Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Regs Promote Statin Drugs as Preventative, BOGUS!

Story at-a-glance

  • New treatment guidelines for high cholesterol will likely DOUBLE the number of Americans being prescribed these dangerous drugs, bringing the total to an estimated 72 million people
  • 12 of the 16 panel members of the new guidelines are affiliated with more than 50 different drug companies, many of which have a financial interest in the outcome of this report
  • The guideline committee has vowed to examine the flaws to determine if and what changes are needed to make it more accurate. Until then, beware the calculator appears to overestimate your risk by anywhere from 75 to 150 percent
By Dr. Mercola
One in four Americans over the age of 45 currently take a statin drug, despite the fact that there are over 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk.
Now, new treatment guidelines for high cholesterol will likely DOUBLE the number of Americans being prescribed these dangerous drugs, bringing the total to an estimated—and staggering—72 million people!

How May the New Guidelines Affect You?
As explained by the American Heart Association,4 the new guidelines advise doctors to look at certain risk factors in order to determine if a patient should be prescribed a statin drug, or whether he or she should simply focus on heart healthy lifestyle changes. The problem is, virtually no one will fall into the latter category.
If you answer “yes” to ANY of the following four questions, the treatment protocol calls for a statin drug:
  1. Do you have heart disease?
  2. Do you have diabetes? (either type 1 or type 2)
  3. Is your LDL cholesterol above 190?
  4. Is your 10-year risk of a heart attack greater than 7.5 percent?

Well-Known Integrated Cardiologist Decimates Treatment Guidelines

Dr. Stephen Sinatra7 wrote an in-depth article in which he decimates every single one of these four treatment guidelines. According to him, the new guidelines are at best 20-25 percent accurate, and here’s why:
  1. The heart disease criteria, while it might be appropriate for older men, does not really work for women. There’s no data demonstrating that the benefits of statins outweigh the health risks in women—risks that include diabetes and breast cancer.
  2. According to Dr. Sinatra: “[I]n my opinion, the only women who should be on statins are those with advanced coronary artery disease who continue to deteriorate despite lifestyle interventions. I believe that less than one percent of women with coronary artery disease fall into this category.”
  3. In short, giving a drug that causes diabetes to someone who already hasdiabetes is nonsensical. It can only make matters worse. What’s more, data indicates that statins can cause arterial calcification in diabetic men who take the drug. Thirdly, statins can cause cataracts, which is a common problem in diabetics. The drug may therefore increase this risk.
  4. This may be appropriate if you have genetic familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes you resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol, such as diet and exercise. This condition is quite rare, affecting an estimated one in 500. In the absence of this genetic situation, treating high LDL levels has little validity.
  5. As you will see below, the 10-year heart attack risk calculation has been “programmed” in such a way as to make patients out of virtually everyone. Besides that, Dr. Sinatra points out that the complexity of estimating risk based on age, race, blood pressure, smoking habits and other criteria is quite likely to lead to overzealous prescribing.

Statins Are Hardly Preventive Medicine

The panel members have concocted a bizarre justification for these actions, trying to make it sound like the new recommendations are focused on prevention through lifestyle modifications along with statin therapy. This is a gross misapplication of the word “prevention,” as these drugs cannot address the underlying conditions of heart or cardiovascular disease. Even more egregious, they have apparently chosen to completely ignore recent research showing that statins can effectively negate the benefits of exercise, which is one of the primary heart disease prevention strategies!
But the biggest “sham” of all is that statin drugs, touted as “preventive medicine” to protect your heart health, can actually havedetrimental effects on your heart. For example, a study published just last year in the journal Atherosclerosis,12 showed that statin use is associated with a 52 percent increased prevalence and extent of calcified coronary plaque compared to non-users. And coronary artery calcification is the hallmark of potentially lethal heart disease. Just what kind of prevention is that?

Statin Drugs Can Wreck Your Health in Multiple Ways

Statins have also been shown to increase your risk of diabetes via a number of different mechanisms, so if you weren’t put on a statin because you have diabetes, you may end up with a diabetes diagnosis courtesy of the drug. Two of these mechanisms include:
  • Increasing insulin resistance, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Increased insulin resistance contributes to chronic inflammation in your body, and inflammation is the hallmark of most diseases. In fact, increased insulin resistance can lead to heart disease, which, again, is the primary reason for taking a statin in the first place. It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and cancer.
  • Raising your blood sugar. When you eat a meal that contains starches and sugar, some of the excess sugar goes to your liver, which then stores it away as cholesterol and triglycerides. Statins work by preventing your liver from making cholesterol. As a result, your liver returns the sugar to your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar levels.
Drug-induced diabetes and genuine type 2 diabetes are not necessarily identical. If you're on a statin drug and find that your blood glucose is elevated, it's possible that what you have is just hyperglycemia—a side effect, and the result of your medication. Unfortunately, many doctors will at that point mistakenly diagnose you with "type 2 diabetes," and possibly prescribe anotherdrug, when all you may need to do is simply discontinue the statin in order for your blood glucose levels to revert back to normal.
Statin drugs also interfere with other biological functions. Of utmost importance, statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which accounts for many of its devastating results. Therefore, if you take a statin, you must take supplemental CoQ10, or better, the reduced form called ubiquinol. Statins also interfere with the mevalonate pathway, which is the central pathway for the steroid management in your body. Products of this pathway that are negatively affected by statins include:
  • All your sex hormones
  • Cortisone
  • The dolichols, which are involved in keeping the membranes inside your cells healthy
  • All sterols, including cholesterol and vitamin D (which is similar to cholesterol and is produced from cholesterol in your skin)

