Thai Yoga Concepts: Sustainable Eating and Sustainable Health: Part 2 of 4
By Dr. Anthony B. James DNM(P), ND(T), MD(AM), SMOKH
(Re-Post: Transcribed from a live talk at the Florida Sustainable Living and Perma-culture Conference, Plant City Florida, March 26, 2011)
An amazing possibility is occurring right now!
Right now this second there are groups just like the group in this room who are having the exact same conversation about exactly the same topics in about a hundred different locations around the planet! Right now this minute! That’s never happened before, so that’s our possibility of hope. But what are we going to do with it? That’s the question.
Its one thing to philosophically get it and it’s another thing to have practical solutions. I’m going to go through some practical solutions. We’re ahead of the curb, right? I’m a hopeful guy, I actually do believe that there is hope that we can come out of this and we can actually survive in a good way. That is what I work for.
What’s the core issue with sustainability?
I want to focus on what I think is really the fundamental issue in sustainable eating and health. Pardon me if this is elementary because I know there are some experts in the room, but I’m just speaking across the board.
I believe the number one issue is food. I have all these doctor technologies and no matter what I learn I keep coming back food as the number one issue. It’s the one issue above all others that we actually have the capacity to substantially control. So because we have the ability to have some input in relation to what we eat, where it comes from and what the impact is of our food on ourselves and on our environment, it’s one of the places where we can add our influence, both internally and externally. That’s why I choose to focus on food. I’m going to keep coming at it from a health point of view because I just can’t help it!
Whatever it takes to live a long and happy life!
Hippocrates said “let they food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” So what is medicine? There are a lot of misconceptions about what medicine is. The definition of medicine is same as the definition of sustainable living! There’s a source of conflict and confusion right there. We compartmentalize and create distinctions and say, “medicine is over here, and food is over here.” There is some crossover but it is a misconception and a misperception that they are unrelated. Let’s go back to the definition of sustainable living: Whatever it takes to live a long healthy and happy life, while respecting and caring for the community of life in which we live. Well guess what? That’s the definition of medicine too: whatever it takes to live a long and happy life. Let food be your medicine, let food be part of your strategy of whatever it takes. Let whatever it takes to be happy be your food, so let’s stop eating things that don’t make us happy. That’s a real simple way to say it isn’t it?
Stay away from the dominant cultures medical system
Statistically speaking, other then changing your eating habits the number one thing you can do to prolong your life and guarantee that you’ll have a long healthy life in this country (I’m not necessarily talking about the whole world) is to do whatever it takes to stay out of hospitals and to stay out of the conventional medical system.
The current system has failed. Where is the outrage?
I’m a pastoral medical doctor so I get a copy of JAMA and the different journals that are published under the banner of JAMA. According to JAMA, give or take, some 380,000 people a year die directly from medical malpractice. I think this is a conservative estimate because it might be a little self-incriminating. We drive down the highway and see billboards of the sheriff with the reflective glasses and the words “drive drunk and pay the price.” We see MADD billboards with the cameo of the teenage son or daughter who will not live a long and happy life because of an incursion due to drunk driving. Virtually every city in the country including has federal, state and local funding of millions of dollars for the formation of DUI task forces, random roadblocks, and breathalyzers. There have been 12,000 constructed expansions of prisons in the US just to take the additional prisoner loads of DUI’s into the jail system and the legal system. There are about 48,000 deaths a year on average as a result of drunk driving.
It gets worse
I’m not saying that I support drunk driving, but compare that to 380,000 deaths a year due to medical malpractice. When is the last time you were driving down the road and you saw a billboard with a man or a woman in a white jacket with a stethoscope hanging around their neck with a “have you seen this person? Call “1-800-STOPDOC” to report that you have seen one of these people wanted for murder, mayhem, malpractice and for just damn not trying to help you and being part of a system that kills you at 4, 5 and 6 times the annual rate of drunk drivers.” That’s not the bad news; it gets worse. I’m not quoting the national inquirer, although technically it might be more accurate and I’m sorry to say that.
According to these medical statistics, another 400,000 die simply from unsuccessful procedures that were properly applied. In other words, it wasn’t malpractice. They did exactly what was the standard medical practice according to standard medical disciplines, according to standard medical procedures. 400,000 people died from operations that were considered a complete success. They did everything right and the patient died. These numbers are per year, not in the last 100 years, but the annual numbers! 400,000 people died from side effects.
There are no side effects!
