Science of Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness – Episode #2

Hello, and welcome back. I’m Dr. Mark Smith, the Good Living Doc. This is the Good Living Doc Show, episode 2. In the last episode, we talked about the Big Idea. We talked about how the body is intelligent and how when you approach health problems as though the body is intelligent, that it takes you down another road. A new avenue. And that is the underlying understanding of the human body when I approach people’s health problems and I believe that it is that approach that helps people in my office get better where they’re not getting better in other offices and with other health care practitioners. 

We also talked about how the medical profession, or mainstream health care, treats the body like it’s weak, sick and stupid. And in doing that, there’s more room for error when you’re trying to treat disease. 

Treating disease is very hard. It’s not easy to treat disease. Because no two people are alike and therefore no two diseases are alike. And so it’s very difficult sometimes to treat diseases when there are so many different variables. 

But when you treat the body like it’s intelligent and the goal is simply to help the body do what it’s trying to do naturally, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of your approach because you don’t have to be as smart as the body. And you don’t have to have all the answers. You simply have to ask why. And in asking why, you end up doing more for yourself than just trying to control symptoms. 

That was the gist of episode 1. I encourage you to go back and listen to it, because I know that you believe that your body is intelligent most likely, but the explanation there will really go into depth about that concept and it’ll help you really get a good foundation. Because on all of these episodes as we go forward, these recordings are going to be based on that understanding. 

This is a health and wellness podcast. And therefore nothing you hear on this podcast, because I’m not your medical doctor, is meant to be taken as personal medical advice. So please do not attempt to treat, diagnose, or cure any medical condition in yourself or anyone else based solely on the information I present here. Don’t try to attempt to change your current doctor-prescribed healthcare program or begin a new program without consulting a licensed health professional. And since I am not your doctor, please listen to this episode and all future episodes for information purposes only.  

So, if you listened to episode 1, you might get the impression that I’m against medicine. As if there’s no place for them and I want to make it clear that that’s not the case. I regularly refer people to their medical doctors for evaluation, diagnostic imaging, etc. But having said that, I also want to make it clear that there are two different arms of medical care. 

The first one is emergency care, and when it comes to emergency care, when it comes to saving your life because you are having a heart attack or a stroke or some other awful thing happening to you, they are the best. And I would not hesitate to go and get medical emergency care if I were encountering a life-ending event. 

But emergency care is different from health care. When we’re talking about health care, we’re talking about the diseases that millions of people live with. We’re talking about heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol problems, sexual dysfunction, mood disorders, and the list goes on and on. 

Disease Care is Not Health Care

Health care is different and it is my stance that modern day health care, or I should probably change that definition. I keep calling it modern day health care when actually, I should just call it disease care. When the goal becomes the treatment of disease, It becomes a lot harder to know what to do and give the right treatments. And even in doing that when you treat a disease, you do not increase health. Those are two different things. 

But when it comes to disease care, I don’t want to just define disease care as modern day medicine. Because there are plenty of people in the natural realm who are taking blood and taking urine and advising supplements and lifestyle measures that are doing the same thing. It’s still disease treatment for many natural practitioners. The goal is still to reverse disease. Or to treat the disease. And that’s not the goal when you’re working on the assumption or the truth that the body is intelligent. 

And so, as long as you’re trying to treat a disease, I believe there is a better way to approach that person. We had to redefine the word health care, because when you say health care, people think of medicine. So the term wellness was brought into practice or was brought into use because another term was necessary. We’re actually trying to make the body stronger. We’re trying to make the body better. We’re trying to increase our function. And increase the ability of our biological processes to be normal and to be optimal. That’s very different from giving a drug for high blood pressure. 

Let’s take high blood pressure since I just mentioned it so you can see the difference between the two approaches. First, what is high blood pressure? Why does your blood pressure go up? See how I just asked why again. Because my assumption is that the body is intelligent. And whenever you’re working with that assumption, the next question you ask is always why. And that’s something that people in disease care don’t ask. Because to them, the body is weak, sick, and stupid. And so it’s just the way it is. 

