New Clinical Tips - 1 & 2

1. Restore, http://restore4life.com/, is a liquid supplement that helps reduce leaky gut syndrome in the face of glysophate (Roundup) exposure.  Glysophate is found in common herbicides and is highly toxic to humans.  When one introduces Restore to the gut, the gut is able to withstand the way glysophates dissolve the tight junctions between the cells in the gut.  I believe that this product not only does so in the gut, but probably benefits the entire body in many profound ways. 

I highly recommend this supplement as part of recovery in mental health.  I have had great success in using a variety of nutritional supplements in the past, but it was only when I started using Restore that certain “difficult patients” began to also benefit from the functional approach with surprisingly good speed and results.  Take a look at this supplement on their website and see if you can benefit from taking it too.


 

2. I just attended the International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine (ICNM), July 29 ad 30, 2016.  I was astounded by the information presented and very moved by Rich Roll’s beautiful retelling of his recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse to become an ultra endurance athlete through a whole foods, plant based diet.  He went to Stanford for college and has a law degree from Columbia University.  Also, he is very handsome!  Oh dear, am I digressing? 

Anyway, I am going to implement what I learned at the conference, into my own life.  I was truly inspired by the presenters and convinced that their messages are not only important to my personal, long-term health, but also to the health of my patients, and globally, for our planet.  I will still be taking my supplements, but I know that as I improve my diet, they will become less central to maintaining my health.  I am so grateful for their leadership in nutrition and their heartwarming efforts to educate all of us in doing what is good, right, and healthy nutritionally. 

I would highly recommend anything that Dr. Neal Barnard recommends!  I bought his book, “Breaking the Food Seduction.”  It is an easy read.  I am enjoying it so far and would recommend others who are struggling with cravings for unhealthy foods to buy it and read it!
 

A Psychiatrist's Perspective: Syrian Refugees and the Middle East

Just the evening before, I had asked someone to explain to me, what is going on in the Middle East, to create the Syrian refugee crisis.  The person was not clear about it either. The very next day, the NY Times devoted their entire issue to help clarify the multitude of factors, in the Middle East, that culminated in our current global crisis. The headline reads:

TOP STORIES

The New York Times Magazine has dedicated an entire issue to a single story: the Arab world’s undoing since the invasion of Iraq

It took all evening for me to read through it the first time. I decided to read it again, because the conflicts were so many, the names so unfamiliar, and the incidents so incredible, that it was difficult, to absorb it initially. 

As a psychiatrist, I see things through the heart and in holistic, philosophical strokes.  In viewing politics, idealism and the inner examination of the soul are fragile and delicate instruments, when faced with the guns of war. So, I will humbly apologize for my ignorance, beforehand, on matters in the Middle East. I will simply explore my personal reaction and experience, as I read their recent history.

What I found, as I read the overview, was a conflict of my own. On the one hand, I felt great compassion for the suffering, homeless citizens. I wished they could be housed properly, that they could be given a chance to work as refugees, and that they would find kindness from their neighboring countries. On the other hand, I lacked the ability to empathize with how they arrived at their situation. I could not empathize or understand their need to destroy each other, to fight over property, and the cycle of narcissistic despotism, which destroys their hope for peace.

The words that came to mind, to describe what fueled the endless killings were: selfishness, pride, need to control, secrecy, and lies. These words describe the nature of evil, and of course, at its root: fear. So, it came down to this for me: that evil and fear, like a fire, inflamed and magnified suffering, until it boiled over, like an overheated pot of soup.

The answer to the evil that overruns the area, from the forces that try to contain it, is to kill it. Beat it to death. Destroy a little more. Kill a little better.

Could that be the way to establish peace? It seems rather paradoxical to expect peace to come through violence, don't you think?

For example, what would I think of a parent who slaps a child and says, "Don't hit your brother!"? It may be a quick way to stop the child from hitting their brother, but ultimately, that child knows that it is okay to hit someone, because his/her parent had demonstrated exactly how it is acceptable.

If selfishness, pride, need to control, secrecy, and lies fueled the endless wars in the middle east, then would it not make sense that what would restore peace would require just the opposite energies?  That is: unselfishness (unconditional love, sharing), humility, empowerment of all, transparency, and the truth. Could there be a short cut to peace through any other path? Perhaps through the altruism, sharing, and unconditional caring of the neighboring nations, a model of peace could provide a short cut to creating greater peace within the middle east.

I think of the great leaders of all time--those who lived and breathed peace--all became martyrs, without exception.  Is peace and strength mutually exclusive? Must a leader of peace succumb to the forces of violence? Must peace be powerless in its defense against attacks? I don't think so.  

But a leader of peace uses different "weapons," do they not? Their weapons create rather than destroy, enlighten rather than annihilate, unify rather than segregate. Their skills come from a different source: love. With regard to politics, the players of peace create as a group, unified and guided through love without boundaries. Such groups would not think it strange to be inclusive of different religions, backgrounds, gender, and education, as long as each voice is furthering the cause of peace, unity, and understanding; and the means (how to achieve something) towards the end (achievement) are consistent and in harmony with each other.  

In other words, more than social and religious affiliations, players of peace worship love, peace, and truth before all else.  They ask themselves, "Is this in the service of love, peace, and truth?" When faced with a task, they look for a way to meet the task lovingly, peacefully, and truthfully. Life is not about "us vs. them", because it is not driven by material things one can touch or own, but about living in that state of love, peace, and truth with one another. 

