Monday, February 13, 2012

Follow the Money

There’s an adage that goes something like, “If you visit a doctor, you’ll get medicine. Go see a nutritionist and you’ll learn that all of your problems are caused by your diet. If you visit a chiropractor, you’ll find the problem is your skeleton.  Visiting a massage therapist, you’ll be told it’s a muscular problem. A neurologist will find a nerve issue.  A Reiki master will tell you it’s all about your energy. Go see a psychiatrist and it will become clear that it’s all in your mind.”

Basically, you can’t really trust anyone who’s set up to make money.  Once someone is getting paid for their information, they immediately become biased. I’m not saying they can’t be trusted at all, but I’m advising you keep in mind that if someone is making a livelihood from giving you specific information, then they’re going to be highly motivated to believe and dispense said information; no matter what.

Paula Deen is an example of this.  When she was told she had Type 2 diabetes, it was no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the strong correlation between nutrition and health.  But, if she had a brain and a soul, she would have recognized that her lifestyle was killing her.  This would be bad enough, but it was not only killing her, but also slowly killing all of the people who watch her shows and get inspired by her demented ideas of what ‘food’ is.

Instead of changing her tune and possibly learning from her condition, she’s adding another notch to her evil belt. Now she’s a spokesperson for Novartis, a big pharmaceutical company that thrives on keeping us sick and feeding us drugs.  If we, as a country, used our brains when we ate, we’d not only put pharmaceuticals and doctors out of business, but we’d enjoy a much more pleasant, healthy and productive life.

I noticed a similar phenomenon with yoga teachers in the wake of a NY Times article that outed yoga as being not all it was cracked up to be, and actually suggesting that it could be a dangerous practice.

(By the way, I wrote a very similar article over a year earlier, so it’s nice to know that the NY Times is stealing from me.) Read that blog post here

But what’s really discouraging is hearing the responses from people who have set themselves up to make their living from yoga. They have blinders on, and will defend yoga at all costs rather than adjust what they believe in the face of new information.

I’m not beholden to any type of exercise, any particular diet or any supplement or medication. i can change my advice and my beliefs as scientific discoveries change the landscape.  If I had my career all tied up in weight-training, for example, I never could have made the dramatic shift away from weights that I did in 2009 when I came to the understanding that not only was it not the best way to work out, but that it carried a lot of dangers with it. If I was selling a program that included a lot of deep breathing, I never could have abandoned that in favor of shallow breathing when I discovered its superiority in late 2010.

So in the end, the best advice is to give a lot of weight to your intuitions and to keep in mind how much of a financial investment any guru has in the subject. Your best teachers will be the ones who have no long-term attachment to their material, but whose teaching change and adapt over time as they learn and grow.

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