The Art & Science of Personal Health Coaching.
ELITE Personalized Health
by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on January 7th, 2016

E​very five years the relevant U.S. government agencies (The U.S. Department of Agriculture & the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) publish updated dietary guidelines for the general public and the school food programs.  Today, the latest version of these were published.

In brief, the 'skinny' on the new guidelines are:

1) Cut down on sugar intake (to <10% of daily calories).

2) Cut down on saturated fat (to <10% of daily calories)

3) Boys & men need to cut down on protein intake.

4) Don't worry so much about dietary cholesterol (something we covered on this blog 11 months ago!).

5) Be more active.

Now, before reacting, let us not forget that these guidelines are far from being the best unadulterated wisdom that the latest science has to offer!  These guidelines are, in fact, the product of huge compromises among countless mighty industry lobbying groups, sponsored members of congress, bureaucrats trying to keep their jobs, and the occasional scientist and health professional attempting to improve our nutrition.

It would be far more interesting to see the original and much more scientifically-sound recommendations before they were put through the political grinder of the sugar producers, the Egg Board, Big Meat producers, the dairy farmers, and the Washington politicians.

So what are we to believe?  In my personal and professional opinion, I still believe the philosophy we teach to our health coaching clients is, by far, the healthiest, most sustainable, reasonable, real-world-tested, and enjoyable that we have seen:
 

The ELITE Dietary Guidelines Philosophy

  1. Drink more water.  It simply cannot be overstated.  Pure, clean water is the essence of life, it improves digestion, and fills you up.
  2. Never diet.  Only consider making dietary changes that you could live with for the foreseeable future.
  3. Eat regularly.  Do not skip meals and consider having 4 smaller meals every day.
  4. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods.  Reduce your regular intake of processed foods that require the addition of excessive amounts of salt, sugar and fat for preservation (to prolong their shelf lives) and to increase profitability in exchange for their nutritional value.
  5. Gradually increase your vegetable intake to 50% of each and every meal.  For this, focus on the vegetables you've always enjoyed but also regularly experiment with new ones you never considered eating before.
  6. Put lean protein in each and every meal.  Whether it is lean, grass-fed, organic meat or beans, rice and almonds or tofu, lean protein deserves a place on your plate during each meal.
  7. Eat berries and other fruits.  These are Nature's sweet treats, so enjoy them!  Larger types of fruit should be consumed in moderation due to their large sugar content.
  8. Eat whole grains, nuts and seeds regularly.  In spite of what for-profit books, dietary fads and best-selling gurus might say, the science is clear on this: If you have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease or you have not personally identified specific and reproducible food sensitivities and intolerances, then you will be much better off having a broad variety of these in your diet.
  9. Variety is vital.  Every particular food contains a specific amount and concentration of healthful nutrients as well as of potentially harmful substances.  This is why we benefit from varying our diet based on the season's produce, keeping it as colorful as possible, and striving to always keep expanding our dietary tastes.
  10. Rediscover the joy of eating food. The real-world holy communion that takes place - at the atomic and molecular levels - in your body every time you feed it is something to enjoy and feel empowered by, not feel guilty about.  Therefore, reinventing your relationship with food is probably the most important and yet least addressed aspect of a healthy diet.
There you have it, some of the top ELITE dietary guidelines that have helped our health coaching clients transform their health in safe, sustainable, and enjoyable ways.

There is a lot more where that came from but these will hopefully give you a better idea of the principles that guide our effective strategies.  These principles include:
  1. Common sense.
  2. Sound scientific principles and the most up-to-date evidence.
  3. Each guideline is easy to understand, enjoyable, and immediately applicable.
  4. Avoid describing foods in moralistic and paternalistic terms that conjure up negative feelings of shame and guilt such as "clean," "dirty," "good," "bad," "permitted," "approved," "compliant," and "allowed" foods.
  5. The focus is on what to eat and do.  The one exception is "Never diet" and it is well worth  making an exception for!
Keep these principles in mind when defining about your own personal dietary guidelines and/or when thinking about how to feed your family and what nutritional attitudes you will want to pass on to your children and other loved ones.

