It only matters what works for you.

Archive for the ‘TED talks’ Category

How many ACES in your hand?

I love TED talks. They make it so easy to find out about new research, old research put together in new ways, or ideas that really make you think.

Today’s TED is about a new finding in how your past affects your future.

The basic premise is, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) affect your health over the course of your life.

The experiences they studied were:

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Physical or emotional neglect
  • Divorce or separation
  • Incarceration
  • Parental substance abuse
  • Parental mental illness
  • Domestic violence

I don’t know about you but the list of people I know who didn’t experience at least one of those is pretty darn short.

They figured out that if you have 4 or more, then your risk for certain kinds of problems goes up a lot. My mind immediately jumped to risky behaviors. Of course people with difficult pasts are more likely to have issues, their experiences with drugs, eating disorders, smoking, and other things cause consequences. The thing is, the risk stays higher even when they control for those behaviors.

I’m sorry to hear she reports that this isn’t being pursued more aggressively, because they can interrupt the process if they do it early enough. It would be great if more people had heard about it.


A time for rethinking.

I’m pretty excited to see some people thinking the conclusions of mainstream medicine. I’ve posted some really exciting things from Lissa Rankin, today’s TED is by Peter Attia, who found out the hard way he was being a jerk.

He starts his TED by telling us a story of a woman with a diabetic ulcer. He had no empathy for her, because medical dogma is clear. If you are fat and diabetic, it’s your own fault for not taking better care of yourself. If you ate right and exercised, this would never have happened. Case closed.

Three years later he discovered how very, very wrong that is. He followed the food pyramid to the letter, exercised hours every day, and he still developed metabolic syndrome. Oh. If it could happen to him, even following the rules, then maybe there’s more to it…

What if obesity isn’t the cause, but rather the effect. It’s wonderful to me to hear someone with a ‘perfect body’ and medical credentials suggest that. He’s gotten together with Gary Taubes, author of “What if it’s all been a big fat lie?” and a very weighty book titled Good Calories Bad Calories. They have gathered a group to research the issues some more, going ‘where ever the science takes them’.

I for one am eager to see what comes of it.

Where’s the paddle now?

As in, our kids are going up that creek without a paddle.

It’s time for another Ted Talk.

Today is Anna Lappe talking about how the junk food industry is marketing to our kids, and I am horrified.

When I was a kid, fast food was a treat I ate when I was out with one of my aunts for a fun day. It was a pizza when we headed up to the mountains for a day out. It wasn’t part of our every day life.

Neither was junk food. Ice cream sodas were made with a 2 liter bottle of soda and a container of ice cream to celebrate pay day during the summer. Potato chips were served at parties. Sugar cereal, like CocoPuffs, were for dessert, not breakfast.

I learned to cook. My mom taught me, my dad taught me. My aunts taught me. The first thing I remember learning to do in the kitchen ‘by myself’ was to bake chocolate chip cookies, under the strict supervision of my aunts.

Not too long ago I met a young woman in her 20s who was bemoaning the amount of space in her apartment wasted by the kitchen. Because all she really wanted was room for her microwave, coffee maker, and dishwasher. The stove was useless to her. Then she told me her story of the time she tried to bake muffins from scratch. And by scratch what she really meant was a box mix to which she had to add an egg. I can not tell you how horrified I was. I have since met other people who are actually incapable of making a meal out of food. How does this happen?

I think the junk food industry is part of how this happens. They have made themselves so desirable to kids that they don’t really want to eat anything else. They have made themselves so ubiquitous and so fast and easy that it’s harder and harder for parents to say no after a long hard day. And they’ve cheapened the quality of their so-called food that it almost seems a bargain compare to shopping and cooking.

Not that a lot of cooking is better, what with prepared meals and instant this and that.