Perhaps some may think of such a perspective as poetic imagination, impossible to achieve. Others may think of it as threatening their way of life and the cohesion among their allegiances. But, when faced with the goliath of war, why not have faith in a pebble, aimed by a force greater than self? Let it not be about a war between David and Goliath, or even a struggle between life and death, but about who and how we choose to be while we yet live.  

The usefulness, of learning from current history and politics, is to glean, vicariously, the lessons we need to learn for our daily conduct with ourselves, with each other, within the family, and in the community.  Be what we would want our world leaders to be, but be that, in our own sphere of influence, however small we may perceive it to be. Remember to respond from a place of love, generously and without fear.

When we are attacked, take a breath, and allow that attack to go no further than where we stand. And then, in our next breath, breathe out peace and strength. That is my wish for us and for the world.  

Alice W. Lee, MD

A Psychiatrist's Response to Khizr Khan's Speech and Trumps Reaction to Mr. Khan

The battle for the presidency of the United States currently unfolds before us, as living history. I am profoundly moved, to add my voice, to those who have spoken for the continuance of our beautiful country, and the unifying principles that bring us together, as a social network that supports, not only ourselves, but each other.

In reading about Khizr Khan and the criticism and coldness he received from Donald Trump, I wish to support Mr. Khan, not secretly or privately through email or letter, but publicly, through my blog. He is such a brave and heart-centered man.  To speak to the point, to say what is true, to appeal to both mind and heart, is central to the preservation of our democracy. 

What I like, about Mr. Khan and his spirit, is that he is not intimidated by Trump, who has more money and social status than he does. Mr. Khan has a moral compass, and he unapologetically proclaims it.  He has the boldness to say: 

“What he (Trump) said originally — that defines him . . . people are upset with him. He realizes, and his advisers feel, that [his original statement] was a stupid mistake. That proves that this person is void of empathy. He is unfit for the stewardship of this great country. You think he will empathize with this country, with the suffering of this country’s poor people? He showed his true colors when he disrespected this country’s most honorable mother. . . . The snake oil he is selling, and my patriotic, decent Americans are falling for that. Republicans are falling for that. And I can only appeal to them. Reconsider. Repudiate. It’s a moral obligation. A person void of empathy for the people he wishes to lead cannot be trusted with that leadership. To vote is a trust. And it cannot be placed in the wrong hands.”

In response to Trump’s attack on his wife, Khan said that the Republican nominee’s words were “typical of a person without a soul.” (The Washington Post, Stephanie McCrummen, July 31, 2016 1:00 a.m.)  

As a psychiatrist, I am not an expert on politics, and normally, I do not write any commentary about the political process.  But this year is different, I am drawn to the political process, not because of any interest in, or experience with, politics, but because I am an expert on empathy, the mind, and the heart of an individual.  It is very clear to me that our country is divided into two groups, with strikingly different values and priorities, symbolized by our current presidential candidates.

One group uses fear, blame, anger, and promises, to appeal to the masses. The other group uses hope, mutual responsibility, tolerance, and dedication to hard work, to appeal to the masses.  One inflames. The other inspires. One says, "I, alone, can fix your problems." The other says, "We can do it together."

Of course, there is plenty of fear, in even the best of us, and when we hear Trump make his promises, so convincingly, there is a child in us that wants to believe him and wants to shift our responsibilities onto his shoulders. We hope, in our hearts, that he could fix our problems and save us. 

However, responsibility is the other side of the coin for freedom.  If one does not have any responsibility, one has lost one's freedom.  Therefore, to give our responsibilities away, is the same as giving away our freedoms.

Empathy, also, is the price we pay for true power.  It is easy to block our painful feelings (shame, fear, or resentment) and shift the blame for our suffering to our neighbor, a foreigner, or another country.  But when we do, we are saying, "I do not have the power. They do. Because they do, I will reclaim my power, by eliminating my enemy." Power has never been reclaimed this way, and it never will. 

In reality, when we look at ourselves honestly and, with humility say, "I can and will do better." We begin to reclaim our innate power, which had been waiting beyond the door of authentic suffering, without needing the fantasy of an enemy.  Not only do we start to use our innate power to help ourselves, but through compassion, we are motivated to help others.

In this election process, the allegiances of certain political leaders tell me a great deal about who they are. When one candidate condemns Trump vociferously and, in the next moment, endorses him, what does it tell me, of who they are beneath their rhetoric? It tells me that they do not have the strength, to be a living example of their words, through real action.  It tells me that they lack integrity.  It tells me that they are afraid of being their own light in the darkness.

Being a light in the darkness means that, when the whole world might choose what is mean spirited and an easy way out, one chooses to remain compassionate and true to one's moral compass. I honor those Republican candidates who have remained a light in the darkness.  I see their light shine, as the darkness deepens around them.  I hope that they will remain brave and honest, when challenged to be otherwise.

Like Mr. Khan, I have something to say to those candidates who have aligned with Mr. Trump: we see you, as you are, through your choices. Don't be the fools that paraded along with the king, in the story, "The Emperor's New Clothes." In the end, you will share the sting of shame, as the truth reveals his vanity. Mr. Trump is the Emperor without clothes. But you don't have to march down the street, celebrating his new wardrobe, pretending you see something, when you know well enough there is nothing there.