For more information about nutrition, and our private health coaching programs, please explore our website or simply contact us.  I will be happy to personally get back to you.

To your health,

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo


SOURCE: ​U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th ed. December 2015.

​Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo is the founder of ELITE Personalized Health and the author of the ELITE Blog.  His desire to turn would-be-suffering-patients into empowered individuals who take charge of their own health and live an optimized life drives his unique & innovative health coaching venture.

by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on February 11th, 2015

CHOLESTEROL, PUBLIC ENEMY #1 NO MORE.

What to make of this?

IN A NUTSHELL:
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will soon be reversing its warning about the excessive intake of dietary cholesterol in our diets.

This contradicts the public health message we've been getting for that past 4 decades.

Nevertheless, let us review the most relevant facts:
  1. The cholesterol that your body makes for its essential functions like brain activity, nerve conduction and hormone production is much greater than the amount the average American consumes in food.
  2. The link between the amount of food cholesterol that you eat and the cholesterol that hardens the arteries and leads to cardiovascular disease is poorly substantiated and remains controversial.
  3. Cholesterol is NOT the same thing as Saturated Fats.
  4. Therefore, we should still limit the levels of saturated fats that we consume.
  5. We must still keep an eye on our blood cholesterol levels (HDL, LDL, Total Cholesterol, etc).
  6. Some of us should continue to control or reduce the amount of cholesterol we consume.  Among these are those of us with a personal or family history of hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol), those diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, those on lipid medications (like statins like Lipitor), and anyone else who has been advised by their doctor to do so.
Be sure to discuss with your doctor how this change in public health policy affects you personally.

To Your Health,

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo
Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo is the founder of ELITE Personalized Health and the author of the ELITE Blog.  His desire to turn would-be-suffering-patients into empowered individuals who take charge of their own health and live an optimized life drives his unique & innovative health coaching venture.

by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on February 4th, 2015

It is a bit 'disheartening' to realize that doctors who spend their careers trying to keep us alive by keeping our hearts beating have to stoop to riding the coattails of February's $18 billion Saint Valentine Day's consumerism extravaganza by declaring this month "Heart Month."  Medical doctors have never been reknown for their marketing skills.

It appears to be a case of "Extreme circumstances require extreme measures" so we should probably lend them our attention for at least a brief moment of our busy day.

So what is it that they are so desperate to tell us?  Well, let's summarize it in a few, brief bullet points...

THE PROBLEM

  • Cardiovascular disease (or "CVD" like heart attacks, stroke and high blood pressure) affects all of us since it is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States [1].
  • CVD is a leading cause of disability, keeping us from working and enjoying life.
  • CVD costs us over $300 billion a year in treatment and lost productivity... and you can be sure you are paying your share.

THE RISK FACTORS

  • What you eat
  • How active you are
  • Whether you smoke
  • Your weight
  • Your blood pressure
  • Your blood cholesterol levels
  • How close you might be to developing diabetes

TAKING CHARGE (A.K.A. NOT BECOMING A STATISTIC)

  • CHECK YOURSELF.    Visit your doctor at least once a year and get an overall snapshot of your health. At least three of the risks listed above can be completely silent and the first sign of trouble may be the last.  And don't forget that "the Nile" [denial] is not just a river in Egypt!  So get checked out!
  • "EAT FOOD, NOT TOO MUCH, MOSTLY PLANTS." (Michael Pollan).  That is, avoid eating "edible food-like substances," make more than 50% of each meal vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes, and stop eating when you become 80% full [2].
  • BREAK A SWEAT.    Adding a mere 15 minutes of physical activity a day can make a difference.  Even adding a moderate 20-minute jog, three times a week has been shown to lengthen your life expectancy! [3].
  • IT'S IN YOUR JEANS.    It's simple, whether you are a man or a woman, if your waist is close to 39 inches or more in circumference then you may be on your way to heart disease and/or diabetes [4].
  • REACH OUT.    Putting your health at the top of your life's priorities can be hard.  Keeping it there can be harder.  Make sure you have the right team on your side, starting with your family, your doctor, and if necessary, take advantage of professional health coaching. Just be sure your coach is properly qualified.  You'll be surprised to see how much you can improve with the right attitude, knowledge, and guidance.
  • SPREAD THE LOVE.    Share your experiences with getting healthier with those around you, join a supportive community or create your own!  You'll be surprised by the number of people you may be inspiring around you at home and at work.  And your sharing will make you stick to your healthier behaviors.  Lastly, please share this post if someone you love may benefit from it.
To a Happy and Healthy "Heart Month"!

