Christine Dionese Integrative Health Care Specialist Environmental Functional Medicine

Welcome to Reaching Beyond Now. Christine’s blog about personalized medicine, your epigenetic landscape and sustainable living in the modern world.

Lifestyle Designed: Chantal & Ryan of The Horticult

Garden Eats The Horticult Chantal and Ryan Garden

Photos courtesy of The Horticult

Garden Eats The Horticult Chantal Aida Gordon

Aloe Nick Deinhart Hybrid - Hybrid Tilt-head Tree Aloe

The Horticult Garden - Ryan Benoit Design

The Horticult Garden - Ryan Benoit Design

Garden Eats The Horticult Living Table Design

Aloe Nick Deinhart Hybrid - Hybrid Tilt-head Tree Aloe

Garden Eats The Horticult Herbal Vertical Garden

The Horticult Garden - Ryan Benoit Design

The Horticult Garden - Ryan Benoit Design

The Horticult Garden - Ryan Benoit Design

Garden Eats The Horticult Chantal Gordon

Garden Eats The Horticult Vertical Herb Garden

Garden Eats The Horticult Ryan Benoit

It’s my blog and I’ll brag if I want to… about my endlessly talented friends and design-duo, Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit of The Horticult. For the current series on adaptation and lifestyle design I invited Chantal and Ryan to chat about how despite working 8 hour days they’ve still managed to prioritize time for their passion projects, something that so many of us dream of doing, but wonder how to get there. And did I mention they’re a couple? Yep- live, work and love together- these two have it all going on.

I met these two like so many new connections are forged these days, via social media! After discovering Ryan and Chantal via another friend’s Instagram and liking about all of their garden photos I decided to introduce myself. And, so glad I did- Chantal and Ryan invited me into their lush garden space for a very fun, garden-inspired culinary craft cocktail collab last Spring.  But, let me brag a little bit more…

It’s no surprise The Horticult’s blog has been featured by The New York Times! Chantal is one of my favorite writers, my mom Kath and I love her wit- she’ll share how she developed her style. And Ryan, he seems to just glance at a plant or a blank area in the garden and boom, he’s devised not only a striking aesthetic, but one that was thought out with purpose to help the plant and human kingdom thrive.

I love to write about where health, socially conscious endeavors and lifestyle design intersect. What I notice is that some of us adapt to our environments by fitting in, and some of us adapt the environment to suit personal wellness needs and wants. These two seem to have the latter down. Please enjoy the thoughtful conversation I’m psyched to share today!

Garden Eats: Chantal, your writing has been featured in many wow-worthy publications- I love the witty titles and headlines you think up! Has writing always come naturally to you? Did you always plan on becoming a writer?

The Horticult: Chantal: Thanks — I’m a sucker for the plant puns. I am a writer by trade, but I wouldn’t say writing comes naturally to me. It’s always challenging to write something that strikes the right balance between playful, concise and interesting. So I try to turn off the filter in my head and ask myself why what I’m writing about is fascinating, how it enhances/expands our lives, and write the answer to that, like it’s in a journal. I’m a chronic over-thinker, but gardens are great at reminding you to live in the moment.

Ever since I wrote my first story, I’ve wanted to be a writer…so, since I was a kid! But I think I’d planned on writing being more of a secondary thing — for a large chunk of my life I wanted to be an astrophysicist. (Then in college I was pre-med for five minutes…) From planets to plants! You could say The Horticult is how I get my science fix.

GE: As creatives, what inspires your intersection between design and nature?

The Horticult: Ryan: We were first inspired by trips we had taken together to luxury hotels while Chantal was working for Conde Nast and Riviera magazine, and botanical gardens while researching plants for writing projects. Back in 2009 we would come home to an empty backyard (the amazing fruit trees notwithstanding) and crave those incredible design and botanical experiences. That inspired me to start building living tables that fit our newfound design aesthetic. At the same time, we started collecting and experimenting with plants to fill our yard…And those plants grew and inspired us to build more rooms and nooks in our yard in which we could engage with the plants. Since launching the blog two years ago, we have more exposure to garden design and are inspired by the designers and spaces that we explore for the stories that we produce.

