Thinking for Yourself
Updated: May 4
We are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone has an opinion on what to do next. It's great to hear many sides on a topic before making a decision. Otherwise, it's not an informed one.
People are different. Psycology teaches us that our personality style has much to do with how we navigate life. Some of us are more likely to trust and follow "experts" without much push-back. Some of us would rather gather any available data and make our own independent decisions. Any person can choose any way, yet there are patterns that tend to prevail. We all have natural tendencies.
Some people are more comfortable relying on the masses because they feel there is safety in numbers. They figure "if everyone's doing it...there must be some truth." Think about how animals in a herd feel safer when a predator approaches. It makes sense.
Other folks are more skeptical and believe their well-being is best handled by their own responsibility. They don't trust their lives in someone else's hands.
None of these preferences are wrong or right, they are simply different. They both have pros and cons. People are not all alike and this is a good thing.
My concern is when we blindly let the media, the super-stars, the politicians or even the doctors do our thinking for us. Even worse is when the data is skewed or banned or censored by folks who believe their way is best.
Doctors, politicians and other experts will disagree. This doesn't necessarily mean they are evil or have an agenda. It simply means they interpret data differently.
You may not be surprised to read that I don't simply take an "experts" advice without some scrutiny. I prefer to consider as many sides as possible before formulating conclusions.
Usually there are bits of truth in all angles.
I understand that not everyone is comfortable with that, but my cerebral bent makes this the most logical path for me.
For example, if I would have listened to mainline financial experts and merely saved 20% of my income, I would not have been able to quit my job at 37. If I bought all of the house they said I could afford, I would not be mortgage-free. If I was retiring at 62, I would not be enjoying my freedom today. They are offering generally good guidelines but for my personal goals, they won't cut it.
I also feel this way about health issues.
Though I use data from many "outside-the-box" thinkers, one of my favorites is Dr. Michael Greger. He simplifies it.
Did you know that most deaths in the U.S. are preventable and related to nutrition?
Our top killers include heart disease, lung disease, brain disease, digestive cancers and diabetes. Have you noticed that many of the COVID-19 deaths in our country were people who already had one of these conditions?
If these illnesses are preventable and sometimes even reversible why do doctors keep pushing pills, chemo and insulin? There are other treatments besides drugs and surgery. Yet, most doctors don't know this and aren't pushing vegetables. Why? They don't learn this in medical school.
I have a family member who reversed his cancer with lifestyle (diet) changes AGAINST his doctors orders. Sadly, two of his close relatives with the same cancer followed the doctors orders and did not survive. They were chemo and radiated to death.
I have a friend who has been a diabetic for over 10 years who changed her diet less than a year ago and is now off of insulin and soon to be off of her other pills under her physicians care. Her stunned doctor told her to keep doing what she's doing because he can't help her in these ways.
You can look up the data for yourself. We know that our worst chronic diseases can be treated and often even reversed with lifestyle changes.
This solution is safer, cheaper and more effective. So what gives?
There is a huge disconnect between science and public policy and it's not the first time.
It was encouraged by the media, the super-stars, the politicians and the doctors.
The "experts" at the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society and in Congress wouldn't acknowledge that it was harmful.
Most doctors smoked. Today, most doctors follow the standard American diet. It's not that they are evil, it's just a way of life that everyone is doing.
Many of my loved ones who were alive back then have since died from smoking related cancers.
I'm sure you can relate.
So now this brings me to COVID-19.
I am not a doctor and I am not giving medical advice.
For us, it makes much more sense to manage our lifestyle choices in a way that best protects us from pandemics and all other perils out there.
We get 8+ hours of sleep nightly. We exercise for at least an hour a day, mostly rigorous. We eat mostly vegetarian and often vegan. We meditate and keep our stress levels low. We are de-caffeinated. We spend adequate time outdoors and building our relationships. We drink tons of water. We have a salad everyday. We maintain a healthy weight. We pray.
There is no perfect solution and we are always balancing risks with benefits. We don't believe that we could ever be fully prepared for every danger that could ever arise.
That is statistically impossible.
We believe fear does not stop death, it stops life. Worrying does not take away tomorrow's battles, it takes away today's peace.
Those of us who fall more in the self-responsibility category are not trying to be snooty to folks from a different standpoint. In our minds, we manage our business the best we can and we give others space to do the same. I don't try to control your behavior and I don't expect you to control mine.
Of course, it is their right to live how they want. They don't have to follow the same regimen as we do. That is their risk management choice. I respect that.
We are still learning about COVID-19. No matter what anyone tells you, they don't have all the answers. Rules change. Models morph. New data emerges.
I will wear a mask and social distance, but I will not trust that what I hear from the media or the government is the whole story.
This week the University of Miami released the results of a two-week study to see how widespread coronavirus was in their county.
"In both weeks, 6% of participants tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which equates to 165,000 Miami-Dade County residents. This figure directly contrasts with testing site data, which indicated that there 10,000 positive cases, suggesting that the actual number of infections is potentially 16.5 times the number of those captured through testing sites and local hospitals alone."
"Importantly, of the individuals who tested positive for the antibodies each week, more than half had NO symptoms in the seven to fourteen days prior to screening."
Other studies have yielded similar results. If these studies are providing an accurate picture, this means that far more people have been exposed to (and had) the virus than the numbers we see. More than half of those didn't have major (or any) symptoms. This also means that the mortality rate is much lower.
The virus is real and we should all do what we can to stay informed about it.
We should monitor our own health and do everything we can to stay healthy.
We should be kind because we are all right and we are all wrong sometimes.