Sincerely,

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo
Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo is the founder of ELITE Personalized Health and the author of the ELITE Blog.  His desire to turn would-be-suffering-patients into empowered individuals who take charge of their own health and live an optimized life drives his unique & innovative health coaching venture.
Sources/Further Reading:
1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2. "7 Rules of Eating" Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD Health News, March 23, 2009.
3. Schnohr P, et al "Dose of jogging and long-term mortality the Copenhagen City Heart Study" J Am Coll Cardiol 2015;65:411–9.
4. "Waist Size Predicts Heart Disease Danger" Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD Health News, April 14, 2005.

 

by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on January 30th, 2015

How to lose excess weight and keep it off is truly at the core of our society's most serious problems.

In short, when we fail to maintain our optimal body weight it is likely to be because we may be relying on a faulty premise: That a situation that has been building up over years can be fixed quickly.

Our bodies are under no obligation to comply to the artificial notion that we seem to have engineered into every other aspect of our modern lives and that we have come to expect: That weight loss should be quick, easy, and convenient. 

As a doctor I've learned the tough lessons of fighting disease and one of the main ones is that the body works at its own pace, regardless of whether we have other plans.  As a science-based health coach, I consider it a central part of my job to explain this to my clients as we set off together to transform their nutrition, their sleeping habits, and we redesign their daily routines to inject purposeful physical activity into their errands in a way that works for them.  After all, each and every one of these aspects of their lives have been shown to influence body weight.

So HOW does one keep the weight off?  Here's the answer... although I must warn you that "it might sting a little but it'll be good for you in the end."

We need to start with deep introspection, get to the bottom of why our diet isn't optimized, why we might not be active enough, what it is that we want out of life, and what place our health takes on our list of priorities.  Excess body weight isn't like a scratch on our car that one can go in to get fixed and it's done with.

Losing excess weight is like growing a tree.  You need to first create the right environment for it, plant the seed, and then maintain this fertile environment for the lifetime of the tree!  Sustainability is the key.

In other words, you need to reinvent your life.  Short term changes only bring short-term improvements.  And don't try to live a life that has been marketed to you by some corporation.  Reinvent your life.

By putting your health (not just weight or appearance) first and foremost you will be starting with a solid foundation from which to carve out the best version of the person you've always been.

Then, don't ever make a healthy change in your routine that you wouldn't be willing to maintain for the next 10 years.  That in itself virtually eliminates all  juicing crazes and fad diets, all crazy and insane workout DVD collections and programs and all binge-patterns associated with New Year's resolutions that can lead to more injuries than health improvements.

But don't get me wrong, I am not saying that lapses and relapses aren't allowed.  Not at all.  In fact, they are an integral part of progress.  Just don't waste your time adopting silly, radical and unrealistic regimes designed to appeal to your impulsivity but that you know that they aren't sustainable over the long run.

The reinvention process is one that requires baby steps.  By reinventing your life you need to work around what you like to do and what you like to eat and very gradually find small tweaks to make your natural preferences more healthful.  If the modifications you make in your life are not in-tune with who you are, then you can be sure that they will, sooner or later, disappear.

Here are 4 simple examples that can serve as the central principles to any effective and sensible "tweaks" to one's daily life.

1) Portion control of even the most sinful foods is better than swearing off chocolate forever, until you fall off the wagon and gorge... again.

2) 10 extra minutes of walking a day is better than driving around the parking lot looking for the spot that might be 10 feet closer to the entrance of your gym.

3) Avoid self-sabotage by simply not buying the irresistible foods you know you cannot resist eating too much of.  This takes down the will power required to eat healthily at home by several notches.

