Questioning The Gatekeepers

I was reading the late Seth Robert’s blog today and he made a really interesting point about many healthcare professionals. Seth wrote a post that claimed ADHD Experts have a bad case of Gatekeeper Syndrome. He explained that people with Gatekeeper Syndrome dismiss or ignore any solution that does not involve them (or someone like them) being a gatekeeper and making money or controlling the situation in some fashion.

This hit home with me.

I had this skin condition a few years back that I couldn’t get rid of for the life of me. I tend to exhaust alternative options before going to the doctor if the condition isn’t too serious. I remember trying garlic pills, tea tree oil, new body wash, new deodorants, new lotions…nothing was doing the trick. So I went to the Dermatologist and took some prescription pills. No success. So I bounced around to a few different doctors hoping to find an answer.

I remember having an appointment one day and reading an article about Turmeric earlier regarding the benefits it may have with my skin condition, among other things. So during the visit, I asked the Dermatologist her opinion about trying this out. Not only was she clueless what Turmeric was, she totally dismissed it and told me not to touch it. Not exactly what I was hoping to hear. No curiosity. No open-mindedness.

I took the pills she prescribed and again they didn’t work. Long story short, I went through 3-4 different cycles of pills with little success. I ended up fixing it myself with some combination of a better diet (minimize sugar and carbs), probiotics, organic hemp body wash, and turmeric. An educated trial-and-error strategy at it’s finest.

Looking back on that experience, not one of the doctors mentioned anything about alternative treatments or additional options I can try. The best advice I got was to drink a soda with this pill they are giving me and then exercise afterwards. (I was actually just happy to hear how to make this pill I was about to take most effectively)

I think people are often better going with Google’s advice on certain minor conditions, as doctors are way too much by the book. And don’t get me wrong, that can be a good and bad thing. Healthcare professionals definitely have more knowledge, but that also comes with close-mindedness to other, often healthier, options. Second, doctors are trained to fix your problems immediately. I remember when my psychology teacher in college explained to our class the exact symptoms to tell your doctor to be prescribed Adderall. How crazy is that? Well, I guess not that crazy…as sales of Adderall XR and its generic equivalents totaled $1.99 billion in 12 months during 2012!

All of this comes back to what Seth mentioned with Gatekeeper Syndrome. Healthcare professionals will help fix your problem, as long as they (or their colleagues) are the ones doing it. There are no alternative options in Western doctor’s offices anymore. There is little-to-no prevention. Only short-term solutions.

Our society has tried to take control and standardize our processes (in the healthcare industry, schools, etc), and more problems continue to arise. The deeper we go, the more we stunt our creative problem solving and openness to alternative measures. That is why our society’s medicine advancement is so behind our technology advancement.

I just want to note – in no way is this an attack on doctors. I have had a few great doctors who continued their education and are relatively up-to-date with new studies and relevant information. But we must still identify the incentives the healthcare industry has when they treat us. I’ll let John Oliver help explain my point.

We get sick. They get paid.

We pay the consequences – money, health – if things go wrong. They have little downside if things don’t go as planned and we stay sick. Actually, that only means more upside for them.

That, in itself, is why we should at least question the Gatekeepers.


Lessons Learned in 2014


I wrote about my lessons learned last year around this time, so I figured I would reflect back on this year as well.