12 of 16 Panel Members have Ties to Drug Industry

Two years ago, the New York Times19 criticized the cholesterol panel, including Dr. Stone, for its many apparent conflicts of interest. Stone told the NYT that the group was taking “extraordinary measures to reduce bias,” but with the evidence I've found on this group, how could they possibly not be biased toward the use of statins? At least 12 of the 16 members have financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry!   Even more egregious, only seven of them chose to disclose such ties. After hours of internet research, I discovered five more authors had potential conflicts of interest with industry. It's nothing short of outrageous that an entire nation of people may be prescribed these hazardous drugs based on the decision by a group that has so many financial ties to so many drug companies.
The panel’s conflicts of interest again came under fire in a recent article in Time Magazine,20 which noted that:
“The Institute of Medicine (IOM), an independent organization of scientists that analyzes available data and provides advice on medical issues, recommends that chairs of guideline committees should have no conflicts of interest if possible, and that the entire panel should also be free of ties to industry; if that’s not possible, then at least half of the members should meet this criterion...
Those policies stem from studies suggesting that biases do creep into people’s behaviors, whether consciously or not. In one study published earlier this year, for example, scientists compared the guidelines proposed by two different groups of experts for treating a blood clotting disorder; the panel in which 73% of members reported connections to pharmaceutical companies suggested stronger recommendations for turning to drug-based treatments compared to a panel in which none of the members had ties to industry.”
Dr. Stone claims the panel could not have been created unless members with conflicts of interest were included, because anyone involved in a statin drug trial would be considered a consultant. “And you can’t have expertise without having done clinical trials,” he told Time. However, according to the IOM, panels charged with devising treatment guidelines do NOT really have to be experts in the field. While helpful, clinical experience is not critical because the job of the panel is to assess available research for sound methodology and accuracy of data.

For a much more detailed Article please follow the link.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Big One You've Been Waiting For!

I’ve had a great awakening, long overdue if you ask those close to me, but none the less it feels great. So much ground work goes into understanding something quite simple that I’m again faced with the question of writing one mammoth blog post, or trying to create a series. I’ll just write it and look for good spots to break it up.

The key point is something Jack Canfield describes with an equation, E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome). 

It’s obvious in the first blush, and I hate when people belabor a point, but some recent events lead me to a closer look at this concept and I really think it’s worth it, so bear with me. Yesterday I met with a potential client. She’s a remarkable lady with a great life adventure that needs telling, but something she said stuck with me all the way till this morning. She said I used to let all this get to me, and I wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be. God led me to realize that it doesn’t matter what happened to me (outside my control) it’s me that kept letting it affect me.

And there it was. As simply and clearly stated as you could ask for and I’m smart enough to keep rolling it around my brain but sadly, not smart enough to grasp it until God sent wave after wave of reminder. I know you’re probably thinking that I’m being rough on myself—18 hours isn’t that long to ponder something before you wake up to it. Well, this client wasn’t the first person to speak to this topic.

Earlier this month, I went to an event by Ted Dekker. It was really good, and it was fun to get to meet him after and get an autograph, etc. A couple things he said stuck with me, the first I’ve covered in another blog, at least a little. It involves realizing that we can’t improve ourselves so much as we can acknowledge that we are already perfect in God. In other words, stop comparing yourself to others and striving to be more acceptable, and start acknowledging that God has thoroughly completed you in Christ. Since you are restored, live from that and be the real you, the best you that you can be.

The second aspect I kept pondering, and can now unpack, is something I thought I understood already. He said we think we’re physical being’s having a spiritual experience, but we’re really a spiritual being having a temporary physical experience. When you look in the mirror or at your resume etc. you are tempted to believe that those things you observe are who you are. They are not. You are not an athlete, an engineer, a father, a husband, an American, etc. Those are true about you but they are not who you are. You are something much deeper, which only God can establish in you.