GE: When sourcing materials, whatever they may be, how do you keep up with sustainable practices?

The Horticult: Many of the materials we work with in our yard are re-purposed, materials that could otherwise end up in landfills. Also, the succulents we plant in our living tables are drought-tolerant, so they only require the occasional watering.

GE: It’s no secret that gardening offers a myriad of health benefits- how have your lives changed since you began spending so much time with plants?

The Horticult: Both of us work full-time jobs in offices that, for the most part, don’t have a lot of plants. So on stressful days it’s nice to come home and relax in our garden. Noticing small changes in plants from one day to the next is very rewarding. Even garden chores such as watering or pruning give us peace, and let us detach from the previous eight hours of our day. We often spend entire weekends without leaving the neighborhood or sometimes not even leaving the yard. In a way, we’ve built our own retreat.

GE: Have the two of you found any creative uses for succulents? Medicinal uses? Otherwise? 

The Horticult: For us, succulents provide living sculpture to the garden — which can be both soothing and exhilarating. It’s hard to imagine a garden without succulents. If we ever move below Zone 9, we can envision designing an indoor winter home for our succulents. Succulent walls inspired Ryan’s living succulent tables. Other than our aloes for the occasional burn relief, we haven’t yet explored them medicinally…But we bet there are and would love to learn and share!

GE: We love helping restaurants and home owners create space-saving solutions with edible vertical gardens. Any pre-fab vertical designs in the works?

The Horticult: We’re a bit obsessed with vine trellises in our garden right now. We recently built a copper pipe trellis to extend our passion fruit vine (Passiflora edulis) another 10 feet above the fence. Not only is passion fruit our favorite fruit, we love the vine’s leave structure and the flowers are out of this world. Not to mention we love the look of the lush green leaves against the weathered copper. This trellis is very easy to make and we’ll be doing a DIY soon. Since these vigorous evergreen vines can fill a wall very quickly we look forward to a very passion filled summer and fall.

GE: Ryan, you’re an engineer by day and furniture designer by all other hours. Are they really the same thing? You seem to be a natural problem solver- have you found that your passion for problem solving influences how you make overall decisions in life? Does your work extrapolate to your every day modus operandi?

The Horticult: Some engineering jobs can intersect design and creativity, but I manage ship repair and I haven’t been able to find that intersection yet. The problem solving carries over a bit in all aspects of my life but the lack of a creative outlet (during the first eight hours of my day) drives my passion for photography, gardening and furniture design when I get home and on weekends.

GE: I invited you guys here today because I admire the lifestyle you’ve created together. To pour one’s heart into their passions is a thing, but to pour it together as a couple, that’s something else. So, what is it? Some couples could not possibly bear to work together. How do the two of you mutually accentuate one another’s creativity?

The Horticult: Surprisingly, blogging has been an incredible bonding experience! Discovering things together and being creative about it are always great things to experience as a couple.

It’s fun sharing the same nerdy obsessions. Plus, building The Horticult has helped us appreciate each other’s talents. We’re often working on photo editing and writing at the same time and in the same room, sometimes the night before we post, which can be stressful but we try to have fun with it. We both encourage each other’s work and the final product (a blog post) is something we’re proud of. In some ways it’s a personal journal through our lives. We’re happy to share our adventures in this gardening world that has been so welcoming to us from the beginning.

C H A N T A L  Aida Gordan and Ryan Benoit are the co-creators of the backyard oasis and popular garden blog, The Horticult. We could not have chosen a better time to catch up with these two- we’re so thrilled that this week they’ve been named one of Better Homes and Gardens top ten blogger award nominees! Show them some love by voting here now and watch for the gardening category to be featured the week of March 23rd!

Adaptation is… impossible?

Welcome Dr. Matt Kreinheder, first guest in a series on adaptation and your epigenetic landscape.