  • Knowledge vs. Understanding – Finally recognizing the difference between these two. I used to think I was smart because I’ve learned a lot of things on my own. But it was not until this year that I finally understood this vital difference. Knowledge is something you can acquire and accumulate, but true understanding only comes through experience. Only then can can you connect the dots between knowledge and your environment. Wisdom may soon follow.
  • Exhaustion is real, and while I like to push myself, I have also seen its limitations. Rest and fun are necessary for well-being when working hard towards something, but there must be a balance. Also, it’s okay to take a break to recover and come back stronger.
  • The significance of getting enough quality sleep and designing a personal sleep routine
  • Not-To-Do Lists can be effective. I plan to continue experimenting with these next year. Some things I’ve previously added to mine:
    • No long, hot showers in the winter.
    • No sugar or caffeine before bed.
    • No soda (except for an occasional mixed drink on the weekend)
    • Limiting Distractions (more than 1 hour of TV a day, limiting social media)
  • That I feel more alive when I get out in nature on a daily basis. Not only do we get the benefits of more sun, but we also can learn to connect with nature as humans are intended to do. When’s the last time you ran on the grass barefoot?
  • Which brings me to – The benefits of a daily walk. Every day I attempt to at least take one walk (a little tougher in the winter, so I may substitute with the gym). I prefer to do this for the mental benefits – clarity, brainstorming – even more than the physical benefits. It’s also a great way to connect with friends and take meetings (learned this one from Steve Jobs).
  • Laughter is a powerful healer.
  • The power of constructing your reality and deciding what is played on your Movie Screen. I want to build myself from the inside out – not search my external world for temporary fillers.
  • The importance of energy, environment, and the people you associate yourself with. These are extremely interrelated, such as noticing energy levels when in different settings or around different people. Understanding each of these within the scope of my immediate environment has been eye-opening and self-empowering.

I hope 2015 has more quality lessons in store for me.

Exposing Faulty Studies – On Causation vs. Correlation


I am always stumbling across new studies with these outlandish headings.

Let’s take for instance the following article:

Diets high in meat, eggs and dairy could be as harmful to health as smoking

Wow. That’s really making a claim! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone make a persuasive statement or share an article based on one of these types of studies – with only reading the headline. This frustrates me. And take a look at this subheading:

People under 65 who eat a lot of meat, eggs and dairy are four times as likely to die from cancer or diabetes, study suggests

Let’s break down what’s going on here.

Based on this headline, I expect tests with meat, eggs, and dairy being the only isolated variable in the controlled group of people. I want to know details about the group tested (age/health/history) and I want it to be a controlled study. I want to see detailed evidence on how the quantity and quality of these variables affect a human’s health. I expect conclusive evidence that people under 65 are more likely to die based on the animal proteins they are consuming. I also want to see the studies about smoking they have performed to make this comparison.

The test group:

  • 6,381 Adults all over the age of 50
  • Broken up into high protein group (over 20% of diet protein), moderate group (10-19%), and low group (less than 10%)

The claimed results:

  • High protein intake is linked to increased cancer, diabetes, and overall mortality
  • Higher protein consumption may be protective for older adults (over 65)
  • Plant-derived proteins are associated with lower mortality than animal-derived proteins

These results make me cringe. So the claim is that high protein is linked to these types of mortality. Out of this whole group of 6,381 people over an 18 year period, there were only 6 deaths. Of these 6 deaths, more came from the range of 50-65 than from over 65. This activated my bullshit detector almost as much as reading the headline of this article. It just doesn’t make sense. The study found that animal proteins (meat, eggs, and dairy) were associated with these deaths and not protein in general (it claims they used both animal proteins and other natural types of proteins in the study). Based on how I understood the study, I don’t see how they can truly link animal proteins in the association with these deaths.

Also, this study never explains the reasoning behind comparing animal proteins with smoking. It appears the creator of the study just added in smoking because people associate it with ill-health. There is no other reason I could find for this to be in the study, let alone the headline.

Here is a quote from the creator of the study:

“People need to switch to a diet where only around nine or ten percent of their calories come from protein, and the ideal sources are plant-based,” Longo told the Guardian. “We are not saying go and do some crazy diet we came up with. If we are wrong, there is no harm done, but if we are right you are looking at an incredible effect that in general is about as bad as smoking.”

This is an illogical recommendation, even based on his study’s findings. The study says that eating animal proteins over the age of 65 is good, but from the range of 50-65 is bad. The creator of the study is telling everyone to consume an amount of protein on the lower end of their test. This, again, makes absolutely no sense to me.

Let’s get into talking about the topic of a controlled study. This does not come across as a controlled study, but more of an observational study. A true controlled study would have all static variables and only change one variable and see the results. It is extremely difficult to perform this on humans with so many factors coming into play. This makes it difficult to trust almost any study on humans. Rats are much easier to control, which is one reason we see so many studies on these animals.