4) Get powerful support to help you along the way, be it from a close family member or an unbiased professional who isn't distracted by trying to sell you supplements, remedies or unnecessary tests.

By creating the right environment around you you will be less dependent on your will power (which is a very limited resource and is exhausted as the day goes by.  This is what causes you to eventually stop going to the gym and start eating less healthfully).

In conclusion, make your lifestyle changes sustainable and enjoyable by integrating them into your life instead of imposing them onto it.

Good luck transforming your life!

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo

PLEASE SHARE: If someone you care about is struggling with his or her weight and you think he or she could benefit from safe and scientifically-sound methods that are proven to improve health and our quality of life then please forward this post to them.  We can help them break the cycle of ineffective and unsustainable dieting and demoralization.  Thank you.

by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on January 17th, 2015

Should You Be Taking Testosterone Supplements?

​There is currently a rapidly-growing number of men increasingly concerned about this question and many are more than willing to pay good money for testosterone supplementation.  Here is what I would have them consider:

The real question is, "WHY would you like to increase your testosterone?"

Have you considered increasing your Thyroxine? Your Cortisol?, What about your Noradrenaline?  And don't forget your Dopamine!
Unless you have a very specific ailment or condition, such as having lost both testicles to an injury or cancer and your primary care physician has referred you to a board-certified endocrinologist, I would be inclined to guess that you may be reaching the conclusion that you need more testosterone based on commercial misinformation making you an unsuspecting consumer of a very powerful chemical that if taken it may have unrestricted access to the inner-most workings of your body and potentially cause serious chaos.

Perhaps you saw an ad that asks, "Are you feeling tired? Lack energy? Are you losing your hair?  Can't build up muscle like you used you? Are you... coming up short in the bedroom?!"
 

Taking Testosterone

If you take some kind of "testosterone supplement" without a legitimate medical indication then I can think of three possible scenarios:

1) The best case scenario is that you end up getting an effective dose of real testosterone (squeezed out of the gonads of some unwilling animal) or of synthetic testosterone made in a lab and it throws your physiology into chaos and potentially increases your risks for stroke and heart attack, as 5 men are currently arguing in a lawsuit against a lab that produced a version of the hromone.

2) Worst case scenario is that you get some arsenic/pesticide-tainted bogus liquid from who-knows where and drink it up religiously, expecting the fountain of youth and virility only to get seriously ill.

3) Or else, you just end up paying more per month to drink a useless and mysterious concoction than you would pay for a gym membership and a supply of healthy food.

Unfortunately, there are several perfectly legitimate medical doctors offering hormone replacement treatments to big-paying, voluntary "patients" that have nothing wrong with them but choose to have the treatment, even when the scientific literature is clear: the benefits are marginal to non-existent and the side-effects can be significant, potentially very serious and are completely unnecessary.

Be very wise and get informed before starting any kind of "treatment" having to do with your body's chemistry, especially hormones.  There are many marketing traps out there waiting for someone like you to fall into them.  That is why we have created a 10-point list of tale-tell signs you should be aware of.  Be sure to check it out and we would love to hear from you if you thought we left something out!

Take good care of your body, it's the only one you got!  And don't put any unnecessary junk in it, instead, learn about what it really needs to thrive and give it to your body!

To Your Health!

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo


*A version of this original blog entry appeared on Quora.com as part of a voluntary answer by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo to a Health & Wellness-related question posted by an anonymous member of the public.


by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on December 19th, 2014

​The sooner you accept it the closer you will be to the most youthful you will ever get.
 

I am often asked about “anti-aging” products and services and I have even been asked to write about the topic more than once.  Invariably, I approach the topic with some trepidation.  After all, the term implies undoing the effects of time.  Calling this a scandalous preposition would be an understatement.


Needless to say, I am not a fan of the term, even if I have been asked by fellow physicians to join them in highly profitable ventures injecting botox and fillers into the faces of grateful ‘patients.’  To me, a ‘patient’ is still someone who comes to a doctor while suffering of a health problem and not suffering of a desire to cover up the state of his or her body with foreign and potentially harmful substances for the sake of appearances.  Instead, I chose to dedicate myself to promoting real health and letting the cosmetically-pleasing effects of a healthy lifestyle radiate out as mere by-products.