 

_______________________________
ad·ap·ta·tionˌ

adapˈtāSH(ə)n/noun

  • a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

_______________________________

Adaptation is impossible.  Simply the word “adapt” suggests that we have a base state that we are moving from and returning to.  This is simply not true, it’s an illusion.  If there is no base state than we exist in pure flux and flow and that is a different idea altogether.

Most people identify, at least part of, their “self” as their body.  We may not all be locked into the illusion of “I am my body” but most of us are pretty sure our body is part of what we consider “me”.  So let’s take a trip through the hard, finite, rigid body for a moment.

You have a body, your body is made up of bones, skin, muscles, fat, blood, organs, connective tissue and nervous system.  All of these things are made up of cells.  Your cells are made from proteins, fats and water.  Protein, fats and water are made from elements like carbon, hydrogen, iron, chromium and many others.  These elements are made from specific configurations of protons, neutrons and electrons.  Ok, science 101 is done, but what happens when you go past that level?  It gets a little dicey, we start to merge into quantum physics.

These elements are made from quantum particles. In quantum physics all matter can exist as a particle or wave.  If it is a particle we may know where it is for an instant but then it pops out of reality and we don’t know where it will pop up next.  It can also manifest as a wave if that is the more useful way for the matter to express its information.

Quantum particles and waves can pass through matter by a process known as quantum tunneling. They pop in an out of existence without any (known) discernable pattern.  They don’t behave in the typical way we consider a macro particle (like a bouncing ball) to behave based on Newtonian physics.

So you get down to the core fundamental building blocks of who you are and you are an amorphous gathering of quantum particles that seem to be acting coherently in the here and now to produce a “you”.

So what adapts?

Well, it becomes very interesting here.  It seems that it is consciousness that holds all of this together in a coherent structured way.  Our sense of self, having a self or being a self is the quantum “glue” that keeps us together.

There is a tangent we could take here about vibration, this plane of existence, reincarnation and purpose for being a human being that helps us to elucidate who the “you” is, but that is a long and more spiritual discussion (perhaps for another time).

One of the coolest things I like about this perspective about being human is that it helps to understand miracles and specifically miracles of healing. If Jesus wasn’t a “self” then walking on water was just particles on top of particles, what’s the difference?  If consciousness is what holds our form together isn’t that cancerous tumor also part of the same form?  So what if we make a shift in consciousness that eliminates the cancer from our understanding of who we are?  What if we make the need to have cancer irrelevant because we change our lives? Does it still need to exist in your body?

This view also gives credence to the “oneness” of all creation.  The quantum particle may pop into existence as part of your liver and then next as a part of the tree you’re leaning against.  There is a coherence in the “you” staying together because the consciousness is coherent but “you” doesn’t always have to be the same particles. You share particles with all of creation, the only thing creating a separate and distinct “you” is your belief that you are separate and distinct.

So what adapts is your consciousness, the habituated patterns of who you believe you are.  This is impacted by your sense of (or illusion of) your physical body, your emotional habits, thoughts and beliefs and your spirituality.  Throw all of these in a bowl, add a little secret sauce, cook at 425 for 30 minutes and we’ve created a “you”! Delicious.

When I have this conversation with patients, clients or in public lectures- by this point in the discussion I get the sense that people are thinking “okay, cool, and now what”.  I totally get that.  All of this is great and what the hell are you going to do with it, right?

This is where adaptability really comes in.  Being adaptable means that you are willing to take steps outside of your current illusion of who you are.  This can be scary.  If you have been a meek, passive person all your life and you are going to show up to your job with massive courage and Type A personality this Monday that is a big stretch!  It feels scary and unsafe.  But really what’s to stop you from doing so besides being afraid of stepping outside the bounds of what you know as comfortable and safe? That’s right, nothing.