Most studies are either observational studies or controlled studies gone wrong.

Another factor is the age of the control group. Why are you testing only people over 50 years old? Why are you only focused on deaths instead of nutritional data? How are you not taking into effect the additional exposure older people have to sicknesses and other negative-effecting variables? Questionable.

My take-away:

I find this study to be extremely irresponsible. To me. the author is looking only for page-views with this title. This article could have easily been called ” There is no association between protein intake and mortality.” Instead, he chose this current title. Ultimately, my take-away is disregard everything in this article.

Let’s clear it up once and for all

Correlation shows relationships between 2 variables. Ex: how many bathrooms a house has vs. the price of the house. There will be a relationship here – maybe every extra bathroom the house has, the house is worth $4,000 more. However, this does not imply causation. If you add an extra bathroom, your house’s value will not jump $4,000.

Causation is much more difficult to prove in a study. There needs to be isolated variables in a controlled group. Causation is when (A) actually causes (B) to occur.

I’m breaking this down because I see too many people jump to the conclusion that a study proves causation. This is very often not the case. I want people to be wary the next time they see a similar headline.

I always try to check my sources, check the background of the study, and check the data. I also try to make sure the founders of the study have no vested interest in the outcome.

  • Ex: A Coca-Cola study about how Aspartame (sugar substitute) is not harmful to our health.

It is often more dangerous to be misinformed than to not be knowledgeable about a certain topic.

The goal of this process is to at least briefly question information you come across and eliminate being easily fooled. Previously, I was greatly influenced by anything that came from a position of authority. After being proven wrong too many times, I decided to make a change. I have made an effort to self-experiment for a while now, finding my own results instead of relying these types of studies. I find this to be more effective, as everyone is different and there is more poor advice floating around with the recent rise of technology. However, the truth is being exposed as well…you just have to find it.

So even if you decide not to test things out yourself, be wary of the studies you come across.

A better system of evaluation will help you weed through the BS out there.

 “If you see fraud and don’t shout fraud, you are a fraud”. – Nassim Taleb

Always Tired? Let’s Attack This Naturally


This couldn’t have been written a year ago.

Growing up, I don’t remember ever having any issues with my energy levels. I was always running around doing different things, having recess at school, sleeping 10 hours a night. But while in college I started noticing I had some issues – well maybe I just consciously realized it.

I was staying active. I was getting enough sleep usually. I began eating a little healthier. But still no significant improvement.

So what was the issue? I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Well it took some time and a lot of trial and error, but I finally made some breakthroughs.

Some were surprising.

Over the past few months, my energy has been at an all-time high. The factors included a few small changes, and others that took some time to develop. I want to break variables down as I currently see them. Some may be common knowledge, but they are still important factors so I don’t want to discount them.

Here we go.

It starts with managing your energy levels. You have to pay attention to your body. Is your body giving you signs of fatigue and that it’s time for a break? Then take one. Don’t keep trying to push forward when you have a bad headache or are physically exhausted. It’s better to let you body repair itself now than try to run at 50% and make the recovery period longer. I was in a vicious cycle of making this mistake.

Along with this, you must also pay attention to your mental energy. Reducing the mental clutter and negative thoughts will bring about more physical energy. At times, I turn into a very compulsive thinker, so it is important that I channel this effectively and quite my mind at times throughout the day. We think way too much throughout the day. Take some time to slow it all down. An exhausted mind often equals and exhausted body.

If you are looking for a quick fix, look no further than the amount and type of fats you are consuming. I’ve covered this before, but I continue to run into people who are misinformed. We’ve been tricked. This ‘fats are bad’ thing has gone on long enough. First, not all fats are treated equal. I often hear people say avocados are healthy, but when they come across anything else high in fat, they are not convinced. Lets learn a little more…Not only do good fats provide some instant energy, but they also provide many long-term health benefits (heart/brain). Did you know our brains are made up of primarily water, fat, and cholesterol? Makes you re-think fat and cholesterol right? Eat some quality fats in the morning and notice the difference. You could start by eating 2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil or MCT Oil. Cook with some grass-fed butter. Even try snacking on some fats – bacon and eggs, peanut butter, nuts, avocados. I would estimate that my diet now consists of around 50-60% fats. This has provided not only more energy, but weight loss. Big factor.