There is no such thing as a side effect! How many people have heard that there is such a thing as a drug side effect? You have been misled and that is a programming issue and propaganda issue because there are actually NO side effects of any known prescription drug or procedure. There are secondary effects that we don’t want, which are less popular. You can get a copy of a Merck Manual or the Physician’s Desk Reference to Drugs and for every single drug there will be the primary benefit listed and immediately there will be up to 92 different secondary effects. For marketing, they are referred to as “side effects” as if they are optional.
A chemical doesn’t know what a side-effect is
A relative of mine has an advanced degree in pharmacology. He would say that it is all chemistry- you ingest the chemical and get the effect. The chemical doesn’t know primary from secondary. The chemical doesn’t know what a side effect is, it just does what it does. For many of these drugs there are up to 92 side effects and I’ve even seen a drug that has more than that. Generally there are between 70 and 90 secondary effects and about a third of them are fatal. That’s how you get these 400,000 deaths. We need to be logical, so how do we get there? That’s not the malpractice, that’s when everybody agreed that it was appropriate for you and it still caused you harm.
The source of your primary health care has to be your eating habits
So what is the alternative? If we are not going to rely on the conventional medical system as our primary health care, then “let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” The source of your primary health care has to be your eating habits. You have no choice! There is no other alternative. I know some of you that might be offended to even hear me say so, but I am giving you my professional medical advice. As you would with any doctor, or perhaps as you should do with any doctor, take my advise or leave it.
Health is a fluid balance between toxicity and deficiency
Traditional Chinese Medicine theory postulates that health is a dynamic equilibrium between internal and external pernicious influences. Health is a constant balancing act. This could be anything that reduces our capacity to live the full natural possibility of life or whatever life as a human being on this planet could be. That includes everything from the environment and landscape, both internal and external. Internal pernicious influences are what take place when harmful influences bridge the world-skin barrier and become part of us causing changes within us. This includes mental and emotional psychology, the ecology of our inner world and how we handle toxins, virus, bacteria, and cancers. The external landscape is everything outside of your skin that has the ability to affect your longevity, health and well being.
We can also talk about the 5 elements because we have fire, earth, metal, water, and wood, or in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda we have ether, air, fire, water and earth. Any way you slice it, whatever is out there is part of us and then we have this really funny philosophy that says that we are also part of everything that’s out there.
We are children of the soil
So health is about managing this equilibrium between the inside and the outside, the two landscapes. Sometimes we use the word soil, and I know perma-culture people really want to talk about the soil a lot; in fact, that’s one reason I love them! The first book I ever read on the soil was Secrets of the Soil and I developed this whole different idea about the ground and what the nature of the soil was. I learned that it was alive and there was energy in it and that it was communicating to me!
Of course I knew from my bible lessons as a child that eventually I would become the soil. I thought, “Whoa! Dirt to dirt! So what you’re saying is that I’m actually a child of the soil and that I am soil in a flesh bag walking around for a while and then I go back to my origin which is the soil?” Somewhere I had lost the connection or the conscious knowledge that I was really just a bag of dirt walking around. What is my function then, as mobile dirt?
I realized that part of the reason why we are so unhealthy is because we have been separated from our proper relationship to our mother ecology, which of course is the soil. Now that we are ego-encapsulated soil flesh bags we think that we are separate and somehow isolated from the total environment that surrounds us. We pretend and we act and we create structures that are based on this false idea that we are somehow separate from the soil. We no longer rely on the soil as our nutrient base and we no longer honor the fact that its part of our lifestyle to sustain the soil.
What is my path in life?
When we say, “Oh, I’m looking for my path,” we are really wondering, “What is the purpose of a human being?” A human bring is a mobile expression of the vital life of the planet. There are probably lots of purposes for human beings but part of the reason why we were given legs in the first place was to act as landscapers, caretakers, moderators and enhancers of the vital communication capacity of the earth that is expressed in the life of the soil. It is the proper time to rejoin the community of other sentient beings and the earth which all return their essence to the dirt. You might say, “Oh my god, that’s just crazy!” You know what? If you start to think about it like that for a minute, I think some things might come clear.
We are not that special
Like the Native Americans say, “What is a human being? An upright two-legged being.” No different than any other! No different than the four-legged, no different from the ones with wings, no different than the ones that swim. No different than the ones who crawl through the earth and no different than the microbes. Guess what? Microbes are sentient. How about that? Bacteria is sentient, virus is sentient. Like the Dalai Llama says, “ALL LIVING BEINGS ARE SENTIENT.” We pray for all sentient beings, so when we are praying for all sentient beings we pray for the virus and the bacteria.
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Copyright© 2011, Dr. Anthony B. James. All rights reserved under International and Pan American copyright conventions. World rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Inquires should be addressed to: Dr. Anthony B. James http://www.ThaiYogaCenter.Com