As I mentioned, I didn’t throw a lot of thought behind this because I’d encountered similar ideas before. I’ve written a great book with author/speaker Janice Seney, called “On Becoming a Man,” In which we delve thoroughly into the concept of physical reality verses the deeper, inner man.

So now we reach a place where I have to choose an approach to explaining my revelation. I hope I don’t lose you, dear reader, for the path I’m choosing will take you in a bit of an arc to get where we’re going. Hang in there.

In the book, “On Becoming a Man,” we prove from the bible that God created us in three parts, Body, Soul, and Spirit. This is a groundbreaking concept to folks currently in religion as well as those in the “secular” world. Most of us understand that we have a physical and a metaphysical existence, but few of us understand that God (who is three parts) built us in His image (in three parts). It’s vital to grasp this concept.

BODY: We get this pretty clearly, I think. Not very controversial. Even so we tend to confuse physical fact with truth, and they are not actually the same thing. Fact is physical and truth is Spiritual, in between those we have a soul level concept called perception.

SOUL: That we have a soul isn’t controversial but it’s misunderstood. Early explainers of SOUL include Plato, with his allegory of the cave and concept an ideal plain. Also, Carl Jung with his concept of the collective unconscious. Even the movie the Matrix expresses the idea of SOUL, perhaps better than anyone else has to date. What these explanations have in common, and where they fail, is attributing all non-physical things to SOUL. SOUL is really our mind (intelligence), will power, and emotions. It’s our place of interaction with the souls of others and it’s a collection of assumptions about how the physical world works (paradigm).

SPIRIT: The spirit is ideal. That’s why it’s so misunderstood. It’s hard to conceive of anything perfect, much less a perfection living inside us. If you’re a Christian you’re probably already rebelling against the “New Age” concept of God inside us, but Christian’s really need to stop labeling some things as safe, or good, and by extension, other things entirely bad.

On a Side Note: The reality is that we are in a fallen world and you need to be personally responsible for maintaining a vertical relationship with God that lets you filter the impure from the sacred. There isn’t really an acceptable grey, and by the same token, there is no grey that is really black trying to sucker you in. It’s all grey, it’s all subversive, and you are actually immune to all of it as long as the treasure of your heart is Jesus. He came to earth and it didn’t infect Him so He’s really good at scrubbing the muck off you. That’s the central truth of the good news!

Back to SPIRIT: Since God built you in His image and knew you before he created the world, then He knows who you ideally are and that’s what He restores you to in Christ. Many Christian’s really struggle with this concept. They point to verses that say, man’s heart is dark and knows no good, blah, blah, blah. God also promises to give you the desires of your heart. Why would he give you the desires of your dark heart? Obviously, He’s talking about your redeemed heart.

Here’s your shortcut to understanding/remembering the concept. Our body is the temple of God. The temple had an outer courtyard, a holy place, and a most holy place. God personally dwelt in the Most Holy Place. When you don’t have God there, you are spiritually dead, BUT when you invite Christ into your heart (the most holy place) then your spirit is restored. Suddenly you have a good heart. Evil doesn’t coexist with God.

Now, how do we explain all this blurry grey in our lives? That all takes place in the SOUL (holy place) and the BODY (outer courtyard). Jesus said we aren’t defiled by what enters us, but what comes out of us. He also said where your heart is there your treasure lies. It adds up to mean if we live from inside out instead of outside in, we can be on this world and not of it. We can stop worrying if God is behind something because we associate it with something bad. We are not defiled by the filth of the world around us unless we choose to allow it in, and then it only goes as far as our heart, not inside. More on that in a second.

I have to finish this rabbit trail with the most rebellious thing any Christian will ever say, “Everything here is flawed, and God is everywhere so there is nowhere that you can go that is completely sacred or completely evil. I’m not recommending you go certain ‘bad’ places, but if you do, God will be there. Likewise no matter how comfortable you are in your church, demons are there and they have twisted elements of that environment to reinforce negative aspects of your human nature. EVERYTHING here is impure and your only recourse is to live from inside out. So yes, even the new age folks speak truth once in a while. Should you look there for truth-I’m not saying that. But just because they said it doesn’t make it wrong. Therefore, when you invite Christ into your heart, God dwells inside you.”

TAKE A BREAK: Congratulations, you’ve made it through some heavy stuff. Unfortunately, none of that is what I grasped this morning and wanted to blog about. Sorry, that’s just something you have to get in order to get this next part. This will bring it full circle.

Whenever we decide to let something dark into ourselves, it goes as far as the outer wall of our heart and stops. It never enters the Most Holy Place. It can’t. Instead it clogs up the entrance and eventually encircles the most holy place and eventually we start living from our SOUL instead of our SPIRIT. It actually hurts to not be in touch with our heart (Most Holy Place) because we crave intimacy with our Father who dwells there. We encase our most holy place in flesh in order to not go there. It’s the scar tissue around our hearts which we use as a defense mechanism, because God asks us to do things we feel are risky. (God says, love your neighbor. I did that once and got burned. Now I disregard my heart so I don’t hear God asking me to do something I’m not comfortable doing.)