I also have reduced my carbohydrate intake. I try to limit the carbs I have at breakfast and lunch. I usually stick with sweet potatoes and other slow-carbs. I’ve also been working on reducing my sugar intake. Both carbohydrates and sugar break down into glucose. You don’t want too much of this if you want consistent energy…unless you enjoy that afternoon crash (Insert 5 hour energy here). This also goes for artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame. If you need a sweetener, Stevia appears to be the best option.

Another quick fix is some exercise. I have been in a good flow recently, doing strength/core training about 4-5 days a week. Maybe running/yoga/stretching works for you. You need to get that blood pumping! Any physical activity helps. Need proof? Check this out…


I also take a few supplements to aid my energy levels among other things. I always try and get these vitamins and minerals through foods first. But these include 500 mg of Magnesium, B Complex, Vitamin C, and 1,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 among others. Potassium is also important. If you have an indoor job, I recommend these – especially in the winter. Obviously, I’m not a doctor. But I do take advice from an M.D. focused on health – see Peter Attia.

Can’t forget caffeine – I have a few cups of coffee a day, as well as an afternoon green tea. Try to keep the sources natural with little sugar – coffee, tea, dark chocolate.


Also, try to get 8 hours of sleep. This is simple, but it is one of the most crucial factors. Make it a quality sleep while you’re at it.

The occasional power nap also is beneficial. I’ve even tried caffeine naps (espresso/caffeine pill then set your alarm for 25 min) every once in a while and found them to be effective. Even a 5-10 minute nap can make a world of difference.


These are all easy things you can incorporate into your life today. Many may show immediate results. However, they are not the only factors.

Let’s look into some other variables that have helped me get to this point. These take work and are far from perfect.

I noticed a significant difference when I decided to change my outlook. By just framing my approach towards my personal life and work differently, everything shifted for the better. I’m taking the little issues in life much less seriously. And I’m having more fun. Less stress is always a good thing

I have really paid attention to my self-talk. Here is a recent TED Talk  I watched that hits on what I’m talking about. If you consciously pay attention to what you are telling yourself, you may not like what you see. I’ve been making an effort stop the escalation of any negative talk. I am often just too hard on myself. A good exercise is to just ask yourself – would you say these things to another person? No? Then why make them part of your story. Instead turn to conscious positive talk. This change has resulted in less physical stress, a less-worried mind, and a better self-image. That’s 2 birds with 1 stone – more positivity, MORE ENERGY.


This probably won’t happen overnight. But by adopting a few of these techniques, you may see some positive results.

I plan to test to keep testing these out. I hope you do as well.

Let me know how it goes.

2/19 Good Reads



Google’s Ray Kurzweil predicts how the world will change

If you don’t know who Ray Kurzweil is, he is the director of engineering at Google. He’s known as a futurist and is a big advocate of life extension and singularity. He has successfully predicted many crazy things that have found their way into our social norm. I would trust this man over many, as he is actively shaping these futuristic technologies in the maybe the most innovative company in the world.

One prediction – By 2020, we will have click and print designer clothes at home with 3D printing…

There’s more.

Smarter Than Smart

Who’s smarter?

Smart Version 1: Know the answer to question X.

Smart Version 2: Know how to find the answer to question X.

In this post, you find out. It’s time to start questioning what “smart” means.

Intelligence is becoming more and more overrated.

These 11 Charts Show Everything That’s Wrong With The Modern Diet

Here is some good info that challenges how many people view a healthy diet.

My personal takeaway – eat less sugary foods.

We all knew this already, but consistent reminders are good.