 Still, the term “anti-aging” continues to make inroads, not only in popular culture and the economy but even in the medical field itself.  There is now an “American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine” with conferences at resorts as well as corresponding certifications, master’s degrees, and fellowships.  But it's still not my cup of tea.  After all, a large portion of the field involves the creation of the appearance of youth by simply hiding the visible effects of time such as skin blemishes, wrinkles and loss of suppleness.  The way I see it, when was the last time a wrinkle actually hurt somebody?

If we want to really counter the effects of time then we need to look deeper than the surface of our skin.  Those of us over the age of 25 shouldn’t yearn to be young again.  Instead, we should  retain or rekindle the optimism, energy, playfulness, irreverence towards the establishment, and the care-free attitude that we enjoyed in our earlier years to then combine it with our hard-earned and time-tested wisdom.  After all, many of those who have lived the longest among us are the same who have maintained a youthful attitude, not appearance.

To your health!

​Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo

by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on December 7th, 2014

For better or worse, the majority of us will tend to do a search on the internet before resorting to seeking professional medical advice.  Personally, I think it is a reasonable decision, so long as it is done wisely.

The current cybernetic environment is teeming with unimaginable health scams, especially in the "complementary and alternative medicine" (or CAM) realm.  Why does this area stand out above conventional medicine?  For a few very important reasons we'll briefly delve into in a second.  I research these scams every single day as an important part of my work as an evidence-based health coach and I still do not have enough hours in my day to check out all the bogus claims.
 

The alternative medicine field lends itself beautifully to scams for several reasons:

1) Lack of Regulation.

Due to legal loop holes health remedies, or their claims, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.  So, as long as they use vague and non-regulated terms like "boosts" "supports", "revitalizes" and many others the peddlers of unproven remedies still manage to convey to the poor sucker who's about to get scammed that these bogus products will improve his or her health.

2) A Rational Explanation is Not Required.

Alternative remedy scams may give non-sensical, yet "sciencey"-sounding mechanisms for their remedies to impress the vast majority of the public with a limited understanding of medical science.  Alternatively, they may take the "maverick" route and claim that the medical establishment has been trying to discredit and silence them for a laundry-list of highly unlikely conspiracies for which there is typically no evidence whatsoever.

3) The Desperate Will Give You The Shirt Off Their Backs.

There are many illnesses for which medicine has not yet come up with satisfactory cures or treatments.  This is because it takes time (hundreds of years), effort (millions of careers) and money (trillions of dollars) to advance the science of medicine.  But when we do advance it typically millions of lives are saved and many more are improved.  But until the day comes when we find the cure to the very last disease there will always be a portion of the long-suffering people who are emotionally drained and exhausted from their struggle with failed treatments and they will be so desperate that they will try virtually anything!

Tragically, these are the ideal victims of health remedy scams, from magical bracelets for arthritis, home-brewed kombucha concoctions for cancer, to $400 heat pads for chronic back pain.  These poor souls will sell their homes for a chance at what they perceive astheir last remaining hope.  If there is one thing that boils my blood then it is the heartless opportunism brought upon the most vulnerable among us.  There will always be a criminally unscrupulous seller ready to cash in on someone else's suffering.

4) Degrees? We Don't Need No Stinking Degrees!

In the alternative medicine area anyone is an expert and a brilliant guru!  Since there is virtually no research, no peer-review on the fantastical claims made, and most are out simply to make money, scammers don't even call out other scammers on their scams!  Instead, there appears to be some kind of code of silence where most crooked practitioners just mind their own business and together they scam the public wholesale.

Most bogus 'practitioners' get meaningless and unaccredited 'certifications' and turn them into little letters after their names to appear somehow more legitimate.  Some go so far as to pay diploma mills for fake "PhD's" or show off degrees on totally unrelated fields (Is a dental hygenist your go-to expert for nutrition, supplements and home remedies?  There is at least one such person out there who thinks they are!).  In any case, real qualifications are never a requirement to sell snake oil.