That’s actually the default situation for most human’s, Christian or not. What? That’s right, Christ died to redeem the world to Himself. Salvation awaits only your acceptance. Your SPIRIT is dead if you have ignored it so long that the presence of God is not there, but nearly always people have invited Christ into their hearts and simply don’t feel transformed because they let their hearts become walled off.

This isn’t the approach I thought I was going to take but it’ll work. So now you have the foundation to understand where I’m coming from when I say this next part.
E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome)

Sin happened to us. That’s the E. There’s lots of little E’s, yes, but that’s the big E. That’s the circumstance we live in. Your reality is, that you can live from the ideal you any moment you decide to, but you seldom do. I’m in the same boat. The reason I don’t, and the reason you don’t is because our R (responses) don’t make up for our E (situation) and we therefore don’t get the O (results) our hearts desire. And there’s two simple reasons our responses are inadequate.

1.       We don’t see the difference between E and R. Legitimately, we can’t change our E--we are sinners and we can’t fix that. Jesus died to fix E. Most of us have tried to change E for ourselves and we feel so powerless we don’t try anything else. We don’t to differentiate E from R so we don’t try to do anything about R. We can make headway with R if we co-labor with Christ by living from inside out. We do affect our O.
2.       Changing R involves risk. You want a different outcome, you better try something different—or UNFAMILIAR. Unfamiliar is always a little frightening, but usually it’s much worse than that. We’ve tried everything we can think of. All that remains is something really risky. The answer calls for personal sacrifice, putting security at risk, trusting someone, losing some control, retrying something that ended in disaster, forgiving someone who wronged you, and so on.

Hey, if success were easy everyone would be doing it.

In Recap:
Life is life and we’ve no control over circumstances or events, but we have 100% control over our response, therefore we can work for better outcomes.
The reason we don’t change R, is because it involves personal risk.
Most successful people have a habit of doing what others find uncomfortable.
The question in a bad situation is, “What response would bring the outcome I want? Or, what response would I take if I ignored risk?” (Perfect love casts out fear!)
3 R’s. The thoughts you think, the images you hold in your head (dreams/daydreams), actions you take (behaviors, habits).
Other questions to ask yourself are, “What potential solution am I avoiding?” “What could I try that would require me to grow closer to God and/or other people?” “Where am I procrastinating?”

In my case, the big awakening has to do with my recent life changes. I’m often an early adaptor, but I like strategic, measured change. When things change and change again, or too many things change, or things change too radically I really suffer. Not always at a conscious level even. I’ve been really at odds with my environment.

I don’t want people to read into this as my new wife’s fault. I made that choice and I’m glad of it. I’m a lucky man. BUT let’s do some quick math. I’ve had two dozen jobs and almost that many addresses. You’d think I’d be accustomed to change. Nothing compares to this. I still lived in the same town, with a friend I’d known for a decade. I’d been single for over 4 decades. I had the same friends, some from even from grade school. Some aspects of my life we’re finally stabilizing

So beginning 2013, even though I was pretty devastated that my foray into “normalcy” a couple years earlier had been a disaster, I began working on myself again. I’d completed college, and I ditched my caveman look for something a little more professional. I started taking risks with my identity to see if I could get different results. I opened myself for personal, emotional risks. Well I got more than I bargained for.

It started out small enough. I’d packed on weight and I started working out, and exploring what I wanted to use for a diet. I got some new clothes, some of it a little different than my style. I got new shoes eventually, but I got the same kind I’d had before. I got a better cell phone, and once I had it just the way I wanted it broke and I had to do it again. It broke again and I got a third one of the same kind. This one has not broken but I noticed I didn’t bother to customize it the way I wanted.

My roommate moved out and ultimately I had to move too. I decided to get a 5th wheel and park it at Mom’s to save money so I could go on a book signing tour. Even though I’ve been moving a lot in life, each time I move I had more and more boxes that I just didn’t bother to unpack. This time I had a good excuse. There wasn’t any room.

My plans to finish several books I had half-done got delayed. Everything took longer to do than I thought it possibly could. I did get a new car, although it was a confusing process. I’m blessed to have that car, but it’s still something new to adjust to and I’d started getting to the end of my capacity for change.
Instead of a book tour, I started dating a girl I’d fallen in love with a couple years earlier, and that went well but it involved taking a huge emotional risk.

My GF came with a whole new set of adjustments. She asked me to shave and I eventually gave in. She hated the way I dressed and I began trying to wear clothes without stains, etc. even though I didn’t really care for how some of those clothes fit. I hate people who become someone else because they’re dating someone, so I hated myself for giving in to these requests, but I also realized that these were crazy things to take my identity from and surely they weren’t the end of the world.