It is my belief that when we master this fundamental fear and consistently see through the illusion then we no longer have a need for a body and this plane of existence becomes unnecessary.  This is enlightenment, ascension and the more spiritual side of the conversation.  And, this is the real, core truth of who we are.  The fear is not necessary – it is a habit and it is keeping you from who you are and the life you really want to live.  Your body is just following the story of who you are telling it “you” are.

Why adapt when you can just be a new you?

D O C T O R  M A T T specializes in helping people find integrated solutions to challenging health and life issues through the framework of Reorganizational Healing, a system of assessment and transformation that is designed to help people use their health challenges as fuel to create the change in their life that must occur in order to experience greater wellness.

Dr. Matt was a featured presenter in the 2014 Cure to Cancer. He is the editor and a contributing writer for the ARHP (Association for Reroganizational Healing Practitioners) Connect.  This is an international association of chiropractors and change workers.

This March, Dr. Matt will be speaking at the Cure to Cancer Summit in San Diego, California.

Visit Dr. Matt at The Cancer Consciousness Project and get social here.

Your Epigenetic Landscape & Lifestyle Design

“Human beings are ultimately nothing but carriers-passageways- for genes. They ride us into the ground like racehorses from generation to generation. Genes don’t think about what constitutes good or evil. They don’t care whether we are happy or unhappy. We’re just means to an end for them. The only thing they think about is what is most efficient for them.”

-Haruki Murakami from “1Q84″

Really?

We care whether we are happy or unhappy, or at least everyone I’ve ever met does. We are not our genes, but rather a result of their expression. And, we, have a whole damn lot of control over that expression. It’s what I call the epigenetic landscape. All of the information we allow in from the environment, and that that we are unconscious of or have little to no control over shapes our epigenetic landscape. Food, emotions, relationships, pollution- all contour the landscape.

This month a new series begins here at Reaching Beyond Now featuring ideas on A D A P T A T I O N and lifestyle design. I invited several friends and colleagues to share their versions of adaptation related to the epigenetic landscape. Other invites I’ve interviewed that are mastering the art of lifestyle design will be stopping by to candidly chat about how their socially conscious endeavors have shaped their daily lives. Most of these creative minded have been resourceful enough to realize that we’ve all got a great shot at designing the lives we want.

Throughout I’ll offer some research insight and feature the work I’ve been doing centered around personalized epigenetic wellness.

Can’t wait to hear what you all think!

Tomorrow, Dr. Matt Kreinheder from upstate New York will be stopping by to share thoughts on adaptation that might change yours. Stop back to soak it in.

C

Grab My Fave Anatomy Art

You guys wrote asking what I recommended for this year’s anatomy art pics to give for holiday prezos.

Here are the artists I’ve had my eyes turned to this year. Love the details and of course their messages.

Recycled Propaganda War On Drugs Anatomy Art

Recycled Propaganda War On Drugs

Full design range here.

Bedelgeuse Serpens Anatomy Art Reaching Beyond Now

Bedelgeuse Serpens

Anatomy art through the plant and animal kingdom. Check out Bedelgeuse’s full Tumblr action here.

Superfood Spotlights: The Research Is Bright

Superfood research keeps getting brighter and brighter. In a talk I gave the other day to a private practice that asked me to review clinical nutrition research for specific oncological concerns they treat, the chief doc said, “I’m going to start mainlining tart cherry now.” I chuckled at his enthusiasm, but was genuinely thrilled to have spent the two hour session answering very pointed, thoughtful questions about oncology-related food science- from apoptosis to enhancing T-helper cells to managing IGF-1 mediated cell responses. Because I spend so much of my time explaining research to skeptics, it was refreshing to disseminate info to conventional health care professionals who were readily absorbing every ounce of tangible, patient-oriented detail they could.

Want to see some of the points I highlighted in my discussion? You can read about the therapeutic anthocyanins contained in Montmercy tart cherries and more promising evidence that kale is one of the most biologically superior foods we can consume today.

Are You Creating Antibiotic Resistance In Your Home?