Junk food, besides being easy and cheap, is addictive. Sugar and trans fats and msg and all manner of non-food flavor enhancers make it tasty in a way that goes straight to your brain.  I know from personal experience that anything highly refined is going to hit your brain like a drug and put you in an altered, sleepy state, and when it goes away, you’re going to be cranky and looking for your next fix. Another sugary soda. A Snickers, because the ads say that it will fix you right up. Fat gets the most bad press, but I think the sugar and highly refined and processed flavors are more to blame. I just don’t think there is enough research for research’s sake done on it. Everyone has an agenda these days.

Even me. My agenda is to encourage people to say “how did that happen, and how can I fix it”, whether it be health or apparently training our kids to salivate every time someone sends them a text message.

Can you heal yourself?

In my recent post about rethinking my approach to health I referenced Lissa Rankin’s new TED presentation. Here it is:

In case you don’t know, Lissa Rankin is an MD with huge credentials who is devoted to changing our very broken health care system. I love what she has to say, and I enjoy her blog, and I can’t wait to see how she succeeds in her goals. I think she has just the right kind of voice, and background, to make a difference.

This TED is about healing yourself. Research proves that the ‘placebo effect’ works. It’s real. But we don’t harness the power of our minds because we can’t quantify it. We can’t distill it down to a protocol. We can’t make it a set of easily followed instructions.

We can’t make it easy.

Changing the way you think is hard.

She says that the placebo effect may only come in to play when the stress response is relaxed. I find that very interesting. Our society isn’t really geared for relaxing. Very few of us remember to focus on fun and play and enjoyment. There are too many stressors waiting to jump on our free time.

The other big question that comes up for me when I listen here is, how much play does the physician really have in the placebo effect? If the issue is the nurturing support of someone who really cares, can that be provided by partners? Family members? What about intuitive healers or other kinds of energy workers like reiki practitioners, can the same support be provided by them?

I certainly hope so. Because as much as I’d like to embrace this possibility, I don’t really want to hold my breath until I have a great supportive relationship with my health care provider. With our broken system, those are really hard to come by.

And the winner is…

In this case, supermodel Cameron Russell. She did a TEDx talk

It’s only 10 minutes and I urge you to watch it and share it with young women. She talks honestly and openly about the fact that her modeling doesn’t actually have anything to do with her. Models don’t really look like models, the pictures they appear in are artificial constructs created by a team of people.

I want to highlight 2 of her points. The first is that when she first started modeling, she wasn’t even menstruating yet. So the image that we are being sold of the ideal, sexy woman, is still actually a child. Not even a young woman, but a girl who hasn’t even finished puberty.

The second point is, even though she won the genetic lottery and looks exactly the way we are told we are supposed to look, and has ‘the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair’, she’s still insecure.

Remember that post I made about Oprah, the one where I asked how the average woman is supposed to achieve the perfect body if she can’t, with all her support and economic advantages? Well now I’d like to know, if the average supermodel, the icon of everything we’re supposed to recognize as beautiful, is insecure about her looks and her value, then where is the hope for the rest of us? How did we build a society where everyone is completely insecure about everything, and even the icons can’t live up to their own image?

That is so messed up.

Stand up for yourself- Literally

Your body posture can affect your mental state. What are you telling yourself by the way you sit and stand and move?

I recently watched this great 20 minute video by Amy Cuddy about the research they have about body posture and how it can affect, not only how others see you, but how you see yourself. If you go around hunched over, drawn in, making yourself small, then you do, in fact, make yourself small.

There is evidence of course that women are more likely to engage in ‘small’ body posture than men. A lot of the things we’re taught about how to be ‘lady-like’ involve smaller postures, like crossing your legs and holding your hands in your lap.

As part of my owning my space I’m working very hard this week to embrace bigger postures. Stand up straighter, let my arms swing a little wider. No hunching. Its a little challenging, but I’m up for it.

Of course, smiling is one thing I don’t have to work on. Do you smile a lot? You really should. That’s one I already knew about. See, smiling, the act of engaging those muscles in your face and the limbic system behind them? That really can make you feel better if you’ll just make yourself do it. So I mostly smile all the time.