I tried a pretty severe diet this last summer, which worked but I can’t sustain it, and I don’t really eat like I used to before. Some foods I eliminated make me ill now when I eat them. I also changed what type of freelancing I was doing as the bottom fell out of some of my regular accounts.

I proposed to my GF and we married earlier this month. She hates the smell of my aftershave, the taste of my toothpaste, and the smell of my shampoo and laundry soap. She shops at different stores than I do, she eats differently than I do. She’s got different taste in TV/movies. So I use her stuff. I moved into her place in Beaverton. I’m not a Beaverton kind of guy.

I love sleeping in. I’m used to getting up at 8am and working from 9am to 7pm. If I get on a role I like to keep writing into the night. My wife’s a morning person, and I’m a night owl. I started getting up at 5am with her, but then I’m exhausted. She’s home at 4:30 and wants to do stuff, so when I do sleep in my day is cut in half.

My wife really wants me to give up freelancing and take a steady job, which “I know I’ll hate,” based on previous attempts.

I don’t really get to see my friends unless I make special arrangements, because I have to travel to get to them. I have a pretty big commute to meet clients too, even though I cyber-commute a lot. Because I’m not well hooked up to the new community, getting new clients is hard, which backs-up my wife’s assertion that I just need a regular job. I find myself going to Vancouver every day just to feel a sense of normalcy. I also have a cat, which now has to live in my 5th wheel at Mom’s because we can’t have pets here. I miss my cat.

Moving twice in six months, and bringing less stuff with me to Beaverton than I had in my 5th wheel means most of my stuff is in boxes in my mom’s garage or down-sized. My wife’s duplex is tiny—I have to duck to get in and out of the shower and there’s only one bathroom. The bedroom is next to a busy road with cars and emergency vehicle’s constantly driving by, lighting up the window and the sound… Her bed isn’t comfortable and it rocks on wheels like I’m on a cruise ship or something.

She likes the “new me” clothes that I bought and she’s added to those. I have to leave anything I feel comfortable in back in the 5th wheel. Bottom line the guy who’s face I see in the mirror isn’t me, I don’t eat like me, I don’t smell like me, I don’t watch what I like on TV very often, nothing outside my door looks right and the people are frankly, really weird in Beaverton. I hardly sleep.

As I said, I love my wife. I chose most of this stuff, (or at least agreed to it in the case of the move). I’m very blessed and a lot of this is good stuff. I have the same email address and cell number and the same type of shoes and cell phone. It’s all really not the end of the world…so why does it feel like it is?

We’ll here’s today’s big revelation. I’ve known all that stuff I wrote above. Maybe in other language, but I knew it. I’ve been guilty of letting risk aversion make my decisions for me. I saw something I wanted and I through myself off a cliff to try and get it. I knew I couldn’t reach it and keep a foot back on the safe ground. I’m in tortured hell because I’ve been clinging by my finger nails to the shreds of what’s familiar and comfortable. I wanted change but I didn’t know I’d have to sacrifice everything.

Well, everything turns out to be the price. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl of great price. You have to give up everything to have it. You don’t get what you want without change. I didn’t mean to change everything but that’s not in my control. There’s no safe way ahead and I don’t want to go back. Emotionally I’m losing my grip, well that’s pretty normal for someone hanging from a cliff by the finger tips. I’m about to pay a price for getting something different that I didn’t know I could pay. I’m about to let go.
That’s my E (event or situation). The price wasn’t set by me. That’s not in my control. My R (response) is to either hang on, stuck in the middle and be miserable—eventually ruining my marriage and returning to the lonely existence of before. Or, I can let go and possibly lose everything I’ve ever known in the hopes that I’ll get what my heart has always longed for.

It’s more than trust in Kristin. I trust her. It’s the question of who I am if not who I’ve been. It’s a question of taking on the chore of asking God for even deeper understandings of who I am in this new situation. I need a new vision and I need the courage to let go and be something new. I have to trust God that the things about me worth keeping will still be there. I hope so but that’s not mine to decide. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Departure to poverty understanding

This is sort of a departure from my normal theme on this blog, and I don't have a lot of time to go into why it's important to read it, but here's a link to a well written article on the topic of poor mentality. Lots of people study what's going on with poverty stuck folks but it really isn't rocket science--the most affluent country in the world has a giant back eddy when it comes to opportunity. We don't teach how to be wealthy in public schools and a mindset of apathy is preached in certain communities. It doesn't have to be this way, but throwing money whether government program or private charity only puts a band aid on the cancer patient. We need a system alteration that allows people a path to prosperity and if any nation on earth can do this, America is it. It starts with education but it'll take some shifts in mindset among the rich as well as the poor.