Potential Tactics for Defeating Cancer — A Toolkit in 1,000 Words

A few of my thoughts:

  • We need to start looking into the effects of glucose and insulin reduction when it comes to growth of cancer cells.
  • We’ve known how to kill cancer cells for a long time now. The struggle is how to isolate killing the cancer cells and not good cells as well.
  • I believe chemo and radiation are not the most effective measures we know of in order to kill cancer cells. I think these treatments are the most effective ways to make money. However, if put in a situation to choose which route to go, I’m still not sure how I would handle it.
  • I’ve read recently that grape seed extract is effective at inhibiting growth of cancer cells. You know what else has been linked to slowing cancer growth, THC.

Note to 20-Year-Old Self

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So things are going well, right. You’re in college. You’re meeting new lifelong friends. You don’t have many responsibilities. You’re free.

But with this freedom and free time comes a lot of decision-making.

You’re off to a good start in few areas. You began reading books, which will come in handy in many future situations, as well as put you on a good course to discover your creativity. But this is not the end-all be-all. It’s nice to have some confidence from reading a few psychology, success, and business books. But there are many people currently around you that instinctively have this knowledge without having to read this material. Continue reading books and articles that interest you. That challenges your existing opinions on issues. That leads to self-improvement. That opens your mind. By doing so, you will head in the right direction.

Your exercising habits are improving as well. It’s great you love to play basketball and hit the gym quite often. These will continue to put you on a course of discipline and being healthy. You’re still considered obese by health standards, but this will continue to improve if you keep this up and continue your education about healthy eating. Oh, quick tip. You have to really question modern advice. There is a lot of bad advice out there. Find trustworthy sources and test their ideas on yourself. Only then will you know what works for you personally.

I’m glad you’re having a good time with your friends. Some of these relationships you started will last for years, if not the rest of your life. Don’t take this time for granted. I would also say to be careful who you choose to spend your time with. Remember: You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

I have to warn you about something though. You need a little help in this area. You’ve been taking the safe route a little too often. I notice you wait around for things to come to you. It’s almost as if think the universe owes you something. Now don’t get me wrong, you are a nice kid and you’ve starting improving yourself in some aspects of your life, but the world demands more than that. If there is one thing the universe requires in order for it to give something back, that would be you putting positive energy into the world. Focus on overcoming the habit you have developed of being passive in situations when you know you should take action. Do whatever it takes to pound this into your head. This is crucial.

In a similar topic, let’s talk about fear. I know you have found yourself in many situations that make you nervous. But you have to realize…this is normal. It’s better to attack this by paying attention to what type of situations cause this response, along with how you usually handle yourself. Energy can be transformed. Work on transforming your fear and inexperience into a positive by creating challenges for yourself and taking things less seriously. You have a long way to go. Take more calculated risks than what makes you feel comfortable.

You still have a lot to learn, Greg. Your path will not be how you anticipate it now. But that’s okay. Enjoy the highs and lows. There will be a lot of them. But don’t get too high or too low, as the opposite will find its way into your life quicker than you expect. Life is a journey that no one will be able to truly explain to you, even though many will say they have found the answer. Decide to learn on your own through your experiences. So make sure to have fun, spend a lot of time discovering yourself, and spread positivity around as much as possible.

In closing, all I have to say is:

Enjoy the ride my friend

1/24 Good Reads


Seen vs Unseen

“We are most often held back by obstacles we aren’t even aware of–bad habits, flaws, ego, neuroses, self-destructiveness, aversions and fears we hardly know we have.” Also see Soft .

Tucker Max Testosterone Ebook

If you are on the ball, you can grab this ebook for free. I just signed up for it. I’ve read his other posts on naturally boosting your testosterone and find a lot of value in it. He’s an extremely smart guy despite being perceived as the party-animal. I’d recommend starting with a few of his articles about testosterone – including the hilarious story of how he got into the mess of having low levels. Story, Intro, Eating, Exercising, Sleeping

Plants Don’t Grow Near Wi-Fi

So we needed 9th graders to figure this one out for us. The more I hear about this, the more i’m scared of technology’s effects on our long-term health. If plants aren’t growing properly with this radiation, how do you think this is affecting our bodies. I definitely make an effort to keep my phone off my body whenever I can, but who knows what else is going through the air. Medicine better catch up.

The Primate Awards

I just found this to be funny. I could look at these dudes all day. Who wants to go to the zoo?