Category Archives: 4 – Solution analysis

A more in depth look at the solutions to the crises facing our world today.

Curing the madness of our economic system: Competing currencies

As discussed in the first post in this little series, the very root of the economic craziness we have witnessed over the past decade or so is our totally unbacked fiat currencies. These little pieces of paper and plastic we use to buy things with can literally be conjured out of thin air through a number of mechanisms, thereby giving certain members of society the godly power of creating money. And yes, absolute power has corrupted absolutely as it always does.

The direct result is that we find ourselves at the point we are today: a developed world burdened by unpayable debts and impossible social welfare obligations at a time when natural barriers to growth are becoming increasingly serious. In essence, this situation arose because fiat currencies allowed developed world citizens to live way beyond their means for decades by simply creating fiat money (public and private debt) and using it to buy stuff from developed countries. Now the bill is finally coming due at a time when our strained ecosystem is no longer capable of providing the cheap resources needed for paying it.

The first thing that therefore needs to be done to start restoring balance to this crazy system is to remove our totally unbacked fiat currency system, thereby taking away the ability of governments and banks to grant developed world citizens the ability to live so far beyond their means. Our fiat currency system is deeply ingrained in our society, however, and it will be very hard to uproot, primarily because people really like living way beyond their means. In fact, politicians get elected based on promises of more spending, more welfare benefits and fewer taxes which would not have been possible without the ability to create money out of thin air.

However, now that living standards in developed nations are turning downwards (seen above for the USA), people may just be open to some alternatives. The most promising of these seems to be the idea of allowing for gold/silver-backed currencies to compete with our current fiat currencies. If these currencies are allowed to penetrate freely into the market, people will have the convenient choice between a currency that will undoubtedly store the purchasing power you have earned through honest labor or one which is rapidly losing your purchasing power due to gross fiscal irresponsibility across the board. If you have learnt just a little bit about these issues, it is pretty clear which one you will choose.

For this to happen, however, people need to get educated to the point where they understand that the faith in their fiat money (which really is the only thing giving it value) is quickly being eroded as more and more people understand the risks of counting on fiat currencies as a store of value. This process is a self strengthening spiral which can turn the financial futures of hundreds of millions of people completely upside down. Don’t allow yourself, your family and your friends to be caught napping on this one.

The final post in this little series starts here.

Three key motivations for vibrant health

Every health program comes standard with a little motivational section. So, in keeping with the tradition, please find below a short outline of three key reasons why you should make your health your top priority.

1. Healthy at 100

The magical 100 mark is a good goal to strive towards, but just reaching 100 is not enough – you should aim to be healthy and fully independent at 100. One of the primary ills of aging is the childlike dependence that many seniors are reduced to by degenerative disease. Remember that we in the developed world bring almost all of our diseases upon ourselves through our terribly unhealthy consumption habits and sedentary lifestyles. The choice between becoming a wise, independent, healthy and respected elder  or a senile, childishly dependent, permanently suffering and pitied old soul is therefore largely in your hands. 

2. Be an asset to society

The success of a society is simply the difference between the contributions of those citizens who are assets and those citizens who are liabilities. This might seem a bit blunt, but the reason why western nations are becoming insolvent is simply because the people who are assets (paying taxes) cannot keep up with the people who are liabilities (drawing various forms of welfare). Medicare and Medicaid is a large part of this welfare expense and the US government currently pays a full 36% of all its tax revenues directly back into this ever growing black hole. In total, close to one in every five American dollars are spent on healthcare. It is therefore very simple: look after your health to minimize your withdrawals and maximize your productive contributions to society. Your health is the difference between being an asset and being a liability.

3. Healthy self esteem

Looking good is universally accepted as the primary motivation for maintaining a healthy weight. This highly egotistical and superficial source of motivation drives millions of crash diets, turns over billions of dollars and, surprise-surprise, has failed dismally in halting the rising tide of fatness sweeping across the globe. Sure, being in vibrant health will get you looking awesome, but this really is just a little bonus on the side. Your primary self-esteem boost should come from having a fully functioning and able body/mind and being a massive asset to your community. These are real and authentic motivations for weight-loss and are guaranteed to work much better than the egotistical source promoted by Photoshopped supermodels in fashion magazines.

So, strive for vibrant health and watch your value to society increase with time like a good red wine and your self esteem grow like the overweight trendline of the western world. Health is the foundation on which you build your life. Make sure it is solid.

Three key nutritional concepts

In this post, I will briefly discuss the three most important concepts that need to be understood in order to consistently eat a healthy diet. It is undeniably true that we are what we eat, so understanding these concepts really is central to a healthy life.

1. Building your healthy nutritional environment

This remains the most important concept for maintaining a healthy diet. If the environment within which you live is filled with junk food and highly processed convenience food, that is what you will eat. On the other hand, if your environment is filled with healthy whole foods and your head is filled with quick and easy recipes for turning these healthy foods into delicious meals, healthy eating will happen completely automatically. So, make the commitment to only bring healthy food into your home and make the time investment to learn how to properly prepare this food. This really is the foundation of a healthy diet.