This article doesn't supply those answers, but it's a good way to familiarize yourself with the problem.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pics that will make you flinch, and an update of course

Here's some cool pictures taken from:

I would also like to announce that one of my secret projects has finally launched. It was a pleasure to work with Zahara to do her remarkable life story. I may have another couple ghost bios lined up, also for folks with extra-ordinary lives. For now, check this one out, I think you'll be just as stunned as when you see the photos above.

Orphaned at age six, Zahara faced a future of emotional and physical abuse, and arranged marriage with little hope of peace. When the friendly man with the beautiful roses across the street introduced her to Christianity, she began to dream of a better future. A future where hard work brought income, independence, and love from a blue-eyed cowboy. The journey to find a better life took unbelievable twists and lead through unimaginable danger and heartache, but Zahara never gave up. This modern-day immigration story will inspire you to believe that faith and determination still triumph in the end.

Health Post # something, anyway GLUTEN!!!

At one point the goal of this blog was to cover certain topics on certain days. I love the idea and it worked for awhile, but life has been crazy this year. Good grief! So I'm lucky to get back at it, but they are totally out of order. LOL! Soon order will return. SOOOON...

I've personally done research into the gluten thing and I can assure you, we have engineer gluten enriched wheat, etc., and we use it in almost everything as a thickener, AND we have a cross contamination issue because of the institutional processing of food. So I'm not crying wolf when I say this is a going concern for health in America.

We need to grasp just a few quick facts that even health experts seem to struggle to articulate:
#1 Gluten is naturally occurring but for reasons mentioned above American's consume for to much.
#2 Intolerance is different from a true allergy. Food allergies are serious, but rare. Intolerance is a widespread issue that leads to a host of secondary chronic issues.
#3 Food intolerance can be hard to spot as they can show up days later.
#4 The key reaction to foods you can't tolerate is that your immune system turns on to fight the reaction. This causes immune systems fatigue, which leads to obvious side effects.
#5 Gluten causes a host of issues that prevent healthy digestion, but worst of all it can lead to insulin resistance, which creates a vicious glycemic cycle. (Sluggish bowels crave carbs and sugar, eat either one and trigger spike in blood sugar, blocked 'insensitive' receptors fail to shut off insulin response, now you feel hungry on a full stomach and your organs are wearing out.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Postured to Receive

I recently encountered an enchanting story, let me see if I can give you the short version without wrecking it.

Jason McElwain (age 17) managed his high school B-Ball team--took stats, cheered, etc. in Greece, NY. He has autism, and very little chance of actually playing in a game, but a couple weeks before the season ended his coach promised him that if they were far enough ahead he'd put Jason in. With just over 4 minutes to go and a double digit lead, Coach Johnson gave Jason his big break on Feb. 15, 2006.

The crowd cheered when he came in, and his teammates made sure he got a shot at the hoop. Predictably, Jason missed his first shot, and his second. I know you think you know where this is going. I've seen similar stories where the other team even helped to make sure he gets his dream, but that's not quite how it went. See Jason practiced 500 shots a day, even though he didn't have chance in heck of ever playing. Jason new the plays, and the players. He knew the bounce of the balls, where to be, and what to do. Jason was ready for a moment in the sun and he didn't do what so many of us do--what I've done on occasion. He didn't freak out when he didn't get it right the first couple times.

With 3:16 left on the game clock, Jason hit his first three pointer and didn't stop. He shot 5 more, going 7 for 13 over all, and becoming the games lead scorer with a total of 20 points. 20 points in a varsity game! In 4 minutes!

Now a lot of people would credit his dogged preparation, but I want to go a step further. I want to cast a light on his faith. I don't have a clue about his faith in God, I'm just meaning the faith it takes to prepare for what you really want, no matter how unlikely it might be. We need to live our lives as though we are going to receive our deepest desires. Here's why--because God wants us to have what we want.

It's true. Psalms 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart."  It's not a very well understood verse because some Christians believe our hearts are dark. Why would God give us what we want? Other Christians look at it as something that happens eventually, in heaven. Still others assume that this means we don't have to do anything to receive it, like God just drops a lottery win on the unprepared. None of that is accurate. You can bless someone right into suicide, God's not into giving us what we can't handle. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is at hand, meaning now, not someday. And while it's  true that we don't deserve to receive our hearts desires, we are made worthy in Christ.

So the reality is, our part in receiving the desires of our hearts is to live as though it's going to happen. Make a place in your life for the blessings of God. Realize that some blessings take practice on our part. We'll need to sweat a little to be in shape to do what we want to do. Relationships take enormous work but that's something most of us want. What we need is the right posture to receive what we want.

So what is it you want with all you heart, and what could you do 500 times today, that would enable you to receive what God has for you?