So let’s say your blood pressure is high and it’s high consistently. In disease care. no one tries to understand it to figure out what the problem is. It’s simply “Well, your blood pressure is high, take these pills and we’ll get your blood pressure down.” If your body is weak, sick, and stupid, then that’s your only option because “Your blood pressure is high, we don’t know why, your body is just broken. You inherited this from your parents and grandparents. So take these pills and good luck. Let us know if anything really bad happens. Let’s evaluate you again in a year and we’ll see if we need to increase your dosage or give you more drugs.

Now, if you believe the body is intelligent, the question becomes “Why is my blood pressure high?” Well your blood pressure goes up for one reason. Let’s say you want to sprint across the parking lot. Your blood pressure has to go up when you start to demand more from your body. Suddenly, energy and nutrients and oxygen, all the things that the blood carries to your tissues and organs become more necessary. Your body needs more because you’re demanding more from the body. And so, your blood pressure goes up and your heart rate goes up in order to deliver those things the blood is carrying into your body faster. 

So the reason the blood pressure goes up is because the body needs more of what the blood is carrying. See, that’s intelligent right? That would be an intelligent thing. My body needs more, so that’s smart. Now, if you’re just sitting somewhere, if you’re sitting in your chair and your blood pressure is high, that’s different. That means there’s something going on that is causing the body to be in distress because just sitting there in a relaxed state, your body needs more of what your blood is carrying for whatever reason. 

Now, sometimes that’s just because you’re stressed out, you’re thinking about something stressful. Or something stressful is happening. And so part of the stress response is an increase in blood pressure to deliver the things the blood is carrying out into the body faster and more efficiently. 

So, high blood pressure simply means that somewhere in the body, there is distress. Or there is stress when you’re just sitting and that becomes bad. If your blood pressure goes up because you’re doing something and you’re involved in some kind of activity, that’s normal and natural. If you’re just sitting there, that’s a problem. That means that something is going on. Because somewhere in the body, the demand for the things the blood is carrying is higher. And we have to figure out why. 

So if your body is demanding more of the things that the blood is carrying, and we simply take a drug because your blood pressure is high to lower the blood pressure because having high blood pressure isn’t healthy and you could be risking damage to arteries or something worse happening, we need to get the blood pressure down. So you take a pill and you get the blood pressure down. But the demand is still there. If you haven’t done anything to heal this problem or to do whatever it is the body’s trying to do, to heal…then all you’ve done is put the body in more of a disadvantage. Your body is trying to get more of this stuff and you simply take away its ability to do that. So you see treating high blood pressure, while I understand why we do it, does not increase the level of health in that person. You don’t become more well from doing this. 

So the question has to become, if the body is intelligent, what is the body trying to do, and how can I help it? So something simple like high blood pressure, you can see how a different approach occurs whether you feel like it’s a mistake, like the body is just broken and weak, or if the body’s intelligent and is doing something intelligent, what do we do now? The approach is very different, and the outcome of those approaches, are very different, too. 

Now, if you’re in the natural realm, the natural arena, trying to get help, a lot of times that’s done through nutrition, exercise, stress management, etc. But from what I’m told by my patients, there isn’t a lot of time these days when you visit your doctor for any kind of discussion, or understanding, or explanation. It’s just simply, “You have a problem, we identify the problem, we diagnose you, here is your prescription.” And there’s no discussion about lifestyle measures. 

But if the body is weak, sick and stupid, that’s why. Because there’s no understanding that lifestyle measures can help, and you might be interested to know that there’s plenty of science out there showing that diet and exercise…these are the things you always hear…diet and exercise…this pill can help you with diet and exercise…if you want to lose weight, diet and exercise…if you want to have a healthier heart, diet and exercise, but along with these pills. 

But I don’t know anyone who’s ever come to me with these problems who has been advised by their disease care doctors on what to do. And it’s a travesty 

Science Supporting Good Nutrition

So what do we do? We’re forced to ask Dr. Google about what to do. And If you’ve ever done your own research on any kind of health problem, it’s nuts. It’s bananas man. Trying to figure out among hundreds and hundreds of resources, every one with a differing opinion on what to do. And it’s almost like the medical or disease care people don’t really believe much in diet and exercise. You’d have to come to that conclusion since patients don’t get this kind of guidance. 