In an attempt to clear out all of the undesirable bacterial invaders that enter the home each day, millions of Americans, spray, wash and dump antibacterial soaps and cleaners onto counters, in bathrooms and down the drain without considering the personal health implications or greater environmental consequences.

If you think those antibacterial soaps and cleaners are enhancing your immunity, guess again – even the Center For Disease Control reports that any substantial data fails to support this claim. In fact, many household chemicals have actually been shown to induce respiratory illness by damaging endothelium as well as create neurological damage when inhaled… See my full article at Natural Health 365.

Be A Kind Human

“Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents. Later, when we are sick and old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since we are so dependent on others at the beginning and end of our lives, how could it be that we would neglect kindness towards others in the middle?”

-The Dalai Lama

Be a kind human, happy weekend friends. Much love.

Contributing At Natural Health 365

Have you stumbled on Natural Health 365 yet? Jonathon Landsman, host of Natural News Talk Hour and the integrative health hub recently invited me to contribute! Jonathon educates the public on my favorite topics- organic, non-GMO foods, nutraceutical sciences and progressive lifestyle habits.

I’ve really enjoyed writing at Natural Health 365 so far, the other contributors are brilliant and readers always post thoughtful, provoking comments that keep me on my toes!

I just featured an article discussing thyroid tests you’ve got to get if you haven’t already and MTHFR: the lab test every health care provider should be ordering. When you’re relaxing this weekend, check out one of Jonathon’s talks here.

See you all there! 

Web-Lift In Progress

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Thanks for noticing christinedionese (dot) com has been MIA the past few weeks. We’re doing a little web-lift to improve user experience. The feedback I’ve received has been tremendously inspirational- can’t wait to share the new site with you. Fun times ahead!

Watch for an update- you’ll soon be able to receive updated blog posts of all my writing around the web and featured interviews there too!

Happy Labor Day!

To Boldly Go Where Every {Wo}Man Should Be Going

“To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before” - yeah, thanks Star Trek, pretty much sums up where I “go” with 95 percent of my new patients/clients. I’m an absolute optimist, but still sometimes so shocked how the boys and girls getting paid the big bucks can act like zombie technicians with their patients, ordering labs that will offer little integrative, multi-systemic value or only query patients in such a way that the surface is barely skimmed. Do you have a doctor like this?

Back in May I wrote about lab tests your doc likely doesn’t know about and all of the medical necessity letters I write to other providers requesting tests they don’t. When I see a new patient I assume I’ll be writing one of these letters. It’s actually surprising when I don’t. I’m never looking for a pat on the back, but it’s so great when a practitioner acknowledges the value of the functional testing I suggest and decides to incorporate it into their regular practice. Definitely a win for patients in this case. Even better when entire practices get me in there to help develop their regular test panels. Major score for patients and the integrity of real patient centered care.

Bottom line, if your doc isn’t signed up to be your medical detective, to stop at nothing and to “go boldy where no {wo}man has gone before” it’s time for a switch out, time for a new one, time for a team player. Don’t give up until you find the right advocate. Your health care shouldn’t be about you jumping through hoops, but rather a team of well-qualified people excited about unearthing every nook and cranny to get you feeling well. And, happy.

The Insurance Game Is Changing {Again}

This little burst of inspiration comes now in the presence of pending insurance changes. I’m already seeing patients’ flexibility to choose providers become limited by their policies. I just discussed with a colleague from New York yesterday how he’ll have to explain to his patients that their $0 co-pay is going to turn into $40 because their insurance will no longer cover wellness visits, but only “sick care.” Sounds rather bogus to me, but knew it was coming.

What Can You Do?

Find providers who are dedicated to keeping you healthy. If you have to pay out of pocket for those of us who get the job done and stick by your side, isn’t it worth it? Sounds much more realistic than shuffling from one provider to the next in search of one who might eventually be able to stitch the big picture together for you… So ask yourself, do you want to stick with a dedicated team who can help keep you healthy and design the lifestyle you’re after or get your wallet fired up for continued copays?

 

Are You In The Creative Flow?

