Exercise disclaimer.

Have you ever read this? “Before doing this exercise or participating in any exercise program, please consult your physician.” They wrote it to cover their butts. Really, they should write “Don’t sue us if you hurt yourself doing this” because this is what they really mean.

People aren’t very good at thinking ahead and thinking for themselves. Remember we live in a time where you can win a lawsuit against a fast food company because you spilled hot coffee on yourself.

It doesn’t do you any good to consult about exercise with your doctor. Western doctors treat symptoms rather than cause. If you started exercising and eating well, you’d put them out of business.

Rather than encourage my father to stop smoking, his doctor gave him a pill to stop his coughing. Rather than connect patients with nutritionists and exercise coaches, doctors give out diabetes medications. There are ads telling us that we can “eat like a kid again” meanwhile the person is at a state fair eating corn dogs and funnel cakes. It may be fun to eat this, but it isn’t food. Doctors should not be enablers. Doctors should “Do no harm” like their oath says.

I went to an ENT this year because my throat and neck hurt. He put a tube down my nose to look at my throat and saw evidence of acid reflux. Rather than suggesting lifestyle or diet changes, he put me on an antibiotic and an antacid. My neck still hurt, and obviously the acid is still there. He didn’t even want to tell me what the problem was. He didn’t want to spell out my condition, which was a symptom, not a disease. He wanted me placid and docile. He wanted to be in charge.

It took a trip to my chiropractor (who is also a nutritionist) to find out that I have arthritis in my neck. I now use a special pillow for my neck. What a simple fix. A comment to him about my experience at the ENT resulted in his entirely different theory that the problem isn’t too much acid, but too little. He says that we produce less acid as we get older and we need to supplement it or our food does not properly digest. I did a simple vinegar test and now know how much acid I need. I feel a lot better, and I’m even losing weight.

I wonder if Crohn’s and IBS and many other digestion maladies can be solved in this simple way? I doubt that regular doctors will even entertain this idea.

More doctors need to engage their patients in their own health care. More doctors need to understand that they work for the patient, and stop treating us as if we are ignorant children.

And we need to wake up. We cannot be passive about our lives. We can’t keep on thinking that we can eat whatever we want and not exercise and we won’t get ill. We know what we have to do. It isn’t a surprise.

It isn’t easy to switch from drinking sodas to water. It isn’t easy to switch from all meat to mostly vegetables. It isn’t easy to go from fried to steamed or baked. But it is worth it. Food does indeed taste better when it isn’t salty, deep fried mush. It takes about a week for your taste buds to relearn this.

It isn’t easy to start exercising. It isn’t easy to stick with it. But it is worth it. You won’t see the benefits right away, but the payoff is better energy, better rest, and better strength. The payoff is a stronger heart and increased resistance to disease.

If we are concerned about changes in health insurance, then we need to do what we can to improve our health so that we don’t need it. We have to stop thinking that doctors have all the answers. We have to stop thinking that we can do whatever we want and then just take a pill or have surgery to counter our mistakes.

You know how Jesus said “Go forth and sin no more”? That. But with health. The “sin” is continuing to eat whatever we want and refusing to exercise and then thinking we will be rescued by modern medicine. It is far better to not need to be rescued at all. There is no diet. There is only what Michael Pollan suggests in his book “Food Rules”. His mantra? Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. For a further explanation, read the book. I suggest getting it from your local library.

The value of slow.

I’ve realized I’m trying to write a blog in a time where people can’t even take the time to write out what they are saying. We have acronyms for everything. I just learned a new one – “tltr”. This means “too long to read.” I’m part amused and part saddened that we don’t even have the time to write out that something is “too long to read” but have to have an acronym for it. We don’t have time to have time.

I could change how I do things. I could shorten everything down to small digestible chunks. I could distill out the essence of the thing. I could write it out, but post the synopsis at the beginning so people don’t have to wade through to the end. I could post just two sentences, or a paragraph at most. Or I can keep doing what I am doing. Sometimes you have to go through the whole thing to get it. The Cliff’s notes may tell you what happened, but you’ll miss everything else.

I’ve learned that if you really want to see something, you have to draw it. Go find some paper and a pencil. Draw one thing. Pick something that you look at all the time or that you’ve seen every day for years. When you draw it, you’ll notice it for the first time. You’ll see lines and curves that you’ve never noticed before. You’ll notice blends of color that you’ve never seen. Did you know that a fig has a bit of green in the purple? Did you know that there were five washing machines in a row at the laundromat you go to, not four? When you take time to draw what you see instead of what you think you see, you start to notice other things. You start to wonder what else you’ve missed because you’ve assumed something about it.

We often want to get to the punchline before we’ve even heard the joke. We want things to be fast. We don’t want it now – we want it yesterday. We think that we have gained an advantage by making everything fast.

We want to blast through our emotions and stop feeling sad and go straight to happy. But how can we appreciate the mountain top unless we have been in the valley?

We want to have labels for people and put them in boxes. But how can we really get to know someone if we assume they are the same as everyone else of that race/gender/nationality/creed?

We want to have our lives prepackaged. We want to be told what to do, to eat, to think. Until we don’t. People are starting to wake up to how much power we have given away by letting others make our decisions for us. It isn’t that long ago that major life events were done at home. Now we are born in a hospital, get educated in a school, and when we die we are taken to a funeral home. Strangers take care of us our whole lives. And because they take care of us, we don’t know how to take care of ourselves. The old knowledge is fading away. We barely know how to feed ourselves – everything is prepackaged.

Fortunately, there are people who are realizing the danger in this prepackaged, convenience-store life. The more we give away, the less we have. The more we let others do for us, the less we know how to do.

I’m grateful for the upsurge in crafting. I’m glad that people are relearning how to sew, knit, crochet, quilt, and embroider. I’m grateful that people are taking the time to paint and bead for fun. I’m grateful that people are starting to appreciate the value of slow.

People are taking the initiative and not only learning how to cook their own food but how to grow it as well. They are learning the value of taking care of their bodies instead of getting a doctor to treat the symptom rather than the cause. They are exercising for health, not weight loss. They are looking at the long term rather than the right now. They are starting to question everything that they have been told – education, government, religion – nothing escapes their scrutiny. “We’ve always done it this way” no longer stands as an excuse for ignorance.

Slow down. Slow down, because you might miss something. And the thing you will miss the most is your life.