The truth about cholesterol

Story at-a-glance

  • For over 60 years, saturated fats have been wrongfully accused of causing heart disease, despite mounting evidence showing that saturated fat is actually critical for optimal health while trans fat is the dietary fat causing heart disease
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it is now considering removing partially hydrogenated oils—the primary source of trans fats—from the list of "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) ingredients
  • Making trans fat non-GRAS is the first step toward getting trans fats out of the American diet altogether. The FDA’s decision comes right on the heels of a lawsuit filed against the agency by a heart disease researcher
  • FDA is still holding fast to its ignorant view on saturated fats, urging you to “choose products that have the lowest combined amount of saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fat.” This advice causes far more harm than good
  • Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a number of important health benefits, and your body requires them for the proper function. Science has firmly debunked the myth that saturated fat promotes heart disease

Taken from

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Helpful Hacks for a Tuesday Morn

I just saw some great tips from LifeHacker and wanted to pass them on while their fresh. I think you'll enjoy them. I have only implemented the sidebar hack so far but I think it's going to serve me well.

Customize the Navigation SidebarP

Navigate Files Like a Pro with These Windows Explorer Tips and Tricks
Windows Explorer's sidebar is a great place to house shortcuts to your favorite folders and other tools, but out of the box, it doesn't come perfectly organized. You can easily drag oft-used folders to the "Favorites" section, but if you want to get rid of certain things—like Libraries, Homegroup, or SkyDrive—you'll probably have to do some deeper tweaks. Check out how to remove items from the Explorer sidebar, as well as how to remove SkyDrive in Windows 8.1(and bring back Libraries). If you de-clutter it to include just the shortcuts you actually use, the sidebar can be really helpful.P

There's a Lot of Things I Don't Understand in Life

Here's 5 of them, and a link to 20 more:

Bonus picture just because...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Couple of cool health posts you need to read

Well life is going well. Just got back from my honeymoon. Life's heading in a new direction, but writing is not on the back burner. I'm still doing NaNo this year, shooting for 30k--way behind though, but such is life. I'm also excited to be taking a course in marketing writing. It should be a busy couple months with holidays and everything, but I'll update again soon.

Microwave Kale for a Healthy Alternative to Potato Chips

And the Miracle of Coconut Oil:

Countless Uses for Coconut Oil – The Simple, the Strange, and the Downright Odd

Story at-a-glance

  • Coconut oil is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, largely due to its naturally high lauric acid content
  • Besides internal health benefits, coconut oil has countless other uses, from topical beauty applications, to oral health and first aid treatments, to general household cleaning and sanitizing
  • Learn how coconut oil can replace 14 of your most commonly used beauty products and beautify even hard-to-control hair
  • Ten simple first aid and medicinal uses for coconut oil are reviewed, from treating ear infections and nosebleeds to soothing hemorrhoids and cold sores, to combating head lice without toxic potions
  • Also included are 14 surprising uses for coconut oil around the house, such as sanitizing and conditioning wooden cutting boards, moisturizing leather goods and lubricating everything from squeaky hinges to guitar strings

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reflecting vs Jumping In

Now that NaNo WriMo is upon us, I'm thinking about the "two kinds" of writers. (I know there's always two kinds of people right?) Writers seem to fall into either of two camps, plotters and pantsers. Some folks create a detailed outline and others dive in and discover the story along the road.

In life, I'm a plotter, but I pantsed my first two novels (One of which isn't out because it needs so much rework.) It took 16 years to stumble my way through that first book because I didn't know what I was doing. For me, plotting is a way to write faster, cleaner copy, so that I can go faster. I need faster if I'm to do this for a living.

Along those lines, but from a different angle--I hate being photographed. I have friends that complain that I'm not recording the special moments in life. However, I've often read that if we take time out to record the special things it detracts from the experience of them. (That's not why I hate having my picture taken but its a great excuse.) I mean you can have your first kiss, or you can haul out a camera and snap a memory or your first kiss. You really can't do both.

Yet the great philosophers of old claimed that the unexamined life is not worth living.

My point is, we have to find a rhythm to these three elements of life. We must be able to make plans even if nothing ever goes according to them. We must spend some time reflecting on our past without becoming stuck there. And we must spend some time recording the wonderful moments as they happen.

I have erred on the side of over-reflecting and living in the moment, but I almost never capture the moment. I'm still trying to find my rhythm. Hopefully, I've given you something to ponder...but not for too long!

Here's a good blog about jumping in, from John Dumas.

Push Fear Aside And Just Start

By John Lee Dumas
After ironing my button down shirt, looping my tie just so, pouring a cup of coffee in my to-go mug, and grabbing my lunch, I took a quick look in the mirror as I walked out the front door. 


I was on my way to work, which on this particular day consisted of driving about 150 miles round-trip over the course of four and half hours to show a piece of commercial property to a business owner who most likely would not be putting in an offer. 