Christine Dionese Reaching Beyond Now Creative Flow

Creative people do things differently than most others. Some might even describe creatives as unconventional. I call creativity bliss, flow; being at home with myself. Just being around other creatives helps reinforce my passion to discover new ways of helping others, to unearth some obscure piece of research, to find that thing that supposedly didn’t exist {such as underlying root causes of a patient’s health concerns}. Being in the creative flow reminds me that possibility is worth risk and that happiness often does depend on the unconventional.

Neuroscientists and psychologists agree that harnessing creativity depends on being able to:

Daydream.

Work during hours that engender personal creative flow.

Allow time for introspection.

Transform obstacles into opportunities.

Ask big questions. Ask little questions. Voice curiosity.

Be yourself.

Watch, observe {breathe} and take risks.

Fail and become resilient.

Get out of your head {to explore new ways of thinking}.

See the bigger picture {see possibilities}.

Become diverse.

And, become mindful.

Are you in the flow?

 

 

Lab Tests Your Doc Doesn’t Know About & How To Write An Intro Letter To Your New Doctor

I’m answering two questions from readers today because so many people keep writing to ask. 

1. Why doesn’t my doctor know about these lab tests?

2. How do I work with a conventional provider when an integrative doc isn’t available in my area?

Lab Tests Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About But Should

It’s really frustrating when my patients know more than their doctors. Of all the letters I’ve written in my life, medical necessity letters rank highest! Usually these letters go something like: 

Dear Doctor X;

Our shared patient/client Ms. X consulted me for autoimmune related health concerns. To offer her the most comprehensive approach to wellness and discover the etiological factors of her concerns, please order the following labs:

…..

…..

….. 

I look forward to offering our patient an integrative approach to her wellness. 

With Appreciation;

CMD

What I find alarming is when I have to include such basic requests such as D-25 hydroxy or comprehensive free thyroid hormone levels. So often, so little is tested to create a whole person, integrative approach. The answer to “why doesn’t my doctor know about these lab tests?” is because in most cases, mainstream conventional primaries, and even a slew of specialists practice disease care, not preventive wellness. Because the mentality is “fix it if it’s broken,” conventional practice is to order labs in a compartmentalized manner. This approach is outdated. I tell the doctors I consult with that it also creates a liability when they fail to offer their patients a complete picture of health. 

You’ll find some pockets of the country that are progressive while some are operating on this antiquated approach. My advice? Get a new doctor! When you know more, it’s time to fire them- remember, health care providers work for you, not their interests. If you can’t get your health care provider to understand the importance of basic lab tests, ask yourself if this is the person you want to entrust your wellness with? I doubt it! If you can’t find someone in your area who is integratively minded, you can order tests over the internet from reputable labs that send you a kit to have completed at a local lab. The trouble is, you may not have enough know how to interpret the labs on your own or your state may not approve all independent labs. This blog post is not to promote me, but one of the top services requested of me is to review patient health history to suggest labs going forward. Some people don’t need a full consult, but just want to get started with their doctor- I’m always available for that. As a general rule, look for providers that practice REAL integrative medicine or environmental functional medicine. If the doctor isn’t available to speak to you before your visit, call to ask for their human relations adviser and get your questions answered about their practice ethics and approach first. You can also write to ask me for referrals in your home area- if I have one, I’m happy to share! 

Making A Conventional Provider Work For You

Like most outstanding things in life, discovering a provider who is a guide and advocate can be tough and takes a bit of trial and error. Whether you find an integrative doc or conventional one (that is hopefully open to research), write a letter introducing yourself. Here’s a sample. 

Dear Doctor X;

I’m a new patient, Ms. X joining your practice. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and goals for wellness before we get started. I’m 34, have 2 kids and experience thyroid health concerns. I’m an otherwise healthy person who manages all of their health concerns integratively and naturally. I only use pharmaceuticals in dire situations. I haven’t used an antibiotic in over 20 years, but rather always use nutraceuticals, food therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture for health concerns to give you an idea of what I mean. 