2. Nutrient density

This is the key indicator for selecting healthy foods. Nutrient density is the ratio of nutrients/calories in any given food. Our bodies need a wide range of nutrients to function optimally and it seems to be very close to impossible to get too much nutrients. It is definitely possible to get too many calories though. Excessive calories lead to weight gain and generates lots of destructive molecules called free radicals that literally cause your body to rust from the inside out. These free radicals can only be neutralized by micro-nutrients called antioxidants. In short, nutrients heal and calories kill. It is therefore obvious that you should choose only nutrient dense foods.

3. Balance

Many modern miracle diets say that you should eat a lot of one thing (e.g. protein) or totally stop eating another thing (e.g. carbs or fat). The obvious truth is, however, that the human body was designed to function on a balanced diet. We need proteins, we need carbs, we need fat and we need a whole range of other stuff too. Disrupting this precious balance is completely unnatural and very dangerous. Unfortunately, the standard modern diet is completely out of balance and contains far too much animal protein, dangerous trans and saturated fats and empty carbohydrates. Considering the massive degree of imbalance in our modern diet, our current degenerative disease epidemic really is no surprise whatsoever. Please balance your diet ASAP. 

So, there you have it in a nutshell: build yourself a healthy nutritional environment, fill it with a wide mix of nutrient dense foods and live a long and healthy life. It really is as simple as that.

The importance of aquaculture

Farmed salmon forms a very important part of my healthy diet and has been rapidly growing in popularity over the past few years. However, as it is with all popular things, salmon farming is surrounded by a great deal of controversy – primarily surrounding the potential health risks, the environmental impacts of fish feed and the influence that escaped fish can have on wild fish.

I have looked into this issue in quite some detail in order to make sure that I am doing the right thing by eating two potions of farmed salmon every week. My findings have been positive regarding farmed salmon and can be summarized as follows:

Even though farmed salmon is often rumored to be less nutrient-rich, scientific studies consistently find only small differences in the nutrient content of farmed and wild salmon. The most famous nutrient in salmon; omega-3 fatty acids, is very similar between these two options. 

Risks of heart disease, the number one global killer, has been confirmed to be substantially reduced by salmon consumption and substantially increased by red meat consumption. Further efforts to replace red meat with fatty fish such as salmon can therefore save millions of lives and billions of dollars in healthcare expenditures.

Despite all the hype about the dangers posed by things like toxic chemicals in salmon feed, all my searches into this topic have not delivered a single human death from farmed salmon. Compare that to 5 million annual deaths from tobacco and 3 million from obesity to get some perspective regarding the things we should actually be making noise about.

Personally, I have been eating farmed salmon roughly two times per week for the past two years and have maintained perfect health throughout this period. It might be that daily farmed salmon consumption could have some adverse effects, but  the scientific literature (and my personal experience) suggests that two portions per week is perfectly safe.

I see aquaculture as an essential part of a sustainable human civilization. We are already at the limit of our agricultural land usage, but we are just beginning to realize the potential bounty from the oceans. Supporting salmon farmers (while keeping them under pressure to constantly improve the health benefits and sustainability of their produce), is therefore a crucial investment in global food security. 

So, please eat your farmed salmon guilt-free. As with all things, however, keep your consumption moderate. 

Perfect health the traditional way

There are a number of very special traditional communities around the world that enjoy amazing health and longevity completely without the help of modern medicine. People still contribute actively to their communities in their 80’s and 90’s and often surpass the magical age of 100 sometimes without ever visiting a doctor.

The most well-documented of these communities is the Okinawa islands in Japan, but a number of other such communities also exist. These include the region of Abkhasia in the Soviet Union, the Symi island in Greece, the Italian village Campodimele, and the mountain communities of Hunza in Pakistan, Vilcabamba in Ecuador and Bama in China.

So, what are the secrets of these amazingly healthy people? Well, I don’t really think we can call them “secrets”, but here they are: these people simply eat a healthy, nutrient dense and predominately plant-based diet (Okinawan food pyramid given below), they never over-eat, they live very active lifestyles and they have a very strong sense of community. Basically, they live the polar opposite of the modern western lifestyle.

These healthy lifestyle choices have some pretty impressive results. One fun statistic about Okinawa is that they boast 15% of the world’s confirmed super-centenarians (those over 110) while having only 0.0002% of the worlds people, thereby giving them a concentration of super-elders close to 100000 times greater than the rest of the world. Wow…

In John Robbins’ excellent book “Healthy at 100”, he discloses a lot of well documented research on Okinawa, stating that they are about 15% as likely to die of heart disease and cancer as Americans. They also live 5 years longer on average.

When it comes to healthcare spending, Okinawa has the lowest healthcare costs in all of Japan which already has a three times smaller per-capita healthcare expense than the USA. Thus, they have about a 7 times smaller chance of dying from degenerative disease and live 5 years longer, all while incurring about 5 times fewer healthcare expenses. Not bad, I’d say.

Unfortunately, the younger generation of Okinawans are rapidly skrewing up these awesome stats by succombing to the American lifestyle brought by the US troops stationed on Okinawa. It really is quite sad how many grandparents have to bury their grandchildren in Okinawa nowadays.

But this just shows how alluring our modern consumerist lifestyle really is. These young Okinawans saw the vibrant health of their parents and grandparents first hand, but still chose to consume their bodies into oblivion. Unthinking consumerism is indeed a very powerful enemy…