We physicians live in the shadow of rising health care costs.  Hospitals want us to cut length of stays and somehow become more efficient.   Insurance companies ask us to accept less money for patient visits, forcing us to see more people in fewer hours.  The government wants us to check a slew of electronic boxes to prove that we’ve performed what they deem to be best practices, even though there is ...

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I was intrigued by David Brooks' column in the New York Times recently.  It speaks to a renewed interest in an old idea: simplifying life. Living in a less complicated way is not a new concept (think Walden Pond), but it has gained a greater magnetism in the setting of the hugely complex and acquisitive world in which we now find ourselves. I personally have enjoyed and benefited from Marie Kondo's "The ...

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Nathan Pritikin: 69.  Robert Atkins: 72.  Roy Walford: 79. Adelle Davis: 70.  Aveline Kushi: 78.  Marjorie Shostak: 51. Jack LaLanne: 96.  Ancel Keys:100. David Murdock is a billionaire who believes that he knows the formula for the perfect diet.  Not only has he built his own research institute to refine his theories, but he is confident that his food choices will keep him alive to the age of 125. This would ...

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The AMA recently announced that they now considered obesity to be a disease.  This announcement set off the usual firestorm: swarms of posts and comments on the internet and elsewhere by highly opinionated people, each of whom was certain of his or her position. There were those who were predictably outraged ("obesity is solely the result of gluttony and lack of will power!") and those who welcomed the new label as ...

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Let's consider salt. The American Heart Association says, "It is estimated that if Americans cut their average sodium intake by more than half – to an average of 1,500 milligrams a day – there would be a nearly 26 percent decrease in high blood pressure and a savings of more than $26 billion in healthcare costs over just a year." The American Heart Association recommends foods with little or no salt to ...

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Ah, the addictive power of modern food.  Never underestimate it. On a recent trip to New York I happened to be flipping through the channels on my in-flight TV when I ran across Mike Huckabee doing an interview on Fox News.  I was surprised to see that he had gained his weight back.  The former governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate had staked quite a bit on the success of his ...

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