What Can You Do About It?

Today we are perpetually connected to the internet in one way or another and it is vital that we treat our digital devices as what they really are: Portals into the outside world.  In other words, treat your computer as you'd treat your home's front door.  Put up your guard as you cross the threshold.  Be vigilant and street-smart.  Don't believe everything you read, and question extraordinary claims, especially those pertaining to the well-being of you and your family.

When you research a health topic be sure you are consulitng a credible source, such as
the ones I consult regularly. 

I have prepared a guide to assess the credibility of the 'health gurus' and 'wellness experts' you will surely come across online, sooner or later.  You can find it here:
 Shop Around.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well as on the Shop Around Guide.  If you think I missed something or you'd like to share your thoughts or experiences on this topic then please do so in the comment section.  It will most likely benefit somebody sooner or later!

Just this evening I commented to my sister about a particularly clever attempted scam I recently experienced and we discovered she had had the same exact experience a few weeks ago!  So stay sharp, no one is immune, and always enjoy the power and wonders of the internet with a healthy dose of skepticism.

To your health,

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo
ELITE Personalized Health, Founder​

*An abbreviated version of this original blog entry appeared on Quora.com as part of a voluntary answer by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo to a Health & Wellness-related question posted by an anonymous member of the public.


by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on December 3rd, 2014

By this time all kinds of well-intentioned life improvements, tweaks and grand transformations are occupying our minds and are likely to emerge as one or more lofty and promising New Year resolutions.

Sadly, most New Year resolutions typically die within 3 weeks.  Yet, year after year, millions of us are tempted to make them again and again.

What To Make Of All This

Aside from the social and cultural factors egging us on to make resolutions at the New Year there may be an irresistible human need to join nature on its cycle of renewal that begins in January (at least in the Northern hemisphere!).

We may choose to ignore the entire resolution hype, but then we might be missing out on a potentially powerful opportunity to kickstart real lasting life-changing transformation.

But how do we get real and lasting results from our resolutions?

Start Today

Any real, meaningful and sustainable change in our health and lifestyle must be preceded by an assessment of our Readiness for Change.  This is what needs to take place before we publicly declare that we’ll “lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks” or we’ll “work out every day” or we’ll “be bed before 10PM.”  Not assessing this is like going on a vacation without your luggage or your passport (It’ll be over before it starts!).

Your self-assessment for your Readiness for Change needs time and patience so now is the time to start the process for the new year.  Consider what your life’s priorities and ultimate goals are.  Then consider how your state of health, or lack thereof, may affect those goals.  Ask yourself if an excess in weight, the risk of sudden death, or your risk of developing a life-long medical condition such as diabetes could take away the time, the money, the energy and the effort that you might want to spend with your loved ones doing what you love.  Perhaps you feel self-conscious in public or you wish to look better.  If so then don't stop there, instead ask yourself "Why do you want to look better? What does it mean to you? Are there deeper issues at play keeping you as you are?"  Document these motivations but also identify the distractors and false motives such as "because I want to look good" or "because I want a make-over."

For More Information

At ELITE Personalized Health we have developed some simple, yet powerful tools to walk you through this vital process of identifying your real motivations which will focus your efforts on your journey to optimize your health.  We've also developed a free tool that helps you improve your health the very same day you receive it!  You can get these tools and more by simply joining our FREE ELITE Community.

Best of luck preparing your smart resolutions for 2015 and remember the following pointers!:

1) Avoid making changes in your habits that you wouldn’t consider maintaining for the next 5 years.

2) If a remedy sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.  Check out our 10 Red Flags for The Wellness Industry.

3) There are no magic tricks for good health, no matter what the latest celebrity wellness guru says on t.v.  Sooner of later their claims invariably fall flat.

4) However, there are real, scientifically-proven strategies that will reduce the amount of discipline and will power required while giving you great and long-lasting health!  To learn more explore our website or contact us and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction!