My vision for wellness is to live well everyday- free from illness and full of health- mental and physical health are equally as important to me and my family. We also work with an acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist and holistic dentist. My old doctor supported our integrative approach to wellness and I look forward to continuing with you in that direction.

I look forward to meeting at my first visit soon;

XXX

If that fits the bill for you, copy it and insert your personal nuances. Send this letter a few days before your visit, then followup with a call to be sure it made it into your new file. Politely note that you included the letter for the doctor to read before your visit. 

While you may be thinking, “I can just say that, can’t I?” Sure, of course you can, but documenting your wishes and having them acknowledged right away will make the idea stick and may also encourage your provider to adopt this approach for their entire body of patients! If you send this letter ahead, then you can maximize the time you have in the office to discuss specifics. You’ll also get a better feel for if this doctor’s practice aligns with your ethics and wellness goals. 

If you have a good experience or tips to share with other readers, we look forward to hearing about them in the comments below. 

How Our Beliefs Shape Reality & Why We’re No Longer Living In Caves

Today I’m welcoming back friend and neurolinguist, James Cervelloni. You may have seen his TedX talk from the Flour City. He’s had a busy year speaking and writing, so I was happy he could stop by to share his thoughts on how our beliefs shape our behavior… All in the name of survival according to Jim.

B R A I N S can do weird things in the name of efficiency and survival. One of them is to develop unconscious behavior patterns. We go through our days on autopilot so that we don’t have to relearn or rethink our normal routines. Beliefs drive our thoughts, feelings and behaviors because they form the basis of our subjective reality–what we think is true. So, once someone is comfortable with the structure of their reality, they tend to want to stay with it and resist changing–even in the light of new information.

People like to believe that they have a mind of their own. But think about it – most people have belief-realities based on misinformation they accepted as true without ever exploring the facts!

Some thought and behavior patterns create ‘problems’ in our lives. What’s weird is that even when that happens, people can resist changing their beliefs!

When someone’s behavior is creating unhappiness in their life, I help them to explore the beliefs that drive the behavior. To motivate them to explore new ideas, I always leverage their values. I find out what’s most important to them–what they’re trying to accomplish that drives a particular thought or behavior pattern. I do this to get to their motivation strategy because what they’re currently doing isn’t working.

Then, to demonstrate that accepting new information is what creates change, I ask them to consider real life examples of something that they used to believe was absolutely true–but no longer do. I have them notice the difference in the way they think, feel and behave around the example now. I ask them what changed. It always comes down to new information.

So, why do people resist change even in the light of new ideas and facts? When new facts or ideas bump up against someone’s opposing beliefs, it’s automatically rejected because it doesn’t fit their current model of reality. That makes them uncomfortable. And unless they’re open to exploring new ideas as a solution to a problem, why should they change? To some, change can seem difficult–even scary because they think they might lose something important to them. Often, that something is their sense of who they are. So, the new info must be presented in a way that the mind will accept before beliefs can change. Otherwise it bounces off their current beliefs like bullets off of superman.

Look for example, at the soybean movement. For years soybeans and soy products have been promoted of as a healthy food. But as more look at the science behind what they do to the soy beans to produce it and to process it, oh my god! I wouldn’t go near them. And I used to use them and promote them.

But if I suggest to a vegetarian that they explore the science and methodology of soybean production, they get angry! They feel compelled to defend their reality and sense of self because changing their reality seems to be too hard! Even a highly respected model like modern medicine admits that every five years almost half of what they believed to have been true is no longer true.

Most people recognize that life today is more convenient and more comfortable than it was for the Neanderthals. That’s because new information has been added to our neurology and acted upon in the name of survival, efficiency or comfort.

Change happens when new information is added and acted upon. Without that, we’d still be living in caves.

It’s all about new information.

I hate using clichés, but there was a time when everyone thought it was impossible for human beings to fly. The Wright brothers were mocked mercilessly. But today we fly above the earth like the gods, and barely even notice.