I didn't hate commercial real estate. But I didn't love it, either. I had this strong feeling that there was something else out there waiting for me; but at the time, I just wasn't quite sure what that was. 

So I continued to do the same thing day in and day out – my only savior listening to my favorite podcasts during my long and lonely drives. I loved listening to podcasts like NPR, Smart Money and Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income. These podcasts were educational and they were entertaining, which made my drives, my workouts and my daily dog-walking sessions more productive. 

I especially liked listening to podcasts that were run by entrepreneurs, where they would interview other professionals, unveiling insights and experiences that I found so interesting. It was a glimpse into a life that I'd never known. 

And then one day, it hit me. 

I was driving, about an hour and some odd minutes to go before I would arrive at home, and the airwaves started to crackle. I was out of podcasts. 

WHAT? Oh no... still over an hour left and nothing to listen to? (Spoiled, I know.) 

It was at this moment in time that I stopped and said to myself, "AH-HA!", and this is how it went: 

I never wanted to be in the car and run out of podcasts again. 

I knew that if I felt this way, then others must, too. I thought, "Why hasn't anyone created a daily business podcast yet?" It would guarantee – even for those who found themselves in the car every day, or who worked out every day, or who went for daily walks – that they would have fresh content waiting to accompany them. Genius! 

And then came the doubts, the fear and the hesitation. 

Have you ever had an AH-HA moment before and by the time you got home and started to write it down, or started talking to a friend about it, you had doubts? Or suddenly, your idea didn't seem as attainable as it did before? 

There are a lot of steps in between an AH-HA moment and success, andthere is only one thing you can do to start building that bridge: JUST START. 

I knew I had to just start if I was ever going to attain my goal of producing a daily podcast that interviewed today's most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs. 

I could have sat in my car for months, even years to come – on a partnership track with an amazing group of commercial real estate brokers – after I had my AHA moment. 

I could have been intimidated by what others would think of me when I told them I was leaving a secure job to venture out on my own. 

I could have been too scared to start – for fear that my idea wasn't good enough, or that I didn't know the slightest thing about how to create a podcast, so how on earth could I possibly create one of my own? 

A million things stood in my way – roadblocks, massive construction and detours of all shapes and sizes. 

But this AH-HA moment – this AH-HA moment resonated with me. I wanted to fill a niche out there – solve a problem for people who were in the exact same situation as me. I wanted to inspire people who were heading out on that dreaded drive to work, or those who were heading out for a jog or walk and wanted to learn something along the way. 

I wanted to let people just like you know that you're not alone if you're an entrepreneur – that even the most successful entrepreneurs of our time have failed and have faced massive challenges. But they've gotten back up, and they've tried again. 

Once I realized that I had to just start if I ever wanted my passions to turn into something real, I started looking online for resources on how to create a podcast. 

I also found out who else might be in the industry who was close by to see if I could find a mentor to help guide me – someone who had already been down this road before. I also purchased a ticket to a conference that was going down in one month's time. 

Just start. 

I didn't quit my job the next day, nor did I throw all caution to the wind and ditch my commitments. 

All I did was just start. I started waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning, and staying up 30 minutes later at night. I would spend that time researching, learning more about what was out there and reaching out to people who knew what they were doing and who were more than willing to help me start my own journey. 

When I attended that conference, I was nervous about meeting the big hitters in the industry. But that didn't stop me from approaching them and asking for their help. 

I was nervous about launching a daily show – what if no one tuned in to listen? But that didn't make me hesitate one bit when I submitted my podcast to iTunes. 

And throughout my journey – even seven months after I launched – I still challenge myself every day to just start. 

I just launched EntrepreneurOnFire's mastermind community, Fire Nation Elite, and I've never run a mastermind before. But I knew I had to start one because I knew how important a community would be for budding entrepreneurs. I knew that Fire Nation Elite would be revolutionary in peoples' lives – for people who don't have support or a like-minded community of individuals to bounce ideas off of and go to for motivation. 

It would be impossible for me to perfect a mastermind group when I've never started one before. But because I went out on a limb and just started doing it, I will learn how to perfect it through making mistakes and through learning from others in the mastermind community. 

If I hadn't told myself to just start, then I wouldn't be #2 in iTunes under Business Podcasts. I wouldn't be receiving over 400,000 unique downloads in over 145 countries every month. I wouldn't have successfully launched Fire Nation Elite. 

The biggest lesson I've learned throughout my journey is that you have to just start. 

Every day I have to remind myself that things don't have to be perfect. I don't have to have a perfectly planned course of action to just start doing something that will get me one step closer to my goals. 

You will never learn how to make things better, or what to do differently in order to make something successful, unless you just start. 

What's one fear that has been holding you back, and how will you overcome that fear and just start?