So it’s easy to get lost in a sea of conflicting health information. And what that does is a lot of times people just shrug and give up because they’re so frustrated. We’ve been taught that disease is inherited and our only option for treatment is drugs and surgery. We’ve also been taught that aging is a process of slow decline that’s just filled with chronic illnesses, pain, and misery. So if disease is ultimately a roll of the dice then our best hope is to just cross your fingers and pray you don’t get sick, pray you can live a long time. But that’s how disease care is managed.

I want to read you some statistics of resources here from medical sources. Now, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US, and it kills about 610 thousand people every year.  And cancer is a close second. About 40 percent of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point. Half of all Americans will die from one of these two things. 

Now, get this, this is what really shocks me. According to the American College of Cardiology, about 22.4% of all male deaths, and 20.7% of all female deaths are because of a poor diet (1). That’s straight from their mouths, on their website. You can go find it. I’ll put some links up so you can go see it.  

The American Heart Association has said that 45.4% of US deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes were caused by bad eating habits (2). That’s half, almost. 

A number of studies cited by the American Cancer Society reported that people who eat more fruits, vegetables, fish, and poultry, and less processed meat, refined grains, and sugary foods and beverages, have a lower risk of developing cancer (3)(4) and dying from cancer (5)(6) or heart disease (7). 

The American Heart Association and Johns Hopkins University and others also note that eating fruits and vegetables lowers the risks of chronic disease (8)(9) particularly heart disease (10)(11) and dying from heart related conditions. 

Now this isn’t some off-the-wall, left field natural health website. These are the medical association websites. These are the leading medical association websites.

Science Supporting Good Fitness and Exercise

So, let’s talk about exercise.

The American Heart Association explains that physical inactivity is the “fourth-leading risk factor for global death, responsible for 1 to 2 million deaths annually.” (12)

In another study, researchers concluded that “higher fitness levels predict lower death rates and complications associated with cardiovascular disease.” (13)

The American Cancer Society and the Harvard School of Public Health state that physical activity reduces the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancer (14)(15). 

Also from the American Cancer Society. “Being overweight contributes to 14 to 20% of all cancer related deaths.” (16)

This is insane. If that’s the case, if the disease care people are acknowledging how important nutrition and exercise are, why is this not being talked about? When you go see your medical doctor and you get a cancer diagnosis or a heart disease diagnosis, why aren’t you also assigned a dietitian or an exercise physiologist or both or some kind of coaches or some kind of guidance for what to do? 

How many people are being taught how to eat and move in order to live longer and live better, to increase our wellness?  You see the difference? There are actually ways to increase our wellness, not just fight our diseases and fight our symptoms. These aren’t strange journals that these statistics are being stated in. These are the organizations we look to for answers. 

AICR Advice for Preventing Cancer

The American Institute for Cancer Research says that about one-third of cancers in the US could be avoided by three simple lifestyle changes, and they list them. 

1. Eat healthy. 

2. Exercise regularly. 

3. Maintain a healthy body weight. 

One third of cancers could be avoided if we did these simple things. I didn’t say they were easy. I said they were simple. 

According to the American Cancer Society, one third of cancers are caused by lifestyle, including diet choices, activity level, and weight control, and another one-third are related to tobacco use (17).

So statistically, if we go by these statistics, two-thirds of all cancers could be eliminated by eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, and not smoking. That’s nuts. 

The Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association have noted in research studies that, as healthy lifestyle factors increased in study subjects, the risks of developing a chronic disease decreased by 78% overall (18). 

No one in the disease care industry is talking about this, and if they do it’s just “eat right and exercise.” And it’s not that simple, because most people I’ve talked to about their diet in the past think they eat well. I mean, very rarely does someone ever say yeah, I eat like crap. 

But if we all lived by these basic guidelines, we would extend lives. We would save billions of dollars, and we would reduce human suffering to an extent never seen before in the history of modern medicine, by doing these natural, every day, drug-free things. And this is what they say. I’m not saying that, they are. 

