the source of food, including the actual farming practices as well as feeding and animal care practices of the meat you purchase. There are ethical meat farmers and alternatives to the big-box brands and nameless, oozing, Styrofoam containers.

We all have a vested interest in our own health and the health of the planet. Choices we make every single hour, every single day do have impact on the world we live in!

Have We Reached the Tipping Point in the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement?

It seems I am in the minority, but I actually like the Chick-Fil-A debate. It has become a signal or rally cry of sorts. It is similar to how some people like to have the Confederate Flag all over everything. They will tell you that are just supporting “The South”, but you know as well as they do exactly what they really support. I am not saying that if you eat at Chick-Fil-A it is the same as tattooing the Confederate Flag on your chest, I am just saying, if you are standing in line for two hours, video-taping yourself supporting “Free Speech” or if you are a politician declaring your “Appreciation” on TV, aren’t you really supporting anti-gay/lesbian sentiment? I am sure that for a great number of people the answer is a resounding – Hell Yes! – But for those that are just standing up for “Free Speech” or “The South”, the rest of us do appreciate the wink and nod. It always sucks when you are sitting with a person that you think is nice and normal and then all of the sudden they make a completely inappropriate gay slur and can’t believe you don’t laugh. I think that it is best that everyone be open about their beliefs and prejudices. No need to hide.

Although before my time, I am sure there was a tipping point in the civil rights movement when it became more socially acceptable for Christians to openly favor “equal” over “separate but equal”. I sure hope we are getting closer to that point in the gay and lesbian rights movement in this country. For those that do cite religious beliefs, I get it, and you are entitled to your beliefs, but read your Bible. In addition to homosexuality, and working on Sunday, there are a few other OId Testament abominations you might want to start looking into. Hopefully you did not eat the Chicken Club with bacon at Chick-Fil-A. Then you would be personally committing the atrocity, not someone else! (Leviticus 11:8)

There is more than one way to read and interpret Biblical scripture. You can be a good Christian and still use your own brain to do your own critical thinking!

Chick-Fil-A – Middle Class Crack Cocaine served with a side of bigotry, and animal torcher all in the name of Christianity.

I can’t believe I am weighing in on the Chick-Fil-A debate as my first blog, but since some of our so called political leaders have declared today “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”, I thought I might respond. I do admit that it is with some hesitation that I even consider getting sucked into, or even possibly bringing additional awareness to this made for FoxNews television event. In any event, I guess I couldn’t resist.

The fast “food” served at Chick-Fil-A is legalized, middle class crack cocaine and our hospitals, doctor’s offices, oncology centers and nursing homes are packed full of the result of this industry. These companies spend unthinkable sums of money to test, manipulate, and even bio-engineer food so that it is completely addictive and yet extremely dangerous to our health. In fact, the only real difference between Chick-Fil-A and Phillip Morris, is that Chick-Fil-A targets children for their addictive killer using toys and cartoons to lure them in.

This mega chain also has an absolutely deplorable record regarding animal rights. The giant factory chicken processing facilities that supply them are a sickening reflection of our society’s collective ignorance and/or complete apathy regarding how fast food meat gets into that neatly wrapped package that is bought for pennies and scarfed down in seconds.

To top it all off, the billionaires that run and profit heavily from the whole Chick-Fil-A operation likes to use the resultant money, power, and influence to promote the message and agenda of hate and bigotry in the name of Christianity. Don’t be fooled, this is not just some old man spouting off in an interview, these guys have power and money and they are backed up by their reliable coaches – fear and hate. Millions and millions of your chicken sandwich dollars are funding actual anti-gay and lesbian organizations that have boots on the ground and the goal of doing everything possible to ensure that gay and lesbian citizens continue to be discriminated against in open law and demonized as sinners in the court of public opinion. If that is what you appreciate then so be it. But if you do intend to show your “appreciation” for Chick-Fil-A please make sure you know exactly what you are appreciating.

No, the government in this country does not have the right to determine where a chicken restaurant gets opened based on the belief of the ownership. Yes, Chick-Fil-A ownership has a right to spread their beliefs and unfortunately they also have a legal right to use animals raised and tortured in unthinkably poor conditions to serve as legalized human poison.

Thankfully, we also have a right, and in my opinion, obligation to be mindful about the food that we put in our bodies, the restaurants we patronize and the energy we are receiving when we make these conscious choices.

I will personally be giving my own appreciation to restaurants and individuals that are a little more in line with my personal beliefs and values. I hope others do the same and avoid falling into the dangerous trap of believing the propaganda of powerful men with agendas of fear, bigotry and discrimination.

Welcome to My Blog

I have thought a long time about starting a blog or online record of my thoughts and opinions. But do I have anything to say? Or does anyone care to hear? After reading the blogs of others, I see that clearly it does not matter and I guess I like that.

Normally, if I even remotely express my actual thoughts on Facebook or at dinner or challenge someone else’s ridiculous hate-filled Fox News talking point, I am told by some that it is best to keep your beliefs about these things to yourself. And to be honest, I generally agree when it comes to Facebook. Facebook is not really appropriate for social, political, or religious discourse although admittedly at times I have trouble avoiding it.  But at the same time, I am more tired than ever of keeping silent in a world full of perpetual mistruth pumped into our ears on a 24 hour cycle. This blog is not likely to be a happy go-lucky timeline of events in my otherwise rather happy go-lucky life. But rather, this blog is a place for me to say what I want and express myself and my views without fear of what someone else might think or say.  And although I may get it wrong from time to time, I promise not to repress.

My primary focus will be discussing hypocrisy and propaganda disguised as “news” or common knowledge.

So, if you care to hear what I think and care about, and if you are not too scared to openly discuss subjects like politics, religion, and social injustice, I invite you to read in, and if you feel like it, let me know what I get right or wrong.