To Your Health,

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo

by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on June 19th, 2014

Dr. Oz in Hot Water

As noted by most major news outlets, Dr. Oz has been brought to task by U.S. Senators on the often sensationalist and unsubstantiated health claims he makes on his widely popular television show.  Using dubious terms like "miracle" and "magic weight loss pill" has attracted unwanted attention from the Federal Trade Commission.

In defending his use of such pseudo-scientific claims he said that "in attempting to engage viewers I used flowery language that was very passionate and ended up not being very helpful but incendiary."  Incendiary is something that gives rise of conflict.  The only conflict his claims have led to is his own need to explain the veracity of the statements he routinely makes on his popular and tremendously profitable t.v. show. Let us not forget that by "engaging viewers" Dr. Oz is securing high ratings which directly translate into millions of dollars in revenue for him and the network.

The Boring Predictability of the Facts

It is interesting, but also disheartening, to watch a respected surgeon such as Dr. Oz  squander the undivided attention that he gets from millions of Americans, week after week, and use it to promote pseudoscientific entertainment and commercialism when he could be making a real and significant difference in the health of millions.  He could be educating them not only on what we all should be doing to improve our health but also on the basic critical thinking skills doctors use to separate fact from fiction.  Promoting this skill today is probably one of the greatest public services anyone can attempt.  If he could do with health and skepticism what Oprah accomplished with her book reading club then his television career would inarguably be a momentous one.

In a surreal moment of candor Dr. Oz commented to reporters outside the senate hearing chamber,  "The basis of long-term wellbeing is diet and exercise, it always has been and it will probably always will be."  Just like that, in one swooping sentence, he managed to cut through all the flashy commercialism and trendy hype that has been carefully created around his face, name, voice, and public image, and for once, he managed to sound less like a snake oil selling showman and more like a real doctor.  I wonder which one we will see on American's screens next week.

UPDATE:  Dr. Oz disappoints once again...

I am saddened to report that Dr. Oz continues to display absolute disregard for the integrity expected of medical professionals, both by the public, as well as by most of his fellow peers.

Check out the following entry by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, a Canadian weight loss specialist who shares our dislike of unsubstantiated health claims that waste the time, effort, money, and hope of unsuspecting and suffering patients suffering of very real health issues and preyed upon by health scams peddlers.  Click on the link below to read this short but incisive entry:

DR. OZ - SO CORRUPT BY FAME HE EVEN SELLS HIMSELF OUT?
 

by Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo on May 8th, 2014

As many have rightly pointed out, life is but a collection of moments.  Moments are brief, they have a beginning, and they have an end.  The nature of moments places us, for better or worse, in a constant state of renewal and change.  We can live our lives mourning the end of the sweeter moments we've experienced or looking forward to new and yet-undiscovered moments in our future.

Let us live life in a truly constant state of reinvention and fresh starts.  Break it down, shake it up, and move things around.  If there is one certainty in nature more certain than death and taxes then it is change.  So let us embrace it with all of our being.

ELITE Personalized Health is all about the possibility of bringing about positive change.  Our sole purpose is to put YOU and your wellbeing on center stage and say,

"YOU are important. YOUR health and wellness are vital to your happiness and self-realization. It is time to give them their long-overdue importance."

The key to renewal is to keep looking forward and not linger on past failures or shortcomings.  With time, there is no going back, so there is no point in lingering in the past any longer than it takes you to learn the lesson that will keep you from repeating whatever mistake you might have made.

Whether you are trying to eat less, eat better, stop smoking or stress less, it all comes down to what choices you will make at a given moment... when? NOW.  Not yesterday and not tomorrow.  The only moment that matters is NOW.  So don't worry or stress about "not having the strength to keep this new healthy habit up" or about "maintaining your new lifestyle until next New Year's." These negative thoughts are just belligerent hecklers stealing the microphone of your mind.  Instead, listen to the here and now which are all you really have control over. Only concern yourself with doing what is right for you RIGHT NOW.  Ten minutes from now will be a different moment at a different time so don't concern yourself so much about it now.

Until then,

Dr. Victor Peña-Araujo
ELITE Personalized Health Founder