And why aren’t our children taught these things in school? I don’t know if anything has changed but when I went to school, the school lunches were horrendous. There wasn’t anything healthy about school lunches. They have vending machines in schools now with soda and candy. It starts here. It starts with the kids. I’ll get off on a rant on that. I better stop right there. I’ll leave it up to you to theorize why those things aren’t happening. 

Who Should Make Your Healthcare Decisions?

But who should be making your healthcare decisions? Who should be determining how you get yourself healthy? Your insurance company? I guarantee they’re not looking out for you. Your medical doctor? Most medical doctors get very little training in nutrition and exercise and other natural lifestyle methods. And even if they are educated, they have very little time to help you with it. 

What about the government? The government is not going to save us, either. People want universal health care. I don’t have anything against universal health care. I think that every human being on the Earth should have access to medical care that could save their lives if they need it and you shouldn’t have to go bankrupt because you have your life saved. But at the end of the day, disease care is not the answer.  

So you can make healthcare free, but people aren’t going to be better for it. They’re not going to make us healthier because it’s free. Because the approach is wrong. So, just with these few website statistics, we’ve seen that lifestyle choices play a huge role in disease risk. So, there is something that you can do. Your body is not weak, sick, and stupid. It’s very intelligent. And by making some small changes or maybe, depending on who you are, some big changes, you can really save yourself. You can really live optimally, and we can live longer, and we can stop bankrupting ourselves with medical care. 

I know some insurance salesmen and they tell me how ridiculously expensive some of these drugs are. Thousands of dollars a month to save you, so you don’t die. Thousands of dollars a month you have to pay so you don’t die. 

Let me reiterate that you should not stop your doctor-prescribed healthcare program based on what I say here, because you really do need someone who is educated about these things to guide you before you can make these kinds of changes. You can’t just throw all your drugs in the trash and change your diet. You have to be smart about it. 

But we all, as individuals and as parents, need to take responsibility for how we treat our bodies and take a more active role in our health care because there is something you can do. We need to do more, we need to learn more. We need to be better. We need to lead. We need to lead our families. We have to become our own health coaches and nutrition experts and fitness gurus and daily motivators. We have to all do that for ourselves because if you can’t find somebody else to help you with it, you have to do it yourself. 

The internet is a great source of information. You can find anything you want to know. But understand that there’s a hug profit making potential. There’s a huge profit making sector in health care. Is there any industry that makes more profit than health care? I don’t think so. So that is always a concern. Because there are companies and people in charge who are all about the profit. When you’re in a billion dollar industry, that is going to happen. People who make important decisions are going to be doing them based on money. Not always, but they’re going to be there and so you always have to look at that through that lens. 

And so when you’re researching stuff on the internet, you should do these two things, I don’t want you to rely on one source. I want you to get lots and lots of sources. And look for scientific references. That’s the biggest one. Because without science, it’s just somebody’s opinion. Science is important. 

There are plenty of natural companies out there too, companies selling products that are greed driven, as well. So it’s on the other side too. You can’t just trust it because it’s a natural company. The companies selling natural things aren’t as regulated. There’s no oversight when it comes to natural companies selling things.  

So what do we conclude here? When I started this, I said that I wasn’t against medicine, but you may not believe that after this recording. It is true, I think that there are instances when medicine for health care is necessary. When it’s going to save your life and extend your life, I mean it can be good. But that’s not where it ends. We can’t end it there. 

We have to continue on and do everything that we can to be healthier because the same people who are prescribing drugs and the same organizations that are leading the field of medicine are telling us that diet and exercise, and what we do with our bodies, and how we live, is important. And that a lot of our issues, a lot of our diseases and health problems are caused by our lifestyle. And that’s where we can get involved. And we have to get involved, especially if there are children and you’re trying to raise healthy children. 

Okay, I’m going to stop there. Thank you for listening. I do appreciate it. If you can think of anyone who might benefit from these recordings or might like to listen, please send them to my website All of my latest recordings will be there. And there will be transcripts of each recording as well, in case you prefer reading over listening. There’s a lot more to come. Stay tuned. Until then, take care of yourself and the people you love. Bye for now.

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