Beliefs, our reality statements of the world and of ourselves, seek to prove themselves right – they don’t look for evidence to prove that they’re wrong. Looking for new evidence that contradicts experience takes an extraordinary mind.

Did I say that right? In other words, being able to step outside of one’s subjective reality and to look for new evidence that may contradict what we believe is true, takes an extraordinary mind. And in almost every case that I’m aware of, new ideas are resisted by others at first.

This Is The Best Cinnamon Bun With Foaming Agent I’ve Ever Had

The last time I sunk my teeth into a hot Pillsbury cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven I didn’t think, “this is full of gluten, oh no” or “this is sugar overload.” Nope. I ignored all of those thoughts, grabbed my coffee cup while chatting with my cousins and went back for a second roll. They were so good, I mean good. Usually I resist the urge for such things because I don’t feel so hot after eating processed foods (who really does?), but I reassured myself that my regular power-food mainstays surely over-rode this little indulgence.

Turns out, not so much. Even I occasionally forget that some things are too good to be true.

I can deal with the gluten and the sugar pretty well, but when I recently realized that azodicarbonamide, a plastic foaming agent used to produce yoga mats and flip-flops was in my gooey cinnamon rolls, I instantly wished there was a way for me to un-eat them.

Plastic friends- plastic in our food or what should be food. Again, I ask the question- would you accept your car back from the mechanic if they said, “oh, I ran out of gas, so I used oil in the gas tank?” NO! “Oh, I only fixed your left break, don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine with one.” NO! You would never, ever find either of those circumstances acceptable, B U T we allow our supposed food to be processed in giant industrial factories with plastics? For those of you up on your “what’s in my food trend” this is sounding a bit like flame retardant showing up in Gatorade. You know, the stuff they don’t put in children’s clothing anymore because it can cause airways to close up and the C word! But I digress.

I guess you have to ask yourself, “do I want to eat real food or something with so much crap in it, that it’s not really food, my body can’t digest it and it’s going to make me sick?” Doesn’t really sound that tough of a question to me. The next time your “irritable bowel syndrome” acts up, maybe you’ll understand why it’s so irritated!

If you get Ken Cook to deliver info to you from the Environmental Working Group, this is already old news to you, but in case you don’t, here’s an excerpt from his email to me today:

When the Food Babe, Vani Hari, challenged Subway to remove azodicarbonamide – a chemical used to make yoga mats – from its bread, EWG suspected this was only the tip of the iceberg and decided to find out what other foods contain ADA. Our analysis found it in nearly 500 foods.

Now we’re taking the fight to major brands, including Pillsbury, Sara Lee, Shoprite, Safeway, Smucker’s, Fleischman’s, Jimmy Dean, Kroger, Little Debbie, Tyson and Wonder. We need you to add your voice to tell these food brands to stop using the same chemical found in yoga mats and flip-flops.

This chemical, nicknamed ADA, is used in the plastics industry as a “foaming agent” and in the food industry as a dough conditioner for the convenience of industrial bakers.

In the plastics industry, it is mixed into polymer plastic gel to generate tiny gas bubbles, something like champagne for plastics. The results are materials that are strong, light, spongy and malleable. In many commercial baked goods, ADA is used as a “dough conditioner” that renders large batches of dough easier to handle and makes the finished products puffier and tough enough to withstand shipping and storage.

Enough said. If you don’t know, now you know.

“All I Want To Be Is Happy When I Grow Up”

“All I want to be is happy when I grow up.” Boom… Imagine if that was your goal, or your child’s goal for life.

My only resolution this year is to live life more simply… And, on the road to that place comes a rejuvenating reminder from thirteen year old, Logan LaPlante. His TEDx talk has gone viral, but if you haven’t seen it yet, take a break from whatever it is you’re doing and watch. You’ll want to share it with someone immediately and it will no doubt inspire you too to take a more simple approach to your days.

Here’s to life less complicated.

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